Coronavirus:

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Coronavirus: Canada urges US not to put troops at border
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Coronavirus: Canada urges US not to put troops at border

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Coronavirus: Canada urges US not to put troops at border

At least 495,000 people worldwide -- including more than 75,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

Live updates for Thursday, March 26, continue below:

Canada urges US not to put troops at border

Update 11:25 p.m. EDT March 26: Canada said Thursday it told the Trump administration that a proposal to put troops at the U.S.-Canada border amid the coronavirus pandemic was entirely unnecessary and would damage relations between the two longtime allies.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an unidentified U.S. official, later reported that the Trump administration had dropped its consideration of the plan.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government had been in discussions with the White House seeking to persuade the U.S. not to do it.

“Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,” Trudeau said.

Trump said the U.S. has troops at the border but then said he would need to find out about that. He then suggested he would deploy troops along the Canadian border to match what is being done at the Mexican border.

Delaware reports its first 2 coronavirus deaths

Update 10:30 p.m. EDT March 26: Officials on Thursday announced Delaware’s first two coronavirus deaths, including one that occurred after the first known outbreak at a long-term care facility in the state.

The death of an 86-year-old man who had lived at Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence in Newark was announced Thursday night in a news release from state health officials. The man had underlying medical conditions, officials said. Six residents of the nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort to deploy to New York City

Update 6:15 p.m. EDT March 26: President Donald Trump says he will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday to see off a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship that will relieve the pressure on New York hospitals dealing with coronavirus patients.

Trump says he told New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the ship will arrive in New York Harbor on Monday.

Trump said in a White House press conference that he’ll “kiss it goodbye” and that the ship is “loaded up to the top” with medical supplies.

The announcement of the USNS Comfort’s planned deployment comes as New York City-area hospitals are clearing out beds, setting up new spaces to triage patients and urging people with mild symptoms to consult health professionals by phone or video chat instead of overrunning emergency rooms.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York had climbed to 3,800 this week, including close to 900 in intensive care, with the peak of the outbreak weeks away.

US overtakes China with highest number of cases in the world

Update 5 p.m. EDT March 26: The United States now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

According to a running count by Johns Hopkins University, the number of people infected in the U.S. topped 82,000 on Thursday. That’s just ahead of the 81,000 cases in China and 80,000 in Italy.

Italy has the most confirmed deaths of any country with more than 8,000. More than 1,000 people have died in the U.S.

Idaho reports first three deathsUpdate

4:30 p.m. EDT March 26: The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Thursday that three people have died related to COVID-19. These are the state’s first deaths from the outbreak.All three cases were patients over the age of 60. One of the patients had an underlying health issues.

17-year-old dies of COVID-19 in Louisiana; 83 total deaths reported in the state

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT March 26: A 17-year-old from Orleans Parish, Louisiana, was one of 18 people in the state who have died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, according to numbers released by the Louisiana Department of Health.

Health officials recorded 510 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 2,305. Coronavirus has now been found in 53 of 64 parishes, although Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he believes it’s present in every parish, even as statewide mandates banning crowds and closing businesses continue.

“We won’t see the impact of the distancing and the closing of schools and people staying home for a couple of weeks. ... We are not near the peak of this yet,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, an infectious disease expert and chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge.

New Hampshire governor issues statewide stay-at-home order

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT March 26: Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire on Thursday announced plans to issue a stay-at-home order for the state, effective beginning 11:59 p.m. Friday.

“This is not a step we take lightly,” Sununu said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Disrupting daily life in (New Hampshire) should be something that is only done in the greatest of emergencies.”

Does your blood type determine your likeliness for getting COVID-19?

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT March 26: A research report by scientists in China suggesting that people with certain blood types may be more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus has been shared on social media and reported by media outlets in the past weeks, causing some to wonder if they are more likely to get the virus because of their genetics.

The study looked at more than 2,000 patients in China who tested positive for COVID-19. The study involved patients from three hospitals in Wuhan and Shenzhen, China, the area of the country where it is believed the virus was first transmitted to humans.

Army sending field hospitals to New York City

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT March 26: U.S. Army leaders said Thursday that two field hospitals are on their way to New York City and will be able to begin treating patients at the Javits Center on Monday.

The Army combat units from Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will include as many as 700 personnel and almost 300 beds. Those medical personnel will also be able to help staff additional beds and medical equipment that are being brought in by state and local authorities.

Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army, said they will begin setting up the units this weekend at the center. Officials expect there will be a couple thousand beds in the center to treat patients that do not have the virus.

An Army combat hospital from Fort Carson, Colorado, will be heading to Seattle. McConville said advance staff are already there, and are working with local officials to review several potential locations to set up the unit.

UK health officials report 115 new coronavirus deaths

Update 2:35 p.m EDT March 26: Health officials in the United Kingdom said 115 new coronavirus deaths have been reported, bringing the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 578.

As of Thursday morning local time, officials said 11.658 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the U.K.

Pelosi eyes fourth coronavirus package in Congress

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT March 26: The morning after the U.S. Senate unanimously approved an unprecedented $2 trillion economic rescue package to confront the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she was already thinking ahead to the next congressional move to spur economic growth.

“We have to do more,” the Speaker said at a U.S. Capitol news conference, as she told reporters about a phone conversation with Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. “The Chairman of the Fed, Mr. Powell said to me, ‘Interest rates are low, think big.'"

Drew Brees commits $5M to help Louisiana amid COVID-19

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT March 26: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, will donate $5 million over the course of the year to support Louisiana as the state reels from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time,” Brees said in a post Thursday on Instagram. “Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.”

Brees said the money would go toward preparing and delivering more than 10,000 meals each day throughout the state. He said he hopes to fund the program “for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need.”

Remington Arms offers to build hospital supplies

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT March 26: Remington Arms has offered to build hospital supplies, including ventilators, surgical masks and beds, as states continue to battle the spread and health industry pressure expected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company offered nearly 1 million square feet of unused manufacturing space at a plant in Ilion, New York, Remington Arms CEO Ken D’Arcy said in a letter Monday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump, the Ithaca Journal reported.

4,492 new COVID-19 cases reported in Italy

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT March 26: Health officials in Italy reported 4,492 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 80,539. The cases put the country just behind China, which has thus far reported the most number of 2019 novel coronavirus cases in the world at 81,848 cases.

At least 8,165 people have died of COVID-19 in China, the highest number of deaths connected to the virus in any country in the world.

Globally, more than 495,000 coronavirus cases had been reported by Thurday afternoon, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Indy 500 postponed until August

Update 1:35 p.m. EDT March 26: Organizers announced the postponement Thursday of the Indianapolis 500 until August due to the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

The race had been scheduled for May 24. Organizers said it will instead be held Aug. 23.

“I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500,” Roger Penske said Thursday in a statement. “However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing.”

Columbia University to allow medical students to graduate early to help with COVID-19

Update 1:15 p.m. EDT March 26: Columbia University officials told ABC News on Thursday that they plan to allow medical students to graduate early so that they can help in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The university is the second in New York to announce such a decision. On Thursday, officials with New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine announced they would allow select medical students to graduate early.

New York has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 37,258 cases had been reported in the state as of Thursday morning, far more than reported in the second-hardest hit state, New Jersey. Officials in New Jersey had recorded 4,402 cases and 62 deaths from the novel coronavirus as of Thursday.

Cuomo said that as of Thursday, 385 people had died of COVID-19 in New York.

FBI arrests man accused of claiming to have developed COVID-19 cure

Update 12:40 p.m. EDT March 26: The FBI has arrested a Southern California man who officials said falsely claimed to have developed a cure for the coronavirus.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement that Keith Lawrence Middlebrook told his 2.4 million Instagram followers that his company would return hundreds of millions of dollars in profit and solicited investments in the company to market the medication.

The statement said Middlebrook claimed he had developed pills to prevent COVID-19 infections and a drug to cure those suffering from the virus.

