Coronavirus cases in US top 1,000

Coronavirus cases in US top 1,000
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More than 1,000 Americans have tested positive for the new coronavirus racing across the country as states and cities take unprecedented steps to stem its rapid rise.

As of Wednesday morning, researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported 1,039 people had tested positive for the COVID-19 illness caused by the coronavirus. There are confirmed cases in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

Twenty nine had died, most in the Seattle area, the source of the largest pool of confirmed cases. About 6,700 Americans had been tested for the coronavirus in recent days, according to data compiled by Jeff Hammerbacher and The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal.

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The grim milestone comes as health officials prepare for extraordinary measures to stop the virus’s spread.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered a containment area around a synagogue in New Rochelle, just north of New York City, that has been the epicenter of that state’s outbreak. Schools and religious institutions were closed within a one-square-mile area, and some movement has been restricted.

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeMillions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks Trump rule limits states from blocking pipeline projects Inslee says Trump coronavirus response akin to if FDR called Pearl Harbor 'a hoax' MORE (D) on Wednesday is expected to order limits on gatherings of more than 250 people in the state’s three largest counties, King, Snohomish and Pierce.

Governors or health officials in 21 states have declared emergencies, freeing them up to spend reserve funds to fight the virus.

City officials in Chicago and Boston have canceled planned St. Patrick’s Day parades. MGM said it would close buffets at its Las Vegas casinos. And the Treasury Department is considering delaying the April 15 deadline for tax payments.

Late Tuesday, The New York Times said it would shut its newsrooms in New York and Washington for deep cleaning after someone who attended a conference in New Orleans also attended by Times reporters tested positive for the virus. Georgetown University became the latest school to announce it would run classes entirely online once Spring Break ends at the end of the week.

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Overseas, leaders were issuing stark warnings about the growing threat of the virus. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday the virus could infect as many as 70 percent of the population; Germany has suffered 1,622 confirmed cases. In the United Kingdom, Health Minister Nadine Dorries said she had tested positive for the virus, one of at least 382 confirmed cases in that country.

More than 10,000 people in Italy have contracted the coronavirus, where hospital systems are becoming overwhelmed.

This story was updated at 10:03 a.m.