Previous coronavirus daily briefing updates, March 2-4

Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous reports, listed in eastern time.Click here for previous briefings on the coronavirus dating back to Feb. 27.

The first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in New Jersey has been announced by Gov. Phil Murphy. The male in his 30s has been hospitalized since Tuesday in Bergen County, which is in northern Jersey and encompasses a part of the state just across the Hudson River from Manhattan and the Bronx. According to NorthJersey.com, the 32-year-old man from Fort Lee, N.J., "doing well and resting comfortably in an isolation room" after arriving at Hackensack University Medical Center a day earlier.

The House passed a bill to allocate $8.3 billion in emergency funds to suppress the spread of the coronavirus, CNBC reported. The Senate will vote Thursday on the bill.

Meanwhile, United Airlines announced it is cutting some domestic, Canadian and international flights in response to the lowering demand due to coronavirus spreading, according to Reuters.

The first sports-related cancellations in the U.S. as a result of the virus have occurred at the collegiate level.

The Chicago State University men's basketball team will not travel to two regularly scheduled games this week, and the women's team will not host two games. The men's team was scheduled to play at Seattle University on Thursday. The Seattle area is where some of the highest number of COVID-19 cases have been reported.

Italy has passed Iran to become the country with the third-most confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 3,100 as of Wednesday. At least 107 deaths are being blamed on COVID-19 as well. Government officials are urging people to refrain from kissing on the cheeks or shaking hands when greeting people to help reduce the chances of community transfer.

The Italian government has also ordered all sporting events to take place with no fans in attendance until at least April 3.

Italy coronavirus discourage kissing handshaking

Pope Francis kisses a baby as he greets faithful in St. Nicholas Basilica, in Bari, Italy, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. As the COVID-19 death toll mounts in Italy, government officials are discouraging Italians from traditional methods of greeting, like kissing and handshakes. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The U.S. death toll climbed to 11 on Wednesday when California reported the first fatality in the state due to COVID-19, and Washington state reported its 10 fatality. "The person, an elderly adult with underlying health conditions, was the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county and is now the first to die from the illness in California," officials from Placer County, which is just northeast of Sacramento, said on Wednesday.

The person was likely exposed to COVID-19 between Feb. 11 and Feb. 21 while traveling on a Princess cruise ship that departed from San Francisco to Mexico. "This case is travel-related and does not represent local transmission," Placer County officials said. Health officials in Washington reported a ninth fatality in King County on Wednesday. Together with one death in nearby Snohomish County, COVID-19 has claimed 10 lives in Washington.

The International Monetary Fund said it is making $50 billion available to help address COVID-19 for "low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support."

"I am particularly concerned about our low-income and more vulnerable members - these countries may see financing needs rise rapidly as the economic and human cost of the virus escalates, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at a press conference." The announcement came one day after the World Bank Group announced $12 billion in immediate support "to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak."

During a press conference on Wednesday morning, officials declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles county in response to the coronavirus. This will help to open up funding from the state to combat the virus. This announcement came shortly after six new cases were reported in the county. "I want to reiterate this is not a response rooted in panic," L.A. County supervisor Kathryn Barger said, according to The Los Angeles Times. "We need every tool at our disposal."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state has risen to six.

Cuomo said the four new cases are tied to a 50-year-old man from New Rochelle, a New York City suburb about 20 miles northeast of Manhattan in Westchester County. Officials said on Tuesday this was the second confirmed patient in the state.

The patient's wife, two of his children and the neighbor who drove the man to the hospital are the latest confirmed to have the virus. The man remains hospitalized while his family is quarantined in their home.

On Tuesday, officials said the man, a lawyer who works in Manhattan, had not traveled to any of the countries where the number of COVID-19 cases is the highest, indicating this was a case of community spread.

Cuomo also said students with the State University of New York and the City University of New York that were studying abroad in China, Italy, Japan, Iran or South Korea were being transported home. Upon arrival they will be quarantined for 14 days.

"Remember: We have been expecting more cases & we are fully prepared," Cuomo said. "There is no cause for undue anxiety."

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. climbed past 125 on Wednesday, with 9 fatalities blamed on the virus -- all in Washington state. It's not time to panic, but being vigilant is always wise. Here's a reminder on what coronavirus symptoms to look out for, according to the WHO.

  • Fever is a symptom in 90% of COVID-19 cases

  • 70% of cases include a dry cough as a symptom

  • Symptoms usually do not include a runny nose

The COVID-19 global mortality rate is 3.4%, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday. "Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected," he said.

