Previous coronavirus daily briefing updates, March 5-6

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Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous reports, listed in eastern time.

United, Delta and American Airlines have adjusted their policies temporarily to accommodate for COVID-19; however, some customers have expressed that their response is not enough, as most airlines have only offered free flight changes for bookings made in the month of March.

"I requested a refund of an upgrade purchase, made the same day because my company canceled a Global Women's Conference in Seattle due to COVID 19 concerns. Your refusal to refund is an epic customer service failure," Beth Beach tweeted at United Airlines.

Delta Airlines has additionally offered to waive change fees for customers scheduled to fly internationally in March.

On Friday, nine states across the U.S. confirmed their first cases of the coronavirus:

  • New Jersey

  • Pennsylvania

  • Minnesota

  • Kentucky

  • Nebraska

  • Indiana

  • Oklahoma

  • South Carolina

  • Hawaii

This brings the total number of states with confirmed cases up to 21. Some states announced their cases to be "presumptive," which, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, means the patient was tested positive for the virus by a state laboratory and is included in official case reports, but still requires an additional test by the Centers for Disease Control, which will use the same test.

Additionally, COVID-19 has been reported in Costa Rica, Colombia, Togo and Vatican City.

A man wearing a mask walks in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, March 6, 2020. A Vatican spokesman has confirmed the first case of coronavirus at the city-state. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Friday that non-emergency medical services at the Vatican have been closed so they can be sanitized following the positive test on Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

During a press briefing on Friday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence said that 21 people aboard the Grand Princess Cruise Ship tested positive for COVID-19. Of these, 19 were crew members.

The cruise ship is currently off the coast of San Fransisco after it's two-week voyage to Hawaii was cut short, CNBC reports.

South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual tech, film and music festival held in Austin, Texas, has been canceled due to the coronavirus, just one week before it was scheduled to start. The festival was expected to take place from March 13-21.

Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, announced that he was placing the city under an emergency order that he said "effectively cancels South by Southwest."

The Verge reports that in its 34-year run, this is the first time it will have to cancel, which could affect the economy of Austin as the festival reportedly made $355.9 million for the city last year.

EvergreenHealth Medical Center confirmed a 12th death in Seattle due to the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the U.S. death toll to 15 total.

The medical center is located in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle that experienced an outbreak in a nursing facility. The outbreak has killed at least six people so far.

In Wuhan on Tuesday, 42 deaths were reported due to the coronavirus, while 19 were reported on Wednesday. Peng Zhiyong, director of the intensive care unit of the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, said he believes the decline in reported deaths is due to a shrinking patient pool and improving situations.

Peng told The Global Times that death tolls in Wuhan may begin to "rebound," as there are many patients in critical condition that have been holding out for an entire month.

Nine autopsies conducted on deceased coronavirus patients show severe damage to the lungs and immune system, according to Peng Zhiyong, the director of the intensive care unit of the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University. Peng told The Global Times the effects of the virus are "like a combination of SARS and AIDS."

"Based on the results, I think the most important thing now is to take measures at an early stage of the disease to protect patients' lungs from irreversible fibrosis," Peng said.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games are downsizing the arrival ceremony to welcome the Olympic torch into the city. President Yoshiro Mori said on Friday that the plan for 140 children to travel to Greece for the initial torch sendoff has been canceled. The torch is still set to be lit on March 12 in Greece before being flown to Japan on March 19.

According to Mori, the change of plans will make him "feel even more strongly about not losing the fight," in regards to hosting the Games this summer. Mori did not say any other plans have changed regarding the torch relay and ruled out any possibility for a postponement to the opening ceremonies on July 24, according to ABC News.

"Of course we are worried," he said. "But the government is doing its utmost to battle the situation, and scientists are fighting against the challenges. I believe in the power of human beings and the efforts from around the world. But that doesn't mean we'll just wait and hope."

In Iran, where 4,747 cases have been confirmed and 124 deaths have been reported, senior official Hossein Sheikkoleslam was killed by the virus on Thursday. Sheikkoleslam was a diplomat and former ambassador to Syria, according to Business Insider. CNN also reported that 8 percent of the country's parliament has been infected.