There are no known cures or vaccinations for the coronavirus. It wasn’t known if Middlebrook has an attorney who could comment.

Georgia schools to remain closed until April 24

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 26: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed an executive order Thursday ordering public schools to remain closed until at least April 24 as officials work to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Georgia State Sen. Jen Jordan told WSB-TV that Kemp will make a decision on the remainder of the school year in the next few weeks.

Health officials said that as of Thursday, 1,525 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state, including 48 deaths.

REAL ID deadline postponed by 1 year

Update 12:25 p.m. EDT March 26: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday the that new deadline for Americans to get a REAL ID will be Oct. 1, 2021.

The date was announced after President Donald Trump said earlier this week that the deadline, which was Oct. 1, 2020, would be extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline," acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Thursday in a statement.

“States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs. This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their REAL ID. Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes.”

More than 2,000 COVID-19 cases reported in Florida

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT March 26: Health officials in Florida on Thursday announced 378 new novel coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 2,355 cases.

Officials also reported five more deaths, bringing the state’s total to 28.

Officials with the Orange County Fire Rescue Department said one of its firefighters has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, according to WFTV. As a precaution, 15 firefighters were placed under self-quarantine.

Over 37,000 coronavirus cases reported in New York

Update 12 p.m. EDT March 26: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said that as of Thursday, 37,258 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state.

The number includes 5,327 cases which required patients to be hospitalized, 1,290 of which were being treated in intensive care units. Cuomo said 1,517 people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have since been discharged.

Health officials reported 100 more COVID-19 deaths in New York on Thursday for a total of 385 deaths. Cuomo said experts expect that number to rise, as several people infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus have been on ventilator for several days. He noted that the longer a person is on a ventilator, the less likely he or she is to recover.

2 Grand Princess cruise passengers die of COVID-19

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT March 26: Two passengers who were on the Grand Princess cruise ship have died due to complications from the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

The Grand Princess docked earlier this month in Oakland, California, after several people on the ship tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said two men in their 60s who had been on the cruise have died. The first passenger died March 21 and the second died March 23, according to the Chronicle.

Of the 1,103 people who chose to be tested after boarding the grand Princess, 103 tested positive and 699 tested negative, according to KTVU.

NBCUniversal CEO says he tested positive for COVID-19

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT March 26: In a message sent Thursday to employees, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said he’s tested positive for COVID-19, NBC News reported.

NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.

“I recently have been feeling under the weather and just learned that I have tested positive for COVID-19," Shell said in the email, according to NBC News. "Although the virus has been tough to cope with, I have managed to work remotely in LA and am improving every day.”

Pelosi: House expected to vote on COVID-19 stimulus bill Friday

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT March 26: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she expects the U.S. House of Representatives to vote Friday on a proposed $2.2 trillion economic aid package aimed at helping Americans struggling with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“I feel certain that we will have a strong bipartisan vote,” Pelosi said Thursday at a news conference.

Late Wednesday, senators voted unanimously in favor of the mammoth economic rescue package, which steers aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history.

U.S. sailor in southern Spain tests positive for novel coronavirus

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT March 26: Officials say a U.S. Navy sailor stationed at a naval base in southern Spain has tested positive for the coronavirus.

A statement from Naval Station Rota says an investigation is under way to track who had contact with the sailor.

The base supports U.S. and NATO vessels.

Arnold Schwarzenegger donates $1M toward COVID-19 relief efforts

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT March 26: Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Tuesday in an Instagram post that he pledged $1 million to the Frontline Responders Fund, a GoFundMe campaign that aims to get face masks, gloves and surgical gowns to first responders.

“This is a simple way to protect our real action heroes on the frontlines in our hospitals, and I’m proud to be part of it,” Schwarzenegger wrote.

157 new COVID-19 cases reported in Maryland

Update 10:20 a.m. EDT March 26: Health officials in Maryland reported 157 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, marking the “largest one-day increase to date,” Gov. Larry Hogan said.

The cases bring the total number of novel coronavirus cases to 580 in the state.

“We are only at the beginning of this crisis, in our state, in the National Capital Region, and in America,” Hogan said Thursday, adding that he expects cases to continue to “dramatically and rapidly rise.”

“This battle is going to be much harder, take much longer, and be much worse than almost anyone comprehends," he said. "We have never faced anything like this ever before, and I continue to urge the people of our state to stay in place at home and stay safe.”

Death toll climbs past 4,000 in Spain

Update 9:55 a.m. EDT March 26: Health officials in Spain reported 655 new COVID-19 deaths Thursday, bringing the country’s death toll from the 2019 novel coronavirus to 4,089.

The number reported Thursday was lower than the number of new deaths reported Wednesday -- 738 -- which appears to support comments from health officials suggesting that the rise in the number of daily deaths might be stabilizing in the country, The Guardian reported.

“If we are not already at the peak, we are very close,” Fernando Simon, head of Spain’s health emergency center, said Wednesday, according to The Guardian.

Officials have recorded 56,188 COVID-19 cases in Spain, making it the fourth-hardest country hit by the virus. Health officials in China have reported 81,782 cases while officials in Italy have reported 74,386 cases and officials in the the U.S. have reported 69,197 cases, according to the latest numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The outbreak is straining Spain’s health care system, with medical staff struggling to treat the infected amid a shortage of protective gear and enough ventilator machines and other medical equipment.

COVID-19 home test kits launch in Washington state

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT March 26: People in King County, Washington, are getting the first rounds of at-home test kits for COVID-19. A new group called the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network is mailing out 300 kits every day.

The group is made up of researchers from the Seattle Flu Study and Seattle King County Public Health. They are testing sick and healthy people, plus both kids and adults.

>> Read more on KIRO7.com

“By testing a broad sample of people in different communities, we’ll have a more detailed understanding of where the virus exists and who is being affected," Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County, said on the Public Health Insider blog.

“This is important information that can help us learn about the true severity of infection, whether the community measures being taken to reduce its spread are working or need to be adjusted.”

New York City health care worker dies

Update 9:25 a.m. EDT March 26: A nursing manager who had been treating COVID-19 patients at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital has died, according to reports and hospital officials.

In a statement posted on social media, officials with the Mount Sinai Health System said a member of the hospital’s nursing staff died. He was identified by WNBC as Mount Sinai West nursing manager Kious Jordan Kelly.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff,” Mount Sinai Health System officials said in the statement. “This growing crisis is not abating and has already devastated hundreds of families in New York and turned our frontline professionals into true American heroes. Today, we lost another hero -- a compassionate college, friend and selfless caregiver.”

Kylie Jenner donates $1M to get medical supplies to first responders

Update 9:05 a.m. EDT March 26: Reality TV star and cosmetics mogul Kylie Jenner has donated $1 million to provide first responders with face masks and other supplies during the coronavirus pandemic, her doctor said.

According to “Good Morning America,” Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi, a Los Angeles-based obstetrician, shared the news on social media Wednesday.

View this post on Instagram

I am speechless, my eyes are filled with tears of joy and my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. I made a wish to the Universe to gather protective masks for our brave healthcare workers and today my dream came true. One of my patients, a beautiful Living Angel just donated $1,000,000 to help us buy hundreds of thousands of masks, face shields, and other protective gear which we will have delivered directly to our first responders, as too many masks at hospitals are disappearing before making their way onto the faces of our front line heroes. I have never felt more blessed to be a doctor, as helping our brave ER and ICU workers feels just as gratifying as helping my own patients. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU @kyliejenner ❤️. You are my hero. This generous donation will help save many precious lives. Our world is a better place with you in it. I love you so much. Thank you X a million....

A post shared by Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi (@drthaisaliabadi) on

US unemployment claims hit 3.3 million

Update 8:40 a.m. EDT March 26: Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

The surge in weekly applications was a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is doing to the economy. Filings for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.

The pace of layoffs is sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession. Revenue has collapsed at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms, and airlines. Auto sales are plummeting, and car makers have close factories. Most such employers face loan payments and other fixed costs, so they're cutting jobs to save money.

