China’s president visits virus epicenter
President Xi Jinping visited China’s virus epicenter Tuesday for the first time since cases of the then-unidentified respiratory illness emerged in the city of Wuhan in December.
The disease’s spread in China cast scrutiny on Xi’s leadership, as he was conspicuously absent from the public eye during the early days of the crisis. Initial failures to react quickly were pegged on municipal and provincial-level officials who have since been replaced.
State media reported Xi arrived in the morning in Wuhan, which has been under lockdown along with several nearby cities since late January in a disease-containment measure. The city has the bulk of the country’s more than 80,000 confirmed cases, and authorities sent thousands of medical workers and built several prefabricated isolation wards to deal with its mass of COVID-19 patients.
Xi was to inspect the epidemic prevention and control work and visit medical workers, community volunteers, patients and others on the front lines, state media said. Amid questions about Xi’s involvement, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had visited Wuhan in late January.
— The Associated Press
New Jersey governor declares State of Emergency
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency due to the coronavirus.
“The State of New Jersey is committed to deploying every available resource, across all levels of government, to help respond to the spread of COVID-19 and keep our residents informed,” Murphy said. “My Administration will continue to work closely with our federal partners to ensure that local health agencies on the front lines of the state’s response are equipped with the resources needed to further prepare our health care system for a broader spread of COVID-19.”
There have been 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New Jersey so far.
President Trump has not been tested for coronavirus, press secretary says
President Trump has not been tested for coronavirus, according to a statement from White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. The statement comes hours after Mr. Trump ignored reporters who asked whether he’d been tested.
“The President has not received COVID-19 testing because he has neither had prolonged close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients, nor does he have any symptoms,” Grisham said. “President Trump remains in excellent health, and his physician will continue to closely monitor him.”
Concerns over the president’s health arose Monday after a number of prominent Republican lawmakers — including Senator Ted Cruz and Mr. Trump’s new pick for chief of staff, Mark Meadows — said they would self-quarantine after potentially being exposed to a patient with coronavirus at CPAC.
Pearl Jam cancels first leg of tour
Pearl Jam announced Monday that it would be canceling the first leg of its tour, citing fears about spreading coronavirus.
“As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate. Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses,” the band tweeted. “It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.”
The band added that it’s heeding guidance about not holding large events during the outbreak, saying, “It is with deep frustration and regret that we are forced to make this most unfortunate of announcements…This scheduled first leg of our PJ/Gigaton tour will need to be postponed and shows rescheduled for a later date.”
The band also took a swipe at President Trump, writing, “It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work.”
“Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead,” the band added.
Mark Meadows will self-quarantine after potential contact with coronavirus patient at CPAC
Representative Mark Meadows, President Trump’s new pick for acting chief of staff, will self-quarantine for two more days after he potentially came into contact with a coronavirus patient at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Meadows received testing which came back negative,” Meadows’ communication director tweeted Monday. “While he’s experiencing zero symptoms, under doctors’ standard precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain at home until the 14 day period expires this Wednesday.”
Meadows’ announcement comes hours after a number of other Republican lawmakers, including Senator Ted Cruz and Representatives Paul Gosar and Matt Gaetz, also said they will self-quarantine.
American professional sports leagues limit access to team locker rooms
Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League issued a joint statement Monday saying they will limit access to team locker rooms and clubhouses.
“After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice,” the leagues said. “Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These temporary changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow’s games and practices.”
7:47 PM / March 9, 2020
Louisiana reports first presumptive positive coronavirus case
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced the state’s first presumptive positive coronavirus case on Monday. In a press release from Edwards’ office, the patient was described as a resident of Jefferson Parish, near New Orleans.
“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 patient’s presumptive positive test has been sent to the CDC for confirmation, the statement said.
7:35 PM / March 9, 2020
Mayor cancels St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston
Mayor Martin Walsh canceled the iconic St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston on Monday, citing fears of coronavirus.
“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,” Walsh said in a statement. “While the risk in Boston remains low, this situation is changing very quickly and we are closely monitoring any local cases.
Boston isn’t alone. In Ireland, all St. Patrick’s Day parades were canceled to help stop the virus from spreading.
