IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

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

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

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 5 Coronavirus news.

939d ago / 7:26 PM UTC

4 more dead in Washington state, bringing total to 6

At least six people have died in Washington state from the coronavirus, after four more deaths were reported on Monday, authorities said said.

State and King County officials told reporters that that it had documented at least 14 cases, leading to five fatalities.

But then a short time later, Snohomish County Health District spokeswoman Heather Thomas confirmed a coronavirus-related death in her jurisdiction, bringing the state's death toll to six.

939d ago / 7:10 PM UTC

Infectious diseases chief: Don't panic, but take this seriously

The National Institutes of Health’s top infectious disease chief said he believes the coronavirus has “now reached outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions," imploring Americans not to panic but urging them to take the spread of the virus seriously. 

In an interview with NBC News’ Richard Engel, Dr. Anthony Fauci also said a “major outbreak” might require state and local officials to essentially bring public life to a standstill. 

“If we get a major outbreak of this coronavirus in this country, that would mean perhaps closing schools temporarily, getting people to do more teleworking, canceling events where there are a lot of crowds in confined places, canceling unnecessary travels so that you’re not on an airplane for five hours with a bunch of people who might be infected,” Fauci said. 

You can watch NBC News’ interview with Fauci on “On Assignment with Richard Engel: Outbreak,” which airs on MSNBC on Sunday, 3/8 at 10 p.m. ET.

939d ago / 7:06 PM UTC

VP Pence tweets about visit to manufacturing giant 3M

939d ago / 6:47 PM UTC

Officials announce 2 new cases in California

Santa Clara County's public health department confirmed two new cases Monday, bringing the county's total number to nine. 

The eighth and ninth cases are adult males who are both under home isolation, public health officials said in a statement.

939d ago / 6:38 PM UTC

Richard Engel talks to infectious diseases chief

939d ago / 6:28 PM UTC

Oregon identifies third case

Oregon health officials have identified a third case of the virus: an adult from Umatilla County who is hospitalized in Walla Walla, Washington.

The third case is not likely to have traveled to a part of the world with known cases of the virus, the state said in a news release. It is considered a case of community transmission.

The person attended a youth basketball game at a gymnasium in Weston, Oregon, on Saturday, per preliminary reports cited by state officials.

939d ago / 6:18 PM UTC

New case confirmed in Illinois, the state's 4th

Another coronavirus case has been diagnosed in Illinois, the state's fourth.

The Illinois Department of Public Heath announced Monday the patient is a woman in her 70s, and is quarantined in her home. Her husband — also in his 70s — was previously diagnosed.

Both patients are said to be doing well. Health officials are now reaching out to people who may have come into contact with the couple to prevent any further spread.

Two other patients diagnosed in Illinois in January have since recovered. 

939d ago / 5:36 PM UTC

Las Vegas casinos brace for loss of Chinese tourism

Business analysts and gaming experts say it's largely too soon to tell how the outbreak could affect the U.S. gambling industry. But some U.S.-based casino companies, including MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp., have warned investors in annual reports over the past month that travel restrictions could negatively affect their Las Vegas properties.

Read the full story here.

Fountains of Bellagio, Bellagio Resort and Casino,
People stand in front of the fountains at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images
939d ago / 5:31 PM UTC

New Hampshire confirms first case

The man had recently traveled to Italy, Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire's epidemiologist, said in a statement. The patient is not sick enough to be hospitalized, but is quarantined at home.

"We will be working tirelessly to investigate this most recent identification and to identify any potential susceptible contacts who may need themselves to be placed under self-quarantine," Chan said during a news conference.

The diagnosis will be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. 

939d ago / 5:24 PM UTC

Saudi Arabia confirms first case

The first confirmed case in Saudi Arabia is a citizen who traveled from Iran through Bahrain and did not disclose his presence at the Saudi port, the Saudi Ministry of Health said Monday.

939d ago / 5:21 PM UTC

The scene in Iraq

Image: A member of the medical team checks the temperature of a man, following the coronavirus outbreak, at the entrance checkpoint of Erbil
A member of the medical team checks the temperature of a man at the entrance checkpoint of Irbil, Iraq, capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, on March 2, 2020.Azad Lashkari / Reuters
939d ago / 5:11 PM UTC

Reuters: British Airways cancels some flights from U.K. to U.S.

British Airways said Monday it was cancelling some flights from the United Kingdom to the United States to match the reduced customer demand amid the outbreak, Reuters reported. The news agency cited a statement from the carrier.

939d ago / 5:06 PM UTC

2 quarantined women released from University of Nebraska Medical Center

Two women who were quarantined after going on a cruise will head home after testing negative for the novel coronavirus, the University of Nebraska Medical Center announced Monday.

Joanne Kirkland, of Tennessee, and Jeri Serratti-Goldman, of California, said at a news conference that they were "shocked" when they found out the virus was on the ship, and they were grateful to staff at the medical center for the treatment they received.

"For myself, this has been an amazing experience," Serratti-Goldman said. "The way that the staff treated us, my friends are saying, 'Oh my gosh, how can you do it.' It was seamless."

The Nebraska Medical Center was a key player in treating people during the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014.

939d ago / 5:04 PM UTC

Greater number of coronavirus cases now diagnosed outside of China

New coronavirus cases outside of China are outpacing new cases in China, but the majority of those new cases are in just four countries, the World Health Organization reported Monday.

"In last 24 hours, there were almost nine times more cases reported outside China than inside China," WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference. 

Since the outbreak started, cases in 61 other countries have exceeded 8,700. There have been 127 total deaths outside of China. The majority of those cases are in four countries — Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea — and represent the "greatest concern" for public health officials. 

But many countries have only limited spread. Of the other 57 affected countries, 38 have 10 or fewer cases. Nineteen have reported just one case. And a handful haven't reported a new case in two weeks.

939d ago / 4:36 PM UTC

Trump says admin asked pharma companies to 'accelerate' vaccine

939d ago / 4:23 PM UTC

WHO staffer in Iran tests positive

939d ago / 4:20 PM UTC

The temperature in Thailand

A paramedic checks the temperature of Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha
A paramedic checks the temperature of Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha before a meeting in Bangkok on March 2, 2020. Thailand currently has a total of 43 confirmed cases of coronavirus.Royal Thai Government via AFP - Getty Images
939d ago / 4:14 PM UTC

Trump claims 'it's very safe' to hold political rallies

President Trump, responding to questions from reporters Monday about whether it was safe to hold large political rallies amid the spread of the virus, said: “I think it’s very safe.”

He said he would use a meeting later in the day between his administration’s coronavirus task force and pharmaceutical industry leaders to ask those executives about the possibility of accelerating the production of a coronavirus vaccine.

“This meeting was set up before. That was about drug pricing,” he said during an Oval Office meeting with the president of Colombia. “Now we're going to make another subject … the vaccine.”

Asked by a reporter if it might be possible to speed up development vaccine development, Trump replied, “That’s what we're going to find out.”

939d ago / 4:11 PM UTC

First case in Tunisia; four new cases in Qatar

and

Tunisia's Ministry of Health announced the country's first case Monday: a 40-year-old Tunisian national who had recently returned from Italy.

Qatar's main news agency, meanwhile, announced four new cases — bringing the nationwide total to seven.

939d ago / 4:06 PM UTC

Elizabeth Warren releases coronavirus plan

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a new plan on Monday to address the health and economic threats of the new coronavirus. She had previously released a plan to counter the virus' health effects and a spending bill in the Senate.

The plan released Monday includes making sure that all Americans, including the uninsured, can get free coronavirus care, including any forthcoming vaccine. It creates an emergency paid leave program for people to take time off to get care. It includes a $400 billion fiscal stimulus package to counter the potential economic impact of the spreading virus.

Warren remains in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, though she trails well behind Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.

939d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

The scene in Milan

Image: ITALY-HEALTH-VIRUS
Tourists wearing face masks visit Milan's Duomo cathedral on March 2, 2020, as it re-opened to the public after being closed for a week due to the COVID-19 outbreak.Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images
939d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

World's largest shipping container conference is canceled

TPM, a trade conference for the cargo shipping industry that was set to open Sunday in Long Beach, California, has been canceled amid concerns about the outbreak, the event's sponsors announced Monday. The organizers had expected upwards of 2,000 participants.