As job losses mount, some economists say the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 13% by May. By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10%.

Global coronavirus deaths surpasses 22K, worldwide cases top 487K

Update 7:49 a.m. EDT March 26: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 22,030 early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the three months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 487,648 people worldwide.

• Italy has confirmed 74,386 cases, resulting in 7,503 deaths.

• The United States has reported 69,197 confirmed cases, resulting in 1,046 deaths.

• Spain has confirmed 49,515 infections, resulting in 4,089 deaths.

• Germany has reported 39,355 cases, resulting in 222 deaths.

• Iran has recorded 29,406 cases, resulting in 2,234 deaths.

• France has confirmed 25,604 infections, resulting in 1,333 deaths.

• Switzerland has confirmed 11,027 cases, resulting in 165 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 9,642 cases, resulting in 467 deaths.

• South Korea has recorded 9,241 cases, resulting in 131 deaths.

• The Netherlands has confirmed 6,440 cases, resulting in 357 deaths.

Bosch develops coronavirus test kit

Update 7:26 a.m. EDT March 26: German engineering group Robert Bosch GmbH said Thursday its health care technology unit Bosch Healthcare Solutions had developed a rapid test for COVID-19, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The test – developed in tandem with molecular diagnostics group Randox Laboratories Ltd. – is touted for producing reliable results within a few short hours that meets World Health Organization standards.

Read more here.

Renowned Congolese human rights lawyer dies from coronavirus

Update 7:12 a.m. EDT March 26: Jean-Joseph Mukendi wa Mulumba, a lifelong defender of human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has died of coronavirus.

Mukendi, 73, died in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, The Washington Post reported.

According to the BBC, Mukendi may have contracted the virus which causes COVID-19 while on a recent trip to France for a medical checkup.

Read more here.

NJ nursing home evacuates all 94 residents, presumed positive for coronavirus

Update 7:01 a.m. EDT March 26: A nursing home in Woodbridge, New Jersey, was forced to evacuate its entire resident list on Wednesday after all 94 of them are believed to have contracted the novel coronavirus.

According to the Morrison Daily Record, state health officials had ordered St. Joseph’s Senior Nursing Home to transfer its entire residential to another facility.

At least two dozen of the center’s residents have already tested positive, and at least 12 employees are suffering respiratory symptoms consistent with the virus, which causes COVID-19, The Washington Post reported.

Read more here.

Priest living in same Vatican residence as pope tests positive, report says

Update 6:52 a.m. EDT March 26: An Italian priest who lives in the same Vatican residence as Pope Francis has tested positive for the coronavirus, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported Wednesday night.

According to The Washington Post, the Vatican did not confirm the infection nor address if the pope has been tested.

Read more here.

US hospitals weigh universal do-not-resuscitate orders for coronavirus patients

Update 6:40 a.m. EDT March 26: In a bid to protect medical staff from contagion, front-line hospitals are beginning to discuss the possibility of taking drastic measures as the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Washington Post, hospitals are grappling with the possibility – however remote – that adopting universal do-not-resuscitate policies might become necessary to balance equipment and resources against unmanageable patient surge.

Read more here.

UK’s National Health Service attracts 500K volunteers

Update 6:16 a.m. EDT March 26: More than half a million people in the United Kingdom have signed up as volunteers to support the country’s novel coronavirus response, being led by the National Health Service.

Matt Hancock, the UK’s health secretary, tweeted his praise for the response, considering the government expected less than half as many people to volunteer.

Soccer match in Italy linked to epicenter of deadly coronavirus outbreak

Update 5:46 a.m. EDT March 26: A February soccer match appears to be linked to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in Italy’s Bergamo province. 

According to The Washington Post, the Feb. 19 Championship League contest in Milan attracted more than 40,000 Bergamo residents, and within weeks Bergamo became the hardest hit province in the hardest-hit region, Lombardi, of Europe’s hardest-hit nation to grapple with virus and its rampant spread.

Giorgio Gori, mayor of the city sharing its name with the Bergamo province, spoke with Agence France-Presse to provide context.

“Some 40,000 Bergamo inhabitants went to Milan to watch the game. Others watched it from their homes, in families, in groups, at the bar,” Gori said, adding, “It’s clear that evening was a situation in which the virus was widely spread.”

Spain extends coronavirus-induced state of emergency

Update 4:13 a.m. EDT March 26: The Spanish government will extend the country’s current state of emergency until April 12 after Wednesday’s novel coronavirus death toll surpassed China’s.

By early Thursday morning, Spain had confirmed a total of 49,515 infections, which have resulted in at least 3,647 deaths.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez reiterated to the public Wednesday that “social isolation is the only way to stop this virus” and encouraged residents to remain vigilant.

Bolivia enacts nationwide lockdown, state of emergency, border closings

Update 4:02 a.m. EDT March 26: Jeanine Anez, Bolivia’s interim president, declared a nationwide lockdown and state of emergency on Wednesday, expected to last through April 15, CNN reported.

In an address to the nation late Wednesday, Anez said Bolivians hadn’t followed the government-ordered mandatory quarantine measures, so the risk of infection is now higher and more stringent containment measures are needed, the network reported.

"No one leaves, nor does anyone enter the country, except for security and health reasons," Anez said.

Bolivia has confirmed 39 coronavirus cases and zero deaths.

New Zealand records largest single-day spike in coronavirus cases

Update 3:47 a.m. EDT March 26: The New Zealand Ministry of Health confirmed 73 new coronavirus patients and identified five additional presumptive cases in the past 24 hours, CNN reported.

"Of our new cases today, the majority still have a link to overseas travel, including being in the same household as someone who has returned from overseas, have attended a known event or linked to a cluster of other cases or are close contacts of a confirmed case," the ministry said.

To date, New Zealand officials have confirmed a total of 262 infections

Florida-bound cruise ship reports 77 passengers with possible coronavirus symptoms; safe harbor elusive for other vessels

Update 3:26 a.m. EDT March 26: Seventy-seven people aboard Holland America’s Zaandam cruise ship are reporting flu-like symptoms as the vessel continues its course to Florida, CNN reported.

The Zaandam left Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7, before the cruise operator announced it would be suspending global cruise operations for a month in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Among those reported ill, 30 are passengers, and 47 are crew members.

“Since it is flu season, and COVID-19 testing is not available on board, it is difficult to determine the cause of these elevated cases at this time,” Holland America said in a news release posted to its website.

The cruise line has, however, dispatched a support ship to deliver supplies, staff and coronavirus testing kits to the Zaandam.

Meanwhile, three cruise ships off the coast of Western Australia have been informed they will not be allowed to dock under any circumstances, the network reported. According to CNN:

• The Artania is carrying 800 passengers, mostly Germans, seven of whom have the coronavirus.

• The MSC Magnifica has refueled in Fremantle and remains in waters off the coast of Western Australia. 

• The Vasco da Gama is carrying around 800 Australians, including 200 Western Australians, 109 New Zealanders, and 33 UK citizens and other foreigners, according to the WA government.

Gilead rescinds orphan-drug request for Remdesivir to treat coronavirus

Update 3:04 a.m. EDT March 26: Gilead Sciences Inc. withdrew its application on Wednesday to gain orphan-drug status for Remdesivir, its investigational coronavirus drug, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press reported.

The decision appeared to be in direct response to public outcry after the company looked poised to capitalize on the national pandemic.

“COVID-19 is anything but a rare disease,” a letter, attributed to more than 50 consumer and patient advocacy groups, sent to the company earlier in the day Wednesday stated.

Gilead said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that it asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to rescind its request because the company “recognizes the urgent public health needs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the AP reported.

Read more here.

California's coronavirus cases soar; officials warn San Francisco on track to rival New York levels

Update 2:24 a.m. EDT March 26: Health officials are sounding the alarm in California as the rate of novel coronavirus infections outpaces projections and the medical community braces for an undetermined patient surge in the coming weeks, CNN reported.

