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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

The death toll attributed to the 2019 novel coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, continues to rise, with tens of thousands of people sickened and thousands of others killed by the virus, mostly in China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Chinese President Xi Jinping visits city hardest hit by virus Update 11:30 p.m. EDT March 9: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday made his first visit to Wuhan, the central Chinese city that has been hit hardest by the new virus epidemic. Xi will inspect the epidemic prevention and control work and visit medical workers, community volunteers, patients and others on the front lines, state media said. China’s ruling Communist Party has deployed its propaganda playbook to portray its leader as firmly in charge, leading an army of health workers in a “people’s war” against the disease. The main evening news on state TV regularly shows President Xi Jinping and his underlings giving instructions on the outbreak or touring related facilities. NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS closing locker rooms amid virus scare Update 7:30 p.m. EDT March 9: The NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all non-essential personnel in response to the coronavirus crisis, the leagues announced in a joint statement Monday night. The leagues said they made the decision “after consultation with infectious disease and public health experts.” The NBA stressed that the move is not to ban reporters but to ensure the safety of players and staff in those areas. The changes, which the leagues say are temporary, will begin Tuesday -- though some NHL teams began putting them into use this past weekend. The NBA said interviews with players would continue in different settings, stressing a gap of 6-to-8 feet between reporters and interview subjects. It is unclear how long the new policies will last. Trump to discuss potential payroll tax cut with Congress Update 6:15 p.m. EDT March 9: President Donald Trump said Monday his administration will ask Congress to pass payroll tax relief, as he looks to calm financial markets’ fears over the impact of the coronavirus epidemic. Trump told reporters that the administration was seeking “very substantial relief.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow, the director of the national economic council, were expected to make the request of Senate Republicans on Tuesday afternoon. Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled Update 6:15 p.m. EDT March 9: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Monday evening that Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be canceled. “This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy,” the mayor said in a statement. Mayor Walsh apparently made the decision after consulting with local lawmakers and a representative from the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council. “While the risk in Boston remains low, this situation is changing very quickly and we are closely monitoring any local cases,' the mayor said in his statement. 'Our top priority is preventing any new cases, to the best of our ability, and we are paying close attention to guidance from public health officials. 'We encourage all residents to follow preventive measures to avoid illness, such as washing hands and staying home if you are feeling sick, and we will continue to make public any information as this situation develops in Boston.” Italy imposes nationwide restrictions Update 5 p.m. EDT March 9: Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says he is extending restrictions on travel from the north to entire country to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. Conte said Monday that a new government decree will require all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live. “There won’t be just a red zone,″ Conte told reporters referring to a lockdown of areas in northern Italy instituted over the weekend. “There will be Italy” as a protected area, he said. Free-fall in oil, virus fears slam markets Update 4:15 p.m. EDT March 9: Coronavirus fears and a crash in oil prices sent a shudder through financial markets Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 7.8%, its steepest drop since the financial crisis of 2008, as a free-fall in oil prices and worsening fears of fallout from the spreading coronavirus outbreak seize markets. The sharp drops triggered the first automatic halts in trading in two decades. The price of oil plunged nearly 25% after Saudi Arabia indicated it would ramp up production after Russia refused to production cutbacks in response to falling demand. California health officials report 2nd COVID-19 death Update 3:55 p.m. EDT March 9: Authorities with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department announced the first 2019 novel coronavirus death reported in the county Monday. Officials said the patient was a woman in her 60s who had been hospitalized for several weeks. She had been diagnosed with COVID-19 on Feb. 28 and had no known recent international travel history or any connection to people who had been confirmed infected. She died Monday at El Camino Hospital. “This is a tragic development. The Public Health Department is taking necessary, carefully considered steps to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk,” Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County, said Monday in a statement. “We are facing a historic public health challenge and know this is a very difficult time. Our top priority continues to be protecting the health of our community.” One other coronavirus death has been reported in California. Last week, officials in Placer County, California, announced an elderly patient with underlying health conditions had died of the viral infection. Washington state officials announce 3 coronavirus deaths, bringing state’s total to 22 Update 3:45 p.m. EDT March 9: Authorities in Washington state said Monday that three more people have died of the 2019 novel coronavirus in King County, KIRO-TV reported. The deaths all involved patients who had been residents at Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland where several people were exposed to COVID-19. Researchers have said the virus might have been circulating for weeks before it was first detected, KIRO-TV reported. The reports bring the total number of people who have died of coronavirus in Washington state to 22. 3 test positive for COVID-19 in Ohio, governor declares state of emergency Update 3:35 p.m. EDT March 9: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a state of emergency in Ohio on Monday afternoon after three people tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus, WHIO-TV reported. The cases were all reported in Cuyahoga County in northeast Ohio, according to WHIO-TV. Irish government announces cancellation of nation’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities due to COVID-19 Update 3:15 p.m. EDT March 9: Irish authorities announced the cancellation Monday of the nation’s St. Patrick’s day festivities due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. In a statement, officials said the decision was made based on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team. “Due to the unique nature and scale of the St Patrick’s Day festivities, in terms of size, the mass gathering of local and international travelers and the continued progression of community transmission in some European countries, along with the emergence of a small number of cases of local transmission in Ireland, the government has decided that St Patrick’s Day parades, including the Dublin parade, will not proceed,” the statement said. Earlier Monday, officials in Dublin and Cork announced the cancellations of their parades. School employee in Georgia tests positive for COVID-19, impacted schools closed Update 2:25 p.m. EDT March 9: Authorities in Georgia announced Monday that a Fulton County School System employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting school closures, WSB-TV reported. School district officials said the employee, who was not identified, was being treated at an unidentified high school. School and district offices will be closed until at least Tuesday for disinfection. “The closure will allow us to clean and sanitize affected school as well as share additional details of our ongoing plan,” officials said in a statement obtained by WSB-TV. Italy cancels sporting events due to coronavirus threat Update 2:10 p.m. EDT March 9: Italian officials announced the cancellation Monday of all the country’s sporting events in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to The Associated Press. In a statement obtained by the AP, the Italian Olympic Committee said the suspension would last until at least April 3. The cancellations include games and preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled to begin in July. Events around the world have been affected by the spreading virus, including Champions League soccer matches and Japan’s professional baseball season. Late Sunday, one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world was postponed. In Italy, about 16 million people have been put under a widespread lockdown in the northern part of the country. Louisiana reports first coronavirus case Update 2 p.m. EDT March 9: Officials in Louisiana on Monday announced the state’s first presumptive positive coronavirus case. In a statement, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the case involved a Jefferson Parish resident who was hospitalized Monday in Orleans Parish. “While today is the first time that we can confirm that we have a presumptive positive coronavirus case, Louisiana has been preparing for this moment for many weeks,” Edwards said. “The CDC still believes the risk to the general public is low, but we will work quickly and decisively to assess the risk to those around this patient.” The presumptive positive test will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation of the diagnosis. 2 more test presumptive positive for COVID-19 in NJ Update 1:40 p.m. EDT March 9: Officials in Monmouth County, New Jersey, announced two new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in the county Monday. In a statement obtained by, Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone and Freeholder Deputy Susan Kiley said officials had learned of the presumptive positive cases earlier Monday. The patients were described as an 83-year-old woman in Hazlet and a 27-year-old man in Little Silver. The presumptive positive tests, which will have to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bring the total number of cases reported in New Jersey to eight. Spain reports 2 more coronavirus deaths Update 1:25 p.m. EDT March 9: Officials with the Catalonian health department announced two more deaths Monday connected to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to CNN. The deaths bring the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Spain to 28, the news network reported. First 2 coronavirus deaths reported in Germany Update 1 p.m. EDT March 9: Authorities in Germany have announced the country’s first fatalities connected to the coronavirus outbreak, according to multiple reports. A health ministry spokesman in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia told The Guardian an 89-year-old woman died in Essen and another patient, whose age was not released, died in the Heinsberg region. In a statement released to CNN, German health minister Karl-Josef Laumann said the deaths “show that we have to take the situation very seriously.” “My thoughts are with the relatives,” he said. “I wish the families a lot of strength in this difficult time.” At least one other German citizen has died of coronavirus, according to CNN. A German national from Hamburg died Sunday while on vacation in Egypt, the news network reported. WHO: Threat of a coronavirus pandemic ‘has become very real’ Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 9: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said Monday that the global number of coronavirus cases crossed past 100,000 reports over the weekend in a total of 100 countries. “It’s certainly troubling that so many people and countries have been affected so quickly,” Tedros said Monday at a news conference. “Now that the coronavirus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real.” He said that despite the threat, this “would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled.” “The bottom line is: We are not at the mercy of this virus.” 2nd cruise ship held off coast of Florida Update 12:25 p.m. EDT March 9: A second Florida-based cruise ship has been placed under a no-sail order and made to dock off the Florida coast amid coronavirus fears, according to multiple reports. In a letter sent Sunday night to passengers on Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess, officials said the ship had been placed under a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no-sail order to allow for testing of two crew members who might have been exposed to coronavirus, the Miami Herald reported. The Caribbean Princess left Fort Lauderdale on March 1 for a 10-day journey, WPTV reported. The ship was ordered halted after authorities learned two crew members on the ship had been on another where a passenger tested positive for COVID-19. It was not immediately clear how long the ship would remain docked off the Florida coast. Dublin, Cork cancel St. Patrick’s Day parades Update 12 p.m. EDT March 9: Officials in Ireland have cancelled upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parades in Dublin and Cork amid ongoing coronavirus fears, according to multiple reports. Officials on the Irish cabinet sub-committee that deals with COVID-19 decided to cancel Dublin’s parade Monday, BBC News reported. The parade is the largest celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Earlier Monday, officials with the Cork city council said in a statement obtained by The Guardian that they were canceling their planned parade. The celebration is the second largest in the country. “A risk assessment, based on World Health Organization guidelines, was carried out by Cork City Council which concluded that based on the demographic of those attending the parade, the close proximity of people attending the event and the duration of the event (among other considerations), Cork City Council is not in a position to provide the necessary assurances in relation to current WHO Guidelines,” the statement said. New coronavirus cases bring total to 142 in New York state Update 11:40 a.m. EDT March 9: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new coronavirus cases reported Monday, raising the number of confirmed infections to 142. Eight of the 142 patients were hospitalized due to their infections, Cuomo said. “We continue to expect more positive cases as we test,” he said. 3 more deaths confirmed in South Korea Update 11:35 a.m. EDT March 9: Health officials in South Korea have announced three more coronavirus deaths, bringing the total number of fatal COVID-19 cases in the country to 54, according to CNN. Thousands of people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in South Korea since the virus was first discovered late last year in Wuhan, China. Health officials said Monday that the country’s rate of new infections appeared to be declining, CNN reported. Princeton University moving seminars, lectures online due to coronavirus Update 10:35 a.m. EDT March 9: Officials at Princeton University in New Jersey announced Monday that the school will “virtualize any activities, such as lectures, seminars, and precepts, that can be put online” amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. “Our goal is to decrease the number of instances that require community members to gather in large groups or spend extended periods of time in close proximity with each other,” university president Chris Eisgruber said Monday in a letter to the Princeton community. “Though we continue to believe the risk of transmission on our campus is currently low, we know that community spread is occurring in various parts of the United States, including the state of New York, which has declared a state of emergency.” Other schools, including the University of Washington, have also announced plans to move courses online or cancel in-person meetings due to coronavirus. Why trading was paused on the stock market Monday Update 10:10 a.m. EDT March 9: Trading on the New York Stock Exchange was suspended for 15 minutes Monday morning after the market dropped 7% shortly after opening. The abrupt decline triggered a market-wide circuit breaker meant to slow things down, ease panic and give investors a chance to breathe before trading more. As COVID-19 spreads around the world, many investors feel helpless in trying to estimate how much it will hurt the economy and corporate profits, and the easiest response to such uncertainty may be to get out. The S&P 500 has lost 17% since setting a record last month. If it hits a 20% drop, it would mean the death of what’s become the longest-running bull market for U.S. stocks in history. US stock trading resumes Update 9:50 a.m. EDT March 9: Trading resumed on the New York Stock Exchange Monday morning after the market plunged 7% shortly after opening, triggering a market halt. US stock trading halted for 15 minutes Update 9:40 a.m. EDT March 9: Trading was halted Monday morning on the stock market after the S&P 500 fell 7% just minutes after opening trading in New York. The flailing numbers triggered a circuit breaker, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reported the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 7.3% while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell by 6.9%. New coronavirus cases confirmed in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Nigeria Update 9:10 a.m. EDT March 9: Health officials in at least four countries reported new confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus Monday. Malaysian health officials said 18 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 117. Authorities said at least six of the newly confirmed ill had recent overseas travel history. Two people were receiving treatment in intensive care units. Health officials in Singapore confirmed 10 new cases of coronavirus Monday, bringing the country’s total to 160. Several of the cases have been linked to a private dinner held Feb. 15 while one was linked to a church in central Singapore. In the Philippines, health officials said coronavirus cases doubled from 10 reported on Sunday to 20 confirmed on Monday. Citing health officials, CNN reported three new COVID-19 cases were confirmed by health officials in Hong Kong on Monday, bringing the country’s total to 116. The news network also reported a new confirmed coronavirus case in Nigeria, bringing the total number of sicknesses in that country to two. South Korea reports 7,478 total cases; rate of new cases appears to be declining Update 6:46 a.m. EDT March 9: South Korean officials on Monday reported 96 more confirmed cases in the country, CNN is reporting. So far, 7,478 people there have been infected. Health officials also said South Korea’s rate of new infections appears to be declining, according to the news outlet.  Cruise line offering full refunds to stranded Grand Princess guests Update 4 a.m. EDT March 9: Princess Cruises will give complete refunds to stranded Grand Princess passengers, CNN is reporting. Twenty-one people who have novel coronavirus are aboard the ship, which is scheduled to dock in Oakland, California, on Monday, according to the news outlet. US Sen. Ted Cruz to self-quarantine after shaking hands with CPAC attendee who contracted coronavirus Update 8:27 p.m. EDT March 8: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he will self-quarantine this week after briefly shaking hands with an attendee of the Conservative Political Action Conference who later tested positive for the coronavirus. “Last night, I was informed that 10 days ago at CPAC I briefly interacted with an individual who is currently symptomatic and has tested positive for COVID-19,” Cruz said in a statement. “That interaction consisted of a brief handshake.” Cruz said he feels fine and is not experiencing any symptoms. Medical officials said the odds of transmission to Cruz were extremely low and people who he has interacted with in the last 10 days should not be concerned. “Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, and because of how frequently I interact with my constituents as part of my job and to give everyone peace of mind, I have decided to remain at my home in Texas this week, until a full 14 days have passed since the CPAC interaction,” Cruz wrote. US citizens should avoid cruise ship travel, State Department says Update 6:12 p.m. EDT March 8: U.S. citizens, especially those with underlying health conditions, should avoid cruise ship travel, the State Department said Sunday. The travel advisory was issued amid rising risk of infection within the cruise ship environment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Cruise ship travelers should contact their cruise ship company directly with questions about upcoming travel plans. Cases of coronavirus top 500 in US Update 5:29 p.m. EDT March 8: There are more than 500 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., according to state and federal health agencies. According to CNN, the 512 cases are: 49 cases aboard the Diamond Princess 21 cases aboard the Grand Princess  442 cases in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Cruise ship off Florida coast as officials await test results of 2 crew members Update 1:49 p.m. EDT March 8: A cruise ship remained off the South Florida coast Sunday as officials awaited the test results of two cruise members who were tested for the coronavirus, the Miami Herald reported. The Regal Princess was supposed to dock in Port Everglades but remained offshore, the newspaper reported. The two cruise members were transferred to the Florida-based ship from the Grand Princess cruise ship that is now off the coast of California. The Grand Princess had 21 positive cases for the coronavirus, with 19 of the positive tests coming from crew members, the Herald reported. The Regal crew members are not showing symptoms of the virus, the company told the Herald. Cruise official: American test positive on Nile boat Update 11:20 a.m. EDT March 8: Several American citizens were quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus on an Egyptian Nile boat, a cruise company spokesman told CNN. According to Extension Group, there were 19 passengers aboard the vessel, which was traveling from Aswan to Luxor, but it was unknown how many Americans were infected. Foreigners on the boat included French and Indian citizens, Waf’a Abdelrahman, the company’s marketing manager, told CNN. Earlier, The Washington Post reported more than two dozen American tourists had been quarantined in Luxor as Egyptian health officials declared 33 new cases on the novel coronavirus. Third death reported in Hong Kong Update 9:34 a.m. EDT March 8: A third person in Hong Kong died from the coronavirus, Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority said Sunday evening. According to health authorities, a 76-year-old woman died, The Washington Post reported. The total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong rose to 113 on Sunday the newspaper reported. Health authorities confirmed four more infections, including a man who contracted the virus while traveling in Mumbai, officials said. According to the Hospital Authority 58 have recovered from the virus and have been discharged, the Post reported. Italy lockdown affects 16 million people Update 7:50 a.m. EDT March 8: The Italian government has ordered a lockdown in the northern part of the country, including Lombardy and 14 additional provinces, CNN is reporting. The move, which prevents “the free movement of roughly 16 million people,” came as the country reported at least 5,800 cases and 233 deaths from the virus, according to the New York Times.  