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World markets tumble and all of Italy goes on lockdown

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex which is under cohort isolation after mass infection of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Daegu
South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex that is under isolation in Daegu on Monday. Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

World stocks tumbled with investors bracing for the economic fallout of the epidemic, with a shocking all-out oil price war adding to anxiety.

Wall Street suffered its worst day since the financial crisis of 2008 as the Dow plummeted more than 2,000 points by Monday's closing bell, and London's FTSE 100 plunged to a three-year low after oil prices cratered by 30 percent overnight.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte announced Monday that the containment measures introduced Sunday for the Lombardy region in the country's north would be applied to the whole nation. More than 9,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Italy so far while Germany and Spain also saw spikes in the number of cases Monday.

The number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus has risen to more than 650 on Monday, including 26 deaths.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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Growing number of universities cancel face-to-face instruction

A growing number of colleges, including The Ohio State University and San Francisco State University, have suspended face-to-face classes amid fears of growing coronavirus cases in the United States.

OSU in a statement noted that while there are no campus-associated cases of COVID-19, "we know that there are at least three confirmed cases in the state of Ohio, and we expect that there will be more." It is suspending face-to-face instruction and moving to virtual interactions through at least March 30.

San Francisco State said that all face-to-face courses will be suspended, but the campus is not being closed. The city and county of San Francisco on Thursday announced two presumptive positive cases. UC San Diego said Monday that starting in Spring Quarter all lecture and discussion courses will be delivered remotely. UC Berkeley said starting Tuesday it is suspending most in-person classes and will be offering classes remotely.

Rice University in Houston this week announced in-person instruction is canceled this week and it is preparing for the possibility of delivering most of its classes remotely. Princeton said Monday that it will move to virtual instruction after spring break and will decrease the number of gatherings on campus. Stanford also said it will move in-person classes to an online format for the last two weeks of winter quarter.

'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' won't tape in front of audiences over coronavirus fears

Kurt Chirbas

Game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" will not tape in front of studio audiences amid the spread of coronavirus, a source close to the shows told NBC News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that "social distancing" is one way to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, in communities.

Santa Clara County, California, banned mass gatherings of more than 1,000 people in an effort to prevent transmission, officials said Monday.

California's Santa Clara County bans gatherings with more than 1,000 people

Santa Clara County, California, public health officials, citing an increase in the number of coronavirus cases that could be community spread, announced an order banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people for three weeks.

The order does not apply to airports, offices, grocery stores or shopping malls. But it could affect the San Jose Sharks hockey team, which said in a statement Monday night that it was aware of the new guidelines and would adhere to them.

Xi makes first visit since outbreak to China's epicenter Wuhan

The Associated Press

BEIJING — President Xi Jinping visited China's virus epicenter Tuesday for the first time since cases of a then-unidentified respiratory illness emerged in the city of Wuhan in December.

The visit came as people gradually began to return to work in other parts of China while the virus spreads to most of the world, seriously impacting travel, markets and the global economy. He is expected to inspect epidemic prevention and control work and visit medical workers, community volunteers, patients and others on the front lines.

The disease's spread in China cast scrutiny on Xi’s leadership, as he was conspicuously absent from the public eye during the early days of the crisis. Initial failures to react quickly were pegged on municipal and provincial-level officials who have since been replaced.

State media reported Xi arrived in the morning in Wuhan, which has been under lockdown along with several nearby cities since late January in a disease-containment measure. The city has the bulk of the country’s more than 80,000 confirmed cases, and authorities sent thousands of medical workers and built several prefabricated isolation wards to deal with its mass of COVID-19 patients.

SXSW lets go third of staff after cancellation because of coronavirus

Organizers for the South by Southwest annual conference, which was canceled by Austin officials over coronavirus fears, said Monday that they had let go of about one-third of its full-time staff.

"Due to the City of Austin’s unprecedented and unexpected cancellation of the SXSW 2020 events in March, SXSW has been rigorously reviewing our operations, and we are in the unimaginable position of reducing our workforce. Today we said goodbye to approximately one-third of our full-time staff," a spokesperson for South by Southwest, commonly known as SXSW, said.

"Those of us in the business of live events know the level of trust required to execute an event of SXSW’s scale, and we are deeply sad to let people go this soon. We are planning for the future and this was a necessary, but heartbreaking step," the spokesperson said.

Austin's mayor on Friday declared a state of emergency, which resulted in the cancellation.

China reports 17 more deaths, total on mainland now 3,136

China reported an additional 17 deaths, all of which were in Hubei Province, from the coronavirus illness COVID-19 Tuesday morning. That brings the number of people who have died in mainland China to 3,136.

The number of confirmed cases rose by 19, bringing the total cases that have been confirmed overall to 80,754, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Pearl Jam postponing tour because of coronavirus

With "deep frustration and regret," Seattle band Pearl Jam on Monday announced it was postponing part of its upcoming tour because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Having no examples of our national health department's ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead," that band said in making the announcement. 

