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Nursing home coronavirus outbreak raises fear
Nursing home coronavirus outbreak raises fear... 02:55

Follow Wednesday's latest coronavirus updates here.

The number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. rose to nine on Tuesday, according to health officials. All of the deaths occurred in Washington state.

There were more than 100 cases in 15 states as of Tuesday night, with New Hampshire, Georgia and North Carolina being the most recent to join the battle against the virus.

As the head of the World Health Organization announced new estimates suggesting the disease was far more lethal overall than previously suspected — but also less transmissible — schools and hospitals across the U.S. stepped up preparations for a potential pandemic. Both the Trump administration and the World Health Organization continue to say the virus poses a manageable threat.

Globally, outbreaks in South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan have continued growing fast, but draconian control measures in epicenter country China appeared to be paying off. On Tuesday night, the WHO announced that more than 90,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with the disease. 

Expert predicts effects of coronavirus 06:20
 

South Korea reports more than 500 new coronavirus cases

South Korea reported 516 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the country's total number of cases to at least 5,328, Reuters reports. At least 28 people have died of the disease in the country, which is currently facing the worst outbreak outside of China.

The 516 new cases vastly outpaced China's new reported cases for the day. In China, the epicenter of the worldwide outbreak, only 119 new cases were reported. 

 

China announces 119 new cases, 38 new deaths

Chinese officials on Wednesday announced 119 new cases and 38 new deaths from coronavirus. That brings the total number of cases in the country to at least 80,270, and the total number of deaths in the country to at least 2,981.

By Victoria Albert
 

U.S. will screen all travelers from Italy and South Korea

Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that the U.S. will screen all travelers coming on direct flights from South Korea and Italy. Those two countries have the most confirmed coronavirus cases outside of China, according to the World Health Organization. 

 

How airports are combating the coronavirus

How airports are combating the coronavirus 02:02

U.S airports are now taking serious actions to fight the coronavirus. Watch Kris Van Cleave's report. 

 

New Hampshire announces second presumptive coronavirus case

The New Hampshire Department of Health announced the state's second presumptive coronavirus case Tuesday. In a press release, officials said the patient is an adult male from Grafton county who came in "close contact" with the state's first patient. 

The department said it's still waiting for confirmation from the CDC on both tests. 

It also offered more information about the first presumptive case. The department said that although that patient was instructed to self-isolate, they attended a private event on Friday, February 28. 

The department added that Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center said the first presumptive case is one of their employees. 

By Victoria Albert
 

California announces three new coronavirus cases

Officials in California announced three new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. Two of the cases came from Santa Clara, according to the county's public health department, bringing the county's total number of cases to 11.

The third case was announced in Berkeley, according to a press release from the city. The release said the patient returned to the city from "one of the growing number of countries with a COVID-19 outbreak" on February 23, and that the resident had "largely" stayed at home under a self-imposed quarantine. This is Berkeley's first known coronavirus case.

By Victoria Albert
 

North Carolina patient tests presumptively positive for coronavirus

A North Carolina resident has become the state's first coronavirus patient, Governor Roy Cooper said at a press conference Tuesday. 

Cooper said the person from Wake County tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to Washington state and visiting a long-term care facility where a case of the disease was reported. CBS17 reported that the test is a presumptive positive, and has not yet been officially confirmed

North Carolina is at least the 15th U.S. state to announce a coronavirus case. 

—The Associated Press

By Victoria Albert
 

WHO: More than 90,000 cases worldwide

In their daily situation report, the World Health Organization said Tuesday that there are more than 90,000 coronavirus cases across the globe. More than 80,000 of those cases are in China, according to the organization. 

By Victoria Albert
 

World Bank Group announces $12 billion in support to help fight coronavirus

The World Bank Group announced Tuesday that it was making $12 billion available to help fight coronavirus outbreaks worldwide.

"The World Bank Group will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies," the group said in a statement.  

By Victoria Albert
 

Chile reports first coronavirus case

Health officials in Chile reported the country's first coronavirus case on Tuesday, according to health officials cited by Reuters. 

The patient is reportedly a 33-year-old man in the city of Talca, which is south of Santiago. 

 

Spain reports first coronavirus death

Local health officials in Spain announced the country's first coronavirus death on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The man lived in the region of Valencia, on the country's southeastern coast.  

Regional health chief Ana Barcelo said that tests carried out after the man's death showed he had died from the disease, according to Reuters. 

Approximately 150 people have been diagnosed in Spain, where authorities are monitoring two major virus clusters, Reuters said.  

 

Schumer says White House couldn't answer "vital questions"

Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters that the White House was unable to answer lawmakers' "vital questions" about the federal coronavirus response during a policy luncheon Tuesday. 

Schumer praised Vice President Mike Pence and his team — composed of officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and Department of Health of Human Services — for addressing many of the lawmaker's questions during the 45-minute-long session, but said they "didn't have the answers we needed."

