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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

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.

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Apple rejects coronavirus apps that aren't from health organizations

Apple is preventing developers from uploading apps related to the coronavirus outbreak that are not from governments or health professionals, according to CNBC.

The move comes as many tech companies are working to prevent their platforms from being used to spread misinformation about the new coronavirus.

Search results on Apple's app platform show little in the way of obvious spam, though independent developers said Apple's strict rules could reduce availability of software that would help peopel track the outbreak, according to CNBC's Kif Leswing.


Precautionary measures in Bangkok

Image: sanitising gate
People walk through a 'sanitizing gate' spraying disinfectants against coronavirus before entering into a shopping mall in Bangkok, on March 6, 2020.Jorge Silva / Reuters

Despite robust jobs report, Dow falls 700 points as traders stay laser-focused on coronavirus

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by around 700 points at the opening bell, despite the release of a robust monthly jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The economy gained 273,000 jobs in February, well above economist predictions, with the unemployment rate falling slightly to 3.5 percent. 

Markets barely blinked Friday morning, with traders continuing to focus on how the viral outbreak could hammer the economy as companies downgrade their financial forecasts for 2020, issue travel restriction policies for their employees, and test out remote work contingency plans.

Global coronavirus cases reach 100,000

More than 100,000 people have been confirmed to have contracted the new coronavirus as of Friday morning, a little more than two months since the outbreak began in China.

Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking instances of the virus, said that 100,330 people had been infected as of 9 a.m. ET, 80,556 of whom were in Mainland China.

The news agency Reuters also reported the 100,000 mark had been passed, citing its own tally.

Of the total, 55,694 people made a recovery and 3,408 people died, suggesting a mortality rate of around 3 percent. Although when so-far unreported cases are taken into account, the death rate may be much lower.

There have been 14 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. so far, 13 in Washington State and one in California.

Trump signs $8.3B emergency bill to fight coronavirus

President Donald Trump on Friday morning signed the $8.3 billion emergency spending package to combat the coronavirus.

“We’re signing the 8.3 billion. I asked for 2.5 and I got 8.3, and I’ll take it,“ Trump said. “We’re doing well, but it’s an unforeseen problem,” he added.

The Senate passed the legislation in a 96-1 vote Thursday, a day after the House quickly and overwhelmingly passed it in a 415-2 vote.

Two private schools in Manhattan closed Friday

Two private schools in New York City — The Spence School and Collegiate School — will be closed on Friday as concerns grow over the virus in the city.

On its website, the all-girls Spence School’s said it closed on Friday “for a comprehensive sanitization of the entire campus.” Collegiate School confirmed it would also be closed on its website, although it did not state a reason.

NBC News has approached both schools for comment.

This comes a day after Westchester County closed a string of schools due to the outbreak.

There are currently 22 reported coronavirus cases in New York state.

In China, coronavirus rumors — and misinformation — swirl unchecked

The new coronavirus has presented perhaps the biggest challenge to the Chinese government in a generation, posing a test not seen before by its strongman president, Xi Jinping.

Now it appears Chinese officials are trying to change the narrative.

The exact origin of the virus — which has sickened close to 100,000 people worldwide and killed close to 3,500 as of Friday — has not been confirmed. But it is believed to have been transferred to humans at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pathogen first broke out.

In recent weeks, however, Chinese officials have appeared eager to float the idea that the virus did not necessarily start in their country at all.

"No conclusion has been reached yet on the origin of the virus," Zhao Lijian, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, told a briefing Thursday.

Click here for full version of story.

NYPD investigating Asian subway rider being sprayed with Febreze

A passenger refused to sit next to an Asian man on New York's subway on Wednesday and sprayed him with a bottle of Febreze, the NYPD said. 

Officers received a call about an emotionally disturbed person on an N train on Wednesday around 9 a.m., NYPD Chief Rodney Harrison said in a press conference on Thursday. 

In a video of the incident tweeted by New York’s Metro Transit Authority, a man is seen shouting loudly at an Asian passenger to move away and not stand next to him. The man then reaches for an aerosol, which police identified as Febreze, and sprays the victim for over fifteen seconds.

New York's MTA said the harassment was coronavirus-related, tweeting that good hygiene could stop the spread of the virus, but racism would not. 

Officers from NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force were reviewing the video as part of the investigation, said Chief Harrison. 