Trump's incoming chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is under self-quarantine

Alex Moe

Tim Stelloh and Alex Moe

President Donald Trump's incoming chief of staff, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, said Monday that he is under self-quarantine after possibly "coming into contact" with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Image: Mark Meadows
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, speaks as Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Feb. 27, 2019.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images file

Meadows, R-North Carolina, has tested negative for the disease but will remain at home until Wednesday "out of an abundance of caution," Meadows' chief of staff, Ben Williamson, said in a statement Monday.

Trump named Meadows as his next chief of staff last week. 

The possible encounter occurred at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month. The statement provided no additional details about the potential exposure.

Williamson said Meadows is not experiencing symptoms but is following precautionary recommendations.

Several other Republican members of Congress are also under self-quarantine, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Rep. Julia Brownley, a Democrat from California, is also self-quarantining.  

Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, has said he is not self-quarantining despite possibly being exposed as well.

31 out of 35 patients at Life Care nursing home in Washington state test positive for coronavirus

The long-term care facility in Washington state linked to multiple deaths in the coronavirus outbreak announced on Monday that 31 out of 35 residents have tested positive for the virus, a Life Care official said Monday.

Of the 35 current residents of Life Care in Kirkland who were tested, 31 were positive, three were inconclusive and one was negative. More testing will be done on the inconclusive cases, Life Care public information liaison Tim Killian said Monday evening. 

Those who tested positive will not immediately be moved to hospitals, he said. They will remain there unless symptoms become acute enough that outside hospitalization is required. Those testing negative will be moved to another wing, Killian said. Employees have not yet been tested and it’s possible they will be tested off site, but that has not been finalized, he said.

The facility is waiting on results for around 20 residents, he said, adding that every resident within the facility has been tested.

There have been 22 deaths in Washington state, with 20 of those in King County, according to the state health department. Of the 20 deaths in King County, 19 have been associated with Life Care, according to the county health department, but that statement does not say all those deaths were patients there. There have been 162 confirmed cases across the state as of late Monday afternoon.

Father of coronavirus patient broke quarantine and took other daughter to dance

Image: Ritz-Carlton, St Louis
Ritz-Carlton, St Louis.Google Maps

The voluntary quarantine system that states are using to combat the spread of the new coronavirus in communities can work only if people follow it. So how can health officials be sure that people who agree to self-quarantine are at home?

The weaknesses in the system became apparent over the weekend in Missouri when a man broke quarantine and took one of his daughters to a dance.

The unidentified dad was already cutting the rug at a hotel Saturday when he got confirmation that his other daughter, the one who had stayed home, had tested positive for the virus, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said during a news conference Sunday.

Read the full article here.

Trump walks away while asked if he has been tested for coronavirus

Florida declares state of emergency over coronavirus concerns

Image: Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about the COVID-19 virus during a news conference at the Florida Department of Health, in Miami on March 2, 2020.Brynn Anderson / AP file

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday declared a state of emergency as the nation's leaders attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus. 

"I have issued an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency to establish a unified command structure and direct funds as necessary in response to #COVID19," DeSantis said in a tweet

As of Monday night 13 people have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness associated with coronavirus, and two have died in the state of Florida.  

MLB, MLS, NHL and NBA announce new rules on locker room access amid coronavirus

Four professional U.S. sports leagues on Monday announced new rules on access to locker rooms and clubhouses amid the spread of coronavirus.

Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League made the announcement in a joint statement.

"After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice,” the statement said. “Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting.”

The changes are effective beginning Tuesday. The National Football League, whose regular season does not officially begin for several months, was not in the joint statement.

Grand Princess cruise ship carrying coronavirus patients docks in California

Iowa governor declares disaster as total confirmed coronavirus cases reach 8

A declaration of disaster has been issued in Iowa Monday as the state reports five additional people have tested positive for coronavirus. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the order in an effort to expand resources in an effort to contain COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, as the total number of presumptive positive cases in the state climbed to eight.

Four of the new confirmed cases were passengers over the age of 60 who were on the same Egyptian cruise as the state's previous three patients, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

The fifth case involved a "middle-aged" adult who had recently traveled to California, where at least 114 people have tested positive for coronavirus and two have died.

Trump proposes payroll tax cut, other measures to offset coronavirus economic damage

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is looking at a possible payroll tax cut, along with other measures, to help American workers and boost the economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

He said he'd announce the "dramatic" details of the proposed relief on Tuesday. "They will be major," he said.

Trump announced the measures after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day with a loss of around 2,000 points on Monday.

Read the full story here.

Stopping coronavirus spread in Syrian refugee camps is 'mission impossible'

Image: Refugees, Syria, Turkey-Greece border
Migrants wait with their children in the buffer zone at the Turkey-Greece border near the Pazarkule crossing gate in Edirne on March 5, 2020.Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kilic, says the European Union must do more to help his country absorb an influx of refugees from the war in neighboring Syria, after Ankara said it would not stop refugees from leaving Turkey to enter E.U. territory.

Kilic also said his country had taken steps to bolster security on its border with Iran to counter the threat of the coronavirus but that trying to prevent the spread of the virus in refugee camps in Syria would be a "mission impossible."

"We have reached the limits of our capabilities" to accept refugees, Kilic told reporters.

Read the full story here.

Boston cancels annual St. Patrick’s Day parade

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Monday afternoon the city would not hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was set to take place in the city’s South Boston neighborhood March 15.