“We originally thought [the infection rate] would be doubling every six to seven days and we see cases doubling every three to four days,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, the secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, said at a Wednesday news conference. 

To date California has confirmed more than 3,100 coronavirus cases, resulting in 67 deaths.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor London Breed warned residents on Wednesday that the city’s medical facilities will become overwhelmed if more residents fail to take stay-at-home recommendations to heart.

“If people who are out on the streets continue to congregate with one another, continue to interact with one another, which increases the spread of this virus, we will not have enough beds, enough ICU units, enough ventilators to support the people that we know are going to need them,” Breed told CNN.

Breed estimated the city, alone, will require at least 1,500 additional ventilators and 5,000 extra hospital beds to accommodate the expected influx of patients,

“It is plausible that despite all these efforts we could have a scenario similar to the one that is playing out in New York this very day,” San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax told CNN, adding, “If that happens our capacity, our surge capacity will be far exceeded.” 

State-by-state breakdown of 65,131 US coronavirus cases, 1,000 deaths

Update 1:10 a.m. EDT March 26: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 69,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands late Wednesday night.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 69,018 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 1,000 deaths.

At least 233 deaths were recorded on Wednesday, alone, making it the deadliest day on U.S. soil since the pandemic began.

Of the confirmed deaths, 285 have occurred in New York, 130 Washington state and 65 in Louisiana

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with nearly 30,811 confirmed cases – more than seven times any other state – followed by New Jersey with 4,402 and Washington with 2,586.

Nine other states have now reported at least 1,000 novel coronavirus cases, including:

• California: 2,535

• Michigan: 2,295

• Florida: 1,971

• Illinois: 1,865

• Massachusetts: 1,838

• Louisiana: 1,795

• Georgia: 1,387

• Pennsylvania: 1,127

• Colorado: 1,086

The figures include 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship and 49 repatriated citizens. The repatriations include 46 sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and three others retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China.

The state-by-state breakdown – including presumptive cases – of at least 65,131 cases detected on U.S. soil is as follows:

• Alabama: 386, including 1 death

• Alaska: 42, including 1 death

• Arizona: 401, including 6 deaths

• Arkansas: 308, including 2 deaths

• California: 2,535, including 53 deaths

• Colorado: 1,086, including 19 deaths

• Connecticut: 875, including 19 deaths

• Delaware: 119

• District of Columbia: 183, including 2 deaths

• Florida: 1,971, including 22 deaths

• Georgia: 1,387, including 47 deaths

• Guam: 37, including 1 death

• Hawaii: 95

• Idaho: 123

• Illinois: 1,865, including 19 deaths

• Indiana: 477, including 14 deaths

• Iowa: 145, including 1 death

• Kansas: 126, including 3 deaths

• Kentucky: 198, including 5 deaths

• Louisiana: 1,795, including 65 deaths

• Maine: 142

• Maryland: 423, including 4 deaths

• Massachusetts: 1,838, including 15 deaths

• Michigan: 2,295, including 43 deaths

• Minnesota: 287, including 1 death

• Mississippi: 377, including 5 deaths

• Missouri: 356, including 8 deaths

• Montana: 65

• Nebraska: 64

• Nevada: 321, including 6 deaths

• New Hampshire: 137, including 1 death

• New Jersey: 4,402, including 62 deaths

• New Mexico: 112, including 1 death

• New York: 30,811, including 285 deaths

• North Carolina: 504, including 2 deaths

• North Dakota: 45

• Ohio: 704, including 10 deaths

• Oklahoma: 164, including 5 deaths

• Oregon: 266, including 10 deaths

• Pennsylvania: 1,127, including 11 deaths

• Puerto Rico: 51, including 2 deaths

• Rhode Island: 132

• South Carolina: 424, including 7 deaths

• South Dakota: 41, including 1 death

• Tennessee: 784, including 3 deaths

• Texas: 974, including 12 deaths

• U.S. Virgin Islands: 17

• Utah: 346, including 1 death

• Vermont: 123, including 8 deaths

• Virginia: 391, including 9 deaths

• Washington: 2,586, including 130 deaths

• West Virginia: 39

• Wisconsin: 585, including 6 deaths

• Wyoming: 44

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Local News

  • The U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion emergency relief bill that will expand unemployment insurance, provide $1,200 stimulus checks in emergency financial relief to most American adults and provide life preservers to distressed businesses impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. The bill, touted as the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history, was passed by the U.S. Senate and U.S. House this week and is expected to be signed by the president. William Lastrapes, the Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise in the department of economics at the University of Georgia, argues Congress had to take action. What has this pandemic done to the U.S. economy? The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has inflicted two negative shocks on the U.S. economy. One is a “supply” shock – much of what the economy produces depends on face-to-face human interaction; the social distancing so necessary to slow the spread of the virus reduces our capacity to produce goods and services. The other is a “demand” shock – laid-off workers and falling output cause incomes to fall, which in turn constrains the ability of households and businesses to spend. These distinct shocks clearly reinforce each other in a downward spiral of economic activity. What is the objective of Congress’ stimulus plan? Because the current situation is a global epidemic and economic crisis, the U.S. federal government must act to stabilize the economy and provide a sense of security to the nation’s citizens. The $2 trillion stimulus package just passed by Congress aims to do this. The package is an unprecedented amount — the Recovery Act of 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis came in at just under $900 billion — and we should think of it as an insurance payment made by the government to U.S. households and businesses in light of a massive, harmful and unpredictable event, one so big and systematic that private insurance cannot cover it. But the federal government can, through its ability to tax and spread the costs over people and over time. The government’s stimulus check puts money in people’s pockets for them to spend now, when spending is needed, even though incomes are falling. It also aims to protect private credit markets to keep money flowing between borrowers and lenders. The federal injection of cash can prevent a self-fulfilling decline in the economy by coordinating a rise in overall spending. It is unlikely that even with this fiscal stimulus a recession will be avoided, but perhaps a long-lasting and deep depression can be. Can the federal government afford a $2 trillion stimulus plan? Most of the stimulus package comes in the form of “transfer payments” from one group of individuals to another. For example, the plan allocates $250 billion to boost unemployment insurance for those losing jobs, $301 billion in direct cash transfers to individuals, and $349 billion in loans to small businesses to help make payroll, rent and utility payments. Another $150 billion flows as direct aid to states, while almost half a trillion dollars will be set aside to support the Federal Reserve System’s new lending facilities, aimed at providing needed liquidity to the banking and business sectors. None of these programs entail direct spending by the government (like, say, building a road or a dam). There is no question of affordability here. The federal government must of course “pay for” these transfers, but its ability to borrow cheaply now, by issuing debt at current low interest rates, lowers any real resource constraints. (And the Federal Reserve can help by printing money, although this power held by our central bank should be used cautiously.) Additional debt allows the government to give to those in need and take from future taxpayers when the economy returns to normal. As long as the country remains productive in the long run – which it surely will – and maintains healthy fiscal institutions, those taxes will not be a burden to future generations, and the federal government will not default on the national debt. What should we do once we recover from this crisis? It is painfully clear that the federal government was caught off guard by the coronavirus despite having ample warning that an epidemic of its kind was likely to happen, sooner rather than later. We should also not have been surprised at how quickly the virus has spread across the world given the pace of globalization. Macroeconomic policy mechanisms are in place – like the Federal Reserve’s ability and willingness to provide liquidity and stabilize credit markets – to respond to a crisis by softening the economic blows. Yet the country needs to be better prepared for the next epidemic, which will surely come, to help prevent a crisis in the first place. We are now observing firsthand how shortcomings in our public health system can have drastic, and possibly, dire consequences for our economy and our well-being.
  •   Journalists face some unique challenges when they try to report accurately on a major infectious disease outbreak like the one associated with COVID-19, according to professor Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and a former director of media relations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including during the 2009 H1N1A influenza pandemic. Below, Nowak provides his thoughts about the communication challenges facing journalists and the public when it comes to COVID-19 tests and testing. Why has COVID-19 testing been in the news? Diagnostic tests and testing are an essential part of an infectious disease outbreak response. After the first cases of new infectious disease have been identified, health care providers need to be able to quickly determine who else is infected, particularly other people who have similar symptoms, while public health officials need to quickly learn how many others have been infected, where infections and virus transmission are happening, and which people may be most likely to be infected and to have severe illness from their infections. News media are interested in providing their audiences that information as quickly as possible. In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., testing also made the news because there were problems with the initial test that CDC provided to state labs. This caused delays in being able to identify patients with COVID-19. Much attention has been given to the importance of testing, including because some countries, such as South Korea, have been able to quickly and extensively test people to determine if they are infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and as a result, slow its spread. Why will COVID-19 testing continue to be of news media and public interest? COVID-19 tests and testing will continue to be in the news for at least three reasons. One, President Trump has said that a goal going forward is for anyone who wants to be tested to be able to do so. This means many news media will continue to be doing stories about the availability of COVID-19 tests at the local and state level. The supply of COVID-19 diagnostic tests is currently well short of the number needed to achieve this goal and supplies vary considerably across the country. Two, there is disagreement about who needs to be tested and who should be tested. Hospitals and health care facilities that are dealing with large numbers of infected and potentially infected patients do not have the ability to test people with mild or no symptoms. As a result, we can expect news media stories about who can and cannot get tested. Third, the information gained from diagnostic tests increases medical, science and public health knowledge regarding where this new coronavirus is, how many infections it is causing, the types of symptoms and range of illness people who are infected experience, and the percentage of people who experienced severe illness or died from their infection. That knowledge, in turn, is used to make decisions about how to slow and prevent the spread of the virus. What are some of the communication challenges that COVID-19 tests and testing bring?  COVID-19 tests and testing bring many communication challenges. One challenge involves competing messages regarding who should be tested and how the tests should be used. While the CDC has issued and posted specific recommendations regarding who should be tested, decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and individual clinicians. Some are testing people who do not have known exposures to the virus or who have mild symptoms, while others are limiting testing to people in risk groups or who have significant symptoms. A second challenge is that there are different types of tests and different testing methods. There is not a single COVID-19 test. Most of the COVID-19 test and testing stories have focused on diagnostic tests – that is, tests used to determine if a person is currently infected. There are many companies providing these types of tests, with the time it takes to get results ranging from as short as 45 minutes to as long as a few days. Less attention has been given to efforts involving the development and use of tests that can tell whether a person has been infected in the past with this new coronavirus. These are typically blood tests that look for antibodies that indicate if a person was infected. These tests are important because they help provide estimates of how many COVID-19 cases have gone undetected. This type of testing increases understanding of how many people had no symptoms or symptoms so mild that they were not noticed. As this information becomes available, there is a good chance it will increase significantly increase the number of confirmed cases and lower fatality estimates. It is essential to accurately convey this information without creating the impression that the increase in confirmed cases involves new infections. When it comes to COVID-19 tests and testing, what advice do you have for the news media? As more COVID diagnostic tests become available and used, it is important that journalists, news media outlets, the public and policymakers understand that different types and uses of testing will be done going forward. They also need to understand the reasons for using and not using diagnostic tests, especially as tests become more widely available. Finally, it will be helpful for journalists and policymakers to understand the difference between using tests to make medical diagnoses versus the use of testing to learn more about the extent and spread of the virus, the characteristics of the virus, and the effectiveness of measures intended to slow or prevent the spread of the virus. Doctors and medical facilities need tests that accurately and rapidly provide a diagnosis. Those tests may not be designed or able to provide the more detailed information that comes from laboratory tests and analyses. It is also likely the case that as the CDC builds a surveillance system designed to obtain and provide much greater information about this new coronavirus that effort will involve much testing of people who do not have symptoms or known exposure to the virus. Testing people who appear to be healthy will be essential for getting a better picture of how widespread this virus is and the percentage of infections with no or very mild symptoms.  
