California has declared an emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, as tests continue Thursday on board a Princess cruise ship that has been linked to two cases of the illness in the state.
The first death in California related to coronavirus was confirmed Wednesday, while another fatality in Washington brought that state's death toll to 10.
Congressional leaders have agreed on an $8 billion emergency funding package to help fight the coronavirus that is headed to the House.
The virus is now spreading more rapidly outside China, where the epidemic started, with mainland China recording just 119 new confirmed cases while hundreds of cases were reported globally.
South Korea alone recorded an additional 516 cases of coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total to 5,328 confirmed cases, the largest outbreak outside of mainland China.
Governments around the world are introducing a range of measures to stop the spread of the disease. In Italy, where there have been more than 2,000 cases, all schools and colleges are shut for 10 days.
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- MAPS: Where cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and worldwide.
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Iran temporarily releases 54,000 prisoners to prevent spread of COVID-19
Iran has temporarily released thousands of prisoners as it faces a growing outbreak of coronavirus that has already claimed 77 lives in the country, sickening more than 2,300.
Gholamhossein Esmaili, the judiciary spokesman, announced in a weekly press conference Tuesday that 54,000 prisoners have been temporarily released to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Iranian prisons.
On Tuesday, the lawyer for an American held in Iran said that his client was at “serious risk” of contracting the coronavirus after another inmate held near his cell tested positive for the illness.
California's Placer County announces second presumptive case
Officials in Placer County in Northern California on Tuesday reported a second case of COVID-19 and declared a local health emergency, which is intended to ensure it has enough resources.
The patient is presumptively positive, meaning it was through a local test but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tests will need to confirm it, Placer County Public Health said in a statement.
The patient is an older adult who is critically ill and exposure likely occurred during international travel on a Princess cruise ship that left San Francisco for Mexico in February, the department said. The patient is in isolation and close contacts are being quarantined and monitored.
Placer County also said the same cruise is associated with another presumptive positive case reported Monday in Sonoma County, also in Northern California. Monday's Sonoma County statement did not name the cruise ship but said it went from San Francisco to Mexico.
Princess Cruises did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday. It said Monday in responding to the Sonoma County report that its chief medical officer contacted officials in Sonoma County for more information but it was not known whether there was an exposure risk to people who sailed on board its ship. The Sonoma County patient is said to be stable.
South Korea's president cancels overseas trip to deal with COVID-19 outbreak
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will not travel as planned to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Turkey in mid-March in order to focus on the coronavirus outbreak in his country, presidential spokesperson Kang Min Suk in a text briefing.
Most of the cases of COVID-19 are in mainland China, but South Korea has one of the largest outbreaks outside that country with more than 5,000 cases and 32 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"We have decided not to go ahead with the overseas trips as was in the planning in order to respond to COVID-19 with full attention and strength amid concern that the outbreak can spread throughout the whole nation," the presidential spokesman said.
Moon has said that "the whole country has entered a war against the infectious disease," and that South Korea has been strengthening its prevention strategy and identifying confirmed cases quickly.
Shoppers looking for sanitizing supplies, groceries greeted with empty shelves
People stocking up on sanitizing supplies, paper products and groceries have cleared some stores' shelves, consumers around the country have discovered.
Hand sanitizer, wipes, cleaning supplies and other products have been wiped out by people fearing quarantine and prolonged illness from the coronavirus.
Contra Costa County says first resident tests positive for COVID-19
Contra Costa County, California, health officials on Tuesday reported the first presumptive case of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 that involves a resident of the county. The person, who has underlying health issues, is in isolation at a hospital and is in critical condition.
The patient is being treated as presumptively positive because a local test came back positive Tuesday afternoon but has not been confirmed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tests, Contra Costa Health Services said.
The person was admitted to a hospital on Sunday with flu-like symptoms, Dr. Ori Tzvieli with Contra Costa Health Services said at a news conference.
The person involved has no known travel history or contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19, the department said. Contra Costa County is in the San Francisco Bay area. Another county in that region, Santa Clara County, has also reported cases.