According to Schumer, Pence's team was unable to tell lawmakers how soon coronavirus testing kits would become widely available. 

The CDC says they have procured enough testing kits to test more than 75,000 people. Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC told reporters Tuesday that testing kits are being sent to public health labs across the country, and that those labs should be able to test 75,000 people "by the end of this week." 

According to the CDC's website, commercial labs are also "working to develop their own tests that hopefully will be available soon." 

Schumer said Pence's team could not provide an exact timeline for when widespread testing would become available.

"The biggest question — testing, when and where, they could not answer how soon people would be able to get the test," Schumer said Tuesday. "We need an onsite test, not a test that has to be sent far away and back. And we need to know where people can get it how people can get it, we need to make sure it's not so costly that people don't get it. And there were no answers to those vital questions."

"We hope we will have answers from them soon, but that is a real problem."

By Audrey McNamara
 

Death toll rises to 9 in Washington state

Health officials in Washington state said the death toll from the coronavirus jumped to nine Tuesday afternoon. They also announced seven new cases in the state, bringing total number of cases to 21.

"This is a very fluid, fast-moving situation as we aggressively respond to this outbreak," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, a health officer for Seattle and King County.

By Justin Carissimo
 

Fate of 2020 Olympics in Tokyo in question

With the coronavirus outbreak showing no signs of slowing down, the fate of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is increasingly uncertain.

Japan's Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, said the nation is "making the utmost effort" to proceed with the Games, which are scheduled to start on July 24 in Tokyo. But she added the country's contract with the International Olympic Committee specifies only that the games be held in 2020, meaning they could be postponed to later in the year if necessary.

The International Olympic Committee released a statement Tuesday, saying it had created a joint task force to address coronavirus and would "continue to follow the advice" of the World Health Organization. But the IOC indicated it was hopeful the Games would not be impacted.

"The IOC [Executive Board] encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," the board wrote.

By Stephen Smith
 

Italy coronavirus deaths spike to 79

Italy on Tuesday reported a jump in the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus to 79, with more than 2,500 people infected -- the most of any country in Europe. The civil protection agency said 27 people had died since Monday.

The number was up on the 18 deaths reported over the preceding 24-hour span, from Sunday to Monday. Most of the deaths -- 55 -- have been recorded in the northern Lombardy region around Milan, with Bologna's Emilia-Romagna region reporting 18 deaths.

The number of people receiving intensive care treatment in hospital rose to 229 from 166 on Monday, the official figures showed. Italy has 2,502 coronavirus cases in all. Officials said they had carried out 25,856 tests.

-- AFP

 

Virus-hit Emirates airline reportedly asks staff to take leave, with or without pay

The Middle East's largest airline, Emirates, has, like many competitors, had to reduce or ground flights due to the new coronavirus. 

Because of the slowdown, the government-owned carrier has reportedly asked employees to take paid — and even unpaid — leave for up to a month at a time. Emirates operates out of Dubai, the world's busiest for international travel.

"We have been tested before and Emirates will come out stronger," Chief Operating Officer Adel Al-Redha said.

The world's largest airline trade association, IATA, says Mideast carriers have already lost around $100 million in revenue due to a drop in ticket sales because of disruptions caused by the virus.

CBS/AP

 

WHO says "hoarding and misuse" leaving health workers without protective gear

The World Health Organization warned Tuesday that protective gear such as masks and goggles used by health workers fighting the new coronavirus were running out, warning against "hoarding and misuse."

"We are concerned that countries' abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment... caused by rising demand, hoarding and misuse," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, warning that "supplies are rapidly depleting."  

AFP

 

WHO chief says new virus much deadlier than flu, but less transmissible

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that data has shown the new coronavirus disease to be considerably deadlier than the usual seasonal flu, but he added that it also appears to spread less easily. 

Crucially, Tedros also said it did not appear that the new COVID-19 disease was spread readily by infected individuals who are not experiencing symptoms themselves. That news came after days of experts warning that many thousands of cases could essentially be hidden around the world, spread quietly by infected people with either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Tedros said about 3.4% of confirmed COVID-19 cases have died globally, a huge increase in previous estimates which have ranged between 1-2%. Generally the seasonal flu kills less than 1% of those infected, Tedros said by way of comparison.  

"Containment is possible," stressed Tedros, warning countries dealing with their first cases that the actions they take "today will be the difference between a handful of cases, and a larger cluster."

By Tucker Reals
 

Fed slashes interest rates to inoculate economy from coronavirus

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday lowered its benchmark interest rate by a half-point, the largest cut since 2008, in a move to offset the impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy.

"The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity," the central bank said in a statement. "The Committee is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy."

The Fed's benchmark rate is now in a range between 1 and 1.25%.  