939d ago / 3:37 PM UTC

Louisiana gets proactive

939d ago / 3:32 PM UTC

NASA's data shows China’s air pollution plummets amid outbreak

Data from NASA's pollution monitoring satellites shows significant decreases over China in the concentration of nitrogen dioxide, a gas that contributes to air pollution — a change that's "at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus," the space agency's said. 

In an effort to curb a growing epidemic, the Chinese government put several major cities on lockdown and told millions of its factory workers to stay home to limit the spread of the virus, slowing down production. 

“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” said Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. 

Image: NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites have detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over China
NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites have detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over China. NASA
939d ago / 3:29 PM UTC

Russia confirms first case

Russia's first coronavirus patient has been diagnosed in Moscow, according to the Federal Welfare Service. The patient is a Russian citizen who had been in Italy and returned to Moscow on Feb. 23.

939d ago / 3:05 PM UTC

NY governor: 'It's deep breath time'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged people across the state to "relax," saying at a news conference Monday morning that "it's deep breath time."

"Excuse our arrogance as New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "We think we have the best health care system on the planet right here in New York. ... We don't even think it's going to be as bad as it was in other countries."

He provided some details on the state's first confirmed case: a Manhattan woman who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran. Cuomo said she is a 39-year-old health care worker who got back to New York on Tuesday and didn't take any public transportation upon her return.

He said that state officials don't believe she was contagious on the plane, and that she took a private car from the airport to her residence, where she is now isolated. He added that officials plan to contact other passengers on the flight and the driver of the car as a precaution.

939d ago / 2:44 PM UTC

Watch live: NY officials update on first confirmed case in state

The news conference is expected to start at 9:45 a.m. ET. Stay tuned for live coverage.

939d ago / 2:38 PM UTC

Number of coronavirus cases in the U.K. rises to 40

The United Kingdom now has at least 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the government confirmed Monday.

The country has tested 13,525 people, meaning just 0.29 percent were positive.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country needed to be prepared for the new coronavirus to spread further.

“I think it’s very important to stress that this is a problem that is likely to become more significant for this country in the course of the next days and weeks,” Johnson said.

939d ago / 2:21 PM UTC

Adviser to Iran's supreme leader dies after contracting coronavirus

Iran's state media reported Monday that an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader has died after contracting coronavirus.

The death comes as Iran struggles to contain an outbreak that has already claimed 66 lives, and sickened more than 1,500 people. The vast majority of coronavirus cases and deaths have been registered in China. 

Last week, two members of Iran’s parliament contracted the virus as well as the deputy health minister, who was sokeen wiping his brow and looking feverish at a press conference a day before he announced he had tested positive.

939d ago / 1:32 PM UTC

Videos show worshipers lick, kiss shrines in Iran amid outbreak

Video has emerged of worshipers licking and kissing a shrine in Iran's holy city of Qom while saying they are not afraid of the highly infectious virus that has killed close to 3,000 worldwide. 

While the outbreak in Iran has killed at least 54 people and infected 1,501 in Iran, according to the country's health officials, the vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China. 

Trying to prevent panic, the government has not locked down Qom, a holy Shiite Muslim city identified by authorities as the center of contagion, but has imposed broad restrictions such as limitations on who is allowed in and out of the area.

Some religious hardliners, including clerics, have dismissed the idea of closing the holy site to prevent the spread of the virus, arguing that the shrine in Qom is “a place for healing."

939d ago / 1:17 PM UTC

Temple University tells students to leave Italy amid outbreak

Pennsylvania's Temple University has told students at its satellite campus in Rome to leave Italy amid a growing coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The university said Saturday it will shut down academic operations for the remainder of the spring semester in light of a level-3 travel alert from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advising to avoid all nonessential travel to Italy. 

The State Department also issued a level-3 advisory for Italy urging Americans to reconsider travel to the country, which is struggling to cope with a growing coronavirus outbreak that has seen 1,694 confirmed cases and 34 deaths.  

"For you, this means you will need to make arrangements to gather your belongings, leave Italy, and return home as soon as possible," the university said in a memo addressed to its students in Rome. 

The Temple Rome faculty members will offer classes online beginning March 9, so students will not interrupt their academic progress, it added. 

939d ago / 12:15 PM UTC
939d ago / 11:22 AM UTC

China's Wuhan closes coronavirus hospital as officials hail drop in new cases

Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus epidemic, has closed the first of 16 specially built hospitals, hurriedly put up to treat people with the virus, after it discharged its last recovered patients, state media said Monday.

Wuhan closed its first specially built hospital after it discharged the last batch of 34 recovered patients, CCTV reported.

City officials opened 16 temporary hospitals during the outbreak, adding 13,000 beds and treating 12,000 people in response to the outbreak.

News of the closure coincided with a sharp fall in new cases in Hubei province and its capital of Wuhan, but China remained on alert for people returning home with the virus from other countries where it has spread.

"The rapid rising trend of virus cases in Wuhan has been controlled," Mi Feng, a spokesman for China's National Health Commission told a briefing.

The virus emerged in Wuhan late last year and has since infected more than 86,500 people worldwide.

939d ago / 11:18 AM UTC

Could coronavirus fears hit the markets again this week?

This week I’m looking to see whether investors will struggle with the stock market sell-off, as they did last week, or whether there is panic selling, when the majority of trades through the course of the day are made at a lower price than the trades before, which we haven’t yet seen.

I don’t typically get too concerned with swings below the 3 percent range, although multiple drops of 3 percent or more in the course of a week, like last week, are concerning.

We came nowhere near the top 10 biggest percentage drops on major markets last week. We’d have to drop close to 8 percent in one day, or 18.5 percent in one week to even be in the record-breaking game. The biggest single day drop was 22.6 percent in the crash of 1987. By contrast we lost a little more than 10 percent last week. Nothing to sneeze at, but this isn’t panic selling.

If trading does get that serious, the New York Stock Exchange has mechanisms called “circuit breakers” which allow for a reset. These are particularly important in an age where automated algorithmic trading is responsible for so much of the frenetic activity. The circuit breakers allow humans to intervene and slow the pace. If the S&P 500 falls 7 percent, trading stops for 15 minutes. If it drops 13 percent, it stops for another 15 minutes, and if it drops 20 percent, trading is halted for the day.

I don’t expect any of that to happen this coming week, but there are two words you should know:

  • Correction — When a stock or an entire market drops 10 percent from its recent high. We are in a correction now, and it’s a normal occurrence. The average correction lasts four months.
  • Bear market — When a stock or an entire market drops 20 percent from its recent high. This is not a common occurrence, and often a sign of more serious trouble ahead.

Some people sell when it’s looking that bad. Others back up the truck and buy, understanding that most markets come back. On average, after a major incident, like 9/11 for example, markets take less than six months to recover.

A recession, which something as serious as the coronavirus can cause, takes longer. Recessions tend to last about 13 months and take another 22 months to recover. The Great Recession and the burst of the dot.com bubble are outliers — it took six and eight years, respectively to recover from those. It’s worth noting that while economists are discussing the idea that Covid-19 will slow global economic growth, talk of it triggering a global recession are still whispers.

Ali Velshi is a business correspondent for NBC News and an MSNBC anchor.

939d ago / 11:04 AM UTC

Tourists in face masks walk through an unusually empty Grand Palace in Bangkok

Image: Tourists, wearing facemasks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, walk through an unusually empty Grand Palace in Bangkok
Tourists, wearing facemasks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, walk through an unusually empty Grand Palace in Bangkok on Monday.Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP - Getty Images
939d ago / 10:23 AM UTC
939d ago / 10:02 AM UTC

Amazon employees in Milan quarantined after testing positive for coronavirus

Amazon said it was "supporting" two employees in Milan, Italy, who tested positive for coronavirus. 

“We’re supporting the affected employees who were in Milan and are now in quarantine,” a company spokesperson told NBC News in a statement. 

The company told its workers Friday to defer all non-essential travel within the United States and beyond.

The United States on Saturday hiked its travel advisory and urged U.S. citizens not to travel to the Veneto and Lombardy regions in the north of Italy because of the coronavirus outbreak there. Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe, has so far reported 1,694 coronavirus cases and 34 people have died.

939d ago / 9:28 AM UTC

Number of confirmed cases in mainland China tops 80,000

and

The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in mainland China climbed over 80,000 as of Sunday. 

