September 19, 2020

Coronavirus live updates: Pence and wife to get tested, 793 more deaths in Italy

As the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases increases, some states are acting quickly by ordering variations of stay-at-home orders for residents. Oregon issued such an order on Friday night, joining states that include California, Illinois and New York.

The respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, has reached every continent except Antarctica, and every state in America since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Globally, there are at least 275,000 diagnosed cases and 11,399 coronavirus-related deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. More than 88,000 people have recovered worldwide.
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Here’s how the news is unfolding today. All times Eastern. Please refresh for updates.

Rapid test coming by March 30: FDA
A test that shows results “within hours, rather than days” has been authorized by the FDA, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

The Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test is expected to be rolled out by March 30, Azar said.

“With new tools like point-of-care diagnostics, we are moving into a new phase of testing, where tests will be much more easily accessible to Americans who need them,” he said. “Americans who need tests will be able to get results faster than ever before.”

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said that the authorization “marks an important step in expanding the availability of testing and, importantly, rapid results.”

Trump sent Kim Jong Un letter: North Korean media
President Donald Trump sent a letter to Kim Jong Un, expressing his intent “to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work,” according to a statement from Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Trump also wrote in the letter that he was impressed by the efforts made by Kim in the face of the virus, according to the statement issued via the Korean Central News Agency.

“We view such a personal letter of President Trump as a good example showing the special and firm personal relations with Chairman Kim Jong Un,” the statement read.

ABC News hasn’t independently confirmed Trump sent the letter or the letter’s contents.

2:35 p.m.: Ground stop in place at New York airport
A ground stop is in place at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport as the state’s Air Route Traffic Control Center is being cleaned because an air traffic controller trainee tested positive for COVID-19, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

The facility in Ronkonkoma, New York, will remain open and operational during the cleaning, but no flights were expected to land at JFK until at least 3:30 p.m. However, the FAA ended the ground stop about 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

The trainee has not been at the facility since March 17, and the FAA said it’s contacted local health authorities. The FAA also is working to determine how many personnel might have interacted with the trainee.

1:33 p.m.: New Jersey governor mandates lockdown
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is “directing all residents to stay at home until further notice” to help “protect the capacity of New Jersey’s health care system for the state’s most vulnerable,” according to a statement issued by his office.

1:28 p.m.: 793 dead, over 6,500 new cases in Italy
Italy reported 793 deaths, the most yet in a single day and nearly a 20% increase from Friday.

One bit of good news from the nation is that the total number of new infections increased less than in previous days, about 13.3%.

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