In a statement, Walsh said the event was being cancelled “out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy.”

There were 41 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Massachusetts as of Monday evening. 

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston was held in 1737.

As cases increase, hospitals have shared goal: Prevent the spread within their walls

At the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, patients who are worried that they may have the coronavirus no longer enter the hospital itself. Instead, they are treated just outside in big tents, where physicians donning protective gear test them and a special air filter whisks germs away.

The two 20-foot-wide tents were put up on Saturday as a way to limit the exposure between individuals suspected of having the coronavirus and patients in other areas of the hospital.

Read more about what hospitals are doing to prepare.

All of Italy on lockdown as prime minister expands restrictions to entire country

Associated Press

Doha Madani and Associated Press

Italy's prime minister announced Monday that the lockdown placed on millions in the Lombardy region has been extended to the entire country in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

The country's residents should avoid traveling outside areas where they live unless they can prove it’s because of a medical or work emergency, according to the sweeping new restrictions imposed by Italian Prime Minster Guiseppe Conte.

The extended lockdown, which also requires businesses to close by dusk, will take effect Tuesday and be in effect until April 3, Conte said.

“There won’t be just a red zone,″ Conte told reporters, referring to the designated lockdown areas in Lombardy. "There will be Italy." 

The nationwide decree also extends school closures in Italy. Schools in the center and south of Italy that were closed because of the virus had been slated to reopen on March 16.

As of Monday, at least 463 Italians have died from coronavirus-related deaths of the more than 9,000 confirmed positive cases.

3 more coronavirus deaths at Washington long-term care facility

Three more coronavirus-related deaths have been reported from a long-term care facility in Kirkland, Washington, where several residents and those affiliated with the establishment have fallen ill.

At least two of the three Life Care Center residents who died were part of 33 newly confirmed positives reported by Seattle and King County Public Health Monday. The third, a woman in her 70s, was part of a group of people who tested positive Wednesday. 

Of the 20 coronavirus-related deaths in King County, 19 have come from the Life Care Center. The nursing home has been considered a miniature epicenter for spread of COVID-19, the illness associated with coronavirus.

King County has 116 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday afternoon. 

CVS to waive fees for prescription delivery

CVS Health has temporarily stopped charging patients to have prescriptions delivered directly to their homes.

The move comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly discouraged those at high risk for complications of the coronavirus — such as people over age 80 and those with underlying health conditions — from going out into the public unnecessarily.

The CDC has suggested those at highest risk of becoming ill secure a two-week supply of needed medications, as well as basic groceries and household items. 

Ireland cancels St. Patrick's Day festivities over coronavirus concerns

Image: Crowds watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, on March 17, 2019.
Crowds watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, on March 17, 2019.Paul Faith / AFP via Getty Images file

St. Patrick's Day festivities in the Republic of Ireland have been canceled amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

The cancellations, including the National St. Patrick's Festival parade in Dublin, have come at the advice of health officials to help slow the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Monday. There have been a total of 19 cases of COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, in the Republic of Ireland.

"But I think it's really important to get across a very important fact; the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 in the next couple of weeks or couple of months will not do so because they attend a mass gathering, they will most likely pick it up in their own home from their family, or from interactions with friends and others," Varadkar said.

Read the full story here.

How does the coronavirus compare to flu?

The new coronavirus spreads in a similar way to the flu — through respiratory droplets — and can cause similar symptoms and complications. 

But while the flu is well understood and predictable, there are many unknowns about the virus that causes COVID-19. This coronavirus has only been known to scientists since the end of December. It's unclear, for example, whether it will follow a seasonal pattern like the flu.

Because the coronavirus is new, there is no immunity against it. Unlike the flu, there is no proven treatment or vaccine. 

The mortality rate for the flu is around 0.1 percent. Young children and the elderly, as well as people with compromised immune systems, are most at risk for serious complications. The mortality rate for the new coronavirus likely won't be known for years. The World Health Organization said that around 3 percent of people who have gotten sick from the virus have died, but this number is likely to change. Risk for severe complications from the coronavirus increases with age.

GOP House member who was with Trump on Air Force One also self-quarantining

Alex Moe

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is also now self-quarantining and closing his Washington, D.C., office after learning Monday that he was exposed to a patient with coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month.

Gaetz, who wore a gas mask on the House floor during the vote on the coronavirus emergency spending bill last week, was on Air Force One with President Donald Trump on Monday. 

The list of members known to be self-quarantining include Gaetz, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Doug Collins of Georgia, and Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley of California.

Dow closes with decline of 2,000 points, almost ending 11-year bull market

Wall Street took a beating on Monday, as collapsing oil prices and fears about the impact of the coronavirus almost nudged the American economy out of the longest bull market in history, exactly 11 years to the day since it began.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day with a loss of around 2,000 points Monday, part of a global market rout that saw spiraling sell-offs in the energy sector amid the biggest drop for crude oil since the Gulf War in 1991.

The blue-chip Dow saw its biggest points drop ever, down 7.8 percent, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq down by 7.6 percent and 7.2 percent for one of the worst days since the financial crisis.

