February 26 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Rachel Bowman, CNN

Updated 9:23 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020
14 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:56 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

US could see a similar death rate to China if the virus spreads, says top infectious diseases doctor

From CNN's Ben Tinker

Anthony Fauci in the White House Briefing Room on January 31 in Washington, DC.
Anthony Fauci in the White House Briefing Room on January 31 in Washington, DC. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN the US needed more resources to fight the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected 53 people in the US.

“We’ve had a pandemic preparedness plan that we really developed in preparation for pandemic influenza, that we can extrapolate to this. We certainly need more resources, and that’s what you heard today with the supplemental request. Because we can only go a certain way with the resources we have,” Fauci said.

Death rate: Fauci added that the fatality rate of the outbreak could reach the same levels in the US as in China because there is no vaccine or cure available.

"I mean, the people who are dying who require intensive care, for example in an intensive care unit -- maybe even intubation for respiratory assistance in breathing -- the Chinese have that. They have a pretty good system, and yet you’re still seeing the 2% mortality. So it isn’t a question of, ‘they don’t have as good care as we have.’ So if, in fact, we do get a pandemic that does impact us in this country, I think you’re going to see comparable types of morbidity and mortality," he said.
8:15 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

South Korea is sending more doctors to Daegu, the heart of its coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Hyoungjoo Choi in Seoul

People buy face masks at a retail store in Daegu on February 25.
People buy face masks at a retail store in Daegu on February 25. Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

Data suggests the speed of the novel coronavirus' transmission may be faster than previous coronaviruses, according to a South Korean health official.

Kim Gang-lip, deputy head of the Central Disaster Relief Headquarters, said today the agency was sending additional medical staff to Daegu, the southern city at the heart of the national outbreak. As of today, 205 doctors and nurses have volunteered to work in Daegu.

More than half of all cases nationwide are linked to the Shincheonji religious group, and more than 84% of all cases in Daegu are Shincheonji members, said the city mayor.

Tests on about 1,300 members of the group are expected to be completed today, Kim said.

Other measures include closing all childcare centers until March 8, and analyzing data and research from international health organizations.

11:22 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

What is a pandemic?

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals.
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals. NIH NIAID-RML

The coronavirus outbreak has turned a spotlight on the science of disease, raising the question: What exactly is a pandemic?

  • An outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases in excess of what's normally expected, according to the World Health Organization.
  • An epidemic is more than a normal number of cases of an illness, specific health-related behavior or other health-related events in a community or region.
  • A pandemic is defined as the "worldwide spread" of a new disease.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this month that there is no actual scientific, definitive definition of what constitutes a pandemic.

He added that there could be arguments on either side as to whether the coronavirus outbreak could be described as a pandemic.

What the WHO says: In general, the WHO avoids declaring public health situations that are not flu pandemics as pandemics.

"We're in a phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic," said Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme.
"Let's focus on what we can do and what we need to do, which is prepare. When we mean prepare, we mean prepare to detect cases, prepare to treat cases, prepare to follow contacts, prepare to put in place adequate containment measures."
8:12 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

11 coronavirus cases confirmed in Kuwait

From CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq

Two more coronavirus cases were confirmed in Kuwait yesterday, bringing the nationwide total to 11 cases, according to state-run news agency KUNA, citing the country's health ministry.

The two patients are related through recent travel to Iran and both are in stable condition, KUNA said in its report.

Kuwait evacuated 800 Kuwaiti citizens from Iran on Sunday citing “a coronavirus outbreak," KUNA reported.

Iran outbreak: There are now 96 coronavirus cases and 15 deaths in Iran. Nearby countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey have halted travel to Iran and implemented restrictions on travelers from the country.

8:15 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Hong Kong announces $15 billion relief package to help save its slumping economy

From CNN's Michelle Toh and Eric Cheung

Hong Kong financial secretary Paul Chan.
Hong Kong financial secretary Paul Chan. Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

The Hong Kong government has announced a dramatic economic relief package worth 120 billion Hong Kong dollars ($15.4 billion).

Financial secretary Paul Chan said in a budget speech Wednesday that all permanent residents in the city will receive 10,000 Hong Kong dollars ($1,280) to boost local consumption and counter the fallout from the slumping economy.

