March 11 coronavirus news

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1:52 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

San Francisco bans large group gatherings

San Francisco is halting all large group gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of novel coronavirus, Mayor London Breed announced.

Group events of 1,000 or more people will be prohibited for now.

“We know cancelling these events is a challenge for everyone and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health,” Breed said in a statement.

The order will be in place for two weeks and will be revisited as the coronavirus outbreak in the city continues to evolve.

1:37 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

Washington state governor prohibits large events in three counties

Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state will prohibit events of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

At least 273 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Washington state. There have been at least 24 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.

3:50 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

US congresswoman suggests Capitol should be closed down due to outbreak

Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is 86 and the oldest member of the Senate, suggested that the US Capitol should be closed down — at least temporarily — in light of the coronavirus scare.

“I’m worried about the fact that we need to close this place down. I really believe that now. Look at us, how close. It’s just an example of what’s happened. The cases have topped 1,000 and here’s where they’re going," she said. 

Asked to clarify, she said: “I think you close it for meetings and that kind of thing and people can come in if they want to come into their office. I’ve got constituents by the hundreds that come across the country and I don’t think they should right now.”

On whether essential business should continue, she said: “I don’t think there’s anything that’s all that important. We are out next week anyway.”

12:58 p.m. ET, March 11, 2020

World Health Organization says it's seeing "alarming levels of inaction"

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing today that the agency is "deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction” when he said the novel coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic.

He added: “We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic."

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.

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