In images shared by Maxar, aerial photos of the Tehran International Airport, located in Iran's capital city, show traffic at and around the airport greatly reduced in recent days as compared to photos from before the coronavirus outbreak.

Aerial photo of Tehran International Airport taken on March 3 amid Iran's struggle to contain the coronavirus outbreak (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

Aerial photo of Tehran International Airport taken before Iran's struggle with the coronavirus outbreak (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

A pair of fatalities in King County have been reported, raising the United States total to 14 fatalities, as first reported by the Seattle Times. Twelve of those deaths have come from King County.

Two deaths announced March 3, were actually patients who died Feb. 26, but their coronavirus diagnoses weren't confirmed until later. They are now the earliest known coronavirus fatalities in the U.S.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Indiana emerged on Friday. Shortly after, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb declared a public health emergency, according to CBS 4 in Indianapolis.

Prior to entering quarantine, the infected individual had traveled to Boston and interacted with people who had previously been exposed.

Dr. Ram Yeleti said the patient called the State Department of Health on Thursday night before arriving at the Community North Hospital. His efforts to avoid exposure to others was commended by Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, who said his efforts helped decrease the risk of additional exposure and community transmission.

"Once he came, he stayed only in the parking lot. Our caregivers, dressed in the appropriate infectious disease precaution material, received him. He was then placed in appropriate material along with a mask," Yeleti said. "He was taken back to an isolation room through a different side entrance not in contact with other individuals. He was placed in a room with negative airflow."

The University of Washington announced on Friday that it would be moving to online classes and exams for the rest of the quarter in response to the coronavirus outbreak, beginning on Monday.

Washington state has reported the most deaths and cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. A significant number of those have been reported in the Seattle area, where the university is located. In an email to students, President Ana Mari Cauce said the decision was based on the university's desire to "increase precautionary health measures and ensure the successful conclusion of the quarter for UW students on all of our campuses."

"For the remainder of the quarter, instructors are asked to conduct classes and/or exams remotely, as possible, until the quarter concludes on March 20," the email said.

She added that the campus will remain open, including popularly visited buildings such as the dining services and residence halls. The notice also added that university athletic events will continue as scheduled.

According to the email, the plan is still for students to resume normal class operations on March 30, when the next quarter begins.

The first coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania were confirmed on Friday morning by Gov. Tom Wolf in a press conference. Wolf confirmed that there are two separate positive cases, one in Delaware County and the other in Wayne County. On Thursday night, President Donald Trump held a rally in Scranton, just 40 miles from Wayne County.

Rachel Levine, who works as the Health Secretary for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said the two individuals are quarantined in their homes, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. She declined to share identifying information about the patients due to confidentiality regulations.

"We expect more cases to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks," Levine said. "We want everyone to take action and help prevent the spread of this novel coronavirus."

In Bucks County, exposure to the virus caused five schools in the Central Bucks School District to close on Friday. According to officials, an infected person from another state attended a gathering in the county and exposed people to the virus.

President Donald Trump signed an $8.3 billion bill into law on Friday to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the Associated Press, the bill provides "federal public health agencies with money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments and helps state and local governments prepare and respond to the threat."

In a press conference on Thursday evening, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters that the United States currently lacks enough diagnostic tests to meet the country's expected demand. The virus has now spread to 19 states around the country.

"We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate the demand going forward," Pence said during a visit to a 3M Co plant in Minnesota, according to CNN. "We're focused very much on a cruise ship just off the California coast today. The Coast Guard delivered a sufficient number of tests for the passengers on that ship."

The administration was aiming to meet the target of having a million tests available by the end of the week. However, he said that by the end of next week, the U.S. supply would distribute kits that could allow around 1.5 million Americans to be tested.

The United States death toll rose to 12 on Thursday night after another individual from King County, Washington passed away. The fatality marks number 11 from the state and number 10 from the area.

The most recent death was a woman in her 90s at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The elderly patient had previously been a resident of the Life Care Center.

According to ESPN, a stadium employee at CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, MLS's Seattle Sounders and XFL's Seattle Dragons, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday as well. The individual was a concessions vendor at the stadium, which has hosted multiple events in recent weeks.