Italy's government will close all of the country's schools and universities from Thursday until mid-March as a result of the virus, according to a report from Italian newswire service ANSA.

Italy has reported more than 2,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll in the country stands at 79. Only China, South Korea and Iran have a higher number of cases.

After being closed for three days due to fears about the spread of COVID-19, Paris' famed Louvre Museum reopened on Wednesday.

According to The Associated Press, museum employees voted to return to work on Wednesday after the museum's management presented several new "anti-virus" measures. This includes wider distributions of disinfectants and more frequent staff rotations so employees can wash their hands, the AP said.

The Louvre is said to be the world's most visited museum and in 2019 attracted more than 9.6 million visitors. The museum's website states that about 25% of its visitors in 2019 were French, with "visitors from other countries representing almost three-quarters of total attendance." Weather in Paris for the next week will be mostly rainy and chilly, according to the AccuWeather forecast.

An Amazon employee in Seattle has tested positive for COVID-19.

"We're supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine," a company spokesperson told Reuters. The company also said two employees in Milan, Italy were infected and in quarantine.

In total, Washington state has 27 cases of COVID-19, the most of any state in the U.S., and all of the U.S. fatalities have occurred in Washington.

Here are the latest updated numbers from around the world according to Johns Hopkins University:

  • Total confirmed cases: 93,455

  • Total deaths: 3,198

  • Total recovered: 50,743

Tuesday's 2,500 new cases was the largest jump globally in new confirmed cases since Feb. 14.

A woman who recovered talked about what it felt like to have coronavirus and sit in isolation in an interview with BBC News.

"Isolation is basically four walls with a door. I got my food though a secure hatch, my medication, my change of clothing," a woman identified as Julie from Singapore said.

"When I was going through the critical stage, one of the things I encountered was really breathing. It felt like my lungs were going into overdrive," Julie, 53, continued.

"Yes you have the phone, you can text someone you may have a video call but just being completely without human interaction. I almost felt like I wanted to go knock on the wall and talk to the patient next door just to have some conversation with a human being," she said.

Many who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered don't want to discuss it publicly due to concerns about stigmas and discrimination they may face. But Julie decided it was time to speak out and counteract those forces, BBC News reported. Watch the full interview below.

South Korea has declared war on COVID-19. The country has emerged as a major coronavirus hotspot in recent weeks and has the most confirmed cases outside of mainland China. More than 5,000 patients have tested positive and at least 28 deaths have been blamed on the virus. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday said, "The entire country has entered war against the infectious disease," Reuters reported, and he apologized that the country is suffering through a shortage of face masks.

South Korea has been aggressive about testing its population for COVID-19, going so far as to set up drive-through testing sites that allow people to be screened for the virus without even getting out of the car. Drive-through testing sites are also in use in Northern Ireland, which has just one confirmed case, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all posted losses during Tuesday's trade session, falling nearly 3% on fears of the spreading coronavirus. The markets did briefly turn positive early in the day when the Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut of half a percentage point, but the three indexes fell back into the negative by midday.

Tuesday's losses wiped out most, but not all, of the gains from Monday when the stock market tried to rebound from last week's losses. The Dow posted its largest-ever point surge on Monday, gaining 1,294 points before falling 786 points on Tuesday.

"We can't count on high humidity to save us." Those are the words of Dr. Bryan Lewis, a professor at the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia who is sounding the alarm that COVID-19 could have a historically unprecedented impact on life across the globe. AccuWeather reporter John Roach talked with Lewis and Dr. Madhav Marathe, also from UVA. They touched on what they know about weather's impact on the virus, which they caution is not definitive at this point.

Compared to influenza, "COVID-19 seems to be a bit more resilient to weather changes than the flu," Marathe told AccuWeather. "Its spread in warmer regions is evidence." Lewis said that "we can't count on high humidity to ‘save us'," but even if the virus is suppressed in summer, that will buy health officials valuable time because "COVID-19 will most likely return once the humidity drops in the fall."

Read the full story here.

A resident of North Carolina has tested positive for COVID-19, the first person in the state to be diagnosed with the virus. The person that recently traveled to Washington, and was exposed at a long-term care facility where there is currently a COVID-19 outbreak, according to a press release by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

"I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared," said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. "Our task force and state agencies are working closely with local health departments, health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur."