Pelosi to hold meeting with House chairs over coronavirus


Alex Moe

Haley Talbot

Dartunorro Clark

Alex Moe, Haley Talbot and Dartunorro Clark

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday that she plans to hold a meeting with House committee chairs to discuss the coronavirus outbreak after their regular weekly Democratic leadership meeting Monday night, according to a source familiar with the matter. 

The meeting comes amid rising anxiety in Congress about the risk of exposure to the virus. Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Doug Collins of Georgia both said in statements this week that they will self-quarantine at home in their districts for 14 days after they came in contact with someone now hospitalized with COVID-19 at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. 

An aide for Collins told NBC News that two of his office staff are also self-quarantining. Collins shook hands with President Donald Trump in Atlanta on Friday, video and photos of them show.  

Rep. Julia Brownley. D-Calif., said in a statement Monday that she had met with someone who tested positive for infection and was closing her Washington office as a precautionary measure. She and her staff are "self-monitoring and maintaining social distancing practices" but are not experiencing symptoms.

The scene on Capitol Hill

Image: A custodian walks past the office of Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who is voluntarily quarantining after interacting with a person who has coronavirus, on Capitol Hill on Monday.
A custodian walks past the office of Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who is voluntarily quarantining after interacting with a person who has coronavirus, on Capitol Hill on Monday.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Coronavirus mask mania spurs internet’s gray markets into action

Coronavirus-related products are still for sale across most major social media platforms, including through person-to-person messaging systems, despite some efforts to crack down on black- and gray-market activity around the outbreak.

Facebook temporarily banned ads and listings in its Craigslist-style classifieds section Marketplace for coronavirus masks Friday, but searches like “N95 mask surgical mask supplier” on Facebook turned up a variety of marketers selling on Pages and Groups.

The offerings highlight how the fringe markets of social media have seized on the coronavirus and been able to fly under the radar of broader efforts to stop misinformation and profiteering around it. Some accounts that purport to market other illicit goods such as drugs have even turned to coronavirus-related products.

Read the full story here.

2nd person dies in California

A woman in her 60s who had been hospitalized for several weeks died on Monday morning, the Santa Clara Public Health Department said — bringing the California death toll to two people.

She was the first person in Santa Clara County who was confirmed to be infected with the disease caused by coronavirus without any known history of international travel, or contact with an infected person — suggesting she contracted the disease in the community.

“This is a tragic development. The Public Health Department is taking necessary, carefully considered steps to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk,” said Dr. Sara Cody, a health official for Santa Clara County.

Courts and coronavirus

A few federal courts around the country are beginning to reduce or restrict operations or access in view of the coronavirus.

All jury trials, both civil and criminal, have been postponed in Seattle and Tacoma federal courts. Grand juries are not meeting there, either.

Federal courts in New York's Southern District, including Manhattan, are restricting entry. No one will be allowed in who traveled within the past 14 days to China, South Korea, Japan, Italy or Iran, or who had close contact with someone who has. The chief judge has also ordered that no jail inmates can be brought to court for hearings if they have a fever.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has notified all federal courts to make certain they can maintain essential functions in the event of a pandemic, by substituting teleconferences for face-to-face meetings, requiring staff to stay home at the first sign of symptoms and encouraging more telework.


Ohio governor: Three people have tested positive

7-year-old in NYC diagnosed with coronavirus

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that a seven-year-old girl in the Bronx has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

This is not the first child in the U.S. to be diagnosed. An elementary school student in Indiana, as well as another New York City child, have also been diagnosed. 

But overall, children comprise a small percentage of total cases worldwide, including just 2.4 percent of reported cases in China, where the outbreak started. 

Among those children, complications from the virus have been rare. No deaths have been reported so far in young children.

Netanyahu says anyone entering Israel from abroad will be isolated for 14 days

Paul Goldman

Paul Goldman and Elisha Fieldstadt

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that anyone entering the country from abroad, including citizens, would be isolated for 14 days.

"This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health — and public health precedes everything," Netanyahu said. The rule will be in place for at least two weeks. 

Netanyahu made the announcement during a series of discussions with other leaders regarding the coronavirus outbreak. He also said he was working on plans to maintain the Israeli economy.

Drive-in coronavirus testing in Germany

Image: Clinic Offers Drive-In Coronavirus Testing As Nationwide Infections Continue To Rise
Dr. Roxana Sauer, dressed in a protective suit, demonstrates the procedure of taking a nasal swab from a visitor in his car to test for possible coronavirus at the Kreissklinik Gross Gerau regional clinic on Monday in Germany. The clinic recently began offering the drive-in service as a means to prevent possibly infected patients from coming in contact with other hospital visitors or staff. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen sharply in recent days to over 900.Alex Grimm / Getty Images


Dow tanks by 2,000 points, White House invites Wall Street executives to meet

Eamon Javers, CNBC

The White House is inviting Wall Street executives to discuss the response to the new coronavirus outbreak, an administration official told CNBC.

President Donald Trump is expected to attend the meeting, which is scheduled to be held Wednesday. Invitations were being sent out as of Monday afternoon, the official told CNBC.

The Washington Post first reported the gathering.

The meeting was arranged amid a punishing market rout spurred by fears about the impact of the coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked 2,000 Monday afternoon, on pace for its worst day since December 2008. 

