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Coronavirus updates: Florida reports first deaths on East Coast

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U.S. coronavirus fatalities rise to 17
U.S. coronavirus fatalities rise to 17 02:54

Follow the latest coronavirus updates here.

An attendee at the conservative CPAC 2020 conference has been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to the conference's organizer, the American Conservative Union (ACU). The ACU said the attendee did not go to any events in the main hall, where President Trump delivered a speech last week.

The number of cases worldwide continues to climb. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins, there have been more than 105,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 58,000 people have recovered, and more than 3,500 people have died. 

There have been 20 deaths in the U.S. — 17 in Washington state and one in California, as well as the two in Florida. There are confirmed cases of the virus in 32 states and Washington D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday met with cruise executives in Florida. Meanwhile, on the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is floating off the coast of San Francisco, 19 crew members and two passengers have tested positive for the virus. The ship is carrying more than 3,500 people from 54 different countries, according to The Associated Press.

Authorities were working to bring the ship to a non-commercial port this weekend and test everyone for the virus. While health officials said about 1,100 crew members will remain aboard, passengers could be disembarked to face quarantine, possibly at U.S. military bases or other sites. That's what happened to hundreds of passengers who were exposed to the virus on another cruise ship in January. 

"Those that will need to be quarantined will be quarantined. Those who will require medical help will receive it," Vice President Michael Pence said Friday.

President Trump, speaking Friday at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said he would prefer not to allow the passengers onto American soil but will defer to the recommendations of medical experts.

"They would like to have the people come off. I'd rather have the people stay but ... I told them to make the final decision," the president said.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Italy puts a quarter of the population under lockdown

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Sunday local time that the region of Lombardy along with several other provinces will be placed on lockdown until at least April 3, according to The Associated Press.

Entry and exit from these regions will be prohibited except for rare exceptions. The lockdown affects roughly a quarter of the entire population of Italy.

On Saturday, Italy reported 1,247 new confirmed cases and 36 additional deaths. Italy is the hardest hit country outside of Asia.

— The Associated Press 

 

First cases reported in Vermont, Virginia, Missouri and Washington D.C.

Multiple states reported their first positive cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday.

The Vermont Department of Health said in a statement an adult has testes positive and is "currently hospitalized and in an airborne infection isolation room." The department is waiting on confirmation of the positive test from the CDC.

A U.S. Marine stationed at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, has also tested positive, according to the Department of Defense. The Marine recently returned from overseas and is being treated at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

In Missouri, a 20-year-old woman from St. Louis County tested positive for the coronavirus, Governor Mike Parson confirmed Saturday. The woman is currently in isolation at her home.

A Washington, D.C., resident has also tested positive for the virus, Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference. The patient is a man in his 50s who has not traveled overseas recently and has had no known contact with other patients. The patient did not attend either CPAC or AIPAC, according to Bowser. Both conferences were held in the D.C. area and attendees of both have since tested positive for coronavirus.

By Jordan Freiman
 

China reports 44 new cases, 27 new deaths

China on Saturday reported 44 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 27 new deaths. All 27 deaths were in Hubei province.

By Jordan Freiman
 

Sales are booming for medical supply businesses

Sales are booming for medical supply business... 02:32
By Jordan Freiman
 

AFL-CIO presidential forum canceled

The AFL-CIO confirmed on Saturday that it had canceled its presidential forum in Orlando. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders had earlier said they would attend the event.

The AFL-CIO is one of the nation's largest labor unions, and the March 12 forum was being held in Florida ahead of the state's primary on March 17. 

By Caroline Linton
 

Pence meets with cruise line executives in Florida

Pence meets with cruise line executives 02:40
 

CPAC attendee diagnosed with coronavirus

An attendee of the conservative conference CPAC was diagnosed Saturday with coronavirus, said the conference organizer, American Conservative Union. The attendee did not come in contact with President Trump or Vice President Pence, the ACU said.

The individual also did not attend any events in the main hall, the ACU said.

The ACU said it has been in contact with the state of Maryland Health Department and would "explicitly follow the guidance from government health experts." 

CPAC is one of the largest conservative gatherings in the country, and was attended by numerous White House officials and prominent Republicans. 

