Coronavirus live updates: Trump says he discussed crisis with Chinese president
Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than half a million people around the world since the first cases were detected in China back in December.
There are more than 533,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new respiratory virus, and over 24,000 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has eclipsed China’s tally with nearly 86,000 diagnosed cases. The two countries, along with Italy, account for almost half of the world’s infections from the novel coronavirus.
Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:
5:19 a.m.: Michigan health system develops contingency plan to deny ventilators and ICU treatment
A Michigan health system has come up with a contingency plan for doctors to make life-or-death decisions when treating patients in the coronavirus pandemic.
A draft letter from Henry Ford Health Systems outlining the plan to families was widely shared on Twitter late Thursday night. The plan, typed on what appeared to be hospital letterhead, said that coronavirus patients with the best chance of surviving will be “our first priority,” while those who are “extremely sick and very unlikely to survive” will receive “pain control and comfort measures” rather than ventilators and intensive care treatment.
“Treating these patients would take away resources for patients who might survive,” the letter stated. “This decision will be based on medical condition and likelihood of getting better.”
Responding to a flurry tweets about the letter, Henry Ford Health Systems confirmed its accuracy but clarified that the policy has not yet been implemented.
“With a pandemic, we must be prepared for worst case,” the company tweeted. “With collective wisdom from our industry, we crafted a policy to provide guidance for making difficult patient care decisions. We hope never to have to apply them. We will always utilize every resource to care for our patients.”
4:37 a.m.: South Africa cases top 1,000 as country begins three-week lockdown
The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in South Africa has topped 1,000, the country’s health minister said Friday.
Africa’s most industrialized economy has the highest national total of known cases on the continent.
South Africa also recorded its first two deaths from COVID-19, both of which occurred in the Western Cape province.
“This morning, we South Africans wake up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19,” South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhizethe said in a statement Friday.
Friday marked the start of a three-week nationwide lockdown in South Africa, aimed at curbing the rising number of cases.
3:30 a.m.: Trump and Xi discuss coronavirus crisis
U.S. President Donald Trump said he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump posted about the telephone conversation on Twitter early Thursday morning, saying they discussed the situation “in great detail.”
“Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China,” Trump tweeted. “Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much [and] has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!”
Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
Xi told Trump that “China and the United States should unite to fight the epidemic” and that he hoped “the United States will take substantive actions to improve Sino-U.S. relations,” according to Chinese state television network CCTV.
The Chinese president also emphasized that the relationship between their two countries is “at a critical juncture” and that “cooperation is the only right choice,” according to CCTV.
Trump has clashed with China over the global fight against the novel coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The U.S. president reportedly angered Beijing officials this month when he repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as “the Chinese virus.”
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