Grand Princess to berth in Oakland, California, on Monday Update 3:40 a.m. EDT March 8: Princess Cruises issued an update saying that the Grand Princess will berth in Oakland, California, on Monday, 'to begin disembarking guests who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization.' The process originally had been slated to begin Sunday, with other guests disembarking Monday. 'According to Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, following health screenings, guests who are California residents will go to a federally operated facility within California for testing and isolation, while non-Californians will be transported by the federal government to facilities in other states,' the cruise line tweeted early Sunday. 'Crew will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship.' US Marine tests positive for coronavirus, is Virginia’s first case of virus Update 7:29 p.m. EST March 7: A U.S. Marine who recently returned from overseas tested positive for the coronavirus, Pentagon officials said Saturday evening. It is not clear where he had traveled. The Marine is assigned to Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He is being treated at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. CPAC attendee tests positive for coronavirus Update 6:43 p.m. EST March 7: An attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference has tested positive for the coronavirus, the American Conservative Union said Saturday afternoon. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other officials attended the Maryland conference Feb. 29 but had no interactions with the attendee, who did not attend events in the main hall, officials said in a statement. “The Trump Administration is aware of the situation,” the ACU said in a statement. The attendee was exposed to the coronavirus before the conference. The attendee was taken to a New Jersey hospital, where they tested positive for COVID-19. The person is under quarantine in New Jersey. First case of coronavirus confirmed in Washington D.C.  Update 5:55 p.m. EST March 7: The first case of coronavirus is confirmed in the nation’s capital. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed the city’s first presumptive positive case for COVID-19 was confirmed Saturday afternoon by the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences. Participants at Special Olympics event in Nebraska possibly exposed to coronavirus Update 4:56 p.m. EST March 7: Players, coaches and staff who participated in a Special Olympics basketball tournament in Nebraska are urged to self-quarantine. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said participants at the Feb. 29 event should limit their exposure to other people and monitor themselves for symptoms until March 14, KTIV reported. A 36-year-old woman who participated in the event is being treated for COVID-19 at the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit in Omaha, the Omaha World-Herald reported. “We’re in new territory,” Carolyn Chamberlin, president and CEO of Special Olympics Nebraska, told the World-Herald. “We’re trying to manage this the best we can. At this point, we’re just trying to figure out who was all involved. We’re taking all steps possible to communicate with all those affected, and we are hoping for the best for this individual.” Health officials said spectators are at a much lower risk than participants. Washington state death toll rises to 16 Update 2:56 p.m. EST March 7: The coronavirus death toll in Washington state reached 16 Saturday as confirmed cases of the virus are now at least 102, the Washington Department of Health announced Saturday morning. KIRO-TV reported the number of cases in King County reached 71, while Snohomish County reported 27 confirmed cases. Grant, Jefferson, Pierce and Clark counties all reported one confirmed case apiece. At least 10 of those who died in King County were residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, the television station reported. Gov. Andrew Cuomo declares state of emergency in New York Update 1:06 p.m. EST March 7: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in the state Saturday during a news conference, The New York Times reported. Cuomo said the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has risen to 76. Chinese hotel collapses; building used to observe people who had contact with patients Update 11:07 a.m. EST March 7: A hotel used for by medical personnel to observe people who had contact with coronavirus patients collapsed in the southeastern China city of Quanzhou on Saturday, trapping 70 people, state media reported. There were no immediate reports of deaths. According to China Central Television, at least 34 people have been rescued from the rubble as of Saturday evening, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to People’s Daily, the 80-room hotel was converted by city officials to observe people who had come in contact with coronavirus patients, The Associated Press reported. US Navy sailor in Naples, Italy tests positive Update 9:43 a.m. EST March 7: A U.S. Navy sailor stationed in Naples, Italy, tested positive for the coronavirus, The New York Times reported. It was the first positive case of an American service member in Europe testing positive for the virus, the United States European Command said Saturday in a statement. Amtrak halts nonstop Acela service between Washington and New York Update 8:39 a.m. EST March 7: Amtrak announced it is canceling its Acela nonstop service between Washington and New York City beginning Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. The Acela service will be suspended through May 26, the newspaper reported. Amtrak said the reduced demand for train service because of the coronavirus was the main reason for the schedule change, the Post reported. Amtrak said there could be other train schedule changes, including removing train cars or canceling trains when there are other alternatives for customers, the newspaper reported. Coronavirus cases soar in Iran, second diplomat dies in less than one week  Update 7:36 a.m. EST March 6: A top Iranian diplomat succumbed Thursday to the novel coronavirus, compounding anxieties as the death rate rose dramatically, state media reported. New cases announced Friday totaled 1,234 and 17 deaths, bringing the nationwide totals to 4,700 and 124 respectively. The diplomat, 67-year-old Hossein Sheikholeslam, was an adviser to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and former ambassador to Syria. According to The Washington Post, he died in Tehran after lapsing into a coma and had been one of the student revolutionaries who held 52 Americans hostage for more than a year in 1978 and 1979. Sheikholeslam’s death follows that of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who died from the virus earlier in the week. According to the Post, Iran’s deputy health minister and a deputy president, Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar is infected, and newly elected lawmaker, Fatemah Rahbar, is reportedly in critical condition after testing positive for the virus. French lawmaker among 138 new cases Update 7:30 a.m. EST March 6: According to France’s National Assembly, a parliamentarian has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The lawmaker has been identified as Jean-Luc Reitzer, 68, a deputy from the conservative Les Républicains party, The Washington Post reported. According to the latest figures, France witnessed its largest single-day increase in the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases, with 138 new cases and three new deaths confirmed. First coronavirus cases confirmed in the Vatican, the Netherlands Update 7:26 a.m. EST March 6: Both Vatican City and the Netherlands confirmed their first cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday. It was not immediately clear if the coronavirus case involved a visitor or a resident of the Vatican. Although only about 1,000 people reside in Vatican City, millions visit the locale each year, many of whom are Catholics who visit the church’s most important site and hear Pope Francis, the Vatican’s head of state, CNN reported. According to the most recent data, Italy has recorded nearly 4,000 confirmed novel coronavirus cases, resulting in 150 deaths. South Korea’s coronavirus cases continue to spread Update 7:23 a.m. EST March 6: Health officials in South Korea confirmed an additional 309 novel coronavirus cases, bringing the nationwide total to 6,593. According to the country’s Central Disaster Relief Headquarters, an estimated 70 percent of nationwide cases are due to community spread, but 60 percent of all cases have been linked with a branch of the Shincheonji religious group in the southern city of Daegu. New cases mount in Belgium, India, Thailand, Taiwan Update 7:16 a.m. EST March 6: Newly diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus continued their global march Friday with the following nations reporting infection increases: • Belgium confirmed 59 new cases, bringing its nationwide total to 109. • India’s current nationwide infections total 31. • Thailand’s newest case brings its nationwide total to 48. According to CNN, the patient is a 43-year-old British man who is a corporate adviser who traveled from London on Feb. 28 to Bangkok via Hong Kong. • Taiwan confirmed two new cases, bringing the island’s total number of infections to 44. According to Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control, one patient is a Taiwanese resident who returned recently from the Philippines, and the other is a Taiwanese resident with no recent travel history but close contact with an infected person. State-by-state breakdown of the 228 US coronavirus cases, 14 deaths Update 4:13 a.m. EST March 6: The novel coronavirus has sickened a total of 228 U.S. residents across 19 states, including 49 citizens repatriated from abroad.  Forty-six of the 49 repatriated citizens were sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, moored off the coast of Japan. The three others were retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China. The state-by-state breakdown of the 179 cases detected on U.S. soil – including presumptive cases – is as follows: • Arizona: 2  • California: 49 (including 1 death) • Colorado: 2 • Florida: 4 • Georgia: 2 • Illinois: 5  • Maryland: 3 • Massachusetts: 3 • Nevada: 1  • New Hampshire: 2 • New Jersey: 2 • New York: 22 • North Carolina: 1  • Oregon: 3 • Rhode Island: 2  • Tennessee: 1  • Texas: 4 • Washington state: 70 (including 13 deaths)  • Wisconsin: 1 Two new presumptive cases reported in Houston area Update 4:07 a.m. EST March 6: Health officials in the Houston area reported two likely cases of coronavirus late Thursday, bringing the state’s total number of probable cases to five, The Washington Post reported. Both cases reported Thursday night involve men between the ages of 60 and 70. According to the Post, one man – who lives in Houston – was experiencing mild symptoms while isolated at home, and the other has been hospitalized in stable condition. The second man lives in nearby unincorporated Harris County, Texas. New York rabbi tests positive for novel coronavirus Update 4:05 a.m. EST March 6: A rabbi, who teaches at Yeshiva University’s Washington Heights campus in Manhattan, is among New York’s 22 confirmed novel coronavirus cases, the university confirmed early Friday. Rabbi Reuven Fink, of the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue, had been in self-quarantine after being in contact with an infected congregant, CNN reported. University officials said they have reached out to Rabbi Fink’s students and recommended self-quarantining.  US coronavirus cases surge, global tally nears 98K with 3,383 dead Update 2:32 a.m. EST March 6: The novel coronavirus has killed at least 3,383 people worldwide with more than 97,850 confirmed cases spanning at least 85 countries and territories, CNN reported early Friday. Meanwhile, the United States has recorded its 14th death from the virus – all but one occurring in the Seattle area of Washington state – as reports of new cases in Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey and Tennessee brought the nation’s official infection tally to 228. And while reported cases are tapering off in mainland China – where the outbreak is believed to have originated in Wuhan in December – infections continue to sweep Europe, the Middle East and, especially, South Korea. According to The Washington Post, China reported only 143 new cases and 30 new deaths on Friday, while South Korea saw its new infections increase by 518 to 6,300 with 42 deaths. Infectious disease experts weighs in on coronavirus scope Update 2:25 a.m. EST March 6: Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the World Health Organization, called the coronavirus “a controllable virus” during Thursday night’s CNN town hall. According to the network, Van Kerkhove spent two weeks in China working with Chinese health authorities to better understand what worked to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.  “Fundamental public health actions” worked, such as washing hands, social distancing, self-isolating when ill and seeking medical treatment when necessary worked, she said. “Those lessons can be applied to all countries,” Van Kerkhove said, adding, 'We are seeing countries demonstrate that they can slow this virus down.” Pence pledges ‘full support’ to Wash. in coronavirus fight Update 11 p.m. EST March 5: Vice President Mike Pence pledged the Trump administration’s full support to Washington state officials as the coronavirus death toll there continued to mount. The state has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., with at least 70 confirmed infections and 11 dead. Researchers say the virus may have been circulating undetected for weeks. “As the state of Washington, and the Seattle area in particular, deals with the coronavirus, we’re going to continue to make sure that you have the full support of every agency in the federal government,” Pence said after touring the state’s emergency response center. “We know you’re the front line.” Pence attended a round-table meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee, members of Washington’s congressional delegation and local officials to discuss coordinating response to the outbreak. Maryland’s first three cases confirmed by state health agency Update 7:30 p.m. EST March 5: Three people in Maryland have caught COVID-19 while traveling overseas, according to WRC-TV. Colorado Governor Jared Polis confirms first presumptive case in the state Update 6:30 p.m. EST March 5: Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday that two people have tested positive for coronovirus in Colorado, marking the state’s first cases in the global outbreak. The governor announced both cases during a news conference. The first is a man in his 30s who was visiting from out of state when checked into a hospital in Frisco, where many of Colorado’s ski resorts are located, because of a possible respiratory illness. The man had traveled to Italy the month before, but did not show any symptoms when he flew to Colorado on Feb. 29, Polis said. The man’s traveling companion also tested positive for the virus in another state. The man is recovering in isolation in the Denver metro area, and the state health department is working with local public health agencies to identify anyone who could have been exposed to the man to monitor them for signs and symptoms. Death toll jumps to 11 in Washington Update 4:30 p.m. EST March 5: The number of Washington state coronavirus cases rose to 70 Thursday, up from 39 on Wednesday, with another fatal case in King County bringing to death toll in Washington to 11. Of the 70 cases, 51 are in King County, 18 in Snohomish County and one in Grant County. Two new cases confirmed in Texas Update 4:15 p.m. EST March 5: The Harris County Public Health Department in Texas confirmed two new cases in Texas, bringing the total cases to 14. Coronavirus cases climb past 50 in Australia Update 3:35 p.m. EST March 5: Health officials in Australia have confirmed 52 cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the country, including two cases that proved fatal. Authorities said 15 of the cases were linked to travel to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Ten others were linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The patients who died of the virus include a Diamond Princess passenger who was repatriated back to Australia from Japan and a person living in an aged care facility in New South Wales. Pence: Not enough coronavirus tests available to meet expected demand Update 3:05 p.m. EST March 5: Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Thursday that the United States has too few coronavirus tests to meet expected demand. “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” Pence said after a meeting with of the coronavirus task force and executives from 3M, CNN reported. “For those that we believe have been exposed, for those who are showing symptoms, we’ve been able to provide the testing.” Pence said the government is working to increase the number of test kits available, NPR reported. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its guidelines to allow for testing of anyone who has symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. Previously, CDC guidelines had limited testing to only those who have had close contact with a confirmed case of the virus. Washington state waiving copays, deductible for coronavirus testing Update 2:45 p.m. EST March 5: Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order Thursday requiring health insurers in the state to waive copays and deductibles for anyone trying to get tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to KIRO-TV. The order goes into effect Thursday and applies to all state-regulated health insurance plans and short-term limited duration medical plans. It was set to expire May 4. >> Read more on US Senate passes $8.3 billion spending deal aimed at fighting coronavirus Update 2:25 p.m. EST March 5: The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 96 to 1 in favor of passing an $8.3 billion spending bill to fight the coronavirus in the U.S. The bill will go to President Donald Trump for his signature. As of Thursday, 11 people have died of coronavirus infections in the United States. Ten of the deaths were reported in Washington and one was reported in California. More than 150 cases of COVID-19 have been reported nationwide. Coronavirus cases rise to 70 in Washington state Update 2:15 p.m. EST March 5: The number of coronavirus cases in Washington state has risen from 39 reported Wednesday to 70, KIRO-TV reported. Many of the cases have been linked to Life Care Center of Kirkland, the nursing facility at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington. Eleven people have died in the U.S., one in California and 10 in Washington, since the coronavirus was first detected late last year in Wuhan, China. US Senate voting on $8.3 billion coronavirus spending deal Update 2 p.m. EST March 4: Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate are voting Thursday on whether to pass an $8.3 billion spending deal aimed at battling the coronavirus. The vote comes after the House voted 415-2 in favor of the measure. The Senate was expected to follow suit and pass the bill Thursday, after which it is expected to go to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature. 