By Caroline Linton
 

Azar: Not "proper" to comment on canceling Trump rallies

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar would not comment Saturday when asked by CBS News if President Trump should stop holding campaign rallies amid the coronavirus outbreak. Azar said it was not "proper" for him to comment on "campaign events and campaign activities."
 
"What we've said is, as a public health matter for the elderly, those with significant chronic conditions, medically frail... for those individuals, they should exercise caution, they should be more sensitive to the environments they're in," Azar said.
 
Several major events across the country have been canceled as a precautionary measure. On Friday, the popular music and technology conference South by Southwest, set to begin next week in Austin, Texas, was cancelled. No coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Austin. 
 
Azar said that people should take into account whether the virus is in their community before attending a public gathering. 
 
"A gathering in a highly impacted area where you have community spreading is different than an area where you have not seen any type of progressive community spreading of the disease," Azar said.
 
As of Saturday, South Carolina and Hawaii became the 28th and 29th states to report cases of the virus.

By Audrey McNamara
 

Cuomo criticizes CDC's assistance to state

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday criticized the CDC's response to the coronavirus, and called the state's relationship with the agency "problematic on an ongoing basis."

Cuomo said New York has the capacity to perform more coronavirus testing than the CDC has permitted them to. 

"CDC is a bottleneck for this nation in doing the testing," Cuomo said at a press conference Saturday announcing a state of emergency declaration in New York.

"I believe the CDC was caught flatfooted, I believe they're slow in their response, and I believe they're slowing down the state," he said. 

According to Cuomo, New York has a state lab and several independent laboratories that are capable of testing for the coronavirus, but the CDC initially only allowed tests to be run at their headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

"First, we could only use the CDC — we could only send tests to the CDC," the governor said. "We then implored them to allow the state to do its own testing, finally they allowed the state to do its own testing."

Cuomo said "the next hurdle" with the CDC is approval of "automated testing" that uses robotics. Automated testing speeds up the process, he said, "exponentially" increasing the state's testing capacity.

According to the governor, several New York labs that have already been approved by the CDC have the capacity to do automated testing -- but the CDC currently does not allow this manner of testing. 

"So, my position with CDC is: Look it's one thing that you don't do anything to help us, but at least don't handcuff us," Cuomo said.

By Audrey McNamara
 

Quarantine hotel collapses in China, trapping 70

A hotel in China being used to observe people who had contact with coronavirus patients collapsed on Saturday, trapping at least 70 people, The Associated Press reports. 

At least 33 people were rescued from the wreckage, and there were no immediate reports of deaths, multiple media outlets in China reported. 

The hotel collapsed at about 7:30 p.m. local time, according to the city government.

Video of the wreckage shows rescue workers climbing over the rubble and looking for survivors. 

By Audrey McNamara
 

U.S. students urged to leave Italy

American students studying in Italy have gotten the call to pull out as coronavirus cases surge, CBS News' Charlie D'Agata reports.

The country has the highest coronavirus-linked death toll outside of China, and Italian officials have ordered a nationwide shutdown of schools and universities.

President of The American University of Rome, Richard Hodges, said he was worried the whole crisis "could threaten the future of the university."

"Who knows how long this will go on for?" he said. 

Students who CBS News spoke to were less worried about falling ill than being stuck in Italy or infecting family members back home.

"I want to stay, and I don't think that it's necessary for me to go home," said college student Eric Meade

U.S. students to leave Italy amid coronavirus... 02:20
 

San Francisco Ballet cancels performances

The San Francisco Ballet has cancelled all performances until March 15 in compliance with an order by Mayor London Breed.

Breed ordered "all public performances, events, and gatherings at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center," where the ballet performs, cancelled through Friday March 20, in order "to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
"It is with deep regret that we inform you that in compliance with Mayor Breed's order, all performances of San Francisco Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream from Saturday, March 7 through Sunday, March 15 will not be taking place," the ballet said in a statement Friday. 

The ballet and its school will continue to hold events that were not scheduled to take place at the opera house.

"It remains San Francisco Ballet's priority to ensure the health and safety of our patrons, artists, students, and staff," the ballet said. "We appreciate your patience and understanding as we sort out the many implications we are faced with in this situation."

By Audrey McNamara
 

Facebook bans ads and commerce listings for face masks

Facebook announced on Friday it is banning face mask ads and commerce listings from its platforms. "We are temporarily banning advertisements and commerce listings, like those on Marketplace, that sell medical face masks," the tech giant said in a statement

Director of Product Management Rob Leathern said the changes will start rolling out in "the days ahead."