7:25 PM / March 9, 2020
Pence says he hasn’t been tested for coronavirus
Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that he has not been tested for the coronavirus. The comment came after President Trump ignored the same question when it was shouted by reporters as he was leaving the room.
Pence said he would get a definite answer from the White House about whether Mr. Trump has been tested. Concern about the president’s health arose Monday after Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, who shook Mr. Trump’s hand on Friday, said he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
6:23 PM / March 9, 2020
Madonna cancels final tour appearances in France
Madonna announced Monday that she has been forced to cancel her last two tour appearances in France, after the government prohibited events with more than 1,000 people in attendance.
“Following official notification from the Office of the Police this morning prohibiting all events with an audience attendance of over 1000, Live Nation regrets to announce the final two Madame X performances previously re-scheduled to 10-March and 11-March are forced to be cancelled,”said a notice posted on the singer’s website. “Tickets are refundable at point of purchase. We regret the disappointment to fans.”
Other than Italy, France has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, according to Johns Hopkins. At least 1,209 people in the country have been diagnosed with the virus.
6:05 PM / March 9, 2020
Los Angeles County announces first possible case of community transmission
Officials in Los Angeles County announced the county’s first possible case of community transmission on Monday. The county’s department of public health said it was investigating two additional coronavirus cases, one of which is a patient with “an unidentified source of exposure.”
“This is our first case of community transmission in LA County and we will continue to see more cases of COVID-19,” said the county’s director of public health. She added that “By working together, we can slow the transmission of novel coronavirus.”
5:34 PM / March 9, 2020
When schools close over coronavirus concerns, what happens to students dependent on school lunches?
As coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., school closures are becoming more common. But for students dependent on school lunches, a closure presents another crisis.
In 2018, about 14.3 million U.S. households were food insecure, according to USDA data. Many students in food insecure households depend on school breakfast and lunches.
Diane Pratt-Heavner, the director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association, told CBS News that when children from food insecure families are unable to attend school even for a week, it places an enormous strain on the household, forcing families to allocate funds from other household needs towards food.
The USDA released a fact sheet on food options during a pandemic for students last month, suggesting options including setting up emergency kitchens and picking up meals to prevent catching the disease while eating with others.
On Monday, Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sony Purdue asking about the department’s plan for helping students.
“I am concerned for our nation’s students, who are at risk of being sequestered at home and potentially cut off from access to breakfast and lunch,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “Low-income families around the country rely on schools to provide the bulk of their children’s daily nutrition. Should coronavirus progress and institutions continue mandated dismissal, the implementation of the National School Lunch Program, the nation’s second largest food and nutrition assistance program, will be severely impacted.”
5:18 PM / March 9, 2020
Italy imposes nationwide travel restrictions
Italy is suspending all sporting events and clamping down on travel all over the country as it tries to contain the deadliest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. City streets, stadiums and landmarks usually bustling with life are now eerily empty and quiet.
Dramatic new developments at the sharp end of what has become the worst outbreak outside of China. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday announced severe restrictions on the entire nation of 60 million people.
From tomorrow morning, all sporting events are off, including soccer. The general public should only go to work, and work from home if possible. Public gatherings are out of the question.
Read more here.
5:07 PM / March 9, 2020
Ohio announces first three coronavirus cases
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the state’s first three coronavirus cases on Monday. DeWine said on Twitter that he has declared a state of emergency to help fight the virus.
“The state of emergency that I’ve declared in Ohio is a legal necessity that allows state departments and agencies to better coordinate in their response,” he wrote.
The governor added that all three of the residents are in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland. Ohio joins more than 30 other states that have reported cases of the virus.
4:28 PM / March 9, 2020
Quarantined cruise ship docks at Port of Oakland
The quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship on Monday docked at the Port of Oakland, where the more than 2,000 passengers will be transported to a 14-day quarantine at military bases in California, Texas and Georgia.
“It’s been a nightmare the last few days,” Eddie Castellano, a passenger from Miami, told CBS San Franciso in a telephone interview. “But today, I’m feeling great. I’m feeling hopeful that we finally after all these days I’m going to be able to get off this ship.”
4:10 PM / March 9, 2020
Representatives Doug Collins and Matt Gaetz announce self-quarantine after CPAC
Republican lawmakers Doug Collins and Matt Gaetz announced Monday that they will go into self-quarantine after they were informed that they came into contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Both Congressmen said they hadn’t experienced any symptoms, and were only isolating out of an abundance of caution. Gaetz said he’d been tested and was expecting results “soon.” The 14-day quarantine period after their exposure at CPAC will end this week.
