March 6 coronavirus news

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2:48 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Town hall: More than 150,000 people have been tested in South Korea

Medical staff members wait for people with suspected symptoms of the novel coronavirus, at a testing facility in Seoul on Wednesday, March 4.
Medical staff members wait for people with suspected symptoms of the novel coronavirus, at a testing facility in Seoul on Wednesday, March 4. Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

CNN Corespondent Ivan Watson is in Seoul, South Korea, bringing the latest developments there to the ongoing town hall.

"The confirmed number of infections has crossed the 6,200 mark with at least 42 people who have died as a result of the disease. More than 70% of the infections have originated around the southern Korean city of Daegu," Watson said.

Some context: Daegu is where the Shincheonji religious group is based -- more than half of all cases nationwide have links to the group. Daegu is also near where a US soldier, his wife, and child were infected.

Aggressive testing: "More than 150,000 tests have been conducted since the virus first appeared here, and the authorities are working so hard to expedite this. There are even drive-through testing facilities to speed up the process and to limit the exposure of doctors and nurses to potential carriers," Watson said.

To put that into perspective: About 1,500 people have been tested for coronavirus in the US so far, said CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta -- "a magnitude of difference."

10:53 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

China reports 30 new coronavirus deaths, bringing global total to over 3,380

From CNN’s Shanshan Wang in Beijing

The death toll from the coronavirus has increased by 30 in mainland China, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 3,042, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Confirmed cases in mainland China increased by 143 on Thursday, 126 of which were in Hubei province -- ground zero for the outbreak. That means there were 17 new cases reported in China outside of Hubei, according to the NHC.

The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is now 80,552, bringing the global total to 97,852, according to CNN's tally.

The NHC added that a total of 53,726 patients across mainland China have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

There have been at least 341 deaths reported outside of mainland China, raising the global death toll to 3,383.

Here's where those deaths have been reported:

  • Italy: 148 deaths
  • Iran: 107
  • South Korea: 42
  • Japan: 12
  • United States: 12
  • France: 7
  • Spain: 3
  • Hong Kong: 2
  • Iraq: 2

Taiwan, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have each reported 1 death.

2:48 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Town hall: What's the situation in the UK?

CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour is tuning into the town hall from London, where she's been covering the outbreak in the UK.

"Here they were talking about containment. Now the chief medical officer says they are moving into the so-called second phase, which is control. And then there is research and mitigate. But that's what's happening right now," Amanpour said.

Shortages: "There is a national shortage of nurses," she said. "Testing kits are in short supply, not only here but around the world."

Preventative measures: "There is a sense that they might have to go into methods such as controlling how people work, keep them at home more. And it's called social mitigation. So also as you were talking about how do people deal with each other, social distancing, for instance. There is a huge amount of talk about should people shake hands, should they hug, kiss."

"The main advice that people here are being given is wash your hands, and wash them over and over again. And if you use sanitizer, use something that's at least 60% alcohol contained."

2:48 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Town hall: What's the situation in China right now?

David Culver, CNN's China correspondent speaks via video feed during the town hall.
David Culver, CNN's China correspondent speaks via video feed during the town hall. CNN

David Culver, CNN's China correspondent, is weighing in at the town hall on the situation in China. He is calling in from Shanghai.

"We've seen these fluctuations going up and down (in case numbers)," Culver said. "It seems in Shanghai things are under control. You look at the numbers in Hubei (province), it's rather intense. Tens of thousands of people have been impacted by this and thousands have died."

What it's like in Hubei: "We talked to folks an hour or so ago, I was on the phone with one resident checking in. They cannot leave their homes. They're sealed within their residential complexes. Basic necessities come to them. Outside of that, here in Shanghai, a lot more flexibility and freedom to move around," Culver said.

Is the data trustworthy? "We've been asking that question, too," Culver said.

"We were hearing on the ground from folks who said, 'We know we might have it because our loved ones have been confirmed. We're experienced the same symptoms, yet testing has been delayed. It's not coming through.'"

On testing: "We can say that the federal government here, the central government under President Xi Jinping, they have moved forward with getting a lot of those test kits to where they need to be and it seems as though they are coming to a place where they are being readily available," said Culver.