Officials with China’s National Health Commission reported 202 new confirmed cases, sharply down from 573 new cases the day before. That is the lowest number of daily new cases since January 23, the day when emergency measures —  including placing entire cities in lockdown — were introduced.

They also reported 42 new deaths, compared to 35 new deaths the day before. 

That brings the total death toll of the epidemic in mainland China to 2,912, most of them in the Hubei province that was hardest hit by the outbreak. 

939d ago / 8:57 AM UTC

Murder probe sought for South Korea sect at center of coronavirus outbreak

and

The mayor of Seoul has asked for a murder investigation into leaders of a Christian sect at the center of the country’s deadly coronavirus outbreak.

A large majority of the more than 4,000 confirmed cases of the South Korean outbreak, the largest outside China, have been linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a secretive movement that reveres founder Lee Man-hee.

Seoul’s city government said Sunday it had filed a criminal complaint, asking for an investigation of Lee and 12 others on charges of murder, injury and violation of prevention and management of infectious diseases. 

"Lee Man Hee, the chairman, and the rest of the accused not only evaded the test and are in hiding but are not taking any measures to get their sect members to actively work with the health authorities to prevent further spreading of COVID-19,” Park Won-soon, mayor of the capital Seoul, said in a Facebook post Sunday. 

Park said if Lee and other leaders of the church had cooperated, effective preventive measures could have saved those who later died of the virus.

More than 4,200 cases have been reported in South Korea as of Monday, with 22 deaths.

In a press conference Monday, Lee said that he took the test for the novel coronavirus and was told the result was negative. 

Many have blamed the church’s secretive nature and tightly packed conditions at services for the large number of cases linked to it.

939d ago / 7:15 AM UTC

How to wash your hands properly, according to doctors

Hand-washing is the easiest way to prevent the spread the coronavirus and the common flu. Believe it or not, there’s a right way to wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) breaks it down into these five steps:

  1. Wet your hands (to the wrist) with clean, running water (the temperature doesn’t matter). Turn off the tap, and apply a good amount of soap.
  2. Lather up the soap by rubbing your hands together. Don’t forget to spread that lather to the backs of your hands up to your wrists, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Both doctors recommend humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning-to-end twice to get the timing right. “Before surgery, surgeons have to stand at the scrub sink for 5 full minutes, and use an under-the-nail brush, and a very strong soap with a scrub brush on each finger, both sides of their hands, and scrub all the way up to their elbows. No one expects the rest of us to scrub as much, but that gives you an idea of what is needed to really kill most germs,” Laird says.
  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean paper towel (best bet), hand dryer (OK), or let them air dry (in a pinch).

Read more about when to wash your hands.

940d ago / 4:28 AM UTC

France closes the Louvre as virus spreads

In Paris, the Louvre Museum closed its doors Sunday as coronavirus continue to spread globally.

Workers who guard the museum's trove of artworks were fearful of being contaminated by the museum's flow of visitors from around the world.

“We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere,” said Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative for its staffers.

“The risk is very, very, very great," he said in a phone interview. While there are no known virus infections among the museum's 2,300 workers, “it’s only a question of time,” he said.

A short statement from the Louvre said a staff meeting about virus prevention efforts stopped the museum from opening as scheduled Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon, would-be visitors were still waiting to get inside.

940d ago / 3:34 AM UTC

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares health emergency after two coronavirus cases

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency Sunday after officials reported two presumptive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The cases must still be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but DeSantis said the declaration was necessary to control the virus.

He said the patients are residents of Manatee and Hillsborough counties on the Gulf Coast.

Both adults are isolated and being cared for, the state Health Department said. Additional information was not immediately available.

940d ago / 3:11 AM UTC

Dominican Republic, France report Caribbean virus cases

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Health officials in the Dominican Republic and France on Sunday reported the first confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the tourist-rich Caribbean, while British cruise ship passengers who had been trapped at sea due to virus fears were finally set to come home.

Dominican Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas said a 62-year-old Italian man had arrived in the country on Feb. 22 without showing symptoms. He was being treated in isolation at a military hospital and “has not shown serious complications.”

France, meanwhile, reported three cases on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, the first in one of France's overseas territories.

The announcements came shortly before the Braemar cruise ship, which had been denied entry to the Dominican Republic due to the virus fears, at last found a place to dock — the Dutch territory of St. Maarten.

940d ago / 2:39 AM UTC
940d ago / 2:37 AM UTC

2nd person dies in Washington state from coronavirus

A second person has died in Washington state from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, health officials said Sunday.

The man, who was in his 70s, had underlying health conditions, they said.

The announcement came one day after officials said a man in his 50s in Kirkland, east of Seattle, died after contracting the disease through community spread, the term used when there is no known source of transmission.

Officials also confirmed three new cases, those of two women in their 80s and 90s and a man in his 70s, who were in critical condition.

The latest cases raised the number of COVID-19 patients in King County to 10.

940d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

First coronavirus case reported in New York state

New York state reported its first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, saying Sunday that a woman is quarantined in Manhattan after contracting the virus during a recent trip to Iran.

In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the woman, who is in her late 30s, is isolated in her home with respiratory symptoms that are "not serious." He added that she has been in a "controlled situation" since arriving in New York.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio later said the woman is in isolation in Manhattan.

Her test results were confirmed by a public laboratory in Albany, Cuomo said. 

"There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York," he said. "We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available."

940d ago / 1:08 AM UTC

Three more people diagnosed with coronavirus in Northern California

Three more people were diagnosed with novel coronavirus in Northern California, raising the number of confirmed cases in Santa Clara County to seven, public health officials said Sunday.

It wasn't immediately clear how one of the patients contracted the virus. The county Health Department described the person as a woman with a chronic health condition.

A couple with chronic health conditions who had recently traveled to Egypt also tested positive for the virus and are now hospitalized.

The county's Health Department announced a case of possible “community spread” on Friday — the patient hadn't traveled to China nor knowingly been in contact with others who have the virus.

Santa Clara County is about 50 miles southeast of San Francisco.

940d ago / 1:02 AM UTC

Dow futures drop more than 200 points, indicating another rough week for Wall Street

Investors braced for another turbulent week as stock futures tumbled Sunday night as concerns around the coronavirus kept Wall Street under pressure.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped more than 300 points, indicating a loss of 342 points at Monday’s open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Dow futures briefly fell more than 500 points earlier.

The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all fell more than 10 percent last week, their biggest weekly declines since October 2008.They also entered correction territory, down more than 10 percent from all-time highs notched earlier in February.

Those declines came after a sharp increase in coronavirus cases outside of China. The number of cases continued to increase over the weekend, including in the U.S.

Read the full story here. 

940d ago / 11:50 PM UTC

Two new coronavirus cases in California health care workers

Two health care workers in Northern California have tested positive for the coronavirus: one each in Alameda and Solano counties.

Both individuals had exposure to a woman who tested positive Wednesday and is currently hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center. That woman was the first reported case of community spread in the U.S.

The two health care workers are from NorthBay VacaValley Hospital. Both are in isolation at home. 

The two cases are presumptive positives, meaning they are waiting on confirmatory testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

940d ago / 10:14 PM UTC

High school student in Washington didn’t know he was tested for coronavirus

The Washington state high school student with coronavirus didn’t know he was being tested for the illness, Snohomish Health District said in a press release Saturday.

The student started feeling sick on Monday, and eventually went to a clinic and got a flu test, which came back negative. 

Unbeknownst to him and his family, a sample from the clinic was passed along to Seattle Children’s, which, as part of an ongoing study, tested it for a number of pathogens, including the coronavirus.

The student stayed home from school until he had been fever-free for 48 hours. He had returned to campus “for approximately 5 minutes” on Friday when he received a call to come home immediately. His family “did all the right things,” the press release said. 

940d ago / 9:29 PM UTC

Czech Republic confirms first three cases of coronavirus

The Czech Republic has confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus, with all the patients having traveled from northern Italy, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Sunday.

Health officials said the patients — two Czechs and an American student who studied in Milan — showed mild symptoms. Two were in Prague and the third in the city of Usti nad Labem, 56 miles north of the capital.

Vojtech warned against unnecessary travel to regions in northern Italy that have seen the highest number of cases in Europe.

"We ask everyone to very seriously consider not traveling to those (affected) regions for holiday or ski trips unless necessary, because the danger exists," Vojtech told a televised news briefing.

