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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

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

935d ago / 12:58 PM UTC

Australian grocery chain limits purchase of toilet paper

Image: Empty shelves in an Australian Woolworths supermarket after panic buying due to the Coronavirus on March 4, 2020.
Empty shelves in a Woolworths supermarket in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday. Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Australian grocery chain Woolworths is limiting customers to four packs of toilet paper amid “panic buying” by shoppers concerned by the coronavirus outbreak.

The company said in a statement Wednesday that the limit, which also applies to online shoppers, was to ensure every customer had access to the products.

“It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher than usual demand,” the company said.

The vast majority of the products remain available for their customers as normal, it added.

The outbreak has led to shoppers emptying out shelves in their local grocery stores and pharmacies around the world as the fear of product and medicine shortages continues to spread.

935d ago / 12:17 PM UTC

Anxiety in Milan region as death toll in Italy approaches 100

Image: A woman wearing a protective mask crosses Piazza Duomo on a bicycle in Milan
A woman wearing a protective mask crosses Piazza Duomo on a bicycle in Milan on March 2, 2020.Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images

The death toll passed fifty in Italy Monday, most of the fatalities in the Milan region. By Tuesday it was 79, a fifty per cent increase in one day, with 27 new deaths. There’ve been several big spikes in the number of infections.

But today, the fear is mild, just like 80 percent of the infections that arise from the virus. Most people I see in the city centre are not wearing masks. I have seen two groups of Asian tourists, every one of whom was wearing a mask.

Milan is about to learn whether the measures its regional government has taken so far have been effective. Eleven towns, most of them just south of the city, have been quarantined for almost two weeks, with not one of the 50,000 inhabitants allowed in or out.

Most clubs and bars have been closed. In cafés, customers are supposed to sit at tables and maintain a distance between one another.

Later this week triage tents will be set up outside prisons in Milan and the wider region. More tents will be set up outside every hospital here.

The warm spring and summer temperatures, which experts believe will help to kill off the virus, can’t come soon enough.

935d ago / 11:50 AM UTC

First coronavirus death recorded in Iraq

Health officials in Iraq have confirmed the country's first coronavirus death. 

A 70-year-old man from Sulaymaniyah, in the country's east, died from the virus, spokesman for Kurdistan Regional Government's Health Directorate, Mohammed Qader Khushnaw, told NBC News on Wednesday. 

It is not confirmed if the man returned from Iran or was infected in Iraq, he added. 

This brings total number of confirmed cases in Iraq to 33. 

935d ago / 11:35 AM UTC

Prince William discusses coronavirus fears on Dublin trip

935d ago / 11:06 AM UTC

Japan still preparing for Olympics as planned

Japan is preparing to host the Tokyo Summer Olympics as planned, the government’s top spokesman said on Wednesday, amid speculation the Games could be postponed because of the coronavirus threat.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga made the commitment at a regular news conference.

Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto had said on Tuesday that Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement” until the end of the year, although she reiterated that the government remained committed to the Games starting on July 24.

935d ago / 10:38 AM UTC

Long lines to buy face masks in South Korea

Image: People stand in a long queue to buy face masks at a post office, after a shortage of masks amid the rise in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19, in Daegu, South Korea
People stand in a long queue to buy face masks at a post office after a shortage of masks amid the rise in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Daegu, South Korea on Wednesday.Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters
935d ago / 10:36 AM UTC

WHO issues warning over shortage of protective equipment

Image: A mannequin in protective suit is displayed as people buy masks and hand sanitizers at a market in Jakarta, Indonesia
A mannequin in protective suit is displayed as people buy masks and hand sanitizers at a market in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. IDita Alangkara / AP

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a shortage of personal protective equipment that's endangering health workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. 

WHO officials said on Tuesday there was "severe and mounting disruption" to the global supply of personal protective equipment, caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse, which is putting lives at risk.

It said shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other front-line workers "dangerously ill-equipped" to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons.

Since the start of the outbreak, WHO said prices have surged, with surgical masks seeing a sixfold increase.

Meanwhile, N95 respirators that protect from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face have trebled and gowns have doubled, WHO added. 

Based on WHO modelling, an estimated 89 million medical masks are required for the COVID-19 response each month along with 76 million of examination gloves and 1.6 million safety goggles.

It has called on industry and governments to increase manufacturing by 40 percent to meet the rising global demand. 

935d ago / 9:37 AM UTC

Iran temporarily releases 54,000 prisoners to prevent spread of COVID-19

Image: Prison guard stands along corridor in Tehran's Evin prison
A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison on June 13, 2006.Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters file

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.

