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01 Apr 2020 | 05:35 AM UTC

US: Health officials report over 4000 COVID-19-related deaths March 31 /update 36

US health officials confirm over 4000 deaths related to COVID-19 as of March 31; take precautions against virus

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USA

Event

A total of 4076 coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths were reported in the evening (local time) on Tuesday, March 31. States with the highest death toll are New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. The US reported its highest daily increase in cases at 26,400 on Tuesday, for a total of 189,600.

An extension to the nationwide stay-at-home and social distancing guideline was issued through Thursday, April 30.

On Tuesday, March 31, Southwest Airlines announced that it will reduce flights by more than 40 percent between May 3 and June 5 amid a drop in consumer demand. The airline will continue to operate approximately 2000 flights a day during this period.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days with immediate effect. Exemptions are made for those in infrastructure industries including public health, trucking, financial services, and food supply.

Most US states have implemented stay-at-home measures. As of Wednesday, April 1, Wyoming is the only state without confirmed COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the US-Canada border remains closed to all nonessential travel from 23:59 (local time) on Friday, March 20, until Monday, April 20. On the same date, authorities announced that the US and Mexico will also close their shared border to nonessential travel from Saturday, March 21. The border closures will not affect trade.

Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.