The Czech Republic is the first of its central European neighbors to report coronavirus cases.

Image: Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech arrives for a press conference in Prague on March 1, 2020. The Czech Republic has confirmed three cases of coronavirus.
Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech arrives for a press conference in Prague on March 1, 2020. The Czech Republic has confirmed three cases of coronavirus.Roman Vondrous / AP
940d ago / 9:06 PM UTC

Scotland reports first case of coronavirus

Image: A clinical support technician extracts viruses from swab samples in a coronavirus testing laboratory at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland on Feb. 29, 2020.
A clinical support technician extracts viruses from swab samples in a coronavirus testing laboratory at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland on Feb. 29, 2020.Jane Barlow / WPA Pool / Getty Images file

Scotland reported its first case of coronavirus on Sunday after a resident in the country’s Tayside region tested positive, officials said.

In a statement, Scotland's government said the patient had recently traveled to Northern Italy, a region that has been hit hard by the virus. The country has reported more than 1,100 confirmed cases and 29 deaths.

The Scottish resident was isolated and began receiving treatment while investigators worked to trace their contacts, the statement said. Additional information about the patient's condition wasn't immediately available.

Sunday’s test result was sent to a public health lab in England for additional confirmation.

940d ago / 7:28 PM UTC

Democrats, Trump officials clash over coronavirus response

Top White House officials and Democrats offered conflicting comments on Sunday over the administration's response to coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday defended the administration's handling of the outbreak and accused Democrats of politicizing the outbreak. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., blasted Trump for rallying supporters in South Carolina as his administration is faced with the coronavirus crisis.

"How pathetic it is that in the midst of an international health care crisis, you got a president running into South Carolina trying to steal some media attention away from Democrats," Sanders said.

Read the full story here.

940d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

Iran deploys thousands of teams to identify infected people, cancels recreational sports

940d ago / 7:02 PM UTC
Image: Medical staff wave to a former patient who recovered from coronavirus at the makeshift Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China, on March 1, 2020.
Medical staff wave to a former patient who recovered from coronavirus at the makeshift Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China, on March 1, 2020.AFP - Getty Images
940d ago / 6:57 PM UTC

2 more confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington state

Two Washington state residents are in critical condition with confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to public health officials. 

Both men are King County residents in their 60s and had underlying health conditions, Seattle and King County Public Health announced Sunday. The two cases, which were confirmed by state lab testing, have brought the number of cases in Washington up to six. 

A Washington man in his 50s — also with underlying health issues — became the first person in the U.S. to die of COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, officials said Saturday.

940d ago / 6:06 PM UTC

Chuck Todd grills Pence on GOP rhetoric around coronavirus

940d ago / 5:57 PM UTC

2 people in New York City being tested for coronavirus

940d ago / 5:52 PM UTC

Delta suspends flights to Milan until May

Image: A woman wearing a protective mask poses outside the Duomo in Milan on Feb. 28, 2020.
A woman wearing a protective mask poses outside the Duomo in Milan on Feb. 28, 2020.Luca Bruno / AP

Delta Airlines announced Sunday that it would be temporarily suspending service from New York City to Milan, Italy, amid heightened coronavirus concerns. 

The last of Delta's daily flights between John F. Kennedy Airport and Milan will depart Monday as the airline said it would be suspending the service until at least the first of May. Delta said that it has already put in place several strategies in response to the outbreak as it works alongside health officials. 

Italy has more than 1,000 confirmed cases of the disease and at least 29 deaths as of Sunday. 

940d ago / 5:08 PM UTC

'This dystopian look': Face masks enter mainstream amid coronavirus worries

People around the world have been given plenty of reasons in the past couple of years to cover up with face masks. In November, India handed out millions of them at schools due to toxic air pollution in the nation’s capital. Hong Kong put in place a ban on masks, which protesters used to counter facial recognition technology.

And most recently, the spread of the new coronavirus has sparked a run on surgical masks, despite their shortcomings in stopping the virus.

“It’s a trend,” one NYU freshman said. “Somehow it makes you look a bit better.”

Read the full story here.

Image: People are increasingly wearing face masks, whether to protect themselves from pollution, viruses, or facial recognition software -- or to follow a trend.
People are increasingly wearing face masks, whether to protect themselves from pollution, viruses, or facial recognition software -- or to follow a trend.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News
940d ago / 4:49 PM UTC

'SNL' takes on coronavirus and the Democratic presidential candidates

As fears of coronavirus spread, "Saturday Night Live" lightened the moment by imagining what would happen if Democratic candidates for president elbowed into the leadership spotlight during a White House news conference.

It started with Vice President Mike Pence, played by Beck Bennett, speaking about how President Donald Trump's administration, with him in charge of managing the crisis, is tackling the situation.

"We’ve assembled a very experienced team of some of the best people left in government," he says.

Read the full story here.

We apologize, this video has expired.
940d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

Rhode Island announces two presumptive positive coronavirus cases

Two presumptive positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Rhode Island, state officials said Sunday. 

A resident in his 40s tested positive after traveling to Italy in mid-February, according to the state Health Department. The case still needs to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the person is being treated at a hospital under infection control protocols.

A teenager who also traveled to Europe tested positive and is at home with mild symptoms, the Health Department said. A woman in her 30s who has mild symptoms and was on the trip is also being tested.

The department said the 38 people who traveled to Italy with Saint Raphael Academy were told to stay home and self-monitor for two weeks.

"We are not seeing widespread community transmission in Rhode Island, and the general level of risk for Rhode Islanders is still low," said Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the department's director of health.

940d ago / 4:02 PM UTC

Family of infected Washington student releases statement

The family of the high school student in Snohomish County, Washington who tested positive for coronavirus shared a statement Saturday through the local health district

"Our child became ill with flu-like symptoms on Monday morning. We took the necessary steps to have him seen by medical professionals and to be tested for the flu. We didn’t learn of the testing of COVID-19 until Friday morning, after our now symptom-free child left for school. He promptly returned home before school started."

"We are taking this situation very seriously. Please know that we have been following all guidance and instructions from both the healthcare providers that treated our son, as well the Snohomish Health District. We understand the concerns and anxiety raised, but we ask that the community and media please respect our family’s privacy."

940d ago / 4:00 PM UTC
Image: A tourist looks out from a window at the locked down H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel after a guest tested positive for coronavirus on Feb. 29, 2020.
A tourist looks out from a window at the locked down H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, after a guest tested positive for coronavirus on Feb. 29, 2020.Borja Suarez / Reuters
940d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

Paris' landmark Louvre closes for staff meeting on coronavirus

Art lovers were locked out of Paris's famous Louvre on Sunday as staff at the world’s most-visited museum held a meeting about the coronavirus outbreak.

Long lines of disgruntled tourists snaked outside the museum which is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa portrait and the Venus de Milo sculpture.

A spokeswoman said the museum in central Paris was expected to open after the meeting between management, personnel and the staff doctor.

She added museums were not covered by government orders to cancel and until further notice, all public gatherings indoors or in confined spaces with more than 5,000 people.

The government issued the orders on Saturday in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, which has been confirmed in 100 cases in the country so far. 

940d ago / 1:27 PM UTC

Italian national tests positive for coronavirus at locked down Tenerife hotel

An Italian national staying at a hotel in Tenerife which has been placed on lockdown after four cases of the coronavirus were detected has tested positive for the virus, regional health authorities have confirmed.

The Italian national, part of the same group as the four original cases at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel, has been in isolation in a hotel room since Feb. 24 and will be taken to the hospital, the Canary Islands' regional health authorities said Saturday, adding the Italian was "in good state of health".

It brings the total number of active cases in the Canary Islands to six - five in Tenerife and one in La Gomera.

On Saturday, the fifth day of the hotel's lockdown, some of the 130 guests who had been cleared to leave on Friday were seen exiting its grounds with suitcases.

More than 700 tourists remain inside waiting out a 14-day isolation period imposed on Wednesday.

940d ago / 12:45 PM UTC

Democratic candidates criticize Trump's coronavirus 'hoax' claim

Democratic presidential candidates have critcized President Donald Trump's claim that the coronavirus is the Democrats' "new hoax."

They called the charge "dangerous" and "disturbing" — while Trump complained again they are making political hay of the outbreak.

