Coronavirus USA cases: Eight states declare state of emergency as number of cases rises sharply

Columbia University, Princeton University, and Stanford University are halting in-person classes 

Danielle Zoellner
New York
@dani__zoellner
Monday 09 March 2020 18:41
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John Oliver comments on Donald Trump's reaction to the coronavirus outbreak in the US on Last Week Tonight

Eight states have declared a state of emergency after confirmed coronavirus cases rose to more than 560, and the outbreak has forced schools across the country to close.

Oregon became the latest to declare a state of emergency on Sunday. Governor Kate Brown made the decision when the number of coronavirus cases doubled to over 14 in the state.

It joined California, New York, Washington, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Florida in declaring a state of emergency.

States deciding to take this step should not immediately cause panic among the residents. This measure is often used as a quick way to free up emergency funding for governmental agencies.

Governors can also request for the president to declare a federal emergency for the state so it can access federal funding to combat the problem.

A state of emergency on the federal level would then give the state up to $5m in funding from the government. No states have requested this from President Trump yet.

Washington state has been hit one of the hardest by the coronavirus with at least 136 cases and 19 deaths as of Monday morning. New York state and California have 142 and 89 confirmed cases respectively. No one has died from the virus in New York while one person has in California.

Confirmed cases have impacted a total of 34 states and Washington DC as of Monday morning.

Schools face potential closures across the nation, which could significantly impact students and their parents if they don't reopen for long periods of time.

On Friday, 189 K-12 schools were closed because of the virus and the closures impacted more than 120,000 students, according to Education Week.

New York state initially said it would avoid closing public schools, specifically in New York City, unless in a worst case scenario situation because of the more than 100,000 students who rely on their school for food during the day.

But Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press conference on Monday schools will now close for a 24-hour period if any student tests positive for the coronavirus. A total of 17 schools were closed on Friday in the state.

Washington also experienced K-12 school closures, specifically near Seattle, to combat the spread of the virus. There were 18 public school closures in the state as of Monday morning.

Colleges have also taken precautions of their own after students tested positive for the virus. Columbia University in New York suspended its in-person classes this week when one student tested positive. Princeton University said all classes would go online starting 23 March.

The University of Washington and Seattle University both announced they would move to online classes through the winter quarter. In California, Stanford University and the University of Southern California are also moving to online classes for the next two weeks.

Other colleges across America are on heightened alert for any potential cases on their campuses.

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