This week in Covid-19
by Tessa Devine
Pictured: President Donald Trump addressing the nation Wednesday evening from the Oval Office on the government’s response to COVID-19. [Source: The White House]
- Cases: 125,048
- Deaths: 4,613
- Countries with cases: 117
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization designated COVID-19 a global pandemic, meaning that it requires sustained transmission across the world.
On Tuesday, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, traveled to the origin of the outbreak in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, which some saw as a sign that the worst of the crisis is over. Manufacturing and other businesses in the region also returned to operation.
Italy was put under lockdown on Monday, meaning that over 60 million residents are restricted on their everyday actions pertaining to work, health or other emergencies, and was encouraged to stay home. Public events were banned and schools are to be closed until April. Italy remains the country with the most confirmed cases of the virus outside of China at over 12,000.
- Cases: 1,215
- Deaths: 36
Wednesday evening, President Trump gave a live address to the nation from the Oval Office, announcing a series of measures intended to combat the spread of the virus and reassure the public.
- All travel from continental Europe is restricted for 30 days starting Friday. U.S. citizens will be allowed to return provided that they stay in a two-week quarantine.
- A group of major insurance companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, UnitedHealth Group and Cigna agreed to waive all copays for testing and extend coverage to treatment for COVID-19.
- Cases: 32
- Deaths: 0
- Cases are confirmed in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.
On Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker announced several restrictions and recommendations for events, schools and businesses that included:
- For the next 30 days, all large events exceeding 1,000 people will be cancelled.
- The Illinois State Board of Education also released recommendations to schools, while clarifying that decisions regarding closure ultimately rest with local school districts and that they are in the midst of modifying policy regarding e-learning.
- All major sports events will be cancelled until May 1.
- Community events of 250+ people are encouraged to cancel or postpone.
Prolonged anxiety spurred by the global spread of COVID-19 has spurred a large downturn in global markets. Fears over trade being disrupted as a result of containment measures, like the travel restrictions implemented by the U.S. and Italy, led to drops in every major stock market index.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which measures the stock performance of 20 of the world’s strongest and consistently-earning companies, fell nearly 10% — the largest drop since a 1987 crash, when it slid almost 22%.
- The S&P 500, which measures 500 widely-traded companies, saw a 9.5% drop.
- On Monday and Thursday, stocks fell so fast that an emergency “circuit breaker” measure was triggered in the New York Stock Exchange, resulting in a 15-minute pause in trading. The system was implemented after the 1987 crash and was last triggered over a decade ago.
- In response to the situation, the Federal Reserve announced that it would inject $1.5 trillion over Thursday and Friday.
On Monday and Tuesday, North Carolina congressman and incoming White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and six other members of Congress said that they will be self-quarantining due to concerns about the virus.
President Donald Trump has not been tested for COVID-19 after interacting with some of the lawmakers, saying he felt “very good” and that the White House physician, Sean Conley, “sees no reason to do it,” since he reported no symptoms. However, concerns about the president’s health rose after images surfaced of him and Fabio Wajngarten, the Brazilian presidential press secretary that tested positive for the virus, meeting last Saturday.
Joe Biden extends edge over Bernie Sanders in Tuesday primaries
by Faith Kwong
Pictured: Democratic Presidential Candidate, Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Norfolk, Virginia at Booker T. Washington High School. [Source: Carter Marks, Royals Media, CC BY-NC 2.0]
Following the primaries of six states on Tuesday, Joe Biden will likely become the Democratic party’s presidential nominee. Biden claimed victories in Idaho, Missouri, Michigan, and Mississippi, while North Dakota went to Bernie Sanders. Washington state, where many votes come from mailed-in ballots, is currently too close to call as votes are still being counted. Of the total delegates awarded so far, Biden has 881 and Sanders has 725. While Sanders' supporters generally remained young and liberal, Biden’s Michigan’s coalition included African American and female voters in addition to his moderate white supporters. Other candidates on the ballot for the primary included Democrat Tulsi Gabbard and Republican Bill Weld, one of the few contesting Trump for the Republican nomination.