935d ago / 8:04 AM UTC

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.

935d ago / 7:14 AM UTC

South Korea's president cancels overseas trip to deal with COVID-19 outbreak

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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.

935d ago / 6:22 AM UTC

Shoppers looking for sanitizing supplies, groceries greeted with empty shelves

IMage: Target store in San Rafael, California
Empty shelves that once held soap at a Target store in San Rafael, California, on Monday, March 2, 2020.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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. 

935d ago / 5:02 AM UTC

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.

935d ago / 4:28 AM UTC

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.

Read the full story here.

935d ago / 4:12 AM UTC

South Korea reports more than 500 new cases, 4 more deaths

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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.

935d ago / 3:21 AM UTC

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.

935d ago / 3:12 AM UTC

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.

935d ago / 2:30 AM UTC

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.

935d ago / 2:11 AM UTC

Pope Francis has a cold, no symptoms of other illness, Vatican says

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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.

935d ago / 1:44 AM UTC

How officials are preparing for a coronavirus outbreak

935d ago / 1:21 AM UTC

Berkeley, California, confirms first case, patient had been in Italy

935d ago / 1:02 AM UTC

Chile, Argentina confirm first cases of coronavirus

Image: CHILE-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS-COVID-19
An airline staff member wears a protective mask in Santiago on March 3, 2020.Javier Torres / AFP - Getty Images

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.

935d ago / 12:04 AM UTC

Hand sanitizer and gloves: How polling stations are allaying coronavirus fears

935d ago / 12:00 AM UTC

Low tech solutions in a high tech city

935d ago / 10:55 PM UTC

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.

935d ago / 10:24 PM UTC

Dr. John Torres shares latest updates and answers questions on the coronavirus outbreak

935d ago / 10:20 PM UTC

Chart: See coronavirus cases from around the world overtake new cases in China

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New coronavirus cases in mainland China have tapered off as new cases in the rest of the world have increased. 

Since Feb. 25, the majority of new cases each day have been diagnosed outside of mainland China. Before that, mainland China had the most cases when compared with the rest of the world.
Since Feb. 25, the majority of new cases each day have been diagnosed outside of mainland China. Before that, mainland China had the most cases when compared with the rest of the world.

Get the latest numbers around the world with the NBC News coronavirus world map.

935d ago / 9:49 PM UTC

CDC issues guidance on how to limit exposure at polling places

935d ago / 9:29 PM UTC

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.)

935d ago / 9:15 PM UTC

San Francisco Fire Department gets the word out

935d ago / 9:03 PM UTC

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. 

Image: Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.Brendan McDermid / Reuters
935d ago / 8:55 PM UTC

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.

The three-day event had been scheduled to begin May 12 near Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California. CNBC confirmed the cancellation with the company. 

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.

935d ago / 8:55 PM UTC

Sign of the times, elbow bump edition

Image:
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee bumps elbows with a worker at the seafood counter of the Uwajimaya Asian Food and Gift Market on Tuesday in Seattle's International District. Inslee said he's doing the elbow bump with people instead of shaking hands to prevent the spread of germs, and that his visit to the store was to encourage people to keep patronizing businesses during the coronavirus outbreak. Ted S. Warren / AP
935d ago / 8:48 PM UTC

Coronavirus is sparing children. Experts are puzzled.

Image: A member of the medical team checks the temperature of a child, following the coronavirus outbreak, at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Duhok, Iraq
A member of the medical team checks the temperature of a child, following the coronavirus outbreak, at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Duhok, Iraq, March 2, 2020.Ari Jalal / Reuters

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.

Read the full story here.

935d ago / 8:30 PM UTC

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.  

935d ago / 7:58 PM UTC

California governor slams Amazon over hand sanitizer

935d ago / 7:56 PM UTC

Trump admin's proposed rollback of nursing home regulations faces criticism

Image: Medics prepare to transfer a patient on a stretcher to an ambulance at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term care facility linked to the two of three confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, in Kirkland
Medics transfer a patient to an ambulance at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term care facility linked to a majority of coronavirus deaths in Washington state. David Ryder / Reuters

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. 

Read more of our exclusive reporting here.

935d ago / 7:52 PM UTC

The scene in Wuhan, cont'd

Image: CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Volunteers spray disinfectant with a robot at a residental area in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on March 3, 2020.AFP - Getty Images
935d ago / 7:49 PM UTC

9 deaths now reported in Washington

Image: Medics transport a man on a stretcher into an ambulance at the Life Care Center, a long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases, in Kirkland
Medics transport a man on a stretcher into an ambulance at the Life Care Center, a long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases, in Kirkland, Washington on March 3, 2020.David Ryder / Reuters

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. 