Seattle a 'ghost town' as residents face uncertainty of growing coronavirus outbreak
In Seattle, bracing for coronavirus also means preparing for what could be a devastating economic impact. Business owners and residents have already seen a drop-off in tourists.
Nine people in the United Stated have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus — all of them in Washington, which has reported 31 cases of coronavirus.
As the death toll climbed Tuesday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, proclaimed a civil emergency. The declaration allows her to bypass regulations to increase city spending, contracting and borrowing to address the growing public health threat.
Community members say that the move suggests that local leaders are taking the threat seriously but that it also points to hard times ahead for businesses dependent on tourism and pedestrians.
South Korea reports more than 500 new cases, 4 more deaths
South Korea reported an additional 516 cases of the coronavirus illness known as COVID-19 Wednesday morning local time and an additional four deaths.
The country has seen 32 deaths and 5,328 confirmed cases, but 41 of those cases have been said to have fully recovered, according to the latest numbers from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. South Korea has one of the largest outbreaks outside mainland China, which is where the majority of global cases have been reported.
Deaths in mainland China also rose by an additional 38 as of Wednesday morning local time, China's National Health Commission reported.
All but one of the new deaths occurred in Hubei Province, which has been at the epicenter of the outbreak and where the city of Wuhan is located. The number of confirmed cases on the mainland rose by 119 as of the end of Tuesday local time, bringing the total cases that have been confirmed to more than 80,200.
Quarantined U.S. cruise ship passengers released in Texas
SAN ANTONIO — Dozens of U.S. passengers who were moved to a Texas air base after potentially being exposed to the coronavirus on a cruise ship were released Tuesday and allowed to go home, a day after local leaders declared a public health emergency and sought to delay the process so that more patient testing could be done.
More than 120 passengers who were moved two weeks ago from a Diamond Princess cruise ship stranded in Japan and kept in quarantine on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio were released “in an orderly way to minimize potential exposure to the San Antonio community,” according to a statement issued by city officials.
San Antonio officials had wanted additional assurances that none of the released passengers had tested positive for the new coronavirus, after a woman was mistakenly released from quarantine over the weekend despite testing positive for it.
Seven passengers were kept in quarantine at the air base for various reasons, Laura Mayes, a city spokeswoman, told The Associated Press.
More cases confirmed in California
Two new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Northern California’s Santa Clara County, bringing the total there to 11, local officials said Tuesday.
The source of the transmission of the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness is under investigation, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department said in a statement.
Of the 11 confirmed cases there, two have been determined to be "community transmission" which means the source of infection is not clear. Four others are thought to be travel-related, and three are thought to have occurred through close contacts to known cases, the health agency said.
In Orange County in Southern California, health officials said they have two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, identified as a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s, both of whom recently traveled to countries with widespread transmission. CDC testing will confirm the local tests.
Amazon employee in Seattle in quarantine after testing positive
A Seattle-based Amazon employee has tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the company confirmed Tuesday.
An email sent to employees said that the employee based out of its "Brazil" office building in Seattle went home feeling unwell Feb. 25 and has not entered Amazon offices since. The email says the company received news Tuesday that the employee tested positive for COVID-19, and that the employee is in quarantine.
"We're supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine," an Amazon spokesperson said.
A company spokesperson confirmed the email’s authenticity to NBC News. The email says the company notified employees who had been in contact with the infected employee. The risk to those who had not been in close contact with that employee remains low, the email says.
The company is conducting deep cleaning and sanitization of the office. Amazon is headquartered in Seattle.
Pope Francis has a cold, no symptoms of other illness, Vatican says
The Vatican said in a statement Tuesday that Pope Francis has a cold that is running its course, “without symptoms related to other diseases.”
The pontiff this week said he was canceling his participation at a weeklong spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside because of a cold.
"The cold diagnosed to Pope Francis in previous days is running its course, without symptoms related to other diseases. In the meantime, the Pope celebrates Mass daily,” and follows the spiritual exercises ongoing in Ariccia, the Vatican said in a statement, referring to the sit of the Lenten retreat. It’s the first time the pope has not taken part, The Associated Press reported.