Collision, one of the biggest conferences in tech, calls off in-person event

Collision, a large annual technology conference, said Friday it will cancel the in-person event, which was scheduled from June 22-25 in Toronto. 

Instead of bringing 33,000 people to the city for the conference, Paddy Cosgrave, CEO of Web Summit, the company that puts on Collision, said he hopes everyone will join an online “Collision From Home” experience.

“Crises like Covid-19 demand responsibility and creativity. We want to do our part, and we hope others will too,” Cosgrave said.  Ticket holders will be able to attend “Collision From Home” and will also be able to use their ticket at Collision 2021. Refunds are also available up to 30 days after attending the online conference.

Twelve cases on Nile cruise ship showed no symptoms

Twelve new cases of coronavirus confirmed on a Nile cruise ship are all asymptomatic, the Egyptian health ministry and the WHO said in a joint statement on Friday. This brings the total number of cases in Egypt to 15 so far.

The infected people are all Egyptian workers on the ship, which is heading to the southern city of Luxor, the statement said.

Image: People wearing face masks in the window of a quarantined building housing the dormitory of the North-Western State Medical University named after I.I. Mechnikov in Saint Petersburg
People wearing face masks in the window of a quarantined building housing the dormitory of the North-Western State Medical University named after I.I. Mechnikov in Saint Petersburg on Thursday.Olga Maltseva / AFP - Getty Images

Trump cancels visit to CDC in Atlanta

President Donald Trump will not travel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Friday, as had originally planned to do, a White House official said, citing the fact that Trump "does not want to interfere" with the organization's work in combatting coronavirus.

"The President is no longer traveling to Atlanta today. The CDC has been proactive and prepared since the very beginning and the President does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency," a White House official said Friday.

On Thursday night, Vice President Mike Pence had said that Trump would visit the CDC in Atlanta.

Oil prices slide 4 percent as coronavirus spread continues

Image: Red Cross medics check the temperature of participants of the 178th Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna, Austria
Red Cross medics check the temperature of participants of the 178th Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna, Austria, Thursday.Alex Halada / AFP - Getty Images

Oil prices slid more than 4 percent on Friday after Reuters reported that Russia would not agree to steeper oil output cuts by OPEC  — The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — and its allies to support prices amid the epidemic.

Global stock markets also tumbled on Friday as disruptions to business from the spreading coronavirus epidemic worsened.

European shares opened sharply lower, with travel stocks dropping most significantly.

U.S. death toll rises to 14 — all but one fatality in Washington State

The number of people killed by the coronavirus outbreak across the U.S. rose to 14 Friday morning.

In an interview with local TV station and NBC News affiliate KING, Jeff Toblin, the CEO of EvergreenHealth Medical Center confirmed that 11 people had died at the facility in King County, Washington State, providing more information on the death toll than was available previously.

Previously, a man in his 50s, died at Harborview Medical Center and a woman of unknown age died at home having not been hospitalized. Both deaths were confirmed by King County Public Health in a statement.

A 71-year-old man in California with underlying health conditions was confirmed dead on Thursday.

Two Microsoft employees diagnosed in Washington state

Microsoft confirmed that two of its employees — one at Microsoft and another at its subsidiary, LinkedIn — have been diagnosed with the virus in Puget Sound, Washington state on Friday.

There have been 74 confirmed virus cases and 13 deaths in Washington State so far.

“We are working closely with local public health authorities to provide the necessary support for our colleagues and their co-workers,” the company said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Microsoft asked all employees who are able to, to work from home due to an outbreak across Washington.

Other tech and social media giants have followed suit, as on Thursday, both Facebook and Google recommend their San Francisco based-employees work from home to contain the spread, according to Reuters.

First reported case in Vatican City

Image: People walk in Saint Peter's Square, after the Italian government decree to close schools, cinemas, and urge people to work from home and not stand closer than one metre to each other at the Vatican,
People walk in Saint Peter's Square, after the Italian government decree to close schools, cinemas, and urge people to work from home and not stand closer than one meter to each other at the Vatican on Thursday.Yara Nardi / Reuters

A patient being treated by medical services in the Vatican has tested positive for COVID-19, its Department of Health and Hygiene said Friday.

All medical services in the Vatican have been suspended. No information was released about the patient. 

Italy is the worst-hit European country and the death toll there reached 148 as of Thursday, but so far the virus has mostly hit the north of the country.

Pope Francis, who cancelled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy, was said to be suffering from a cold that is "without symptoms related to other diseases."