Read more about the situation in Washington state.

935d ago / 7:25 PM UTC

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. 

935d ago / 7:01 PM UTC

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. 

935d ago / 6:53 PM UTC

The scene in Japan

Image: Students sit apart from each other as they do self-study at an elementary school where the facility was opened for children who cannot stay at home alone while their parents are at work, in Nagoya, central Japan
Students sit apart from each other as they do self-study at an elementary school where the facility was opened for children who cannot stay at home alone while their parents are at work, in Nagoya, central Japan on March 3, 2020.Kyodo / via Reuters
935d ago / 6:33 PM UTC

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.

935d ago / 6:32 PM UTC

The view from Super Tuesday

Image: Super Tuesday
Residents cast their ballots during the presidential primary in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 3, 2020.Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images
935d ago / 6:18 PM UTC

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.

935d ago / 6:17 PM UTC

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.

935d ago / 6:03 PM UTC

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.

935d ago / 6:00 PM UTC

Maryland governor: 'Stay informed'

936d ago / 5:41 PM UTC

Sign of the times, cont'd

Image: Indonesia's commuter train officials distribute free-protective masks to the passengers following confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 in Jakarta
Indonesia's commuter train officials distribute free-protective masks to the passengers following confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 3, 2020.Willy Kurniawan / Reuters
936d ago / 5:26 PM UTC

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.

936d ago / 5:18 PM UTC

Fears empty streets in some of the world's busiest cities

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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.

Read more of our look at global mood here.

936d ago / 4:56 PM UTC
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936d ago / 4:54 PM UTC

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. 

936d ago / 4:48 PM UTC

The scene in Wuhan, China

Image: CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
COVID-19 patients wait to be transferred Tuesday from a hospital in Wuhan to a new facility built just to handle the coronavirus outbreak.AFP - Getty Images
936d ago / 4:42 PM UTC

Intel backs out of SXSW

936d ago / 4:40 PM UTC

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.

936d ago / 4:36 PM UTC

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."

Image: CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
A security guard wearing a protective facemask is seen at the temporarily closed Shanghai Disney resort in Shanghai on Feb. 23, 2020.Noel Celis / AFP - Getty Images file
936d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

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.

936d ago / 4:14 PM UTC

The scene in Seoul

Image: TOPSHOT-SKOREA-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Guryong village in Seoul on March 3, 2020.Yonhap / AFP - Getty Images
936d ago / 4:07 PM UTC

Fed chair: 'We’ll do our part to keep the U.S. economy strong'

"We will get to the other side of this," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during a news conference about the central bank's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"What matters is the risk to the economy," Powell said, noting that he has been in contact with central banks around the world to discuss how to mitigate any economic damage. "We’ll do our part to keep the U.S. economy strong." 

936d ago / 3:46 PM UTC

Trump weighs in on the Fed rate cut

936d ago / 3:41 PM UTC
936d ago / 3:13 PM UTC

Fed cuts interest rate by half a point to address coronavirus slowdown

The Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut on Tuesday in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus spread, trimming the nation's benchmark borrowing rate by half a percentage point.

"The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity," the Fed's Open Market Committee said, adding that it took the action to help achieve maximum employment and the stability of prices.

Wall Street spiked immediately after the surprise announcement was made.

Read the full story here.

936d ago / 2:31 PM UTC

How coronavirus disinformation caused chaos in a small Ukrainian town

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NOVI SANZHARY, Ukraine — In a rural Ukrainian town of about 8,000 people, residents reacted with anger after evacuees from the center of the coronavirus outbreak in China were airlifted to a nearby medical facility last month.

As a fog of confusion and disinformation fueled by social media swirled, protesters blocked roads with vehicles and threw stones at buses carrying the evacuees. The national guard and armored personnel carriers joined riot police in trying to calm the situation. After a tense standoff, authorities eventually managed to unblock the road.

Police said that nine officers were injured and 24 people were arrested. Five were charged with organizing the riots. Several countries were evacuating their citizens from China at the same time — but such a violent reaction wasn't seen anywhere else.

Click her to read full story

Image: National Guard officers at the medical facility where people evacuated from coronavirus-hit China's Hubei province are quarantined in Novi Sanzhary
National Guard officers at the medical facility where people evacuated from coronavirus-hit China's Hubei province are quarantined in Novi Sanzhary on Feb 24. Oksana Parafeniuk / for NBC News
936d ago / 2:22 PM UTC

No plan — yet — to cut rates, say Europe's G-7 finance ministers, Fed Chair Powell, Secretary Mnuchin

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin led a “coordinating call” with G-7 finance ministers Tuesday morning, pledging a united front in the fight to quell any economic impact from the viral outbreak.

