Coronavirus updates: Senate and White House agree on $2 trillion aid deal


1st case of coronavirus confirmed in divided, at-risk Libya

Libya has become the latest at-risk Mideast nation to report its first coronavirus infection. Officials say a 73-year-old man who crossed into Libya from neighboring Tunisia on March 5 became the large North African country’s first recorded case. 

The Libyan patient had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, according to the National Center for Disease Control, and was receiving medical treatment for his fever and cough in isolation at a Tripoli hospital.

The confirmation of Libya’s first case, three weeks after the patient’s arrival in the country, poses a test for its fragile medical system.

Attempts at a nationwide disease protection program have been undermined by the country’s division between two rival governments, in the east and west of the country, and a patchwork of armed groups supporting either administration. 

The announcement by Libya’s U.N.-backed government leaves war-torn Yemen as the only country in the Mideast without a reported case of the COVID-19 illness.  



More than 400,000 COVID-19 infections confirmed globally, with almost 19,000 deaths

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows the global coronavirus pandemic has surpassed another daunting milestone: more than 400,000 people have tested positive for the disease.

The figures, which are updated constantly, showed more than 423,000 confirmed cases by Wednesday morning.

The nations with the most COVID-19 disease diagnoses are: China with more than 81,590 cases, Italy with almost 70,000 and the United states, where at least 55,225 had tested positive as of Wednesday morning.

Spain, Germany and France are also battling huge outbreaks, along with Iran.

The data show that more than 108,000 of the people who tested positive have already recovered from the disease, but it has killed almost 19,000.

Johns Hopkins health security director on coronavirus in the U.S. and social distancing

Pakistan to halt all domestic flights as virus starts to spread within the country

Pakistan on Wednesday halted all domestic passenger flights to stop the spread of the new coronavirus after reporting nearly 1,000 cases in the country.

The domestic flight ban will begin on Thursday, civil aviation spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar said. Islamabad previously cut train service and international flights.

Initially, most of those infected were Pakistani pilgrims returning from neighboring hard-hit Iran, which has seen the Mideast’s worst outbreak of the virus. Now, however, the virus is being reported in people who had no travel history, officials say. 

– Associated Press


Los Angeles health officials say patient under 18 may not have died of coronavirus

Hours after announcing that a person under the age of 18 had died of coronavirus in California, Los Angeles health officials said “further evaluation” would be required before the fatality is linked to coronavirus. 

“The juvenile fatality that the Los Angeles County Department Public Health reported earlier today will require further evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement. “Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality. Patient privacy prevents our offering further details at this time.” 


Ice rink used as makeshift morgue as coronavirus death toll surges in Spain

Spain is on the brink of reporting nearly 40,000 cases of coronavirus, and the country’s death toll tops 2,800, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins. Now, the country is using an Olympic-sized ice rink as a temporary morgue, according to the Reuters news agency, as the capital’s funeral home is facing shortages of medical gear and is having trouble keeping up with the pandemic.

Spain ranks behind only China, Italy and the U.S. in people infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Nearly 14% of the people infected there are health care workers, according to Reuters. The rising death toll prompted a nursing union there to say hospitals in Madrid are on “the verge of collapse.”

To help fight the virus, an ice rink within Madrid’s Palacio de Hielo mall has been turned into a temporary morgue, officials told BBC News. Hearses have been delivering bodies to the site, BBC News added.


Pregnant women face new concerns amid coronavirus pandemic

Two major hospital chains in New York City are blocking spouses and partners from maternity rooms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Millions of expectant mothers have concerns about the virus, including CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste, who is nearly nine months pregnant.

At 27 weeks pregnant, Raquel Iacurto tested positive for COVID-19. “I was in shock,” she said. “I broke down and my husband was my rock and calmed me down.”

Data on the impact of coronavirus in pregnant women, fetuses and newborns is limited but hopeful. “What we know, at this point, is that pregnant women do not seem to get any sicker once they get COVID-19 than the general population,” Dr. Laura Riley said.

Riley said the flu is still more dangerous for pregnant women. Doctors say coronavirus does not appear to pass from mother to baby through the placenta or breast milk, but that it’s too early to tell if there are concerns for women in early pregnancy, like miscarriage or birth defects.