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Coronavirus death toll rises in U.S.
Coronavirus death toll rises in U.S. 03:29

Follow Tuesday's latest coronavirus updates here.

Health officials in Washington state said Monday that four more people have died of the new coronavirus, bringing the state's death toll, and the nation's, to six. Georgia reported its first two cases Monday, bringing the number of states with confirmed cases to 15.

The disease that emerged in central China was taking a mounting toll on American nerves. Stores in regions with COVID-19 clusters were selling out of basic goods as people stocked up.

The disease has hit at least 70 countries, with 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths. The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China. While the number of new cases recorded daily in that epicenter country has declined for weeks, the virus continues to spread fast in South Korea, Iran and Italy, prompting increased travel warnings and restrictions.

While their research has yet to be peer-reviewed, a team of scientists in Washington said the state's two deaths could be the tip of an iceberg: They said hundreds more people in King County, where Seattle is located, may already have been exposed to the disease.

The potential for mild or even asymptomatic cases to go undetected but still spread COVD-19 has been noted repeatedly by health officials as one of the biggest challenges in fighting the disease. It makes the virus a deceptive enemy and, in spite of assurances from officials that the risk to the general public is low, the stockpiling and last week's stock market losses show that, like the disease itself, fear is still spreading.

Tourism decreases in Italy as coronavirus spreads 03:00

India tracing contacts as virus cases increase

India reported two new coronavirus cases Monday, taking the total number in the country to five. On Tuesday officials said there were seven more suspected cases, including a cluster of six in Agra state.  

In a bid to prevent the further spread of the disease, India has stopped issuing visas to people from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, the four countries with the largest outbreaks outside China. Visas to Chinese nationals were suspended last month.

One of the new confirmed patients, a 45-year-old man from Delhi, visited Italy before flying back to India via Austria on February 25, officials said. The crew of the Vienna-Delhi flight has been asked to self-isolate in their homes for 14 days. 

A school in the Delhi suburb of Noida, where the Delhi man's two children study, closed for three days and was to be disinfected. 

The Delhi patient came into contact with five other families during a birthday party in Agra last week. Six people among them have reported fever and blood samples have been sent for testing.  

India Virus Outbreak
Indian doctors walk past the entrance of an isolation ward where people who returned from China are under observation at the Government Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, India, March 2, 2020. AP

The other case confirmed Monday was a 24-year-old software engineer from the technology hub of Hyderabad. The man had come in contact with people from Hong Kong in Dubai last month, where he is believed to have contracted the virus. 

The patient's colleagues, friends and family were being monitored for symptoms. 

— Arshad R. Zargar


South Korea declares "war" on coronavirus

South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared "war" against the coronavirus Tuesday, placing all government agencies on a 24-hour emergency footing. The country's total cases -- the largest in the world outside China – topped 5,000.

Authorities reported 374 new cases Tuesday for a nationwide total of 5,186, the Reuters news agency said.

South Korea has seen a rapid rise in infections in recent days and scores of events -- from K-pop concerts to sports seasons — have been cancelled or postponed as a result, with school and kindergarten breaks extended by three weeks nationwide.

The central bank has warned of negative growth in the first quarter for the world's 12th-largest economy, noting the epidemic will hit both consumption and exports.

Moon said the government will inject more than 30 trillion won (US$25 billion) into the economy to address the "grave" situation brought on by the outbreak.

"The entire country has entered a war with the infectious disease," Moon said, ordering all government agencies to operate around the clock. — CBS/AFP


Twitter asks employees worldwide to work from home due to virus

Twitter staff members across the world were asked to work from home starting Monday in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus. The request follows similar requests by governments in virus hotspots.

"We are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they're able," Twitter human resources chief Jennifer Christie said in a Monday blog post. "Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us — and the world around us."

Working from home will be mandatory for employees at the company's South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan offices, Christie said.

Twitter had already announced the suspension of "non-critical" business travel and events last week.

— Agence France-Presse


China making "huge progress" against virus, U.N. ambassador says

The outbreak continues to wane in China, where the virus was first detected in December.