On Tuesday, the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported that Francis tested negative for the coronavirus, according to the AP. The Vatican statement makes no mention of a test. Italy is grappling with a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 79 people. More than 2,500 cases have been confirmed in the country, Italian officials said.
How officials are preparing for a coronavirus outbreak
Berkeley, California, confirms first case, patient had been in Italy
Chile, Argentina confirm first cases of coronavirus
Chile recorded the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the country, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The patient is a 33-year-old man in the city of Talca, south of Santiago.
Neighboring Argentina also confirmed its first case on Tuesday, a 43-year-old man who had traveled to Italy.
Hand sanitizer and gloves: How polling stations are allaying coronavirus fears
Low tech solutions in a high tech city
New Hampshire confirms 2nd coronavirus case
A second case of coronavirus has been confirmed in New Hampshire. The patient is a close contact of the state's first case, who state health officials said defied directions to self-isolate.
On Tuesday, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said the first patient attended an invitation-only private event on Friday, Feb. 28, despite being instructed by public health officials to remain isolated. As a result, the state issued an official order to keep the patient in isolation.
That first patient is an employee of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Now the facility is monitoring anyone who has been in close contact with that person. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center said it's unaware of any patient exposures.
It's unclear whether the second patient was exposed as a result of the first patient's broken isolation.
Dr. John Torres shares latest updates and answers questions on the coronavirus outbreak
Chart: See coronavirus cases from around the world overtake new cases in China
New coronavirus cases in mainland China have tapered off as new cases in the rest of the world have increased.
Get the latest numbers around the world with the NBC News coronavirus world map.
CDC issues guidance on how to limit exposure at polling places
Archdiocese of Chicago issues virus guidance to priests
With four cases of coronavirus reported so far in Illinois, the Archdiocese of Chicago has released guidelines aimed at preventing the disease from being spread during Mass.
First and foremost, all priests, deacons, altar servers and others are required to wash their hands before Mass and use an “alcohol-based, anti-bacterial before and after distributing Holy Communion.”
And instead of placing the host on the tongue as it customary, priests will place it in the hands of parishioners. They are also advised to refrain from shaking hands when it comes time to exchange the “Sign of Peace.” (A nod will do.)
San Francisco Fire Department gets the word out
Dow closes down almost 800 points as reality of epidemic sinks in
The Federal Reserve's historic, emergency rate cut was not enough to assuage Wall Street on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging wildly to end the day down by almost 800 points.
Nervous traders loaded up all day on "safe haven" assets such as gold and Treasury notes — pushing yields to record levels — amid growing realization that the coronavirus might not be as fleeting as President Donald Trump's administration has conveyed.
The emergency rate cut was intended to "boost household and business confidence," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said. However, it spooked investors, pushing down all three major averages after he spoke.
Sign of the times, elbow bump edition
Google cancels its major developers conference
Google has cancelled its largest annual conference for software developers, Google I/O, citing concerns around the coronavirus, according to numerous people who have posted screenshots of emails from Google notifying them of the change.
Google separately barred its employees from traveling internationally for work unless they were granted an exception for critical work, a company spokesperson said, confirming a report from Business Insider.
The conference attracts thousands of people each year to hear from the tech company’s executives as they roll out new products and outline projects they’re working on, from search to cloud computing to automated restaurant reservations.
Google plans to explore other ways to “evolve” the conference over the coming weeks, the company said.
Coronavirus is sparing children. Experts are puzzled.
As the virus spreads around the globe, sickening more than 90,000 people and killing about 3,000, doctors have noticed something curious: Very few children have been diagnosed with it. And of those who have, most have had mild cases.
The coronavirus' mercy on children is a relief and a mystery to pediatric infectious diseases experts, who have a handful of working theories but no definitive answers for why.
"Normal coronaviruses seem to affect children and adults equally, but this one, for whatever reason, certainly skews more to the adult population," said one pediatric infectious diseases specialist.
