This week in coronavirus news

The far-reaching effects of the coronavirus continued this week, causing cancellation of major events, travel restrictions and a national emergency declaration for the United States.


There are more than 132,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 123 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization.

With more than 1,665 cases in the United States, at least 41 Americans have died from the virus, which was declared a pandemic by the WHO this week.

Also this week, the White House, Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court temporarily closed public tours and major sports organizations suspended or delayed their seasons. Travel restrictions into the U.S. went into effect and major entertainment venues, including Broadway, Disneyland and Disney World, announced a halt in activities.

On Friday, President Donald Trump held a press conference declaring the outbreak a national emergency.

Here's a look at what's occurred this week as it relates to the coronavirus:

Trump declares virus a national emergency

Speaking before the nation, President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency. He urged every state to set up emergency centers to combat the virus.

"Only the beginning," Trump described the declaration as. He then asked every hospital in the nation to activate its emergency preparedness plan.

Trump conferred broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Doctors and hospitals will have maximum flexibility to respond to the virus. Hospitals can now use telehealth, diagnosing patients over the phone, allowing for remote doctor's visits as well as allowing doctors from different states to diagnose patients.

Hospitals can now waive requirements for limits on beds, keeping as many patients in their facilities as they feel they are able to. They also have no restrictions on space or rooms used to house patients, where previously there were restrictions on numbers of patients per room.

Essentially, hospitals are free to respond to the virus in whatever way they see fit. "No resource will be sparred," Trump said.

A new partnership with the private health sector to accelerate testing for the virus would be employed, though Trump insisted Americans not to overuse it.

“We don't want people to take a test if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it," he said. "And we don’t want everybody running out and taking — only if you have certain symptoms."

Half a million new tests are expected by next week.

Trump waived interest on all student loans held by the federal government "until further notice."

Trump also issued drive-thru testing sites to be set up to make coronavirus tests available faster. People can get tests without leaving their vehicles.

He instructed creating large reserves of oil for future use in case of shortages.

America's response

Before Trump's national emergency declaration, the stock market halted trading on two occasions, states across the country cancelled classes and a ban on all travel from Europe went into effect.

The Grand Princess cruise ship, which housed 21 passengers who tested positive for COVID-19, also docked in Oakland, California this week, starting a 14-day quarantine for other passengers and crew members.

The U.S. government also issued further guidance throughout the week.

Notable cases

Several notable figures confirmed this week that they had tested positive for coronavirus, including Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife.

False information

Misinformation seems to be spreading nearly as quickly as the virus itself. This week, false narratives about COVID-19 continued to earn clicks across the internet.


From sports organizations to religious services, people are being encouraged to avoid large gatherings to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Many large companies also encouraged employees to work from home, made sick leave available or made modifications to normal operations.

International effects

Italy put a nationwide lockdown in place this week, while China started to see signs the outbreak has begun to dissipate.

Preparations begin

People began stockpiling supplies, avoiding public places and monitoring possible symptoms this week as more information about the virus emerged.

Helpful tips

From rescheduling planned travel to staying healthy, there are plenty of ways to navigate the evolving changes stemming from the spread of the coronavirus.