In Bergen County, New Jersey, two residents became the state's first infected patients on Thursday. The second individual, a woman in her 30s, was released to her home to remain in self-quarantine, according to NorthJersey.com.

At a press conference with Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, New Jersey state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said eight other individuals are being evaluated for testing. She said the risk to the general public remains low.

Here are the latest number updates from Johns Hopkins University:

  • Total confirmed cases: 98,705

  • Total deaths: 3,383

  • Total recovered: 55,497

Thursday's 2,800 new cases was the largest increase of new cases since Feb. 14. and marked the first day since Feb. 18 that new confirmed cases outpaced new recovered cases.

China CDC released a report online on Feb. 17 that overall found 2.3% of confirmed cases died. However, the fatality rate was 14.8% in people 80 or older, likely reflecting the presence of other diseases, a weaker immune system, or simply worse overall health. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in people in their 50s, 0.4% in people in their 40s, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.

Masked tourists visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, Thursday, March 5, 2020. With the COVID-19 virus taking firmer hold in Europe, the continent is facing the same complications seen in Asia weeks ago. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Here are the latest updated numbers on COVID-19, according to statistics provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:

• Total confirmed cases: 98,041
• Total deaths: 3,349
• Total recovered: 53,827

Governor Larry Hogan announced that the first three cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Maryland on Thursday, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The cases were confirmed to be a married couple in their 70s and an additional person in their 50s, all in Montgomery County, according to The Washington Post.

"The patients, who contracted the virus while traveling overseas, are in good condition," Hogan said in a statement. "We have been actively preparing for this situation over the last several weeks across all levels of government. I encourage all Marylanders not to panic, but to take this seriously and to stay informed as we continue to provide updates."

With Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival five weeks away and a state of emergency just recently declared in California, Riverside County's public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser has not yet instructed the cancellation of music festivals due to the coronavirus, The Desert Sun reports.

Kaiser said risk is higher with international travelers, and advised event organizers keep their audience in mind when determining whether to cancel their event. The Desert Sun reports that Coachella attracts "tens of thousands" of people each spring for the festival.

As a safety measure, Kaiser said in a press briefing, "If they're going to be screening at the door, they shouldn't have the event."

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been discovered in the state. The governor will be holding a press conference on the update, which will be streaming over Facebook.

Officials in Santa Clara County, California, have also announced six more cases of COVID-19. Officials have said that large events may need to be canceled where attendees are within arm's length of each other, such as San Jose Sharks games.

Here are the latest updated numbers on COVID-19, according to statistics provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:

• Total confirmed cases: 97,885
• Total deaths: 3,348
• Total recovered: 53,786

An employee of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire attended a mixer event at a crowded venue after being told to avoid contact with others due to possible coronavirus signs, according to the New York Times. He was later confirmed as the first case in the state.

A second case was confirmed shortly after with a person who was a "close-contact" to the first case. The New York Times reports that the incident has raised concerns over suspected patients who disregard instructions to self-quarantine.

The employee has since been ordered by the New Hampshire Health Commissioner to isolate himself in his home and is "complying now," according to Jake Leon, communications director for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

The Associated Press reports that there are now 17 times more new cases of the coronavirus outside of China than inside it. This means the spread in China has slowed down, while the remainder of the world is watching the spread of the virus speed up.

The World Health Organization is issuing warnings to the rest of the world.

"This is not a drill. ... This is a time for pulling out all the stops," a World Health Organization top official said. "Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans."

A day after a state of emergency was declared in Los Angeles County as six cases of coronavirus were discovered, four additional cases have been confirmed in the county, according to a report released by the L.A. Department of Public Health Thursday.

Here are the latest updated numbers on COVID-19, according to statistics provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:

• Total confirmed cases: 97,879
• Total deaths: 3,347
• Total recovered: 53,786

As coronavirus concerns grow, many universities across the United States have announced the cancellation of some or all university-sponsored or course-related international travel for spring break and the remainder of the semester.

Some universities that have made cancellations or ended study abroad trips include University of Southern California, University of Massachusetts, Penn State University, Ohio State University and Northwestern University. However, many more universities have canceled international trips, and students should check with their own university for updates.

