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C.D.C. Officials Warn of Coronavirus Outbreaks in the U.S.



Federal health officials starkly warned on Tuesday that the new coronavirus will almost certainly spread in the United States, and that hospitals, businesses and schools should begin making preparations.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing.

She said that cities and towns should plan for “social distancing measures,” like dividing school classes into smaller groups of students or closing schools altogether. Meetings and conferences may have to be canceled, she said. Businesses should arrange for employees to work from home.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad,” Dr. Messonnier said.

Shortly after the news conference, stock markets plummeted for the second day as investors dumped stocks and turned to the safety of government bonds. The S&P 500 fell by more than 3 percent, following a 3.4 percent slide on Monday — the worst day for the American markets since February 2018.

In contrast to his own health officials, President Trump, traveling in India, played down the threat, saying, “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country.”

“We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are, in all cases, I have not heard anything other — the people are getting better, they’re all getting better.”

As of Tuesday, the United States has just 57 cases, 40 of them connected to the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship overwhelmed by the coronavirus after it docked in Japan. Those patients are in isolation in hospitals, and there are no signs of sustained transmission in American communities.

But given the outbreaks in more than two dozen countries, officials at the C.D.C. seemed convinced that the virus’s spread in the United States was inevitable, although they did not know whether the impact would be mild or severe.

“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, told a Senate panel on Tuesday. “And we need to be realistic about that.”

Globally, public health officials are confronting a multipronged threat. China’s battle to contain the epidemic has shown signs of success, with a plunge in the rate of new infections.

But this has been overshadowed by new clusters of infections in Iran, South Korea and Italy. The emergence of these new hubs underscored the lack of a coordinated global strategy to combat the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing at least 2,600 deaths.

By Tuesday, South Korea had reported a total of 893 cases, the second most in the world. The C.D.C. on Monday warned Americans not to travel there.

  • Updated Feb. 25, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      The World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world is not ready for a major outbreak.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all non-essential travel to South Korea and China.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Of the 60 new cases reported by South Korea’s federal health agency, 49 came from Daegu, the city at the center of the country’s outbreak.

In Iran, a spike in coronavirus infections — including to the top health official in charge of fighting the disease — has prompted fears the contagion may spread throughout the Middle East. In Italy, one of Europe’s largest economies, officials are struggling to prevent the epidemic from paralyzing the commercial center of Milan.

Keenly aware that the virus has the potential to wreak havoc in the United States, lawmakers from both the Democratic and the Republican parties grilled Mr. Azar and other members of the administration at the Senate hearing, apparently unconvinced that the Trump administration was prepared for the outbreak that the C.D.C. is forecasting.

Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, grew exasperated when the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf, could not say how many people were expected to become infected.

“I’m all for committees and task forces, but you’re the secretary,” Mr. Kennedy responded. “I think you ought to know that answer.”

The administration officials overseeing the response to a coronavirus outbreak told lawmakers that the initial funding requested by the White House — $1.25 billion in new funds and $1.25 billion taken from other programs — would most likely be just a first round.

Mr. Azar said that there were 30 million N95 masks, respirators best suited to guarding against viruses that typically cost less than $1 apiece, in the nation’s emergency stockpile.

Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, asked the health secretary whether he thought the United States currently had enough health masks in stock.

“Of course not,” he responded, “or else we wouldn’t be asking for more.” Health care workers may need 300 million masks in the event of an outbreak, he added.

Mr. Azar said he was alarmed by the human-to-human transmission of the virus in other parts of the world without an identifiable connection to confirmed cases, and what that could mean for how the virus may spread in the United States.

But other federal health officials were trying to tamp down concerns.

“You need to do nothing different than you’re already doing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a news briefing.

Federal officials were only trying to tell Americans that if an outbreak occurs, he added, “these are the kinds of things you want to think of.”

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, declared on CNBC that the coronavirus had been “contained” and would not do serious harm to the economy.

“I don’t think it’s going to be an economic tragedy at all,” Mr. Kudlow said.

Preparations to respond to a potential outbreak have begun, government officials said, but are far from complete.

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It still is difficult to diagnose the infection. The C.D.C. performs most of the testing, and samples must be sent from state and local laboratories to the agency in Atlanta, a process that takes days.

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‘The Addams Family’ Musical Was Panned. Then It Became a Hit.



LIPPA It’s a very public forum, writing a Broadway musical. If you’re going to play in the big leagues, as it were, you have to learn how to tune out the voices that you don’t necessarily want to listen to.

HOFFMAN Nothing really prepared us for the unleashing of absolute cruelty and vitriol when the New York press got wind of it.

PRICE One of the most enlightening moments of my producing career was the day after opening night in New York, where Stuart Oken and Roy Furman laid out the disastrous New York Times review that we all read the night before. That team started that ad meeting reading the terrible first paragraph, and then the terrible first paragraph of the “Mamma Mia!” review and of the “Les Miz” review and of the “Wicked” review and of the “Cats” review — all these hit shows. It was very encouraging, because we were like, “You’re right, it’s not over.”

HOFFMAN It only really affects you as a performer if the audiences are affected. There were a couple of nights where you felt from the audience, “Well, I kind of like it, but I’m not supposed to.” I mean, people are very, very affected by reviews. They shouldn’t be, but unfortunately they are.