  • Due to the coronavirus crisis, the University of Georgia canceled its graduation ceremonies, which were scheduled for May 8. To try to give some of their fellow Dawgs a little pomp and circumstance, a group of enterprising UGA students have taken it upon themselves to build a virtual world, inside the Minecraft online environment, where graduating seniors can gather to celebrate commencement. As reported in The Red & Black, junior psychology major Ivan Campbell and senior biology major Nick Miller followed the lead of an elementary school in Japan, where a group of youngsters also created a virtual gathering place in the popular Minecraft online world.  “I have a lot of friends who are seniors that are really disappointed about graduation getting canceled,” Campbell told the student newspaper. “So I thought to myself ‘what is something that can make them feel better?’ Well, we could build Sanford Stadium on Minecraft to have a ceremony just like the school in Japan.” Minecraft is an open-world, multi-player online game that has sold 176 million units worldwide. On the UGA sub-Reddit r/UGA gameplayers were quick to ask the builders: “Can you build north campus now so we can act like we’re there” and “Are you gonna build memorial hall and Tate and all the stuff around the stadium?” Campbell and Miller have drawn together a group of about 30 people to help work on the construction. Campbell told The Red & Black that once the stadium is completed students can login into their own Minecraft channels and attend the ceremony.
  • Oconee County Commissioners are making plans to livestream this week’s meeting on the Oconee County Government’s YouTube Channel, looking to limit attendance in the courthouse because of coronavirus concerns.From the Oconee Co government website… The Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, will be livestreamed on the Oconee County Government YouTube Channel. Due to the current state and local emergency and in order to prevent the possible spread of Coronavirus by following established guidelines on group size and distancing, the meeting will be open to local journalists, but will have no other public access to the physical meeting space. The number of people in the room will be limited to ten and appropriate social distancing will be maintained at all times. As a result of the state of emergency, this livestream has been constructed to provide public access to BOC meetings. The public is invited to watch the meeting via livestream or to watch the recording at a later time. Click here to watch the Oconee County March 31 Board of Commissioners meeting live at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
  • Gov. Brian P. Kemp has announced his selection of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to serve on the Supreme Court of Georgia and Judges Verda M. Colvin and John A. “Trea” Pipkin III to serve on the Georgia Court of Appeals. Carla Wong McMillian currently serves as a judge for the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Prior to that role, she served as a judge for the State Court of Fayette County, associate and then partner with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, and as law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Judge McMillian earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. She and her family live in Tyrone. Judge McMillian will become the first Asian-American female in the Southeast to be appointed to the state’s highest court. Verda M. Colvin has served as Superior Court Judge of the Macon Judicial Circuit since April 2014. Previously, she served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Assistant District Attorney for the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, Assistant General Counsel for Clark Atlanta University, Assistant Solicitor for the Solicitor’s Office in Athens-Clarke County, and as an associate for Ferguson, Stein, Watt, Wallas, and Gresham, P.A. Judge Colvin received her bachelor’s degree from Sweet Briar College and law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. She and her family reside in Macon. Judge Colvin will become the state’s first African-American female appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals by a Republican governor. John A. “Trea” Pipkin III currently serves as Superior Court Judge and served as Solicitor-General in McDonough, Georgia. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Gordon State College. He previously served as Assistant District Attorney for the Flint Circuit District Attorney’s Office and as an adjunct professor of law at the Emory University School of Law. Judge Pipkin earned his associate’s degree from Reinhardt College, bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, and law degree from Georgia State University College of Law. He and his wife reside in McDonough.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Class will soon be in session for Jamie Newman and the rest of the Georgia quarterbacks with online football chalk talks approved to start at 1 p.m. on Monday. RELATED: SEC steps toward resuming football preparations Renowned quarterback trainer Quincy Avery predicts Newman will be a star pupil for the Bulldogs just as he was during the Avery's QB Takeover training sessions this past offseason. 'Jamie is one of the hardest working, detail-oriented guys you'll find,' Avery told DawgNation. 'Whatever his position coach gives him, he'll attack it. He wants to be great.' Avery knows greatness first hand having worked with such quarterbacks as Deshaun Watson, Josh Dobbs, Dwayne Haskins, Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields. New Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken has experience with Air Raid and RPO-tinted offenses. Kirby Smart has indicated UGA will maintain a balanced Pro Style approach regardless of what elements are accented or sprinkled in. 'They will put a lot on Jamie's shoulders, because he's shown he can handle it,' Avery said, pointing to Newman's impressive production at Wake Forest last season. RELATED: Comparing Jamie Newman's production to Justin Fields last season 'Jamie will be able to read some stuff inside the numbers, and go pure progressions and develop in that way,' he said. 'Those are the things you've got to do to play on Sunday. He will be able to show all the things they need at quarterback.' The Georgia offensive playbook figures to be tapered down from last season. Three-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm was previously at the helm, making play calls at the line of scrimmage. That sort of QB autonomy required receivers making the same reads and adjustments, which didn't always happen with Fromm's less-experienced perimeter targets last season. The genius in this season's offense figures to be in the simplicity. It should enable more players to contribute quickly and facilitate sharper execution. RELATED: D'Wan Mathis continues brain surgery comeback home' in Athens That said, Avery believes Newman's experience makes him more valuable than ever compared with quarterbacks who have yet to compete at the collegiate level. 'Jamie understands how to be a Power 5 quarterback,' Avery said. 'He's been out there and done it in big-time situations. 'That's a different ball game, you can have some trust in a guy who has proven himself.' RELATED: Newman's former Wake Forest teammates weigh in on transfer The coronavirus pandemic has meant more limited preparation for all collegiate programs. Newman has stayed on top of his game this offseason by enrolling early at Georgia and going through offseason conditioning with the Bulldogs before his stints with Avery and back home working out. RELATED: Former Jamie Newman coach says Newman working to perfect his craft Once the teams are cleared to practice in groups there is no timetable at the time of this publication (March 30) Newman will be prepared to lead. 'Jamie has a presence that's clear and evident,' Avery said. 'He's always one of the most active guys around. He's very mature, so when he talks you listen. When he's there, he's doing everything you want.' DawgNation Jamie Newman stories Jamie Newman among Top 5 Heisman Trophy favorites Jamie Newman offseason training includes hometown visit How Georgia will look a lot like home to Jamie Newman ACC star says Jamie Newman will bring UGA different dynamic Future Georgia players weigh in on addition of Jamie Newman Jamie Newman much more than just a dual-threat Wake Forest players swear by Jamie Newman at NFL combine QB trainer: Jamie Newman fits new direction of Georgia offense Numbers game: How Jamie Newman compared to Jake Fromm Why Jamie Newman can adapt to any offensive system The post Head of the Class: Georgia QB Jamie Newman expected to excel quickly appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football didn't get a chance to start spring football drills in earnest, but the Bulldogs are moving up in the ranks in terms of perception. The latest example comes via the updated USA Today preseason Top 25, per Paul Myerberg last week. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 in the newest rankings, behind preseason No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Ohio State. This, after checking on at No. 11 in the first USA Today 'way-too-early college football Top 25' on Jan. 14. At that time, Georgia was seen as a program with 'enough unknowns to put the Bulldogs behind Florida in the race for the SEC,' per the January article. To be fair, there was some shock value to Jake Fromm announcing he was turning pro and Cade Mays announcing his intention to transfer less than a week before the initial early rankings. It's also important to note that, while Jamie Newman was on board as a graduate transfer quarterback, Todd Monken had not yet been hired as the new OC. RELATED: Jamie Newman, Georgia football stand tall per oddsmakers Those not following the program closely couldn't have the same sort of read on Georgia football as the passionate DawgNation fans and those who keep up with the program daily. Alabama, meanwhile, dropped from No. 2 in the early USA Today rankings to No. 5 in the latest one. Could losing Scott Cochran mean that much? REPORT: Nick Saban was riding (Scott) Cochran mercilessly' The Tide, like the Bulldogs, had yet to start spring drills when the coronavirus pandemic triggered a shutdown. USA Today's most recent breakdown of the Bulldogs states: 'Georgia takes a big step forward in the post-spring rankings after cementing its quarterback position with Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman. If replacing Jake Fromm's experience and reliability may be difficult, Newman's arm and athleticism should provide a different look to an offense run by a new coordinator in Todd Monken.' The offense will be a work in progress, though it's safe to assume much will run through the quarterback position with a heavier presence of RPO action in UGA's Pro-Style scheme. Kirby Smart has said he wants to maintain a degree of balance while seeking explosive elements. That comes down to players, and Georgia will have plenty to sort out at the skill position when practices resume. Still, it seems many are overlooking the biggest reason to have the Bulldogs projected as the top-ranked team: Defense. RELATED: Why Georgia best equipped in SEC to handle break Dan Lanning proved worthy of the internal promotion to defensive coordinator last season. UGA led the nation in scoring defense and run defense, and it also ranked No. 3 in total defense and No. 8 in pass efficiency defense. Nine of the 11 defensive starters from the Sugar Bowl team return. It's not a stretch to say Georgia should have the best defense in college football presuming the season starts as scheduled. Here's the updated USA Today preseason Top 25, reflecting how teams have gone up or down since the nation's largest newspaper released its version version; 1. Clemson (1) 2. Ohio State (3) 3. Georgia (11) 4. Oregon (6) 5. Alabama (2) 6. Oklahoma (5) 7. Florida (8) 8. Penn State (7) 9. LSU (4) 10. Notre Dame (9) 11. Michigan (12) 12. Auburn (13) 13. Texas A&M (19) 14. Iowa (10) 15. Texas (14) 16. Iowa State (21) 17. Cincinnati (16) 18. Wisconsin (18) 19. Oklahoma State (NR) 20. North Carolina (25) 21. Boise State (20) 22. Southern Cal (17) 23. Cal (23) 24. Washington (24) 25. Louisville (NR) Dropped out: Memphis (15), Baylor (22) Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Why Scott Sinclair keys positive culture shift under Kirby Smart Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Georgia football jumps 8 spots in USA Today preseason rankings appeared first on DawgNation.
  • DawgNation has four staffers who cover Georgia football from every angle: Beat, live streams, photos, podcasts, recruiting, etc. The 'Cover 4' concept is: 1) Present a topic; 2) Offer a reasoned response; 3) Share a brisk statement on that opinion. 4) Pepper the page with photos for the big picture. For this edition, we discuss what we still think the Georgia startingoffensive line will look like for the first game of 2020 against Virginia. DawgNation continues with the 'Cover 4' concept. The focus is always a timely look with each of our guys manning the secondary on a pertinent topic. The Cover 4 thought for today focuses on the offensive line. Here's a quick look at the turnover at that position for the Georgia program. OUT: Line coach Sam Pittman (HC: Arkansas); LT Andrew Thomas (NFL); LG Solomon Kindley (NFL); RT Isaiah Wilson (NFL); G/T Cade Mays (Transfer to Tennessee); G/T D'Marcus Hayes (graduation) IN: Line coach Matt Luke: 5-star OT Broderick Jones; 4-star OT Tate Ratledge; 4-star C Sedrick Van Pran-Granger; 4-star OL Chad Lindberg; 3-star OT Devin Willock; 3-star OT Austin Blaske; 3-star OT Devin Willock; 3-star OG/C Cameron Kinnie That's pretty considerable, huh? We just though we'd make it a wild and crazy Sunday. The aim here was to try to predict what the starting line might look like for the eventual 2020 opener against Virginia. No degree of difficulty there, right? Especially with the cloud of no spring practice looming over that competition. The quick in-and-out game remains. The Cover 4 is designed to come out as quick as everyone is trying to maintain their social distancing these days. What will theeventual Georgia starting O-line look like against Virgina? Brandon Adams: LT: Broderick Jones; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer The 'why' from 'DawgNation Daily' here: 'A healthy Shaffer gets the nod at left guard because he was in line for playing time prior to his neck injury. Hill at center is the only true given, but Salyer is definitely starting somewhere. However, the critical spot is left tackle. Jones faces an uphill climb in becoming a freshman starter, but his competition is also inexperienced.' Mike Griffith: LT: Xavier Truss; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer The 'why' from 'On the Beat' here: 'This is the area Kirby Smart is most concerned about, and he'll say it. There will be discussion about different players lining up in different places, and injury updates . ' Connor Riley: LT: Xavier Truss; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer The 'why' from 'Good Day UGA' here: ' It wouldn't surprise me to see Warren Ericson slide into one of the guard spots or possibly center if Hill wanted to move to guard. I do think Salyer played well at the right tackle spot and think he's got the athletic gifts to play and do well there in college .' Jeff Sentell: LT: Jamaree Salyer; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill; RG: Ben Cleveland; RT: Broderick Jones The Intel here: 'There was nothing off with Sayler. Georgia just had NFL talent with a year of progression in the program lined up ahead of him. Look for Salyer to stabilize the UGA line at one of the two tackle spots. He blocked the 5-star edge guys at elite prospect camps in high school. He could do it then and can definitely do it now. No spring practice might still allow an uncommon freshman like Jones or Sedrick Van Pran-Granger the chance to earn early time. The veterans will now pivot to Luke and Todd Monken's system at the same time with all of the new guys. That is hard to do in the SEC but guys like Jones, Van Pran-Granger and Tate Ratledge can be special. If Van Pran-Granger is ready, there could be a position flex for Hill in order to put the best five guys up front. ' The post Georgia football: What might the starting offensive line look like versus Virginia? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Like many of you, I have watched repeats of various SEC football games from recent years over the past couple of weeks, what with spring sports sidelined by the pandemic. In fact, I've even having resorted sampling a couple of Wake Forest games on the ACC Network to get a look at transfer quarterback Jamie Newman. Even though it's mostly repeats and old documentaries on the SEC Network and its ESPN parent right now, I've still been struck by how spoiled today's UGA fans are when it comes to seeing the Dawgs on television. Those of us following the Bulldogs in the 1960s, '70s and even the early '80s can remember when getting to see Georgia play on TV was a big deal, something that didn't happen all that often. Nowadays, all of the Dawgs' games are televised, even the cupcakes, but, through the '90s and even into the early 2000s, that wasn't the case. Still, the last time less than half the Bulldogs' schedule was televised was 1993, when we got to see only five games. And five games seemed a lot at the time. Incredibly, during the national championship season of 1980, Herschel Walker and the Dawgs were on TV only three times: the South Carolina matchup with George Rogers, the Florida game, and the Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame. No wonder Larry Munson's radio broadcasts were so important to us. Actually, I clearly can recall the very first time UGA was seen playing football on TV. It was New Year's Day, 1960, and Wally Butts' Bulldogs, led by QB Fran Tarkenton, were set to play Missouri in the Orange Bowl. I awoke that morning with both sides of my face ballooned out with a terrible case of the mumps, but my 7-year-old self was determined not to miss the game! Thankfully, Mom allowed it, propping me up with pillows to see Georgia take a 14-0 win. The next time the Dawgs were on TV was the following fall, when Georgia's 21-6 loss to Alabama in Birmingham became the first regular-season Georgia football game to be televised and, in fact, the first college football game ever televised by ABC Sports. The Bulldogs weren't on the tube again until Vince Dooley wound up his first season at the helm, with 7-0 win over Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl. The fact that Georgia rarely appeared on TV in those days wasn't unusual. Back then, the game of the week was literally the game of the week! I remember what a major event it was when ABC came to Athens to televise the 1965 season opener against national champion Alabama. There's no doubt that the Dawgs' flea-flicker upset win being televised to the entire nation was a big leg up for Dooley in returning the Georgia program to national relevance. I was in 8 th grade at the time, and attended the game with my Dad, so I didn't see the telecast, but 12-year-old Darrell Huckaby watched it on TV at his home. After the Dawgs won, he ran out his back door and turned down the alley toward the house where future Bulldogs player Craig Hertwig lived. 'We leaped into one another's arms, like in one of those old movies,' he recalled. Beginning in the late 1960s, and lasting until the mid-70s, Georgia usually only had two or three regular-season games on TV each year. An eye-opener for many younger fans is that the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, now an automatic addition to the CBS schedule, wasn't televised at all until ABC gave it a regional slot (as opposed to national) in 1967. It would be another 20 years before the clash between the Dawgs and Gators started being televised every year. A little-remembered Dawgs TV footnote is that, in 1981-82, Georgia's games were taped for delayed replay Sunday nights on Channel 5 and Monday nights on cable's USA Network. Longtime Atlanta sportscaster (and UGA grad) Bill Hartman called those games, with folks like Lewis Grizzard, Buck Belue and longtime high school coach Butch Clifton doing the color. 'It was all about Herschel,' Hartman told me this week. 