2:47 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Town hall: What we know about the Washington nursing home

Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images
Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Gary Tuchman, CNN's National Correspondent, is laying out the facts on the Washington nursing home at the center of the state's outbreak.

"We need to mention there has not been widespread transmission here in Washington state. But that being said, this nightmare scenario that's taking place at this small nursing home northeast of Seattle does not bode well," Tuchman said.

Around the US, 12 people have died. Seven of those lived inside this nursing center in Kirkland, Washington.

"That means more than 50% of the people we know died from coronavirus lived here," Tuchman said.

"We don't know how the virus got inside this building. We do know that other people who live here, other people who work here, and other people who visit here are also sick and they are dealing with that right now."

No testing done: Family members of residents in the center told CNN that no testing has been done for these asymptomatic residents.

"Despite all the talk of testing, these loved ones want their relatives to be tested," said Tuchman. "If they're not sick, they want to get them the heck out of here. If they are sick they realize they need to stay. But they don't want to take a person who might be infected to infect their loved ones and infect the public."

Watch:

10:55 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

Seattle Department of Homeland Security employee tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez

The Department of Homeland Security notified employees Thursday evening that a DHS employee in the Seattle-area tested positive for coronavirus.

The department said the employee is "already recovering from his flu-like symptoms and is at home with this family."

"We are working directly with each DHS employee in that building to identify who may have been in contact with the employee and at a higher risk of exposure," DHS told employees in an email Thursday. "If identified as being at high risk, we encourage an employee to conduct themselves according to CDC guidelines and take appropriate steps outside the office. In addition, we have been identifying the co-workers who would be at low risk of exposure, so they may return to work in the building as soon as possible."

Earlier this week, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf announced that he closed a DHS facility in King County, Washington and directed employees to work remotely, if possible, after learning that an employee had visited a family member at the Life Care Facility in Kirkland, Washington before it was known the facility was impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The office is temporarily closed and all employees had been directed to self-quarantine.

Wolf also told lawmakers this week that any other possible closures of DHS facilities will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

"I’m not going to contemplate about what could be potential closings, we’ll take that on a case-by-case basis," he said.

2:46 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

CNN's chief medical correspondent on what we do and don't know about the virus

CNN
CNN

CNN's town hall on the coronavirus has begun -- for the next two hours, CNN correspondents and medical experts will discuss the facts and fears around the outbreak.

But first, they're starting with what we do and don't know.

We know the numbers: We are fast approaching 100,000 global cases, and already have seen more than 3,000 deaths.

"We know the virus is spread through coughs and sneezes and droplets just like the flu, but it doesn't linger in the air like measles or small pox," said CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta.

What we don't know: "We don't know for sure how long it lives on surfaces and we don't know why it appears that children don't seem to be hit as hard as adults. Nor are we fully certain that if you catch it once, you can't catch it again. And we don't know for certain when this might end," Gupta sa

Watch:

10:26 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

More than 2,700 New Yorkers are in home isolation

At least 2,773 people are in home isolation across New York over coronavirus fears, according to a statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

These people are all travel-related cases, and are self-monitoring for possible symptoms, New York City Health spokesman Patrick Gallahue told CNN.

The health department is in contact with those individuals, de Blasio told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

10:55 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

South Korea confirms 518 new cases, bringing total to 6,284

From journalist Hyoungjoo Choi in Seoul

South Korean army soldiers spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus on a street in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 6.
South Korean army soldiers spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus on a street in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 6. Ahn Young-joon/AP

The South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 518 new cases of the novel coronavirus were recorded on Thursday, bringing the national total to 6,284.

The country also reported seven new deaths, bringing the national death toll to 42.

Among the 518 new cases recorded on Thursday, 367 are from the city of Daegu, where the outbreak has been concentrated. A total of 4,693 cases during the outbreak have been from Daegu. Of the cases recorded on Thursday, 123 are from North Gyeongsang province, which surrounds Daegu.

About 90% of cases nationwide are from Daegu and North Gyeongsang province.