41 more virus deaths reported in Italy Update 1:55 p.m. EST March 5: Health officials in Italy said the country’s death toll from the 2019 novel coronavirus has risen by 41 to a total of 148 in the country. Angelo Borrelli, head of Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, said Thursday that those who have died were between 66 and 99 years old and most were in “frail conditions,” including suffering from underlying health problems, CNN reported. More than 3,200 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Italy, marking the most in any European country. COVID-19 cases rise to 22 in New York Update 1:40 p.m. EST March 5: Cases of coronavirus infection have risen to 22 across New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. The cases include eight patients who have mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 in Westchester County, two patients hospitalized in New York City and a 42-year-old Nassau County man. 1 new coronavirus case makes 4 in Florida Update 12:20 p.m. EST March 5: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said another Florida resident has tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to four cases. The patient was identified as a Santa Rosa County man in his 70s who has underlying health conditions and who recently traveled internationally, WJAX-TV reported. The governor also said five other Floridians have been quarantined outside the state for COVID-19. First COVID-19 case reported in Nevada Update 12:45 p.m. EST March 5: Health officials in Nevada said a man in his 50s who recently traveled to Texas and Washington state has become the state's first coronavirus patient. In a statement released Thursday, officials with the Southern Nevada Health District identified the patient as a Clark County resident. “The patient reported a recent travel history to Washington state, where community spread of the virus is being reported, and Texas, which recently reported its first travel-associated case,” health officials said. “The Health District is working with its health care partners and leading the effort to quickly identify close contacts of the patient.” According to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 145 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in the U.S. First UK coronavirus death reported Update 12:30 p.m. EST March 5: Health officials in the United Kingdom said the country recorded its first death due to COVID-19 on Thursday. In a statement obtained by The Guardian, the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust confirmed “an older patient” who had underlying health conditions had died after being admitted and testing positive Tuesday night for the 2019 novel coronavirus. 'The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time,' the statement said. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, 115 have tested positive for coronavirus in the U.K. as of 9 a.m. local time Thursday. 2 more virus deaths reported in France Update 11:40 a.m. EST March 5: Health officials in France announced two more coronavirus deaths Thursday, bringing the total lives claimed by coronavirus in the country to six. Officials identified the patients who died as a 73-year-old and a 64-year-old, both from the northern part of the country. Authorities have recorded more than 375 cases of coronavirus in France since the virus was first identified late last year in Wuhan, China. Coronavirus spreads to another Washington county Update 11:30 a.m. EST March 5: Health officials in Grant County, Washington, announced the county’s first coronavirus case late Wednesday night. Officials with the Grant County Health District said a person hospitalized at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee tested positive for COVID-19. The case marks at least the 40th in Washington, where 10 people have died of the virus. Coronavirus fears prompt cancellation of Rome marathon Update 10:50 a.m. EST March 5: The organizers of Acea Run Rome The Marathon announced the cancellation of this year’s event due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. In a message posted on the marathon’s website, organizers said the event was cancelled in light of “the health emergency that we are facing.” The marathon had been scheduled for March 29. Italy has seen the most number of coronavirus infections in Europe with more than 2,700 people testing positive for the virus as of Wednesday, Italian health officials said. More than 105 people have died in the country from COVID-19. First COVID-19 case confirmed in Tennessee Update 10:15 a.m. EST March 5: Health officials in Tennessee said Thursday that the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the state's first COVID-19 case. The case involves a Williamson County man with a recent history of out-of-state travel, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said. Health officials were working Thursday to determine where he traveled and whether he might have put others at risk of a coronavirus infection. He was under isolation Thursday at his home with mild symptoms of coronavirus, Piercey said. “At this time COVID-19 is not widespread in the United States,” the state health commissioner emphasized Thursday. “At this time, the overall risk to the general public remains low.” Nearly 300 million students impacted by coronavirus-prompted school closures, UNESCO says Update 10 a.m. EST March 5: Concerns over the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus have prompted more than a dozen states to close all school and lead to localized closures in nine other countries, affecting about 290 million students, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Amidst the closures, UNESCO officials recommended the use of distance learning programs to limit the disruption the closures have on students’ education. “While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said Tuesday in a news release. Several schools across the United States have announced closures due to coronavirus fears, including about a dozen in Washington state, where ten people have died of COVID-19. Coronavirus infections rise to 82 in the Netherlands Update 9:25 a.m. EST March 5: The number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in the Netherlands has more than doubled to 82, Reuters reported, citing the Dutch National Institute for Public Health. On Tuesday, officials said 38 coronavirus infections had been reported in the country, according to Reuters. 2 more COVID-19 cases confirmed in New York City, 13 reported statewide Update 9:10 a.m. EST March 5: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said two new coronavirus cases have been reported in the city, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 13. De Blasio said the cases involved a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s. Both patients remained hospitalized Thursday in the intensive care unit, officials said. Health investigators were working Thursday to track down people who had close contact with the patients. “We are going to see more cases like this as community transmission becomes more common,” de Blasio said Thursday in a tweet. “We want New Yorkers to be prepared and vigilant, not alarmed.” Coronavirus cases rise to 31 in Greece Update 9 a.m. EST March 5: The total number of people infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus in Greece has jumped to 31, health officials said Thursday in a news briefing, according to At least three of the country’s cases were considered serious, the news site reported. The new cases were reported after health officials tested people who had come into close contact with a 65-year-old Greek man who tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling by bus on a religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt, reported. South Africa reports first case Update 7:50 a.m. EST March 5: A traveler returning from Italy has been diagnosed as South Africa’s first documented case of the novel coronavirus. “The patient is a 38-year-old male who traveled to Italy with his wife,” South Africa’s health minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize said in a statement. “They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020.” Iran death toll hits 107 Update 7:35 a.m. EST March 5: Iran’s Health Ministry said Thursday that 591 additional novel coronavirus cases – resulting in 15 additional deaths – have been recorded in the past 24 hours. According to the latest figures, Iran has recorded a total of 3,513 cases, resulting in 107 deaths nationwide. Coronavirus could cost airline industry $113 billion Update 7:02 a.m. EST March 5: In an updated analysis published Thursday, the International Air Transport Association projected the ongoing coronavirus “crisis” could cost the passenger airline business anywhere from $63 billion and $113 billion. The trade association originally projected losses of $29.3 billion, but that Feb. 20 guidance was issued when the novel coronavirus appeared to be contained in Asia, and primarily within mainland China, The Washington Post reported. “Since that time, the virus has spread to over 80 countries and forward bookings have been severely impacted on routes beyond China,” the association’s revised report concluded. Read more here. Germany, Iceland see coronavirus cases spike Update 6:56 a.m. EST March 5: In the past 24 hours, the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Germany spiked by nearly 50 percent to 349 cases. The latest 109 cases now mean Germany’s cluster represents the largest European outbreak outside the northern Italy foothold, The Washington Post reported. In addition, 10 new cases confirmed in Iceland bring that nation’s total number of infections to 26. 'It’s clear that in Iceland we have high number of confirmed cases per capita and by international comparison,” Iceland’s directorate of health said in a prepared statement. Meanwhile, an Icelandair flight to Italy on Saturday will repatriate 70 Icelanders stranded there, and the 12 Icelandic nationals who have been quarantined in Tenerife are also expected to return on Saturday, CNN reported. “This is clearly unusual but this is the most responsible and safe way to get these people home,' Haukur Reynisson, head of operations for Icelandair, told the network. School district at heart of Washington state outbreak to shutter for 2 weeks Update 6:52 a.m. EST March 5: Beginning today, all schools in the Northshore School District will close their doors for up to two weeks while officials monitor coronavirus activity and evaluate health department recommendations, KIRO-7 reported. And with a current student absentee rate of 20 percent, the district plans to transition from classroom instruction to online learning as early as March, the news station reported. “In addition, 26 of our schools have been affected via direct or indirect exposure to the COVID-19 virus. We are receiving numerous calls and emails from parents and staff who are self-quarantining or are choosing to keep their students home,” a letter to families penned by Superintendent Michelle Reid read. Read more here. Switzerland confirms first coronavirus death Update 6:46 a.m. EST March 5: According to a statement issued by the Vaud region police, Switzerland reported its first novel coronavirus death on Thursday, CNN reported. The patient was a 74-year-old woman from the Vaud canton, and the total number of cases reported nationwide currently stands at 58, The Washington Post reported. Iran developing coronavirus vaccine; test kit production expected soon Update 4:54 a.m. EST March 5: Iran could soon begin production of coronavirus test kits, the nation’s stat news agency, ILNA, reported Thursday. Dr. Jaleel Kouhpayezadeh, head of the Medical Sciences University of Iran, said a consortium of universities “have started activities needed for the production of test kits so that we can ultimately obtain complete indigenous production of the test kits.” With 2,922 confirmed novel coronavirus cases resulting in 92 deaths, Iran is one of the hardest hit nations outside mainland China. “We have also started activities towards the production of a vaccine, but it is an endeavor that is time-consuming, though we hope to reach desired results as soon as possible,” Kouhpayezadeh told ILNA. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un sends letter offering South Korean support Update 4:52 a.m. EST March 5: In a letter addressed to South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un offered support for the fight against coronavirus, The Washington Post reported. South Korea’s presidential Blue House said that Kim had “conveyed his message of comfort to the South Korean people who are battling against the outbreak of COVID-19, and expressed his confidence that they will prevail in this fight without fail.” According to the Post, Kim said that he hoped for good health of the people of South Korean people and that he was “worried about President Moon’s health.” Read more here. Iraq, Spain report new coronavirus deaths Update 4:50 a.m. EST March 5: Iraq reported its third novel coronavirus death on Thursday, while Spain confirmed its second. Iraq’s Health Ministry confirmed a total of 36 cases have been diagnosed in the past week, and the death of Saif Al-Badr, 65, in Baghdad on Thursday was the nation’s third Meanwhile, public health officials in Spain confirmed total cases have increased to 219, claiming two lives, CNN reported. First novel coronavirus cases reported in Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina Update 4:48 a.m. EST March 5: The Balkan Peninsula country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, recognized generally as Bosnia, has confirmed its first case of coronavirus. Likewise, Poland’s minister of health confirmed that nation’s first novel coronavirus case in a patient who returned recently from Germany. State-by-state breakdown of the 159 US coronavirus cases, 11 deaths Update 2:53 a.m. EST March 5: The novel coronavirus has sickened a total of 159 U.S. residents across 15 states, including 49 citizens repatriated from abroad.  Forty-six of the 49 repatriated citizens were sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, moored off the coast of Japan. The three others were retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China. The state-by-state breakdown of the 110 cases detected on U.S. soil – including presumptive cases – is as follows: 1. Arizona: 2  2. California: 36 (including one death)  3. Florida: 3  4. Georgia: 2  5. Illinois: 4   6. Massachusetts: 2  7. New Hampshire: 2  8. New Jersey: 1 9. New York: 11  10. North Carolina: 1   11. Oregon: 3  12. Rhode Island: 2   13. Washington state: 39 (includes 10 fatalities)  14. Wisconsin: 1  Global coronavirus death toll hits 3,283, only 271 outside mainland China Update 2:48 a.m. EST March 5: With a total of 94,907 cases of novel coronavirus confirmed worldwide, the global death toll hit 3,283, health officials confirmed early Thursday. China’s National Health Commission confirmed an additional 31 people died by the end of Wednesday, bringing mainland China’s total deaths from the virus to 3,012. The following is a breakdown of the 271 deaths recorded to date outside mainland China: • Italy: 107 • Iran: 92 • South Korea: 35 • Japan: 12 • US: 11 • France: 4 • Hong Kong: 2 • Spain: 2 • Iraq: 2 • Taiwan: 1 • Australia: 1 • Thailand: 1 • The Philippines: 1 New infections, confirmed deaths continue increase outside mainland China Update 2:43 a.m. EST March 5: More than 14,500 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed outside mainland China, spanning 79 countries and territories and accounting for at least 272 deaths. The hardest hit country outside China remains South Korea, where nearly 5,800 cases and 35 deaths have been reported, including 438 additional novel coronavirus cases confirmed Wednesday. Japan recorded 33 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, its biggest one-day increase to date, according to data released by its Ministry of Health. The latest figures bring the country’s total number of cases to 1,023 – including 706 patients linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship – but fatalities have held steady at 12. Washington state’s King County purchasing hotel to isolate COVID-19 patients amid hospital bed shortage Update 2:40 a.m. EST March 5: With novel coronavirus cases spiking daily in Washington state, leaders in the outbreak’s epicenter of King County say hospital beds must be saved for only the most serious coronavirus cases, and they are working on other options to isolate people who are sick. According to KIRO-7, crews moved a modular housing unit to a county-owned lot Tuesday in White Center. It’s the first of up to eight trailer units to be installed on the lot, and each trailer has four individual “mini motel rooms” inside. King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Monday the county would purchase a motel, plus use 14 modular units intended to be housing for homeless people, to instead be used for people showing symptoms of coronavirus, KIRO-7 reported. On Wednesday, county officials announced they had purchased the Econo Lodge in Kent to house coronavirus patients for recovery and isolation. The motel includes assets such as hard surfaces, seamless floors, and independent heating and cooling for each room. A spokesperson from the King County executive’s office, Chase Gallagher, told KIRO-7 on Wednesday afternoon, “The process of figuring those things out is underway.” “We want to make sure hospital capacity is not being taken up by people who need to be in isolation or recovery. We need the hospital capacity for people who need treatment now,” Constantine said. Read more here. California-bound cruise ship in limbo, screenings planned Update 2:34 a.m. EST March 5: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has confirmed that a cruise ship returning to the state from Hawaii is being held off San Francisco’s coast, while public health officials prepare to screen everyone onboard after 11 passengers and 10 crew members exhibited novel coronavirus symptoms on Wednesday, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported. Officials also contend at least one former passenger has already died from the virus since debarking from the ship following a recent cruise. The Grand Princess is the second Princess Cruises ship drawing public health scrutiny since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December. The Diamond Princess and its tribulations captured headlines for weeks after being moored off the coast of Japan. Princess Cruises is a Carnival Corp. subsidiary. Read more here and here. NJ health officials say state has 1st positive COVID-19 test Update 11 p.m. EST March 4: A man in his 30s who’s hospitalized in Bergen County has New Jersey’s first positive test for COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Wednesday. State health officials have sent the results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the case, Murphy said. “We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks,” Murphy said in the statement. “I urge residents to remain calm and use resources from the New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to prepare and prevent the spread of infection.” Local and state health officials are tracing the man’s contacts and “taking appropriate public health actions,” Murphy said. California Governor Newsom declares state emergency Update 7:50 p.m. EST March 4: California’s first coronavirus fatality — an elderly patient who apparently contracted the illness on a cruise — prompted the governor Wednesday to declare a statewide emergency as six new cases, including a medical screener at Los Angeles International Airport, were confirmed. The measure made California the third U.S. state to declare a state of emergency, after Washington and Florida. Hawaii joined them Wednesday, with no cases there yet and the governor saying an emergency declaration would help them prepare for a possible outbreak. California has 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the emergency proclamation is intended to help procure supplies and resources quickly. He announced the move Wednesday afternoon during a news conference, hours after the patient’s death in Placer County was announced.   House passes bipartisan $8.3B bill to battle coronavirus Update 5 p.m. EST March 4: The House passed an $8.3 billion measure Wednesday to battle the coronavirus outbreak that’s spreading rapidly and threatening a major shock to the economy and disruptions to everyday life in the U.S. The bipartisan vote was a relative rarity in a polarized Washington and came just nine days after the president outlined a $2.5 billion plan that both Trump’s GOP allies and Democratic critics said was insufficient. The 415-2 vote came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi beat a tactical retreat on vaccine price guarantees and followed a debate that lasted only a few minutes. The Senate is likely to pass the measure Thursday and send it to the White House for Trump’s signature. CDC expands coronavirus testing Update 3 p.m. EST March 4: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its guidelines Wednesday to allow anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to get tested, according to CNN and The New York Times. The guidelines encouraged doctors to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms before referring patients for testing, the Times reported. The change came one day after Vice President Mike Pence said “any American can be tested (for coronavirus with) no restrictions, subject to doctors’ orders,” according to CNN. Previously, CDC guidelines limited testing to only those who have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, the news network reported. Experts told the Times they feared the changes, which expand the pool of potential patients who would qualify for testing, might strain the capacity health officials have to test the possible cases. California reports first coronavirus death Update 2:30 p.m. EST March 4: Health officials in Placer County, California, announced the state’s first coronavirus death Wednesday. Authorities said the person, an elderly adult who had underlying health conditions, was the second person in the county to test positive for COVID-19. “We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,” said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. ““While most cases of COVID-19 exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, this tragic death underscores the urgent need for us to take extra steps to protect residents who are particularly vulnerable to developing more serious illness, including elderly persons and those with underlying health conditions.”' Officials said the person was believed to have been exposed to coronavirus during a trip on a Princess cruise ship from San Francisco to Mexico Feb. 11 to Feb. 21. The death marks the 11th in the U.S. Coronavirus death toll rises to 10 in US Update 2:15 p.m. EST March 4: Officials in Washington have announced a 10th death connected to COVID-19, KIRO-TV reported. Citing the Washington State Department of Health, KIRO-TV reported the death announced Wednesday happened in King County. In total, 39 coronavirus cases have been reported in Washington state, 31 in King County and eight in Snohomish County, according to KIRO-TV. The totals include patients who have died, the news network reported. Death toll in Italy rises to 107, officials close all schools Update 1:20 p.m. EST March 4: Italian officials announced the death toll in the country due to the 2019 novel coronavirus has risen from 76 to 107 and confirmed earlier reports that all the nation’s schools would be shut down to stymie the virus threat. Italian health officials said 2,706 people have tested positive in the country for COVID-19. Just over 275 people have recovered from the viral infection. Citing Italy’s ANSA news agency, BBC News reported that the Italian government has announced a plan to close schools and universities across the country until mid March due to the infection risk. Release of James Bond film ‘No Time to Die’ delayed due to coronavirus Update 1:05 p.m. EST March 4: The producers of the next series in the long-running James Bond movie franchise has been delayed until November in response to the coronavirus, according to The New York Times. The film had been slated to be released in North America on April 2. In a statement obtained by the newspaper, film studios MGM and Universal, together with Bond series producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the group said that 'after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of ‘No Time to Die’ will be postponed until November 2020.” The Times reported the film will release in the U.K. on Nov. 12 and hit U.S. theaters on Nov. 25. US lawmakers strike deal to fight coronavirus Update 12:45 p.m. EST March 4: Congressional negotiators struck a deal Wednesday to provide about $8 billion in funding to battle the coronavirus in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal. White House officials are expected to back the deal and lawmakers in the House of Representatives are slated to vote on it later Wednesday, CNN reported. 