South Korea protests Japan's quarantine plan

Image: Rescue workers, wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, observe a test event for sport climbing at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo
Rescue workers, wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, observe a test event for sport climbing at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, Japan on Friday.Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

South Korea has strongly protested Japan's decision to impose a two-week quarantine for visitors from South Korea, calling it "unreasonable, excessive and extremely regrettable."

Japan's government defended tighter travel restrictions on visitors, saying they were not too late to help slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday ordered a two-week quarantine for people arriving from South Korea while barring arrivals from highly affected areas starting on Saturday.

"The decision was the result of a comprehensive review of the information available about the situation in other countries and the effects of other measures," chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference in Japan on Friday. "I think the timing is appropriate."

Seoul's foreign ministry will summon the Japanese ambassador on Friday to lodge a complaint, after calling in a senior diplomat late on Thursday to request explanations, it said in a statement.

Twelve people have died from the virus in Japan as of Friday morning.

Image: Airmen from the Moffett Federal Airfield based, 129th Rescue Wing deliver coronavirus test-kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California
Airmen from the Moffett Federal Airfield based, 129th Rescue Wing deliver coronavirus test-kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California on Thursday.California National Guard / Reuters

Cases in China slow as global infections approach 100,000

The number of people infected with the new coronavirus globally looked set to reach the 100,000 mark on Friday as the confirmed cases passed 98,000.

Cases continued rise in the United States, with the death toll at 12 as of Thursday evening.

China, however, has begun to see a slowdown, reporting 143 new cases Friday — about one-third what the country was seeing a week ago.

A month ago, China was reporting several thousand new cases a day, outnumbering infections elsewhere in the world about 120 to 1. While there are more than 80,000 cases on mainland China, the problem has started moving towards Europe — where Italy, Germany and France had the most new cases as of Friday.

Coronavirus shop pops up in nation's capital

Image: Adilisha Patrom, owner of a co-working and event space next to Gallaudet University, organizes face masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies inside her pop up shop
Adilisha Patrom, owner of a co-working and event space next to Gallaudet University, organizes face masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies inside her pop up shop on Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Washington, DC.Nathan Ellgren / AP

WASHINGTON — As stores sell out of masks and hand sanitizer, Adilisha Patrom, owner of a co-working and event space in the nation's capital, saw an opportunity and jumped on it, opening a pop up shop for coronavirus prevention supplies.

Different models of face masks and hand sanitizer bottles in various sizes are displayed along a stack of information sheets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patrom, 29, sells her masks for between $5 and $20, depending on the model. She also puts together prevention kits with masks, surgical gloves and sanitizer, which sell for $20 to $30.

Patrom says her goal isn’t to get rich. Rather, she sees the shop as a service to the community and says discounts are available to those in need and to senior citizens, who are most vulnerable to the virus.

So far, business has been slow. Patrom said she has only made three sales since opening early this week.

Second presumptive case in Nevada is linked to Grand Princess

Washoe County, Nevada, health officials reported the county’s first presumptive case of COVID-19 and said the man in his 50s is linked to the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The state’s first coronavirus case was reported in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, earlier Thursday. A health official said it is Las Vegas' first presumptive case but risk of contamination is considered low and the man reported recent travel to Washington state, where community spread of the virus is being reported, and Texas.

In the Washoe County case, the man is stable and is self-isolating at home, the county health district said.

The statement said he is "linked to the Grand Princess cruise ship outbreak." That is the ship that has been linked to at least three cases in California involving people who were aboard for a previous voyage in mid-February. The Grand Princess, returning to California from a subsequent trip to Hawaii, is being held off the coast of California as testing is done.

Rabbi who taught at New York university tests positive

A rabbi at Young Israel of New Rochelle, New York, who has been in self-quarantine after coming into contact with a congregant tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Yeshiva University announced early Friday. 

Test results expected Friday from cruise ship off California

Samples from 45 people aboard a cruise ship delayed off California’s coast amid fears of the novel coronavirus were collected Thursday, and test results are expected Friday, Princess Cruises said in a statement Thursday night.

The Grand Princess has been linked to the coronavirus illness COVID-19 after at least three people on it during a previous voyage later tested positive in California. One of those people, an elderly adult with underlying conditions, died in Placer County week. The other two are in Sonoma County.

