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1st case confirmed in nation's capital

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: Countries around the world work to contain and delay the spread of the novel coronavirus that has already claimed more than 3,000 lives worldwide, including nine in the U.S.
Countries around the world work to contain and delay the spread of the novel coronavirus that has already claimed more than 3,000 lives worldwide, including 17 in the U.S.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The number of deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. has climbed to 19, nearly all of them in Washington state.

Two people have died in Florida, one in California and 16 in Washington state as hundreds of cases of infection have been reported around the country.

Worldwide, more than 100,000 people have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University. Huge swathes of Italy have been locked down and health experts are continuing to urge people to practice preventative measures, such as routine hand-washing, in order to avoid COVID-19.

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CPAC attendee tests positive

A person who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C., has tested positive for coronavirus, the event's organizer said Saturday.

The American Conservative Union said in a statement the patient was exposed to the virus before attending the four-day CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland, last week.

"The individual is under the care of medical professionals in the state of New Jersey and has been quarantined," the union said. "This attendee had no interaction with the President or the Vice President and never attended the events in the main hall."

President Donald Trump spoke at the conference Feb. 29 and Vice President Mike Pence on Feb. 27.

Man tweets grandmother's medical ordeal aboard Grand Princess

A Tennessee man desperate to help his grandmother, who is quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of California and needs access to her medication, tweeted Saturday, begging someone to help the 83-year-old woman.

Brock Fuller tweeted that the elderly woman is "1 day from having a stroke" if her doctor could not deliver the blood thinner Coudamin. The woman, whose name was not released, has congestive heart failure and dementia, Fuller said.

She packed only enough medication to get her through the trip with her sister and brother-in-law, but they have been stuck aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship where 21 people have tested positive for coronavirus. Fuller said the family has been fighting to get his grandmother's medicine to her for four days.

"Obviously, on some grand scale, the coronavirus is a big deal, but the fact that they have not had a plan of action to provide medication for citizens on board is absurd," Fuller said. "The last thing they want is a lady passing away on their cruise ship due to negligence." 

Within a few hours of Fuller's first tweet, he sent another one saying the medicine finally reached the ship and will be delivered "at some point." 

Death toll in Italy reaches 233

Italy's death toll from coronavirus continues to mount, reaching 233.

The number of cases in the country is now at 5,883, with close to half that number — 2,651 — hospitalized. 

The outbreak, one of the worst outside China, is centered in the Lombardy region, which includes Milan. 

In praising the American response to coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday noted that the United States was "screening 100 percent of all individuals from all flights from Italy."

Global conference by the recently pardoned Michael Milken postponed

The Milken Institute Global Conference — an annual event put on by billionaire financier Michael Milken, who was recently pardoned by President Trump — will be delayed due to coronavirus fears, according to multiple reports and two sources who spoke to NBC News.

Originally scheduled to take place May 2 through May 6 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, the conference nicknamed "Davos of the West" is now delayed until July, said the sources, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the conference.

The organization says the conference attracts more than 4,000 attendees from 70 countries, including celebrities, politicians, corporate executives, and leaders.

The Milken Institute did not reply to a request for comment.

 

More than 1 million tests have been distributed, with more on the way: FDA

The head of the Food and Drug Administration said 1.1 million tests have been sent to labs, with a focus on hard-hit states, such as Washington and California.

Dr. Steven Hahn made the announcement during a White House briefing Saturday. He said he expects another million to be sent by Monday. And, he said, as many as 4 million could be ready by the end of next week. 

So far, 72 state and local public health labs in 48 states are able to test for the coronavirus.

Also on Saturday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar clarified comments President Trump made Friday when he suggested anyone could get a test. Azar said Trump was using "shorthand" and explained health officials are no longer restricting testing if a doctor determines one is necessary.

U.S. deaths up to 19

The number of deaths from coronavirus in the United States has climbed to 19, as two more fatalities were reported Saturday in Washington state. 

In total, the virus has killed 16 in Washington state, two in Florida and one in California. 

The overall number of cases of the virus has risen to 395, with Washington state and California having the most, 102 and 84, respectively. 

Amtrak cancels Acela nonstop train between D.C. and New York

Amtrak said it is temporarily halting Acela nonstop train service between Washington, D.C. and New York, due to decreased demand as the coronavirus continues to sicken people across the United States. 

The suspension starts Tuesday and will continue until May 26, Amtrak said in a statement on its website Friday. In addition, the passenger rail line said it will waive change fees on all existing or new reservations made before April 30, 2020.

To help keep down the spread of the virus, Amtrak trains and stations will be cleaned multiple times a day "and in some cases, on an hourly basis," the statement said. An increased number of sanitizers and disinfectant wipes will also be available for customers and its workers. 

Coronavirus for Easter?

Chocolate maker Jean-Francois Pre shows an Easter egg shaped like a novel Coronavirus, the cause of the COVID-19 outbreak, made of white chocolate colored in black and red colored almonds, in his shop in Landivisiau, western France, on March 7, 2020.Damien Meyer / AFP - Getty Images

Phillies limit player contact with fans on autographs

The Philadelphia Phillies said the team is changing its autograph policy ahead of spring-training games to try to limit contact between players and fans amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Phillies said in a statement provided to NBC Sports that based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is asking players to pre-sign baseballs and photo cards and for security personnel to help players distribute those items before games.

"The Phillies recognize that autograph signing for some fans is part of the overall appeal of attending spring training games. As a precautionary measure for both our players and our fans, we are making adjustments to this experience," the statement says. 

Why the WHO is not calling coronavirus outbreak a 'pandemic'

The World Health Organization has shied away from calling the global spread of the coronavirus a "pandemic," saying the word might spook the world further and lead some countries to lose hope of containing the virus.

“Unless we’re convinced it’s uncontrollable, why (would) we call it a pandemic?” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week.

Some experts disagree, saying the outbreak meets the definition of a pandemic.

But, at a news conference last month, Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's emergencies chief, said a pandemic is “a unique situation in which we believe that all citizens on the planet" will likely be exposed to a virus "within a defined period of time.”