Handout plan: "The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has dealt a severe blow to economic activities and sentiment in Hong Kong,” Chan told the city's legislature. “I have decided to implement counter-cyclical measures of a massive scale involving above HK$120 billion so as to meet the public’s expectations as far as possible.”

The handouts will cost about 71 billion Hong Kong dollars ($9.1 billion) in total, and are expected to benefit around 7 million people. The government said it would announce details of the scheme soon after obtaining funding approval from local lawmakers.

A hard year for Hong Kong: Chan said that the economic environment was “austere” in 2019, due to a series of factors including the US-China trade conflict and the slowing global economy.

“To sum up, Hong Kong’s economy is facing enormous challenges this year. The outlook is far from promising in the near term,” he said.

The financial secretary warned that a record high deficit will be recorded next year, but also noted that he believes Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remained solid in the long term.

“Although the impact of the epidemic on our economy in the near term could possibly be greater than that of the SARS outbreak in 2003, and the labor market is also subject to significant pressure, Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remain solid and therefore our core competitiveness will not be shaken. The economy of Hong Kong should be able to recover once the epidemic is over.”
8:15 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Chevron tells employees at London office to work from home as worker is tested for coronavirus

From CNN's Matt Egan

Chevron told workers at its London office to work from home yesterday after an employee experiencing flu-like symptoms was tested for coronavirus, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

As a cautionary measure, employees at the office, located in London's Canary Wharf business hub, have been told to work remotely until test results are known, the person said. There is no known coronavirus outbreak in the office.

The Westferry Circus office is home to several hundred Chevron employees, including commodity traders, shipping experts and lawyers.

"Chevron continues to monitor the situation very closely, utilizing the guidance of international and local health authorities," the company said in a statement. "Our primary concern is the health and safety of our employees and we are taking precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure."
10:26 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

American with coronavirus being transferred from California to Nebraska

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian and Swetha Sharma

A plane carrying American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arriving at Travis Air Force Base in California on February 16.
A plane carrying American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arriving at Travis Air Force Base in California on February 16. Brittany Hosea-Small/AFP via Getty Images

An American coronavirus patient who was evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship is being transferred to Nebraska from Travis Air Force Base in California, according to a statement from Nebraska Medicine. The person is the spouse of another Diamond Princess evacuee, who arrived in Omaha for monitoring and treatment last week. 

This patient is scheduled to arrive at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield tonight local time.

Their arrival brings the total number of people monitored at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to 15, according to the statement. Thirteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus while two people remain negative.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 53 cases of coronavirus in the US.

8:15 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Only 5 new cases recorded in China outside of outbreak epicenter, official figures show

From CNN’s Shanshan Wang in Beijing and Jaide Garcia in Atlanta

A security guard checks the temperature of customers at the entrance of an Apple store in Shanghai on February 25.
A security guard checks the temperature of customers at the entrance of an Apple store in Shanghai on February 25. Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

China's National Health Commission reported 406 new cases of the virus today, of which only five were outside Hubei province -- ground zero for the outbreak.

There are now 78,064 confirmed cases in mainland China, and 80,970 globally.

In China, 29,745 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital, according to the NHC.

No deaths outside Hubei: Mainland China also reported another 52 deaths related to the novel coronvirus, all in Hubei province.

That brings the nationwide death toll to 2,715.

A total of 48 people outside mainland China have died from the virus, making the global death toll 2,763.

Here's the global death toll:

  • China: 2,715
  • Iran: 15
  • South Korea: 12
  • Italy: 11
  • Japan: 5
  • Hong Kong: 2
  • The Philippines: 1
  • France: 1
  • Taiwan: 1
8:12 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Number of coronavirus cases in Hong Kong rises to 85

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Hong Kong confirmed one new case of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the city's tally to 85, according to a government statement. 

The patient is a 60-year-old woman who has no recent travel history. She developed a cough on February 12 and consulted a private doctor several times before she was admitted to hospital on February 24. She is currently isolated and in a stable condition.

"According to our preliminary epidemiological investigations, some of the confirmed cases are locally infected. The (Center for Health Protection) strongly urged the public to maintain at all times strict personal and environmental hygiene," a CHP spokesperson said.