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Coronavirus updates live: Emergency declared in California as cruise ship delayed off shore

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, 2020.Scott Strazzante / AP file

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California has declared an emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, as tests continue Thursday on board a Princess cruise ship that has been linked to two cases of the illness in the state.

The first death in California related to coronavirus was confirmed Wednesday, while another fatality in Washington brought that state's death toll to 10.

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

The virus is now spreading more rapidly outside China, where the epidemic started, with mainland China recording just 119 new confirmed cases while hundreds of cases were reported globally.

South Korea alone recorded an additional 516 cases of coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total to 5,328 confirmed cases, the largest outbreak outside of mainland China.

Governments around the world are introducing a range of measures to stop the spread of the disease. In Italy, where there have been more than 2,000 cases, all schools and colleges are shut for 10 days.

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New coronavirus case confirmed in northern California

A new coronavirus case has been confirmed in northern California, in Santa Clara county.

The county's department of public health announced the case on Friday. They will hold a press conference at 7 p.m. ET. 

Santa Clara county has already had two confirmed coronavirus cases. The two cases were unrelated to one another. Both were in travelers returning from China. At least one of the two has recovered.

The total number of cases in the U.S. is now 63.

Trump blames the media for stock market drops

Trump sought to calm fears and blamed the media for creating the concerns that have led to the declines in the stock market before departing for a campaign rally Friday afternoon.

“It's the unknown, you know, they look at it and they say how long will this last. I think they're not very happy with the Democrat candidates when they see them and I think that has an impact,” Trump said.

He said he was considering whether to impose further travel restrictions on other countries and that he hopes the Federal Reserve takes action following the stock market rout.

After missteps, CDC says its coronavirus test kit is ready for primetime

Some states received test kits that were inconclusive or only partially accurate. Other states said they were hamstrung by testing criteria so narrow, it limited who they could screen for the new coronavirus.

Technical difficulties reduced the number of laboratories in the U.S. with working test kits to only about a dozen, including CDC headquarters in Atlanta. That delayed results for suspected patients and frustrated public health authorities.

But things changed this week. Here's how.

Health secretary: 'Blocking and tackling' to find source of infection in CA woman

Federal, state and local health officials are rushing to investigate the source of a hospitalized California woman's coronavirus infection, health secretary Dr. Alex Azar told reporters on the White House lawn Friday afternoon.

Azar said the investigation would be a "blocking and tackling" effort. The woman, who is hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center, is believed to be the first case in the U.S. of someone who was infected by an unknown source.

“This is a potential community transmission case because we do not have an evident source of how she was infected,” Azar said. “No contact that we know of that we can trace immediately to travel, say, from Wuhan or in China.”

He also said that very soon private labs will “be able to create their own test based on essentially the recipes that the CDC has used in their test kits,” further expanding the country’s testing capabilities.

VP Pence: The government response is an 'all-hands-on-deck effort'

Sign of the times, cont'd

Kristen Curley, owner of Nitro-Pak, puts items into a backpack as part of personal protection and survival equipment kits ordered by customers preparing against coronavirus at Nitro-Pak in Midway, Utah.George Frey / Reuters

Can dogs get coronavirus? Experts: Don't worry.

The CDC and WHO have both noted that at present there is no evidence that pets like dogs and cats can be infected by the virus.

"However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets,'' WHO noted on its website. "This protects you against various common bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella that can pass between pets and humans."

Read the rest on TODAY.com.

Amazon restricts employees from non-essential travel

Amazon told employees on Friday to defer non-essential travel. The restriction applies to roughly 750,000 people in Amazon’s employee ranks. An Amazon spokesperson said in an email that they could not speak to timelines for the restrictions.

Google has also restricted travel to Iran, two regions in Italy, and beginning in March it will ban travel to Japan and South Korea. The announcement came as it alerted employees that a colleague had tested positive for the virus.

Nestlé, L'Oreal, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Cargill are among other multinational companies that have restricted travel in response to the spreading virus.

 

Fed chair: The virus presents 'evolving risks' to U.S. economy

“The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

“However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity. The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook. We will use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.”

Read more here.

Officials warn about election meddling amid outbreak

Internet trolls backed by foreign governments interested in meddling in the U.S. election could try to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus to keep Americans from going to the polls in upcoming elections, according to government officials and experts.

Read more here.

The world's largest tourism fair has been cancelled

ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism trade fair, has been canceled amid concerns over the outbreak, the event's organizers said on Twitter. The fair was slated to take place on March 4.