With new coronavirus cases confirmed Tuesday, the United States now has more than 1,000 infected people.
Turbulent trading continued to roll Wall Street, and anxieties over the coronavirus failed to subside with an increase in U.S. deaths and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ratcheting up protective measures in his state.
Cuomo deployed National Guard troops to a health department command post in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City where health officials have reported at least 108 cases of COVID-19 in the area. While there have been no reported deaths in New York, neighboring New Jersey announced its first one: a man in his 60s in Bergen County.
The markets remained volatile a day after the Dow Jones shed 2,000 points — Wall Street's worst day since the financial crash of 2008. The Dow rallied before giving up most of its gain Tuesday afternoon.
The coronavirus outbreak has continued to rattle Italy, which extended the containment measures already in place in northern regions to the entire country, which has confirmed more than 10,140 cases. The death toll in the country stands at more than 630 people.
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Former Rep. Gabby Giffords endorses Biden a week before Arizona primary
Before and after photos show how coronavirus fears clear the crowds
The Spanish Steps in Rome are deserted. The portrait of Mao Zedong gazes down on a mostly empty Tiananmen Square in Beijing. And pilgrims are scarce in the normally teeming streets of Saudi Arabia’s Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.
South Dakota has 5 presumptive cases, including one person who has died
Five presumptive cases of COVID-19 have been identified in South Dakota, the governor said Tuesday. That count includes one person who died, but it is unclear what killed that patient, she said.
"We have one person that has passed away that had underlying medical conditions, and we will continue to wait for a medical examination to see if the virus had anything to do with that — although we do not have confirmation that that is the reason that the patient is deceased," Gov. Kristi Noem said at a news conference. The person who died was a man in his 60s.
The five cases, which are not in any single community, are the first presumptive cases for South Dakota. Cases are called presumptive when local tests come back positive but when CDC testing has not yet confirmed that result.
If the death was caused by COVID-19, the death would mark the 31st in the United States, according to a count of reported cases by NBC News. The four other people with presumptive positive cases are at home and contact tracing is being done, the governor said.
22 more deaths in mainland China, bringing total to 3,158
China's National Health Commission reported 22 new deaths, all of them in Hubei Province, bringing the total across the mainland to 3,158 as of Wednesday morning.
The coronavirus outbreak began in Hubei Province, which is where the city of Wuhan is located. There have been more than 80,700 confirmed cases reported in mainland China, according to the health commission.
There are outbreaks in other countries, with some of the highest number of cases outside mainland China being reported in South Korea, Italy and Iran. The United States has more than 1,000 confirmed or presumptive cases, according to a count of reports by NBC News. Thirty people have died in the U.S.
Person at New Orleans journalism conference tests positive
Someone who attended a journalism conference in New Orleans this month has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, organizers said Tuesday.
The attendee at the NICAR20 conference last week has mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery, the nonprofit organization Investigative Reporters and Editors said in a statement.
The person is self-quarantining at home for 14 days. The case is being considered a presumptive positive because it has not been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Based on the onset of the limited symptoms, they could have contracted the virus either before, during or after the conference," IRE said. The organization said the person as well as the organization is notifying anyone who had close contact or who attended a class with that person.
Three TSA officers at San Jose airport test positive
Three security officers at the international airport in San Jose, California, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness, the TSA said Tuesday.
"The officers are receiving medical care and all TSA employees they have come in contact with over the past 14 days are quarantined at home,” The Transportation Security Administration said in a statement to NBC Bay Area.
The officers worked at Mineta San Jose International Airport, which is in Santa Clara County.
"Screening checkpoints remain open and the agency is working with the CDC, as well as the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to monitor the situation as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public," the TSA said.
Santa Clara County has seen 45 positive tests, and the increase in cases that could be instances of community spread prompted health officials there to ban mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people for three weeks. One person died in Santa Clara County Monday morning, the health department said.
More than 1,400 have disembarked from Grand Princess cruise ship
More than 1,400 people have disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship, the vessel that was delayed off the coast of California after it was linked to the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the cruise company said Tuesday evening.
There were 3,533 people aboard the ship — including 2,422 guests and 1,111 employees — when it returned from Hawaii to California last week, the cruise company has said. Princess Cruises said that as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, 1,406 people had disembarked.
The ship was delayed for testing after several people from a voyage in mid-February tested positive for COVID-19, including one who died last week in Placer County. On Friday, tests that were flown to the ship came back positive for 21 people aboard, which included 19 crew and two passengers.
On Monday people began disembarking, and California officials have said that 407 people disembarked then.
Officials have said that those disembarking would be subject to a 14-day quarantine, many of them at military bases. Disembarking all of the passengers "will be a multiple day process," Princess Cruises said.
U.S. coronavirus cases top 1,000
More than 1,000 cases of the coronavirus have now been diagnosed in the U.S.
The states with the greatest number of cases are Washington (271), New York (173), California (159) and Massachusetts (92).
The numbers are sure to continue to rise before the outbreak is brought under control, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a news conference Tuesday.
The first U.S. case was announced Jan. 21.