2 new COVID-19 cases announced in Northern Ireland Update 12:15 p.m. EST March 4: Two new cases of coronavirus have been detected in Northern Ireland, BBC News reported Wednesday. The infections bring the total number of COVID-19 cases to three in Northern Ireland. BBC News reported the new patients are adults, one of which recently returned from northern Italy, where the most number of European coronavirus cases have been confirmed thus far. Officials said the second new patient “was in contact with someone in the UK who had tested positive” for the coronavirus, according to BBC News. 6 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Los Angeles County, officials declare health emergency Update 12:00 p.m. EST March 4: Officials with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health announced a health emergency Wednesday after six new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the county. In total, officials said seven COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the county. 6 coronavirus cases confirmed in New York Update 10:55 a.m. EST March 4: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said four new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, bringing the total number of cases in New York to six. Cuomo said the cases announced Wednesday were tied to a previously reported infection involving a 50-year-old man from New Rochelle. The new cases include his wife, two of his children and the neighbor who drove him to the hospital. “Remember,” Cuomo said in a statement posted on Twitter, 'we have been expecting more cases (and) we are fully prepared. There is no cause for undue anxiety. Singapore records 2 new COVID 19 cases, 112 total reports Update 9:40 a.m. EST March 4: Two new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Singapore, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 112, according to the country’s Ministry of Health. The first case confirmed Wednesday involved a 43-year-old man who tested positive for the virus Tuesday afternoon, about a week after he first experienced symptoms of the infection. Officials said he was being treated Wednesday in an isolation room at the National University Hospital. The second case involved a 62-year-old Singaporean woman employed at Creative O Preschoolers’ Bay, a day care center in Singapore. Her case was linked to another case, involving a 64-year-old Singaporean woman, that was confirmed late last month. The 62-year-old patient was being treated in isolation at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, officials said. 3rd coronavirus case reported in New York Update 9:25 a.m. EST March 4: A student at New York’s Yeshiva University has been identified as the state’s third person to test positive for the coronavirus, according to school officials. In a health alert released Wednesday morning, officials with the university said the school’s Wilf Campus in Washington Heights would be closed for the day. “This precautionary step will allow us to work with city agencies and other professionals to best prepare our campus and ensure the uncompromised safety of our students, faculty and staff,” officials said in the health alert. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Tuesday that the child of a 50-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus was an undergraduate at Yeshiva University, WPIX reported. It was not immediately clear whether the undergraduate was the student who was reported ill Wednesday. Italy considering closing all schools, universities, amid coronavirus fears Update 8:45 a.m. EST March 4: Authorities in Italy are considering a plan to close all the country’s schools and universities until mid-March as health officials try to stymie the spread of the coronavirus, according to multiple reports. The closures were suggested at a cabinet meeting Tuesday that included the country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, The Guardian reported, citing Italy’s ANSA news agency. According to the newspaper, the Italian government has already closed several schools and quarantined towns most affected by COVID-19. After reports of the proposed closure surfaced, Italian Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said officials expected to decide whether to close all schools “in the next few hours,” BBC News reported. Italy has seen the most coronavirus cases in Europe, with more than 2,000 people ill and 76 deaths associated with COVID-19. Iranian coronavirus cases, deaths continue to increase Update 6:13 a.m. EST March 4: The latest figures indicate the novel coronavirus infection rate in Iran is showing no signs of slowing down. The total number of confirmed cases in Iran has now increased by an additional 486 to 2,822. According to Iran’s Health Ministry, the latest data also includes an additional 15 deaths, bringing the nationwide death toll to 92, the largest concentration of fatalities outside mainland China. Iraq confirms first coronavirus death, first in Middle East outside Iran Update 5:21 a.m. EST March 4: Iraq’s Wednesday report of its first confirmed novel coronavirus death marks the first virus-related fatality recorded outside Iran, The Washington Post reported. “It’s going to get worse here,” a doctor in one Baghdad hospital, asking that their name be withheld due to government sensitivity over criticism, told the Post, adding, “People don’t understand how serious this is.” Global stocks stabilize Update 5:19 a.m. EST March 4: Global stocks regained their footing Wednesday, edging higher following an emergency rate cut by the Federal Reserve, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read more here. South Korea, India hardest hit as new cases mount outside mainland China Update 5:17 a.m. EST March 4: South Korea confirmed an additional 293 novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the nationwide total to 5,612 and 32 deaths. According to Jung Eun-kyeong, the head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two-thirds of those cases have been related to a cluster transmission, while the others have transmitted sporadically, CNN reported. Meanwhile, India reported a sharp increase in confirmed cases to 28, following testing of an Italian tour group. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told reporters that 16 of those confirmed with the virus were Italian tourists, while a bus driver who had been taking them on a tour had also tested positive.  Elsewhere, Hong Kong officials confirmed two additional novel coronavirus cases, boosting its nationwide total to 103 ; Belarus confirmed five new cases, bringing its nationwide total to six; and Greece confirmed one new case, bringing its nationwide total to eight. WHO: Global medical equipment shortage looms as virus spreads Update 5:10 a.m. EST March 4: The World Health Organizations issued a warning Tuesday that a shortage of protective equipment is hampering global response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, CNN reported. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing that each month the organization estimates that about 89 million medical masks, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles will be required globally for health care workers to continue responding to the outbreak.  State-by-state breakdown of the 126 US coronavirus cases Update 2:54 a.m. EST March 4: The novel coronavirus has sickened a total of 126 U.S. residents across 13 states, including 48 citizens repatriated from abroad.  Forty-five of the 48 repatriated citizens were sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, moored off the coast of Japan. The three others were retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China. The state-by-state breakdown is as follows: • Arizona: 2 • California: 26 • Florida: 3 • Georgia: 2 • Illinois: 4 • Massachusetts: 2 • New Hampshire: 2 • New York: 2 • North Carolina: 1 • Oregon: 3 • Rhode Island: 2 • Washington state: 27 (includes 9 deaths)  • Wisconsin: 1 Global coronavirus death toll hits 3,200, only 220 outside mainland China Update 2:50 a.m. EST March 4: With a total of 92,862 cases of novel coronavirus confirmed worldwide, the global death toll hit 3,200, health officials confirmed early Wednesday. According to The Washington Post, the World Health Organization said Tuesday that COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, has killed about 3.4 percent of those diagnosed with the illness, significantly higher than experts had estimated previously and roughly three times the fatality rate associated with seasonal flu. China’s National Health Commission confirmed an additional 38 people died by the end of Tuesday, bringing mainland China’s total deaths from the virus to 2,981. The following is a breakdown of the 220 deaths to date recorded outside mainland China: • Italy: 79 • Iran: 77 • South Korea: 32 • Japan: 12 • United States: 9 • France: 4 • Hong Kong: 2 • Australia: 1 • Philippines: 1 • Spain: 1 • Taiwan: 1 • Thailand: 1 The hardest hit country outside China remains South Korea, where more than 5,300 cases and 32 deaths have been reported. Italy’s two most recent deaths attributed to the virus bring its tally to 79, making it not only the epicenter of the European outbreak but also the deadliest locale outside mainland China. Meanwhile, Iran’s 2,336 cases have resulted in 77 deaths, prompting officials to announce Tuesday the temporary release of more than 54,000 inmates in an attempt to contain the virus’ spread. The illness has already infected 23 members, or about 8 percent, of the nation’s parliament, prompting the immediate suspension of parliament sessions until further notice. VP Pence: All federal limits on US testing will be lifted Update 2:45 a.m. EST March 4: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is lifting all restrictions on testing for the novel coronavirus and the release of revised guidelines to fast-track testing nationwide. “Today we will issue new guidance from the CDC that will make it clear that any American can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor’s orders,” Pence told reporters at the White House, The New York Times reported. The U.S. veterans’ health care system reports first coronavirus case Update 2:43 a.m. EST March 4: The Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed on Tuesday that a veteran has tested positive for the virus and was transferred to the V.A. hospital in Palo Alto, California, The New York Times reported. The patient was diagnosed on Monday and is being treated in isolation, a VA spokeswoman told the Times.  New coronavirus cases confirmed in Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand Update 2:40 a.m. EST March 4: With only 119 new cases confirmed in China on Tuesday, health experts shifted their focus to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus elsewhere.  Japan confirmed 17 new cases, bringing its nationwide total to 991. Although the vast majority – 706 – were contracted aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 284 people were sickened on land, and a total of 12 Japanese citizens have died. Noor Hisham Abdullah, the director general of Health Malaysia, announced via Twitter on Tuesday that seven new confirmed cases bring the country’s total to 36. Australia’s health minister, Greg Hunt, confirmed four new cases, bringing the nation’s total to 42. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health confirmed the country’s second novel coronavirus case early Wednesday. Man hospitalized with New York’s 2nd case of COVID-19 virus Update 11 p.m. EST March 3: A man from New York City’s suburbs was hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19, a case that prompted school closings and quarantines for congregants of a now-shuttered synagogue. The state’s second confirmed case also raised the possibility that the virus is spreading locally. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the 50-year-old lawyer from New Rochelle had no known travel history to countries where the outbreak of the new coronavirus has been sustained. But state and city officials said the man had done some traveling recently, including an early February trip to Miami. The man, who commuted by train to work at a small Manhattan law firm and has children attending a school and college in New York City, had an underlying respiratory illness that potentially put him in more danger from the disease, officials said. New Hampshire health officials announce second presumptive coronavirus case Update 8:30 p.m. EST March 3: Health officials in New Hampshire have announced the second presumptive positive test result in the state for COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 coronavirus, according to WFXT-TV. So far, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says the second patient, an adult man from Grafton County, came into close contact with the first person to possibly test positive for the virus in the state. A hospital employee who recently traveled to Italy was the first person in New Hampshire to test positive for the new coronavirus, state officials said Monday. The second patient is currently isolated at home and both presumptive positive tests have been sent to the CDC for further analysis and confirmation. First coronavirus case reported in North Carolina Update 3:45 p.m. EST March 3: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said a person in Wake County has tested a presumptive positive for coronavirus, marking the first case of the virus in the state, according to WSOC-TV. Officials said the person was exposed during a visit to a long-term care facility in Washington state which has been associated with a majority of the coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. Officials said at least six people have died after being exposed to COVID-19 at Life Care Center of Kirkland. In total, nine people have died in the U.S. of coronavirus, all in Washington state. Trump to donate part of his salary to support coronavirus fight Update 3:30 p.m. EST March 3: President Donald Trump plans to donate a portion of his 2019 earnings to the Department of Health and Human Services to help the agency in its efforts to battle the coronavirus. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the planned donation was in-line with the president’s promise to donate his salary while in office. She shared a photo of a $100,000 check from Trump made out to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has donated his salary to a variety of efforts, CNN reported, including the departments of Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security. 9th COVID-19 death reported in Washington Update 3 p.m. EST March 3: Officials with the Washington State Department of Health said a total of three new deaths have been reported in the state due to COVID-19, bringing the coronavirus death toll to 9 in the U.S. “Today’s results include 2 additional deaths, along with an individual who was previously reported as ill but who has now died. This brings the total number of deaths in King County from COVID-19 to eight,” officials with Public Health - Seattle & King County said Tuesday, according to KIRO-TV. Earlier Tuesday, officials confirmed two additional virus-related deaths in King County, including one from last week which officials subsequently linked to coronavirus. Health officials said eight people have died in King County and one in Snohomish County. More than 230 people are being monitored by public health officials for signs of the virus. Coronavirus death toll rises to 8 in US Update 2:45 p.m. EST March 3: Officials with Public Health - Seattle & King County confirmed to KIRO-TV that an eighth person has died of coronavirus in the state. Additional information on the eighth case was not immediately available. Earlier Tuesday, officials said a man who died last week at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center tested presumptive positive for coronavirus, a diagnosis that awaits confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials said 21 coronavirus cases have been reported in King County, including the fatal cases. Four other cases have been reported in Snohomish County, where one person has died. Hospital workers in Washington may have been exposed to coronavirus, officials say Update 2:40 p.m. EST March 3: In a news release obtained by KIRO-TV, officials at Harborview Medical Center said medical workers might have been exposed to coronavirus last week while treating a patient who was later determined to have had the virus. Officials said medical personnel transferred the man, who had underlying medical conditions, to Harborview from Life Care Center of Kirkland, a facility where five of the six COVID-19 deaths in King County were reported. Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg told KIRO-TV hospital staff might have been exposed to coronavirus while treating the patient in an intensive care unit. The staff members were being monitored Tuesday. Officials do not believe other patients were exposed to the virus. The man whose death was reported Tuesday tested presumptive positive for coronavirus. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have to verify the diagnosis before it’s official confirmed. 7th US coronavirus death reported in Washington Update 2:10 p.m. EST March 3: A man who died last week at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center has been identified as having died of the coronavirus, KIRO-TV reported Tuesday. A spokeswoman at Harborview Medical Center confirmed to KIRO-TV that the man was confirmed to have had the virus. The death marked the the sixth in King County and the seventh in Washington overall attributed to COVID-19. 108 coronavirus cases reported in the US, CDC says Update 1:45 p.m. EST March 3: Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that 108 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in a dozen states since Jan. 21, including 45 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and 27 which are under investigation. Officials have determined 22 of the cases were travel-related while 11 are suspected of having spread from person-to-person. Three other cases in the U.S. involved Americans repatriated after falling ill in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the viral outbreak. Six people have died of coronavirus in the U.S., all in Washington state. Italian COVID-19 death toll rises Update 1:40 p.m. EST March 3: The number of deaths associated with the coronavirus in Italy has risen to 79, The Guardian reported, citing the country’ emergency commissioner and civil protection chief, Angelo Borelli. Officials said the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the country has risen to 2,502, including a newborn who tested positive for the virus in the Italy’s northern region, according to The Guardian and CNN. A majority of COVID-19 cases reported in Italy were centered around the country’s norther Lombardy region, where residents of 10 towns have been under lockdown for over a week, The Guardian reported. Italy has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in Europe. 3rd coronavirus case reported in Florida Update 1:05 p.m. EST March 3: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed Tuesday that a third Florida resident has tested positive for COVID-19. WFTV reported the patient is the sister of a Hillsborough County woman who previously tested positive for the virus. Both women had traveled recently to northern Italy. First coronavirus case reported in Argentina Update 12:30 p.m. EST March 3: Authorities in Argentina have confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the country, Argentinean news site Infobae reported, citing health officials. The person was being treated Tuesday at a private clinic in Buenos Aires, according to Infobae. Earlier Tuesday, officials with the World Health Organization said nearly 91,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide, mostly in China. More than 3,100 people have died of the virus. New coronavirus cases continue to drop in China Update 11:20 a.m. EST March 3: The World Health Organization said 129 coronavirus cases were reported Monday in China, marking the lowest number of new cases seen in the country since Jan. 20. Globally, officials said 90,893 cases of COVID-19 have been reported since December 2019, when the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China. Worldwide, 3,110 people have died, mostly in China. Trump calls for further cutting Federal Reserve rate amid COVID-19 fears Update 11:10 a.m. EST March 3: President Donald Trump called for further cuts to the Federal Reserve rate Tuesday morning after officials announced a half percentage point cut to its benchmark interest rate. “The Federal Reserve is cutting but must further ease and, most importantly, come into line with other countries/competitors,” Trump said. “We are not playing on a level field. Not fair to USA.' Federal Reserve cuts interest rate amid coronavirus fears Update 10:30 a.m. EST March 3: The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point Tuesday, bringing the rate down to 1 to 1 1/4% in an effort to bolster the economy amid coronavirus fears. Chairman Jerome Powell noted that the coronavirus “poses evolving risks to economic activity.' It was the Fed's first rate cut since last year, when it reduced its key short-term rate three times. It is also the first time the central bank has cut its key rate between policy meetings since the 2008 financial crisis and the largest rate cut since then. Stock market averages which had fallen sharply after the opening bell, swung almost 700 points into positive territory after the Fed announcement. 