“Given the potential impacts of COVID-19 on global growth, we reaffirm our commitment to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks,” according to a statement released by the group.

Stock futures sank after the announcement, as markets had been hoping for specific, targeted action such as the move by Australia to slash its interest rate to support that nation's economy during the epidemic.

936d ago / 2:07 PM UTC

Second case reported in New York

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that a second person in the state has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Also on Tuesday, a New York City school announced it would be closed for the day after a suspected case of coronavirus was detected in its community. The SAR Academy and SAR High School said in a statement that the closure was a precautionary measure and that it was in touch with the New York City Department of Health and following their guidelines.

936d ago / 2:01 PM UTC

Pilgrims wear protective face masks in Saudi Arabia

Image: Muslim pilgrims wear protective face masks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus, as they pray at Kaaba in the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca
Muslim pilgrims wear protective face masks, following the outbreak of the coronavirus, as they pray at Kaaba in the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.Ganoo Essa / Reuters
936d ago / 1:16 PM UTC

U.S. surgeon general details crucial mask information

936d ago / 12:48 PM UTC

Japan says Tokyo 2020 Olympics could be moved to the end of the year

Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2020.
Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station in Tokyo Friday.Charly Triballeau / AFP - Getty Images

Tokyo’s Olympic 2020 contract allows it to postpone the Games until the end of the year, Japan’s Olympics minister said Tuesday, amid concern the coronavirus could disrupt the event.

“The contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement,” Seiko Hashimoto said in response to a lawmaker’s question in parliament.

However, she added that the governments of Japan and Tokyo were still committed to keeping to the scheduled start date of July 24. And under the hosting agreement, the right to cancel the Games belongs to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Thomas Bach, head of the IOC, reiterated Tuesday that preparations were still underway for a “successful” Games in Tokyo.

936d ago / 12:00 PM UTC

U.K. Prime Minister Johnson outlines measures to stop virus spreading

Image: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at Downing Street on the government's coronavirus action plan in London
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at Downing Street on the government's coronavirus action plan in London on Tuesday. Frank Augstein / AP

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the spread of coronavirus a “national challenge” as he set out his government’s response plan Tuesday.

“It is highly likely that we will see a growing number of U.K. cases,” said Johnson at a press conference on Tuesday. There have so far been 40 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the U.K. but no deaths. 

Johnson, together with his chief medical officer and chief scientific officer, urged U.K. residents to wash their hands and said that the government is concentrating on pushing out the peak of the virus to the spring and summer, so it doesn’t overwhelm a health system dealing with the usual winter illnesses. It also announced $25.5 million for COVID-19 research.

The U.K.'s plan said schools could shut and up to a fifth of the country's entire workforce could be forced to stay home.

“Even for the highest risk group, the great majority of the people will survive this,” said Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.

The number of cases in the U.K. is far behind the more than 1,800 in Italy. France, Germany and Spain have all had more than 100 cases of the virus.

936d ago / 11:45 AM UTC

Iran's death toll rises to 77, highest outside China

Iran's death toll has risen to 77 as of Tuesday morning, the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside of mainland China.

The country's deputy health minister announced on state TV that 835 new cases had been confirmed as well as 11 dead in the past 24 hours.

That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Iran to 2,336 — making Iran a global coronavirus hotspot alongside Italy and South Korea.

Image: An Iranian medic treats a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran
An Iranian medic treats a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran on Sunday. Koosha Mahshid Falahi / AFP - Getty Images

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

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

Elsewhere, health officials in Iraq confirmed five more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 26, while Ukraine’s deputy health minister Viktor Liashko confirmed the country's first case on Tuesday.

936d ago / 11:24 AM UTC

Hong Kong to evacuate stranded residents from China's Hubei province

Hong Kong has arranged four charter flights to bring back more than 500 of its residents from the Chinese province of Hubei, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, about a month after countries around the world began evacuating their citizens.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the flights would return on Wednesday and Thursday and those coming back would be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.

Image: Healthcare workers in protective gear load a stretcher onto an ambulance outside of Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong on Jan. 29, 2020.
Healthcare workers in protective gear load a stretcher onto an ambulance outside of Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong in January. Justin Chin / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Various countries including the United States, France, Germany and South Korea began evacuating hundreds of their citizens in late January or early February.

More than 3,800 Hong Kong residents in more than 30 cities in Hubei, the capital of which is Wuhan, had asked the government of the Chinese-ruled, semi-autonomous city for help, creating a logistics headache. 

