Coronavirus U.S. Outbreak Update: Death Toll Hits 19, New cases in Kansas and Washington, D.C., as Cruise Ship Passengers Head for Oakland

More than a dozen people have died of COVID-19 in more than 400 cases in the U.S., as the new coronavirus continues to spread.

The national death toll hit 19 after two people died in Washington state on Saturday, with confirmed cases in New York climbing by 21, Reuters reported. The latest update on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website on March 7 stated there were 164 cases of COVID-19—the disease caused by the new coronavirus—in the U.S. and 11 deaths across 19 states.

However, a dashboard run by Johns Hopkins University, which regularly combines data from the CDC as well as local health departments, put the figure at 433, with The New York Times tracker reporting cases across 32 states. On Saturday, the total number of confirmed cases rose by 117 as community spread (where people fall sick despite not having travelled to hotspots or had close contact with infected individuals) occurred on the East and West coasts.

On Saturday, health officials in Kansas and Washington, D.C., reported their first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, prompting the latter to temporarily pause services at a church linked to the sick.

Washington, California, and New York have so far been hardest hit by COVID-19, with 102, 88, and 89 total cases, respectively, according to health departments on Saturday. The New York Times reported 110 and 99 cases in Washington and California. This is in the context of almost 106,000 individuals confirmed sick and almost 3,600 deaths worldwide since the virus emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Of the almost 80,700 cases in mainland China, over 45,000 have recovered.

Armed robbers capitalized on the outbreak by donning surgical masks while stealing roughly $250,000 from the Resorts World casino in Queens, New York, on Saturday night, the New York Daily News reported. However, as explained in more detail in the health advice below, officials stress the average healthy person need not wear a mask unless caring for someone sick.

The operator of a cruise ship stationed off the Californian coast, meanwhile, said the vessel is due to head to Oakland after over a dozen people on board tested positive for COVID-19.

Princess Cruises said on Twitter that the Grand Princess, carrying more than 3,500 people, will travel to the Port of Oakland on Sunday so guests who need "acute medical treatment and hospitalization" can be taken to facilities in California.

Other guests will leave the ship on Monday. Residents of California will head for a "federally operated facility" in the state to be tested for COVID-19 and isolated, while those who live elsewhere will be to facilities in "other states." The operator said crew members will be quarantined and treated on the vessel.

With no industry immune to the effects of the outbreak which has put a strain on the global economy, Business Insider reported Facebook was ending non-essential business travel globally due to fears over COVID-19, following restrictions put in place by fellow tech giants Google and Amazon.

And after weeks of problems with testing in the U.S., Dr. Stephen Hahn, the heath of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told reporters at the White House on Saturday, according to Reuters, that supplies for 2.1 million coronavirus tests will be sent to non-public U.S. labs by Monday. Manufacturers told the FDA the capacity would be up to 4 million tests by the end of next week, he said.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands: after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least one meter (three feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
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A man wears a medical mask on the AirTrain as concern over the coronavirus grows enroute to John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) on March 7, 2020 in New York City. Health officials state that masks don't protect healthy members of the general public from the new virus. Spencer Platt/Getty