First Infant with COVID-19 in U.S. Dies, Rhode Island Searches for New Yorkers in Hiding, and Trump Backtracks on N.Y. Quarantine

The death toll from the coronavirus in the U.S. has soared past 2,000, as the number of confirmed cases rose to almost 125,000, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world after surpassing Italy and China. New York is the worst-hit state, with more than 53,000 cases and 790 deaths as of Sunday morning.

Trump backtracks after Cuomo blasts idea for quarantining hotspots

As President Donald Trump traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy hospital ship bound for New York City, he tweeted that he was considering a quarantine for three states, including New York.

"I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing "hot spots", New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly," he wrote.

But Trump backed away from the idea after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo branded it tantamount to a "federal declaration of war."

Instead, Trump announced he had reached a decision after consulting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the governors of the three states. He said he had directed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a "strong Travel Advisory." He added, "A quarantine will not be necessary."

The CDC said in a news release on Saturday that it was urging residents of the three states to refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days, effective immediately, "due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19 in the area."

Cuomo, who has criticized the federal government's response to the pandemic as his state became the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., told CNN on Saturday that the idea of quarantining the three states was "preposterous." He added that he believed it would be illegal and would spark "economic chaos."

Trump
President Donald Trump returns to the White House in Washington, DC, on March 28, 2020.Alex Edelman/Getty Images

U.S. death toll rises to more than 2,000

More than 2,100 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in the U.S. as of Sunday morning, according to the data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

As of Sunday morning, there are 124,686 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country, including around 2,600 people who have recovered.

New York topped the list with 790 deaths, with 672 of those in New York City—the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. — alone, according to Johns Hopkins University. There are 53,363 cases in the state as of Sunday morning, according to a tally kept by The New York Times.

Meanwhile, the global death toll has surpassed 30,000 and the number of confirmed cases has risen to more than 660,000. More than 140,000 have recovered around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

First reported death of an infant in the U.S.

A baby who tested positive for COVID-19 died in Chicago, officials said. The baby was under the age of one, but no further details were given.

"There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is under way to determine the cause of death," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement on Saturday. "We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us."

Children have made up only a small fraction of coronavirus cases around the world and the risk of death and severe illness is greater for elderly people and those with other health problems.

Chinese researchers reported the death of a 10-month-old baby with COVID-19 earlier this month in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The infant, who had a bowel blockage and organ failure, died four weeks after being hospitalized.

National Guard goes door to door in search of fleeing New Yorkers

The Rhode Island National Guard went door to door on Saturday to tell New Yorkers who may have come to the state that they must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Governor Gina Raimondo on Saturday expanded the mandatory self-quarantine to anyone coming to Rhode Island.

State Police set up a checkpoint on I-95 in Hope Valley on Friday where drivers with New York license plates were stopped and asked to provide contact information, WPRI.com reported. New Yorkers who don't comply with the two-week quarantine face fines and jail time, Raimondo said.

"I want to be crystal clear about this: If you're coming to Rhode Island from New York you are ordered into quarantine. The reason for that is because more than half of the cases of coronavirus in America are in New York," Raimondo said, according to the Associated Press.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the order "reactionary" and unconstitutional, adding that he would sue Rhode Island if the policy isn't rolled back.

"I think it was reactionary, I think it was illegal, but we'll work it out amicably I'm sure. We have conversations going back and forth. No state should be using police to prohibit interstate travel in any way," he told CNN.

"If they don't roll back that policy, I'm going to sue Rhode Island, because that clearly is unconstitutional," he added. "I understand the goal and I could set up my borders and say I'm not letting anyone in until they take a test to see whether or not they have the virus. But, you know, there's a point of absurdity, and I think that what Rhode Island did is at that point of absurdity."

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

Hygiene advice

  • Clean 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 1 meter (3 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

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove 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 the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.