The Grand Princess has 3,533 people aboard — 2,422 guests and 1,111 crew or employees. All passengers have been instructed to stay in their staterooms while the tests are pending, the cruise company said.

The cruise ship is in the ocean off the California coast west of Monterey, the California National Guard said Thursday.

Semester at Sea to cut voyage short

The Semester at Sea study abroad program will end its spring semester early because of coronavirus fears, it said in a statement Thursday night.

About 550 students will go from Cape Town to the Canary Islands, and then to Amsterdam, where they will disembark April 12, the organization said. The MV World Odyssey had been scheduled to arrive there April 20. The students’ coursework was also accelerated, the statement said.

Semester at Sea is a semester-long, multi-country program for college students run by the Institute for Shipboard Education and sponsored by Colorado State University.

It is one of dozens of study abroad organizations that have made alterations to or canceled programs because of coronavirus. 

Two presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Colorado

Health officials in Colorado say a second person has presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

The woman is a resident of Colorado's Douglas County and was exposed during an international cruise, health officials said. She is isolated at home, has had limited public contact and is not connected to the first case.

Earlier Thursday, the state's governor announced the state’s first presumptive positive case. That involves an out-of-state visitor to Summit County, which is included in the total number of two. That patient, a man in his 30s, traveled to Italy in mid-February.

He came to Colorado by plane Feb. 29 and was asymptomatic, which officials said means the risk of transmission is low. He also skied at Keystone and Vail Mountain Resort on Monday before developing symptoms on Tuesday, officials said. He recovering in isolation in Jefferson County. 

Houston reports first presumptive COVID-19 case

Houston's health department said Thursday that the first person within the city has presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

Three confirmed or presumptive cases in unincorporated Harris County were previously announced Thursday. Houston is in Harris County.

The case in Houston involves a man between 60 and 70 years old with a history of international travel and who had been with a group that went to Egypt, the city health department said in a statement. The man has mild symptoms and is self-quarantined at home.

The case brings the total in the general area to five — there is also a presumptive positive case in nearby Fort Bend County. None are considered cases of community spread.

Pence says administration making 'steady progress' on testing

Harris County, Texas, reports third presumptive COVID-19 case

Health officials in Harris County, Texas, on Thursday night said a third person has presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

Two other cases were announced earlier in the day. Harris County includes Houston, but all three cases are in the unincorporated parts of the county, health officials said.

The third patient is a man between 60 and 70 years old who is hospitalized and stable. Like the other two cases, the exposure is thought to have occurred abroad and is not believed to be "community spread."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing will confirm the third case in Harris County. The previous two have been confirmed by the CDC. There has been another presumptive case, also involving travel abroad, in Fort Bend County, which is southwest of Harris County. That case announced Wednesday was first in Texas not involving evacuees.

Royal Caribbean to bar some passengers with recent travel history

Cruise company Royal Caribbean on Thursday said it will bar anyone from boarding who has recently traveled "from, to or through" mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy, Iran or South Korea in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

The restrictions apply to anyone who has been in those areas 15 days prior to embarkation. Boarding will also be denied to those who came within 6 feet of anyone who traveled to those regions in 15 days, or those who cared for or had contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have the illness within the same time frame.

Effective Friday, the temperature will also be taken of all passengers, crew and visitors before boarding.

A ship from another company, Princess Cruises, saw hundreds of positive cases after the Diamond Princess was quarantined in Japan last month, and another Princess Cruises ship has been delayed off the coast of California for testing amid fears of the virus spread.

Tests flown in by helicopter to cruise ship idling off California coast

Tests for passengers aboard the Grand Princess, which has been linked to two other confirmed cases of COVID-19, were flown in by helicopter Thursday to the ship idling off the California coast.

South Korea reports 518 more cases, 7 more deaths

South Korea's health agency reported 518 more cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 on Friday morning, bringing the total cases to more than 6,200.

The number of deaths increased from 35 to 42, according to the latest numbers from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 6,284 confirmed cases, 108 were said to have recovered. South Korea has one of the largest outbreaks of the coronavirus outside mainland China.

The number of deaths in mainland China rose by 30 as of Friday morning to 3,042. There are more than 80,500 cases there, according to China's National Health Commission.