The coronavirus has killed two of the 100 people infected in Hong Kong.

936d ago / 11:18 AM UTC

936d ago / 11:12 AM UTC

Shanghai says visitors entering from virus-hit countries must be quarantined

Shanghai will require everyone entering the city from countries with “relatively serious virus conditions” to submit to 14 days of quarantine, an official said on Tuesday.

The rule will apply to all people regardless of nationality, said Xu Wei, an official with the city government’s news office, speaking to reporters at a briefing.

The southeast province of Guangdong, neighboring Hong Kong, announced similar rules earlier on Tuesday.

Image: A woman wearing a protective mask crosses a street in Shanghai on Feb. 26, 2020.
A woman wearing a protective mask crosses a street in Shanghai last week. Aly Song / Reuters
936d ago / 10:07 AM UTC

Empty shelves amid outbreak

Image: Empty shelves in a supermarket in the Qwartz shopping centre in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, north of Paris
Empty shelves in a supermarket in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, north of Paris on Monday. AFP - Getty Images
936d ago / 9:51 AM UTC

Lawyer for American held in Iran alleges coronavirus detected in his prison ward

The lawyer for an American held in Iran said on Monday that his client is at “serious risk” of contracting the coronavirus after another inmate held near his cell tested positive for the illness.

A detainee held in the same prison ward as Iranian-American Siamak Namazi was diagnosed with coronavirus and has been removed, Jared Genser, a U.S. lawyer working on behalf of Namazi, said in a statement.

Image: Handout photo of Iranian-American consultant Siamak Namazi is pictured in San Francisco
Iranian-American consultant Siamak Namazi in San Francisco in 2006.Ahmad Kiarostami / via Reuters file

Before prisoners in the ward were confined to their cells on Monday, the inmates were eating meals together, gathering in the prison library, exercise facilities and television room, raising the risk of spreading the virus, Genser said.

Inmates who have asked to be tested for the coronavirus have been denied, he said. Evin prison also has rudimentary medical services and lacks basic medications for flu-like symptoms, according to Genser, who often speaks to Namazi by phone.

“To keep Siamak at Evin prison in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak and without access to testing or even basic medicines constitutes cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in violation of Iran’s obligations under the Convention Against Torture,” Genser said.

Click here to read full story. 

936d ago / 9:17 AM UTC

South Korean president declares ‘war’ against coronavirus

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South Korean president Moon Jae-in has declared war against the novel coronavirus and apologized for a shortage of masks. 

At a cabinet meeting Tuesday Moon spoke about dangers of the growing epidemic in South Korea, where 4,812 cases have been confirmed so far and 28 people have died from the virus.

“The whole country has entered a war against the infectious disease,” Moon said. 

The president added that South Korea has been strengthening its prevention strategy and identifying confirmed cases quickly.

Image: South Korean soldiers in protective gears sanitize shacks as a luxury high-rise apartment complex is seen in the background at Guryong village in Seoul
South Korean soldiers in protective gear sanitize shacks in Guryong village in Seoul on Tuesday. Heo Ran / Reuters

“I would like to sincerely apologize for the insufficient supply of masks,” Moon said, adding that producers are being encouraged to expand capacity.

He also asked his cabinet officials and the public to refrain from "amplifying anxiety and division" during the outbreak.

“The only way to overcome the situation with COVID-19 is for everyone to stay strong,” he added, referring to the name of the disease the virus causes.

Moon also said investment, consumption and industrial activity have shrunk considerably due to the outbreak promised that the government will spend 30 trillion won ($25 billion) on dealing with the crisis.

936d ago / 6:50 AM UTC

600 more cases reported in South Korea, deaths now at 28

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South Korea on Tuesday morning reported an additional 600 cases of the coronavirus illness and additional deaths.

The new numbers reported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bring the total of confirmed cases there to 4,812, and the deaths to 28.

That is six additional deaths reported since Monday morning, which is the most number of deaths in a single day.

Thirty-four of the confirmed cases are said to have fully recovered, according to the KCDC official numbers. As of Monday afternoon local time, the number of those reported to be fully recovered was 31.

South Korea has one of the largest numbers of confirmed cases outside mainland China, where the coronavirus outbreak began. 

In mainland China, the deaths rose by 31 as of Tuesday morning local time, bringing the deaths there to 2,943, according to China's National Health Commission. All 31 new deaths were in Hubei Province, which is where the Chinese city of Wuhan is located.

The number of confirmed cases in mainland China rose by 125 as of the end of the day Monday, the national health commission said, bringing the total number of cases on the mainland to more than 80,100.