In addition, some high schools, including Milton High School in Milton, Massachusetts, have had international spring break trips canceled. Milton High School families received a travel voucher for a future trip through EF Educational Tours instead of a refund, according to Boston 25 News.

March Madness starts in exactly two weeks and there's been talk of games being played in empty arenas, The Associated Press reported. The NCAA has formed a coronavirus advisory panel consisting of leading medical, public health and epidemiology experts.

Mar 20, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; General overall view of the March Madness logo at center court before the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

"The NCAA is committed to conducting its championships and events in a safe and responsible manner," said Donald Remy, NCAA chief operating officer. "Today we are planning to conduct our championships as planned, however, we are evaluating the COVID-19 situation daily and will make decisions accordingly. NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline said the organization was in daily contact with the CDC.

The National College Players Association urged the NCAA in a statement on Feb. 29 that its colleges should take precautions to protect college athletes. This includes potentially holding the upcoming men's and women's basketball tournaments without fans in the arenas. "In regard to the NCAA's March Madness Tournament and other athletic events, there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present," the NCPA said. Total coronavirus cases in the U.S. climbed to 177 on Thursday.

All primary schools were ordered to be closed in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of Delhi, made the announcement on Twitter Thursday and said it was a "precautionary measure."

In Iran, which has the fourth-highest amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases, schools and universities were also closed, according to The New York Times, citing Iranian state media. Concerts, sporting events and other large gatherings have been canceled.

The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Tennessee and Nevada. Tennessee health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said results from tests conducted Wednesday came back positive and have been sent to the CDC. The patient is an adult male from middle Tennessee with a recent history of out-of-state travel. He is isolated at home with mild symptoms.

Piercey said the man resides in Williamson County, which encompasses an area just south of Nashville.

Nevada had previously listed 14 cases where test results came back negative for the virus. According to the Nevada Independent, details about the patient's condition were expected to be released during a press conference Thursday morning,

Companies around Seattle started to close, send people home, or make changes to policies for the first time after employees started to test positive for COVID-19.

The first case of COVID-19 has been reported in South Africa. According to Dr. Zweli Mkhize, the country's health minister, the patient is a 38-year-old man who recently traveled to Italy with his wife. The man reportedly had symptoms of fever, headache and sore throat and has remained in isolation since March 3.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that there are two new cases of COVID-19 in the city. One patient is a man in his 40s, and the other new patient is a woman in her 80s. Both are hospitalized in intensive care. Neither patient has traveled recently indicating that these two cases were the latest signs that the virus was spreading in the community.

"We are going to see more cases like this as community transmission becomes more common. We want New Yorkers to be prepared and vigilant, not alarmed," de Blasio said. The total number of cases in New York state is now 13.

As concerns mount about COVID-19, along with confirmed cases in the U.S. (now 159), there's a sharper focus on whether or not to cancel events that draw large crowds. According to a report by The Miami Herald, the annual Ultra Music Festival scheduled for March 20-22 will be canceled this year after city officials urged organizers to call off the event. The festival is a large dance music event that draws fans from around the world. According to AccuWeather's long-range forecast, the weather for that weekend looks to be pleasant, with partly sunny skies and high temperatures in the upper 70s.

A cruise ship is being held offshore near San Francisco due to COVID-19 fears. The Grand Princess is the same ship that carried an elderly passenger on a voyage last month who has since died of COVID-19. The Coast Guard is set to fly testing kits out to the ship on Thursday and the boat won't be allowed to dock until testing is complete, ABC News reported. Several passengers on board have been complaining of flu-like symptoms.

Here are the latest updated numbers on COVID-19, according to statistics provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:

• Total confirmed cases: 95,748 (up from 93,455 on Wednesday)
• Total deaths: 3,286 (up from 3,198 on Wednesday)
• Total recovered: 53,423 (up from 50,743 on Wednesday)

Click here for previous briefings on the coronavirus from March 2-4.

Click here for previous briefings on the coronavirus from Feb. 27 to March 1

Additional reporting by Lauren Fox and Maria Antonieta Valery Gil

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