South Korea sees decline in coronavirus cases after mass testing
Philadelphia calls off St. Patrick’s Day parade as first case reported
The same day it announced its first case of COVID-19, Philadelphia called off its St. Patrick’s Day Parade and all related events on Tuesday.
About the time that the Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Observance Association announced the parade cancellation, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney urged people to avoid "any event with 5,000 or more attendees from now through Friday.”
Boston canceled its annual parade on Monday, and the Republic of Ireland also canceled St. Patrick's Day festivities this week, including the national St. Patrick's Festival parade in Dublin on March 17.
MGM Resorts temporarily closing Vegas buffets
Las Vegas casino and hotel company MGM Resorts said Tuesday that it was temporarily closing buffets at seven properties on the Las Vegas Strip.
The buffets will be closed at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur starting Sunday, a spokesman said in a statement.
"These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis," Brian Ahern, director of media relations for MGM Resorts International said. The statement does not explicitly say whether the move was prompted by the novel coronavirus, but it comes amid a growing number of cases in the U.S.
The company last week said in a statement that it was closely monitoring the coronavirus and has "taken measures to combat the potential impacts on our resorts and facilities," which includes enhanced cleaning procedures and the placement of hand sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas.
Wynn Las Vegas has said that effective Wednesday its buffet "will have stationed culinary staff at each food station to serve our guests, which eliminates the need for guests to touch serving utensils," and that its staff is routinely cleaning all surfaces and has hand sanitizing stations at the entrance, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported.
How to navigate travel plans as coronavirus spreads
Third death in California linked to COVID-19
A third death in California has been linked to the coronavirus illness COVID-19, Sacramento County health officials said.
The death brings the total reported deaths in the United States to 30, according to NBC News reporting.
A resident of an assisted living facility in their 90s who had an underlying health condition died of complications from COVID-19, Sacramento County Public Health said Tuesday evening.
Two other deaths from the coronavirus illness have been reported in the state. One person in Placer County who was on a cruise in mid-February died last week, and Santa Clara County health officials said Monday that a patient had died there.
'Dr. Phil' and 'Wendy Williams' are latest shows to cancel live audiences
"Dr. Phil" and "The Wendy Williams Show" on Tuesday became the latest television shows to announce they would not have live audiences because of the spread of novel coronavirus.
Both shows will remain on air, but without live audiences. "The health of our audience members, staff and crew are the priority," Carla Pennington, executive producer of the "Dr. Phil" show, said.
On Monday, "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" made a similar move.
Warner Bros., which tapes the "The Ellen Degeneres Show," said it is "asking all guests to confirm that neither they nor any member of their household have traveled within the past three weeks to or through a location that has been deemed 'Level 3' by the CDC."
Inside Italy after country put on nationwide lockdown
No fans allowed inside college basketball tournaments for Big West, MAC conferences
The Big West Conference will play its postseason college basketball tournaments with no fans in the stands, league officials announced Tuesday.
The women's tournament is set to start in California on Tuesday night at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach before ending at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The men's competition begins on Thursday at Honda Center and all of these games "will be played without spectators," the conference announced.
The men's title game is scheduled to be televised by ESPN2 on Saturday 11:30 p.m. ET.
And the Mid-American Conference, or MAC, will ban almost all fans from its tournaments at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. Only family members of athletes will be allowed in, the MAC said.
The Big West and MAC are both NCAA conferences. The NCAA and other college conferences are still weighing spectator bans as the March Madness tournament approaches.
New York biotech company races to find coronavirus treatment
As the new coronavirus continues to envelop much of the globe, a lab outside New York City is racing to find a antibody treatment that could temporarily protect from the illness — or even treat it.
The biotech company Regeneron is in early development of a treatment that could guard against catching the coronavirus for several months using antibodies from mice that have been genetically modified with immune systems to mimic those of humans.
"We are optimistic, because we've done this approach to treat many human diseases," CEO Leonard Schleifer said.
Coachella postponed until October due to coronavirus
The organizers of Coachella announced Tuesday that the highly anticipated April music festival would be postponed until October amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
"At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella," said a statement from Goldenvoice, the company that produces the California festival.
"While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously. We urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials."
The news comes just a day after Pearl Jam announced they were postponing the first leg of the band's tour, saying they had no faith that national authorities would be able to control the outbreak in the weeks ahead.
Top U.S. coronavirus official: 'We can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Tuesday that coronavirus will alter the American way of life — even in areas of the country that have yet to report cases.
Speaking alongside Vice President Mike Pence at the White House coronavirus briefing, Fauci said, "We would like the country to realize that as a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago."
"It doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case, you have to start taking seriously what you can do now that if and when the infections will come and they will come, sorry to say, sad to say, they will," he said.
Fauci urged people to follow the guidelines to counter the virus on the government's website, coronavirus.gov.
"This is the minimum that we should be doing. Everybody should be saying all hands on deck, this is what we need to do," he said.
Google recommends all employees in U.S. and Canada work from home
Google has recommended that all its employees in the U.S. and Canada work from home, if their roles allow, according to a company spokesperson.
