- NBA suspends season over coronavirus concern after player tested positive.
- President Trump addressed the nation about the coronavirus from the Oval Office on Wednesday. Issued travel ban on Europe for 30 days.
- Tom Hanks and his wife tested positive for the virus in Australia.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding more than $560 million to state and local jurisdictions to support the coronavirus response.
- The World Health Organization has officially classified COVID-19 as a pandemic.
- The U.S. has now reached 1,000 cases and 31 deaths, according to CDC director Robert Redfield.
White Hous said Trump on Wednesday night canceled his planned trip to travel to Colorado and Nevada 'out of an abundance of caution' amid virus outbreak.
Stock futures signal more losses in US markets
Stock futures are pointing to more losses in U.S. stock markets Thursday after President Donald Trump delivered a speech on the coronavirus outbreak that appeared to disappoint investors.
Futures for the S&P 500 moved from a loss of 0.4% just before Trump spoke from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. EST to a loss of 3.3% an hour later. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were showing a drop of 3.5%.
The declines in the futures markets follow steep losses in regular trading Wednesday as investors become increasingly worried that responses from government and central banks will be insufficient to prevent the outbreak from severely impacting the global economy. The Dow’s drop of 1,464 points dragged it 20% below the record set last month and put the index in a bear market.
Trump announced actions designed to ease the economic cost of the outbreak including unspecified aid for workers impacted by the virus, a deferment of tax payments for some individuals and businesses and low-interest loans for small businesses.
Megan Greene, senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, said she was “underwhelmed by these measures.’’
NBA suspends season until further notice, over coronavirus
The NBA has suspended its season “until further notice" after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league's owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.
Now there will be no games at all, at least for the time being. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Jazz player who tested positive was center Rudy Gobert.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the team confirmed the presumptive positive test.
The NHL released a statement after the NBA's decision to suspend it season:
Trump suspends travel from Europe to US for 30 days
President Donald Trump says he is suspending all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days beginning Friday as he seeks to combat a viral pandemic.
Trump made the announcement Wednesday in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the novel coronavirus and saying U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travelers. Trump says the restrictions won't apply to the United Kingdom and the U.S. will monitor the situation to determine if travel can be reopened earlier.
The White House has also cancelled a planned trip by the president to Nevada and Colorado this week, “out of an abundance of caution.”
Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson test positive for coronavirus
Tom Hanks says he and wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Hanks says in a statement Wednesday that the couple are in Australia and felt tired, with colds, body aches and slight fevers. The Oscar-winner says they were tested because of their symptoms and in his words, “to play things right.”
The 63-year-old actor said they will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as necessary. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Chicago, other cities, cancel St. Patrick's Day parades
Chicago and Savannah, Georgia, have joined the ranks of cities around the world to scrap St. Patrick's Day celebrations over concerns about spreading the new coronavirus.
Chicago's mayor said Wednesday that the parade that was scheduled for Saturday posed too big of a public health risk. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said his city's Tuesday parade and a weekend St. Patrick's festival were both called off as well. Parades in Dublin, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco have already been canceled.
Chicago bars and restaurants say it's bad news for them. The city also usually dyes the Chicago River green, drawing tens of thousands of revelers to downtown.
Only staff, limited family at NCAA Tourney games
NCAA President Mark Emmert says NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will be played without fans in the arenas because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
Emmert says he made the decision to conduct both the men's and women's tournaments, which begin next week, with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.
Here's the full statement from NCAA President Mark Emmert:
"The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance. While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed."
President Trump to address the nation
President Trump said he plans to deliver a prime-time address to the nation Wednesday on federal response to coronavirus pandemic. He tweeted that he will speak from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. ET.
Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill changing daily routines amid coronavirus pandemic
While some U.S. lawmakers are working to actively change their routines and abide by CDC recommendations, others seem to be largely carrying on with their normal schedules. That includes interacting with people at town halls and holding meetings in large groups. As CNN points out, older members of the Senate and House could face a larger threat as the CDC says people over 60 years-of-age should avoid large crowds.
Over a third of Congress are 65 and older, according to Roll Call. Congress is reportedly struggling to figure out how to interact with the public while dealing with a rapidly changing virus epidemic.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “We have a very diverse and disparate work environment. But we also have a responsibility to make sure that we are able to effectively represent our constituents and make sure they get the information that they need.”
