Mar 5, 2020 - Health

WHO sounds alarm on coronavirus: "This is not a drill"

Photo: A traveler wears a medical mask at Grand Central Station in NYC. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

China may have at least temporarily beaten back the coronavirus, but the World Health Organization is sounding the alarm for everyone else.

Driving the news: "This is not a drill. ... This is a time for pulling out all the stops," its top official said today. "Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans."

  • Right on cue, Congress reached a bipartisan $8 billion deal to provide emergency funding for outbreak response.

Why it matters: There are 17x as many new infections outside China as in it right now, the AP reports.

  • China appears to have slowed the virus thanks to a severe regimen of quarantines and testing.

In Europe and North America, a less severe strategy is unfolding:

  • Italy has closed schools and soccer stadiums. It also asked people to stay 3 feet apart and avoid nursing homes, but that is being widely ignored, the AP reports.
  • Schools have closed in a school district outside Seattle, and hundreds of New Yorkers are in self-quarantine. California, Florida and Washington state have each declared a state of emergency.

Between the lines: March is spring break season for American colleges. Many an administrator is probably dreading the prospect of infected students returning to campus.

  • Meanwhile, parents of American study abroad students are facing surprise costs and the logistical challenges of getting their kids home from affected countries.

The big picture: The economic pain of the coronavirus response seems to be just beginning, with targeted pain for the airline, hospitality, media and events industries.

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The coronavirus is causing widespread U.S. price cuts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Having already hit supply chains and led to the widespread cancellation of large gatherings and events, the COVID-19 outbreak is now causing a repricing on tourism and travel globally, as airlines, hotels and travel operators see major declines in bookings and revenue.

Why it matters: China's record low readings in February for both manufacturing and services could serve as a warning of what's to come for parts of Asia, Europe, and even the U.S.

U.S. coronavirus cases top 1,000 as states scramble to curb the spread

A stretcher is moved from an AMR ambulance to the Life Care Center of Kirkland in Washington state. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

The number of cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. soared to 1,037 and the death toll to at least 31 by early Wednesday, per data from Johns Hopkins and state health departments.

The big picture: Nearly 40 states had reported cases by Tuesday and at least 12 have declared a state of emergency — Washington, California, New York, Oregon, Kentucky, Maryland, Utah, Colorado, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida and Michigan — which reported its first two cases on Tuesday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 11, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus: Columbia University the latest to cancel in-person classes

Columbia University's Low Memorial Library in New York City. Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images


Columbia University announced Sunday night it canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday and plans to hold remote lessons for the rest of the week after a member of its community was quarantined following exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: The Ivy League school is the latest educational institution to suspend in-person classes and move studying online in response to the outbreak as the virus continues to spread across the U.S., which now has more than 500 cases, per data from Johns Hopkins and state health departments.

Go deeperArrowMar 9, 2020 - Health