"We're monitoring COVID19 closely and will make necessary updates to our policies if we see people trying to exploit this public health emergency," he tweeted.

Online sales of virus protection products have skyrocketed, up 817% in the last two months, CBS News Consumer Investigative Correspondent Anna Werner reported on Friday. Medical supplies such as face masks and hand sanitizers have been sold at high markups on platforms including Facebook Marketplace.

"Supplies are short, prices are up, and we're against people exploiting this public health emergency," Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said in a tweet on Friday.

Read more

By Sophie Lewis
 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declares state of emergency

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Saturday in response to confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state. Cuomo said at a press conference the declaration will allow the state to swiftly use the $40 million it appropriated on February 26 in response to the outbreak. 

New York had 76 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Saturday, including 11 cases in New York City, he said. The majority of cases – 57 – were in Westchester County.

Under the state of emergency, Cuomo said he can expedite the purchase of test kits and face masks, support local housing authorities, and expedite hiring for the state's Department of Health. 

The governor emphasized that the risk to New Yorkers remains low, but said that if you have an underlying illness, contracting the virus could be serious.

"I've said from day one that we need to worry about nursing homes … that is what I worry about, that's what keeps me up at night," he said.

By Audrey McNamara
 

Pope's prayer to be live streamed amid coronavirus fears

The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis will deliver a prayer Sunday via live stream rather than in Saint Peter's Square. "The General Audience on Wednesday 11 March will be held in the same manner," the Vatican said.

"These decisions are necessary in order to avoid the risk of the spread of COVID-19 due to the gathering of people during security controls for access to the square, as requested by the Italian authorities," it said. 

It also said that guest participation at Mass held in Santa Marta will be suspended until March 15 and that Pope Francis will celebrate the Eucharist privately.

There were more than 4,600 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in Italy as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins. The country has the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside of China. 

Pope Francis had a cold this week. He has tested negative for the novel coronavirus. 

"The cold with which the Holy Father was diagnosed is running its due course," Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, said this week, according to Vatican News.

By Audrey McNamara
 

What to do if you're at higher risk, according to the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults and those with severe chronic medical conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease – "seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness."

"Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness," says the agency's website.

The CDC recommends that people at higher risk stay home "as much as possible," avoid crowds when outside, and stay up to date on CDC Travel Health Notices. 

"Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time," the CDC says.

"When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often."

CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said "if you are older ... you probably shouldn't get on a plane. You shouldn't go into areas, you know, large malls, large areas where people are congregating because it's too high a risk."

"What we're seeing is that people who are younger have mild symptoms," he said. "And starting mid-50s, it starts to get worse and worse."

Doctor on CDC's latest coronavirus warnings 04:39
By Audrey McNamara
 

American church group quarantined in Bethlehem

Thirteen members of a church group from Alabama have been quarantined in a hotel in Bethlehem after a Greek tourist who stayed at the hotel the previous week tested positive for the new coronavirus, 3Circle Church said in a statement, CBS affiliate WKRG reported on Friday. Seven hotel employees have since tested positive, according to the church.

More than a dozen cases of the virus have been confirmed in Bethlehem, Reuters reports. A state of emergency has been declared in the Palestinian territories.

3Circle Church said local Bethlehem authorities told the group to stay in a hotel to be quarantined for 14 days and to await testing.

No members of the church group were showing any symptoms or were tested for the virus as of-mid-week, according to the statement from the church.

Pastor Chris Bell told WKRG they've had difficulty getting assistance from the U.S. Embassy.

"The tough thing is, is just not knowing. Not knowing what's next. We've been told a 14-day quarantine here, but again, nothing has been official," Bell said.

"We don't want to be ungrateful, but we are frustrated, there's no question. We want someone to put us on a plane and send us home."

By Audrey McNamara
 

Egypt says Nile cruise ship quarantined over new virus cluster

A cruise ship on Egypt's Nile River with over 150 tourists and local crew was in quarantine Saturday in Luxor after 12 people tested positive for coronavirus, authorities said.

A Taiwanese-American tourist who was previously on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan. The World Health Organization informed Egyptian authorities, who tested everyone on the ship.