Costco got a big boost in sales from shoppers preparing for the coronavirus

Image: Shoppers in a Costco stock up on a 14-day supply of food, water and other necessities in Honolulu
Shoppers line up outside a Costco to buy supplies after the Hawaii Department of Health on Wednesday advised residents they should stock up on a 14-day supply of food, water and other necessities for the potential risks of novel coronavirus in Honolulu, last Friday.Duane Tanouye / Reuters

Costco saw a three percent increase in sales this quarter compared to the same time last year, and the company attributed it to shoppers stocking up on supplies out of fear of the coronavirus.

“Our February results benefited from last week's big uptick in sales,” Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti told investors on Thursday. “We believe [it’s] related to concerns around the coronavirus.”

Costco says its members have flocked to the wholesale retailer for a range of items in preparation for dealing with the virus, including: dry grocery items, cleaning supplies, bleach, water, paper goods, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, disinfectants, health and beauty aids and even water filtration and food storage items.

The company said demand is so high that while it gets deliveries daily, it’s still having trouble keeping its shelves stocked. It has put a quantity limit on some items depending on the supply. “It's been a little crazy this past week,” said Galanti, adding that stores have been “beyond busy” over the last nine days.

The company’s net sales for the month of February came in at $12.2 billion, a 13.8 percent increase from $10.72 billion during the same time last year. For the three months ending in February, Costco’s same-store sales rose 8.9 percent.

Alberta, Canada, has first presumptive COVID-19 case

Health officials in the Canadian province of Alberta reported Thursday that a woman in her 50s has tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19, and that the case is believed to be travel-related.

The woman had recently returned from traveling on the Grand Princess cruise ship in California, which has been linked to at least three other cases in the state, Alberta Health said in a statement.

The woman is being asked to self-isolate at home, and officials are tracing close contacts. The Grand Princess is being held off the California coast as tests that were flown in by helicopter are being done.

Man dies in Sunnyvale, California; may have been exposed to COVID-19

Police in Sunnyvale, California, on Thursday reported the death of a 72-year-old person who officials later learned had been on a cruise ship with two passengers suspected of having the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

It is unknown if the man actually had the coronavirus, Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Chief Phan Ngo said.

Officers were dispatched to the medical call Thursday morning, and as a precaution, all officers involved were quarantined for several hours and have returned home. They will not return to work until health officials say it is safe to do so, Ngo said. CPR was performed on the patient but it was not mouth-to-mouth.

There has been one death in California, in Placer County, involving someone who tested positive for the illness, and that elderly person was likely exposed during international travel on a cruise ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico in mid-February, officials have said. Sunnyvale is in Santa Clara County, where there have been 20 confirmed cases so far.

States crack down on scammers, price gouging

Lawmakers across the country are cracking down on scam coronavirus claims and excessive pricing of consumer medical supplies as the virus continues to spread.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a price gouging alert Wednesday after the state declared a public health emergency when it reported its first death related to COVID-19, the disease from coronavirus.

Amazon has already removed more than 1 million products from its site for making misleading claims, and Walmart told NBC News it also will remove listings that make misleading claims. Yet a third-party seller on was charging $47.95 for eight-ounce bottle of Purell hand sanitizer, and another was charging $90 for the same item on Amazon until the site removed the listing after being contacted by NBC News.

Read the full story here.

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 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 was born at just 24 weeks gestation and now, at 18 months old, requires round-the-clock care.
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

Image: 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.
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
Image: Gene Campbell speaks to his wife of more than 60 years, Dorothy, at the Life Care Center of Kirkland on Thursday.
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

Image: Mecca's Grand Mosque is empty of worshippers for sterilization on March 5, 2020.
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. 

Study: China’s early intervention prevented an exponentially bigger outbreak

A new academic study found China’s early actions to contain the coronavirus were effective and that even a delay of one week could have resulted in an exponentially larger outbreak, more than 60 times the scale of the current epidemic.

“If they didn’t take any of those measures, they could be looking at 65 times the size of the outbreak that they actually saw,” one of the authors of the study, Andrew Tatem, a professor of spatial demography and epidemiology at the University of Southampton in Britain, told NBC News.

However, if China had launched diagnostic testing, isolation of infected patients and restrictions on travel and mass public gatherings days earlier, the scale of the outbreak would have been drastically reduced, according to the study from the WorldPopProject released this week. 

If the combination of measures were carried out “one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier in China, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent, 95 percent respectively, together with significantly reducing the number of affected areas,” according to the study, which was based on mobile phone data from Chinese search engine Baidu. Tatem said his colleagues hope to carry out similar studies elsewhere.

