School districts in NY, CA close over coronavirus fears

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 9, 2020 - Duration: 03:06s

School districts in NY, CA close over coronavirus fears

The New York City suburb of Scarsdale closed its public schools after a faculty member tested positive for coronavirus, and more cities are facing similar closures as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. continues to climb.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

School districts in NY, CA close over coronavirus fears

The New York City suburb of Scarsdale awoke Monday (March 9) morning without a public school system after a faculty member at one of the middle schools tested positive for the coronavirus.

The decision to close seven Scarsdale schools comes a day after New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday (March 8) announced 16 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the New York total to 105, up from 89 the day before.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "We are trying to contain the spread of the virus." The number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus reached nearly 550 as of Sunday, including 22 deaths.

That's according to state public health authorities and a running national tally kept by the Johns Hopkins University center tracking the outbreak.

The outbreak has killed more than 3,600 globally.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "If somebody is sick, stay home.

If you feel symptoms, stay home." Cuomo encouraged the public to wash their hands with soap and avoid dense subway cars and public events.

He warned that if the virus wasn't contained now, stronger measures may be necessary.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) OREGON STATE GOVERNOR KATE BROWN, SAYING: "I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure that we are able to swiftly deploy the personnel and resources necessary to address coronavirus in Oregon." Also on Sunday, the governor of Oregon declared a state of emergency after learning of seven new positive cases overnight, bringing the state total to 14.

Oregon joined New York, California, and Washington in announcing states of emergency over the illness.

The fifth largest school district in California, outside Sacremento, announced it would close 67 of its schools, serving 63,000 students, for a week after the parent of a student was ordered to self-quarantine by health officials.

And stronger measures are on the minds of governors.

Washington's governor Jay Inslee was asked whether he was considering wide-scale quarantine measures.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WASHINGTON STATE GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE, SAYING: "We are contemplating some next steps, particularly to protect our vulnerable populations and our nursing homes and like, and we are looking to determine whether mandatory measures are required." As the outbreak spreads, daily life has been increasingly disrupted, with concerts and conferences canceled and universities telling students to stay home and take classes online.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER SCOTT GOTTLEIB, SAYING: "We're past the point of containment.

We have to implement broad mitigation strategies." Scott Gottlieb is a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

He told CBS News that a large-scale and economically painful response was in the best interest of public health, but that leaving such decisions up to local authorities is the wrong move.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER SCOTT GOTTLEIB, SAYING: "No state, no city wants to be the first to basically shut down their economy, but that's what's going to need to happen.

States and cities are going to have to act in the interest of the national interest right now to prevent a broader epidemic.

Close businesses, close large gatherings, close theaters, cancel events." Anthony Fauci, the head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, was asked on Sunday about quarantines in China and Italy.

He told NBC News, "You don't want to alarm people, but given the spread we see, anything is possible, and that's the reason why we've got to be prepared to take whatever action is appropriate to contain and mitigate the outbreak."

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