Health authorities found a dozen of the ship's Egyptian crew members had contracted the virus but did not show symptoms, according to a statement from Egypt's Health Ministry and the WHO on Friday. The statement said the 12 will be transferred to isolation in a hospital on Egypt's north coast. 

The crew and passengers – who include Americans – will remain quarantined on the ship awaiting further test results.

Amonios Salah, who works as a chef on the ship, said the crew received an inquiry from the Health Ministry about crew members who are showing symptoms of flu. "Some of us were sick. Some with fever," he said.

The 12 infected crew were isolated on the 3rd floor of the vessel away from the tourists, including two children, he said. 

The trip started from Luxor, some 405 miles south of Cairo, on Sunday and made three stops before reaching Aswan. On the way back there were three more stops, Salah said.

-The Associated Press 

 

U.S. Navy sailor stationed in Italy tests positive

A U.S. Navy sailor stationed in Italy tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, marking the first time a U.S. service member in Europe has tested positive for the virus, United States European Command (EUCOM) said Saturday. 

The sailor is stationed at Naval Support Activity Naples, a naval base in Italy, and is "restricted to their residence" and receiving medical care. 

"Military health professionals are conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed," EUCOM said in a statement. "Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken."

"Personnel that the service member immediately identified having close contact with have been notified and are in self-isolation at their residence."

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Two attendees at pro-Israel conference positive for virus

Two people who attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington this week have tested positive for the coronavirus, the group tweeted Friday. The cases, in two people from New York, are the first linked to the nation's capital.

Thousands of people attended the conference, including some members of Congress and administration officials. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among the speakers.

Pence and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health appeared to have been caught unaware of the positive tests. Asked at a briefing if he was concerned that the coronavirus was now in Washington, Pence said it was the first he had heard about the cases. "We will be engaged. I'm confident in the same contact tracing that we are for any case," he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health called contact tracing - the process of trying to find out whom the person had been in contact with - "the public health weapon."

"We need to get those people isolated to do the contact tracing," he said. "We don't have enough information now because this is the first I've actually heard about it also."

AIPAC, a major pro-Israel lobbying group, said it is in contact with health officials in Westchester County, New York, and Washington.

-The Associated Press

 

South Carolina, Hawaii report first coronavirus cases

South Carolina and Hawaii reported their first coronavirus cases on Friday night. They are the 28th and 29th states to report cases of the virus.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced two presumptive positive cases: An "elderly adult female" from Kershaw County who has been hospitalized, and an adult female from Charleston County who recently traveled to France and Italy. The Charleston County patient is self-isolating at home, according to the department.

In Hawaii, Governor David Ige said an Oahu resident who traveled on the same Grand Princess voyage as the deceased California passenger has tested positive for the virus, according to CBS affiliate Hawaii News Now. Officials said the patient is quarantined at home and "doing well."

By Victoria Albert
 

Florida announces 2 coronavirus deaths, bringing total in U.S. to 17

The Florida Department of Health announced that two additional people had died from the coronavirus on Friday night, bringing the country's total to 17.

One of the deaths occurred in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers, and the other happened in Santa Rosa County, near Pensacola, the department said.

By Victoria Albert
 

FBI employee diagnosed with coronavirus

An FBI employee in California has been diagnosed with coronavirus, the San Francisco branch of the agency confirmed to CBS News in a statement.

"This employee works in a small satellite office," the agency said. "The other employees at the site have returned to their homes until further notice, and everyone known to have been in contact with the infected employee has been notified of possible exposure."

By Victoria Albert
 

Starbucks employee in Seattle diagnosed with coronavirus

Starbucks announced Friday night that one of its employees in a store in downtown Seattle has been diagnosed with coronavirus. The company said the patient is now isolating at home.

"We quickly activated our protocols, immediately closing the store and initiating a deep clean overnight, following all recommended guidelines from the City of Seattle and King County public health authorities," the company wrote in a statement. "These officials have encouraged us to reopen the store after further preventative cleaning, which we have already conducted, staffed by partners who have no known impact from COVID-19."

By Victoria Albert
 

Watch: Is it safe to fly?

As coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S., health officials weigh in on whether it's safe to fly. Watch Kris Van Cleave's report below.  

Health officials weigh in on airline travel r... 02:26
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