936d ago / 6:05 AM UTC

San Antonio loses bid for restraining order over quarantine

The city of San Antonio on Monday lost a bid to get a temporary restraining order to prevent the release of more than 100 people who have completed a 14-day quarantine until they were either confirmed negative or completed a 28-day period.

The city was seeking to pause the planned release of people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had been quarantined in Japan. They were quarantined at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

In denying the temporary restraining order, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez wrote that he was doubtful that the court had jurisdiction and that the U.S. Surgeon General and Secretary of Health and Human Services are authorized to make and enforce regulations.

"In this case, they have determined that two negative tests (twenty-four hours apart) and/or quarantine for fourteen days is sufficient to prevent transmission or spread of COVID-19,” Rodriguez wrote. “This Court has no authority to second-guess those determinations even though the Court also shares the concerns expressed by the Plaintiffs."

But the mayor of San Antonio also issued a public health emergency declaration that says that travel through the city by anyone quarantined would not be permitted. 

"Effectively, the order requires the more than 120 evacuees at Lackland Air Force Base to remain on base and under quarantine," the city said in a statement. A city representative did not immediately respond to a request for more clarity Monday night.

The lawsuit and the emergency declaration came as a woman was released under CDC protocol after two negative tests but then tested weakly positive for the coronavirus. The person, who had been evacuated from Wuhan, China, was released Saturday, returned to isolation and is being monitored, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at a news conference earlier Monday.

The CDC said in a statement Monday that the person is being retested, and they were not showing symptoms at the time of release. “CDC is making decisions on a case-by-case basis using the best available science at the time. CDC’s priority is to protect both patients and communities,” the agency said.

936d ago / 4:26 AM UTC

Georgia reports first novel coronavirus cases

Georgia has reported its first cases of novel coronavirus, officials said Monday.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters that the cases, which were confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, involved two people in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta.

The people live in the same home and one had recently traveled to Milan, Italy, he said. The country has seen more cases of the virus than any other in Europe, with more than 1,800 cases and 52 deaths.

The person developed symptoms shortly after returning to Georgia, Kemp said.

The pair is at home with other relatives who were showing minor symptoms of the virus, said Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Toomey said that epidemiologists were working to trace their contacts to prevent the virus from further spreading.

Citing privacy concerns, officials declined to provide additional details about the cases.

936d ago / 3:48 AM UTC

Facebook won't participate in SXSW because of coronavirus fears

Facebook will not participate in the annual media and music event South by Southwest because of fears of the novel coronavirus, the company said Monday. 

"Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year," a Facebook Company spokesperson said in an email.

The withdrawal was reported by Business Insider earlier Monday.

Featured speaker Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced Sunday that he would be withdrawing after his company enacted a ban on non-essential travel.

South by Southwest, known as SXSW, is scheduled to be held in Austin, Texas, in mid-March.

Organizers said in a statement that they are working closely with local, state and federal agencies and that they are proceeding with the event. Organizers said that the health and safety of its attendees, staff and volunteers are a top priority.

"At this time, there are a handful of cancellations from participants who were traveling from China and Japan and there have been a few corporate travel bans. Other than that, the cancellations are on par from past years," organizers said in a statement.

The statement said that participants are encouraged to follow personal hygiene practices, including washing hands and covering coughs, among other measures.

936d ago / 3:11 AM UTC

Massachusetts reports first presumptive case of COVID-19

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said Monday that the state has its first presumptive case of the illness caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, since local testing began Friday.

The patient in the presumptive positive case announced Monday was described as a woman in her 20s who recently traveled to Italy with a school group and is now recovering at home.

She had symptoms and a local test came back positive Monday evening, the state health department said. A CDC test will be done to confirm the local test.

"We are grateful this individual is recovering," Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement. "We understand the concern this new virus is causing, and our state’s ability to quickly test for the virus is a positive development. The risk to the public from COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts."

Previously another person, a Boston man who returned from Wuhan, China, was confirmed to have it by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing.

The person who had previously been confirmed by CDC testing to have COVID-19 was a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston who returned from Wuhan, China, in early February, and he is recovering well, NBC Boston reported citing officials.

Six people have died in the state of Washington. 

936d ago / 2:48 AM UTC

The rest of the world surpasses China in a grim statistic: coronavirus deaths per day

Approximately 40 people have been reported dead in the last 24 hours due to coronavirus in countries outside of China, which is more than the 31 new deaths in mainland China in the same amount of time. This is the first time since the virus started spreading that deaths in China didn't outnumber those in the rest of the world.

