Florida officials announce two deaths, the first on the east coast.
US has 400 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The death toll from coronavirus in the United States rose on Saturday afternoon to 19 people, as authorities announced two deaths in Florida, the first US deaths outside the west coast, two more in Washington state – and the governor of New York declared a state of emergency.
Across the country, there were 400 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local governments, CNN reported on Saturday morning, a number that included cases of the virus among cruise ship passengers.
Thousands of people remained quarantined on the Grand Princess, a cruise ship moored off the coast of California, as authorities tested crew members and passengers from 50 countries onboard.
At least 21 of those had tested positive for the virus, and Donald Trump said Friday that he preferred the passengers stay onboard the ship, so they would not increase the number of coronavirus cases on American soil.
“I like the numbers being where they are,” Trump said, in widely criticized remarks. “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
New efforts have been announced to prevent the spread of disease and protect vulnerable people. Officials in Seattle, Washington, which has one of the largest populations of homeless people in the country, are setting up locations for homeless people who might need treatment or self-quarantine for coronavirus.
On Friday, the gig economy organizing group Gig Workers Rising had published a petition asking chief executives at Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, Instacart, DoorDash, Postmates and Handy to give workers paid sick time off during the coronavirus outbreak.
On Friday night, an Uber executive made a partial response to concerns about gig economy workers’ vulnerability to contagion, saying the company would pay drivers and couriers diagnosed with the Covid-19 novel coronavirus, or quarantined by public health officials for up to 14 days, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Meanwhile, the number of cases of coronavirus continued to rise across the country, fueling continued concerns about whether the nation’s healthcare system was prepared for the additional strain.