North Carolina confirms first case
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that the state had confirmed its first case.
In a news release, Cooper's office said the person is in isolation at their home and "doing well." The person traveled from Washington state and was exposed at a long-term care facility that had an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
"I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared," Cooper said in the news release.
California governor slams Amazon over hand sanitizer
Trump admin's proposed rollback of nursing home regulations faces criticism
The Trump administration last year moved to roll back regulations aimed at preventing infections from spreading in nursing homes, a decision that is facing renewed criticism for endangering the elderly amid the coronavirus outbreak.
With older, vulnerable residents living in close quarters, nursing homes face a heightened risk from the coronavirus — a majority of the nine deaths reported in the U.S. so far from the virus were residents of a long-term care center in Washington state.
The scene in Wuhan, cont'd
9 deaths now reported in Washington
Nine deaths have now been reported in Washington, the only state so far with coronavirus fatalities.
The majority have been in King County. One person died in Snohomish County. All are near Seattle.
As of Tuesday, there are a total of 31 coronavirus cases in the state, including the nine deaths.
7th coronavirus death in Washington may have been state's first
A person in Washington state who died last week has since been confirmed to have had the coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths so far in the state up to seven.
UW Medicine officials said Tuesday the person, who had underlying health problems, had been transferred from the long-term care facility, Life Care Center in Kirkland on Feb. 24, and died two days later. Four other deaths in the state were also among residents of that facility.
It was not until after the patient's death that coronavirus infection was discovered. UW Medicine said some of its staff members may have been exposed to the virus, and are undergoing screening.
Washington is the only state with fatalities so far.
CDC: For most up-to-date case counts, look to states
State and local health departments have the most up-to-date information on coronavirus cases, the CDC said Tuesday.
The agency has changed how its report cases on its website. Moving forward, the case counts will be updated at noon each day, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC's head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
States are ramping up their testing capabilities, and reporting their results faster than the CDC will update its own site. That means the CDC's count may lag behind state counts, especially for cases that are confirmed later in the day.
There have been concerns that the CDC is not being upfront about how many cases are being tested. As testing shifts to the states, Messonnier said that the agency will no longer report the number of people being tested and the number of negative cases.
The scene in Japan
Coronavirus worries create delays at Texas polling place
As millions of Americans are headed to the polls on Super Tuesday, coronavirus worries have caused problems in at least one voting location.
Travis County election officials in Austin, Texas, are implementing emergency procedures to fill in for multiple poll workers who didn’t show up to their stations because they were afraid of contracting the virus.
"It's been in the news just because they’ve been seeing it in the news and reading about what they find to be scary stats relating to it," said Victoria Hinojosa with the Travis County Clerk's Office. "A lot of them are older so their health is always a concern."
Sacramento has also reported some election clerks not showing up, according to Janna Haynes, Sacramento County Registrar of Voters public information officer.
The view from Super Tuesday
IMF and World Bank say April meetings will be in 'virtual format'
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will hold their annual April meeting in a "virtual format," the two global financial institutions said Tuesday in a joint statement.
Instead of meeting in Washington, D.C., the April 13-19 gathering, which typically includes some 3,000 members, will be held via teleconference.
"Given growing health concerns related to the virus... we have agreed to implement a joint plan to adapt the 2020 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings to a virtual format," the organizations said in a statement released Tuesday.
"Our goal is to serve our membership effectively while ensuring the health and safety of Spring Meetings participants and staff. With this adapted format, we are confident that our member countries will be able to effectively engage on pressing global economic issues at these Spring Meetings,” the statement continued.
Florida confirms third case
A third case of the coronarvirus is being investigated in Hillsborough County, Florida, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted Tuesday.
The individual resides with someone who has tested positive for the virus, spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré said. That person, a woman in her 20s, had recently traveled to Italy.
New York Auto Show will proceed as planned, organizers say
The New York Auto Show will proceed as planned in April, according to a tweet from a Reuters reporter.
Organizers said they are "in communication with state and local officials" and that the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center "is taking precautionary measures inside the venue to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses."
