Americans face new shutdowns as coronavirus keeps spreading. But some say the bans aren't enough

Former White House health policy adviser Zeke Emanuel and Former Director of USAID's Emerging Threats Division Dennis Carroll analyze President Trump's coronavirus claims amid a rising number of infections.

Posted: Mar 16, 2020 4:20 PM
Updated: Mar 16, 2020 4:20 PM

The race to control coronavirus in the US has taken a drastic turn as the CDC urged all gatherings of 50 or more people to be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.

And more states are adding their own rules. Schools across New Jersey and New York are about to close, adding to the more than 30 million students unable to go to class. Many restaurants across the country can't have dine-in guests. Even some public beaches in Florida are closing.

But some say these precautions are still not enough to stop the virus, which has infected more than 4,000 people and killed at least 70 in the US, according to the CDC.

"I think it's good that the CDC and the federal government is increasingly leaning into more aggressive measures. But I think we've got to move a lot faster than that," former US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Monday.

"I would not feel safe with people getting together in groups of 20 people. ... I don't think we should tell people to go on play dates with groups of friends and catch up with small groups over lunch or dinner," Murthy said.

"These may seem extreme. But the consequences of not doing so are even more extreme -- (both) the health consequences and the economic consequences."

Two factors are helping fuel this pandemic: the fact that people with no symptoms can easily spread the virus, and problems with testing in the US.

So more states are adding new rules on social distancing.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday in a joint call with the other two governors.

In those three states, casinos, gyms and movie theaters will close at 8 p.m. ET Monday and remain closed until further notice, Cuomo said. All dine-in services at bars and restaurants must stop at 8 p.m. ET Monday and transition to take-out only services..

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the closure of all casinos, racetracks and simulcast betting facilities starting at midnight Monday.

"These are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe," Hogan said.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants to close to the public starting Monday night until March 30. Illinois officials are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services to coordinate so restaurants can keep kitchens open for food delivery, Pritzker said.

New Jersey residents shouldn't travel from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., with the exception of essential travel, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. That guideline remains in effect for the foreseeable future.

Washington state will shut down bars, restaurants and recreational facilities. Gov. Jay Inslee said he will sign the shutdown order and issue a ban on gatherings larger than 50 people on Monday.

And Massachusetts, which had previously banned gatherings of 250 people or more, reduced that number to no more than 25 on Sunday.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced Monday that a participant in a novel coronavirus vaccine trial has received the first dose.

But experts say it will be many more months before a vaccine could be come available to the public.

That's because this study, which is a Phase I trial, is meant to see whether the vaccine is safe and induces a desired response from participants' immune systems.

Proving that the vaccine can prevent coronavirus infection, however, will require follow-up studies and many more participants.

You asked, we're answering: Your top coronavirus questions

Schools and sporting arenas go dark

Across the country, more than 30 million students in at least 31 states are missing classes due to the coronavirus outbreak. They include students in Los Angeles and New York City.

In New Jersey, "All pre-K through grade 12 schools (public, private, and parochial) and all colleges and universities will close effective Wednesday, March 18th until it's deemed by health officials to be safe for in-person classes to resume," Gov. Murphy tweeted Monday.

Cuomo said all public schools in New York state will close, though the timing has yet to be finalized.

Some school districts and universities have started transitioning to online instruction until work can resume in classrooms.

In the sports world, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey Association and the Major League Soccer have all had cancellations.

Disney theme parks — normally bustling this time of year with spring break revelers — are closed through the end of the month.

And in the city that never sleeps, New York City, Broadway theaters have suspended performances.

Travel nightmares abound

Many travelers scrambled to get into the US after new travel restrictions were announced over the weekend.

Earlier, the Trump administration restricted travel from 26 European countries in the Schengen free movement zone. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence added the United Kingdom and Ireland to the list starting Monday night.

The Department of Homeland Security has clarified that the ban does not apply to American citizens, so US travelers will be allowed to return, provided they "have undergone appropriate screenings" beforehand.

