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Nearly 1 in 3 Americans told to stay home to help curb coronavirus spread

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Nearly one in three Americans was ordered to stay home on Sunday to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware became the latest states to enact broad restrictions.

The three states join New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey, home to 101 million Americans combined, as cases nationwide top 33,000 with more than 400 dead, according to a Reuters tally.

“Every piece of evidence that I can lay my hands on indicates that we’re at an absolutely crucial time in this war and what we do now will make all the difference in the world,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “What we do now will slow this invader. It will slow this invader so our health care system … will have time to treat casualties.”

Ohio has 351 cases and three deaths while Louisiana has 837 cases and 20 deaths, several in a senior care facility. Louisiana has the third highest number of cases per capita and saw a 10-fold increase in cases in the past week, Governor John Bel Edwards said.

Ohio’s order will go into effect at midnight on Monday and stay in effect until April 6. Louisiana’s order goes into effect 5 p.m. CT Monday and lasts through April 12. Delaware’s order starts 8 a.m. Tuesday.

In Kentucky, non-essential businesses must close by 8 p.m. Monday but authorities stopped short of ordering residents to stay home.

Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky on Sunday became the first member of the Senate to announce he had tested positive for coronavirus. At least two members of the House of Representatives previously said they tested positive.

The mayor of New York City, the epicentre of the nation’s coronavirus epidemic, on Sunday described the outbreak as the biggest domestic crisis since the Great Depression and called for the U.S. military to mobilize to help keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

“If we don’t get more ventilators in the next 10 days people will die who don’t have to die,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, as the nation’s most populous city saw COVID-19 cases top 9,600 and deaths climbed to 63.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged the federal government to take over acquisition of medical supplies so states do not have to compete with each other for desperately needed resources. He also repeated a request for the Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary hospitals.

Help is not coming quickly enough, Cuomo said.

“Time matters, minutes count, and this is literally a matter of life and death,” he said. “At the same time, there is not going to be chaos, there is not going to be anarchy. Life is going to go on. Different. But life is going to go on.”

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