The move makes Google one of the biggest companies in North America to issue a blanket recommendation for employees to work from home in an effort to keep people safe from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Google has more than 114,000 employees, most of them in North America.
Google's announcement was first reported by Business Insider.
2 more elderly patients die in Washington state as 10 nursing homes report cases
Two more elderly people died after testing positive for coronavirus in Washington as nine more long-term care facilities report cases, officials reported Tuesday.
A man and a woman, both in their 80s, died due to COVID-19, the illness associated with coronavirus, according to Seattle and King County Public Health. The woman was a resident at the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center while the man was a resident of the Ida Culver House, an assisted living facility.
The department said that the county now has 190 confirmed coronavirus cases, up 74 from Monday.
Of the now 22 coronavirus-related deaths in King County, 19 were reported from the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington. The nursing home has been considered a miniature epicenter for the spread of COVID-19, the illness associated with coronavirus.
Nine other long-term care facilities have now also reported positive cases.
Waffle House closes one Georgia location
Waffle House closed one of its Georgia locations after an employee tested positive for coronavirus, the company announced.
The popular chain's location at 1849 Marietta Hwy in Canton, about 45 miles north of Atlanta, is temporarily closed as the restaurant is sanitized. The employee's most recent work day had been March 1, company officials said.
Waffle House proudly advertises that "each restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," and closures for the company are rare.
That worker has been released from the hospital under quarantine.
Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden cancel rallies because of coronavirus fears
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both canceled campaign rallies planned for Tuesday night in Ohio due to concerns about the coronavirus, a first on the 2020 presidential campaign trail as concerns about the outbreak mount.
"Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland," Sanders' campaign communications director Mike Casca said in a statement. "We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak.
"In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio, tonight is cancelled," Kate Bedingfield, deputy manager for the Biden campaign, said in a statement.
Massachusetts declares state of emergency as 51 new coronavirus cases are confirmed
Gov. Charlie Baker issued a state of emergency Tuesday as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported a jump in confirmed coronavirus cases.
The number of confirmed cases went up by 51 presumptive positives in a day, bringing the state's total cases to 92. Officials said Tuesday that they were beginning to see evidence of community spread of the virus, rather than travel related cases.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar says it was impossible "to hermetically seal us off from this outbreak"
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar appeared to minimize the spread of the coronavirus on Tuesday, insisting that it was not possible for the U.S. to limit the spread of the disease.
"The United States is the hub of the global economy," he said. "It was never going to be possible to hermetically seal us off from this outbreak — and we have said that from the very first communications that we've had to the American people about this."
President Donald Trump, however, has repeatedly diminished the possibility of the spread. On Monday he went so far as to share his assessment of the spread of the disease, comparing it to the common flu on Twitter, which critics say ignores the upward trend of coronavirus cases and downplays its deadliness.
Azar said 1.1 million tests had been shipped out this past week, another 1 million are currently available and 4 million more will be available by the end of the week through private partnerships..
Wall Street rebounds after rollercoaster day
Wall Street rebounded by the closing bell on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up almost 5 percent, or 1,164 points, on hopes that President Donald Trump would introduce an economic stimulus package to insulate the economy as the coronavirus epidemic spreads.
Investors wavered throughout the day, parsing headlines and reports that focused on whether the emergency measures could be introduced quickly enough. The Dow swung through more than a thousand points, surging by 945 points before dipping into the red.
“I think fiscal measures such as a payroll tax reduction are likely to be more impactful than the tools the Federal Reserve has, particularly cutting interest rates,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. “Putting more money into the hands of consumers or businesses actually drives the economy. It’s not a panacea, but it is likely to be more effective than monetary policy.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz tests negative for coronavirus
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who found out while flying on Air Force One on Monday that he'd been exposed to somebody with the coronavirus, said Tuesday he's tested negative for the virus.
Gaetz had just ridden in President Donald Trump's limo in Florida and was aboard the president's plane en route back to Washington when he got a phone call from his chief of staff telling him a person he spent time with at Conservative Political Action Conference had been hospitalized with the coronavirus.
"I've just been informed that my COVID-19 lab result was negative. In an abundance of caution, I will remain under self-quarantine at the advice of medical professionals through Thursday at 2pm," Gaetz tweeted. Thursday would mark 14 days since his interaction with the person at CPAC.
"I continue to feel fine and show no symptoms," added Gaetz, who wore a gas mask on the House floor during the vote on the coronavirus emergency spending bill last week.
Two other people who've spent time with Trump in the past week are also self-quarantining after learning they'd interacted with the same person, Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia and Mark Meadows, Trump's new chief of staff.
Asked if he would be tested for coronavirus, Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he has spoken to the White House doctor, and that “he said he sees no reason to do it.” Trump said. “There’s no symptoms, no anything.”
Cuomo implements 'containment area' around N.Y. state's coronavirus cluster
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday he is implementing a "containment area" around a one-mile radius in the city of New Rochelle, where there is a growing cluster of coronavirus cases.