Trump to weigh coronavirus stimulus options Monday — including paid sick leave


Hans Nichols

Geoff Bennett

Eamon Javers, CNBC

Shannon Pettypiece, Hans Nichols, Geoff Bennett and Eamon Javers, CNBC

White House and administration officials will present President Donald Trump with a set of economic stimulus options as early as this afternoon, including a plan to offer paid sick leave to those affected by the coronavirus and assistance for the hardest hit industries.

Despite Trump's continued downplaying of the effects of the virus — tweeting that a steep drop in oil prices is good for consumers, and blaming the news media for the plunging stocks — advisers are preparing to brief the president when he returns to the White House from a Florida fundraiser on a menu of options to shore up the economy, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Read the full story here.

CDC: People over 80 at highest risk

People over age 80, especially those with underlying health problems, are at highest risk for complications from the new coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

"The risk increases with age," the CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonnier said Monday during a call with reporters.

At particular risk are people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.

These individuals should take extra precautions to avoid crowds and stock up on supplies in case of a quarantine, Messonnier said.

Those supplies include prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines or supplies to treat fever or cough, and household items and groceries. 

European stocks have worst day since Brexit

European stock exchanges took a hammering Monday as crude oil prices plunged and Italy chose to contain 16 million people as part of a wider effort to control the spread of the virus.

The Stoxx 600, which includes a basket of European stocks, closed the day in bear territory, or down 20 percent from a 52-week high. It's the worst performance since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.

Traders were responding to the increase in fatalities connected to the virus, and also a steep drop in oil prices as Russia and Saudi Arabia entered an all-out price war, following a disagreement on crude oil output cuts.

Biden: Trump 'shouldn't say another word' on coronavirus

Gabe Gutierrez

Joe Biden told NBC News on Monday that President Donald Trump "shouldn't say another word" about coronavirus "because he's diminishing confidence exponentially.”

The presidential candidate and former vice president said he would lean on the CDC to communicate reliable information to the public, and for advice on whether to continue holding large political rallies amid coronavirus fears.

Trump "should let the experts ... he should let the CDC speak," Biden said. 

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump compared coronavirus outbreak numbers to annual flu deaths. Health experts have warned such comparisons can be problematic because the flu is reasonably predictable while there is still a lot that is unknown about the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

The scene in Venice

A woman walks through a mostly empty St. Mark's Square in Venice on Monday. Across Italy, museums and archaeological sites were closed, weddings were canceled and restaurants were told to keep patrons more than 3 feet apart. The country has counted 7,375 cases of COVID-19 virus and 366 deaths, more than any other country outside of Asia.Anteo Marinoni / LaPresse via AP

New York's Fordham University cancels in-person classes

Fordham University said Monday that all face-to-face classes would be canceled as of 1 p.m. ET amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

The university, with three campuses in New York — including its main one in the Bronx — said in a statement that in-person classes were cancelled "until further notice."

"Though this is an undeniable disruption of the academic enterprise, we feel that it is the best way to minimize the risk of spreading the virus within the campus community," the school said.

Residential students were "encouraged to return home immediately," but one dining hall will stay open at the school's Bronx and Lincoln Center campuses for those students who cannot.

It's time to study your health insurance plan

We took a close look at the virus deaths. Here's what we learned.

The scene in South Korea

Image: Medical staff move a patient infected with coronavirus from an ambulance to a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday.  According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 new cases were reported on Monday, with the death toll r
Medical staff move a patient infected with coronavirus from an ambulance to a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 new cases were reported on Monday, with the death toll rising to 53. The total number of infections in the nation tallies at 7,382, the highest outside of China.Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

The latest in New York

Trump compares coronavirus to flu

President Donald Trump on Monday morning continued to downplay concern around the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

In a tweet, Trump compared coronavirus outbreak numbers to annual flu deaths. Health experts have warned such comparisons can be problematic because the flu is reasonably predictable while much is still unknown about the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

Scientists are still working to get a more complete picture of the virus including its mortality rate.

Just before Trump's tweet, health secretary Alex Azar appeared on Fox News and said "nobody is trying to minimize" the threat of the new coronavirus.

Public interest in coronavirus spikes, according to Google Trends

Public interest in coronavirus is reaching levels that dwarf other major events of the past decade, according to data from Google Trends.

Google is able to see what people on its search engine are looking for, making it a useful indication of public interest. And according to its data, coronavirus searches have spiked considerably — and could make even the amount of searches for major figures such as Barack Obama and Donald Trump look small in comparison. 

"I've said this before, but the amount of interest in the coronavirus is just unreal," Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham said on Twitter. "I've never seen anything like it. Shaping up to be the biggest story in Google trends history."

Six die in Italian prison riot over anti-coronavirus measures


Inmates stage a protest against new rules to cope with coronavirus on the roof of the San Vittore prison in Milan, Italy, on Monday. Antonio Calanni / AP

Six inmates were killed in a prison riot in Italy and guards were taken hostage at another jail, as unrest spread in prisons across the country over measures to contain the coronavirus, including restrictions on visits.

Italy’s government has imposed a lockdown across much of the northern regions that have been hit by the contagion, in an effort to contain a virus which as of Sunday had killed 366 people in Italy.