On Friday, Collins shook President Trump’s hand when he arrived in the state to visit the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Collins and Gaetz are joining two other members of Congress, Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Paul Gosar, who announced they would isolate themselves after coming into contact with the CPAC patient.
2:44 PM / March 9, 2020
Israel requires all travelers to self-quarantine for 14-days
All travelers leaving and entering Israel will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday. Netanyahu said it was a tough but essential decision to maintain the country’s health and economy.
2:03 PM / March 9, 2020
Trump and top advisers scramble to contain economic impact
The federal government scrambled to minimize the economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus as financial markets fell off a cliff on Monday. President Trumpconvened his top economic advisersin Washington and the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee signaling a willingness to provide tax relief to soften the blow.
The president planned to meet with top economic adviser Larry Kudlow, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and others at the White House upon his return from Florida on Monday afternoon. The officials will present recommendations for temporary, targeted financial measures, according to a source familiar with the plans.
1:50 PM / March 9, 2020
Ireland cancels all St. Patrick’s Day parades
Ireland has canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades across the country in an attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced the cancellation and said; “further advice about mass public gatherings will be issued in the next few days.”
The annual March 17 parade in Dublin is one of Ireland’s biggest tourist events and typically draws half a million people onto the city’s streets. Tens of thousands more flock to parades in Ireland’s second-largest city, Cork, and smaller communities.
Ireland has 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.— AP
1:19 PM / March 9, 2020
Head of NY Port Authority tests positive for coronavirus
The executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that runs the metropolitan area’s airports, tested positive and is isolated in his home, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo said that director Rick Cotton had been at the facilities while travelers were returning from hotspots.
Cuomo said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York has grown to at least 142. That makes it the state with largest number of confirmed cases in the country.
In New York, most cases are in Westchester County, with New York City and Nassau County having the second and third most cases. In New Jersey, there are at least six cases.
12:33 PM / March 9, 2020
“Social distancing” may help stop the spread of coronavirus
Coronavirus quarantines like the ones in China arelikely not feasiblein the United States, according to a top health official. But “social distancing” measures could be effective in stopping the spread of the virus.
Social distancing, CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook explained on “CBS This Morning” Monday, is “trying to keep yourself away from other people, especially large crowds” at schools, work or events.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Sunday that his state, where the majority of the U.S. cases have occurred, is considering measures including mandatory social distancing. Corporations have to start thinking about whether they should be telling people to work from home and holding teleconferences, LaPook said.
He is advising his patients to use “common sense.” Those who are more vulnerable to the virus, such as people who are immunosuppressed, should avoid places like theaters or activities like cruises, he said.
LaPook said social distancing has worked in the past, including during the 1918 flu pandemic.
11:30 AM / March 9, 2020
D.C. churchgoers urged to self-quarantine
Health officials in Washington, D.C., haveurged attendees of a prominent church to self-quarantineafter its rector tested positive for the coronavirus. Christ Church Georgetown on Sunday identified the Reverend Tim Cole, its rector, as the first person in Washington, D.C., to test positive for coronavirus.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that anyone who visited Christ Church Georgetown on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3 should self-quarantine at home for 14 days since their last visit to the church.
“We see what’s happening across the country and certainly we want to put our city in the best position to respond and to care for people who have been exposed,” Bowser said during a press conference Monday.
Health officials in the district estimate “several hundred people” had interactions with Cole.
10:54 AM / March 9, 2020
Ireland calls off St. Patrick’s Parade as virus mires plans around Euorpe
Irish officials on Monday called off this year’s St. Patrick’s Parade in Dublin in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, as the country’s Health Minister warned Ireland would likely see a “rapid escalation” in cases that could disrupt daily life.
Some other parades around the country scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, had already been cancelled.
The virus that emerged late last year in China “could change the way, temporarily, all of us go about parts of our lives and it could impact our workplace, our schools and our families,” Health Minister Simon Harris said, according to The Irish Times newspaper.
France announced a ban on all gatherings of more than 1,000 people over the weekend, and Germany’s health chief has recommended the same measure be implemented there.