The death toll has risen to nine in Washington state, according to the state's health department. In a daily update issued at 11:40 a.m. local time, the agency said that there are 27 positive cases. Twenty-one of those are in King County and the remaining six are in Snohomish County. Eight of the deaths have occurred in King County.

Earlier Tuesday it was confirmed that a person who died last week in a Seattle hospital is now confirmed to have had the virus. This marks the earliest known fatality from the virus in the U.S., according to the New York Times. The Times reported that the patient died on Feb. 26, after being brought to the facility on Feb. 24.

A state of emergency has been in effect for the entire state since Feb. 29.

What's a place that could be a potential hotspot for the spread of COVID-19? A polling station on Super Tuesday. And that was an issue in Texas as coronavirus fears caused disruption in Travis County, which includes Austin, on Super Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Dana DeBeauvoir, the Travis County Clerk, said nearly a dozen judges who were assigned to open polling stations didn't show up to do so on Tuesday. "Election judges are comprised of a group of older adults," DeBeauvoir told the Statesman. "They just decided they did not want to do this and decided the news was scaring them."

Health officials have said COVID-19 has had a harsher effect on older patients and those with underlying health issues. In Travis County, DeBeauvior said backup workers were enlisted. "The elections will go on," he declared. "They always do." The weather in Austin on Super Tuesday was cloudy with temperatures headed for a high of 80 and some rain possible in the evening.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, alongside Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the MERS-CoV technical lead for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. (WHO)

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization's director-general, said in a press conference, "This virus is not SARS, it's not MERS, and it's not influenza. It is a unique virus with unique characteristics." Ghebreyesus issued a plea for countries to combat price gauging and said supplies of protective equipment were being rapidly depleted.

"Shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline health care workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons." He added, "We can't stop COVID-19 without protecting our health workers."

Good news continued to emerge from China as the number of new cases declined once again. Mainland China reported 129 new cases of confirmed infections, down from 202 new cases confirmed on Sunday and 573 cases on Saturday.

This is the lowest number of confirmed cases reported in the country since January 20, The WHO reported.

A recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined a "detailed clinical and epidemiologic description" of the first 425 cases reported in Wuhan, the epicenter where the virus originated late in 2019. The authors, which include CDC director Robert Redfield, noted the following high-level findings:

  • Median age of the patients was 59 years

  • Higher morbidity and mortality among the elderly and among those with coexisting conditions -- similar to the flu virus

  • 56% of the patients were male

  • Particularly notable: no cases in children younger than 15 years of age

  • Either children are less likely to become infected, which would have important epidemiologic implications, or:

  • Children's symptoms were so mild that their infections escaped detection, which has implications for the size of the denominator of total community infections.

Outdoor sporting goods retailer REI said it closed three corporate campuses in Washington state due to two incidents of potential exposure to the virus, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

A spokesperson told Bloomberg that the cases met the CDC's definition of "low risk" and the company is expected to do a thorough cleaning of the offices in Kent, Bellevue and Georgetown before employees are allowed back.

At least six deaths and 18 cases have been reported in the state. The number of deaths accounts for all of the COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S., and confirmed cases are higher in Washington than anywhere else in the nation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday morning at a press conference that a second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the state.

A 50-year-old man who works in Manhattan and lives in Westchester County, a suburb about 30 miles north of the city, has tested positive for the virus.

The man has not traveled to any of the countries overseas that have been considered a hotbed for the spread of COVID-19, according to Cuomo, although the man did recently visit Miami.

"Our information is the gentleman had an underlying respiratory illness and he is ill and is hospitalized," Cuomo said.

The first case in New York was reported over the weekend after a Manhattan resident who recently traveled to Iran tested positive. The patient, a 39-year-old female health worker, remains at home with mild symptoms.

Japan's Olympic Minister said Tuesday that the country's contract with the International Olympic Committee allows Japan's organizers to push the games back to the end of the year if necessary, Reuters reported. The Games are scheduled to begin in Tokyo on July 24.

"The contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement," Seiko Hashimoto said, according to Reuters.

Here's a look at the latest updated numbers from around the world according to Johns Hopkins University:

  • Total cases: 91,320

  • Total deaths: 3,118

  • Total recovered: 48,155

First presumptive positive case confirmed in Norfolk County in Massachusetts after a woman recently traveled to Italy with a school group, according to WWLP. The young woman in her 20s was reportedly symptomatic and is recovering at her home.

There are two coronavirus cases in Fulton County in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp announced.

Kemp said one of the victims traveled to Milan, Italy, and both patients are being quarantined inside their homes.