Fed slashes interest rates 05:56

President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, tweeted early Tuesday that the bank was not lowering interest rates fast enough.

-CBS/AP

By Tucker Reals
 

DHS employee ill after visiting Wash. state nursing home, going back to work

The Department of Homeland Security has temporarily closed a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Seattle after it emerged that an employee visited a nursing home in the area where four residents have died of the new coronavirus. 

The employee "started exhibiting flu-like symptoms four days after visiting the nursing home in Kirkland, Washington," Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said Tuesday in a series of tweets, adding that the employee "had been coming to work in the intervening days between the possible exposure" on February 22 and when they started feeling ill four days later.

Cuccinelli said as soon as the employee learned about the outbreak at the King County nursing home they had visited, their family "self-quarantined and alerted employers and other relevant officials." 

By Tucker Reals
 

Nursing homes brace for coronavirus

As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., some places with particularly vulnerable populations, including nursing homes, are going beyond even what the government has recommended to boost precautions.

At the Hebrew Home, a nursing facility in the Bronx, which includes seven buildings and about 740 residents, there are 180 nurses, six doctors and an onsite emergency response facility.

CEO Daniel Reingold told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud that their prevention plan includes telling visitors, "If they do feel any symptoms whatsoever, they should not come to visit."

Public facilities take action to limit corona... 07:18

Reingold said the facility does not have a way to test residents for coronavirus, but noted that New York state's Department of Health had adopted a testing mechanism, meaning residents would no longer need to rely solely on national CDC testing procedures.

 

2nd coronavirus case confirmed in New York

A man north of New York City is hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus, the second confirmed case in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

Cuomo told Long Island radio station 103.9 that the unidentified man from Westchester County commuted to work in Manhattan and lives in a home with school-age children.

Cuomo said the man apparently had an underlying respiratory illness and no known travel history to China or other countries on the virus watch list.

The governor said more cases are expected as the outbreak spreads and testing ramps up.

"You're going to see an increasing spread," Cuomo said. 

- Associated Press

 

Planning to fly in these coronavirus times? Watch this first.

More than two dozen airlines, including major U.S. carriers, have canceled all flights to mainland China and suspended some services to and from dozens of other destinations, including London, Milan and Dubai. 

Delta and American Airlines have said they will waive fees for people who wish to change certain flights. Travel expert Brian Kelly joined "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday to give some helpful advice for anyone with travel plans:

Tips for traveling amid coronavirus chaos 04:05
By Tucker Reals
 

G7 finance chiefs vow to "use all appropriate policy tools" to avert virus "risks"

Government finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the world's seven biggest economies, led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, held a conference call Tuesday to discuss the mounting economic impact of the coronavirus on their countries, and the world as a whole.  

"Given the potential impacts of COVID-19 on global growth, we reaffirm our commitment to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks," the G7 economic leaders said in a joint statement after the conference call. 

U.S. stocks rebounded Monday after a week of huge losses. Fears over the new virus wiped about $3 trillion off global stock values last week. 

The finance chiefs on the call Tuesday declared themselves "ready to take actions, including fiscal measures where appropriate, to aid in the response to the virus and support the economy during this phase."  

President Trump has berated Powell for declining to lower U.S. interest rates already, as some of the hardest-hit nations have done since the virus started spreading. 

By Tucker Reals
 

Doctor says U.S. likely only seeing "tip of the iceberg" with virus cases

CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula says many more Americans are going to be diagnosed with the new coronavirus as testing in the U.S. ramps up and the disease's true spread is revealed, but the rising numbers shouldn't worry the majority of people.

"We're really talking about those over 60, 70, 80 at risk," she said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

"In addition, those with chronic medical conditions… chronic lung disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity - this is the population of people that needs to be a little bit more concerned," said Narula. 

She noted that whereas other countries have tested thousands of people, the CDC has only tested about 500, but a million more test kits were being spread across the country this week, "so there's no doubt we are seeing the tip of the iceberg."

Who should be concerned about coronavirus? 02:58

"There has probably been a low level of community spread in our country for several weeks, and we will see more severe cases in those that are compromised," Narula said.  

As far as prevention, Narula stressed "the basics," including good hand washing, sanitizing, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, not touching your face, avoiding handshakes and close contact with many people, keeping surfaces clean and disinfecting at home, and not sharing things like plates and towels.

By Tucker Reals
 

"Hostage in a petri dish": Fear mounts over outbreak in Seattle area nursing home

Officials in King County, Washington, home to all six of the United States' coronavirus deaths to date, have said they plan to buy a motel and convert it into modular units to house coronavirus patients in isolation.

King County Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin said they "expect the number of cases will continue to increase in the coming days and weeks."     