In a TV interview, the head of Italy’s prison administration, Francesco Basentini, said three inmates had died inside a jail in the northern town of Modena, and three others had died after being transferred away from the prison.

'Operations are our lifeblood': Delta tries to allay customer fears

In an email, Delta Air Lines attempted to reassure anxious travelers and outline how it planned to respond to the outbreak.

Delta said it has "doubled-down" on cleaning, adding a fogging process to disinfect many of its longer-haul aircraft. The company said it would more consistently clean check-in kiosks, too.

The carrier is making sure customers have easy access to hand sanitizer, and it is outfitting employees with supplies. Masks will be available for sick customers (and staff in close contact with them), and the company says its Atlanta command center is prepared to answer customer questions and concerns.

"For more than a decade, Delta has been preparing for such a scenario," the company said in the email. "Operations are our lifeblood."

Princeton University doing online-only classes after spring break

Trump campaign 'proceeding normally,' but no rallies scheduled

There are few things President Trump says he enjoys more than a large-scale rally with thousands of cheering supporters. And while he has pledged to keep up the pace amid concerns about large gathering as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies, his re-election campaign has not announced any upcoming rallies for the weeks ahead, marking the first time without one on the calendar this year.

Read more here.

Trading halted on stock market as crude oil price plunge pulls down major averages

Trading on Wall Street's major averages was halted for 15 minutes Monday morning after the S&P 500 plunged by 7 percent, triggering a "circuit breaker."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted at the opening bell, sinking by more than 1,800 points as a fight over crude oil production created heightened pressure on a global economy already suffering the effects of the coronavirus epidemic.

Traders had anticipated a bloodbath on Monday, after oil prices cratered overnight by 30 percent when ongoing talks between OPEC members did not produce an agreement on output cuts.

Amazon changes warehouse worker policy for March

Ahiza García-Hodges

Amazon has told its warehouse employees that they can take sick days in March without counting toward their unpaid time off, according to CNBC.

The change comes as labor experts have warned that hourly workers and those without sick leave could be at higher risk of both catching the coronavirus and suffering severe financial repercussions as a result.

"We continue to work closely with public and private medical experts to ensure we are taking the right precautions and have implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees, delivery and transportation partners at our sites around the world," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

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South Korea could be regarded as ‘a model case’ for COVID-19 containment: president

Stella Kim

Stella Kim and Yuliya Talmazan
Image: South Korean soldiers from a chemical corps prepare to carry out quarantine works at an apartment complex which is under cohort isolation after mass infection of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reported in Daegu, South Korea
Soldiers prepare to carry out quarantine works at an apartment complex, which is under cohort isolation after mass infection of coronavirus reported in Daegu, South Korea, Monday.Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

South Korea's president said Monday his nation could become "a model case" for dealing with the novel coronavirus if the number of new confirmed cases continued to decrease, but cautioned against being too optimistic about the progress being made. 

"The number of new coronavirus confirmed cases peaked to 916 on Feb. 28 and has since been steadily decreasing to 248 on [Sunday]. This trend must continue,” President Moon Jae-In said at a presidential staff meeting. “As the number of new cases continues to grow in many countries around the world, if we continue with a decrease in the curve, South Korea can be regarded as a model case for good practice for COVID-19 protection.”

But Moon said small group infections are still occurring in areas including Daegu and North of Gyeongsang province. 

“The continued small-scale infections can mean that infections can occur on a larger scale as well,” he added. "We should not be relieved by the situation."

South Korea reported 7,478 confirmed cases and 53 virus-related deaths Monday. 

NATO staffer in Brussels tests positive for COVID-19

Andy Eckardt

Andy Eckardt and Yuliya Talmazan

A NATO staff member working at the Brussels headquarters has tested positive for coronavirus, the alliance said Monday. 

The staff member came back from a holiday in northern Italy, felt unwell at the end of last week and was tested after getting fever-like symptoms, according to a statement from NATO. 

"Within minutes of receiving the result, all the immediate work colleagues were informed," the statement added.

The staff member, who wasn't named, is currently working from home, where they are in self-isolation.

NATO said it has already taken preventative measures at its headquarters to reduce the risk of virus spread, including temporary suspension of travel for some staff and group visits to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

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Iran sees a spike of nearly 600 new coronavirus cases

Amin Khodadadi

Amin Khodadadi and Yuliya Talmazan

Health officials in Iran reported nearly 600 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total to 7,161 as the country struggled to contain the outbreak.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said a total of 237 people have died from the virus since the epidemic began, with 43 new deaths reported Monday. 

Dow set to open with a decline of 1,300 points as oil war adds to coronavirus stresses

Wall Street is preparing for a bloodbath on Monday, after oil prices cratered by 30 percent overnight, pushing all three major averages to declines of around 5 percent and adding stress to an economy already feeling intense pressure from the coronavirus epidemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average looked set to open down by 1,300 points on Monday morning, with trading on the S&P 500 halted overnight after hitting critical levels that triggered a "circuit-breaker," which prevents further losses.

Investors took shelter in safe havens, pushing gold to a seven-year high and pushing the 10-year Treasury yield to an all-time historic low of 0.3 percent by early morning.

