U.S. death toll climbs to 14

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco
The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco on Feb. 11.Scott Strazzante / AP file

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The coronavirus grew more deadly in the U.S., with the death toll climbing to 14 on Friday. More than 225 cases have been confirmed across the country.

Congressional leaders have agreed on an $8 billion emergency funding package that is headed to the House.

Lawmakers across the country are cracking down on scam coronavirus claims and excessive pricing of consumer medical supplies.

But investors are reacting to fears that the spread of coronavirus will disrupt the global economy, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 950 points at the closing bell.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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Maryland confirms first 3 cases of coronavirus

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the first three cases of novel coronavirus in Maryland. 

Colleges to students returning from study abroad: Stay off campus

Many American colleges and universities have started calling students traveling for study abroad programs to return home amid the global outbreak of a new coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19. In nearly every case, colleges in the U.S. are telling students to stay off campus when they get back. 

Decisions to suspend or cancel study abroad programs have had a particular impact on students who were in China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea — countries with higher level travel notices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many schools are also calling off planned trips scheduled for later this spring and summer as a precaution, following guidance for higher education institutions issued by the CDC.

Rutgers University, Kent State University, the University of San Diego, Penn State University, Kennesaw State University, Fairfield University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Connecticut and the University of Georgia all told NBC News that they will not have any students self-quarantined on campus in dorms or other university housing. 

They've instructed students to stay at their permanent home address — i.e., their parents' house — for at least two weeks before coming to campus. These schools noted that they're following the CDC recommendation that anyone who has traveled to a region with widespread coronavirus outbreaks self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Some schools, like Nazareth College in New York and Washington University in St. Louis, said that since spring break was coming up anyway, they told the returning students to just wait until after that to come to campus. Washington University said that anyone who visited countries with elevated risk for COVID-19 will also be subject to screening and clearance by the school before returning to campus.

The universities are trying to avoid concerns that arose at the University of California, Davis, where one student living in campus housing was suspected of possibly having the coronavirus. The student's roommates did not show symptoms, but were placed in isolation. Given the compact nature of dorm living, some UC Davis students and their parents began worrying whether anyone else on campus was exposed, the Washington Post reported.

NBCUniversal latest company to pull out of SXSW

NBCUniversal is pulling out of SXSW, a source at the company confirmed, adding to a growing list of businesses cancelling on the major tech and culture conference in Austin, Texas, amid coronavirus concerns.

Despite a number of key departures and a change.org petition to cancel the event, SXSW organizers maintain that they are moving forward as planned. Several other big events, including Google I/O, Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference and IBM’s Think conference have all been canceled across the country.

On Sunday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey withdrew from his SXSW keynote, following his company’s decision to pull out of the conference and no longer host its SXSW house. Following Twitter’s withdrawal, Facebook and Intel withdrew on Monday. Facebook had several employees participating as panelists and Intel had on-site activities planned.  The following day, Amazon Studios announced it was dropping out. Followed a day later by Apple and Netflix.

The three companies had a number of events planned for SXSW, including several film premieres. On Thursday, WarnerMedia said it would also be dropping out of the festival over concerns about coronavirus. WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal had a number of employees participating on panels and other on-site events planned. 

NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News. 

'Our child's life depends on it': A mother pleads against stockpiling

Jessica Wolff's daughter was born at just 24 weeks gestation and now, at 18 months old, requires round-the-clock care. Her parents rely on hospital-grade cleaning supplies, latex gloves and sanitizer to keep their home safe for their medically fragile child.

Jessica Wolff's daughter,18 months old, requires round-the-clock care.Jessica Wolff

Due to coronavirus fears, those medical necessities are in short supply for people who may desperately need them, Wolff writes on the TODAY Parenting Team.

"We have recently found ourselves trading boxes of face masks for bottles of Purell, as all of our medically fragile family friends are in the same position. We are trying our best to plan ahead, but as stores quickly lose stock and people hoard items to resell at an upcharge, we have begun to scramble."

"Please, as you shop in the coming weeks, think of our family and others like us, and consider reducing the number of each item that you purchase so that we can find them too. Our child’s life depends on it."

Read more here

Colorado announces first presumptive case of coronavirus

Gov. Jared Polis announced the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Colorado.

A family visit in Washington state

Dorothy Campbell and her son, Charlie, talk through a window with her husband, Gene, at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington, on Thursday.David Ryder / Reuters
Gene Campbell speaks to his wife of more than 60 years, Dorothy, at the Life Care Center of Kirkland on Thursday.David Ryder / Reuters

Dow continues to slide amid coronavirus fears, closes down more than 950 points

The stock market was unable to recover Thursday afternoon as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 950 points at the closing bell

Investors are reacting to fears that the spread of coronavirus will disrupt the global economy as the number of confirmed and suspected cases in the U.S. continue to rise. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 1,000 points earlier in the day.

That angst fueled investor demand for safer assets like U.S. Treasurys and gold, which rose nearly 1 percent. The tumbling yields kept pressure on bank stocks, which led the major indexes lower, according to CNBC.

11th Washington patient dies, bringing U.S. total to 12

An 11th patient in Washington state has died from the coronavirus, officials said Thursday.

The individual was a resident of King County, which has the highest number of cases in the state. There are a total of 51 cases in the county, including 10 deaths.

Neighboring Snohomish County has 18 cases, including one death.

Islam's holiest site, empty

The Kaaba, inside Mecca's Grand Mosque, is empty on Thursday so it can be sterilized, an unprecedented move after the kingdom banned its citizens and other residents of the kingdom from performing the pilgrimage in Mecca. Abdel Ghani Bashir / AFP - Getty Images

Photos circulating on social media Thursday showed a dramatic change at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia — a site that is typically crowded with worshippers is now nearly empty. Saudi officials are working to curb the coronavirus since suspending the umrah pilgrimage and tourist visas to Mecca and Medina last week.

The umrah, which can be performed any time of the year, is seen as a significant revenue stream for the kingdom, according to Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics. In December alone, more than 2.3 million visas were issued and more than 2 million pilgrims visited the kingdom, most recent estimates from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah show.