The plan involves closing schools and other large gathering facilities, such as houses of worship, within the zone for two weeks starting Thursday, he said. Businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open.
Coronavirus is nursing homes' 'greatest threat' in years
At the Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, 18 residents have died from the coronavirus, and another 31 residents had tested positive. At Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, also in Washington, one resident has died from the virus, and two others are infected.
The spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes and assisted living facilities highlights the particular threat these communities face from the illness.
Colorado declares state of emergency in response to coronavirus outbreak
Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in Colorado on Tuesday in response to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the state.
Three new Colorado cases of the disease were confirmed, the Democratic governor said, which raises the total number of people with the illness there to 15.
“Our top priority is protecting public health and our vulnerable populations, which is why we are taking swift bold action," Polis said in a statement. "Our administration's response will be guided by the science and lessons learned from the countries and states that this virus arrived in first.”
Nursing home's coronavirus lockdown keeps wife from her husband of 58 years
Twice a day, Bonnie Polin, 78, drives a few miles to visit her husband at his nursing home in Portland, Oregon. She sits with him while he eats breakfast and tells him stories that she knows he probably won’t remember.
“I fell in love with him because he was so damned smart, and now he’s in the end stages of Parkinson’s disease,” Polin said of her husband, Gerald, 83, a retired psychiatrist. “But he’s still as handsome as ever.”
Polin paused early one morning last week when she arrived for a visit and noticed a new sign posted at the entrance. In response to the worsening coronavirus outbreak, officials at the Avamere Crestview of Portland, an adult care facility, like untold numbers of other nursing homes across the country in recent days, had decided to ban visitors.
Read the full story here, and watch NBC's "Nightly News with Lester Holt" tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT.
Trump's flu death count off by 12,000
President Trump told reporters today that 8,000 people had died of the flu this season, comparing that number to 26 deaths from coronavirus.
Trump's estimate is far too low. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu has killed at least 20,000 Americans this season.
Trump also said there have been "hundreds of thousands" of flu cases this season. CDC estimates the true flu case count is 34 million.
The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. rose to 28 on Tuesday.
Lebanon confirms first coronavirus death
Washington state has advantage in addressing voters' virus fears
Washington, which had the first confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., has a major advantage in addressing fears the virus could impact voting in Tuesday’s primary: it's a vote by mail state, and doesn't actually have physical polling places.
Nearly two dozen people have died in Washington, by far the most deaths recording in any state so far.
There are several new precautions in place, said Kylee Zabel, spokesperson for the Washington Secretary of State's office. Voters are discouraged from licking their envelopes, and should use "a wet sponge or cloth" instead, Zabel said, and election workers should wear gloves to open ballots.
Two other states vote by mail and don't use physical polling places: Colorado, which voted March 3, and Oregon, which votes May 19.
NYC's entrepreneurial spirit
Democratic Republic of Congo confirms first case of coronavirus
The Democratic Republic of Congo said it had confirmed its first case of coronavirus. The patient, who had traveled from Belgium, was found and tested in the nation's capital Kinshasa.
Health Minister Eteni Longondo said that officials are actively testing those who have come in contact with the individual or putting them in quarantine to limit the spread of the disease.
Trump says he would get coronavirus test but sees no reason to do so
President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that he would be willing to take a coronavirus test but is heeding the advice of the White House doctor, who he said told him there is no reason to take it.
"I don't think it's a big deal. I would do it, I don't feel any reason," Trump said. "I feel extremely good, I feel very good. But I guess it's not a big deal to get tested, and it's something I would do. But, again, I spoke to the White House doctor — terrific guy, talented guy — he said he sees no reason to do it, there's no symptoms, no anything."
However, Trump came in contact with two Republican congressmen — Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida — prior to their decisions to self-quarantine after being exposed to someone infected with coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
N. Carolina declares state of emergency after number of cases grows
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina on Tuesday in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Cooper, a Democrat, said seven people in the state had tested positive for the illness. He said he believed the emergency declaration would help slow the spread of the disease and reduce the number of people infected.
“The health and safety of North Carolinians is our top priority. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that North Carolina is prepared and responding to this virus, and this order helps us do that,” he said in a statement.
A message from New Jersey's official Twitter account
Jamaica confirms its first coronavirus case
Jamaican officials said they had confirmed the first case of coronavirus on the Caribbean island Tuesday.
Christoper Tufton, Jamaica's minister of health, said Tuesday that the patient had received medical care on March 9 and has been isolated ever since based on her travel history and symptoms. She was believed to have caught the disease while overseas and the diagnosis was confirmed on Tuesday.
The country has informed the patient and her family members, and officials are working to identify people who may have been exposed and expanding its public health measures, Tufton said.
L.A. Times Festival of Books postponed
American University moves classes online in reaction to outbreak
American University in Washington, D.C., will move its classes online until April 3 in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, the school announced Tuesday.
Administrators also said they would be extending spring break, which started on Monday, until March 17 to prepare students and teachers for the shift to an online classroom.
The campus will remain open and operational, however, offering counseling services and academic advising to its students.