Trump made the assertion during a rally in South Carolina Friday night. He told the crowd Democrats have been "politicizing" the outbreak. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden told MSNBC earlier Saturday that Trump's rally comments were "absolutely bizarre."

"Look, this is a serious, serious problem. It's able to be solved, but it requires us to be absolutely level-headed and let the scientists have the lead in all of this," Biden said. "But for him to start talking about it being a hoax is absolutely dangerous. It's just not a decent way to act."

Echoing his complaint, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, told the "TODAY" Saturday that he's "very concerned" with how the administration has handled the issue to date.

940d ago / 11:56 AM UTC

Number of cases in Iran nears 1,000

Iran's health ministry said the number of confirmed cases reached nearly 1,000 Sunday. 

Iranian Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoosh Jahanpour said on Iranian state television 987 people have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and 54 people have died.

Only China, where the outbreak originated, has recorded more deaths.  

Along with South Korea and Italy, Iran is one of the coronavirus epidemic hotspots outside of China.

940d ago / 11:04 AM UTC

Churches closed in South Korea as coronavirus tally tops 3,700

Churches were closed in South Korea on Sunday with many holding online services instead as authorities fought to rein in public gatherings, with 586 new infections taking the tally to 3,736 cases.

That came a day after the biggest daily jump of 813 cases in South Korea's battle with the largest virus outbreak outside China, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said. The death toll rose to 18.

In Seoul, the capital, about a dozen worshippers were turned away from the Yoido Full Gospel Church, which put a sermon for its 560,000 followers on YouTube, filmed with a small choir instead of all 200 members and 60-strong orchestra.

"I had heard there would be no service, but just came to check as I live nearby, but yes, it is so empty," said one of them, Song Young-koo, as he left South Korea's biggest church. "It's a wise decision to do it online, since the virus would easily spread at mass gatherings and churches can be no exception."

940d ago / 10:41 AM UTC

U.K. PM Boris Johnson to chair emergency response committee about epidemic

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the government's emergency response committee on Monday, signaling a stepping up of Britain's preparation for COVID-19. 

Describing the outbreak as a "very, very significant challenge," the U.K.'s Health Minister Matt Hancock, admitted that the country was planning for the epidemic to get worse.   

"We've got a clear strategy for dealing with coronavirus — a very, very significant challenge," he told British broadcaster Sky News. "We're also planning in case this gets worse, much worse."

940d ago / 10:09 AM UTC

Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Japan could be delayed until autumn

Tokyo and Beijing are leaning towards delaying Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Japan, originally planned for early April, as the neighbours battle a coronavirus outbreak, Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported Sunday.

Citing diplomatic sources in both countries, the paper said the visit was likely to be postponed until autumn or later.

However, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a news conference Saturday, that preparations for Xi's visit were going ahead.

940d ago / 10:02 AM UTC

First case of coronavirus confirmed in Republic of Ireland

and

The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday, health officials in the country said. 

The case is associated with travel from an affected area in northern Italy, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) said in a statement, which noted that the patient is receiving appropriate medical care.

It added that it was working to identify anyone the patient had contact with to provide them with information and advice on how to prevent further spread of the virus. 

940d ago / 9:53 AM UTC

Husband of British woman jailed in Iran says she may have coronavirus

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British Iranian mother who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016, may have contracted coronavirus, her husband said. 

Richard Ratcliffe said in a statement issued by the Free Nazanin Campaign that Tehran's Evin Prison, where she is detained, has repeatedly refused to test her for the respiratory illness following a "strange cold" that has not improved in more than five days. 

"For a long time this has not felt like a normal cold," he said. "These symptoms have lasted almost a week. I know I need to get medicine to get better. This does not go away magically."

Ratcliffe also called on the British government to insist his wife was tested for the virus and has asked U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ensure British Iranians held in the prison are diplomatically protected.

941d ago / 5:09 AM UTC

Baby, 6 weeks old, tests positive for coronavirus in South Korea

A baby born Jan. 15 has tested positive for coronavirus in South Korea, making him perhaps the youngest patient to be infected with the disease.

Both of his parents also tested positive for coronavirus, the infection that causes COVID-19.  

The baby and his mother are in stable condition, South Korean public health officials said. The two have been quarantined in their home instead of being hospitalized because of the baby's age.

The father's condition was not immediately clear. 

Based on a small study of women in China that was published in early February, there is currently no evidence the virus is transmitted before birth from a mother who was infected late in pregnancy. 

941d ago / 4:14 AM UTC

Australian passenger from Diamond Princess cruise dies

Image: FILE PHOTO : A bus arrives near the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where dozens of passengers were tested positive for coronavirus, at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama
A bus arrives near the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, on Feb. 16, 2020.Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters file

An Australian man who traveled aboard the ill-fated Diamond Princess cruise ship died from COVID-19 this weekend in the city of Perth, the Australian government said.

The Diamond Princess carried 3,700 passengers and crew before a quarantine began in early February off the coast of Japan. At least 621 people tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, including 10 Australians. Six other passengers have died from the virus.

Nine of the Australian patients will return to their home states for medical treatment, according to Australian public health officials.

Australia currently has 26 confirmed cases of coronavirus throughout the country. 

941d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

Washington state firefighters quarantined 'out of an abundance of caution'

Washington state firefighters who came into contact with coronavirus patients have been quarantined "out of an abundance of caution," a local official said Saturday. They will remain isolated for two weeks.

Seven members of the Redmond Fire Department in King County have been removed from service, according to public health officials. Six are quarantined at home and one other at a secured facility. 

In neighboring Kirkland, also in King County, firefighters who responded to an outbreak at a nursing home are being quarantined either at home or at a facility. At least 27 patients and 25 staff members at the Life Care Center have symptoms associated with COVID-19, according to local health officials. 

Kirkland officials did not say how many firefighters there are being quarantined.

Earlier on Saturday, a man in his 50s with underlying health problems died from the virus. There was no evidence he contracted the virus through travel. 

941d ago / 2:08 AM UTC

Illinois county confirms new patient with coronavirus

The second largest county in the U.S. is reporting its third case of coronavirus. 

Officials in Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, said on Saturday that the patient has been hospitalized and is in isolation. State and local public health officials are calling it a presumptive case of coronavirus until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm lab results. 

Health officials also said they are working to determine who the patient came in contact with and will actively monitor those people to prevent further transmission. The state will request that the CDC deploy a team to support these efforts.

In January, a husband and wife in Chicago were diagnosed with coronavirus. The wife had recently traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, to care for her father. Both patients made a full recovery.

941d ago / 2:07 AM UTC

More than 1,000 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours reported outside of China

Fueled by hundreds of new cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran, more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported outside of mainland China in the last 24 hours, according to an NBC News analysis of information from the World Health Organization, state government leaders and health officials. This is the greatest single-day increase in confirmed cases outside of China since the coronavirus first surfaced. 

While mainland China reported 573 new cases in the last day, approximately 1,500 new cases were reported in the rest of the world. Also, 61 deaths and nearly 3,000 recoveries were reported, bringing the total fatalities to 2,973 and total recoveries to more than 41,000.

941d ago / 1:38 AM UTC
Image: Washington State Health Officials Give Update On Coronavirus Cases In Seattle Area, After First Death Reported
Healthcare workers transport a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance at Life Care Center of Kirkland in Kirkland, Washington. Dozens of staff and residents at Life Care Center of Kirkland are reportedly exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms, with two confirmed cases associated with the nursing facility reported so far.David Ryder / Getty Images
941d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

'It's all hands on deck:' Pence on U.S. response to coronavirus threat

Vice President Mike Pence says that when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus in the United States, "it's all hands on deck."

In an interview airing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Pence said federal agencies were "leaning into" President Donald Trump's directives to "mitigate" the virus' impact on U.S. soil, which includes expanding travel restrictions outside the country.

Watch "Meet the Press with Chuck Todd" Sunday at 9 a.m. ET or check local listings.

On Saturday, Trump and Pence announced additional travel restrictions involving Iran and increased warnings about travel to areas of Italy and South Korea hit by coronavirus. Travel from China to the U.S. has already been restricted. 

"The president’s concern is the health and safety of the American people," Pence said on "Meet the Press." 

When asked whether the White House is worried about potential economic fallout from coronavirus, Pence said the economy "will come back." He also said the president will respect any local or state decisions to close schools if they find it necessary.

"We’re going to focus on the health of the American people," he said.