The health ministry on Tuesday announced that only 125 new cases of the virus had been detected over the prior 24 hours, the lowest number since authorities began publishing nationwide figures on Jan. 21. Another 31 deaths were reported, all of them in the hardest-hit province of Hubei. The figures bring China's total number of cases to 80,151, with 2,943 deaths.

China's U.N. ambassador says the government believes that "victory" over the coronavirus won't be far behind the coming of spring.

Zhang Jun told a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York that, "China's fight against the coronavirus is indeed making huge progress, and the situation is really becoming stable." -- The Associated Press


Georgia announces first 2 cases

The state of Georgia has two confirmed cases of coronavirus, Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey announced Monday night. There are now confirmed cases in 15 states across the United States.

The two patients live together in Fulton County, according to a statement from Kemp. 

"One recently returned from Italy. Both have mild symptoms; they are isolated at home with other relatives to keep the illness from spreading," the statement said.

By Jordan Freiman

Massachusetts reviewing second presumptive positive case

A second person in Massachusetts has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The test results came back Monday night and are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The patient is a woman in her 20s who is currently recovering at home in Norfolk County. 

"She recently traveled to Italy with a school group," the department said. Italy currently has the most cases of coronavirus outside of Asia.

By Jordan Freiman

South Korea reports 600 new cases, 6 more deaths

The South Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday reported 600 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and six more deaths. South Korea is the hardest hit country outside of China.

The global number of confirmed cases is now over 89,000, with at least 3,116 deaths.  

By Jordan Freiman

China reports 125 new cases, 31 new deaths

China reported 125 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 31 new deaths Monday.

By Jordan Freiman

NBA tells players to avoid high-fives and signing autographs

The NBA advised players in a memo to avoid giving fans high-fives and accepting items such as pens, balls and jerseys to sign autographs, The Associated Press reports. The measures are designed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus to players.

Prior to the memo being sent, Portland Trailblazers guard CJ McCallum said in a Saturday tweet he is, "officially taking a break from signing autographs until further notice." Oregon announced its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus Friday.

— Associated Press 


U.S. continues efforts to contain coronavirus outbreak

U.S. continues efforts to contain coronavirus outbreak 02:29

Officials in New York said it is inevitable that the coronavirus will spread in New York city, which just reported its first case. Schools and hospitals all over the country are taking action.


Coronavirus may infect up to 70% of world's population, expert warns

Epidemiologist predicts effects of coronavirus in the months ahead 06:20

CBS News spoke to one of the country's top experts on viruses, Marc Lipsitch from Harvard University, who cautions that 40-70% of the world's population will become infected — and from that number, 1% of people who get symptoms from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, could die. The virus can spread rapidly and people can transmit it before they know they are infected.

Lipsitch breaks down his findings in this extended conversation with CBS News.

"That is a projection, so we will find out if it's accurate as things go on. It is the best estimate that I've been able to make based on a combination of the mathematical models that we use to track and predict epidemics," Lipsitch said.

Read the entire interview here.

— Jim Axelrod  


Saudi Arabia announces first confirmed case

Saudi Arabia announced its first case of the novel coronavirus on Monday, according to Reuters. The patient is a man who traveled from Iran, according to the country's Health Ministry. He is currently quarantined in a hospital, the ministry reported.

This brings the total number of countries with confirmed cases to 73.


Officials say risk to Americans remains low, but "degree of risk has the potential to change quickly"

Pence and coronavirus task force hold press briefing 30:18

Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Dr. Robert Redfield, all members of President Trump's coronavirus task force, emphasized during a press briefing Monday that the risk to Americans currently remains "low." Azar did qualify that remark however, warning, "the degree of risk has the potential to change quickly."

The vice president said the U.S. could expand travel advisories in the next 12 hours, saying "we'll continue to monitor the cases," but stressed there are no travel advisories within the U.S. at this time.

Pence also stated they will continue to hold these briefings every day.

By Jordan Freiman

Head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease cautions a vaccine is still at least a year out

Trump meets with coronavirus task force and pharma execs as death toll increases in U.S. 23:10

President Trump on Monday held a meeting with members of the coronavirus task force and pharmaceutical executives to discuss plans for containment of the disease and the development of a vaccine. Mr. Trump appeared optimistic that a vaccine could be developed within the next few months, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, clarified it would still be a year to a year and a half before one could be made available to the public.