Carmen Gray's mother Susan Haley is under quarantine at the nursing home outside Seattle where four residents were among the country's first coronavirus deaths. She told CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti that she asked to get her mother tested for the virus, but was told she "did not meet the criteria at this time."

"They're being held hostage in a petri dish," said Gray.

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

About 50 other residents of the home were showing symptoms associated with the COVID-19 disease and being tested, officials said Monday.

 

U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency bans all but "essential" travel, even in U.S.

The Defense Intelligence Agency has banned all but "mission essential" travel for personnel, both domestically and outside the U.S. 

A DIA spokesperson confirmed the ban, first reported by BuzzFeed, to CBS News national security correspondent David Martin, saying any personnel who wished to travel would need approval from senior management and permission would be granted depending on the importance of the trip, and how risky the destination is deemed to be.

The move by the DIA came a day after Vice President Mike Pence, tapped by President Trump to lead the nation's response to the growing coronavirus outbreak, said no domestic travel restrictions had been deemed necessary.  

The U.S. currently has about 90 coronavirus cases. There have been six deaths, all in the Seattle area, including four residents at a single nursing home. 

By Tucker Reals
 

NBA warns players to be virus-smart with fans

The NBA has told players to avoid high-fiving fans and strangers and avoid taking any item for autographs, the league's latest response in its ongoing monitoring of the coronavirus crisis that has spread to most corners of the planet.

The league, in a memo sent to teams on Sunday and obtained Monday by The Associated Press, offered 10 recommendations to players with hopes of decreasing risks of getting the virus — among them, not taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers.

The NBA also told teams that it is consulting "with infectious disease experts, including the Centers for Disease Control" and infectious disease researchers at Columbia University in New York.

"We are also in regular communication with each other, NBA teams including team physicians and athletic trainers, other professional sports leagues, and of course, many of you," the league wrote in its memo to teams, their physicians and athletic training staffs. 

- Associated Press

 

Officials in England can now detain someone suspected of having coronavirus

The United Kingdom unveiled new plans to counter the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in its four regions on Tuesday. Authorities in England, which has the majority of the U.K.'s 39 cases, were given new powers to detain people suspected of having the disease, or even being at risk. The plan gives officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the right to adopt the stricter controls in place in England if necessary.

"New regulations introduced in England under public health legislation provide new powers for medical professionals, public health professionals and the police to allow them to detain and direct individuals in quarantined areas at risk or suspected of having the virus," according to the document.

In Scotland, regional Health Boards have the power "to place restrictions on the activities of individuals who are known to have the disease, or have been exposed to the disease, and to prohibit them from entering or remaining in any place. Boards may also apply for court orders for quarantine and medical examination."

Similar powers were in place in Wales and Northern Ireland, and the document said ministers in all three countries, "also have powers to make regulations equivalent to those now in place in England if the level of risk increases."

The plan warned that Britain's emergency services could be ordered to respond only to the most serious crimes and anything threatening public order - and the military could be called on to back them up - if the virus spreads widely in the U.K.

The government warned it could order widespread school closures, the cancellation of large gatherings and for anyone able to work from home to do so. They said hospital services for non-urgent care could be delayed to let the National Health Service focus on treating coronavirus patients, and recently retired doctors and nurses could be asked to return to work temporarily.

Up to a fifth of Britain's workforce could be sidelined and stuck at home sick at the same time when the coronavirus epidemic peaks in the U.K., according to the government's planning.

By Tucker Reals
 

Iran orders military to help fight spread as virus death toll climbs

Iran's supreme leader has ordered the Islamic Republic's armed forces to assist its Health Ministry in combating the spread of the new coronavirus.

The decision by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came as Iran grappled with the highest death toll from the virus outside of China. Iran's Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi  said Tuesday that 11 more people had died of COVID-19 in the past day, bringing the Islamic Republic's death toll to 77.

There were at least 2,336 people infected with the disease in Iran, but global health officials — and many Iranians — suspect that true number of cases is actually much higher, either because officials are under-reporting, or failing to detect milder cases.

iran-ayatollah-khamenei.jpg
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks to reporters at an even to mark National Resources Week, wearing surgical gloves before planting a tree amid a fast-growing coronavirus outbreak in his country, in a photo provided by his office on March 3, 2020.  Iranian government handout

After downplaying the coronavirus as recently as last week, Iranian authorities said they could mobilize as many as 300,000 soldiers and volunteers to confront the disease.

Concern over the outbreak now stretches to Iran's top leadership — some of whom have fallen ill from the virus. A close confidant of Khamenei's died this week of the virus, and at least six other Iranian government officials have been diagnosed with it.

CBS/AP

 

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. Mahesh Kumar A/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 has the largest outbreak in the world outside China, with more than 5,000 confirmed cases.

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.

Moon said the government would 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.

- AFP

 

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." 

- Associated Press

 

Georgia announces first two 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
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