Inside an isolation ward
Ohio moves upcoming primary polling locations to address coronavirus fears
Ohio will move polling places from senior housing facilities to address fears of exposure to the coronavirus, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Tuesday.
At least 128 polling locations across the state will have to be relocated by Ohio's primary vote on March 17, a spokesperson said.
"Yesterday I ordered all 88 counties to relocate any polling locations from senior residential facilities to alternate locations. Obviously, that's a big step and requires a lot of work, and our county boards of elections are working to do that as we speak," Rose said in a press conference.
All registered voters in Ohio can vote early or request an absentee ballot, and LaRose also encouraged registered voters to use those options to avoid further exposure. The state is also working to provide hand sanitizer and wipes for polling locations, LaRose said. Voters have until Saturday at noon to request an absentee ballot.
Coronavirus is closing more schools. What happens to kids who depend on school lunches?
Over the next two weeks, 23,000 students in the Northshore School District in suburban Seattle are learning from home in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak gripping Washington state and rippling across the country.
But with students' daily routines thrown for a loop, another immediate challenge has surfaced for school officials: How do you make sure every child has access to lunch?
Italy death toll jumps to 631
The death toll in Italy now stands at 631 people, according to Angelo Borrelli, the chief of Italy's Civil Protection Authority.
The total number of cases in the country is now 10,149. In total, 60,761 people have been tested for the coronavirus there.
Couple on Grand Princess cruise ship file $1 million lawsuit
A couple who was aboard a cruise ship on which some passengers were infected with coronavirus filed a $1 million lawsuit against the cruise line, alleging it exposed them to the disease.
Ronald Weissberger, 74, and his wife, Eva Weissberger, 69, of Broward County, Florida, boarded the Grand Princess in San Francisco on Feb. 21 for what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation to Hawaii.
The ship was on its way back to California when it was required on March 4 to anchor off the coast after people on the vessel tested positive for coronavirus.
Sign of the times, cont'd
Death reported in another Washington nursing home
Another nursing home in Washington state has reported that one of its residents died from the coronavirus.
The patient tested positive for the illness last week and died over the weekend, the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center said Tuesday.
Five other residents and two staff members at the facility have also tested positive.
At a different nursing home — Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington — 18 residents have died, as well as one person who had visited the facility.
U.S. Navy civilian employee tests positive in Virginia
A civilian employee of the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Falls Church, Virginia, has tested positive for the coronavirus, military officials said.
The employee is the first Navy civilian worker to contract the virus, and remains hospitalized in northern Virginia, the Navy said Tuesday. Other personnel who came into close contact with the individual are in self-isolation and additional precautionary measures may be taken based on further investigation.
The patient had not traveled out of the country, officials added.
Chinese restaurant chain booting diners with fever amid coronavirus outbreak
A Chinese restaurant chain in Southern California is responding to the coronavirus outbreak by checking customers' temperatures with a handheld infrared thermometer before letting them inside and refusing service to anyone with a fever.
The eatery, Sichuan Impression, said anyone who refuses to cooperate with the temperature measurement, will be denied service "for the time being."
The restaurant's owner said employees are scanned twice a day and sent home if their temperatures are abnormal.
The U.S. has tested more than 8,500 specimens for coronavirus. That doesn't equal 8,500 patients.
More than 8,500 specimens have been tested for the coronavirus across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a promising sign that testing is finally becoming more widespread in this country after a series of missteps.
But because multiple specimens are required from each individual, the number of actual patients who have been tested is likely far lower.
Trump to attend Senate GOP lunch Tuesday to discuss economic stimulus ideas
President Donald Trump will be attending the closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday afternoon along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
Mnuchin and Kudlow had already been scheduled to speak with the group of senators at the lunch about a possible payroll tax cut proposed by Trump on Monday. The president is interested in Congress potentially passing a stimulus package to boost the economy as it has remained unstable for the last few weeks amid fears of the coronavirus spreading.
Other ideas that are being discussed are paid leave and assistance to small businesses.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., typically speaks to reporters after the closed-door lunch along with other members of his leadership team.
1st person dies in New Jersey, governor confirms
"We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.
Murphy's statement said the person was a man in his 60s from Bergen County. New Jersey is now the first state in the northeastern U.S. where someone is confirmed to have died because of the coronavirus.
New York gov sets up 'containment area'
House Dems discuss possibility of 10,000 congressional staffers working from home
House Democrats discussed the possibility of having thousands of congressional staffers telework during a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday morning, said lawmakers who attended.
“There was a lengthy discussion about teleworking, they said that we have the capacity for 10,000 staff to work from home, and we're making arrangements that all staff have access to the equipment that they would need and that that equipment is up to date so they could be teleworking," said Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H.
Kuster said that some of her staff are already staying at home.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., on the other hand, said that Congress shouldn't shut down because it sends the wrong message.
And Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., made it clear that he is in favor of closing the Capitol to visitors.
'We are 10 days away from the hospitals getting creamed,' warns former homeland security adviser
The U.S. is a little more than a week away from a health care crisis related to the new coronavirus, according to the man who once advised President Donald Trump on how to respond to pandemics.