Italy expands shutdown to nearly all stores
Italy’s premier says all stores except pharmacies and grocery stores are being closed nationwide in response to the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
Premier Giuseppe Conte thanked the public for cooperating with the already unprecedented travel and social restrictions that took effect Tuesday.
But he said Wednesday night on Facebook Live that Italy must " go another step'' by closing all shops and businesses except for food stores, pharmacies and other shops selling ''essential'' items.
The tighter restrictions on daily life are the government’s latest effort to respond to the fast-moving crisis that took Italy’s number of cases from three to 12,462 in less than three weeks.
U.S. reaches 1,000 cases; Italy sees 200 deaths in 24 hours
The U.S. caseload has reached 1,000 according to the Associated Press and outbreaks on both sides of the country are stirring alarm. Dozens of cases are being tied to a conference in Boston
Italy has reached more than 10,000 infections and the death toll has risen to 631, mainly among among its aging population. Police there are enforcing rules that customers at businesses stay 3 feet apart.
Italy is weighing even tighter restrictions on daily life and has announced billions in financial relief to cushion economic shocks from the coronavirus. Italy's Civil Protection Agency confirmed Wednesday that nearly 200 people have died from the coronavirus in 24 hours, NBC News reported.
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said his government would put $25 billion euros (about $28.3 billion) towards the fight to contain the virus, triple the amount Conte announced just a week ago.
CDC to award more than $560 million to support COVID-19 response
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide resources to state and local jurisdictions in support of our nation's response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
On Wednesday, the CDC contacted State Health Officers to move forward with awarding over $560 million to states, localities, territories, and tribes.
"State and local health departments are on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are deeply grateful for their work," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "CDC is distributing this new funding extremely rapidly, as called for by Congress. President Trump, and his entire administration will continue working to ensure state and local jurisdictions have the resources they need to keep Americans safe and healthy."
Click here for a breakdown of where funds are headed.
"Our state, local, tribal and territorial public health partners are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The action we are taking today will continue to support their efforts to increase public health capacity where it's needed most," said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. "These funds will allow public health leaders to implement critical steps necessary to contain and mitigate spread of the virus in communities across the country."
Virus death at California senior home sparks quarantine
Seniors at a Northern California assisted living facility have been placed in a two-week quarantine after a resident — a woman in her 90s — died of the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.
Carlton Senior Living confirmed in a statement that a resident of its Elk Grove facility died at a hospital Tuesday. It said 140 residents would be isolated in their apartments.
The death comes in the wake of 19 deaths at a nursing home in Washington state. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee banned visitors at nursing homes in Washington. State officials are now working with 10 nursing facilities where residents or workers have tested positive.
Carlton said in a statement that it “immediately took action to elevate precautionary measures in efforts to prevent the spread to our communities." The company runs 13 assisted living facilities in Northern California.
Sacramento County health officials said they are investigating exposure to others at the Elk Grove facility and no visitors would be allowed at that home until there are no contagious residents.
In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed on Wednesday banned all gatherings of 1,000 or more people, including Golden State Warriors games, following the same decision by Santa Clara County. The mayor last week called off non-essential gatherings of 50 or more people at city-owned properties, such as City Hall, the convention center and performing arts centers.
Washington governor to ban crowds of 250 or more in the Seattle metro area
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is planning to ban crowds of 250 or more in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Mariners move home games out of Seattle thru end of March
The Mariners will move home games out of Seattle through end of March following the state of Washington's decision to ban large group events in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Seattle had been scheduled to open the season at T-Mobile Park with a four-game series against Texas from March 26-29, then host Minnesota in a three-game series from March 30 through April 1.
The Mariners say they are working with the commissioner's office on alternative plans.
World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
The World Health Organization has officially classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, saying it is "deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction."
Speaking in Geneva on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread of COVID-19 had reached the level of a pandemic, noting there are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries and 4,291 deaths.
"Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death," he said. "Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the thread posed by this coronavirus. It doesn't change what countries should do."
Of the 118,000 cases of COVID-19 reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90% of cases are in just four countries. Two of the four countries have significantly declining epidemics.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams reiterated that the classification does not meant the virus cannot be contained.
Quoting the WHO, he said ""If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of novel coronavirus cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.” Same true for U.S."
