COVID-19

CAL FIRE/SAN DIEGO COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY RESTRICTS ACCESS TO FIRE STATIONS, HALTS ISSUING NEW BURN PERMITS

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – To help contain spread of the COVID-19 virus and assure uninterrupted emergency response services, effective immediately, nonemergency access by the public is halted at all Cal Fire/County Fire Authority fire stations in the unincorporated region of San Diego County.


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COUNTY SHUTS DOWN BARS, LIMITS RESTAURANTS TO TAKE-OUT FOOD, BANS EVENTS OF 50+, AND MORE RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Gy Kirk, new co-owner of Sheldon's Station in La Mesa, says his restaurant is offering curbside take-out immediately and willl soon offer a home delivery service.

Read official health order here.

March 16, 2020 (San Diego) – Alarmed by news of 55 COVID-19 cases countywide—a nearly seven-fold increase in the past four days – San Diego County officials today announced tough new restrictions that will impact daily lives of virtually all residents and businesses. A new fund aims to help those adversely impacted.

Effective midnight Tuesday through March 31, the following rules are imposed countywide:

  • All gatherings of 50 or more are prohibited, including public and private events.
  • All non-essential gatherings, regardless of size, are discouraged.
  • All bars and other businesses serving alcohol without food must shut down.
  • Restaurants may offer only delivery, pick-up or drive-through service. On-site pickups must include social distancing of at least six feet.
  • Schools of all levels, public and private, must cancel any on-campus classes.
  • Businesses must not require doctor’s notes for sick time or other leave.
  • Businesses must allow telecommuting if possible and adopt social distancing for on-site workers, along with increased cleaning.
  • Hospitals and health care facilities should preserve resources including cancelling elective and non-emergency procedures when feasible.
  • Only essential personnel may enter hospitals and long-term care facilities—and any essential personnel with symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from entering.
  • Hospitals, commercial testing labs and all healthcare providers must report COVID-19 test results to the county’s public health officer immediately after receiving results.
  • Travelers arriving in San Diego County should self-quarantine at home for 14 day if they traveled from or through nations on the Centers for Disease Control Level 3 list. The list currently includes China, Iran, South Korea, and most European nations.
  • Self-quarantine at home is strongly recommended for people over age 65, as well as those with chronic underlying conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Everyone with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate at home before seeking medical treatment.

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GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES CLOSE DOWN, EXCEPT FOR STUDENTS IN FINAL WEEK OF CLASSES

East County News Service

 

MARCH 19, 2020 UPDATE: 

Remote classes and student support at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges will continue to be held until the end of the spring semester on June 1. The Grossmont and Cuyamaca college campuses are also closed to all students and the public until June 1. 

All instructional activities and office hours, including any lab courses, and support services will be held in some form of remote delivery. Faculty will be communicating directly with their students regarding next steps.Student information about withdrawals and late drops is available. 

Gov. Newsom has ordered that all Califrornians stay at home effective midnight March 19. To comply with that order,  all District employees are to work from home beginning Friday, March 20. Essential personnel who are necessary to secure district facilities and maintain core operations will be contacted by district leadership. 

All student events through June 1 are cancelled, and intercollegiate athletics games are cancelled indefinitely. 



 

 

March 16, 2020 (El Cajon) --As the coronavirus situation remains in a state of flux, effective today, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are now closed to students and the public until further notice. All instructional activities, office hours and labs will take place online or through another remote delivery to the fullest extent possible. Students are advised to follow directives provided by their instructors and to regularly check the college website and emails to keep apprised by the latest developments.


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CHIEF’S CORNER: IS THERE A VIRUS OF INCONSIDERATION?

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
March 15, 2020 (San Diego)--You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. At the bank, the gym, in the grocery store, the receptionist. You were the one disgustingly sneezing, coughing and hacking without covering your mouth. Like a driver texting, you’re placing everyone else at risk. Is it just ignorance or arrogance?
 
I am shocked as I observe the inconsideration some are demonstrating during this time. Please be mindful!
 
Flu activity peaks between December and March resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths each year. Now with the Corona virus we have an even greater risk of being exposed to an additional dangerous and deadly virus.
 
What you could have done once symptoms came on is:

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CAJON VALLEY AND OTHER EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS ANNOUNCE COVID-19 POLICIES AND CLOSURES

CVUSD provides multi-lingual updates

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

Photo: Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD, screenshot off video

 

March 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- In line with worldwide concern over the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Cajon Valley Union School District Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD outlined a policy Tuesday night on plans to cope with the growing health crisis.


