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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.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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Trump says coronavirus is Democrats' 'new hoax'

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — At a political rally Friday, President Donald Trump insisted the government's response to the global coronavirus epidemic was "magnificently organized" and argued that foes in the Democratic Party ere exaggerating its dangers for political gain.

"This is their new hoax,” Trump told supporters on the eve of the state's Democratic primary. "Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus."

Attacking the White House’s response to the coronavirus has become the Democrats' "single talking point," he claimed.

The president has contradicted his own health officials on the potential of the disease's domestic spread, which they have described as almost inevitable.

Oregon reports presumptive case of coronavirus

Oregon health authorities say that they have the state’s first “presumptive case” of the coronavirus illness known as COVID-19 and that the patient has no known travel exposure and is likely an instance of community spread.

A local test of the person, who lives in Washington County and is being treated at a hospital, came back positive for COVID-19, but officials are waiting for a Centers for Disease Control test for confirmation, Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen said Friday.

 "If the test comes back from Atlanta positive then we'll stop calling it presumptive and say it's a positive case," Allen said. "But the guidance from CDC is we should treat a presumptive case as a case until we have any further information."

The patient's age, gender or condition was not released, but they are an adult.

Allen said the person spent time in the Forest Hills Elementary School in Clackamas County but would not be more specific because of patient privacy.

Contact tracing is being conducted and is a top priority, Allen said. Health officials say they are prepared for cases of the coronavirus illness in Oregon.

Game Developers Conference postpones San Francisco event amid coronavirus spread

Organizers of the Game Developers Conference scheduled for next month in San Francisco have postponed the event amid a coronavirus outbreak that has spread from China to countries around the world.

Organizers in an announcement Friday did not explicitly mention the coronavirus or the illness caused by it, COVID-19.

But the announcement comes after Amazon Web Services pulled out of the conference because of concerns over COVID-19. The company called it a difficult decision. Microsoft, which makes the popular Xbox system, also announced it would withdraw.

"We fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer," Organizers of the Game Developers Conference said.

Semester at Sea students fear being stuck on ship as coronavirus spreads around globe

Some 550 students taking part in the venerable Semester at Sea program have been trapped on a ship for about two weeks amid the spread of the coronavirus illness known as COVID-19.

"We feel completely confined, there's nothing around us,” student Kylie Menish said in a phone call from somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. "It’s kind of an awful feeling not knowing exactly what the plan is."

Menish said they took off from San Diego aboard the MV World Odyssey on Jan. 4, and the plan was to make about a dozen stops on four different continents before reaching their final destination, Amsterdam, on April 20.

A spokeswoman for Semester at Sea said officials made the decision to divert from countries on the ship's itinerary "because of decisions out of our control or to give us the best possibility of entry into any future port on our itinerary."

Read the full story here.

At least 50 California residents self-quarantine in homes over potential exposure

At least 50 people in Riverside County, California, are under self-quarantine in their homes over concerns they may have been exposed to coronavirus. 

All had recently visited Asia, mostly China, and arrived in the U.S. within the last two weeks, said Jose Arballo Jr., spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Health, adding that they had not traveled together.

None have exhibited symptoms, Abrallo said. The health department is closely monitoring each resident and checks in with them two to three times a day by text, email or phone calls. They will be monitored for two weeks and can leave their homes as soon as they are cleared. 

Click here to read more about Americans in self-quarantine for coronavirus.

Coronavirus by the numbers, Feb. 28

As of now: The U.S. is at 63 cases, which includes nine recoveries. Globally, 84,094 cases have been confirmed, this includes more than 39,000 recoveries and more than 2,900 deaths.

In the last 24 hours, more than 700 confirmed cases, more than 50 deaths and more than 2,800 recoveries have been reported around the world, and at least four countries reported their first confirmed case.

New California coronavirus case had no connection to others, health officials say

A new coronavirus patient from Santa Clara County, California, had not traveled to China, was not related to two other cases in the region and had not been to Solano County, about 70 miles away, where the country's only other patient without a known source of infection resides, health officials said Friday.

“What we know now is that the virus is here, present at some level, but we still don’t know to what degree,” said Dr. Sara Cody, director of Santa Clara County's public health department, in a news conference Friday.

The two cases of possible "community spread" of the virus could mean that more people may have to stay home from work and school and follow essential hygiene practices, she said.

Santa Clara County officials are working to reconstruct the woman's recent contacts and travels in an attempt to determine where she picked up the virus. 

Dr. Charity Dean of the  California Department of Public Health announced the state has enabled eight public health labs capable of testing for the virus with faster results.

U.S. postpones Asian summit in Las Vegas amid coronavirus fears

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has called off a major summit of Asian leaders next month in Las Vegas amid growing alarm over the coronavirus, two U.S. officials tell NBC News.

The United States had planned to host a special summit of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, on March 14.

But planning for the trip was abruptly halted on Friday, just as President Donald Trump said he was considering expanding his travel ban to cover countries that had a disproportionately high number of coronavirus cases. “We’re looking at that,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

U.S involvement in ASEAN, which brings together Southeast Asian nations to confer on economics and security, has played a major role over the years in helping solidify U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region, as Washington seeks to counter the rise of China as the region’s major power.

Read the full story here.

White House mulls tax cuts to boost economy amid coronavirus spread

The White House is discussing tax cuts as a possible way to stimulate the economy amid a spreading coronavirus, a White House official confirmed to NBC News. The Washington Post was the first to report the news. The official said “lots of options are being explored” to fit different scenarios along with the tax cuts. 

The official said other steps under consideration include interest rate cuts and regulatory changes, but the official didn’t elaborate on how those would be implemented and acknowledged that some options are outside the White House’s control. 

2nd coronavirus case with no known origin in California

The newly announced coronavirus case in Santa Clara County, California has no known source of infection, the county health department said on Friday.

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, said in a press release. “I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease.”

The individual is an older woman with chronic health conditions who was hospitalized for a respiratory illness, according to the press release. Health officials are working to identify contacts. 

This is second case in the U.S. with an unclear origin. The first was also in northern California.