Well that could have gone better: The first day of the second week of March ended with a blistering number of news stories indicating that coronavirus outbreaks in the United States will continue to soar as the market tumbles. Below are some of the day’s more troublesome concerns:
A D.C. priest causes hundreds of self-quarantines
While distributing communion to churchgoers, Reverend Timothy Cole, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, accidentally exposed hundreds of members of Christ Church Episcopal in Georgetown, requiring them to go into self-quarantine. D.C. officials are recommending all worshippers who went to the church between February 28 and March 3 quarantine themselves for two weeks since their last visit to the church. The health officials added that “several hundred people were impacted and had interactions” with Reverend Cole, including shaking hands and receiving communion.
An EMS worker exposed New Yorkers in need
A member of the FDNY Emergency Medical Services serving in Brooklyn tested positive for the coronavirus after exposure to “an individual who recently traveled overseas.” Though he was asymptomatic on the job, he worked “three tours in the last week,” according to the department, and was in close contact with five EMS workers and 11 patients. The FDNY confirmed that 19 emergency workers were in quarantine by the end of the day.
Quarantine is easy to break in Missouri
In a press conference on Monday, St. Louis County executive Dr. Sam Page told of a father of a girl who tested positive for the coronavirus who took his other daughter to a school dance on Saturday, breaking the county health department’s self-quarantine instructions. The father’s actions not only revealed just how fragile the voluntary quarantine system is, but caused the school in Frontenac, Missouri, to close on Monday. Page added that breaking a quarantine instruction could be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
A Republican exposed to the coronavirus gave a Capitol tour to large group of kids
Despite the same level of contact with a man who tested positive for the coronavirus at CPAC that caused at least four Republicans to self-quarantine, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert led a large group of kids around the Capitol on Monday. (Don’t worry though, as he vowed not to shake any hands.)
Italy orders a national quarantine
On Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that all of Italy is now a “red zone,” in which people must stay home except for work and emergencies; schools are canceled until at least April 3, and restaurants are forced to close at sundown. The country had previously ordered such a quarantine for the northern state of Lombardy. So far, at least 463 Italians have died from the coronavirus.
The market tanks due to coronavirus fears and crashing oil prices
The Dow Jones Industrial Average had one of its worst days in terms of percentage drops since the Great Depression, due to fears COVID-19 anxiety and an oil price war between the Russians and the Saudis. Though the energy problem is likely to recede, New York’s Josh Barro warns that coronavirus worries will continue to dampen growth, even if a recession isn’t inevitable.
The Department of Health and Human Services still doesn’t know how many coronavirus tests have been administered
The first mass gathering ban has been enacted in California
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Tatiana Sanchez reported on Monday night that Santa Clara County officials are banning events with more than 1,000 people in attendance, which would include San Jose Sharks games. The hockey team would still be allowed to play, just without fans — a scenario that the National Basketball Association is also reportedly preparing for.