Travelers waited for hours at international airports in New York, Texas and Chicago this weekend to get through health screenings upon their arrival into the US.

Customs and Border Patrol Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said all locations will have an increase in staff to help process travelers.

Airlines have suspended service to some destinations and are cutting flight capacity.

In a memo to its employees, Delta Air Lines said it's facing worse conditions and making even deeper cuts than after the 9/11 terror attacks.

"The speed of the demand fall-off is unlike anything we've seen," CEO Ed Bastian wrote in the memo.

What does this mean for economy?

The Federal Reserve announced Sunday that interest rates would be cut to near zero to "support the flow of credit."

"These measures, which are essential to contain the outbreak will nonetheless ... take a toll on the economy in the near term," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said.

Then there's the problem of limited supplies. Officials are urging Americans not to hoard supplies.

"Supply chains in the United States are strong, and it is unnecessary for the American public to hoard daily essentials," according to a readout of a conference call President Donald Trump had with grocery store and supply chain executives around the country.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said Americans don't need to worry about running out of daily items.

"All of the executives are working hand-in-hand with the Federal Government, as well as State and local leaders, to ensure food and essentials are constantly available," Deere said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46915

Reported Deaths: 2681
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11499683
Lake5053242
Elkhart316443
Allen2717128
St. Joseph186366
Cass16369
Hamilton1518100
Hendricks1386100
Johnson1254118
Porter71237
Tippecanoe6778
Madison64864
Clark63844
Bartholomew58244
Howard56057
LaPorte55326
Kosciusko5124
Vanderburgh4806
Jackson4653
LaGrange4657
Noble45728
Hancock43735
Boone43443
Delaware42949
Marshall4273
Shelby42025
Floyd37144
Morgan32531
Montgomery29320
Grant29026
Clinton2852
Monroe26628
Dubois2646
White26010
Decatur24832
Henry24315
Lawrence23624
Vigo2288
Dearborn22723
Harrison21022
Warrick21029
Greene18432
Miami1812
Jennings17111
Putnam1688
Scott1607
DeKalb1594
Daviess14116
Orange13523
Wayne1346
Perry1279
Steuben1262
Franklin1248
Jasper1142
Ripley1147
Carroll1102
Wabash1102
Fayette987
Newton9710
Whitley884
Starke853
Randolph784
Huntington712
Wells711
Jefferson701
Fulton681
Jay680
Washington661
Knox630
Pulaski621
Clay604
Gibson592
Rush563
Adams481
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey360
Spencer351
Fountain302
Tipton301
Crawford290
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike90
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 55257

Reported Deaths: 2903
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin9825417
Cuyahoga7392372
Hamilton5605197
Marion273038
Lucas2669302
Pickaway218441
Summit2079206
Montgomery191826
Mahoning1805231
Butler151144
Columbiana128860
Stark1079112
Lorain98367
Trumbull91665
Warren81421
Clark7619
Belmont54322
Delaware54115
Fairfield52916
Tuscarawas52910
Medina50632
Lake48018
Miami45531
Licking44212
Portage42858
Ashtabula42544
Wood40451
Geauga39942
Clermont3906
Wayne35951
Richland3255
Allen30540
Mercer2788
Darke24525
Greene2449
Erie23422
Holmes2203
Huron1992
Madison1928
Ottawa13923
Crawford1345
Washington13020
Putnam12615
Sandusky12614
Hardin12012
Morrow1161
Ross1133
Auglaize1044
Coshocton902
Monroe8817
Jefferson832
Union801
Hancock781
Hocking788
Muskingum761
Preble701
Williams682
Guernsey673
Lawrence670
Clinton660
Shelby644
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot585
Brown541
Defiance493
Fayette460
Knox451
Highland441
Athens431
Champaign391
Scioto380
Seneca332
Perry321
Van Wert320
Henry290
Paulding230
Adams221
Pike220
Vinton222
Jackson180
Gallia141
Harrison121
Meigs110
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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