SitRep: COVID-19 Update for March 12

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MedPage Today

COVID-19 Update: It’s a Pandemic; March Sadness; U.S. ‘A Familiar Horror Movie’

by Molly Walker, Associate Editor, MedPage Today

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It’s a pandemic, says the World Health Organization.

But the situation is easing in Wuhan, where all of the city’s 16 temporary COVID-19 hospitals are now closed. (Xinhua)

And now it’s China that’s requiring quarantines for foreign visitors. (CNN)

A key gap in knowledge about the novel coronavirus is the extent to which it’s infected the general population. Now the CDC is developing serologic tests that can provide the answer. (STAT)

In fact, CBS has closed its New York offices after two employees tested positive for the virus. (New York Post)

Concerts, sports events, you name it — any gathering of more than 250 people is now banned in the Seattle area by order of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Similar for San Francisco as ordered by the city’s mayor. (ESPN, San Francisco Chronicle)

Though mass gatherings may be the least of Washington state’s problems. King County reported 44 newly diagnosed cases on Wednesday for a total of 234 cases, and four new deaths for a total of 26. All but four of the deaths are associated with the Life Care Center nursing home.

The NCAA said its March Madness basketball tournament will be played with no fans in attendance; world figure skating championships in Montreal cancelled altogether. (Reuters)

A cardiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia tested positive for COVID-19, and saw 24 patients a week prior to being hospitalized, according to the Inquirer.

Representatives of cruise ship companies floated a proposal to ban passengers older than 70 unless they have a “fitness note” from a physician. (Reuters)

The nation’s spymasters are concerned about the pandemic’s effects on their operatives around the world. (Reuters)

The American College of Radiology released recommendations on the use of chest x-rays and CT for suspected COVID-19 infection. It emphasizes that the CDC does not recommend either to diagnose COVID-19, as findings on chest imaging are “not specific and overlap with other infections.”

A doctor in Western Europe offers a caution to the U.S. and the U.K.: keeping schools open and going into the office daily “is like watching a familiar horror movie, where the protagonists, yet again, split into pairs or decide to take a tour of a dark basement.” (Newsweek)

COVID-19 hammered Wall Street again Wednesday following the WHO’s pandemic declaration, with major indexes falling 5%-6% and turning the market officially bearish — and Thursday is shaping up to be just as bad. (USA Today, CNBC)

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