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Feds Want to Test 1M for Coronavirus

Tokyo Olympics could be postponed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2020 7:18 AM CST

(Newser) – With at least six people dead and more than 100 coronavirus infections in the US, the federal government has decided to massively step up testing. Officials said Monday that almost a million tests could be administered by the end of this week, the New York Times reports. "We expect to have a substantial increase in the number of tests this week, next week, and throughout the month," FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Monday. Administration officials say that with more people being tested, the number of confirmed infections is certain to rise. In Washington state, where all six deaths occurred, researchers believe the virus was circulating undetected for weeks. More:

  • Trump calls for interest rate cut. In a tweet early Tuesday, President Trump praised Australia for cutting interest rates to counter the economic effects of the outbreak and slammed Fed chief Jerome Powell for not doing the same.
  • A "powerful and timely" response. Group of Seven officials say they are holding a conference call Tuesday to discuss a "powerful and timely" response to the outbreak, reports Reuters. Officials say there will probably not be coordinating spending rises or interest rate cuts.

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  • Seattle firefighters quarantined. In Seattle, at least 27 firefighters who responded to a nursing home with numerous coronavirus patients are in quarantine and authorities say some of them are showing "flu-like symptoms," the Seattle Times reports.
  • Olympic delay is possible. With sporting events and other large gatherings being canceled worldwide, it's not clear whether the Tokyo Olympics will begin as scheduled on July 24, the AP reports. Japan's Olympic minister suggested Tuesday that postponement is possible, telling lawmakers that the country's contract says only that it has to be held sometime in 2020.
  • More cases in China from overseas. In China, where the virus is believed to have originated, the number of new infections has been falling, and some of the new infections have come from overseas, RTHK reports. Quarantine measures have been stepped up for travelers from numerous countries, including Iran, Italy, and South Korea, which are all experiencing serious outbreaks.
  • Virus could hit a fifth of workforce. In Britain, authorities predicted Tuesday that the outbreak is likely to peak two to three months after the first sustained human to human transmission, the Guardian reports. They predicted that at the peak of the outbreak, around a fifth of the workforce will be absent.
  • Outbreak spreads to Ukraine, Senegal. More countries are confirming their first COVID-19 infections every day. On Monday, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, and Senegal announced cases, the BBC reports.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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