Coronavirus Newsletter: Milan's Quarantine Is Extending To All Of Italy

In today's edition: The stranded cruise ship finally docks in Oakland, members of Congress announce self-isolation, and a Mr. Bean impersonator is trapped in Wuhan, China.

There’s a lot we still don’t know about the coronavirus outbreak. This newsletter does its best to put everything we do know in one place each day. We’re not about sensationalizing things, freaking people out, or speculating about how bad it’s going to get. You can sign up for the newsletter here. Do you have questions you want answered? You can always get in touch.

And with that, here’s what we know as of Monday, March 9.

Coronavirus in the US

As of Monday afternoon, there have been 607 confirmed cases and 22 deaths in the US. These numbers were accurate when we sent this out; for the latest numbers and charts, check out our new live tracking page, where you can also look up the numbers by the state you live in.

The cruise ship stranded off the coast of San Francisco has been allowed to dock in the Port of Oakland. There are 3,500 people on board, including passengers and crew, and 21 have already tested positive, although the number may be far higher. They will be gradually evacuated from the ship in the coming days.

And now, the coronavirus has come for Congress. Two heavyweight political conferences held in recent weeks — AIPAC and CPAC — each announced that attendees have since tested positive. A number of members of Congress — including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — who attended CPAC and were informed they came into contact with someone who had a confirmed case have announced they will quarantine themselves.

The stock market had its worst single-day crash since the financial crisis. The major market indexes each fell by more than 7%, and trading was halted in the morning after the plunging prices triggered a “circuit breaker” designed to give traders time to cool off. It was the first time the circuit breaker had been set off in more than 20 years. Similar crashes happened around the world; analysts say they’re a signal that the coronavirus outbreak could cause major economic harm.

For important information and updates, check the CDC’s dedicated coronavirus site. If you’re feeling sick and are worried it might be coronavirus, here’s a simple, step-by-step guide for what you should do.

What to do if you think you have coronavirus

One of the most common questions we’ve been getting from readers is exactly what people should do if they feel sick and suspect it might be coronavirus. First things first: Don’t panic. Even if you are infected, which is still unlikely, most people make a full recovery and do not get seriously ill.

But because some people are especially vulnerable, it’s important for all of us to know how to keep each other safe. So what should you look out for? To begin with, here are the symptoms: a fever, a cough, or respiratory issues such as shortness of breath.

If you have one of those symptoms, what to do next depends on a few things. We’ve put together a simple flowchart to help you know which steps to take — take a look here. Bookmark it, pass it around to friends and family, and again: Don’t panic!

What we’re reading

Tracking “patient zero” in Washington State
The first deadly outbreak in the US took place in the suburbs of Seattle, killing a number of residents at an elderly care facility. But how did it begin? Bloomberg pieced together what is known about the earliest days of the Washington outbreak, and the lesson is clear: Even if you do everything right, it’s incredibly hard to stop a virus like this one from spreading out of control. And Washington did not do everything right.

An outbreak behind bars
One of the worst places to be during a viral outbreak is inside a prison. You’re kept in close quarters with hundreds of other people. You can’t isolate yourself, work from home, or limit daily interactions. And you can’t buy a bunch of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. In other countries, authorities have worked to temporarily release some prisoners to ease the strain — but that’s not likely to fly here, the Marshall Project reports.

Quote of the day I
“Conceptually appealing in thunderdome scenarios”
—JP Morgan strategist John Normand, on the usefulness of cryptocurrencies during a pandemic

Quote of the day II
“Been thinking about life and mortality today. I’d rather die gloriously in battle than from a virus.”
—Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, who started today’s finest meme.

Been thinking about life and mortality today. I'd rather die gloriously in a gigantic battle mech fighting kaiju than from a virus. In a way it doesn't matter. But it kinda does.

Coronavirus around the world

As of Monday, March 9, there have been 113,579 confirmed cases and 3,995 deaths globally. These numbers are changing by the hour; you can get the latest figures from our live global tracker.

The government of Italy made the most dramatic announcement of the weekend: It will quarantine the entire Lombardy region, home to 10 million people and the country’s economic capital, Milan. The tourist-heavy city of Venice will also be quarantined. The decision was controversial and will have a huge economic and social impact.

But then on Monday afternoon, Italy escalated things even further: The whole country will be quarantined, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. All public gatherings will be banned, all sporting events canceled, and people should only leave their houses for work and emergencies.

Israel also announced a major new quarantine policy of its own: All people arriving to the country from abroad — both Israelis and foreigners — will be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days. “Public health precedes everything," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“A Mr Bean impersonator trapped in Wuhan is being used by the Chinese government’s propaganda news outlets to praise China’s response to the coronavirus as ‘amazing’ and ‘incredible’.” That’s it, that’s the story.

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