Los Angeles County reports 4 more cases

Four more people in Los Angeles County, California, have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 11.

The four were part of a group who had traveled to northern Italy, according to LA County public health officials.

They are now in isolation, and anyone who had close contact with those confirmed cases has been asked to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms.

The scene in Bangkok

Image: People line up to buy face masks and discounted goods, like cooking oil and eggs, during the launch of the government's mobile caravan in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 5, 2020.
People line up to buy face masks and discounted goods, like cooking oil and eggs, during the launch of the government's mobile caravan in Bangkok on Thursday. Thailand has 47 confirmed cases of coronavirus.Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP - Getty Images


Inside a coronavirus quarantine

For a dozen days, Carl Goodman’s world was reduced to a 20-by-30-foot containment room and his only visitors came bearing coronavirus testing kits and bottles of Gatorade while dressed head to toe in Hazmat suits.

Goodman contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and while he's now in lower-level housing at the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit in Omaha he remains quarantined.

And he has no idea when he’ll be allowed to go home.

Read more here.

31 new cases in Washington state

The number of people with the coronavirus in Washington state rose sharply Thursday, from 43 to 74.

King County, where Seattle is located, has 51 cases; Snohomish County has 18; and Grant County has one.

Ten people in the state have died from the illness; mare associated with a long-term care facility called Life Care Center in Kirkand.

Four of the patients in the state were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Pelosi ensures Capitol employees will have tech to work remotely in case of outbreak

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday at her weekly press conference that "God forbid" there is a need for people who work at the U.S. Capitol to do their jobs from home, they have the technology to do that.

Pelosi said it was discussed during a classified briefing a day earlier with only the top congressional leaders and officials, saying they just want to make sure everyone is "good enough in case we need to work from home." 

When asked about the Democratic presidential race, Pelosi said she noted last week that Democrats will madly "embrace" the eventual nominee, but joked that they will now have to "madly elbow bump" whoever wins the nomination.

Londoners wear elaborate face masks

16 confirmed cases in Lebanon, Red Cross reports

There have been 16 confirmed coronavirus cases throughout Lebanon and another 47 suspected cases, the Lebanese Red Cross reported Thursday.

Dow dives more than 1,000 points amid outbreak fears

The stock market took another hammering Thursday afternoon, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging by more than 1,000 points.

Investors were responding to new data that showed the number of cases of coronavirus has ticked upwards across the U.S., magnifying fears on Wall Street about the economic impact of the outbreak.

On Wednesday, the Dow posted its second-biggest points gain after sinking by 800 points on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve surprised markets with a historic emergency rate cut.

Traders remain spooked by the increase in coronavirus cases and the mounting disruption to businesses, as more companies restrict employee travel, test out emergency plans, and cancel industry events.

Thinking about using vodka as hand sanitizer? Tito's would like to have a word

The Twitter account for Tito's Vodka wants you to know: it is not recommended for sanitization purposes.

For almost a day, the account has been responding to tweets about using Tito's in an effort to kill the coronavirus. 

Cuomo: New York coronavirus cases rise to 22, will continue to go up

WHO: 'Encouraging signs' from South Korea

From World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's opening statement at the WHO's Thursday briefing:

"In the past 24 hours, China reported 143 cases. Most cases continue to be reported from Hubei province, and 8 provinces have not reported any cases in the last 14 days. Outside China, 2055 cases were reported in 33 countries. Around 80 percent of those cases continue to come from just three countries. 

We see encouraging signs from the Republic of Korea. The number of newly-reported cases appears to be declining, and the cases that are being reported are being identified primarily from known clusters. 

Although a few countries are reporting large numbers of cases, 115 countries have not reported any cases. 21 countries have reported only one case. And 5 countries that had reported cases have not reported new cases in the past 14 days. 

The experience of these countries and of China continues to demonstrate that this is not a one-way street." 

NY attorney general cracks down on price gouging

New York Attorney General Letitia James issued guidance on Thursday for how people can avoid price gouging and scams related to the coronavirus outbreak.

"We must beware of unscrupulous actors who attempt to take advantage of this fear and anxiety to scam or deceive consumers,” said James, noting, "It is imperative that New Yorkers remain calm, but stay vigilant."

James said her office is actively monitoring retailers and clamping down on entities claiming treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19.

The New York Attorney General announcement comes after the California Attorney General issued a price gouging alert following the state’s declaration of a public health emergency in response to the virus.

