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Cuomo says no need to panic after New York confirms first coronavirus case

Andrew Cuomo

  • New York governor says ‘no doubt’ more cases will be identified
  • Rhode Island, Illinois and Florida report new cases
  • Global death toll passes 3,000 – live updates
As a second coronavirus death on US soil was confirmed on Sunday, new cases were reported in Washington state, New York, Florida, Illinois and Rhode Island.

There are now around 75 confirmed cases in the US. At a press conference on Monday, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said there is “no doubt” more cases will be identified.

But there is no need to panic, he said.

“In this situation, the facts defeat fear because the reality is reassuring,” Cuomo said. “It is deep breath time. This is not our first rodeo with this type of situation in New York.”

Late on Sunday, health officials in Washington state said a nursing home resident had died after contracting coronavirus. Both US confirmed deaths were in the north-west state. Florida declared a public health emergency as it confirmed its first two cases.

The coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, has sent global markets falling as it quickly moves around the world. It appears poised for a spike in the US, in part because of more testing to confirm cases.

Trump administration officials worked on Sunday to calm fears that a global recession is looming, arguing that the public and media were over-reacting and saying stocks would bounce back because the US economy was fundamentally strong.

Globally there have been more than 87,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths in 60 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the US, a cluster of cases is centered on a nursing home near Seattle.

The Seattle and King county public health department confirmed late on Sunday that a man in his 70s who was a resident of the Life Care long-term care facility in Kirkland and had coronavirus had died the day before.

On Saturday, the department reported the first death of a coronavirus patient in the US, a man in his 50s who was living in Kirkland. Six of 10 confirmed cases in Washington state have been residents or workers at Life Care.

State officials said an additional 27 residents and 25 staff members were reporting symptoms of the virus, which can be similar to that of the common flu.

In New York, Cuomo said the state’s first case, a woman in her 30s who caught the virus during a trip to Iran, was now in home quarantine. Cuomo said the woman’s husband, also a healthcare worker, was being tested. They have both been following the recommended protocols and are self-quarantined at home.

“They took all precautions necessary,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo also said the state aims to rapidly increase testing and set a goal of 1,000 tests a day to begin in the next week. New cleaning protocols were also being put in place at schools and on public transportation, he said.

Stock markets plunged last week, with an index of global stocks setting its largest weekly fall since the 2008 financial crisis, and more than $5tn wiped off the value of stocks worldwide.

A key energy conference in Houston that brings together oil ministers and energy firms was canceled on Sunday with organizers noting border health checks were becoming more restrictive and companies had begun barring non-essential travel. A world economy conference with Pope Francis due to take place in Italy later this month was also canceled.

Trump said on Sunday travellers to the US from countries at high risk of coronavirus would be screened before boarding and on arrival, without specifying which countries.

Delta Air Lines said it was suspending until May flights to Milan in northern Italy, where most of that country’s coronavirus cases have been reported. Flights will continue to Rome. American Airlines announced a similar move.

The US has 75,000 test kits for coronavirus and will expand that number “radically” in coming weeks, Alex Azar, the health secretary, told ABC.

Mike Pence, appointed last week to run the White House’s coronavirus response, said the government had contracted 3M Co to produce an extra 35m respiratory masks a month. The vice-president urged Americans not to buy the masks, which he said were only needed by healthcare workers.

He also told Fox News clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine would start in six weeks but a vaccine would likely not be available this season.

Democrats, who will challenge Trump for the presidency in November, have criticized his administration for downplaying the crisis and not preparing for the disease to spread in the US.

Pence said Americans should brace for more cases but that the “vast majority” of those who contracted the disease would recover.

“Other than in areas where there are individuals that have been infected with the coronavirus, people need to understand that for the average American, the risk does remain low. We’re ready,” Pence told NBC.

Pence also repeatedly refused to condemn a remark last week by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, who said: “For [Democrats] to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning is a new level of sickness.”

Pence told NBC: “When you see voices on our side pushing back on outrageous and irresponsible rhetoric on the other side, I think that’s important, and I think it’s justified.”

On Monday, Trump accused Democrats of “fearmongering” over the outbreak.


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