Conditions worsened after the world's oil-producing countries failed to strike a deal at a meeting between cartel members in Vienna last week. The stalemate continued over the weekend, with Saudi Arabia and Russia reportedly planning to ramp up production on their own terms after the current deal expires at the end of the month.

Image: A broker scratches his head as he looks at his screens at the stock market in Frankfurt, Germany,
A broker at the stock market in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday. Michael Probst / AP

Italian celebrities encourage fellow citizens to stay home

Italian celebrities reacted to the country's partial coronavirus lockdown by posting messages on social media encouraging their followers to stay home and follow government advice.

Musicians, comedians and TV personalities showed themselves lounging at home while reminding their fellow citizens of the fun to be had indoors using the hashtag #iostoacasa or "I'm staying home." 

"It's been hours, long hours, waiting for someone to say that this damned story will come to an end and that finally tomorrow we'll be able to go outside," sang pop group Negramaro's frontman Giuliano Sangiorgi in a tongue-in-cheek video posted to Twitter. 

Some posts showed celebrities cuddling with cats or picking up new instruments for the first time, but their tone was also serious. 

"Let's stay home as long as it takes for this to be resolved," said Italian singer-songwriter Lorenzo "Jovanotti" Cherubini while strumming a traditional Middle Eastern oud. "Follow the government guidance and listen to the experts ... It's not vacation: it's an emergency."

Many celebrities were voluntarily self-isolating despite not living in the so-called red zone — areas mainly located in northern Italy where the government is currently restricting up to 16 million citizens' movements.

Stock markets around the world plunge as oil price war adds to coronavirus fears

NBC News

Stocks across the world tumbled early Monday after a shocking all-out oil price war added to anxiety around the economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated an opening drop of more than 1,300 points. The S&P 500 futures indicated a 5 percent drop at Monday’s open. The S&P futures trading was briefly halted overnight. The sharp declines in the futures market signaled more turbulence ahead after a roller-coaster week that saw the S&P 500 swing up or down more than 2.5 percent for four days straight.

The massive sell-off could trigger key market circuit breakers during regular trading hours.

Read the full story here.

7 Trinity College students in self-quarantine for possible coronavirus exposure

Seven Trinity College students in Connecticut are in self-quarantine for possible coronavirus exposure.

The students at the Hartford, Connecticut, college are not displaying symptoms and their possible exposure did not occur on or near campus, Joe DiChristina, vice president of student affairs and dean of campus life, said in a  statement on Sunday. They have left campus and the school said it is checking in regularly with the students who are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, it added. 

"We ask for your assistance in not engaging in rumors or speculation, which may stigmatize individuals and spread fear and misinformation," DiChristina added.

As of Sunday, there was one reported case of coronavirus in Connecticut. 

Rep. Gosar's use of 'Wuhan virus' sparks anger

When Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said he will self-quarantine for 14 days on Sunday after he came into "extended" contact with a person who since been hospitalized for coronavirus, he set off a debate by referring to the disease as "Wuhan virus."

Rep. Gosar called the disease COVID-19 in an official statement, but on his personal Twitter account he wrote that he had "sustained contact...with a person who has since been hospitalized with the Wuhan Virus."

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said in a tweet that Gosar's use of "Wuhan virus" is "an example of the myopia that allowed it to spread," adding the virus is "not constrained by country or race."

Many on social media said Gosar's reference was racist, including NARAL president Ilyse Hogue, as anti-Asian bias and xenophobia have been rising as the virus spreads.

Others, particularly figures in conservative media, defended Gosar, saying it is commonplace to refer to diseases by the place from where they originated, citing Lyme, Connecticut as the namesake of Lyme's Disease and Zika Virus, named after the Zika Forest of Uganda.

Gosar himself responded to the criticism on Twitter late Sunday, saying it is "just astoundingly ignorant to have all major media refer to it as #WuhanVirus for months but somehow, today, you’ve decided that’s #racist."

When coronavirus first appeared, many people, including those in the media, referred to it as "Wuhan virus." But in mid-February, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) put out guidelines for reporting responsibly on the outbreak, and cautioned against saying "Wuhan virus." AAJA cited 2015 guidelines from the World Health Organization which discourage naming illnesses after geographic locations to avoid stigmatizing those who live there.

Japan’s professional baseball season postponed by outbreak

Arata Yamamoto

Japan’s professional baseball league decided to postpone the season opening due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The league's commissioner, Atsushi Saito, announced that the season opening matches slated for March 20 will be postponed during a meeting with Japan's twelve professional baseball teams Monday. 

“While continuing to seek advice from experts, we will aim to start the season some time during April," Saito said. 

Japan has so far recorded 488 cases of the virus and 15 deaths. 


Milan turns into a ghost town amid coronavirus lockdown

NBC News

Image: Empty streets around the Via Corsico in Milan, Italy
Empty streets around the Via Corsico in Milan, Italy on Sunday as the city went into lockdown Sunday. Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

Saudi Arabia locks down province as coronavirus cases rise


Saudi Arabia has imposed a temporary lockdown on the eastern Qatif province, an oil-producing region and home to a large Shiite Muslim population, to prevent the spread of coronavirus after 11 people there were infected.

