The New Norm: Lockdowns, Closures, and Social Distancing

COVID-19 kept up its global assault over the weekend, driving Italy to lock down its northern region, bringing the first deaths to the US’s East Coast, and leaving more cruise ships in limbo, NPR reports.

After deaths in Italy rose more than 50% in a 24-hour period—from 233 to 366—Italy opted to put 16 million people in the Lombardy region (including Milan) under quarantine, The Guardian reports.

News of the plan leaked in advance, though, creating chaos as thousands attempted to flee to the south.

And as cases kept climbing in the US—past the 500 mark—communities stepped up measures to slow the spread, canceling events, closing schools in some areas, and promoting work-from-home options, with talk shifting from containment to mitigation,according to the New York Times.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the US isn’t at the “lockdown” level yet, but he advised elderly and vulnerable Americans to limit their exposure to travel and crowds, NBC reports.

Chinese researchers reported this week evidence of 2 major strains of the deadly new virus, Caixin reports. The study, published in the Chinese Academy of Science’s National Science Review, compared 103 publicly available genomes of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They report that one of the strains spreads faster and replicates more rapidly inside the body than the other, leaving to more severe illness—and they believe China’s lockdown of Wuhan may have restricted the spread of the more infectious variety beyond that area.

 

The latest numbers, from CNN:

  • Worldwide: 108,000+ cases; 27,000 outside of China
  • Deaths: 3,821, the majority in mainland China
  • Countries and territories affected: Almost 100
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