Speaker Pelosi to unveil coronavirus aid package for workers
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving swiftly toward House passage of a coronavirus aid package possibly this week.
It comes as Congress rebuffs President Donald Trump's proposed payroll tax break and focuses instead on sick pay and other resources to more immediately help workers hit by the crisis. Pelosi plans to unveil the measure Wednesday. Votes are possible Thursday.
Pelosi is in talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Pressure is mounting on Trump's administration and lawmakers to act to contain the virus and respond to the financial fallout. Democrats want low-cost virus testing, sick pay and other measures for workers struggling to keep paychecks coming as the outbreak disrupts workplaces.
Trump calls emergency meeting with top health officials
President Donald Trump cut a congressional hearing short Wednesday morning, calling top U.S. health officials away for an emergency meeting at the White House.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney opened the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing with news that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence called the witnesses at the hearing to the meeting. "We don't know the details, just that it's extremely urgent," she said.
The hearing was on the nation's response to the coronavirus outbreak. Among the speakers were Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CDC Director Robert Redfield, director the National Institute of Health's defense medical research and development program. All witnesses were asked to leave by 11:45 a.m. EDT.
A White House official later told reporters the meeting was scheduled yesterday as “part of the Administration’s ongoing whole-of-government response to the Coronavirus.”
Experts testify before Congress on U.S. response to outbreak
Several health officials are testifying before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on the nation's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
CDC director Robert Redfield said deaths in the U.S. have risen to 31, with cases exceeding 1,000.
U.S. lawmakers and health officials have set up containment zones and quarantine areas and sought to limit contact with those who might be infected. Governors and other leaders are scrambling to slow the spread of the virus, banning large gatherings, enforcing quarantines and calling National Guard troops in to help.
U.S. health officials are now telling doctors and nurses that surgical masks are OK to wear when treating patients who may be sick from the new coronavirus — a decision made in reaction to shortages of more protective respirator masks. The CDC decision was prompted by reports of dwindling supplies of respirators.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the committee that the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is going to get worse.
Fauci told the the House Oversight and Reform Committee in Washington on Wednesday that "I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now."
He says how much worse it gets depends on two things: the ability of U.S. authorities to curtail the influx of travelers who may be bringing the disease into the country and the ability of states and communities to contain local outbreaks in this country.
Asked if the worst is yet to come, Fauci said: "Yes, it is."
Tests show new coronavirus lives on some surfaces for up to 3 days
Tests led by U.S. government scientists show that the new coronavirus can live in the air for several hours and on some surfaces for up to three days.
Their work, published on Wednesday, suggests that the virus can spread through the air as well as from touching things that were contaminated by others who have it
Experts say it shows the importance of the hygiene steps health officials recommend, such as washing your hands and not touching your face. The virus can live up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
Canada to spend $730 million to fight virus
Canada is announcing $1 billion ($730 million) in funding to help health-care workers cope with the increasing number of new cases and to help Canadian workers who are forced to isolate themselves.
The money will help buy masks and other supplies for health-care workers as well as funding research for a vaccine.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is also loosening restrictions on employment insurance payments for people who are off work due to illness by waiving the waiting period for benefits. Trudeau says Canada has been fortunate so far. Canada had 93 confirmed cases and one death as of Wednesday morning.
Stocks fall again on Wall Street as wild swings continue
Stocks are falling sharply on Wall Street as fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak grip markets again.
Major indexes are off more than 3% Wednesday, and the Dow industrials were down 1,000 points at one point. European indexes were up slightly.
The Bank of England cut its key interest rate as an emergency measure in response to the outbreak of the virus, following similar moves by central banks in the U.S. and Canada.
he European Central Bank is likely to offer support on Thursday. Countries are shifting into damage-control as infections spread, prompting sweeping controls on travel and other public activities.
Tokyo Olympic head shoots down comments about delaying games
The president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee says he has received an apology from a board member who said the Olympics should be delayed a year to two because of the coronavirus.
Yoshiro Mori called a news conference to shoot down the comments. He says “there is no plan now to change our plans.” He was replying to comments form Haruyuki Takahashi reported in the Wall Street Journal. Mori says "I have spoken to Mr. Takahashi and he has apologized."