2 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Singapore Update 10 a.m. EST March 3: Officials with Singapore’s Ministry of Health confirmed two new cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 110. The first case confirmed Tuesday involved a 70-year-old Singaporean man who tested positive for the virus Monday afternoon. Officials said he was being treated Tuesday in an isolation room at Singapore General Hospital. The second case involved a 33-year-old Singaporean man whose infection appeared to be related to a cluster identified at Wizlearn Technologies Pte Ltd. He was being treated in an isolation room Tuesday at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, officials said. Second coronavirus case confirmed in New York Update 9:15 a.m. EST March 3: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that a second coronavirus case has been identified and confirmed in the state, according to The New York Times. Cuomo identified the patient as a man in his 50s in Westchester County. The Times reported the man had no “direct connection with any known center of the contagion.” Officials announced Sunday that a woman in her late 30s was the first to test positive for COVID-19 in New York. Cuomo said the woman contracted the virus while traveling in Iran. She was being isolated in her home as part of her treatment. More than 101 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in a dozen states since the coronavirus was first seen late last year in Wuhan, China. In the U.S., six people have died of the virus, all in Washington state. FDA to ramp up novel coronavirus testing in US Update 7:30 a.m. EST March 3: As many as one million novel coronavirus tests could be administered by the end of the week as the number of confirmed cases in the United States rose to more than 100 on Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. 'My concern is as the next week or two or three go by, we're going to see a lot more community-related cases,' Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a news conference Monday. 'That's of great concern.' To date, 101 cases have been confirmed across 12 states, resulting in six deaths since Saturday. Japan: IOC contract allows, technically, for Olympics postponement Update 7:28 a.m. EST March 3: According to Japan’s Olympics minister, the nation’s contract with the International Olympic Committee would allow it to postpone the games until the end of the year, The Washington Post reported. “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. Read more here and here. Gibraltar confirms first coronavirus case Update 7:25 a.m. EST March 3: A person in Gibraltar has tested positive for coronavirus, making it the first case to be identified in the British territory. According to the Gibraltar health authority, the patient – along with their partner – had returned recently from northern Italy via Spain’s Malaga airport. The patient’s partner has not yet exhibited symptoms. Pope Francis tests negative for coronavirus Update 5:22 a.m. EST March 3: Despite exhibiting symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus, Pope Francis has tested negative for the illness ravaging Asia, Europe and the Middle East, The Washington Post reported. Pope Francis, 83, reported a fever, cough, sore throat and chills after spending most of last Wednesday outdoors in St. Peter’s Square, but test results received Tuesday were negative for the virus, the Post reported. According to The Associated Press, the undisclosed sickness will prevent Pope Francis from participating – for the first time in his seven-year papacy – in an annual week-long spiritual retreat coinciding with the onset of Lent. Ukraine reports first novel coronavirus infection Update 5:20 a.m. EST March 3: Ukraine’s Ministry of Health confirmed the nation’s first novel coronavirus case on Tuesday. Deputy Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said the infection was identified in the southwestern city of Chernivtsi. The patient, he said, had traveled recently with family members to Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s current outbreak. “We had four suspected cases, and today one case got confirmed,” Lyashko said in a televised briefing. Ukraine becomes the 74th country or territory to report a case of the virus outside mainland China, where the outbreak originated. South Korea confirms nearly 1,000 new cases in past 24 hours Update 5:18 a.m. EST March 3: The South Korean government confirmed another 374 cases of novel coronavirus only hours after reporting 600 new cases. The latest figures bring the East Asia nation’s total new infections close to 1,000 in only 24 hours and pushed South Korea’s total number of infected residents to 5,186, making it the most concentrated outbreak outside of mainland China. Czech Republic confirms 5 novel coronavirus cases Update 5:16 a.m. EST March 3: The Czech Republic’s health minister confirmed Tuesday that five people – all with connections to Italy – have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The first three patients are two Czech citizens, who had been in northern Italy, and an American studying in Milan, CNN reported citing Czech state broadcaster Radio Prague International.  According to Radio Prague International, a young Ecuadorian woman who was travelling with the American student has now tested positive after being retested. The fifth patient is a woman from northern Bohemia who had returned from Italy on Friday. With more than 2,000 confirmed virus infections, Italy remains the epicenter of Europe’s rapidly spreading outbreak. New cases mount outside mainland China Update 3:02 a.m. EST March 3: The novel coronavirus has infected more than 90,000 people globally and claimed more than 3,100 lives, according to the latest figures released early Tuesday. And while diagnoses of new cases in mainland China appear to be tapering off, at least eight countries across Asia, Europe and the Middle East have reported their first cases in just the past 24 hours. According to CNN, those countries include: • Andorra • Indonesia • Jordan • Latvia • Portugal • Saudi Arabia • Senegal • Tunisia Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s Department of Health and Social Care announced Tuesday that 40 people out of 13,525 screened have tested positive for the virus. India confirmed its sixth novel coronavirus case, while Australian authorities confirmed four new cases bringing that nation’s total to 35. “We are seeing a clear escalation in the diagnoses of the virus,” New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said in a Tuesday news conference. The novel coronavirus has been detected in patients spanning 73 countries and territories. South Korean cases near 5K, president declares ‘war’ on outbreak Update 3 a.m. EST March 3:  With his government on a 24-hour full alert, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said testing will be aggressively expanded as the country declares “war” against the novel coronavirus, The Washington Post reported. To date, South Korea has tested more than 121,000 people for the virus. Early Tuesday morning, the nation confirmed an additional 600 cases, bringing South Korea’s total number of infections to 4,812, resulting in 29 deaths. Second presumptive case announced in Massachusetts Update 11:45 p.m. EST March 2: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced its second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 on Monday night. The woman is in her 20s and lives in Norfolk County. She recently traveled to Italy with a school group and was symptomatic, state health officials said. She is recovering at home. Her test results came back positive at a state laboratory Monday night. Test results will be sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If confirmed, this would be the second confirmed positive case of coronavirus in Massachusetts since the outbreak started in the United States in January. Two confirmed cases in Georgia Update 10 p.m. EST March 2: Gov. Brian Kemp announced Georgia has two coronavirus cases late Monday night during a news conference. Kemp said a man had traveled to Milan, Italy. Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said the man was not showing symptoms of the virus until he got back to Atlanta and went to the doctor. The governor said the two people are being quarantined inside the same home. The victims live in Fulton County. The governor urged that there is no threat to the public. Until now, there have been 101 confirmed cases across the United States, with a total of six people who have died from the virus in the country. Outbreak continues to wane in China Update 8:30 p.m. EST March 2: The health ministry on Tuesday announced just 125 new cases of the virus detected over the past 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.” CDC confirms 2 coronavirus cases in Florida Update 3:05 p.m. EST March 2: Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed a pair of coronavirus cases reported in Florida, according to state health officials. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday that the cases were presumptive positives for the virus, WFTV reported. CDC team arrives in Washington as state reports 6 total coronavirus deaths Update 2:55 p.m. EST March 2: A team from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has arrived in King County, Washington, where officials announced five people have died after testing positive for the coronavirus. Including a COVID-19 case in Snohomish County, six people have died of coronavirus in Washington, according to KIRO-TV. No other coronavirus deaths have been reported in the U.S. “We expect to see the number of (coronavirus) cases to increase in the next days and weeks,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Office for Public Health for Seattle and King County, said Monday at a news conference. Officials recommended people employ basic hand hygiene and avoid those who are ill in order to stymie the spread of COVID-19. Three more coronavirus deaths reported in Washington state Update 2:25 p.m. EST March 2: Three more deaths have been reported in Washington state due to coronavirus, health officials said Monday at a news conference. The cases bring the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state to six. First coronavirus case reported in New Hampshire Update 1 p.m. EST March 2: Health officials in New Hampshire said Monday that they’re dealing with their first presumptive positive test for coronavirus. The test results will still need to be confirmed by scientists with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said. The patient, a hospital system employee, had recently returned from a trip to Italy, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and The Associated Press. Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, told the AP the patient, an employee of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, was experiencing mild symptoms and remained at home Monday in Grafton County while health officials investigate. More than 80,000 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, have occurred worldwide since the virus emerged in China in late 2019. About 3,000 people have died. The illness is characterized by fever and coughing and, in serious cases, shortness of breath or pneumonia. 91 COVID-19 cases reported in US, CDC says Update 12 p.m. EST March 2: Officials with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 91 cases of coronavirus have been reported among Americans since January, including 45 cases connected to the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Officials said the updated numbers include the cases of three Americans who tested positive for coronavirus after traveling to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the viral outbreak. Forty-three other cases have also been confirmed: 17 travel-related infections and 26 suspected to have spread from another infected person. Nearly 89,000 coronavirus cases reported globally, WHO says Update 11:05 a.m. EST March 2: Officials with the World Health Organization said Monday that the number of coronavirus cases being reported in China continued to decline. Officials in China reported 206 new COVID-19 cases to WHO on Sunday, according to authorities -- the lowest number of new cases reported daily in China since Jan. 22. A total of 88,913 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, including 8,739 cases in 61 countries. Hong Kong, Iraq confirm new coronavirus cases Update 11 a.m. EST March 2: Health officials in Hong Kong and Iraq have confirmed two new cases each of the 2019 novel coronavirus. As of 8 p.m. local time Monday, officials with Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection said they were investigating one new probable COVID-19 and confirmed a previously announced diagnosis. Along with the probable case, officials said 101 coronavirus infections have been seen in Hong Kong. Officials with Iraq’s Health Ministry said two new COVID-19 cases were detected Monday in Baghdad, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 21, according to Reuters. Two more schools closed in Washington amid coronavirus fears Update 10:25 a.m. EST March 2: Two more schools in Washington state will be closed Monday as a result of the coronavirus, according to KIRO-TV. The schools, Mariner High School and Discovery Elementary School, are in the Mukilteo School District. Officials with the school district said a parent of a Mariner student was diagnosed Sunday with COVID-19. Officials said the student wasn’t showing any symptoms of the coronavirus, but the student would be quarantined at home and monitored for two weeks as a precaution. Officials said the student also visited Discovery Elementary School last week. Several other schools in the state were also closed for deep cleaning and disinfection due to coronavirus fears. New York governor holds briefing on state’s first coronavirus case Update 9:55 a.m. EST March 2: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is holding a news conference Monday morning to discuss the state’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, the coronavirus. Trump to meet with pharmaceutical companies amid coronavirus outbreak Update 9:45 a.m. EST March 2: President Donald Trump said in a tweet Monday that he plans to meet later in the day with pharmaceutical companies to discuss the progress toward a coronavirus vaccine. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House’s Coronavrius Task Force are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Monday, according to pool reports. “Progress being made!” the President wrote. 4 new coronavirus cases confirmed in UK Update 9:20 a.m. EST March 2: England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, told the PA News Agency on Monday that four new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the country. The cases bring the total number of cases across the United Kingdom to 40, according to the news agency. Singapore confirms 2 new coronavirus cases Update 9:05 a.m. EST March 2: Officials with Singapore’s Ministry of Health confirmed two new cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 108. The first case confirmed Monday involved a 68-year-old Singaporean woman who tested positive for the virus Sunday afternoon. Officials said her case was linked to that of a 64-year-old woman who tested positive for coronavirus Feb. 26. The second case involved a 34-year-old Filipino woman who was in Singapore on a work pass. Officials said her employer and at least one of the people she worked around were among those to test positive previously for coronavirus. Global death toll tops 3,000 Update 6:46 a.m. EST March 2: The worldwide coronavirus death toll has topped 3,000, while the number of cases has reached 88,400, CNN is reporting. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases in the United States climbed to 89, according to the news outlet. They include 16 in California; 13 in Washington state; three in Illinois; two each in Florida, Rhode Island and Oregon; and one each in Massachusetts, Arizona, Wisconsin and New York. Another 44 U.S. cases were linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, while three others were linked to Wuhan, China, CNN reported. Two people have died from the virus in Washington state, officials said. 6 patients with virus live at same nursing facility in Washington state Update 6:21 a.m. EST March 2: Six people living at the same nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, have tested positive for COVID-19. Life Care Center is now ground zero in King County’s fight against the coronavirus as a man in his 70s died Saturday and a second person died Sunday from coronavirus. The deaths are linked to the facility. A woman from Methow Valley came hoping she might be able to see her 89-year-old mother, a retired nurse, who is being rehabilitated at the facility. “I did not expect to get in, no. They told me I wasn’t going to get in,” Kim Frey said. However, she did and was given a mask before she was allowed in. “Actually, I kinda was paying attention walking through and I didn’t hear any coughing. ... It’s kind of quiet in there.” Frey said. KIRO-TV asked her how her mother was doing and she responded: “She’s doing good. Yeah. She was, like I said, better than when she came in three weeks ago,” Frey said. She said the family considered moving her because of the coronavirus but, “As long as she’s receiving good care here, you know, that’s what’s important,” Frey said. Late Sunday afternoon, KIRO-TV watched medics in masks take a resident away by ambulance. Life Care officials told KIRO-TV that seven residents with respiratory illnesses were being monitored. All of this has hit the city of Kirkland hard. Twenty-five firefighters based at Fire Station 21, a mile and a half from Life Care, are in quarantine. Two police officers who accompanied them are quarantined, too. So the city has opened its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate its response to the crisis. “We are doing a number of things right now, including supporting our firefighters that are in quarantine, as well as making sure that we’re providing for staffing,” said Kellie Stickney, spokeswoman for the city of Kirkland. KIRO-TV talked by telephone to a Life Care worker who is also under quarantine, and she said she is sick and being tested for coronavirus. However, she has not received the results back. The city of Redmond is feeling the effects of the coronavirus and seven Redmond medics are now in quarantine, too. Patient released from isolation in Texas later tested positive for virus, CDC says  Update 3:55 a.m. EST March 2: A novel coronavirus patient who had been quarantined in Texas after being evacuated from Wuhan, China, by the U.S. State Department tested positive for the virus after she was released from isolation, multiple news outlets are reporting. In a Sunday news release, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the patient, who had been held at a San Antonio facility for “several weeks,” was released after she “met the criteria for release, including two negative test results” for the virus. However, she was again put in isolation “after a pending, subsequent lab test came up positive for the virus that causes COVID-19,” the release said. “The discharged patient had some contact with others while out of isolation, and CDC and local public health partners are following up to trace possible exposures and notify them of their potential risk,” the CDC said. According to the San Antonio Express-News, about 12 other people came into contact with the patient at a hotel. “The fact that the CDC allowed the public to be exposed to a patient with a positive COVID-19 reading is unacceptable,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Niremberg said in a statement. “We will hold the CDC accountable to providing complete transparency for the public.” Second case of deadly virus confirmed in Rhode Island  Update 10:54 p.m. EST March 1: A second person has tested presumptive positive for the new coronavirus in Rhode Island. The case is a teenager who is at home with mild symptoms, state health officials said. An adult in her 30s is also being tested for the deadly virus. She is a staff member at Achievement First Academy in Providence. The school will be closed for two days pending the test results. The people with the latest two possible cases were on the same trip as the man in his 40s whose positive test was announced earlier Sunday. Their trip to Europe in mid-February was organized by Saint Raphael Academy. Florida confirms first two cases of deadly virus Update 9:57 p.m. EST March 1: Two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Florida Sunday. “Both individuals are isolated and being appropriately cared for,” health officials said in a statement. The two presumptive positive cases include a Hillsborough County resident and a patient in Manatee County, health officials said. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention still has to confirm the cases. Second death confirmed in Washington state Update 9:17 p.m. EST March 1: A second patient with coronavirus has died in Washington state, health officials said Sunday night. Health officials also reported three more cases of the deadly virus in the state, bringing the total in Washington 13. New York state confirms first case of virus Update 9:03 p.m. EST March 1:  A woman in her late 30s who had recently traveled to Iran is New York state’s first confirmed case of coronavirus, officials said Sunday. The woman shows respiratory symptoms but is not considered to be in a serious condition, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She is isolated at home in Manhattan and has been in controlled environments since she arrived in New York, officials said. “There is no cause for surprise -- this was expected,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York.” California county declares state of emergency over deadly virus Update 7:03 p.m. EST March 1: After two health care workers tested positive for the coronavirus in California, county officials are declaring a state of emergency in Alameda County. The two cases are pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The people are health care workers at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital who were exposed to the virus by a patient hospitalized at the University of California Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento, according to a release. Both of the hospital workers are in isolation at home. Health officials believe other health care workers who came in contact with the patient could also contract the virus and have been isolated or quarantined. They will not return to care for patients until they have been cleared. “This underscores the challenging environment that health care workers everywhere face to stem the spread of communicable diseases,” Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County health officer, said in a statement. Alameda County declared a public health emergency in an effort to get access to additional resources. Infections rise in Italy: 5 more people dead from virus Update 1:38 p.m. EST March 1: Italian authorities said Sunday five more people have died from the coronavirus, boosting the death total to 34 since the first case of the virus was reported Feb. 21. According to The Associated Press, the number of people infected in Italy has jumped 40% in 24 hours, with 1,576 cases. Delta suspends flights from New York to Milan Update 1:04 p.m. EST March 1: Delta Air Lines announced Sunday it will suspend its daily international flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Milan’s Malpensa Airport for two months, the carrier said on its website. The move, which takes effect early this week, is in response to the U.S. Department of State’s elevated travel advisory, which was raised to Level 4 on Sunday because of the spread of coronavirus cases in northern Italy. Delta said it last eastbound flight from New York to Milan will depart Monday, while the final flight from Milan to New York will depart Tuesday. Service to and from Milan will resume May 1 and second, respectively, airline officials said. Delta’s daily flights between Rome and both JFK in New York and Atlanta continue to operate as scheduled. Rhode Island confirms first case of virus, health officials say Update 9:44 a.m. EST March 1: The Rhode Island Department of Health announced the state’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus Sunday morning, WFXT reported. Health officials reported the person is in their 40s and had traveled to Italy in mid-February. Fear of virus causes Louvre to close doors Update 8:49 a.m. EST March 1: Fearing the spread of the coronavirus, officials at France’s Louvre Museum decided to close Sunday, The Associated Press reported. More than 2,300 people work at the museum in Paris, A record 10.2 million people visited the museum during 2019, the BBC reported. During 2018, nearly 75% of the museum’s visitors were foreigners, the network reported. “We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere,” Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative for its staffers, told the AP. “The risk is very, very, very great. It’s only a question of time,” before one of the workers is diagnosed with the virus. 2 dozen first responders quarantined for possible coronavirus in Washington state Update 6:42 a.m. EST March 1: Two dozen emergency workers in Washington state are off the job as they are being monitored for possible exposure to the coronavirus. Earlier Saturday evening, KIRO-TV was told it was seven fighters but that number climbed to 25, adding two police officers who are being quarantined. Fire station 21 in Kirkland has a sign up tell people to keep out, including firefighters based there. Each firefighter is believed to have possibly come in contact with the coronavirus cases at Life Care Center, a nursing facility in Kirkland. There are two confirmed cases of the virus there, and dozens of residents are reporting symptoms that might suggest the illness, health officials said. Now the situation has resources being stretched thin. To keep families safe during the public health crisis, KIRO-TV was told the department will be relying on neighboring firefighters should anything huge happen. “We have excellent relationships with our regional fire departments, and we’re making sure we have all the conversations in place, so if we need assistance from our partners, that can be provided,” said Kellie Stickney, with the city of Kirkland. The partnerships may soon include Kirkland police. In downtown Kirkland, coronavirus has been the talk of the town. “I’m not sure if we know how it’s been transmitted here, but I do hope we can keep it under control,” visitor Casey Dishman said. Health works have insisted that none of the quarantined emergency workers have shown any symptoms and said it is just a necessary precaution. This comes two weeks after Kirkland Fire posted job listings for rescuers. USPS employee in Washington state tests positive for coronavirus Update 1:12 a.m. EST March 1: Seattle’s KIRO-TV found out Saturday evening that an area U.S. Postal Service employee tested positive for the coronavirus. A corporate communications spokesperson said that the employee who works at a Seattle network distribution center located in Federal Way, Washington. The network distribution center is a mail processing plant that distributes USPS marketing mail and package services in piece and bulk form and does not handle letter mail. No mail is delivered from the facility. The spokesperson said USPS has been consulting with the county health department and was informed that the risk to other employees is low. KIRO was also told that USPS will continue to follow the recommended strategies from county and federal health officials. China coronavirus death toll rises after 35 more people die Update 10:45 p.m. EST Feb. 29: Another 35 people stricken with coronavirus have died in China. The country recorded 573 new virus cases and 35 more deaths in 24 hours through midnight Saturday, according to the National Health Commission. That raised the total for the country to 2,870 deaths and 79,834 cases. South Korea is the second hardest-hit country after China. There were a reported 376 new cases Sunday morning, raising its total to 3,526. Most of those cases are in the city of Daegu and nearby areas. Travel restrictions elevated for Italy, South Korea Update 2:10 p.m. EST Feb. 29: At a news conference Saturday afternoon, President Donald Trump said the coronavirus is “a tough one,” but that a “lot of progress has been made.” Trump added that additional cases of coronavirus “are likely,” but added that “healthy people should be able to recover.” “We’ve taken the most aggressive actions to confront the coronavirus,” Trump said. Trump authorized new restrictions on people who have traveled to Iran, and additional screening of those coming from Italy and South Korea. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence passed along their condolences to the family of the woman in King County, Washington, who became the first person in the United States to die from the virus. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there was no evidence that the woman’s death was linked to travel. Trump also issued a plea to politicians and media members to “not do anything to incite a panic.” Pence, who was put in charge of the coronavirus task by Trump, said travel restrictions to Iran to include any foreign nationals who have visited the country over the past 14 days. Pence also said the travel advisories to Italy and South Korea have been elevated to level 4. Washington health officials confirm first death in state Update 1:10 p.m. EST Feb. 29: The Washington Department of Health confirmed Saturday the first coronavirus-related death in Washington state, according to a news release.It is the first confirmed death in the United States.Health officials said there are new King County cases in addition to the two new cases confirmed Friday evening, KIRO-TV reported.The department is hosting a news conference at 1 p.m. local time to provide further details. South Korea officials report 813 new cases; wife of U.S. soldier infected Update 10:03 a.m. EST Feb. 29: South Korean officials reported 813 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, bringing its total to 3,150, The New York Times reported. South Korea has the largest number of confirmed cases of the virus outside mainland China, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, U.S. military officials said Saturday the spouse of an American soldier infected with the virus also tested positive for it, the Times reported. The U.S. has more than 28,000 personnel in South Korea, the newspaper reported. The woman had been in self-quarantine since Wednesday after she learned of her husband’s diagnosis, and she was taken to a military hospital, the Times reported. French Health Officials: ‘We are preparing for an epidemic’ Update 6:47 a.m. EST Feb. 29: France confirmed 19 additional cases of coronavirus late Friday, The Washington Post reported. That brings the total in the European country to 57, and health officials cautioned an epidemic was now imminent. “We are preparing for an epidemic,” French Health Minister Olivier Véran said. He added that “we are now moving to stage two. The virus is circulating in our country and we must stop its spread.” On Friday, France’s Le Monde newspaper, citing airport security officials, said one airport worker who lives in the Val d’Oise region tested positive for the virus, the Post said. Officials in Washington state announce two new coronavirus cases. Update 11:20 p.m. EST Feb. 28: Washington state health officials announced two new coronavirus cases Friday night, a woman who had recently traveled to South Korea and a high school student with no known exposure to the disease whose school will be closed and sanitized. Neither people were seriously ill, authorities said. The high school student attends Jackson High School in Everett, Washington, said Dr. Chris Spitters of the Snohomish County Health District. The student had not traveled recently, and authorities were unsure how that person contracted the disease. The other case in Washington was a woman in in King County in her 50s who had recently traveled to South Korea, authorities said. She is also currently quarantined at home. Report: Presumptive 3rd Case confirmed in patient with no travel history linked to virus Update 9:30 p.m. EST Feb. 28: Oregon Governor Kate Brown has confirmed what is believed to be the first case of coronavirus in Oregon. The patient, who lives in Washington County, had no contact with anyone with the virus and has not traveled. “The case was not a person under monitoring or a person under investigation. The individual had neither a history of travel to a country where the virus was circulating, nor is believed to have had a close contact with another confirmed case — the two most common sources of exposure,” the Oregon Health Authority said in a statement. The Lake Oswego School District sent a robocall to parents saying that Forest Hills Elementary will be closed until Wednesday so it can be deep-cleaned by maintenance workers. Initial testing done in Oregon came back positive. Officials are referring to the case as “presumptive” until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the results. Report: 2nd Case confirmed in patient with no travel history linked to virus Update 4:20 p.m. EST Feb. 28: A 65-year-old resident of Santa Clara County is the second case of community transmission of coronavirus. The patient has no known travel history to areas hit by the outbreak. The second case, reported by The Washington Post, said that there was no known connection between the latest patient and anyone else diagnosed with the virus. Stocks sink again on Wall Street Update 4:20 p.m. EST Feb. 28: Stocks sank again after another wild day, extending a rout that left Wall Street with its worst week since October 2008. The market clawed back much of its intraday losses in the last 15 minutes of trading. Bond prices soared as investors sought safety, pushing yields to record lows. The stock swoon is being driven by fear that the coronavirus outbreak will derail the global economy. Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 357 points, or 1.4%, to 25,409. The S&P 500 lost 24 points, or 0.8%, to 2,954. The benchmark index has lost 13% since hitting a record high 10 days ago. The Nasdaq rose 1 point to 8,567. Number of positive cases climbs in Italy, US Update 1:40 p.m. EST Feb. 28:Italian Civil Protection Agency officials said there are 821 cases of coronavirus. Of that number, 412 of the people have shown no symptoms and are in isolation at their homes, CNN reported. The agency also announced 21 people have died. They were in their 70s and 80s with other illnesses, according to CNN. As for the United States, there are now 62 confirmed cases, the CDC said in a press briefing. Forty-four came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, three are repatriated from China and the remaining 15 are US-specific cases, CNN reported. WHO: 20+ vaccines in development Update 11:21 a.m. EST Feb. 28: The World health organization has announced that there are more than 20 vaccines in development and treatments for coronavirus. They are in clinical trials and officials hope to see results in a few weeks, CNN reported. The WHO also said that they consider the spread and risk of COVID-19 is at a high level, but have yet to declare it a pandemic. Most cases are being contributed to known contact or clusters and that the virus does not seem to be spreading freely, according to CNN. But the bigger threat than the virus itself is the fear the outbreak is creating, The Washington Post reported. Mexico has first cases Update 10:20 a.m. EST Feb. 28: Mexico has two cases of COVID-19, the country’s assistant health secretary said, according to ABC News. One case, which is confirmed, is in Mexico City, the other suspected case is in Sinaloa. While the test results haven’t come back in the second yet, officials are treating the patient as if it was positive, ABC News reported. Both cases are reportedly not serious. Meanwhile, the illness is spreading in Singapore, as the country now says there are 98 cases, CNN reported. Stocks open lower to finish week Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 28: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 800 points shortly after the opening bell to start the final day of trading this week, CNBC reported. The Dow isn’t the only index to feel the effects of the coronavirus. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both open down. Events canceled, virus spreads to sub-Saharan Africa Update 6:30 a.m. EST Feb 28: South Korea’s number of infected has jumped. Now officials say an additional 571 people have tested positive for Coronavirus, CNN reported. A total of 2,337 cases have been diagnosed, the most outside of mainland China, CNN reported. Events are being canceled as the virus continues to have a hold on most of the world. One of the world’s biggest car shows, the Geneva Motor Show, has been canceled because of coronavirus. More than 600,000 people were supposed to attend the event starting on March 2, CNN reported. The Swiss government has banned any events that have more than 1,000 expected to attend. The ban is in effect until March 15. Tokyo Disneyland has closed because of the virus. The gates will remain closed for two weeks. Both of Tokyo’s Disney parks, Disneyland and DisneySea, are planned to reopen on March 15, but it could be closed longer, NBC News reported. Lithuania now has its first confirmed case. The woman, who has mild symptoms, is in isolation at a hospital and her three family members are being monitored, CNN reported. France has two new infections, bringing its total to 40. Sub-Saharan Africa has had its first case with a person in Nigeria has tested positive. The person, who is an Italian citizen, traveled from Milan to Lagos earlier this week. Nigeria is Africa’s largest populated country with more than 200 million. Officials are trying to determine who came in contact with the person and are taking measures to make sure it doesn’t spread, The New York Times reported. US Navy quarantine Update 12 a.m. EST Feb. 28: The US Navy has ordered the self-quarantine of all ships that have been to countries in the Pacific and to monitor for any symptoms, CNN reported. But as of the order, there were no signs that anyone on the ships has become infected. The ships are to remain at sea for 14 days. The quarantine comes after a planned exercise with South Korea was suspended because of the outbreak, CNN reported. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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  • The U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion emergency relief bill that will expand unemployment insurance, provide $1,200 stimulus checks in emergency financial relief to most American adults and provide life preservers to distressed businesses impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. The bill, touted as the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history, was passed by the U.S. Senate and U.S. House this week and is expected to be signed by the president. William Lastrapes, the Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise in the department of economics at the University of Georgia, argues Congress had to take action. What has this pandemic done to the U.S. economy? The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has inflicted two negative shocks on the U.S. economy. One is a “supply” shock – much of what the economy produces depends on face-to-face human interaction; the social distancing so necessary to slow the spread of the virus reduces our capacity to produce goods and services. The other is a “demand” shock – laid-off workers and falling output cause incomes to fall, which in turn constrains the ability of households and businesses to spend. These distinct shocks clearly reinforce each other in a downward spiral of economic activity. What is the objective of Congress’ stimulus plan? Because the current situation is a global epidemic and economic crisis, the U.S. federal government must act to stabilize the economy and provide a sense of security to the nation’s citizens. The $2 trillion stimulus package just passed by Congress aims to do this. The package is an unprecedented amount — the Recovery Act of 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis came in at just under $900 billion — and we should think of it as an insurance payment made by the government to U.S. households and businesses in light of a massive, harmful and unpredictable event, one so big and systematic that private insurance cannot cover it. But the federal government can, through its ability to tax and spread the costs over people and over time. The government’s stimulus check puts money in people’s pockets for them to spend now, when spending is needed, even though incomes are falling. It also aims to protect private credit markets to keep money flowing between borrowers and lenders. The federal injection of cash can prevent a self-fulfilling decline in the economy by coordinating a rise in overall spending. It is unlikely that even with this fiscal stimulus a recession will be avoided, but perhaps a long-lasting and deep depression can be. Can the federal government afford a $2 trillion stimulus plan? Most of the stimulus package comes in the form of “transfer payments” from one group of individuals to another. For example, the plan allocates $250 billion to boost unemployment insurance for those losing jobs, $301 billion in direct cash transfers to individuals, and $349 billion in loans to small businesses to help make payroll, rent and utility payments. Another $150 billion flows as direct aid to states, while almost half a trillion dollars will be set aside to support the Federal Reserve System’s new lending facilities, aimed at providing needed liquidity to the banking and business sectors. None of these programs entail direct spending by the government (like, say, building a road or a dam). There is no question of affordability here. The federal government must of course “pay for” these transfers, but its ability to borrow cheaply now, by issuing debt at current low interest rates, lowers any real resource constraints. (And the Federal Reserve can help by printing money, although this power held by our central bank should be used cautiously.) Additional debt allows the government to give to those in need and take from future taxpayers when the economy returns to normal. As long as the country remains productive in the long run – which it surely will – and maintains healthy fiscal institutions, those taxes will not be a burden to future generations, and the federal government will not default on the national debt. What should we do once we recover from this crisis? It is painfully clear that the federal government was caught off guard by the coronavirus despite having ample warning that an epidemic of its kind was likely to happen, sooner rather than later. We should also not have been surprised at how quickly the virus has spread across the world given the pace of globalization. Macroeconomic policy mechanisms are in place – like the Federal Reserve’s ability and willingness to provide liquidity and stabilize credit markets – to respond to a crisis by softening the economic blows. Yet the country needs to be better prepared for the next epidemic, which will surely come, to help prevent a crisis in the first place. We are now observing firsthand how shortcomings in our public health system can have drastic, and possibly, dire consequences for our economy and our well-being.