The Beijing Auto Show, scheduled for April, was postponed in February, and the Geneva Motor Show was canceled just 96 hours prior to the event last week, due to a Swiss government ban on large gatherings.
Organizers for the 2020 North American International Auto Show, held annually in Detroit, said they "remain optimistic" that event will proceed in June.
Maryland governor: 'Stay informed'
Sign of the times, cont'd
New case confirmed in Arizona
A new case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in Arizona, the state's public health laboratory reported Tuesday.
The case is in a man in his 20s in Maricopa county. He is not hospitalized and is recovering at home, according to a joint statement from state and county health departments. The man is a known contact of another confirmed case outside of the state.
This is the second confirmed case in Arizona. The first was confirmed on Jan. 26. That individual has since recovered.
Fears empty streets in some of the world's busiest cities
The coronavirus has had a ripple effect on some of the world's busiest cities, with fears of the highly contagious virus emptying cafes, public squares and streets in China, South Korea, Japan and Italy, among other countries.
The streets of Seoul, the South Korean capital, stood nearly empty this week. Those who do venture out wear masks. The normally busy subways have few passengers, and they make sure to sit far away from one another. Many residents are relying on grocery and restaurant delivery apps.
Trump suggests he'll sign whatever funding Congress approves to fight virus
President Trump said he asked Congress for $2.5 billion to combat the virus, but added "it looks like they're going to give us $8.5 billion," which was the amount that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had initially proposed.
"I think I should say, 'I'll take it,'" Trump said about the higher number during remarks at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference.
Schumer said at the Capitol Tuesday that he expects appropriators to release a bipartisan agreement for the funding bill and expects that it'll be somewhere between $7 billion and $8 billion.
The scene in Wuhan, China
Intel backs out of SXSW
Fauci: U.S. should know within months whether one drug could treat virus
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said Tuesday that within "a period of a few months," scientists will know whether one particular drug, remdesivir, could be used for treatment.
Fauci told the Senate that remdesivir has been developed by the company Gilead and is now being tested in a large trial in China. He said that it is also being tested in the U.S. by the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with the drugmaker.
The doctor said that within several months they might know whether the drug can successfully treat it: "If it does, the implementation of that would be almost immediate. Now, I can't guarantee it will work. But the timetable for treatment is different than the timetable for a vaccine," he said.
As for a vaccine, Fauci said that he expects at at least one candidate would go into a phase 1 study within about 2 months, or possibly 6 weeks. It would then take three months or more to determine whether it's safe. If it is safe, then the government would start a phase 2 trial. Fauci said that the entire process to develop a vaccine will take at least a year or year and a half.
Mission Impossible: Entertainment giants grapple with financial impact of virus
Entertainment and media conglomerates have been grappling with the coronavirus contagion in Asia and Europe — and now it’s arrived on U.S. shores.
With many Americans cautious about spending time in public spaces, shares of some entertainment stocks such as Live Nation, SeaWorld Entertainment and Six Flags have seen declines, while “at home” stocks such as Disney, Netflix, and Peloton have risen.
With some 70,000 movie theaters closed since Jan. 23, China is hit the hardest. "China alone is a third of the world’s movie screens,” said one analyst. “I can’t think of anything comparable, and I’ve been in the business 30 years."
2nd case in New York: 50-year-old man who works in Manhattan
A 50-year-old man from Westchester County, New York, was identified Tuesday as the second person in the state to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, prompting officials to track down other people with whom he may have come into contact.
The man, who works in Manhattan, did not travel to any places on the "watch list" for the virus, although he had been to Miami. The governor added that he has an underlying respiratory illness.
"I said you'll start to see community spread cases where you can't track it back directly to one place or one visit," Cuomo said at a news conference, "and I think that's what we're seeing today."
A school that one of the man's children attends — the Modern Orthodox Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy in the Bronx — was closed Tuesday for "precautionary measures." Separately, Cuomo said, two families in Buffalo who recently traveled to Italy are being tested and remain isolated in their homes.