"I like the sound of a couple of months better," Mr. Trump said.

A vaccine could be ready for phase one testing as early as June, according to the executives present for the meeting. If all goes well in phase one, a vaccine would then still need to go through two more rounds of testing.

"Vaccines have to be tested because there's precedent for vaccines to actually make diseases worse," said Dr. Leonard Schleifer, CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

By Jordan Freiman

Death toll rises to 6 in Washington state

The coronavirus has killed six people in Washington state, officials said in a news conference Monday. Five of the patients were King County residents. The other was from Snohomish County, said Dr. Jeff Duchin, with Seattle and King County Public Health.

By Justin Bey

Consumer demand for hand sanitizers is up 1,400% amid coronavirus

Makers of household cleaning supplies like Lysol wipes and hand sanitizers such as Purell are ramping up production due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Demand for hand sanitizers spiked 1,400% from December to January, according to market researchers at Adobe Analytics. Meanwhile, a supplier to smaller manufacturers of hand sanitizers warned its customers Monday that it's running out of product to sell them. 

Health officials advise that people disinfect countertops and other frequently touched surfaces to help contain the virus, as well as using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water aren't readily available. 

Bulk Apothecary, a supplier to smaller-scale manufacturers of health and beauty products, on Monday cautioned it's running out of hand sanitizer, citing a run on the product. 

"We are working diligently to keep up with demand and are currently putting in a second and third shift but want to warn our core customers that there is a very real chance we will not be able to keep it in stock," the company stated in an email. Its manufacturing efforts would focus on one-gallon sizes of hand sanitizer and 55-gallon drums, it added.

By Kate Gibson

Trump says "very safe" to hold rallies despite virus spread

President Donald Trump said Monday that campaign rallies do not put his supporters at risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus. The president insisted the country was well prepared for the disease.

"I think it's very safe," to continue holding frequent rallies across the country, Mr. Trump said when questioned in the Oval Office.

"You could ask that to the Democrats because they're having a lot of rallies," said Mr. Trump, who is campaigning for a second term in November's elections.

The president was scheduled to hold another rally in North Carolina later Monday, after a meeting with the heads of large pharmaceutical companies to discuss efforts to contain the virus. 

"We've asked them to accelerate whatever they're doing in terms of a vaccine," Trump said.



Italy's health system at limit in virus-struck region

The coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy has so overwhelmed the public health system that officials are taking extraordinary measures to care for the sick. They are seeking to bring doctors out of retirement and accelerate graduation dates for nursing students.

The region of Lombardy is the epicenter of Italy's outbreak, registering the first positive test of the northern cluster and now counting at least 1,254 of Italy's 2,036 cases. Alarmingly, 10% of Lombardy's doctors and nurses cannot work because they tested positive for the virus and are in quarantine, the region's top health official, Giulio Gallera, said Monday.

— AP


U.N. scales back plans for major women's event due to coronavirus

After U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended that an upcoming meeting to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a U.N. conference on women's rights be drastically scaled back because of the spread of COVID-19, the organizers met on Monday and agreed, cancelling hundreds of side events and scaling back  the meeting from two weeks to one day.

About 12,000 people were signed up to attend the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 64) on March 9.

But in a letter obtained by CBS News, Guterres wrote to the organizers and to diplomats to scale back or postpone the event. 

"Given the manner in which the situation surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly developing, including the increasing number of travel restrictions, and mindful of the need to balance the continuation of essential activities with the protection of public health, I am recommending that Member States decide to shorten and scale down the session," Guterres wrote. "I would strongly recommend that capital-based representatives refrain from travelling to Headquarters for the session. In the same vein, it would be prudent for the Secretariat and Member States to cancel all side events."

Organizers suggested that member states have U.S.-based delegates attend while others from their countries stay home.

China's Ambassador Zhang Jun, who assumed the presidency of the Security Council for March, said delegates from China would not be attending.