  •   Journalists face some unique challenges when they try to report accurately on a major infectious disease outbreak like the one associated with COVID-19, according to professor Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and a former director of media relations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including during the 2009 H1N1A influenza pandemic. Below, Nowak provides his thoughts about the communication challenges facing journalists and the public when it comes to COVID-19 tests and testing. Why has COVID-19 testing been in the news? Diagnostic tests and testing are an essential part of an infectious disease outbreak response. After the first cases of new infectious disease have been identified, health care providers need to be able to quickly determine who else is infected, particularly other people who have similar symptoms, while public health officials need to quickly learn how many others have been infected, where infections and virus transmission are happening, and which people may be most likely to be infected and to have severe illness from their infections. News media are interested in providing their audiences that information as quickly as possible. In the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., testing also made the news because there were problems with the initial test that CDC provided to state labs. This caused delays in being able to identify patients with COVID-19. Much attention has been given to the importance of testing, including because some countries, such as South Korea, have been able to quickly and extensively test people to determine if they are infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and as a result, slow its spread. Why will COVID-19 testing continue to be of news media and public interest? COVID-19 tests and testing will continue to be in the news for at least three reasons. One, President Trump has said that a goal going forward is for anyone who wants to be tested to be able to do so. This means many news media will continue to be doing stories about the availability of COVID-19 tests at the local and state level. The supply of COVID-19 diagnostic tests is currently well short of the number needed to achieve this goal and supplies vary considerably across the country. Two, there is disagreement about who needs to be tested and who should be tested. Hospitals and health care facilities that are dealing with large numbers of infected and potentially infected patients do not have the ability to test people with mild or no symptoms. As a result, we can expect news media stories about who can and cannot get tested. Third, the information gained from diagnostic tests increases medical, science and public health knowledge regarding where this new coronavirus is, how many infections it is causing, the types of symptoms and range of illness people who are infected experience, and the percentage of people who experienced severe illness or died from their infection. That knowledge, in turn, is used to make decisions about how to slow and prevent the spread of the virus. What are some of the communication challenges that COVID-19 tests and testing bring?  COVID-19 tests and testing bring many communication challenges. One challenge involves competing messages regarding who should be tested and how the tests should be used. While the CDC has issued and posted specific recommendations regarding who should be tested, decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and individual clinicians. Some are testing people who do not have known exposures to the virus or who have mild symptoms, while others are limiting testing to people in risk groups or who have significant symptoms. A second challenge is that there are different types of tests and different testing methods. There is not a single COVID-19 test. Most of the COVID-19 test and testing stories have focused on diagnostic tests – that is, tests used to determine if a person is currently infected. There are many companies providing these types of tests, with the time it takes to get results ranging from as short as 45 minutes to as long as a few days. Less attention has been given to efforts involving the development and use of tests that can tell whether a person has been infected in the past with this new coronavirus. These are typically blood tests that look for antibodies that indicate if a person was infected. These tests are important because they help provide estimates of how many COVID-19 cases have gone undetected. This type of testing increases understanding of how many people had no symptoms or symptoms so mild that they were not noticed. As this information becomes available, there is a good chance it will increase significantly increase the number of confirmed cases and lower fatality estimates. It is essential to accurately convey this information without creating the impression that the increase in confirmed cases involves new infections. When it comes to COVID-19 tests and testing, what advice do you have for the news media? As more COVID diagnostic tests become available and used, it is important that journalists, news media outlets, the public and policymakers understand that different types and uses of testing will be done going forward. They also need to understand the reasons for using and not using diagnostic tests, especially as tests become more widely available. Finally, it will be helpful for journalists and policymakers to understand the difference between using tests to make medical diagnoses versus the use of testing to learn more about the extent and spread of the virus, the characteristics of the virus, and the effectiveness of measures intended to slow or prevent the spread of the virus. Doctors and medical facilities need tests that accurately and rapidly provide a diagnosis. Those tests may not be designed or able to provide the more detailed information that comes from laboratory tests and analyses. It is also likely the case that as the CDC builds a surveillance system designed to obtain and provide much greater information about this new coronavirus that effort will involve much testing of people who do not have symptoms or known exposure to the virus. Testing people who appear to be healthy will be essential for getting a better picture of how widespread this virus is and the percentage of infections with no or very mild symptoms.  
  • Due to the coronavirus crisis, the University of Georgia canceled its graduation ceremonies, which were scheduled for May 8. To try to give some of their fellow Dawgs a little pomp and circumstance, a group of enterprising UGA students have taken it upon themselves to build a virtual world, inside the Minecraft online environment, where graduating seniors can gather to celebrate commencement. As reported in The Red & Black, junior psychology major Ivan Campbell and senior biology major Nick Miller followed the lead of an elementary school in Japan, where a group of youngsters also created a virtual gathering place in the popular Minecraft online world.  “I have a lot of friends who are seniors that are really disappointed about graduation getting canceled,” Campbell told the student newspaper. “So I thought to myself ‘what is something that can make them feel better?’ Well, we could build Sanford Stadium on Minecraft to have a ceremony just like the school in Japan.” Minecraft is an open-world, multi-player online game that has sold 176 million units worldwide. On the UGA sub-Reddit r/UGA gameplayers were quick to ask the builders: “Can you build north campus now so we can act like we’re there” and “Are you gonna build memorial hall and Tate and all the stuff around the stadium?” Campbell and Miller have drawn together a group of about 30 people to help work on the construction. Campbell told The Red & Black that once the stadium is completed students can login into their own Minecraft channels and attend the ceremony.
  • Oconee County Commissioners are making plans to livestream this week’s meeting on the Oconee County Government’s YouTube Channel, looking to limit attendance in the courthouse because of coronavirus concerns.From the Oconee Co government website… The Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, will be livestreamed on the Oconee County Government YouTube Channel. Due to the current state and local emergency and in order to prevent the possible spread of Coronavirus by following established guidelines on group size and distancing, the meeting will be open to local journalists, but will have no other public access to the physical meeting space. The number of people in the room will be limited to ten and appropriate social distancing will be maintained at all times. As a result of the state of emergency, this livestream has been constructed to provide public access to BOC meetings. The public is invited to watch the meeting via livestream or to watch the recording at a later time. Click here to watch the Oconee County March 31 Board of Commissioners meeting live at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
  • Gov. Brian P. Kemp has announced his selection of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to serve on the Supreme Court of Georgia and Judges Verda M. Colvin and John A. “Trea” Pipkin III to serve on the Georgia Court of Appeals. Carla Wong McMillian currently serves as a judge for the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Prior to that role, she served as a judge for the State Court of Fayette County, associate and then partner with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, and as law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Judge McMillian earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. She and her family live in Tyrone. Judge McMillian will become the first Asian-American female in the Southeast to be appointed to the state’s highest court. Verda M. Colvin has served as Superior Court Judge of the Macon Judicial Circuit since April 2014. Previously, she served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Assistant District Attorney for the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, Assistant General Counsel for Clark Atlanta University, Assistant Solicitor for the Solicitor’s Office in Athens-Clarke County, and as an associate for Ferguson, Stein, Watt, Wallas, and Gresham, P.A. Judge Colvin received her bachelor’s degree from Sweet Briar College and law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. She and her family reside in Macon. Judge Colvin will become the state’s first African-American female appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals by a Republican governor. John A. “Trea” Pipkin III currently serves as Superior Court Judge and served as Solicitor-General in McDonough, Georgia. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Gordon State College. He previously served as Assistant District Attorney for the Flint Circuit District Attorney’s Office and as an adjunct professor of law at the Emory University School of Law. Judge Pipkin earned his associate’s degree from Reinhardt College, bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, and law degree from Georgia State University College of Law. He and his wife reside in McDonough.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Class will soon be in session for Jamie Newman and the rest of the Georgia quarterbacks with online football chalk talks approved to start at 1 p.m. on Monday. RELATED: SEC steps toward resuming football preparations Renowned quarterback trainer Quincy Avery predicts Newman will be a star pupil for the Bulldogs just as he was during the Avery's QB Takeover training sessions this past offseason. 'Jamie is one of the hardest working, detail-oriented guys you'll find,' Avery told DawgNation. 'Whatever his position coach gives him, he'll attack it. He wants to be great.' Avery knows greatness first hand having worked with such quarterbacks as Deshaun Watson, Josh Dobbs, Dwayne Haskins, Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields. New Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken has experience with Air Raid and RPO-tinted offenses. Kirby Smart has indicated UGA will maintain a balanced Pro Style approach regardless of what elements are accented or sprinkled in. 'They will put a lot on Jamie's shoulders, because he's shown he can handle it,' Avery said, pointing to Newman's impressive production at Wake Forest last season. RELATED: Comparing Jamie Newman's production to Justin Fields last season 'Jamie will be able to read some stuff inside the numbers, and go pure progressions and develop in that way,' he said. 'Those are the things you've got to do to play on Sunday. He will be able to show all the things they need at quarterback.' The Georgia offensive playbook figures to be tapered down from last season. Three-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm was previously at the helm, making play calls at the line of scrimmage. That sort of QB autonomy required receivers making the same reads and adjustments, which didn't always happen with Fromm's less-experienced perimeter targets last season. The genius in this season's offense figures to be in the simplicity. It should enable more players to contribute quickly and facilitate sharper execution. RELATED: D'Wan Mathis continues brain surgery comeback home' in Athens That said, Avery believes Newman's experience makes him more valuable than ever compared with quarterbacks who have yet to compete at the collegiate level. 'Jamie understands how to be a Power 5 quarterback,' Avery said. 'He's been out there and done it in big-time situations. 'That's a different ball game, you can have some trust in a guy who has proven himself.' RELATED: Newman's former Wake Forest teammates weigh in on transfer The coronavirus pandemic has meant more limited preparation for all collegiate programs. Newman has stayed on top of his game this offseason by enrolling early at Georgia and going through offseason conditioning with the Bulldogs before his stints with Avery and back home working out. RELATED: Former Jamie Newman coach says Newman working to perfect his craft Once the teams are cleared to practice in groups there is no timetable at the time of this publication (March 30) Newman will be prepared to lead. 'Jamie has a presence that's clear and evident,' Avery said. 'He's always one of the most active guys around. He's very mature, so when he talks you listen. When he's there, he's doing everything you want.' DawgNation Jamie Newman stories Jamie Newman among Top 5 Heisman Trophy favorites Jamie Newman offseason training includes hometown visit How Georgia will look a lot like home to Jamie Newman ACC star says Jamie Newman will bring UGA different dynamic Future Georgia players weigh in on addition of Jamie Newman Jamie Newman much more than just a dual-threat Wake Forest players swear by Jamie Newman at NFL combine QB trainer: Jamie Newman fits new direction of Georgia offense Numbers game: How Jamie Newman compared to Jake Fromm Why Jamie Newman can adapt to any offensive system The post Head of the Class: Georgia QB Jamie Newman expected to excel quickly appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football didn't get a chance to start spring football drills in earnest, but the Bulldogs are moving up in the ranks in terms of perception. The latest example comes via the updated USA Today preseason Top 25, per Paul Myerberg last week. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 in the newest rankings, behind preseason No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Ohio State. This, after checking on at No. 11 in the first USA Today 'way-too-early college football Top 25' on Jan. 14. At that time, Georgia was seen as a program with 'enough unknowns to put the Bulldogs behind Florida in the race for the SEC,' per the January article. To be fair, there was some shock value to Jake Fromm announcing he was turning pro and Cade Mays announcing his intention to transfer less than a week before the initial early rankings. It's also important to note that, while Jamie Newman was on board as a graduate transfer quarterback, Todd Monken had not yet been hired as the new OC. RELATED: Jamie Newman, Georgia football stand tall per oddsmakers Those not following the program closely couldn't have the same sort of read on Georgia football as the passionate DawgNation fans and those who keep up with the program daily. Alabama, meanwhile, dropped from No. 2 in the early USA Today rankings to No. 5 in the latest one. Could losing Scott Cochran mean that much? REPORT: Nick Saban was riding (Scott) Cochran mercilessly' The Tide, like the Bulldogs, had yet to start spring drills when the coronavirus pandemic triggered a shutdown. USA Today's most recent breakdown of the Bulldogs states: 'Georgia takes a big step forward in the post-spring rankings after cementing its quarterback position with Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman. If replacing Jake Fromm's experience and reliability may be difficult, Newman's arm and athleticism should provide a different look to an offense run by a new coordinator in Todd Monken.' The offense will be a work in progress, though it's safe to assume much will run through the quarterback position with a heavier presence of RPO action in UGA's Pro-Style scheme. Kirby Smart has said he wants to maintain a degree of balance while seeking explosive elements. That comes down to players, and Georgia will have plenty to sort out at the skill position when practices resume. Still, it seems many are overlooking the biggest reason to have the Bulldogs projected as the top-ranked team: Defense. RELATED: Why Georgia best equipped in SEC to handle break Dan Lanning proved worthy of the internal promotion to defensive coordinator last season. UGA led the nation in scoring defense and run defense, and it also ranked No. 3 in total defense and No. 8 in pass efficiency defense. Nine of the 11 defensive starters from the Sugar Bowl team return. It's not a stretch to say Georgia should have the best defense in college football presuming the season starts as scheduled. Here's the updated USA Today preseason Top 25, reflecting how teams have gone up or down since the nation's largest newspaper released its version version; 1. Clemson (1) 2. Ohio State (3) 3. Georgia (11) 4. Oregon (6) 5. Alabama (2) 6. Oklahoma (5) 7. Florida (8) 8. Penn State (7) 9. LSU (4) 10. Notre Dame (9) 11. Michigan (12) 12. Auburn (13) 13. Texas A&M (19) 14. Iowa (10) 15. Texas (14) 16. Iowa State (21) 17. Cincinnati (16) 18. Wisconsin (18) 19. Oklahoma State (NR) 20. North Carolina (25) 21. Boise State (20) 22. Southern Cal (17) 23. Cal (23) 24. Washington (24) 25. Louisville (NR) Dropped out: Memphis (15), Baylor (22) Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Why Scott Sinclair keys positive culture shift under Kirby Smart Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Georgia football jumps 8 spots in USA Today preseason rankings appeared first on DawgNation.
