California after its first coronavirus death has declared statewide emergency as the death toll in United States reaches 11. The 71-year-old man who died of the deadly virus near Sacramento had underlying health conditions and had a travel history of a cruise ship according to officials. White House on Wednesday launched nationwide testing drive to counter the threat posed by Covid-19. There are now at least 50 reported cased in the country across 16 states.
Across the globe authorities have detected over 92,000 cases of the virus out of which more than 80,000 have been confirmed in mainland China. Over 3,000 people have died with leading numbers in China. 10 of the 11 deaths from virus have been recorded in Washington state but the outbreak has also struck Nebraska and Texas. Meanwhile Florida and Washington have declared emergency at the weekend to stop the outspread of the disease.
It is believed that California man caught the virus while on Grand Princess, a cruise ship that made a round trip from San Francisco to Mexico last month. When ship docked in San Francisco on Feb 21, 2020, thousands more passengers boarded and thousands left the deck as the vessel began a round trip to Hawaii. Around 62 passengers were travelling to Hawaii and Mexico and have been restricted to their rooms for screening.
The cruise, Grand Princess itself is being held off the coast of California and state Governor Gavin Newsom said 11 passengers and crew members are suspected of carrying the deadly disease in them. It is the second ship of the carnival under whom Diamond Princess also had to undergo a quarantine last month after scores of passengers tested positive for Coronavirus when it docked in Japan.
The United State government debars foreign nationals who have a China travel history – the epicenter of the outbreak – during the last two weeks. United States VP Mike Pence declared on Wednesday that any American can be tested for Covid-19, if advised by a doctor. The vice president also revealed that White House will conduct on-camera briefings on the outbreak.
Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will remove existing testing protocols to provide new guidelines for speeding up the screening process for the citizenry. But some question how this promise will be delivered as public health labs have limited capacity to initiate and process the tests under restrictions.
Also, people are questioning the costs set for the Covid-19 testing as uninsured Americans are paying over USD 1k for the diagnosis. To combat the deadly virus, the United States House of representatives sanctioned USD 8.3 billion in emergency aid on Wednesday. Some health officials have accused the Trump administration of laggardness despite having enough time to preempt and control the disease. Shortage of testing kits is another issue faced by the administration.
President Trump responding the slow-footed response accusations put the blame on his predecessor for the shortage of regulations while claiming that his administration has eased the testing process by lifting the restriction imposed on local labs.
In another development, outside the government, Delta and United Airlines have scaled down their US flight schedules due to a drop in passenger flow in the aftermath of outbreak.