FEMA officials are preparing in case the president announces an "infectious disease emergency declaration" that would allow the agency to provide disaster relief funding to aid the coronavirus response, according to agency planning documents reviewed by NBC News.

A woman wearing a mask walks away from the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle, Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Officials and emergency experts are comparing coronavirus preparedness to hurricane preparedness. "Even before the coronavirus, if you had asked the CDC what you should do about preparedness we would say that every individual should think ahead and prepare -- whether it's a hurricane -- and those recommendations haven't changed," CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said at a news conference Monday. Sherilyn Burris, a crisis consultant and the former head of Manatee County Emergency Management, said officials in Florida should develop a strategy that's "like a hurricane plan on steroids."

The World Baseball Softball Conference announced Monday that it has postponed the final Olympics qualifying event until mid-June amid fears about COVID-19, The Associated Press reported.

The final qualifying event was set to take place in Taipei, Taiwan, April 1-5. It will now be held June 17-21, about a month before the 2020 Olympics open in Tokyo. Temperatures in Taipei in early April are typically in the mid-70s.

Near the very beginning of summer, when the games are now scheduled to be played, average highs there are in the low 90s. Taiwan has seen 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one fatality, according to statistics kept by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus fears rattling world financial markets eased in the U.S. as markets rebounded on Monday. The Dow surged more than 1,200 points, its biggest gain since 2009, according to CNBC, after taking a beating last week.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a public health emergency after two patients in the Sunshine State have tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19. One patient is from Manatee County, South of Tampa, and has no history of travel to any of the coronavirus hotspots, Florida health officials said. The other patient, from Hillsborough County, which encompasses the Tampa area, recently traveled to Italy. Both are in isolation. There's been much speculation that warmer weather, like with other viruses, will help suppress spread of COVID-19. But health experts have yet to make a determination.

The weather down in Manatee County has been mostly sunny and pleasant recently with highs in the mid-60s and low 70s. The AccuWeather forecast calls for temperatures there to make a run into the high 70s this week. In the Tampa area, weather has been similar with highs ranging from the mid-60s to high 70s recently and heading into the low 80s this week.

COVID-19 claimed another life in King County, Washington, outside of Seattle, officials announced on Monday. The fatality was "a woman in her 80s" who was already in critical condition, public health officials said on Twitter. There have now been 14 confirmed cases in the Seattle area and the death toll in King County now stands at five along with another fatality in nearby Snohomish County, according to KOMO News, for a total of six deaths in Washington state.

In King County, Washington, home of the first two coronavirus fatalities in the U.S., officials have said the area will be declaring a state of emergency in response to the outbreak.

On Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency declaration for the entire state in response to the first death.

One of the top advisors to Iran's supreme leader died Monday from COVID-19, the first top government official in Iran to succumb to the virus. According to Time, Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Expediency Council, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Tehran at the age of 71. Iran has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The country has nearly 1,000 confirmed cases, fourth-most worldwide, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University, and 54 fatalities.

Some potentially positive news emerged from Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Reuters, officials are shutting down one of the 16 hastily-built hospitals used to treat COVID-19 patients due to a sharp drop in the number of confirmed cases in recent days.

What does the coronavirus look like? Images of the COVID-19 strands under a microscope have emerged from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Rocky Mountain Laboratories, based in Hamilton, Montana. The NIAID chief of Pathogenesis Unit, Emmie de Wit, shared the images, which were produced by microscopist Elizabeth Fischer, per NPR.

According to the NIAID, via NPR, the virus can be seen in the yellow cells, emerging from the purple and blue cells. The image was from a scanning electron microscope.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams admonished Americans who are buying large quantities of face masks in an attempt to prevent catching the virus. "Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!" Adams said on Twitter over the weekend.

"They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can't get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!" he continued. In a subsequent tweet, Adams said the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is "staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water."

A second death in Washington was confirmed on Sunday night after a 70-year-old resident from King County, the same area as the United States' first victim, passed away.

According to health authorities, the individual who died was one of six residents in a nursing home who had contracted the virus. Three others remain in critical condition, according to The New York Times.

The global death toll from COVID-19 climbed past 3,000. Here's a look at the latest updated numbers from Johns Hopkins University:

  • Total cases: 89,197

  • Total deaths: 3,048

  • Total recovered: 45,150

Click here for previous briefings on the coronavirus dating back to Feb. 27.

Additional reporting by Lauren Fox and Maria Antonieta Valery Gil

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