Closures, Cancellations Continue Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

As the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread across the United States, Americans woke up to a new reality Friday morning where sports events have been canceled or delayed, schools closed, and an uncertain stock market. More than 1,700 cases have been confirmed so far, with the death toll in the U.S. climbing to 41 as of Friday morning.

Globally, at least 125,000 people have been infected with the virus and more than 4,900 people worldwide have passed away from the disease.

Here is your novel coronavirus update for March 13, 2020.

Sophie Trudeau, Wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The wife of Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

"I have some additional news to share this evening. Unfortunately, the results of Sophie’s COVID-19 test are positive," Trudeau wrote Thursday evening. "Therefore, she will be in quarantine for the time being. Her symptoms remain mild and she is taking care of herself and following the advice of our doctor."

Sophie Trudeau came down with mild flu-like symptoms following a speaking engagement in the UK, Trudeau's office told CNN.

Because of the prime minister's self-isolation, an in-person meeting of ministers has been postponed.

Trudeau joins dozens of world leaders now working from home, running their countries in self-isolation. Government officials around the world have been taking precautionary measures after learning they'd been in contact with someone who was infected, or that they'd been infected themselves. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was tested for the virus after his press secretary tested positive this week.

At least nine lawmakers in the U.S. have self-isolated, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), after they were exposed to an infected individual at CPAC.

Iranian government officials appeared to be the hardest hit, where an outbreak has sickened thousands. At least 23 members of Iran's parliament tested positive for the virus, officials confirmed earlier this month. At least one former adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died after becoming infected with the virus.

Kansas Reports First Death From Coronavirus, Declares State of Emergency

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday that her state has seen the first coronavirus-related death, declaring a state of emergency in her state.

“The safety and well-being of Kansans is our priority, first and foremost,” Kelly said. “The landscape of COVID-19 is fast-changing. Today is evidence of that.

"Tonight, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced the first COVID-19 related death in Kansas. A man in his 70s was brought to the hospital and died shortly after arrival. Testing done post-mortem came back positive for COVID-19. He was living in a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County.

“We are working on identifying contacts right now,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, said. “We understand the concern and encourage Kansans to remain vigilant.”

“To prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our most vulnerable population, it’s important to follow the recommended guidelines of screening and restricting visitors to our long-term care facilities,” Department for Children and Families and Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Laura Howard said. 

At least seven people in Kansas have tested positive for the coronavirus. The latest death in Kansas brings the death toll in the U.S. to 41.

“Our state is well prepared,” Kelly said. “With this emergency declaration we can activate our response and coordinate fully. This is part of the process and will make access to important resources more accessible. We continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners to respond to the potential spread of the virus – or any situation that may arise.”

Shoppers Find Empty Shelves at Supermarkets as People Panic-Buy Amid Pandemic

People hoping to stock up amid the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the United States mobbed stores on Thursday as they tried to pick up any last-minute supplies they could find.

However, dozens of social media posts showed many stores with empty shelves, especially where toilet paper and pallets of water might normally found.

“We’re freaking out about it,” Monica Gang, 27, told the New York Post. “We came in here looking for rice, and there is no rice left. Rice crumbs are the only thing left. We don’t even know what to stock up on.”

Shoppers waited in long lines to check out with carts piled high of staples, such as pasta, rice, beans and any other canned food left on the shelves.

Here's How to Prep for a 14-Day Quarantine for the Novel Coronavirus - Thumbnail Image

Here's How to Prep for a 14-Day Quarantine for the Novel Coronavirus

Cancellations Continue Across the County As Coronavirus Spreads and People Begin Working From Home

On Thursday, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League and the NCAA joined the National Basketball Association in canceling or suspending games as health officials warned against people gathering in large groups. League officials stressed the cancellations or delays were being made out of an abundance of caution and that they were following the advice of health experts.

It wasn't just sporting events that were cancelled - Broadway also went dark until April 12 amid coronavirus concerns. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of 500 people or more, with the exceptions of schools, hospitals, mass transit, and nursing homes. The last time Broadway went dark was in 2007 amid a stagehand strike.

Disneyland in Anaheim, California also announced they were shutting the park down starting on Saturday and through the end of the month.

Companies around the country have also begun encouraging worker to telecommute or work from home when possible.

Trump Blames CDC For Lack of Coronavirus Tests

President Donald Trump on Friday blasted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for not being equipped to handle testing for the novel coronavirus pandemic, and blamed the previous administration for the current situation.

"For decades the @CDCgov looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it. It would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic, but a pandemic would never happen, they hoped. President Obama made changes that only complicated things further.....," Trump wrote.

"Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem, until now," Trump added in a follow-up tweet. "The changes have been made and testing will soon happen on a very large scale basis. All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!"

The U.S. has so far fallen short as compared to other countries in testing people for the novel coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services secretary Alex Axar could not confirm how many Americans had been tested so far. One issue has been the lack of tests available, as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said at a House hearing said on Thursday.

"The system is not really geared to what we need right now," he told lawmakers. “That is a failing. Let's admit it."

Two issues slowed the tests - the CDC issued narrow guidelines on who was eligible to be tested and there were some technical problems with the first batch of test kits. The CDC has updated its criteria to make the tests more widely available with 11,000 specimens being tested so far.

Late Night Hosts Grapple With Coronavirus Pandemic

A viral pandemic is not an easy thing to joke about as late night hosts Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon learned Thursday as they took the stage without an audience. Many of the shows decided at the last minute to forgo audiences before taping the live show.

Stephen Colbert recycled footage from the rehearsal of his show with the The Late Show host drinking bourbon and joking about the lack of Purell on his desk.

"What am I supposed to do? There's no more Purell. I'm hoping to drink enough of this that I just sweat out the sterilizing," Colbert said.

Colbert later tweeted that The Late Show would be canceled next week before their previously-scheduled break.

"Hi Folks. We have a new show tonight w no audience, but we cancelled next week’s shows before our scheduled break," Colbert wrote on Twitter. "I wish I could stay on stage to share this uncertain moment w you, but I don’t do this show alone, and I have to do what’s best for my staff. Hope to be back soon."

He wasn't the only late-night comedian to cancel their shows for the forseeable future. NBC announced that The Tonight Show and Late Night were suspending production and that they would "continue to monitor the situation closely and make decisions about future shows as we get closer to the start of production," following the show's previously scheduled break on March 23.

Photo: Getty Images

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