A howling blizzard slammed the US Northeast with more than 0.61m of snow and hurricane-strength wind gusts, halting air travel for thousands of people, keeping others off slippery highways and burying parked cars under deep drifts. \nGovernors in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island declared states of emergency. \nOver 90cm fell in some places north of Boston, parts of New Hampshire got 60cm, New York's Catskills collected at least 51cm and 46cm fell on parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and the eastern tip of New York's Long Island. \nTwo communities in Massachusetts, Salem and Plymouth, tied for the deepest snow with 96.5cm each, according to the National Weather Service. \nThe weather system had earlier piled 30cm of snow across parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and northern Ohio. \nAlthough the snow ended by Sunday afternoon, temperatures were expected to reach -17.8C in some areas Sunday night, with wind chills dropping as low as -26C. The wind was fierce across much of the East Coast, with a top wind gust of 244.6kph recorded on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. \nAt least 14 deaths were linked to the weather: three in Connecticut, three in Ohio, three in Wisconsin, two in Pennsylvania, and one each in Maryland, Iowa and Massachusetts. \nWind gusted to 135kph on Nantucket, and the entire island off the southeast coast of Massachusetts was plunged into darkness Sunday as 9,400 utility customers lost power. On the mainland, some 18,000 customers lost power, the utility NStar said. Smaller outages were reported elsewhere around the northeast. \nElise DelBarone, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts Electric, said power on Nantucket was nearly restored Sunday afternoon when a problem with the undersea cable connecting the island to the mainland was fixed. \nStill, officials said up to 100 residents were staying at a shelter set up at a high school. Rescue crews were also trying to reach people at risk in outlying areas cut off by snow drifts up to 1.8m high. \nBecause the wind blowing off the ocean coincided with a full moon and high tide, coastal communities were warned of flooding. \nState and city officials urged residents to stay off the roads. \nYesterday classes were called off for many Massachusetts schools, and Romney asked nonessential state workers in the eastern part of the state not to come to work. \nFor others, towering snowdrifts and whiteout conditions wiped out travel plans. \nBoston's Logan International Airport closed early Sunday because snowplow crews couldn't keep up with the blinding snow. \n"It's more likely we'll open tomorrow morning," said Phil Orlandella, a spokesman for the airport that normally has 900 flights on a Sunday. \nMore than 900 flights were canceled Sunday morning at the New York metropolitan area's Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, in addition to about 700 that were grounded Saturday, Port Authority officials said.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,