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GOVERNOR ASKS SENIORS OVER 65 TO STAY HOME, CALLS FOR CLOSURE OF BARS, CUTBACKS AT RESTAURANTS

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2020 (Sacramento)—With 330 Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) cases in California, double the number just four days ago,six deaths in our state and thousands of deaths worldwide, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced extreme steps to slow the rate of infection and reduce deaths. The actions aim to save lives and prevent hospitals and medical workers from becoming overwhelmed.

The Governor’s new emergency proclamation calls for:

  • Home isolation of everyone over age 65
  • A ban on visitors to nursing homes, except for end-of-life visits
  • Closure of bars, wine bars, breweries and pubs
  • Restaurants to reduce occupancy by half; restaurants can also provide curbside service and at-home deliveries
  • Moving homeless people into motels, trailers or other facilities
  • Allow urgency for procuring medical supplies, sharing data, and bringing in out of state licensed medical professionals to help with treatment

Though the Governor stopped short of mandating closures of bars, restaurants and wineries, and left home isolation of seniors voluntary for now, his actions are similar to what some foreign nations and Governors in other states have done. 

The entire nations of Spain and Denmark are on lockdown. France has ordered closure of cafes, restaurants and bars.  The Governors of Ohio and Illinois have ordered restaurants and bars to close.  New York state’s Governor has ordered restaurants to cut occupancy in half and called for voluntary closure of many private businesses.


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CORONAVIRUS CASES IN SPRING VALLEY AND AT SDSU

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – An employee at the Covenant Living retirement and continuing care community in Spring Valley has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Fox 5 reports. So has a student at San Diego State University, according to Patch.com


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WHY HASN’T TRUMP FOLLOWED QUARANTINE RULES FOR HIMSELF AFTER EXPOSURE TO COVID-19?

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: President Trump, at today’s Coronavirus press conference, shakes hands with Target’s CEO as Vice President Mike Pence stands beside him, despite president being closely exposed to three people infected with COVID-19

March 13, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Despite close exposure to at least three individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, President Donald Trump has not followed health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control, which advise exposed individuals to self-quarantine for 14 days and keep at least six feet away from others.  Yet at a press conference today, the President was photographed shaking hands with at least seven people.


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TRUMP DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY, AGREES TO SUPPORT HOUSE DEMOCRATS’ BILL TO HELP AMERICANS IMPACTED ECONOMICALLY BY COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: President Donald Trump, via WhiteHouse.gov

March 13, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – After issuing a national emergency declaration today, President Donald Trump in a rare moment of bipartisan agreement urged Congressional Republicans to pass economic relief legislation authored by House Democrats.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi negotiated the economic relief deal with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin following days of plummeting stock prices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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STATE AND LOCAL SAN DIEGO OFFICIALS WORK TO CALM COVID-19 CHAOS COMING FROM WASHINGTON D.C.

By Kathleen Connell
 
March 13, 2020 (San Diego) -- Confusion and fear have reigned supreme for citizens worried about the medical and economic impacts of the coronavirus. To make matters worse, the Trump White House has put out untruths and conflicting information, according to Factcheck.org.  In addition to factual errors in his recent press conference, at a Trump rally earlier this year he called COVID-19 a “hoax” and blamed Democrats.  On Jan. 22, he insisted, “We have it totally under control,” yet his administration had still failed to fill vacancies on the CDC’s pandemic team left unfilled since 2018 and failed to provide testing anywhere near the rates that other countries have provided for their residents.

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LA MESA ISSUES EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION, BUT HAS NO COVID-19 CASES

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis
 
March 13, 2020 (La Mesa) – “In order to assure that the City of La Mesa is eligible to receive any available and necessary disaster relief funds, we have declared a formal state of emergencies,” La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis announced today.

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EL CAJON CITY MANAGER DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS, WILL LIVESTREAM PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 13, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Manager today declared a state of emergency for the city. The City Council must meet to ratify the declaration.  A special meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 16 at 11:30 a.m. and will be livestreamed so that people can attend the meeting remotely.

 


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SUPERIOR COURT DELAYS NEW CIVIL JURY TRIALS DUE TO COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by SA-NC

March 13, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne has sent the following message, which was forwarded to local attorneys by the Association of Business and Trial Lawyers, San Diego:


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BIDEN AND SANDERS OFFER COVID-19 RESPONSE PLANS; WILL DEBATE ISSUES ON SUNDAY EVENING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden

March 13, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential contenders, criticized President Donald Trump's handling of the COVID-19 panedemic and offered plans of their own to address the crisis.

Biden and Sanders will also square off in a debate Sunday on CNN starting at 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The debate was moved from Arizona to CNN's studio in Washington D.C. due to the coronavirus outbreak.  You can tune in via cable TV, as well as on the CNN website, the Univision website, and both networks’ mobile apps.