By Pamela Falk

Virus spread "inevitable," New York governor says

New York's governor warned Monday the coronavirus would spread in the global financial hub as President Trump prepared to meet pharmaceutical executives on the response to the outbreak that has claimed two lives in America. Andrew Cuomo said it was "inevitable" more people in the city would test positive for the deadly virus after its first confirmed case was detected in a health care worker who had visited Iran.

"There is no doubt that there will be more cases. This is New York, we're a gateway to the world," Cuomo told reporters.

"People are going to test positive, not just one or two or three or five, there will be many who test positive," he added.

-- AFP


Origin of 1 suspected Florida virus case is a mystery

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said Monday that authorities were working to determine how one of the state's first two suspected coronavirus patients had contracted the disease, as they had no obvious contact with known sources.

The man in his 60s was said to be in stable condition in a Florida hospital, and Rivkees said authorities were working to trace his close contacts.

Florida was still awaiting confirmation of the man's test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the results for the other "presumptive positive" case, a woman in her 20s who recently returned to Florida from northern Italy. That region is home to the largest COVID-19 outbreak outside of Asia.

The woman was also stable, according to Rivkees, and was islolated at her home. Her close contacts were also being traced.

"We are anticipating that there will be additional positive tests," Governor Ron DeSantis said at the news conference, noting that the man who had tested "presumptive positive" did not meet any criteria that would normally be expected to put him at risk. He was tested after presenting with flu-like symptoms.

"We think that there will likely be more," DeSantis said.

By Tucker Reals

Israel erects election pods for virus-quarantined voters

"Don't treat us like lepers," shouted the man trying to vote Monday at a special polling station set up for Israelis quarantined because of possible exposure to coronavirus. The man's roadside outburst was directed at a police officer using a megaphone to give instructions to this new category of voters that could become a phenomenon worldwide.

The Jewish state currently has 10 confirmed cases, with more than 5,000 others under home-quarantine, many after visiting at-risk countries. The quarantined, banned from normal polling stations, were directed to 16 dedicated voting centers for Monday's general election in Israel.

At one, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a white tent had been erected in a car park normally used for motorcycle exams. 

Israelis wearing protective masks vote at one of the special polling station erected for the 5,600 voters under quarantine, many of whom had visited countries where the coronavirus COVID-19 is prevalent, during parliamentary election on March 2, 2020 in Jerusalem. GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty

Voters were met outside the tent by election officials in full protective suits and masks. They were made to wash their hands and put on gloves before receiving polling cards. Once inside the booths, they showed ID to other staff separated by a plastic sheet, before making their choice. 

Each ballot was placed in an envelope, which was then placed in a second envelope — effectively a double-wrapping — as the virus can remain alive on surfaces for several hours. 



Virus fears shut down Paris' Louvre Museum, home to Mona Lisa

The Louvre Museum was closed Monday for a second day because its workers were worried about the potential spread of the new coronavirus. 

Most of the Louvre's 9.6 million visitors last year came from other countries, and the museum normally welcomes tens of thousands of people every day. 

The French government has banned any indoor gatherings larger than 5,000 people to prevent the spread of the virus, and that made Louvre workers worry about their own safety. No compromises were reached at at meeting between unions and management over the weekend, so the closure could drag on at the museum that's home to the Mona Lisa. 

The entrance of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Reinhard Krause/Reuters

France has reported at least 130 cases of the virus.



Texas virus patient cleared and released from quarantine tests positive again

The CDC said Sunday that a patient who had been quarantined with the coronavirus in San Antonio but was later released after being cleared of the disease, had since tested positive again and been re-isolated.

In a statement released Sunday, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the had returned to the Texas Center for Infectious Disease for additional testing to verify the latest reading. 

There has been at least one similar case, in Japan, of a woman who was cleared of the disease later testing positive again. 

While acknowledging the patient was only let out of quarantine after testing negative for the disease twice, with at least 24 hours between the tests, as required under CDC policy, Nirenberg said "the fact that the CDC allowed the public to be exposed to a patient with a positive COVID-19 reading is unacceptable."   

He said the CDC should adopt more stringent clearance criteria for known coronavirus patients, in line, he suggested, with what Texas health authorities were recommending. 