Europe’s worst outbreak by far is in Italy, where more than 260 people have died and about 16 million placed under effective quarantine amid a lockdown of vast northern regions where the virus is concentrated.
10:18 AM / March 9, 2020
Stocks’ plunge on coronavirus uncertainty prompts brief trading halt
U.S. stocks plunged so quickly Monday thattrading was haltedbriefly as frightened investors fled the markets amid growing economic uncertainty over the spreading coronavirus. Oil markets also collapsed after Saudi Arabia said it plans to slash prices, escalating a battle with Russia just as the coronavirus’s impact is reducing demand for oil.
The Dow tumbled 1,838 points, or 7.1%, to 24,026, only minutes after trading opened on Monday. The S&P 500-stock index and tech-heavy Nasdaq composite also declined by almost 7%. Trading was halted for 15 minutes because of the steep declines.
Monday’s sharp decline marks the third week of turmoil for U.S. investors, who are weighing the impact of the growing coronavirus outbreak. The new COVID-19 disease was blamed for at least 24 deaths in the U.S. as of Monday, with the number of coronavirus disease cases in the United States topping 500 on Sunday.
10:14 AM / March 9, 2020
Virus containment measures spark deadly riots in Italian prisons
Italian media reporting protests and rioting in more than two dozen prisons across the country, with the government’s tough new control measures aimed at reining in one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks seemingly driving the unrest.
As part of the measures rolled out over the weekend, the government has banned all prison visitations and limited day releases.
Italian media have reported at least six inmate deaths amid the rioting, mostly in the northern regions where the country’s COVID-19 outbreak is centered.
At least three inmates died amid clashes at the Modena Sant’Anna jail in northern Italy, prisoner rights group Antigone said.
– Anna Matranga and Tucker Reals
9:39 AM / March 9, 2020
Context: 20,000 people have died of flu this year in the U.S.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided a grim reminder of thetoll that the seasonal flu has taken on Americans. The CDC said that so far this season, about 20,000 people have died of the flu, including 136 children.
The CDC’s most recent flu report says that as of February 29, hospitalization rates among children aged 4 and under were the highest on record at this point in the season, surpassing rates reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The 136 children’s deaths also mark the highest on record since the 2009 pandemic.
In all, the CDC estimates about 34 million people have gotten the flu so far this season and 350,000 have been hospitalized.
9:12 AM / March 9, 2020
NASA tells Ames Research Center staff to stay home after 1 contracts virus
NASA has asked all employees at its Ames Research Center in California to work from home until further notice after one staffer tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The space agency said it received confirmation Sunday of the employee’s positive test.
“We believe the exposure at the center has been limited, but — out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with NASA Headquarters and the NASA Chief Heath and Medical Officer in accordance to agency response plans — Ames Research Center will temporarily go to a mandatory telework status until further notice,” the center, one of NASA’s foremost research and development facilities, said in a statement.
The Ames center is located in California’s tech Mecca of Silicon Valley.
The statement indicated that NASA was still trying to figure out provisions for Ames employees “who do not have equipment to work from home or who work in labs or other facilities requiring similar technical equipment that are fixed assets.”
8:23 AM / March 9, 2020
Italy’s unprecedented coronavirus crackdown
Italy hastaken unprecedented stepsto slow the alarming spread of the new coronavirus. Around 16 million people, or about a quarter of the country’s population, have been under a virtual lockdown since Sunday in northern regions.
With the death toll leaping by more than 50% in one day from 233 to 366, CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata said the race to save lives had become a military operation, and the huge quarantine includes the financial capital of Milan and Venice, one of Italy’s main tourist draws. Other regions were also taking precautions.
The country’s beloved soccer games were being played behind closed doors without fans. Nationwide, museums have largely been closed, and for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, the Colosseum in Rome was being shut down.
Even weddings and funerals have been suspended. The elderly, especially, have been told to stay indoors.
7:57 AM / March 9, 2020
As stocks tank, Trump again accuses media and Dems of stoking virus fears
President Trump again accused Democrats and the “Fake News Media” of spreading unwarranted fear over the coronavirus epidemic on Monday, saying both had been working to “inflame the situation far beyond what the facts would warrant.”