941d ago / 12:40 AM UTC

Northern California county confirms 4th case of coronavirus

Health officials in Santa Clara County, California, on Saturday confirmed a fourth case of coronavirus.

The patient is an adult woman who is "not ill" and has not been hospitalized, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department said. She was described by officials as a "household contact" of the third case in Santa Clara.  

The third case was described last week by public health officials as an older woman with chronic health issues. She had not traveled out of the country nor come into close contact with a known carrier of the virus.

Santa Clara County officials said in a statement that they are bracing for more cases and are preparing for "community spread," a term used when someone is infected but the source is unknown.

941d ago / 12:31 AM UTC
941d ago / 11:58 PM UTC

U.S. lawmakers demand federal briefing on whistleblower complaint

Three California congressmen who represent districts with military bases that received evacuees from China said Saturday that federal health officials failed to provide a "timely briefing" on their response to coronavirus. 

U.S. Reps. Mark Takano, John Garamendi and Scott Peters, all Democrats, said senior officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not provide sufficient information following a whistleblower complaint alleging improper training and a lack of safety equipment for HHS workers who handled Americans returning from China.

Takano, Garamendi and Peters are asking federal health officials to provide an updated briefing on how they plan to address the growing coronavirus threat in the United States.

"As the representatives of military bases and communities that housed repatriated Americans and given the threat that these serious allegations may pose to public health, we need answers," the representatives said in a statement. "We called for this briefing because during these difficult times, our constituents and the American people deserve a proactive, level-headed response and honesty from the federal government."

HHS officials said in an emailed statement the agency is taking the whistleblower complaint seriously and will offer testing to any staff members from the department's Administration for Children and Families, which participated in repatriation efforts at the military bases, concerned about exposure to coronavirus.

"This is an intensive process involving significant fact gathering," an HHS spokesperson said in reference to the whistleblower's complaint. "We understand Congress’s desire for information and, for that reason and others, HHS is handling this situation with grave urgency. HHS will fully brief Congress and the public when it has completed its investigation."

941d ago / 11:16 PM UTC

'Fight the virus not the people:' Demonstrators march against racism in San Francisco's Chinatown

Hundreds of people gathered in San Francisco's Chinatown on Saturday to march against xenophobia caused by fears of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Demonstrators carried signs that read "Chinatown open for business" and "United we stand together."

California Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, tweeted a photo of the gathering, calling coronavirus a "serious public threat" and "not an invitation to racial stereotyping." 

"Fight the virus not the people," he tweeted. 

In Los Angeles, a group representing Koreatown restaurants said business in general was down about 50 percent in the last week after rumors spread that a Korean Air flight attendant with coronavirus had dined in the neighborhood, NBC Los Angeles reported.

As a result, patrons canceled reservations at some restaurants and others called to check whether it was safe to visit the normally bustling area. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced Friday that the flight attendant did not have symptoms while in L.A. and did not pose any risk to the general public.

941d ago / 11:06 PM UTC
941d ago / 11:00 PM UTC

Washington state testing over 50 people for coronavirus

Washington state is currently testing more than 50 people for coronavirus who may have been infected in an outbreak linked to a nursing facility in Kirkland.

Two people linked to the facility, LifeCare, have tested positive: a health care worker in her 40s and a resident of the facility in her 70s.

Test results could come back as early as Saturday afternoon and additional positive cases are expected.

941d ago / 10:42 PM UTC
941d ago / 10:37 PM UTC

Pence touts 'productive' coronavirus meeting after additional travel restrictions announced

941d ago / 10:33 PM UTC
Image: Harborview Medical Center?EUR(TM)s home assessment team carry protective and testing supplies while preparing to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to novel coronavirus at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle
Harborview Medical Center's home assessment team carry protective and testing supplies while preparing to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to novel coronavirus at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Feb. 29, 2020.David Ryder / Reuters
941d ago / 10:30 PM UTC

UConn cancels official travel to Italy, urges study-abroad students to return to U.S.

The University of Connecticut said Saturday it was canceling all official travel to Italy and urged students already in the country for the university's study-abroad program to return to the United States as soon as possible. 

More than 300 students at UConn participate in overseas academic programs in 29 nations, including 88 in Italy.

The school said its decision to have students return to the U.S. is due to circumstances surrounding coronavirus and comes after the CDC issued new guidance Friday evening. 

"To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the State of Connecticut or at UConn," the university said in a press release. 

The university had already decided to cancel all official travel to China and South Korea.

941d ago / 10:26 PM UTC

China reports plunge in manufacturing activity

Factory activity in China contracted at the fastest pace on record in February, highlighting the damage from the coronavirus outbreak on the world’s second-largest economy, CNBC reported.

China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a record low of 35.7 in February from 50.0 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, well below the 50-point mark that separates monthly growth from contraction.

The somber readings provide the first official snapshot of the state of the Chinese economy since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic.

941d ago / 10:23 PM UTC
941d ago / 10:05 PM UTC

22 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the U.S.

A total of 22 cases of the new coronavirus have been diagnosed in the U.S., the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said Saturday. This does not include individuals who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship or Wuhan, China. 

At least four of the 22 cases are the result of community spread, which means that exact source of exposure is unclear. Community spread can occur when an infected individual has mild symptoms and does not realize that they are sick. 

At least nine patients have recovered, including patients in California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois and Wisconsin. 

During a press briefing Saturday, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Alex Azar said that most cases are mild to moderate and do not require hospitalization. For example, one of the most recently diagnosed patients, a woman who had traveled from South Korea to Washington, is at home and has not required hospitalization.

941d ago / 9:21 PM UTC

How long does the new coronavirus remain active on surfaces?

As a new coronavirus spreads quickly around the world, U.S. health officials say they are "aggressively" assessing how long it can survive on surfaces to better understand the risk of transmission.

Based on what is known about similar coronaviruses, disease experts say the COVID-19 virus is mainly spread  through coughing or sneezing. Contact with fecal matter from an infected person may also transmit the virus.

The CDC says it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

An analysis of earlier studies of similar coronaviruses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, concluded that human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days at room temperature.

However, they can quickly be rendered inactive using common disinfectants, and may also dissipate at higher temperatures, the authors wrote. It is not yet clear, however, whether the new coronavirus behaves in a similar way.

941d ago / 9:00 PM UTC

Washington's governor declares state of emergency after coronavirus death

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency to direct agencies to use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to and outbreak after the nation's first death from coronavirus illness COVID-19 occurred in the state.

“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said in a statement. “This is a time to take commonsense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state."

941d ago / 8:03 PM UTC

Trump announces additional travel restrictions and warnings

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday announced additional travel restrictions involving Iran and increased warnings about travel to Italy and South Korea to combat the coronavirus.

The announcement at a White House press conference came after health officials in Washington state announced the first death in the U.S. from COVID-19.

Travel from China to the U.S. has already been restricted and Trump said he was also looking at restrictions on entry from America's southern border.

941d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

First coronavirus death in U.S. occurs in Washington state

Health officials in Washington state said on Saturday a coronavirus patient has died.

The death is the first from coronavirus illness COVID-19 in the United States.

Read the full story here.

941d ago / 6:28 PM UTC

To speed up coronavirus testing the FDA will allow use of labs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday said it will allow laboratories to immediately use tests they have developed and validated to achieve more rapid testing capacity for the coronavirus.

“Under this policy, we expect certain laboratories who develop validated tests for coronavirus would begin using them right away prior to FDA review,” Jeff Shuren, the director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

941d ago / 5:28 PM UTC

Trump to hold 1:30 p.m. press conference on coronavirus

President Donald Trump announced he will be holding the press conference from the White House. You can watch the livestream at nbcnews.com 

941d ago / 4:06 PM UTC

Ecuador announces its first coronavirus case

Ecuador's Health Ministry said Saturday morning that it has confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus.

Minister of Public Health Catalina Andramuño said at a press conference in Spanish that an Ecuadorian citizen who resides in Spain arrived in Ecuador on Feb. 14 without showing any symptoms.

After the woman started feeling "general discomfort" and other symptoms days later, "the appropriate tests for virus and respiratory conditions" were conducted, said Andramuño.

"The coronavirus test came back positive," she said.

The woman is currently in intensive care at a hospital designated to treat coronavirus cases, Andramuño said, adding that the patient is an older person with "other persistent health conditions."

