If it was possible to ignore the coronavirus before, that’s not the case anymore.
“We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people,” the President said. “This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”
Health officials have “never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled,” the agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.
“We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action,” Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
Hundreds of public schools have suspended classes, colleges are sending students home after shutting down campuses and sporting events, concerts and festivals have come to a halt.
NBA canceled, March Madness closed to public
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox said in a joint statement the positive result came shortly before the tip-off in Oklahoma.
“We, along with the Utah Department of Health, are actively working to identify how long the patient has been experiencing symptoms, and are working to identify individuals who have had close enough contact with the player as to have been potentially exposed,” the statement said.
Los Angeles Lakers’ star LeBron James tweeted following the league’s announcement.
“Man we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc. What we really need to cancel is 2020,” he wrote on Twitter. “Damn it’s been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe!”
“While I understand how disappointing this is for fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how Covid-19 is progressing in the United States,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Wednesday.
Tom Hanks tests positive in Australia
“We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches,” the actor wrote, adding that his wife, Rita Wilson, also has the virus. “Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.”
The two were receiving treatment in Queensland, Queensland’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a news conference.
“Our experts will work very closely with him, (and) with all of the cast and crew” she said, adding officials were tracing who the two came in contact with and will isolate those individuals and test them for the virus.
States roll out restrictions in response to virus
Hoping to contain the spread in the US, two states implemented restrictions on large group gatherings and another moved to isolate infected people in a state park.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday banned events with more than 250 people across the state’s three largest counties.
In Georgia, which saw its number of cases nearly double in two days, officials transferred a coronavirus patient to a state park for isolation, CNN affiliate WSB reported. The patient “was not able to isolate in their primary residence and was not in critical condition requiring any hospital admittance,” the governor’s office said in a statement to the news station Wednesday.
And California health officials said all public gatherings should be postponed or canceled until at least the end of March, the governor’s office said in a statement.
Non-essential gatherings should be limited to less than 250 people and gatherings including higher-risk individuals should be limited to up to 10 people “while also following social distancing guidelines,” the statement said.
“Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “The people in our lives who are most at risk — seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.”
Universities give students days to leave
Meanwhile, a growing list of universities have canceled study abroad programs, shut down campuses or moved classes online in response to the virus.
Universities including Harvard, Yale, Duke, Princeton and Cornell said they would be suspending classes and instead conduct lessons online.
“Harvard College students have been asked to move out of their Houses and First-Year Dorms by Sunday, March 15, in an effort to de-densify our community,” university spokeswoman Rachael Dane told CNN in an email.
For returning students, the president wrote,”Please pack your belongings and make plans to travel home or to another location off-campus as if you do not expect to return here until the fall semester.”
CNN’s Akanksha Sharma contributed to this report.