"We are 10 days from the hospitals getting creamed,” Tom Bossert, who was Trump’s homeland security adviser until he was ousted in 2018, told NBC News. Bossert was never replaced, and Trump eliminated the national security council jobs related to disease outbreaks.
In an op-ed in The Washington Post published Monday, Bossert said that unless the U.S. closes schools, halts public gatherings and takes other steps to reduce community transmission, the country is headed for the sort of crisis Italy is now facing, with hospitals overwhelmed by elderly people in need of critical care.
“Simply put, as evidence of human-to-human transmission becomes clear in a community, officials must pull the trigger on aggressive interventions,” Bossert wrote. “Time matters. Two weeks of delay can mean the difference between success and failure. Public health experts learned this in 1918 when the Spanish flu killed 50 million to 100 million people around the globe. If we fail to take action, we will watch our health-care system be overwhelmed.”
Wuhan temporary hospitals start to close
Wall Street rally fades as questions arise about Trump's stimulus plan
Wall Street rallied Tuesday morning before sinking back into the red, as sentiment waned that President Donald Trump would introduce a robust economic package in time to shore up the growing financial impact from the coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank to a loss of almost 100 points just hours after a surge of 945 points. That, in turn, came just one day after a historic rout that saw the blue-chip index drop by 2,013 points, the most ever.
While Trump said Monday he would be meeting with congressional Republicans on Tuesday to discuss a stimulus package, White House officials and analysts threw cold water on that idea, noting that there was no evidence such a plan had been floated.
Ivy League cancels postseason basketball tournaments
The Ivy League on Tuesday cancelled its men's and women's postseason basketball tournaments, citing fears of the new coronavirus.
Under ordinary circumstances, winners of the Ivy League competitions, dubbed "Ivy Madness," would go to the men's and women's NCAA Tournaments.
Instead, the regular season champions — the Yale men and Princeton women — will be sent to their NCAA competitions. Harvard has already said it's going to remote instruction and asked students not to return from spring break later this month.
Ohio ordering polling stations in senior centers and nursing facilities be relocated
Ohio will move polling places from senior housing facilities to address fears of exposure to the coronavirus, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Tuesday.
"Yesterday I ordered all 88 counties to relocate any polling locations from senior residential facilities to alternate locations. Obviously, that's a big step and requires a lot of work, and our county boards of elections are working to do that as we speak," Rose said in a press conference. At least 128 polling locations across the state will have to be relocated by Ohio's primary vote on March 17, a spokesperson told NBC News.
All registered voters in Ohio can vote early or request an absentee ballot, and LaRose also encouraged registered voters to use those options to avoid further exposure. The state is also working to provide hand sanitizer and wipes for polling locations, LaRose said. Voters have until Saturday at noon to request an absentee ballot.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that Ohio had three confirmed cases of coronavirus, and declared a state of emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that older people are at greater risk of developing a serious illness from viral infections.
Italians wake up to empty streets after country put into quarantine
MILAN — Millions of Italians woke up to a virtual standstill on Tuesday after the government extended quarantine measures across the entire country in an attempt to curb Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
"We are normally serving offices, school students, tourists but without them around we're losing 70 percent of our income,” said Fabrizio Ticozzi, 60, who owns a bakery on one of the busiest streets in central Milan.
"We don’t know how long all this is going to last," added his wife, Carla.
Milan, Italy's usually humming fashion and financial capital, stood quiet. Those who did leave their homes to open their cafes and store fronts kept their distance, conscious of contracting the disease or running afoul of the government's quarantine rules.
Mayor of small French town defends Smurf gathering
While many parts of Europe are canceling large gatherings, the mayor of Landerneau, a small city on the western tip of France, recently allowed a group to host a gathering of 3,500 people dressed as Smurfs — a world record.
The mayor, Patrick Leclerc, told Agence France-Presse that he does not regret his decision. "We must not stop living... it was the chance to say that we are alive," he said.
Many major events in Europe have already been canceled. Italy has banned all large gatherings including sporting events.
How do I pick the right song for hand washing?
With people focusing on better hand-washing technique, the guidance is to sing "Happy Birthday" twice to ensure a good, thorough cleaning.
But that song gets old. So am enterprising developer created WashYourLyrics.com, which will put the words to your favorite song to proper hand-washing routine.
Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" works particularly well.
Capitol should close its doors to visitors: Congressman
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, had a one-word response when asked if it was time the Capitol be closed to visitors as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.
"Yes," he said.
Dutch prime minister fails to follow his own coronavirus advice
De Blasio: New York can't shut down over undue fear
Catalonian leaders meet amid coronavirus outbreak
Spain has emerged as another coronavirus hotspot, spurring leaders in the country to meet in an effort to stave off a widespread outbreak.
Miquel Buch, minister of the interior of Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeastern Spain, tweeted a picture of a meeting with President Quim Torra from a meeting held to discuss and monitor the coronavirus outbreak.
Harvard to move classes online
Harvard University announced on Tuesday that it would begin transitioning undergraduate and graduate classes online amid coronavirus fears.
