By Staff, AccuWeather
AccuWeather-(ENEWSPF)- The coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a halt in the early part of 2020. After emerging in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, the number of cases skyrocketed and infected more than half of a million worldwide over a four-month span with the epicenter shifting from Asia to Europe and, as of late March, the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11. The virus, called SARS-CoV-2, causes a disease known as COVID-19, and as the number of cases escalated, government officials took drastic measures to slow the spread, ordering various forms of travel restrictions including total lockdowns in some places.
As residents stayed shuttered indoors, major metropolitan areas from Los Angeles to New York City to Paris and Rome were transformed into eerie ghost towns. Infectious disease experts have stressed there is much to be learned about the virus, including whether there will be a seasonal correlation to a rise or decline in confirmed infections or how weather and UV radiation can impact the spread.
Here are the latest updates, listed in eastern time, and the most important things you need to know about coronavirus.
March 30, 11:24 a.m.
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said there are over 700 members of the NYPD that have contracted COVID-19 and that number was expected to spike to around 900 on Monday, The New York Post reported. At least three members of the department have died due to COVID-19, Shea said. Cedric Dixon, a 48-year-old detective who worked in the 32nd precinct in Harlem died Saturday, and was the first uniformed officer to pass away, according to the Post.
March 30, 10:03 a.m.
Italy reported a decline in COVID-19 fatalities for the second straight day on Sunday, but the country will continue to enforce strict containment measures going forward, Reuters reported. This includes banning all sporting events for the month of April and possibly maintaining the ban on non-essential activities through April 18, Reuters said, citing Italian officials. The country’s Civil Protection Agency said there were 756 new fatalities on Sunday, 133 fewer than the 889 deaths reported on Saturday. Italy’s death tolls stands at 10,779, which is higher than any other country in the world.
March 30, 9:33 a.m.
An emergency hospital has been constructed in Central Park to treat the wave of COVID-19 patients that is overwhelming city hospitals. The field hospital is located in the park’s East Meadow and is made out of tents. When it opens on Tuesday, it will consist of a respiratory care unit, according to NY1, and include ICU facilities. The structure was put together by a volunteer organization called Samaritan’s Purse. The makeshift hospital, built in the place that serves as the city’s official location for weather records, is a replica of an emergency hospital that was constructed a few weeks ago in Northern Italy. New York City is the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., with at least 776 fatalities blamed on the illness and more than 33,000 confirmed cases.
March 30, 8:19 a.m.
The Tokyo Olympics have a new start date. After officially moving the games to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Monday that the 2020 Games will now take place from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021. Olympic organizers made the decision to postpone last week while facing mounting pressure to delay the Games from Olympic athletes and federations worldwide.
March 30, 7:28 a.m.
The failure to practice social distancing could hit New York City residents in their wallets, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday. While he called them a last resort, de Blasio said police officers have been authorized to issue fines of $250 to $500 to individuals congregating in public spaces and failing to disperse.
At the beginning of the week, the weather will cooperate with the city’s efforts, as rain is expected through Monday and Tuesday. However, sunnier days at the end of the week could push more people outside and re-congest public spaces, as building high pressure in the eastern U.S. will bring warmer conditions in from the South.
March 30, 6:33 a.m.
Here are the latest updated totals, compiled by researchers from Johns Hopkins University:
- Total confirmed cases: 724,945
- Total deaths: 34,041
- Total recovered: 152,314
March 29, 7:28 p.m.
President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines until April 30. On Sunday, he said he expects things to turn around by June 1, with the peak of the outbreak hitting around Easter, NBC reported.