There were 125 new cases of the COVID-19 disease reported in mainland China, according to the latest numbers from China's National Health Commission. More than 900 new cases were reported in the rest of the world, bringing the total confirmed cases to more than 89,000.

At least 3,100 people have died, including six deaths in Washington state. More than 47,000 people have recovered from the disease.

936d ago / 1:26 AM UTC

Wisconsin able to test for coronavirus at 2 labs

Wisconsin, which had one confirmed case of coronavirus in early February, is now able to test suspected samples at the state lab in Madison and at the City of Milwaukee health lab.

Faster test results will help local health departments monitor people suspected of having the virus and other people who may have been exposed to it, said Jeanne Ayers, administrator for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.

Test samples previously were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Positive test results identified by the two labs in the state will now be presumed positive and sent to the CDC for confirmation. 

936d ago / 12:44 AM UTC

New York governor moves to mitigate coronavirus treatment and testing costs

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday night that he was issuing a directive that would require state health insurers to waive costs associated with coronavirus treatment. 

936d ago / 12:03 AM UTC

Trump pushes for vaccine, treatment at White House meeting with pharma execs

President Donald Trump and members of the coronavirus task force met with top pharmaceutical and biotech executives at the White House Monday, where the president urged speedy action on a vaccine and treatment for the virus. 

Trump, who's been criticized by Democrats and some doctors for offering too rosy an outlook on the impact of the virus in the United States, was more restrained Monday, speaking shortly after officials in Washington state reported that six people had died from the illness.

"The White House coronavirus task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, has been meeting daily and coordinating closely with the state and local governments," Trump said. "Mike had a call today with 53 governors, and I heard it was a very good call and everybody's very well-coordinated. And the governors and the states — all of them, I can't think of an exception — they have been really working closely with us. It's been a very good relationship. We will confront this challenge together."

"We're working very hard to expedite the longer process of developing a vaccine. We're also moving with maximum speed to develop a therapy so that we can help people recover as quickly as possible," he added.

After one of the pharma executives suggested a vaccine could be ready within months, Trump suggested that the vaccine could then be deployed to the public. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease interjected to note that that's when a vaccine could be ready for testing.

A flawed vaccine would do more harm than good, he added, and the timeline for a vaccine to get market would be "at the earliest a year to a year and a half, no matter how fast you go."

The executives and Fauci suggested that some sort of treatment for people who are sick could be available in a matter of months, news Trump called "very exciting." 

936d ago / 11:45 PM UTC

County in Washington to buy motel for isolated patients

Officials in King county, Washington said they plan to buy a local motel and set up modular units that will be used to isolate people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus. 

These modular units will be set up in publicly-owned parking lots and other available land.

Later Monday, during a news conference, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state is looking at multiple options to increase the "surge capacity" of its health care system. 

936d ago / 11:21 PM UTC

California's Placer County confirms first case

A resident of Placer County, which includes the greater Sacramento metropolitan area in Northern California, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the county's health department said on Monday. 

The individual is a health care worker from NorthBay VacaValley Hospital who had exposure to a woman who tested positive and is currently hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center. That woman was the first reported case of community spread in the U.S.

The Placer patient, the first for the county, has mild symptoms and is currently isolated at home.

936d ago / 11:15 PM UTC

Vice President Pence: "It's a good time to wash your hands."

Image: US-HEALTH-EPIDEMIC-VIRUS-TRUMP
Vice President Mike Pence speaks along with members of the coronavirus take force during a press briefing at the White House on March 2, 2020.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence offered his condolences as the U.S. coronavirus death toll rose to six on Monday.

Pence spoke to reporters Monday afternoon along with a number of experts on the White House coronavirus task force, where he emphasized that people should remain calm amid the outbreak. 

"Despite today’s sad news, let’s be clear: the risk to the American people from the coronavirus remains low, according to all of the experts that we’re working with across the government," Pence said.

The vice president called the outbreak an "all hands on deck" situation as he recounted meetings with governors, pharmaceutical companies and medical experts in recent days.

Pence said that while a vaccine might not be available until late this year or early next, pharmaceutical companies have been working on developing therapeutics that may be available as early as this summer. 

"The most encouraging news from that meeting are that our pharma companies ... all have already formed a consortium to work together, to share information in the development of therapeutics and vaccines," he said. 

The administration has worked with authorities in Italy and South Korea to implement additional screenings for all flights entering the U.S., including temperature tests for passengers.

Pence didn't warn against domestic travel, but encouraged families to practice common sense as authorities encourage everyone to resume their normal lives.

"This is a time to use common sense," Pence said. "It's a good time to wash your hands." 