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LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS CLOSING DOWN DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: cc via Bing

March 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Over half the school districts in San Diego have announced plans to shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak until sometime in April.

East County districts that are shutting down include Alpine Union, Grossmont-Union High School District, Cajon Valley, Dehesa, Jamul-Dulzura, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lakeside Union, Mountain Empire, and Vallecitos. 

County Health and Human Services asks parents, We recognize the difficulty that these school closures present for working families. It is important to remember that closing schools is an effort to maintain at least six feet of distance between people and to reduce the number of individuals gathered into a given space to prevent the spread of the virus. While there are still public spaces open and available, including malls, parks, movie theaters, etc., we would ask parents to strongly consider keeping their children home or limited to small groups at this time.”

Nationwide, school closures due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, are impacting over 8 million K-12 students, according to EdSource, or nearly a quarter of the 50 million K-12 students in the U.S.

Here are schools locally announcing closures so far:


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COUNTY AND STATE BAN NEARLY ALL GATHERINGS; FIVE NEW LOCAL COVID-19 CASES REPORTED

Many major events closed or cancelled across our state and region

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2020 (San Diego) – In response to the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak, effective immediately, the state of California and San Diego County have ordered that from today through March 31st: Violators are subject to fines or imprisonment.

  • all gatherings of over 250 people be cancelled or postponed, including concerts, conferences, and sporting events;
  • Smaller events of 10 may be held only if social distancing space of 6 feet between people can be provided;
  • Gatherings of people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while following social distancing guidelines. This includes gatherings at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions.
  • Visitors should be restricted at medical facilities with people at high risk of COVID-19 complications, such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals providing acute in-patient care.

The ban on gatherings generally does not apply to workplaces, shopping malls, grocery stores, or emergency shelters such as those for the homeless.

View:  Governor Gavin Newsom’s message, Calif. Dept. of Public Health directiveCounty press release, County health office order,  World Health Organization director’s statement on pandemic


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VIRUS SPREADING LOCALLY WITH FIVE NEW CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks at county press conference on Covid-19 response, with major officials arrayed behind him. Photo via Kevin Faulconer on Twitter

March 12, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County officials said coronavirus now appears to be spreading in the community with five new cases reported Thursday, and officially banned gatherings of over 250 people.


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SDSU ATHLETICS, ALL MAJOR SPORTS LEAGUES CANCEL SEASONS AND TOURNAMENTS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

UPDATE AS OF 5:09 PM:  ALL SDSU SPRING SPORTS HAVE BEEN CANCELED

East County News Service

March 12, 2020 (San Diego) - After Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for Coronavirus, the National Basketball Association and several other professional sports leagues have suspended their seasons, the NBA's announcement coming on Wednesday night.  The NBA announced it was suspending games while it determined its next steps.


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TRUMP BANS TRAVEL FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS FROM EUROPE DUE TO COVID-19, PROPOSES ECONOMIC RELIEF FOR AMERICANS IMPACTED

Update March 13: The President today declared a national emergency, freeing up some $50 bilion in federal aid for states.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Airport medical screening; CC by SA

March 11, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump today announced a travel ban on most foreign nationals from Europe and also proposed economic aid to Americans impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.


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WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECLARES GLOBAL PANDEMIC; STOCK MARKET DROPS TO BEAR TERRITORY

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2020 (San Diego) – The World Health Organization today declared a global pandemic.  More than 115,000 cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 4,200 deaths.

In the U.S., 1,237 people have tested positive for the virus and 37 have died.  The fast-spreading virus has reached 41 states and the district of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The COVID-19 crisis has contributed to a stock market crash.The Dow Junes plunged over 1,400 points today, officially into bear territory. The Standard & Poors index has fallen over 600 points in the past three weeks, erasing more than half the gains since Trump became president.


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CALIF. DEPT. OF EDUCATION RECEIVES SPECIAL FEDERAL APPROVAL: ENABLES SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO FEED STUDENTS DURING CORONAVIRUS-RELATED CLOSURE

East County News Service

March 10, 2020 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Education (CDE) has received a special waiver called CA COVID19 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will enable a school district that had previously been approved to operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide meals to students during a coronavirus-related closure. 


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

COVID-19: BE PREPARED

 

Cases of the novel coronavirus disease are on the rise across the United States and the world. The uncertainty of what to expect has many feeling anxious and panicky. You can minimize your stress about COVID-19 by taking some simple steps to make sure your family is protected and prepared.