941d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

Factory workers in China produce hazardous material suits

The Zhejiang Ugly Duck Industry garment factory in Wenzhou had to stop its production of winter coats due to the coronavirus and instead began making hazardous material suits.

Image: Sewing factory
Workers sewing at a factory making hazardous material suits to be used in the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, at the Zhejiang Ugly Duck Industry garment factory in Wenzhou on Feb. 28, 2020.Noel Celis / AFP - Getty Images
941d ago / 3:50 PM UTC

France bans large gatherings to slow spread of coronavirus

The French government on Saturday said it is banning public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, an announcement that comes as the country reports 16 new cases.

“All public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in a confined space are temporarily banned across France,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told journalists Saturday.

He also said that the number of confirmed cases had risen to 73 and that there had been no new deaths.

941d ago / 3:29 PM UTC

UK cases of coronavirus climb to 23

The British Department of Health said the number of coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom had risen to 23, as of Saturday at 9 a.m. 

More than 10,480 people in the county have been tested for the virus, with 10,460 of them confirmed as negative, according to the agency. 

941d ago / 2:51 PM UTC

Iran's coronavirus death toll rises to 43, the highest outside of China

and

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 43, a spokesman for the country's Health Ministry, told state TV on Saturday, adding that the number of infected people across the country has reached 593.

“Unfortunately nine people died of the virus in the last 24 hours. The death toll is 43 now. The new confirmed infected cases since yesterday is 205 that makes the total number of confirmed infected people 593,” said Kianush Jahanpur.

Iran, which has the highest death toll outside China, has ordered the shutting of schools until Tuesday and the government has extended the closure of universities and a ban on concerts and sports events for a week.

941d ago / 10:49 AM UTC

Kim Jong Un says there will be 'serious consequences' if coronavirus spreads in North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for stronger anti-virus efforts to guard against COVID-19, saying there will be "serious consequences" if the illness spreads to the country.

During a ruling party meeting, Kim called for the country's anti-epidemic headquarters to strengthen screening and tests to seal off all "channels and space through which the infectious disease may find its way," Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, said Saturday.

Kim emphasized that all fields and units of the country should "unconditionally" obey quarantine instructions laid-out by the anti-epidemic headquarters and he called for the strict enforcement of preventive measures against what he described as a tricky virus that spreads rapidly.

"In case the infectious disease spreading beyond control finds its way into our country, it will entail serious consequences," KCNA quoted Kim as saying during the politburo meeting of the Workers' Party.

The North has yet to report its first infection from the new coronavirus, but it has been pushing a tough campaign it has described as a matter of "national existence."

The country has shut down nearly all cross-border traffic, banned tourists, intensified screening at entry points and mobilized tens of thousands of health workers to monitor residents and isolate those with symptoms.

941d ago / 9:12 AM UTC

Kuwait urges citizens to avoid traveling

Kuwait has urged its citizens to avoid traveling over concerns of coronavirus contamination, a health ministry official told a media conference Saturday.

The Gulf state has not registered any new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, she said.

The total number of people infected with the disease in Kuwait is 45, the health ministry said on Friday. No deaths have been reported there. 

941d ago / 8:24 AM UTC

South Korea urges people to stay indoors after biggest daily spike in cases

South Korea urged citizens on Saturday to stay indoors as it warned of a "critical moment" in its battle on the coronavirus after recording the biggest daily jump in infections, with 885 new cases taking the tally to 3,150.

The country is grappling with the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, as a new death took the toll to 17, amid a record daily increase in infections since the country confirmed its first patient on Jan. 20.

"We have asked you to refrain from taking part in public events, including a religious gathering or protest, this weekend," Vice health minister Kim Kang-lip told a briefing.

It was a "critical moment" in reining in the spread of the virus, he said, adding: "Please stay at home and refrain from going outside and minimize contact with other people."

As many as 476 of the new cases were from southeastern Daegu city, the site of a church at the center of the outbreak, and 60 from the nearby province of North Gyeongsang, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Health authorities have run tests on more than 210,000 members and 65,000 trainees of the church linked to a majority of cases after a 61-year-old woman known as "Patient 31" attended religious services there before testing positive.

More than 88 per cent have been checked, and about 3,300 have shown symptoms such as fever, Kim added.

942d ago / 5:52 AM UTC

California town wins fight to keep out coronavirus patients from cruise ship

The federal government said it has canceled plans to use an empty Orange County, California, building to house 35 or more Golden State coronavirus patients who were evacuated from the virus-plagued Diamond Princess cruise ship in Asia.

A government filing Friday sought to halt a court challenge by the city of Costa Mesa, which argued that safeguards for locals weren't considered in the transfer of patients from Northern California's Travis Air Force Base to the state-owned Fairview Development Center, a defunct assisted living center in the center of town.

Read the full story here. 

942d ago / 4:48 AM UTC

2 new presumptive cases reported in Washington state, including high school student

Washington state health officials on Friday announced two new preliminary positive cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19, including a high school student with no known travel history or exposure to known infected people.

The cases are being classified as presumptively positive because the tests have come back locally as positive but are pending confirmation from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing, said Dr. Kathy Lofy, health officer for the Washington State Department of Health.

A high school student in Snohomish County became ill Monday with fever, body aches and a headache and was seen at two clinics, Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said.

The student was feeling better and attempted to return to school Friday morning, but a local test result came back with a preliminary positive result. The student returned home before attending class, he said. The student is in home isolation and is doing well.

The last time the student was in class was before any symptoms. A small number of students had contact with the individual and will remain at home for 14 days and be monitored for symptoms, Spitters said. The school campus will be sanitized and closed Monday, and people at the clinics are being notified. Spitters urged people to remain calm and stay informed.

The second new case was a woman in King County in her 50s who had recently visited South Korea, returned to Seattle, went to work Tuesday and had symptoms, Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County said. The local test was done Thursday and came back Friday as preliminary positive.

The woman never needed medical care and took care of herself at home and is recovering, Duchin said. Her husband is well and without symptoms and is in home quarantine, he said.

942d ago / 3:40 AM UTC

Navy's Pacific Fleet to schedule 14 days between ports amid coronavirus spread

and

The U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet will schedule a minimum of 14 days between ports in order to monitor for symptoms of the coronavirus illness COVID-19, a defense official said.

There are no indications that any Navy personnel has contracted the coronavirus illness, the official said. The coronavirus illness has killed more than 2,800 people in mainland China as of Saturday morning local time, according to China’s National Health Commission. It has also spread to other countries.

The 14 days order is intended to permit adequate time for surveillance and monitoring for the development of symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Fourteen days is the same time period being used by health officials in quarantines in possible exposure cases.

Also Friday, U.S. Forces Korea said that the spouse of a U.S. service member stationed in South Korea who had tested positive for COVID-19 had also tested positive. She has been in self quarantine since Wednesday after her husband’s test, the military said, and was being moved to a U.S. military hospital.

942d ago / 3:11 AM UTC

Two students at Palo Alto school district sent home after possible parent exposure

Two students in the Palo Alto Unified School District in California’s Santa Clara County were sent home and will be excluded from school after a parent may have been exposed to the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the superintendent said.

Superintendent Don Austin said in a message to parents Friday that the district acted as a precautionary measure. One is a student at Palo Alto Senior High School and the other attends JLS Middle School, he wrote.

Austin stressed in an email that there are zero cases in the district, but "we have a parent who was exposed to a confirmed case."

"We have no parents, staff or students with reported symptoms," Austin said.

There are three confirmed cases in Santa Clara County, including one announced Friday that involved a person who does not have a travel history or any known contact with a traveler or infected person.

Palo Alto and Santa Clara County are in the San Francisco Bay area.

942d ago / 2:58 AM UTC

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.

942d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

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.

942d ago / 2:15 AM UTC
942d ago / 1:59 AM UTC

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.

942d ago / 1:50 AM UTC

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.

942d ago / 1:45 AM UTC

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.

942d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

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.

942d ago / 1:31 AM UTC

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.

942d ago / 1:18 AM UTC

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

and

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.

942d ago / 12:03 AM UTC

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. 

942d ago / 11:48 PM UTC

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. 

942d ago / 11:03 PM UTC

False claims online distort coronavirus symptoms, promote bogus cures

False posts online have distorted symptoms of the coronavirus and peddled miracle cures. Members of the public are urged to follow the advice of established institutions like WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to beware of claims suggesting ways to prevent the virus.