'Once he left Georgia, the production stopped.' Things started looking up in 1984, when Ted Turner's SuperStation signed an SEC football deal. That year, half a dozen Georgia games were televised, and that was about par for the course through the rest of the '80s. We gradually started seeing more games televised as CBS, ABC and Turner were joined by Fox, the nascent ESPN (which showed its first UGA game in 1984) and various regional syndicators like Jefferson-Pilot/Raycom. Local Atlanta stations even televised games occasionally. There also were a few cupcake games shown on pay-per-view. That included one game in 2004, the first season that all of Georgia's games were on TV in one way or another. An ESPN syndication package, originally called the SEC Network (later SEC TV), joined the fray in 2009, and all of Georgia's football games have been televised nationally or regionally ever since then. SEC TV was replaced in 2014 by today's 24-hour SEC Network. Looking back over 60 years of Bulldogs football on television, many high points come to mind. Asked to name their favorite Georgia game on TV, a lot of fans automatically say the 1981 Sugar Bowl against the Fighting Irish. Frankly, I think viewers who weren't fans of either school probably found that 17-10 Georgia win a bit of a snore. My longtime friend Ben Anderson conceded that it was 'not the most dramatic of games with a lot of twists and turns,' but he made the valid point that it still 'was a national title game with a one-possession final score.' The other great TV game that quickly comes to mind is the thrilling double-overtime 2018 Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma. Many believe that one is Georgia's greatest game ever and its back-and-forth nature made it great television, too. Another fan favorite is the 1971 Thanksgiving night comeback win over Georgia Tech engineered by Athens' Andy Johnson, televised nationally by ABC. A much less remembered game, treasured by Jeff Dantzler of the Bulldogs radio network as an 'underrated doozy,' is Georgia's 1982 visit to Starkvegas for a 29-22 win over Mississippi State. 'Herschel was tremendous,' recalled Dantzler, who watched the regional CBS telecast as a boy from his home in Statesboro. Another TV game that stands out in the memories of fans who came of age in the '90s is No. 12-ranked Georgia's 28-27 upset of 6 th -ranked LSU in Baton Rouge in 1998. The Dawgs' freshman quarterback, Quincy Carter, had a great night, completing 27 of 34 passes for 318 yards, catching a pass for 36 yards and rushing for 41 more. Three-way player Champ Bailey, who was in for 96 of the game's plays, caught 7 passes for 114 yards, and fellow defensive back Kirby Smart had a team-high 12 tackles. Clinging to a 1-point lead, the Dawgs' final, clock-killing drive of the fourth quarter, highlighted by a key third-down reception by Bailey, was gripping viewing. And, certainly a TV classic was the New Year's Day 2000 Outback Bowl, billed as 'the first sporting event of the millennium,' which saw Carter lead the Dawgs in an amazing comeback against the Purdue Boilermakers, who had future NFL star Drew Brees at QB. Brees set or tied six Outback Bowl records in the game, including passing for 378 yards, and, early in the second quarter, Purdue had a 25-0 lead over Jim Donnan's Dawgs. Things looked bleak. Terrence Edwards finally put the Dawgs on the scoreboard with a 74-yard scoring run, and it was all Georgia from that point on, with an 8-yard Carter-to- Randy McMichael TD pass tying the game with 1:19 remaining. After the Boilermakers missed a field goal in overtime, Georgia placekicker Hap Hines made a 21-yard kick for the win. At the time, it was the largest comeback in bowl history. Now, that's great television. When ESPN televised Georgia's visit to Tuscaloosa in 2007, I watched it on a big-screen TV with my two brothers, my daughter and one of my nieces. We wanted to hear how the Scott Howard-Eric Zeier broadcast team did in their debut without Munson, so we muted the sound on the TV and instead listened to the Bulldogs radio broadcast while watching. The last time previously where all three King brothers had watched Georgia on TV together was the 1999 game against Tech, an overtime affair that didn't turn out well. So, when this one also went to overtime, we were more than a bit nervous. Thank goodness, Matthew Stafford and Mikey Henderson were as cool as could be, though. After Bama kicked a field goal in OT, Stafford threw a perfect strike to Henderson for the one-and-done winning score. That's the last time the Dawgs have beaten the Tide to date. Another fan favorite from the 2007 season is the 42-30 win over Florida that saw most of the Georgia team celebrating the Dawgs' first score by dancing in the end zone. There was a lot more to the game, of course, with Knowshon Moreno running for 188 yards and 3 TDs, and the Dawgs defense sacking Gators QB Tim Tebow 6 times. But the 'Gator Stomp' is what fans remember most. Other fan TV favorites include the 1996 win over Auburn (Georgia was terrible in the first half, but the second half and four overtimes were great viewing); and the 2007 Auburn 'Blackout' game, with CBS' Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson dancing along to Soulja Boy in the booth. However, the most frequently mentioned choice as the greatest Bulldogs TV game is known by two words: 'Run, Lindsay.' The 1980 Jacksonville clash saw the Dawgs trailing 21-20 in the fourth quarter, facing third-and-long at their own 7-yard line. Backed up in his own end zone, quarterback Buck Belue found receiver Lindsay Scott at the 25-yard line. Urged on by Munson on the radio, Scott scored the game-winning touchdown. That game was playing on TV during Clint Ard's 21 st birthday party, and, he said, when Scott scored, 'my whole family exploded with joy. It was one of the greatest birthday presents I've ever received!' Jason Hasty, now the sports archivist at UGA's Hargrett Library, was just 5 years old at the time, but his favorite memory of watching the Dawgs on TV is looking up from playing with his toys to see his quiet church secretary mother on her feet as Munson shouted 'Run, Lindsay!' on the radio. Hasty still prefers a radio soundtrack for TV games. 'When I'm not in Sanford Stadium, the TV will be on with the sound turned down and the radio broadcast turned up,' he said. Mark Symms, meanwhile, was a UGA student watching that Florida game at the Alpha Gamma Rho house in Athens. After Scott's touchdown, Symms said, he and his drunken fraternity brothers ran out the front door and straight into Milledge Avenue, bringing traffic to a complete halt as they jumped up and down, screaming. A police officer, who had no idea what they were celebrating, got them out of the street and wrote Symms a ticket for 'rioting.' The brothers continued their celebration safely on the sidewalk for a few more minutes, when the cop suddenly returned. 'I am really in trouble,' Symms thought, but the officer grabbed the ticket and tore it up. 'He glared at me again, then winked. He had heard the news. He walks back to the car and says, Stay out of the damn streets. Go Dawgs!' As Symms put it: 'Greatest UGA TV game ever.' 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  • ATHENS Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis was back in his home state of Michigan over spring break when the coronavirus pandemic began to take effect. Some of the Bulldogs' players would end up staying home when UGA suspended and then canceled face-to-face spring semester classes. But not Mathis. 'D'Wan came back on spring break and told me he loves where he is from, but that he needed to go back to Georgia,' Terence Mathis told DawgNation on Friday. 'He said, Daddy, I love you, but I'm leaving.' 'For us, we're just happy he was granted the exemption to stay near campus where they have the best doctors in the world keeping up with him.' The former Ohio State quarterback commit from metro Detroit has had a challenging rehabilitation period after an emergency brain surgery procedure last May 23 put him in the ICU unit at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. 'I want the public to know this, please write this: Georgia could have given up on my son,' Terence Mathis said. 'But instead, Kirby and his staff have treated D'Wan as though he was their own son. They've used every possible resource to stay behind him and keep him engaged with the team after saving his life.' RELATED: Georgia saved my son's life, medical director Ron Courson praised Indeed, Coach Kirby Smart made it clear last May that Georgia would not rush Mathis' comeback, and they planned for a complete recovery. 'We are expecting a full recovery, and the timeline is the least of our concerns,' Smart said at SEC spring meetings. Mathis' comeback has come in stages. He was cleared to run and lift last July. By the start of the 2019 season, he was participating in limited drill work. By last November, Mathis running the scout team offense and playing with such passion that coaches and doctors had to reel him in and remind him to use some restraint. Mathis was cleared to go through spring football drills, though it's important to note he's not yet been cleared for game action. There's an MRI test scheduled for May that could provided the all-important clearance for total contact (UGA doesn't tackle its quarterbacks in spring drills). More good news came on Friday, when the SEC added some provisions for coaches to instruct players. Mathis, along with fellow Georgia football quarterbacks Jamie Newman, Caron Beck and Stetson Bennett, has the benefit of chalk talks starting at 1 p.m. next Monday. RELATED: SEC moves toward resuming football preparations Terence Mathis maintains the football will take care of itself. He said the most important thing to the Mathis family is how D'Wan has been accepted into the Georgia football community. 'I'm indebted to Georgia, they have extended this incredible opportunity to D'Wan,' Terence Mathis said. 'Especially during these tough times, and you know it's bad up here in Michigan. 'It means everything to us as a family for him to now have the opportunity to be involved with the football planning while still pursuing academics. 'Coach (Todd) Monken has reached out to me and let me know that D'Wan is having positive progress.' Mathis' upside was obvious to all who watched last year's G-Day Game. The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder was 15-of-28 passing for 113 yards and provided one of the biggest highlights of the Georgia football spring game. Mathis, who ran a 10.8-second time in the 100 meters in high school, showed his speed when he caught a double-reverse pass from Matt Landers for a 39-yard touchdown. TRICK PLAY ALERT #GDay #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/3Qc6Opb85L Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) April 21, 2019 'D'Wan, he's explosive,' Jake Fromm said of his former understudy. 'I think he converted three or four first downs in a row with his legs. 'The guy can run the ball, he can throw it 70 yards, he's going to be a great player.' The strong performances in spring drills kept Mathis going during the dog days of last summer and into the season. But there were also frustrating times when D'Wan Maths didn't know what to do without football, unable to travel to away games. That's when Georgia came up biggest, according to his father. 'As frustrated as he got, the more they wrapped their arms around him,' Terence Mathis said. 'Those coaches could have said they were too busy trying to win the SEC East again and play for another league title. But they didn't say that. 'They believed in D'Wan, and they have stayed behind him, and the DawgNation fans have stayed behind him, too.' There is no timetable for college football to return at the time of this publication (March 28). The coronavirus has put all group activities around the world on hold. But Terence Mathis said his son will remain in Athens. 'That's what he considers his home now,' he said, 'and it's where we believe he belongs.' DawgNation D'Wan Mathis stories Mind Game: D'Wan Mathis ready to compete for starting job Mathis tipped by social media Ohio State misled him on Justin Fields D'Wan Mathis recovering after emergency brain cyst surgery Jake Fromm shares observations of D'Wan Mathis The post Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis continuing comeback home' in Athens, granted exemption appeared first on DawgNation.