Coronavirus Updates: Amid Uptick in Cases, U.S. Records First Deaths

The United States recorded its first two deaths attributed to the coronavirus over the weekend, as states from coast to coast reported new infections leading to a drastic jump in the total number of cases.

On Friday, there were 65 cases and no known deaths in the United States. Fewer than 48 hours later, a single hospital in Washington State reported two deaths, the makings of a cluster, and the total number of cases nationwide jumped 35 percent, to 88.

One state, Florida, declared a public health emergency, even as Vice President Mike Pence, tapped to lead the federal response to the crisis, sought to calm the public’s nerves.

Officials in Washington State said on Sunday that a second person, a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions, had died at EvergreenHealth hospital in Kirkland. That is the same facility where officials identified the nation’s first coronavirus death on Saturday — a man in his 50s. Both men had been residents at nursing facility in Kirkland, run by Life Care Centers of America.

Twenty-three cases were announced on Saturday and Sunday in Washington, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Oregon. The new cases included a mix of people who had traveled to high-risk countries and those who were believed to have contracted the disease domestically.

A New York state official said that the positive case was in Manhattan. The case is the 32nd tested from New York. All of the previous cases had tested negative.

No cases are currently outstanding. New York’s state lab was granted the ability to test for the virus on Saturday after an appeal from Mr. Cuomo.

“There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York,” the governor’s statement said. “We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.”

In San Antonio, Texas, a patient who appeared to recover from the coronavirus illness and had been released from a health care facility after having tested negative twice in more than 24 hours was placed back into isolation after a subsequent sample tested “weakly positive,” according to the C.D.C.

  • Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world was not ready for a major outbreak.

Health officials were tracing potential contacts the person had while outside the facility, even though it was not clear that the patient would have been able to transmit the virus.

In a statement, Mayor Ron Nirenberg called the situation “unacceptable” and said he would hold the C.D.C. responsible for allowing the patients to leave the facility.

Similar cases in other countries have raised questions about whether a relapse of the illness is possible. Experts have suggested that fragments of the virus can remain in the bloodstream and be picked up by sensitive tests even after a person’s immune system has destroyed the virus’s capability to infect anyone else. Testing errors could explain the test results.

By Monday, South Korea reported more than 4,000 total cases. At least 60 percent of the cases are among members of a Shincheonji branch in Daegu, a city in southeast South Korea, and people they have been in contact with.

Mr. Lee denied the accusations against his group, saying that his church was fully cooperating with the government. He asked South Koreans to stop what the church has called a “witch hunt” during a time of national crisis.

“This is not an individual matter but a giant catastrophe,” Mr. Lee said. “This is not the time for arguing over who is right and who is wrong. We must work together and solve this problem for the people and for the nation.”

Mr. Lee spoke through a surgical mask and said he had tested negative for the virus. He was hard of hearing and had to have journalists’ questions repeated to him by an aide sitting next to him. While Mr. Lee spoke, protesters booed and yelled insults at him.

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia said Monday that the country had detected its first two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, a mother and a daughter who apparently caught the disease from a Japanese visitor.

The mother, 64, and the daughter, 31, were being kept in isolation at a hospital in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

Two health care workers in the San Francisco Bay Area tested positive for the coronavirus after they were exposed to a patient now being treated for the virus at a hospital in Sacramento, the authorities said on Sunday.

The workers’ conditions were not immediately available, but public health officials in Alameda County and Solano County said in a news release that the workers were isolated in their homes.