Nationwide COVID-19 effects since schools were closed Coronavirus Update


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Felipe Esquivel Reed)

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

When New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo first announced on March 11 that all CUNY and SUNY campuses would undergo distance learning beginning March 19, it brought to life what many people still thought was just a problem for the people “living over there.”

The novel coronavirus, causing thousands of patients to get sick with COVID-19, had been spreading in the United States. Universities and public schools across the country were starting to close, some temporarily, others indefinitely.

On March 11, here had been 118,000 cases of the virus worldwide in 114 countries and 1,267 cases in the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

Now, as of March 25, there are currently 353,266 cases in 192 nations and territories, and 35,079 U.S. cases, according to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention.

Much has changed in the two weeks since Cuomo’s announcement, which prompted CUNY to put its students on an instructional recess until March 18 and SUNY to implement an instructional recess until March 21.

Politicians, influencers and celebrities alike have tested positive for the virus. In-person and online stores have been running out of products, namely toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

The Ticker has compiled a summary of some of the coronavirus-related developments from the past few weeks.

Notable Cases

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

The celebrity couple both tested positive for the coronavirus and announced the news on March 11 — the same day that Cuomo made the announcement about moving New York public universities to a distance-learning model for the rest of the semester.

The two of them were in Australia for the filming of a movie that Hanks was in when they began feeling flu-like symptoms. Hanks and Wilson are currently staying in Australia as they recover and were treated at Queensland Hospital, where they stayed for five days.

“We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. 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,” Hanks wrote in a letter that he posted on Twitter. “Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?”

Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets basketball forward was one of four players who contracted the virus at the same time as Hanks and Wilson. Durant and the other Nets players tested positive on March 17 and are now in the care of the team’s physician.

“Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,” Durant said. “We’re going to get through this.”

As far as not spreading the virus, the team is working to figure out who else may have come in contact with the sick players, according to spokeswoman Malika Andrews.

“All players and members of the Nets travel party are being asked to remain isolated, closely monitor their health and maintain constant communication with team medical staff,” Andrews wrote in a statement. “The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible.”

Andy Cohen

The host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live announced to his Instagram followers on March 20 that he has also tested positive for the coronavirus.

Cohen’s show will not operate for the time being.
“After a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great, I have tested positive for Coronavirus,” he said in his announcement. “As much as I felt like I could push through whatever I was feeling to do #WWHL from home, we’re putting a pin in that for now so I can focus on getting better.  I want to thank all the medical professionals who are working tirelessly for all of us and urge everybody to stay home and take care of themselves.”

Harvey Weinstein

Weinstein, a former film producer who was convicted of rape and a criminal sex act, has also tested positive for the virus while in an upstate New York prison.

“The Department cannot comment on an individual’s medical record,” a New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision statement read. “However, we can confirm that two of the Department’s approximately 43,000 incarcerated individuals, both at Wende Correctional Facility, have confirmed cases. With each confirmed case, DOCCS worked with the Department of Health to identify any potentially exposed individuals in order to provide notifications and to stop the spread of the virus.”

Other Cases:

Other notable cases include Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, U.S. Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, fashion influencer Arielle Charnas, singer Charlotte Lawrence, music producer Andrew Watt, Monaco’s Prince Albert II, actress Indira Varma, actor Kristofer Hivju, keyboardist David Bryan and The Bachelor star Colton Underwood.

Federal Response

On March 13, Trump announced a federal national emergency, which allowed him to increase the national government’s support for the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Under this declaration, FEMA, in coordination with HHS, will assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments and other eligible entities with the health and safety actions they take on behalf of the American public,” an article on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website reads.

FEMA will assist the HHS in taking protective measures..

On March 22, U.S. President Donald Trump activated the National Guard to help New York, California and Washington deal with the effects of the coronavirus. These states have been the hardest hit by the virus.

The troops will help build more medical sites in the three sites, and the government is shipping additional medical supplies to the states.

New York will receive four federal medical stations with 1,000 hospital beds, while California will receive eight medical stations with 2,000 beds and Washington will receive several stations and 1,000 beds, according to an article from The Hill,.

“We’re dealing also with other states,” Trump said in a news briefing at the White House. “These states have been hit the hardest.”

Finally, as of March 25, the White House and Congress are trying to reach an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus bill, the largest relief package in American history and third bill that could potentially be passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The key parts of the bill include allocating $500 billion in loans to large businesses such as airlines, providing $367 billion in loans and expand unemployment benefits to small businesses, and distributing $250 billion among Americans in the form of a one-time check. Adults will receive $1,200 if their income is under $75,000, and $500 per child.

Government officials are struggling to fully agree to all parts of the bill, with politicians such as Cuomo and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders arguing that the bill won’t do enough for workers who are struggling financially due to the epidemic and hospitals that are quickly running out of space and resources to fight the disease.

Additional reporting by Diana Shishkina.