The law prohibits people and businesses from charging more than 10 percent of the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution and could face a fine of up to $10,000.

New cases in Nevada and Illinois

The state of Nevada has announced its first coronavirus case, a man in his 50s who had recently traveled to Washington state.

That patient is now hospitalized in Nevada.

Thursday, Illinois health officials announced the fifth case in that state. The patient is a male in his 20s who flew from Italy to Chicago's O'Hare airport earlier this month.

U.K. announces first coronavirus death

An “older patient with underlying health conditions” became the first person to die from coronavirus in the U.K. on Thursday, Britain's Chief Medical Officer said.    

Professor Chris Whitty said in a statement that it was thought that the patient contracted the virus in Britain. They were being treated at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, a small town around 30 miles west of London, he added.  

In a separate statement, the hospital said that the patient had "previously been in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons," but had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. 

"The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time,” it added.

Cuomo: 22 confirmed cases in New York

Tennessee confirms first case of coronavirus

Tennessee's first confirmed case of coronavirus involves a 44-year-old man residing near Nashville who recently traveled out of state, state health department officials said Thursday.

The Williamson County man has a mild illness and has been isolating himself at home, they add. Officials said they are working to identify others who may have come into contact with him to "contain the spread of this disease in our communities."

A hotline has also been established for Tennessee residents seeking more information about COVID-19.

Amid growing coronavirus cases, another number increasing: recoveries

It only took a few days for the Wisconsin patient to get over the fever and a cough — and feel well enough to get out of bed and back to normal life: shop for groceries, hang out in a coffee shop, maybe see a new movie.

But that wasn't an option, because the patient wasn't getting over the common cold or even the flu. Instead, the individual had the new coronavirus, meaning it would be several weeks before the person — who remains unidentified for privacy — could leave the house or invite friends and family to visit.

Read more about coronavirus recoveries.

Walmart restricts employee travel, cancels Dallas conference

Walmart is restricting employee domestic and international travel, allowing only "business-critical trips," the company announced Thursday, citing an abundance of caution related to the coronavirus. 

The company also said it will cancel its annual Walmart U.S. Customer Conference, which was scheduled to be in Dallas next week, and will instead have "a virtual form" of the meeting.

Walmart said the new guidelines will remain in place at least until the end of April.

FCC bans 'non-critical' travel; closes buildings to anyone who visited infected countries recently

The Federal Communications Commission has closed its buildings to visitors, employees, and contractors who have recently traveled to China, Italy, Iran, or South Korea.

"Visitors who, during the most recent 14 days, have been in any country that is the subject of a COVID-19-related CDC Level 3 Travel Warning are not being allowed to enter FCC facilities, including its Washington, DC Headquarters," the agency said in a statement Thursday.

It is also suspending "until further notice non-critical FCC domestic and international travel" and "any FCC involvement in non-critical large gatherings."

U.K. confirms 115 new cases as bank sends staff home

The United Kingdom government confirmed Thursday there are 115 coronavirus cases in the country — an increase of 30 on Wednesday's figure. The Department of Health said 25 of those cases are in London, by far the country's biggest city.

There are no recorded deaths related to the new coronavirus in the U.K.

Meanwhile, international bank HSBC sent home more than 100 of its London staff Thursday after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, the first known case at a major company in Europe's main financial hub.

Greece confirms 21 more cases, shuts schools and bans public meetings

Greece reported 21 cases Thursday — all linked to a 66-year-old person who recently traveled to Israel and Egypt on a pilgrimage, health authorities said.

The country's total now stands at 31 and a big rise is expected in the weeks ahead.

On Wednesday, Greece ordered the closure of schools and banned public gatherings in three districts in the west of the country as a precaution until Friday, following Italy, which is trying to combat the worst outbreak in Europe.

100 new cases in France, first death in Switzerland

Image: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airpor
The customs line at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport on Thursday afternoon.Seth Sanders

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in France jumped by 92 to 377 on Thursday, while the number of deaths rose by two to six, according to the French Health Ministry.

The two people to die after contracting virus are a 73-year-old man and a 64-year-old man

France is currently in “stage 2” of the management of the spread, which is focused on limiting infection and secondary cases.

Separately, authorities in Switzerland confirmed the first death there from the coronavirus outbreak, a 74-year-old woman from Vaud, a mountainous district bordering France.