Trump again accuses Democrats of coronavirus "fear mongering"

President Trump again accused Democrats of "fear mongering" over the coronavirus disease Monday, a day after the second U.S. death from the virus was confirmed and as officials tested dozens of people at the nursing home in Washington state where the two victims had lived.

"I was criticized by the Democrats when I closed the Country down to China many weeks ahead of what almost everyone recommended. Saved many lives," Mr. Trump, lauding his own reaction to the outbreak. Democrats, Mr. Trump said, "didn't have a clue! Now they are fear mongering. Be calm & vigilant!"

The president said he would meet later Monday with pharmaceutical company executives to get an update on work to develop treatments and a vaccine for the new COVID-19 disease.    

"Progress being made!" said Mr. Trump.

By Tucker Reals

New York governor says NYC's 1st virus case "knew to take precautions"

Governor Andrew Cuomo has told "CBS This Morning" that New York state had been preparing for the arrival of the new coronavirus and was now scaling up testing of possible patients "very, very quickly" after the first case was confirmed in the state.

A health care worker who recently returned from Iran became the first case in the state, and in New York City, over the weekend. Cuomo said the woman was isolated and being treated in Manhattan, and stressed that as a health professional herself she "knew to take precautions and stay in a controlled situation" even before she went for testing.

New York scaling up coronavirus tests after first reported case, Cuomo says 03:07

"She does live in Manhattan. She is isolated in her apartment and there's no cause to do anything but that," Cuomo said, adding: "We want to have a healthy diligence about this issue, but we don't want an unnecessary anxiety, and we don't want people overreacting." 

By Tucker Reals

Airlines slash fights as coronavirus fear saps travel demand

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has told his employees in an email that in addition to suspending all flights to China and scaling back service to other countries in Asia, "it is likely additional schedule reductions will be necessary" as coronavirus outbreaks sap demand for travel. 

The reduction of scheduled flights could include routes between the U.S. and parts of Europe, CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reported. 

Delta and American Airlines have already suspended flights to and from Milan, the biggest city in the northern Italian region grappling with the largest COVID-19 outbreak outside Asia.

Travel restrictions because of coronavirus 01:53

The State Department has raised its travel advisory for two regions in northern Italy to Level 4, its highest, urging Americans not to travel at all to the Lombardy or Veneto areas.

In a five-day period last week, searches for round-trip travel from the U.S. to Italy dropped 13% to the lowest point of the year, and United said demand for all Asia travel was down more than 75%.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel to China, Italy, South Korea and Iran.  


Fear spreads with the virus in Washington

The nursing facility in Washington state hit with a coronavirus outbreak has barred families and volunteers from visiting over concerns the infections could spread. One woman, who asked not to be identified, told CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti she was scared because her mom and aunt both work at the LifeCare Center in King County.

"My aunt has direct contact with patients, that's my concern," she told CBS News. "It's not just the two of them that's going to be affected, it's going to be the whole family."

At least two dozen first responders who were called to the facility were being monitored for possible exposure and several schools in the region were closed Monday for deep cleaning.

Concerned Americans have swarmed stores to stock up on basics like bottled water, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But many wondered if that was enough.

"We can take all the extra precautions that they're talking about, wash your hands, but you just don't know who you're next to," said the woman whose relatives work at the Washington facility.

Over the weekend, health officials announced new infections in Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, New York, Florida and Rhode Island.


EU health officials raise risk assessment for 27 nations to "high"

The European Union on Monday raised the risk assessment for the 27-nation bloc to "high" as the new coronavirus spread fast in Italy, with linked cases having popped up in several neighboring countries.

"The ECDC (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control) has announced today that the risk level has risen from moderate to high for people in the European Union. In other words, the virus continues to spread," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels.

Health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said there were at least 2,100 cases of the new COVID-19 disease in 18 EU nations, and 38 EU citizens had died with the virus as of Monday. Italy, home to Europe's biggest outbreak, had more than 1,700 cases — a figure that grew by 50% on Sunday alone.

By Tucker Reals

China reports just 202 new virus cases

China said Monday that the previous day had seen confirmation of 202 new coronavirus cases, most of them in the epicenter region of Hubei. There were 42 new deaths confirmed in the province, has killed more than 3,000 around the world.

While the number of new cases reported every day in China has been falling, outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea continued to grow apace. 