936d ago / 10:26 PM UTC

Worried you have the coronavirus? Here's exactly what you should do

With a growing number of cases of the new coronavirus confirmed across the United States, having a sore throat or some sniffles might feel like a cause for concern. But in most cases, there is no reason to worry, experts say.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, there are the steps that doctors and public health officials recommend you take.

Click here to read more on what to do if you think you have coronavirus.

936d ago / 9:58 PM UTC

Sign of the times, cont'd

Image: Empty cold and flu medicine shelves are shown at a Target store in Encinitas, California
Empty cold and flu medicine shelves are shown at a Target store in Encinitas, Calif., on March 2, 2020.Mike Blake / Reuters
936d ago / 9:47 PM UTC

Watch live: VP Pence provides update on the threat

We apologize, this video has expired.
936d ago / 9:40 PM UTC

A dozen schools in Washington are closed. Others are weighing options.

A growing number of schools in western Washington state and Oregon are scrambling this week to temporarily close and sanitize classrooms.  

The decision to cancel classes Monday in at least a dozen schools in the greater Seattle area indicates how essential it is for school districts to have contingency plans and could be a preview for communities across the country weighing what preventative steps to take, health experts say.

Read more from this story here.

936d ago / 9:12 PM UTC

New York's battle plan: Testing and bleach

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Now that the coronavirus has arrived in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning residents to brace themselves for a smell with an overpowering, yet familiar, bouquet: bleach.

Read the full story here.

936d ago / 9:02 PM UTC

London's mayor aims for calm

936d ago / 8:56 PM UTC

Beware coronavirus hoaxes — including those that claim to be from the WHO

Scammers have already been taking advantage of fear about the new coronavirus to bilk people out of money — and they're getting more polished.

Cybersecurity company Proofpoint found that some fake emails are using the branding of legitimate companies and organizations, including the World Health Organization, in an attempt to trick people to download malicious software. 

Just like physical hygiene with the coronavirus, make sure to practice good cyber hygiene. Be careful what you click on.

936d ago / 8:50 PM UTC

Warner Bros. nixes NY premiere of animated Superman movie

Warner Bros. has canceled the planned March 16 premiere of the animated movie "Superman: Red Son" in New York, the studio said in a statement reported by pop culture news outlets.

"To help minimize risk of exposure, Warner Bros. has opted to take preventative measures" and call off the New York debut, the studio said.

936d ago / 8:49 PM UTC

SXSW doubles down on coronavirus fears, says event will go on, adds more speakers

South by Southwest, the annual media and music event in Austin, Texas, has doubled down in the face of coronavirus fears, adding speakers such as Hillary Clinton, Andrew Yang and Beto O’Rourke as other major events cancel or postpone as the epidemic spreads across America.

Featured speaker Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Sunday that he would be withdrawing, after his company enacted a ban on non-essential travel. Tens of thousands of visitors from across the globe are still set to gather in Austin in mid-March.

Change.org petition was launched last week by Austin residents calling for the event to be canceled, citing public health fears if “hundreds of thousands of people will be traveling to Austin.” The petition has attracted around 21,000 signatures so far.

936d ago / 8:45 PM UTC

Trump: 'We will confront this challenge together'

936d ago / 8:17 PM UTC

Man quarantined in Nebraska describes symptoms to MSNBC

Carl Goldman — who is quarantined in Omaha, Nebraska, after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship — described his symptoms in an interview with MSNBC on Monday.

“All I have left is a  dry cough that seems to get worse later in the day,” Goldman said. “You can hear my voice is still raspy. If I do a lot of exercising I do get a shortness of breath. But I only had the virus for one day of a high fever, which I got on the plane after leaving the Diamond Princess.”

936d 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.

936d 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.

936d ago / 7:06 PM UTC

VP Pence tweets about visit to manufacturing giant 3M

936d 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.

936d ago / 6:38 PM UTC

Richard Engel talks to infectious diseases chief

936d 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.

936d 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. 

937d 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
937d 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. 

937d 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.

937d 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
937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d ago / 4:36 PM UTC

Trump says admin asked pharma companies to 'accelerate' vaccine

937d ago / 4:23 PM UTC

WHO staffer in Iran tests positive

937d 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
937d 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.”

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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
937d 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.

937d ago / 3:37 PM UTC

Louisiana gets proactive

937d 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
937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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."

937d 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. 

937d ago / 12:15 PM UTC
937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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
937d ago / 10:23 AM UTC
937d 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.

937d 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. 

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d 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.

937d ago / 2:39 AM UTC
937d 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.

937d 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."

937d 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.

937d 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. 

937d 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. 

937d 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. 

937d 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