ELICE I was in the elevator in my building with some neighbors who live on a lower floor. The woman said, “Well, we just came from ‘The Addams Family.’ What a disaster.” Fortunately for me, the elevator opened and they got out. The next morning, under my door was a note: “Oh my God, I’m so embarrassed. When we got out of the elevator, my husband said, ‘You idiot. He wrote it.’ So I just want you to know I’m really sorry for being so rude. But we would like our money back.” My husband, who was a wonderful actor and a great human being, said, “I want you to write her a check right now.”

OKEN Even though the show ran 20 months and recouped a big chunk of its money on Broadway, it was hard. It was a hard experience.

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Teresa Giudice Holds Dove Release Ceremony 4 Days After Dad’s Death



Teresa Giudice has laid her father to rest.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and her family held a special memorial service for Giacinto Gorga, who passed away last Friday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, Teresa took to Instagram to share a video clip of her late father’s ceremony. In the footage, Gorga’s grandchildren could be seen releasing doves from a beautifully decorated box.

The grandkids, which included Teresa and Joe Gorga‘s kids, were all dressed in black. Moreover, as they released the doves, Italian music played in the background.

“today we set you free,” the reality TV personality captioned her touching post. “fly high to mommy.”

Teresa’s brother also wrote the same message on his Instagram page.

“The beautiful Grandchildren watching the doves fly into the heavens in honor of their Nonno,” Melissa Gorga, Joe’s wife, shared, alongside a photo of the kids looking up in the sky.

It appears the family kept the memorial service small, which could be due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and many states’ restrictions around gatherings.

“My father, my protector, my hero, God took you early this morning to be with mommy, I saw you peacefully pass & I know you kept fighting for my daughters and I,” Teresa shared, announcing the heartbreaking news that her father died.

“I have so many amazing thoughts of you, every day seeing you in the kitchen at my home, teaching my girls to cook, my partner in crime on shopping trips, your love of the shore & my travel buddy,” she continued her message. “You always wanted everyone to have a good time, eat great food, have a stiff drink and enjoy life. You are the absolute strongest man I know & I know you missed mommy so much but you stayed for us.”

She added, “Thank you for being the best husband, father & Nonno. Your devotion to mommy was one for the record books, you were the true example and a gentleman and devoted husband. You visited mommy every single day & would go twice for the days you missed while traveling or if you were to sick to go, my silver lining is knowing you’ll be together now.Thank you for showing us all what true love is. Love you Papa Rest In Peace.”

Additionally, Joe also expressed his heartache over his dad’s passing.

“I can’t believe he is gone,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “The world lost an amazing man human being today. He was exactly what a true father and husband should be. I will miss you more than you know, But go find your wife because I know that’s all you want and all you’ve ever talked about for the past 3 years.”

He added, “You will be missed every single day. You had energy that lit up a room and everyone fell in love with you. You were truly one of a kind. I’m so happy you’re in no more pain. Rest In Peace Finally.”

Giacinto was 76 years and passed away peacefully.

At this time, the family hasn’t disclosed the cause of his death. However, Gorga had battled health problems for years, which was sometimes shown on the Bravo series.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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He Made Brooklyn Comedy a Scene. But His Life Took a Different Turn.



Mirman didn’t just help establish two landmark comedy homes. He also became a focal point of a community of comics, helping give many their start. (In the documentary, Kumail Nanjiani says Mirman was the first person to give him a big credit.) In 2011, Interview magazine called Mirman the “de facto leader of the Brooklyn scene,” and in the new documentary, Bobcat Goldthwait describes him this way: “He’s the drain in the sink that catches all the weirdos.”

Did this diverse community of weirdos share an aesthetic?

It’s easier to define what that aesthetic wasn’t: club comedy and traditional stand-up. But even that is a simplification, since those approaches were welcome as well. Mirman has always defined comedy as broadly as possible, and while there are still comics with rigid ideas about what constitutes stand-up, Mirman’s more catholic tastes have won the day. What was once alt is now mainstream. Asked if he thought there was a common style to the scene back in the day, Mirman pointed to “a sort of sincerity to themselves, an authenticity, a silliness.”

Mirman’s own stand-up is infused with a warm and cheerful sense of the ridiculous, including satirical bits that sting instead of lash and stories using show-and-tell-style props. He has a prickly side, too, and some of his best-known stunts build on minor grievances, as when he took out a full-page newspaper ad venting ludicrous rage about a parking ticket in a New Hampshire town. The ad closed by turning the state’s motto (“Live Free or Die”) back at the town, saying drivers don’t even get “freedom to back into a spot.”

His greatest legacy might be helping build something so successful, its end was inevitable. He stopped doing the weekly show and the festival was over after a decade, when most of his peers moved to Los Angeles for TV and film work. Mirman recalled specifically when he realized the end was near, when Kristen Schaal (who along with Kurt Braunohler hosted Hot Tub, another regular comedy show that moved to Brooklyn) told him she was moving to the West Coast. “I came home and told Katie: The world I am part of is winding down.”

The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival has been replaced by the Janelle James Comedy Festival, and a new generation of Brooklyn comics has filled the spaces he pioneered. And while his reputation has faded among young comics, you can see echoes of his influence in the bustling, vital Brooklyn scene today. Video is common as is his off-kilter, multi-hyphenate aesthetic. Compare his advertisements for shapes like squares and triangles on his debut album with the surreal meditations on shapes in the recent HBO special of Julio Torres. But also, the mood of Mirman’s shows — amiable, casual, a bit chummy, as the title Pretty Good Friends suggests — is common.

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