Europe's biggest outbreak to date, in northern Italy, ballooned over the weekend. Officials confirmed a 50% increase Sunday to more than 1,700 cases. 

South Korea reported 599 new cases Monday, taking its total to 4,335. There have been 26 deaths there.  

By Tucker Reals

Iran's coronavirus toll climbs fast as disease kills a senior official

Iranian state radio says a member of a council that advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died after falling ill from the new coronavirus. The report Monday said Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi had died. He was 71.

The council advises Khamenei, as well as settles disputes between the supreme leader and parliament.  His death comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran, which has the highest death toll in the world after China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

There were 66 dead and 1,501 confirmed cases of the new virus in the country, Iran Health Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Azizi said Monday.
Experts worry Iran's percentage of deaths to infections, around 5.5%, is much higher than other countries, suggesting the number of infections in Iran may be much higher than current figures show.

-Associated Press


Head of South Korean sect apologizes for church's role in virus spread

The leader of a South Korean sect linked to more than half the country's 4,000-plus coronavirus cases apologized Monday for the spread of the disease. "I would like to offer my sincere apology to the people on behalf of the members," said Shincheonji Church of Jesus head Lee Man-hee, his voice breaking.

The 88-year-old twice got down on his knees to bow before reporters in Gapyeong, his head to the floor. "Although it was not intentional, many people have been infected," he said. "We put our utmost efforts but were unable to prevent it all. I seek the forgiveness of the people. I am very thankful to the government for its efforts. I also seek the forgiveness of the government."

Lee Man-hee, leader of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, bows during a press conference at a facility of the church in Gapyeong on March 2, 2020. POOL/AFP/Getty

A 61-year-old female member developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in Daegu — the country's fourth-largest city with a population of 2.5 million and the center of the outbreak — before being diagnosed.



South Korea reports 476 new cases

South Korea reported 476 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to Reuters, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 4,212. In addition, two more deaths were reported, raising South Korea's death toll to 22, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

South Korea has the most confirmed cases outside of China.

By Jordan Freiman

Oregon and Rhode Island both announce second presumptive cases

The states of Oregon and Rhode Island both announced their second presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday.

"The second case is an adult household contact of the first presumptive case. The second adult is not hospitalized and is recovering," the Oregon Health Authority said Sunday.

The Rhode Island case is a teenager and is at home with "mild symptoms," the state's Health Department said Sunday. In addition, a third person with mild symptoms is being tested. Both the teenager and the person being tested, a woman in her 30s, went on the same trip to Europe as the man who tested positive for coronavirus Sunday morning.

The trip was organized by Saint Raphael Academy, which will be closed this week, according to the RIDOH.

"All 38 of the people who went on this trip will be self-monitoring for symptoms at home for 14 days with public health supervision," the Health Department said. "They have been instructed to not go to school or work and to remain at home for these 14 days."

By Jordan Freiman

Florida announces two presumptive positive cases

Two patients in Florida have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health said Sunday. These are the first confirmed cases in the state.

"One adult resident of Hillsborough County and one adult resident of Manatee County," the department said. "Both individuals are isolated and being appropriately cared for."

"Our health care professionals throughout the state are implementing the appropriate protocols and are ready to respond," the department added.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency following the announcement.

"I hereby direct the Florida Department of Health to make its own determinations as to quarantine, isolation and other necessary public health interventions as permitted under Florida law," DeSantis said in the declaration. 

By Jordan Freiman

Study: Virus could have been spreading undetected for weeks in Washington

Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, tweeted Saturday an analysis of a specimen from a new case in Snohomish County closely matched the specimen of the first known coronavirus case in the U.S., a person who had traveled recently from Wuhan, China. He said that indicates the virus has been spreading undetected in Washington for six weeks.  

"I believe we're facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China," Bedford wrote. 

Bedford said it appeared they were looking at a few hundred cases. 

Two new cases of the coronavirus were reported recently in the Seattle area, according to officials with the Washington State Department of Health. KIRO-TV reports the cases are currently being classified as "presumptive positives," which means a test has come back positive at the Public Health Laboratory and is pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

By Caroline Linton
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