Get more information on how to prepare and protect yourself at coronavirus-sd.com.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY WARNS BUSINESSES, CONSUMERS OF PRICE GOUGING LAW IN WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS

 

Spiking Prices During a State of an Emergency is a Crime

East County News Service

Photo: Cc by ND via Bing

March 10, 2020 (San Diego) – After California and San Diego County each declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 virus, The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has issued a warning to businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging.

During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase its prices for essential goods or services by more than 10 percent, unless they can show their own costs have been increased. "The statute would theoretically apply to online retailers as well as brick and mortar—as well as individuals who might be selling on an app like Offer Up,"  says Steve Walker, communications specialist at the District Attorney's office.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on March 4 and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors extended its countywide state of emergency for an additional 30 days on February 19.

“We want county residents to know that we stand ready to protect their consumer rights under the law,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “We will strictly enforce violations related to price gouging.”


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STATE DEPARTMENT URGES AMERICANS NOT TO TRAVEL ON CRUISE SHIPS, WARNS OLDER PEOPLE TO AVOID CROWDED PLACES AND NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by NC via Bing

March 9, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory that states, “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.” 

The advisory cites the Centers for Disease Control’s warning that a cruise ship environment increases the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The State Department advises that many nations have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking to curb the spread of COVIC-19. Some passengers have been quarantined overseas. Although the U.S. has evacuated some cruise ship passengers recently, the State Department now warms, “repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.”

The State Department also urges older adults and travelers with underlying health issues to avoid other situations that put them at risk. This includes avoiding crowded places and avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips or cruises.


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SHARP HEALTHCARE TAKES STEPS TO PROTECT PATIENTS, VISITORS AND CAREGIVERS FROM COVID-19, OFFERS TIPS FOR PUBLIC

East County News Service
 
March 7, 2020 (La Mesa)--Sharp Healthcare, which operates Sharp Grossmont Hospital and other medical facilities in our region, has set up a webpage on the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) with information on steps Sharp is taking to protect against the virus and what the public should know.
 
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, which is spreading around the world.  Here are tips to help stop spread of the respiratory virus:
 

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GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY AS MORE COVID-19 CASES DIAGNOSED, INCLUDING IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2020 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency yesterday amid news of 53 COVID-19 cases diagnosed in California and the first COVID-19 death in our state.  New cases include an LAX airport screener, cruise ship passengers, a South Korean flight attendant at LAX, and an AT&T store employee in Otay Mesa here in San Diego County.

California health officials are now monitoring 9,400 cases in 49 counties statewide.


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U.S. DRAWS CRITICISM AS POLITICIANS, NOT SCIENTISTS, LEAD RESPONSE TO COVID-19

California outbreak may be tied to botched federal response

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Photo by Mikael Häggström, M.D. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87223640

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) --  President Donald Trump is facing criticism for disbanding the team of scientific experts in 2018 who would have been tasked with preparing for and handling pandemics in the United States, to cut costs. He left vacant key posts at the Centers for Disease Control in charge pandemics and further sought to slash CDC funding. His administration also allowed some exposed cruise ship passengers back into the U.S.without waiting for test results.

Now Pres. Trump has put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 outbreak, instead of health officials, the New York Times reports.  Pence will also handle all White House messaging on the virus, a move that has critics concerned that health and science experts could be muzzled.  Pence has previously drawn criticism for his handling of an HIV epidemic in Indiana that slowed efforts by public health officials to contain the disease.

Trump has drawn sharp bipartisan criticism as well as Senate Republican committee chairs and global health officials for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.  The disease to date has infected over 85,000 people in 60 nations, killing nearly 3,000. The first U.S. death occurred in Kirkland, Washington, where an outbreak is suspected at a skilled nursing facility at which dozens of residents and healthcare workers have fallen ill.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

COVID-19 VIRUS IS MORE DEADLY THAN FIRST BELIEVED; FIRST U.S. DEATH CONFIRMED

141 people are being monitored in San Diego County for possible exposure

By Miriam Raftery

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 85,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide on every continent except Antarctica, causing approximately 3,000 deaths, the World Health Organization reports. The first U.S. death has occurred in Washington state and at least 30 cases have been identified in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. These include cases among people who did not travel overseas recently and it is unknown how they were exposed to the virus.

San Diego County has 141 people  being monitored who may have beene exposed .  Mexico also reported its first case this week.

Now, a broad study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveals that the COVID-19 virus has a death rate nearly as high as the 1918 influenza epidemic, which killed 50-100 million people worldwide and infected a third of the world’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The standard flu kills only about 0.1% of those infected. By contrast, the 1918 epidemic had  fatality rate of 2.5%.  As for COVID-19, out of 72,314 cases in China studied, JAMA reports a death rate of 2.3%--but much higher in older people and patients with underlying health conditions. 


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