  • DawgNation has four staffers who cover Georgia football from every angle: Beat, live streams, photos, podcasts, recruiting, etc. The 'Cover 4' concept is: 1) Present a topic; 2) Offer a reasoned response; 3) Share a brisk statement on that opinion. 4) Pepper the page with photos for the big picture. For this edition, we discuss what we still think the Georgia startingoffensive line will look like for the first game of 2020 against Virginia. DawgNation continues with the 'Cover 4' concept. The focus is always a timely look with each of our guys manning the secondary on a pertinent topic. The Cover 4 thought for today focuses on the offensive line. Here's a quick look at the turnover at that position for the Georgia program. OUT: Line coach Sam Pittman (HC: Arkansas); LT Andrew Thomas (NFL); LG Solomon Kindley (NFL); RT Isaiah Wilson (NFL); G/T Cade Mays (Transfer to Tennessee); G/T D'Marcus Hayes (graduation) IN: Line coach Matt Luke: 5-star OT Broderick Jones; 4-star OT Tate Ratledge; 4-star C Sedrick Van Pran-Granger; 4-star OL Chad Lindberg; 3-star OT Devin Willock; 3-star OT Austin Blaske; 3-star OT Devin Willock; 3-star OG/C Cameron Kinnie That's pretty considerable, huh? We just though we'd make it a wild and crazy Sunday. The aim here was to try to predict what the starting line might look like for the eventual 2020 opener against Virginia. No degree of difficulty there, right? Especially with the cloud of no spring practice looming over that competition. The quick in-and-out game remains. The Cover 4 is designed to come out as quick as everyone is trying to maintain their social distancing these days. What will theeventual Georgia starting O-line look like against Virgina? Brandon Adams: LT: Broderick Jones; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer The 'why' from 'DawgNation Daily' here: 'A healthy Shaffer gets the nod at left guard because he was in line for playing time prior to his neck injury. Hill at center is the only true given, but Salyer is definitely starting somewhere. However, the critical spot is left tackle. Jones faces an uphill climb in becoming a freshman starter, but his competition is also inexperienced.' Mike Griffith: LT: Xavier Truss; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer The 'why' from 'On the Beat' here: 'This is the area Kirby Smart is most concerned about, and he'll say it. There will be discussion about different players lining up in different places, and injury updates . ' Connor Riley: LT: Xavier Truss; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer The 'why' from 'Good Day UGA' here: ' It wouldn't surprise me to see Warren Ericson slide into one of the guard spots or possibly center if Hill wanted to move to guard. I do think Salyer played well at the right tackle spot and think he's got the athletic gifts to play and do well there in college .' Jeff Sentell: LT: Jamaree Salyer; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill; RG: Ben Cleveland; RT: Broderick Jones The Intel here: 'There was nothing off with Sayler. Georgia just had NFL talent with a year of progression in the program lined up ahead of him. Look for Salyer to stabilize the UGA line at one of the two tackle spots. He blocked the 5-star edge guys at elite prospect camps in high school. He could do it then and can definitely do it now. No spring practice might still allow an uncommon freshman like Jones or Sedrick Van Pran-Granger the chance to earn early time. The veterans will now pivot to Luke and Todd Monken's system at the same time with all of the new guys. That is hard to do in the SEC but guys like Jones, Van Pran-Granger and Tate Ratledge can be special. If Van Pran-Granger is ready, there could be a position flex for Hill in order to put the best five guys up front. ' The post Georgia football: What might the starting offensive line look like versus Virginia? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Like many of you, I have watched repeats of various SEC football games from recent years over the past couple of weeks, what with spring sports sidelined by the pandemic. In fact, I've even having resorted sampling a couple of Wake Forest games on the ACC Network to get a look at transfer quarterback Jamie Newman. Even though it's mostly repeats and old documentaries on the SEC Network and its ESPN parent right now, I've still been struck by how spoiled today's UGA fans are when it comes to seeing the Dawgs on television. Those of us following the Bulldogs in the 1960s, '70s and even the early '80s can remember when getting to see Georgia play on TV was a big deal, something that didn't happen all that often. Nowadays, all of the Dawgs' games are televised, even the cupcakes, but, through the '90s and even into the early 2000s, that wasn't the case. Still, the last time less than half the Bulldogs' schedule was televised was 1993, when we got to see only five games. And five games seemed a lot at the time. Incredibly, during the national championship season of 1980, Herschel Walker and the Dawgs were on TV only three times: the South Carolina matchup with George Rogers, the Florida game, and the Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame. No wonder Larry Munson's radio broadcasts were so important to us. Actually, I clearly can recall the very first time UGA was seen playing football on TV. It was New Year's Day, 1960, and Wally Butts' Bulldogs, led by QB Fran Tarkenton, were set to play Missouri in the Orange Bowl. I awoke that morning with both sides of my face ballooned out with a terrible case of the mumps, but my 7-year-old self was determined not to miss the game! Thankfully, Mom allowed it, propping me up with pillows to see Georgia take a 14-0 win. The next time the Dawgs were on TV was the following fall, when Georgia's 21-6 loss to Alabama in Birmingham became the first regular-season Georgia football game to be televised and, in fact, the first college football game ever televised by ABC Sports. The Bulldogs weren't on the tube again until Vince Dooley wound up his first season at the helm, with 7-0 win over Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl. The fact that Georgia rarely appeared on TV in those days wasn't unusual. Back then, the game of the week was literally the game of the week! I remember what a major event it was when ABC came to Athens to televise the 1965 season opener against national champion Alabama. There's no doubt that the Dawgs' flea-flicker upset win being televised to the entire nation was a big leg up for Dooley in returning the Georgia program to national relevance. I was in 8 th grade at the time, and attended the game with my Dad, so I didn't see the telecast, but 12-year-old Darrell Huckaby watched it on TV at his home. After the Dawgs won, he ran out his back door and turned down the alley toward the house where future Bulldogs player Craig Hertwig lived. 'We leaped into one another's arms, like in one of those old movies,' he recalled. Beginning in the late 1960s, and lasting until the mid-70s, Georgia usually only had two or three regular-season games on TV each year. An eye-opener for many younger fans is that the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, now an automatic addition to the CBS schedule, wasn't televised at all until ABC gave it a regional slot (as opposed to national) in 1967. It would be another 20 years before the clash between the Dawgs and Gators started being televised every year. A little-remembered Dawgs TV footnote is that, in 1981-82, Georgia's games were taped for delayed replay Sunday nights on Channel 5 and Monday nights on cable's USA Network. Longtime Atlanta sportscaster (and UGA grad) Bill Hartman called those games, with folks like Lewis Grizzard, Buck Belue and longtime high school coach Butch Clifton doing the color. 'It was all about Herschel,' Hartman told me this week. 'Once he left Georgia, the production stopped.' Things started looking up in 1984, when Ted Turner's SuperStation signed an SEC football deal. That year, half a dozen Georgia games were televised, and that was about par for the course through the rest of the '80s. We gradually started seeing more games televised as CBS, ABC and Turner were joined by Fox, the nascent ESPN (which showed its first UGA game in 1984) and various regional syndicators like Jefferson-Pilot/Raycom. Local Atlanta stations even televised games occasionally. There also were a few cupcake games shown on pay-per-view. That included one game in 2004, the first season that all of Georgia's games were on TV in one way or another. An ESPN syndication package, originally called the SEC Network (later SEC TV), joined the fray in 2009, and all of Georgia's football games have been televised nationally or regionally ever since then. SEC TV was replaced in 2014 by today's 24-hour SEC Network. Looking back over 60 years of Bulldogs football on television, many high points come to mind. Asked to name their favorite Georgia game on TV, a lot of fans automatically say the 1981 Sugar Bowl against the Fighting Irish. Frankly, I think viewers who weren't fans of either school probably found that 17-10 Georgia win a bit of a snore. My longtime friend Ben Anderson conceded that it was 'not the most dramatic of games with a lot of twists and turns,' but he made the valid point that it still 'was a national title game with a one-possession final score.' The other great TV game that quickly comes to mind is the thrilling double-overtime 2018 Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma. Many believe that one is Georgia's greatest game ever and its back-and-forth nature made it great television, too. Another fan favorite is the 1971 Thanksgiving night comeback win over Georgia Tech engineered by Athens' Andy Johnson, televised nationally by ABC. A much less remembered game, treasured by Jeff Dantzler of the Bulldogs radio network as an 'underrated doozy,' is Georgia's 1982 visit to Starkvegas for a 29-22 win over Mississippi State. 'Herschel was tremendous,' recalled Dantzler, who watched the regional CBS telecast as a boy from his home in Statesboro. Another TV game that stands out in the memories of fans who came of age in the '90s is No. 12-ranked Georgia's 28-27 upset of 6 th -ranked LSU in Baton Rouge in 1998. The Dawgs' freshman quarterback, Quincy Carter, had a great night, completing 27 of 34 passes for 318 yards, catching a pass for 36 yards and rushing for 41 more. Three-way player Champ Bailey, who was in for 96 of the game's plays, caught 7 passes for 114 yards, and fellow defensive back Kirby Smart had a team-high 12 tackles. Clinging to a 1-point lead, the Dawgs' final, clock-killing drive of the fourth quarter, highlighted by a key third-down reception by Bailey, was gripping viewing. And, certainly a TV classic was the New Year's Day 2000 Outback Bowl, billed as 'the first sporting event of the millennium,' which saw Carter lead the Dawgs in an amazing comeback against the Purdue Boilermakers, who had future NFL star Drew Brees at QB. Brees set or tied six Outback Bowl records in the game, including passing for 378 yards, and, early in the second quarter, Purdue had a 25-0 lead over Jim Donnan's Dawgs. Things looked bleak. Terrence Edwards finally put the Dawgs on the scoreboard with a 74-yard scoring run, and it was all Georgia from that point on, with an 8-yard Carter-to- Randy McMichael TD pass tying the game with 1:19 remaining. After the Boilermakers missed a field goal in overtime, Georgia placekicker Hap Hines made a 21-yard kick for the win. At the time, it was the largest comeback in bowl history. Now, that's great television. When ESPN televised Georgia's visit to Tuscaloosa in 2007, I watched it on a big-screen TV with my two brothers, my daughter and one of my nieces. We wanted to hear how the Scott Howard-Eric Zeier broadcast team did in their debut without Munson, so we muted the sound on the TV and instead listened to the Bulldogs radio broadcast while watching. The last time previously where all three King brothers had watched Georgia on TV together was the 1999 game against Tech, an overtime affair that didn't turn out well. So, when this one also went to overtime, we were more than a bit nervous. Thank goodness, Matthew Stafford and Mikey Henderson were as cool as could be, though. After Bama kicked a field goal in OT, Stafford threw a perfect strike to Henderson for the one-and-done winning score. That's the last time the Dawgs have beaten the Tide to date. Another fan favorite from the 2007 season is the 42-30 win over Florida that saw most of the Georgia team celebrating the Dawgs' first score by dancing in the end zone. There was a lot more to the game, of course, with Knowshon Moreno running for 188 yards and 3 TDs, and the Dawgs defense sacking Gators QB Tim Tebow 6 times. But the 'Gator Stomp' is what fans remember most. Other fan TV favorites include the 1996 win over Auburn (Georgia was terrible in the first half, but the second half and four overtimes were great viewing); and the 2007 Auburn 'Blackout' game, with CBS' Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson dancing along to Soulja Boy in the booth. However, the most frequently mentioned choice as the greatest Bulldogs TV game is known by two words: 'Run, Lindsay.' The 1980 Jacksonville clash saw the Dawgs trailing 21-20 in the fourth quarter, facing third-and-long at their own 7-yard line. Backed up in his own end zone, quarterback Buck Belue found receiver Lindsay Scott at the 25-yard line. Urged on by Munson on the radio, Scott scored the game-winning touchdown. That game was playing on TV during Clint Ard's 21 st birthday party, and, he said, when Scott scored, 'my whole family exploded with joy. It was one of the greatest birthday presents I've ever received!' Jason Hasty, now the sports archivist at UGA's Hargrett Library, was just 5 years old at the time, but his favorite memory of watching the Dawgs on TV is looking up from playing with his toys to see his quiet church secretary mother on her feet as Munson shouted 'Run, Lindsay!' on the radio. Hasty still prefers a radio soundtrack for TV games. 'When I'm not in Sanford Stadium, the TV will be on with the sound turned down and the radio broadcast turned up,' he said. Mark Symms, meanwhile, was a UGA student watching that Florida game at the Alpha Gamma Rho house in Athens. After Scott's touchdown, Symms said, he and his drunken fraternity brothers ran out the front door and straight into Milledge Avenue, bringing traffic to a complete halt as they jumped up and down, screaming. A police officer, who had no idea what they were celebrating, got them out of the street and wrote Symms a ticket for 'rioting.' The brothers continued their celebration safely on the sidewalk for a few more minutes, when the cop suddenly returned. 'I am really in trouble,' Symms thought, but the officer grabbed the ticket and tore it up. 'He glared at me again, then winked. He had heard the news. He walks back to the car and says, Stay out of the damn streets. Go Dawgs!' As Symms put it: 'Greatest UGA TV game ever.' The post Dawgs on TV have produced some great memories for fans through the years appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis was back in his home state of Michigan over spring break when the coronavirus pandemic began to take effect. Some of the Bulldogs' players would end up staying home when UGA suspended and then canceled face-to-face spring semester classes. But not Mathis. 'D'Wan came back on spring break and told me he loves where he is from, but that he needed to go back to Georgia,' Terence Mathis told DawgNation on Friday. 'He said, Daddy, I love you, but I'm leaving.' 'For us, we're just happy he was granted the exemption to stay near campus where they have the best doctors in the world keeping up with him.' The former Ohio State quarterback commit from metro Detroit has had a challenging rehabilitation period after an emergency brain surgery procedure last May 23 put him in the ICU unit at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. 'I want the public to know this, please write this: Georgia could have given up on my son,' Terence Mathis said. 'But instead, Kirby and his staff have treated D'Wan as though he was their own son. They've used every possible resource to stay behind him and keep him engaged with the team after saving his life.' RELATED: Georgia saved my son's life, medical director Ron Courson praised Indeed, Coach Kirby Smart made it clear last May that Georgia would not rush Mathis' comeback, and they planned for a complete recovery. 'We are expecting a full recovery, and the timeline is the least of our concerns,' Smart said at SEC spring meetings. Mathis' comeback has come in stages. He was cleared to run and lift last July. By the start of the 2019 season, he was participating in limited drill work. By last November, Mathis running the scout team offense and playing with such passion that coaches and doctors had to reel him in and remind him to use some restraint. Mathis was cleared to go through spring football drills, though it's important to note he's not yet been cleared for game action. There's an MRI test scheduled for May that could provided the all-important clearance for total contact (UGA doesn't tackle its quarterbacks in spring drills). More good news came on Friday, when the SEC added some provisions for coaches to instruct players. Mathis, along with fellow Georgia football quarterbacks Jamie Newman, Caron Beck and Stetson Bennett, has the benefit of chalk talks starting at 1 p.m. next Monday. RELATED: SEC moves toward resuming football preparations Terence Mathis maintains the football will take care of itself. He said the most important thing to the Mathis family is how D'Wan has been accepted into the Georgia football community. 'I'm indebted to Georgia, they have extended this incredible opportunity to D'Wan,' Terence Mathis said. 'Especially during these tough times, and you know it's bad up here in Michigan. 'It means everything to us as a family for him to now have the opportunity to be involved with the football planning while still pursuing academics. 'Coach (Todd) Monken has reached out to me and let me know that D'Wan is having positive progress.' Mathis' upside was obvious to all who watched last year's G-Day Game. The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder was 15-of-28 passing for 113 yards and provided one of the biggest highlights of the Georgia football spring game. Mathis, who ran a 10.8-second time in the 100 meters in high school, showed his speed when he caught a double-reverse pass from Matt Landers for a 39-yard touchdown. TRICK PLAY ALERT #GDay #GoDawgs Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) April 21, 2019 'D'Wan, he's explosive,' Jake Fromm said of his former understudy. 'I think he converted three or four first downs in a row with his legs. 'The guy can run the ball, he can throw it 70 yards, he's going to be a great player.' The strong performances in spring drills kept Mathis going during the dog days of last summer and into the season. But there were also frustrating times when D'Wan Maths didn't know what to do without football, unable to travel to away games. That's when Georgia came up biggest, according to his father. 'As frustrated as he got, the more they wrapped their arms around him,' Terence Mathis said. 'Those coaches could have said they were too busy trying to win the SEC East again and play for another league title. But they didn't say that. 'They believed in D'Wan, and they have stayed behind him, and the DawgNation fans have stayed behind him, too.' There is no timetable for college football to return at the time of this publication (March 28). The coronavirus has put all group activities around the world on hold. But Terence Mathis said his son will remain in Athens. 'That's what he considers his home now,' he said, 'and it's where we believe he belongs.' DawgNation D'Wan Mathis stories Mind Game: D'Wan Mathis ready to compete for starting job Mathis tipped by social media Ohio State misled him on Justin Fields D'Wan Mathis recovering after emergency brain cyst surgery Jake Fromm shares observations of D'Wan Mathis The post Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis continuing comeback home' in Athens, granted exemption appeared first on DawgNation.