Four new cases, including an American arrival who visited Italy and the Philippines, took the tally to 15 on Monday, as the kingdom suspended travel with nine nations, from neighboring United Arab Emirates to Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt.

The Saudi interior ministry said in a statement Sunday that no one would be allowed to enter or exit Qatif and that work at all public and private sectors in the province had been suspended with the exception of institutions providing necessary services.

London's FTSE 100 plunges to three-year low amid coronavirus, oil price war fears


Yun Li, CNBC

Reuters and Yun Li, CNBC
Image: A Kuwaiti trader checks stock prices at Boursa Kuwait in Kuwait City, on March 8, 2020.
A Kuwaiti trader checks stock prices at Boursa Kuwait in Kuwait City, on Sunday. Yasser -Al-Zayyat / AFP - Getty Images

Stock tumbled early Monday morning as markets in Europe and Asia tanked after a shocking all-out oil price war added to anxiety around the economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus.

London's FTSE 100 plunged to a three-year low, down eight percent, after a sharp drop in oil stocks, as a move by Saudi Arabia to raise crude output sent prices of the commodity crashing.

That came as investors were still alarmed about the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Read full story here. 

Germany tops 1,000 cases

Andy Eckardt

Germany has recorded more than 1,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, becoming the third country in Europe to reach the mark after Italy and France. 

German health officials reported 210 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, raising the total to 1,112, up from 902 reported on Sunday.

The largest number of cases, 484, were in the western region of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state.

South Korea introduces three-layered airport fever check

Stella Kim

Stella Kim and Yuliya Talmazan

Health officials in South Korea were on Monday rolling out a three-step process to check the temperature of people departing from the country's largest airport in response to widening entry restrictions on South Korean citizens by other countries. 

The procedure, which South Korean officials are calling “a water-tight containment system," came into effect at the Incheon International Airport. 

The first step involves checking the temperature of passengers when they get to the airport with thermal cameras. Then, once they move into a departure area, more thermal camera checks will be conducted before passengers can proceed to the security check. Finally, a non-contact thermometer will be used to measure their temperatures at the boarding gate. 

Dozens of countries have limited arrivals of people from South Korea as it struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak. It reported 344 new cases of COVID-19, the disease that the coronavirus causes, Monday, increasing the total to 7478 confirmed cases. Fifty people have died from the virus so far. 

Image: A worker checking his protective gear as he prepares to spray disinfectant on an airplane as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Incheon International Airport in South Korea
A worker prepares to spray disinfectant on an airplane as at Incheon International Airport in South Korea on March 4. AFP - Getty Images



Shanghai Disneyland resumes some resort operations


Image: FILE PHOTO: People visit the opening event of Disney-Pixar Toy Story Land, the seventh themed land in Shanghai Disneyland in Shanghai
Shanghai Disneyland in 2018. Some resort operations will resume Monday, officials said.Aly Song / Reuters

SHANGHAI — Walt Disney Co.'s Shanghai Disneyland said on Monday it will resume a limited number of resort operations as the first step of a phased reopening, although the main theme park will remain shut amid worries about the coronavirus outbreak.

Some shopping, dining, and recreational activities will reopen in Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel with limited capacity and reduced hours of operation. All guests will be required to have their temperature taken on arrival and to wear a mask for the duration of their visit.

"Guests will also be reminded to maintain respectful social distances at all times while in stores, queues and restaurants," Shanghai Disneyland said in a statement on its website.

Shanghai Disneyland was closed on Jan. 25 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland were shut in subsequent days.

North Korea flies out foreign diplomats

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — A special North Korean flight carrying presumably dozens of diplomats and other foreigners arrived in Russia's Far East on Monday as the country tightens its lockdown intended to fend off the coronavirus.

North Korea has not publicly confirmed a single case of the COVID-19 illness, but its state media have reported thousands of people have been quarantined as part of strict prevention measures.

Seemingly dozens of passengers, most of them masked and some accompanied by children, lined up at Pyongyang International Airport. North Korean health workers wearing white protective suits scanned them for fevers.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many were flown out to Vladivostok. The North lifted a monthlong quarantine on foreign diplomats based in Pyongyang on March 2, allowing them to leave the country if needed.

Anxiety in an aging Congress as coronavirus spreads across U.S.

Kasie Hunt

Alex Moe

Kasie Hunt and Alex Moe

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are becoming increasingly anxious about coronavirus, and there is growing pressure on leadership to take steps to protect lawmakers — even potentially recessing for a period of weeks — two Democratic congressional sources said Sunday.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said he will close his office in Washington and will self-quarantine at home in Arizona for 14 days after he came into "extended" contact with a person who is hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. They came into contact at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Gosar said.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced late Sunday that he will stay home in Texas this week because he had a brief interaction with a person attending CPAC who has tested positive. Gosar and Cruz said they were experiencing no symptoms but were acting out of caution.

"Members are very nervous," a senior Democratic leadership aide said. "There's a lot of concern that members could bring it home."

But some members were urging Congress to stay the course to "show leadership in a time of great anxiety" and conduct oversight of the Trump administration's response.

Read the full story here.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., self-quarantining for 14 days after 'sustained' coronavirus exposure at CPAC

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