In a statement to the school community, school president Larry Bacow said the school is hoping to have everyone transitioned to virtual learning by March 23, and is asking students to not return to campus after spring break. Students who must remain on campus will also take their classes remotely and should expect "severely limited on-campus activities and interactions," Bacow said.
Harvard is also banning non-essential gatherings of more than 25 people until the campus begins to clear out.
China's President Xi Jinping in Wuhan
Iran sees as spike of almost 900 new coronavirus cases
Almost 900 new coronavirus cases were reported by health officials in Iran Tuesday.
Health ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said there have been 881 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 8,042.
Meanwhile, the death toll reached 291, with 54 new deaths registered overnight.
Iran is one of the global hot spots of the coronavirus epidemic, along with Italy and South Korea.
Delta to make deep cuts as airline bookings decline sharply
Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that it will make deep cuts throughout its network to cut costs as coronavirus drives down demand for air travel.
The Atlanta-based carrier said it is reducing its international flying by as much as 25 percent and domestic capacity between 10 percent and 15 percent.
Coronavirus is hard on older people — and scientists aren't sure why
Older adults appear to be more severely at risk from the new coronavirus, while young children seem to be largely spared — and understanding why could be crucial to treating people with the illness it causes, according to scientists.
Much remains unknown about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that is rapidly spreading around the world, but researchers have seized on a factor that seems to influence the severity of infections: the patient's age.
While that is not particularly surprising, the statistics show that young children have made up very few of the confirmed cases so far, a divergence that isn't true for every illness. Understanding that question could help researchers figure out how to treat the illness, particularly in the older populations that appear to be more susceptible to it.
E.U. Parliament president in self-isolation after travel to Italy
Davide Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, said Tuesday he was in self-isolation at his Brussels home after recent travel to Italy.
"I have decided after having been in Italy over the last weekend, as a precaution, to follow the indicated measures and to exercise my function as president from my home in Brussels in compliance with the 14 days indicated by the health protocol," Sassoli said in a statement.
The European Parliament on Monday decided to shorten its monthly gathering due to coronavirus concerns. “COVID-19 obliges everyone to be responsible and to be cautious," Sassoli said, adding that the parliament will continue to exercise its duties.
The whole of Italy, which reported more than 9,000 coronavirus cases Tuesday, is on an unprecedented lockdown to help curb the spread of the virus.
New York City confirms 5 more coronavirus cases
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the city has confirmed five new coronavirus cases, with broader New York tri-state area cases now totaling more than 160.
The increase comes as the city takes action in hopes of halting community spread of the new coronavirus, including a request for people to stay off public transportation if possible.
The mayor, along with Governor Andrew Cuomo, have been vocal critics of the federal government's response to the coronavirus.
British Airways cancels all flights to and from Italy amid lockdown
U.K. carrier British Airways has cancelled all flights to and from Italy as the country moved into full lockdown amid its growing coronavirus epidemic Tuesday.
"In light of the Italian government's announcement and the U.K. government's official travel advice, we have contacted all customers who are due to travel today," the airline said in a statement.
On Monday, the whole of Italy was placed under lockdown until next month in an unprecedented attempt to beat coronavirus in Europe’s worst-affected country. The same day Britain's Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to Italy.
International students are still trapped in Wuhan six weeks on
BEIJING — On Jan. 27, days after the Chinese city of Wuhan began its lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Hafsa Tayyab appeared in an online video alongside a group of fellow Pakistani students appealing to their government to get them out.
"We were hopeful," Tayyab told NBC last week. She thought her plea might be answered.
But almost six weeks on, she is among the hundreds of students still stranded in the quarantined city, desperate to return home — long after classmates from other nations were airlifted away from the coronavirus outbreak's ground zero.
French minister caught coronavirus after Parliament visit
France’s culture minister has become the latest politician to contract the coronavirus, a government colleague said on Monday, after several lawmakers came down with the COVID-19 illness.
Franck Riester is doing well and resting at home, health minister Olivier Veran said on BFM Television.
Five French parliamentarians have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to media reports on Monday, along with a worker in the National Assembly cafeteria where some or all of the lawmakers may have picked it up.
The stricken minister last met President Emmanuel Macron several days ago, they added.
What Taiwan can teach the world on fighting the coronavirus
TAIPEI, Taiwan — As countries around the world grapple with the coronavirus, Taiwan may offer valuable lessons on how to curb its spread.
Just 81 miles away, the island is a short flight to mainland China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan. As the outbreak took hold in January, many Taiwanese business people and their families based in China were returning to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and up to 2,000 Chinese tourists a day visited the island, potentially bringing the virus with them.
And yet, Taiwan has had only 47 cases of COVID-19 and one death as of Tuesday — far fewer than China’s 80,754 cases and 3,136 deaths, a stark contrast even when taking into account the enormous population difference: Taiwan’s 23 million to China’s 1.4 billion. Taiwan’s numbers are also much lower than neighboring countries such as South Korea, which has had more than 7,500 cases, and Japan, with 530. It’s also faring better than countries much farther away from China, such as Italy, with more than 9,000 cases, and the United States, which has over 700.