Asglobal stock and oil prices tanked, threatening Mr. Trump’s biggest election-year talking point of economic growth, the president quoted the U.S. Surgeon General, who along with other health experts has emphasized that the risk posed to the general U.S. population by the new virus is low.
Mr. Trump’sadministration is facing scrutiny over its readinessto address the outbreak that has killed 24 people and infected more than 500 in the U.S. The White House has been dogged by questions over the delayed distribution of test kits to enable health officials across the U.S. to detect the COVID-19 disease. That delay may have allowed the virus to spread undetected for weeks, according to some health experts.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut called it “unforgivable” that the administration “didn’t see this coming and didn’t put the resources in early to make sure everybody had these tests available.”
7:34 AM / March 9, 2020
Child tests positive for coronavirus in India, bringing total cases to 43
A three-year-old boy in south Indian state of Kerala has tested positive for coronavirus, making him the 43rd case in the country. The child had travelled to Italy along with his parents. The family was put through thermal screening at the airport on their arrival in India.
They were kept in quarantine at a hospital where the child developed the symptoms and tested positive for the virus. Doctors say the child is under observation and in stable condition.
His parents were also tested for the disease but were still awaiting the results. Relatively few children have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease, and it seems to be far more dangerous for older patients and those with underlying health problems.
India has had a relatively small number of confirmed cases of the disease, most of which can be traced back to countries with larger outbreaks.
Authorities in some cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru and Srinagar, have asked elementary schools to remain shut through March.
– Arshad R. Zargar
7:25 AM / March 9, 2020
Stocks and oil prices plunge on coronavirus uncertainty
Globalstock markets and oil prices plunged Mondayafter a squabble among crude producers jolted investors who were already on edge about the surging costs of the global coronavirus outbreak. Wall Street futures prices were following suit. (Follow market updates as they open in the U.S. at the link above.)
The main stock indexes in London and Frankfurt dropped by more 8% at opening. Tokyo closed down 5.1% while Sydney lost 7.3% and Shanghai was off 3%. Futures prices for Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks were down more than 1,200 points as of 6:50 a.m. Eastern.
The benchmark U.S. crude price fell as much as 30%, deepening a rout that began when Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major producers failed to agree on how much to cut output to prop up prices.
6:55 AM / March 9, 2020
U.S. military base employee tests positive in South Korea
A South Korean national who works at a joint U.S.-South Korean military base in the country has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the U.S. military confirmed Monday, raising the number of cases linked to the U.S. military presence there to eight.
The latest case is a South Korean construction worker who works at Camp Walker.
U.S.-Forces Korea said in a statement that the man was isolated at his home, which was not on the base.
U.S. and South Korean heath workers were “actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether anyone else may have been exposed.”
South Korea has grappled to contain Asia’s largest outbreak of the new COVID-19 disease outside origin country China. Most cases in South Korea have been linked to a sect-like church in the city of Daegu.
6:28 AM / March 9, 2020
More U.S. colleges cancelling classes or moving them online
Barnard College, Columbia University and Stanford University announced they were cancelling in-person classes, for now. Hofstra University canceled in-person classes for the week, and Rice University scrapped classes for this week altogether.
Stanford, in California, where 99 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus, has cancelled all in-person classes for the remainder of the winter quarter, provost Persis Drell said in a letter.
Barnard and Columbia in New York were “suspending classes on Monday and Tuesday and moving to remote classes through the end of the week before spring break,” according to a statement from Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock.
Neither the Barnard nor Columbia campuses were being shut down, and facilities such as libraries and dining halls would remain open.
Hoftstra, in Hempstead, New York, on Long Island, called off in-person classes for the week. Rice University, in Houston, canceled all classes for the week.
6:17 AM / March 9, 2020
Italy quarantines millions as virus outbreak surges 25% in a day
Italy has ordered the quarantine of some 17 million people in the northern regions most severely affected by the country’s outbreak of the new coronavirus. Among the cities and towns put under lockdown, with nobody allowed in or out, was Italy’s financial hub of Milan.
The number of cases of the COVID-19 disease in Italy surged 25% to 7,375 over the weekend, according to the Civil Protection Agency. Italy now has the highest number of infections outside China, surpassing South Korea.
Among the latest people to test positive in Italy is the army’s chief of staff, BBC News reports. Salvatore Farina said he felt well and was self-isolating.