Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
FTA advises on transit cleaning, little guidance on system shutdowns due to virus
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) had little new advice to offer transit systems in the event they might have to shut down their commuter networks for the coronavirus outbreak in a conference call on Friday, but told operators they could find sanitation guidance on government websites. In a conference call on Friday hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation with more than 1,000 participants, K. Jane Williams, acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), said that while the agency "is carefully obviously monitoring the situation, we have not issued any directives or guidance on system shutdowns."
Coronavirus may force Americans to avoid crowds and cancel cruises, health official warns
Americans, especially those who are vulnerable, may need to stop attending big gatherings as the coronavirus spreads through U.S. communities, a top health official said on Sunday, as investors braced for another volatile week in financial markets. Anthony Fauci, the head of the infectious diseases unit at the National Institutes of Health, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that after initial missteps distributing tests, there should be 400,000 more tests available by Monday and 4 million by the end of the week.
Oregon declares emergency as coronavirus cases double to 14
Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a 60-day state of emergency on Sunday as coronavirus cases in the state doubled to 14. "We will do everything in our power to keep Oregonians safe," Brown said at a news conference.
U.S. conservative leader had contact with coronavirus case at conference
The organizer of a large gathering of prominent U.S. conservative politicians and activists said on Sunday he had some "incidental" contact with an attendee who has since tested positive for coronavirus, but that he felt "healthy as a horse" and had not heard of anyone else falling ill. "I had incidental contact with him very briefly," American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp told Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends Weekend."
No hugs, handshakes as U.S. churches take new precautions against coronavirus
With a wide smile and arms outstretched, but quickly dropped into double elbow bumps, James Harper warmly greets fellow congregants at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Sunday in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. "We're all tight here," said Harper, 51, a salesman. "Normally it's nothing but deep hugs. But it's a different day now."
Grand Princess cruise ship passengers bound for coronavirus quarantine in California, elsewhere
An ocean liner barred from returning to port in San Francisco due to a coronavirus outbreak on board will dock briefly at a nearby terminal in Oakland, where passengers will be screened and sent on to medical and quarantine sites elsewhere, officials said on Sunday. The cruise ship Grand Princess, whose guests have been largely confined to their staterooms since Thursday, is due to arrive at the Port of Oakland to begin disembarking its 2,400 passengers as early as Monday, according to a statement by the California Office of Emergency Services.
No more refills: U.S. airlines step up measures to guard against coronavirus
U.S. airlines are stepping up measures to guard against the spread of coronavirus through person-to-person contamination on airplanes, from eliminating wine and water refills to keeping passengers from touching serving trays and food baskets. Rather than bringing wine or water bottles into the aisles for refills, flight attendants on United Airlines will now provide a new cup or glass.
U.S. airport screeners, health workers plagued by fear and anger as coronavirus spreads
As coronavirus cases exploded across the world, federal medical workers tasked with screening incoming passengers at U.S. airports grew alarmed: Many were working without the most effective masks to protect them from getting sick themselves. Screeners with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked their supervisors this week to change official protocols and require stronger masks, according to an internal document reviewed by Reuters. On Friday evening, they learned their worst fears were realized: Two screeners, both working at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), had tested positive for the virus.
U.S. says it is tracking ship that may have shared crew with coronavirus-hit cruise liner
The United States is tracking a cruise ship that may have shared crew members with a ship carrying people who tested positive for COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday. "We are tracking at this point a ship that may have shared crew with the Diamond Princess or the Grand Princess and we've taken decisive action to hold until we do a full medical assessment of the crew on that ship," Pence said after a meeting with cruise line industry officials in Florida.
U.S. death toll from coronavirus hits 19, New York declares emergency
Two more people succumbed to the novel coronavirus in Washington state, officials said on Saturday, bringing the nationwide toll to 19, while the number of confirmed cases in New York rose to 89 and a cruise ship with infected passengers remained stranded outside San Francisco. More than half of all U.S. states have reported cases of the coronavirus, which originated in China last year and causes the sometimes deadly respiratory illness COVID-19. As the outbreak takes root, daily life has become increasingly disrupted, with concerts and conferences canceled and universities telling students to stay home and take classes online.