So what can Taiwan teach the world so other countries can stem the spread of the virus?
Stock futures hint at market surge after worst day since financial crisis
Stock futures rallied early Tuesday morning after the S&P 500′s worst day since the financial crisis.
Around 5:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated an opening surged of more than 1,000 points on Tuesday. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to a sharply higher open for the two indexes on Tuesday.
Stock futures erased big losses and turned positive after President Donald Trump floated the idea of “a payroll tax cut or relief” to offset the negative impact from the coronavirus. The potential tax incentives come on top of an $8.3 billion spending package Trump signed last month.
Oil jumps 5 percent after rout on stimulus hopes, slowing virus in China
Oil prices jumped by five percent Tuesday after the biggest one-day rout in nearly 30 years, as investors eyed the possibility of economic stimulus, although early gains were pared on demand concerns over the global spread of the coronavirus.
Brent crude futures rose by $1.76, or 5.1 percent, to $36.12 a barrel by Tuesday early morning, paring back earlier gains that saw prices touch a session-high of $37.38 a barrel.
Both benchmarks plunged 25 percent on Monday, dropping to their lowest since February 2016 and recording their biggest one-day percentage declines since Jan. 17, 1991, when oil prices fell at the outset of the first Gulf War.
President Donald Trump on Monday said he will be taking "major" steps to gird the U.S. economy against the impact of the spreading coronavirus outbreak, while Japan's government plans to spend more than $4 billion in a second package of steps to cope with fallout from the virus.
Growing number of universities cancel face-to-face instruction
A growing number of colleges, including The Ohio State University and San Francisco State University, have suspended face-to-face classes amid fears of growing coronavirus cases in the United States.
OSU in a statement noted that while there are no campus-associated cases of COVID-19, "we know that there are at least three confirmed cases in the state of Ohio, and we expect that there will be more." It is suspending face-to-face instruction and moving to virtual interactions through at least March 30.
San Francisco State said that all face-to-face courses will be suspended, but the campus is not being closed. The city and county of San Francisco on Thursday announced two presumptive positive cases. UC San Diego said Monday that starting in Spring Quarter all lecture and discussion courses will be delivered remotely. UC Berkeley said starting Tuesday it is suspending most in-person classes and will be offering classes remotely.
Rice University in Houston this week announced in-person instruction is canceled this week and it is preparing for the possibility of delivering most of its classes remotely. Princeton said Monday that it will move to virtual instruction after spring break and will decrease the number of gatherings on campus. Stanford also said it will move in-person classes to an online format for the last two weeks of winter quarter.
'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' won't tape in front of audiences over coronavirus fears
Game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" will not tape in front of studio audiences amid the spread of coronavirus, a source close to the shows told NBC News.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that "social distancing" is one way to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, in communities.
Santa Clara County, California, banned mass gatherings of more than 1,000 people in an effort to prevent transmission, officials said Monday.
California's Santa Clara County bans gatherings with more than 1,000 people
Santa Clara County, California, public health officials, citing an increase in the number of coronavirus cases that could be community spread, announced an order banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people for three weeks.
The order does not apply to airports, offices, grocery stores or shopping malls. But it could affect the San Jose Sharks hockey team, which said in a statement Monday night that it was aware of the new guidelines and would adhere to them.
Xi makes first visit since outbreak to China's epicenter Wuhan
BEIJING — President Xi Jinping visited China's virus epicenter Tuesday for the first time since cases of a then-unidentified respiratory illness emerged in the city of Wuhan in December.
The visit came as people gradually began to return to work in other parts of China while the virus spreads to most of the world, seriously impacting travel, markets and the global economy. He is expected to inspect epidemic prevention and control work and visit medical workers, community volunteers, patients and others on the front lines.
The disease's spread in China cast scrutiny on Xi’s leadership, as he was conspicuously absent from the public eye during the early days of the crisis. Initial failures to react quickly were pegged on municipal and provincial-level officials who have since been replaced.
State media reported Xi arrived in the morning in Wuhan, which has been under lockdown along with several nearby cities since late January in a disease-containment measure. The city has the bulk of the country’s more than 80,000 confirmed cases, and authorities sent thousands of medical workers and built several prefabricated isolation wards to deal with its mass of COVID-19 patients.
SXSW lets go third of staff after cancellation because of coronavirus
Organizers for the South by Southwest annual conference, which was canceled by Austin officials over coronavirus fears, said Monday that they had let go of about one-third of its full-time staff.
"Due to the City of Austin’s unprecedented and unexpected cancellation of the SXSW 2020 events in March, SXSW has been rigorously reviewing our operations, and we are in the unimaginable position of reducing our workforce. Today we said goodbye to approximately one-third of our full-time staff," a spokesperson for South by Southwest, commonly known as SXSW, said.
"Those of us in the business of live events know the level of trust required to execute an event of SXSW’s scale, and we are deeply sad to let people go this soon. We are planning for the future and this was a necessary, but heartbreaking step," the spokesperson said.
Austin's mayor on Friday declared a state of emergency, which resulted in the cancellation.