Mori said Takahashi was speaking for himself. The Tokyo Olympics are being threatened by the spreading coronavirus. Organizers and the IOC have repeatedly said the games will open on July 24 as planned.
Chicago cancels St. Patrick's Day Parade
Chicago has cancelled its St. Patrick's Day parade. The annual parade attracts hundreds of thousands of people and is one of the city's biggest events.
The parade was scheduled for Saturday, March 14 but the event's website now says the parade has been canceled.
Chicago has two other parades scheduled for Sunday: the South Side Irish Parade and the Northwest Side Irish Parade. As of Wednesday morning, these events have not been canceled.
The spread of the virus has affected St. Patrick's Day festivities worldwide, with Ireland canceling all St. Patrick's Day parades across the country due to concerns over the virus.
Harvard among college campuses emptying out
Colleges nationwide are shutting down campuses with plans to continue instruction online, leaving some students distressed over where to go and professors puzzled over how to run higher education in the time of coronavirus.
Dozens of colleges have canceled in-person classes temporarily or the balance of the semester.
Harvard undergraduates were told Tuesday to leave campus by Sunday and stay home until the end of the semester. The Associated Press reports the abrupt order drew outrage from students who are also juggling midterm exams, senior projects and daily classes.
With more campuses canceling classes by the day, the potential impact looms large into the spring for final exams, new student tours and graduation ceremonies.
3 TSA screeners test positive for coronavirus in San Jose
Three Transportation Security Administration screeners at San Jose International Airport in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to multiple reports.
The Department of Homeland Security reportedly said the officers are receiving medical care and all employees who came in contact with them over the past 14 days are quarantined at home.
Google instructs staff to work from home
Google's parent company Alphabet is asking all of its nearly 100,000 workers in North America to work from home through April 10, according to CNN. This part of an effort by the company to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.
"Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection of Alphabet and the broader community, we now recommend you work from home if your role allows," Chris Rackow, Google's vice president of global security, wrote in an email to employees.
The move follows a decision made by Apple on Sunday to encourage employees to work from home if their job allows.
Sunday Democratic debate to have no audience
The Democratic presidential debate Sunday in Phoenix between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will not have an audience, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez has announced.
There will also be no media, CNN said in a statement. The spin room and press filing center are being eliminated "at the request of the campaigns and out of an abundance of caution."
More than 250 passengers from Grand Princess cruise ship arrive in Georgia
More than 250 passengers who were on the Grand Princess cruise ship off of California arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base early Wednesday morning.
The passengers will be quarantined at the base for 14 days after being possibly exposed to the novel coronavirus on the cruise ship.
More than 3,000 people were kept on-board the ship, which was not permitted to dock in California after 21 people tested positive for coronavirus.
Washington state to ban large gatherings in Seattle area
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee will announce social distancing plans and new community strategies for Washington residents on Wednesday due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A source confirms to KING 5 News that Inslee will ban gatherings and events of more than 250 people in virtually the entire Seattle metro area to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The source who spoke anonymously about the decision said the ban would apply to King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, which are home to almost 4 million people. The person said the order would not prohibit the operation of workplaces and is not expected to include school closures.
Santa Clara County in California, home to San Jose and Silicon Valley, on Monday had banned all gatherings of 1,000 people or more.
At least 24 people have died in Washington state from COVID-19, most in the Seattle metro area. There are more than 260 confirmed cases in the state, most in the three counties that would be affected by Inslee’s new order.
Lawmakers resist Trump's payroll tax cut
President Donald Trump has pitched his proposed payroll tax break on Capitol Hill as pressure mounts on the administration and Congress to work more vigorously to contain the coronavirus outbreak and respond to the financial fallout.
Trump's economic team joined Tuesday in presenting the economic stimulus package privately to wary Senate Republicans. They've been cool to additional spending at this stage.
Democrats are preparing their own package of low-cost virus testing, unemployment insurance and sick pay for workers struggling to keep paychecks coming as the outbreak disrupts workplaces.
Coronavirus now in more than half of world's countries
Turkey has announced its first case of the new coronavirus.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said early Wednesday the case was a male patient who had returned from Europe. He would not provide more details on the patient, or say which country he had traveled to, citing the patient's right to privacy.
Koca said the patient was isolated and his family members and other people who had come into contact with him had been quarantined.
More than half the countries in the world now have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which for most people causes mild illness.