March 11 coronavirus news

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3:46 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

CDC director says some coronavirus-related deaths have been found posthumously  

During the House Oversight Committee discussion on the novel coronavirus response, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said some deaths from coronavirus have been discovered posthumously.  

Rep. Harley Rouda asked CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield if it’s possible that some flu patients may have been misdiagnosed and actually had coronavirus.

"The standard practice is the first thing you do is test for influenza, so if they had influenza they would be positive," Redfield said.

Rouda then asked Redfield if they are doing posthumous testing.

Redfield said there has been "a surveillance system of deaths from pneumonia, that the CDC has; it’s not in every city, every state, every hospital.”

Rouda followed up and asked, “So we could have some people in the United States dying for what appears to be influenza when in fact it could be the coronavirus?”

The doctor replied that “some cases have actually been diagnosed that way in the United States today.” 

12:48 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

First coronavirus death reported in Ireland

Ireland has had its first death related to coronavirus, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

"I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of this patient," Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said,

Holohan urged the media and public to respect their privacy.

"We continue our efforts to interrupt the transmission of this virus. It will take all of us, collectively to succeed. Please continue to follow public health advice," he said.

1:03 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

"This virus can be suppressed and controlled," WHO official says

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, center, speaks at a daily press briefing on coronavirus in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, center, speaks at a daily press briefing on coronavirus in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday. Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of novel coronavirus cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday after saying the outbreak can be characterized as a pandemic.

“Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled,” Tedros said.
12:44 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

First coronavirus-related death reported in Sweden

Sweden announced its first coronavirus-related death on Wednesday afternoon.

The elderly patient was treated in the intensive care unit of the Karolinska Institutet just outside of Stockholm, the press department for the Public Health Agency for the Stockholm region told CNN.

12:57 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

World Health Organization declares coronavirus a pandemic

Credit: NIAID-RML
Credit: NIAID-RML

The World Health Organization just declared the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic.

The novel coronavirus outbreak is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

"Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do," he added.

Remember: CNN began calling the virus a pandemic earlier this week.

The specific criteria for a pandemic are not universally defined, but there are three general criteria: a virus that can cause illness or death; sustained person-to-person transmission of that virus; and evidence of spread throughout the world.

Watch:

12:35 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Denver offers drive-up coronavirus testing

Colorado health officials will offer a drive-up testing lab for novel coronavirus in Denver, according to the state's Department of Public Health and Environment.

The service will be available starting today.

"Individuals must have an order from their doctor confirming they meet the testing criteria and need to be tested, and photo identification that matches the name on the doctor’s order," a department statement said.

Depending on test volume, results will be made available within 72 hours. Individuals getting tested should stay at home while awaiting results, the statement said. 

3:48 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Kentucky governor urges churches to cancel services

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he's recommending that churches across the state cancel services this weekend.

"I know that that’s a big step, I know that some won’t agree with it. But I believe that it’s our job to offer those protections, that we have a lot of opportunity for virtual services," he said.

He noted he's canceling a weekend prayer breakfast.

"I don’t believe that whether you go to church during this period of time is a test of faith. I believe God gives us wisdom to protect each other and we should do that," he said.

12:20 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

20% of students across the world are out of school because of coronavirus

The United Nations estimates that the coronavirus crisis is now impacting close to 363 million students worldwide, according to data published by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Schools and colleges across the globe have closed — some moving to online only classes — to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

“One in five students worldwide is staying away from school due to the COVID-19 crisis and an additional one in four is being kept out of higher education establishments,” according to UNESCO.

UNESCO says 15 countries have ordered nationwide school closures and 14 have implemented localized closures, spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

3:59 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Top US doctors say the next month is a critical time to contain coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before a House Oversight Committee hearing on preparedness for and response to the coronavirus outbreak on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Wednesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before a House Oversight Committee hearing on preparedness for and response to the coronavirus outbreak on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Wednesday. Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP

Speaking at the House Oversight Committee discussing the coronavirus response, two top US doctors said the next month is critical when it comes to fighting the spread of coronavirus. 

“It is critical because we must be much more serious as a country about what we might expect. ... A couple of cases today are going to be many, many cases tomorrow,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Doubling down, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “This is a time for everyone to get engaged. This is not just a response for the government and public health system. It's a response for all of America.”