Read more about some of the claims spreading online, and the facts you need to know about them.

942d ago / 10:33 PM UTC

Pence to Limbaugh, who claimed virus is overhyped: 'We're all in this together'

Vice President Pence went on Rush Limbaugh's radio show on Friday to assure Americans that threat posed by the coronavirus in the United States is "low" but "we're ready for whatever may come."

Limbaugh, who has vigorously defended the administration's handling of the crisis, has previously compared the coronavirus to "the common cold" and complained that concerns about an outbreak in the U.S. were being "weaponized" by Democrats and the media.

Pence, who has been placed in charge of the administration's response by President Trump, preached unity and caution in his remarks on the right-wing talk show host's program.

"We're all in this together," Pence told Limbaugh.

Read the full story here.

942d ago / 10:30 PM UTC

White House considering special powers to produce more protective gear

and

The Trump administration is weighing using special executive authority to spur the production of gear like protective masks that could be used to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., health secretary Alex Azar confirmed Friday.

Read the full story here.

942d ago / 10:30 PM UTC

Coronavirus could be 'once-in-a-century' pathogen, Bill Gates says

Bill Gates warned on Friday that the new coronavirus "has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about."

"I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise," Gates wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Gates' foundation has been promoting vaccine research for developing nations for more than a decade. He noted that the combination of the fatality rate of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the new coronavirus) and its ease of transmission between people make it a serious threat.  

Gates said he is ready to commit up to $100 million to fight the spread of the virus in "low- and middle-income countries."

942d ago / 10:30 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 10:28 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 9:43 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 9:24 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 8:57 PM UTC

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

942d ago / 8:54 PM UTC

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.
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
942d ago / 8:40 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 8:34 PM UTC

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.

 

942d ago / 8:26 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 8:22 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 8:17 PM UTC

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.

942d ago / 8:06 PM UTC

Is there a right or wrong way to wash your hands to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

When it comes to protecting yourself from the coronavirus, masks aren’t the answer, according to the World Health Organization. What is? Something as routine as washing your hands. But it’s not as simple as running them under water with a bit of soap and calling it a day. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) breaks it down into these five steps:

  1. Wet your hands (to the wrist) with clean, running water (the temperature doesn’t matter). Turn off the tap and apply a good amount of soap — it doesn’t matter what kind.

  2. Lather up the soap by rubbing your hands together. Don’t forget to spread that lather to the backs of your hands up to your wrists, between your fingers, and under your nails.

  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Try singing the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning-to-end twice to get the timing right.

  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water.

  5. Dry your hands using a clean paper towel or air dryer. Germs can be transferred more easily from wet hands than dry. 

Get more handwashing tips here.

942d ago / 7:48 PM UTC

CBS reportedly halts production of 'The Amazing Race'

CBS temporarily shut down production of the 33rd season of the globe-trotting reality series "The Amazing Race" amid fears over the virus, according to an exclusive report in Variety.

The decision was reportedly made out of an abundance of caution. The virus has not affected anyone directly involved with the show, Variety reported.

942d ago / 7:43 PM UTC

France sees 'new stage in the epidemic' with 57 cases

and

French health officials said Friday that a "new stage in the epidemic has been reached" with 57 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, up from 38.

The country is grappling with new cases in Annecy, a city of more than 126,000 people in southeastern France, and in Montpellier, a city of 285,000 near the southern coast, French Health Minister Olivier Véran said. Some of the new cases involve people who returned from organized trips to Egypt.

Veran also recommended people refrain from shaking hands in order to prevent infection, Reuters reported.

942d ago / 7:33 PM UTC

Hand hygiene, not face masks, should be main focus for coronavirus prevention

Frequent hand-washing, not wearing a face mask, is the most important step the public can take to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, addressed the use of face masks during a media briefing Thursday. The WHO stance regarding surgical masks being worn by the general public is that only those who are already sick with a respiratory illness should wear them.

Read more here.

942d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

Top Amazon search result for coronavirus points to 'herbal prepper'

While Amazon has removed millions of products that made false claims of being able to protect coronavirus, the top result on the platform when searching "coronavirus" on Friday yielded a book written by a self-labeled "herbal prepper."

The book, which Amazon says was published on Feb. 15, includes "what was provable, searching out both media and scholarly articles, with some ideas for pandemic preparedness, plus some herbal knowledge on respiratory ailments," according to the author's website. 

There are currently no legitimate treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and health professionals have warned about an "infodemic" of bad information, both intentional and unintentional. 

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

942d ago / 7:05 PM UTC

Some Americans are avoiding Corona beer, aren't sure if it's connected to the coronavirus

Almost 40 percent of American beer drinkers said they won't buy Corona beer, with about 15 percent of those saying they aren't sure if the pale imported lager has anything to do with the coronavirus, according to a new survey by PR firm 5W.

While the only thing they have in common is a similar name, that hasn’t stopped the beverage brand’s buzz from fizzing as the outbreak spreads.

Purchase intent for the beer has fallen to its lowest in two years, according to polling firm YouGov. In early February the terms “corona beer virus” and “beer virus” trended on Google search results.

Shares in Constellation Brands, which makes Corona and other brands, fell over 5 percent amid a broader market sell-off this week. In a statement the company said sales remain strong and its customers “understand there is no link between the virus and our business.”

942d ago / 6:59 PM UTC

Shares in video-conferencing and telecommuting companies soar as more people consider staying home

As tech stocks tumble, teleconferencing stocks are seeing a bump. Zoom Video Communications, known for its online video-conferencing platform, has seen its shares rise 18 percent this month.

Investors are betting that telecommuting tools will take off as the coronavirus spreads, especially in view of CDC guidelines that recommended replacing in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences as a protective measure against spreading the virus.

Zoom Communications isn’t the only company to see stocks increase this week as the country’s three major indices went into correction. TeamViewer AG, a cloud-based web conferencing platform, saw its stock price surge by about 21 percent.

942d ago / 6:53 PM UTC

Death toll rises in Italy to 21

and

Italy's death toll from the novel coronavirus jumped to 21, with more than 820 infection cases reported, health officials said Friday.

At the beginning of the week, there were six deaths and more than 220 people infected nationwide.

Currently, about 345 people are being hospitalized with symptoms, and more than 60 are under "serious medical treatment," said Angelo Borrelli, Italy's civil protection chief.

In addition, the US Pianese, a soccer club in the Italian region of Tuscany, said three players and one staff member have tested positive for the coronavirus.

942d ago / 6:51 PM UTC

The scene in South Korea

Image: Concern In South Korea As The Wuhan Covid-19 Spreads
Disinfection professionals wearing protective gear spray anti-septic solution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) at a subway station on Feb. 28, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images
942d ago / 6:46 PM UTC

State Department: U.S. ready to help Iranian response

The U.S. is "prepared to assist the Iranian people in their response efforts," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The offer was formally conveyed to Iran via Switzerland's government, Pompeo added.

942d ago / 6:43 PM UTC

Pelosi calls for 'science-based, evidence-based' response

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, said it was important for the federal government to have "a well-coordinated, science-based, evidence-based approach" in tackling the virus.

She also called for "calm" preventative measures instead of "panic."

942d ago / 6:19 PM UTC

Google provides insight into public questions about coronavirus

Data from Google shows that people in the U.S. have questions about the new coronavirus, including "how to prepare" and "how many people have died."

The top question in the past week is straightforward: "What is coronavirus?"

But people are also searching for how many U.S. cases there are and what they should do if the contract the virus.

Google

Google's data also shows that search interest has been strongest in Hawaii, followed by areas in and around San Francisco.

942d ago / 6:11 PM UTC

From Cannes to cars to concerts, global events face coronavirus challenges

and

The Cannes Film Festival will continue as planned this year, despite the fact that a resident tested positive for the coronavirus, the organization said on Friday.

The A-list festival, which runs from May 12-23, is the latest major event to face the challenges of the viral outbreak. On Thursday, Facebook said it would cancel its biggest event of the year, the F8 developer conference, which had been scheduled for May 5 and 6 in San Jose, California.

The Geneva International Motor Show was canceled on Friday, and Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile phone trade show, was canceled this month.

However, organizers for SXSW 2020 in Austin, Texas, are currently proceeding with plans to host the annual music, film and interactive festival March 13-22.