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
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12:20 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Brazil's stock market drops sharply on coronavirus fears

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Brazil’s Bovespa dropped 5% after Brazil's heath minister confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus today.

The patient is a 61-year-old Brazilian man who arrived in Sao Paulo after traveling to Italy. This is the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Latin America.

12:26 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Pakistan confirms first 2 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Sophia Saifi

Medical staff stand at the Pakistan-Iran border in Taftan, Pakistan, which was closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus in neighboring Iran, on Tuesday, February 25.
Medical staff stand at the Pakistan-Iran border in Taftan, Pakistan, which was closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus in neighboring Iran, on Tuesday, February 25. Arshad Butt/AP

The first two positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Pakistan have been confirmed, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said on his official Twitter account Wednesday.

Mirza Tweeted:

"I can confirm first two cases of corona virus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable. No need to panic, things are under control. I will hold press conf tomorrow on return from Taftan.”
12:17 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Events and sporting matches suspended in Northern Italy

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

The Duomo Square in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday, February 26.
The Duomo Square in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday, February 26. Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

The Italian government is banning all sporting matches and public events until next month in several regions of Northern Italy.

The new measures, approved last night, extends the urgent steps the government is taking for the containment of the coronavirus outbreak outside the exclusion zone. 

The decree bans all events and sport matches in public and private locations until March 1. 

The new extended measures will cover the regions of:

  • Emilia Romagna
  • Friuli Venezia Giulia
  • Lombardy
  • Veneto
  • Piedmont
  • Liguria

Additionally, the decree suspends educational trips in the entire country until March 15, and it introduces "smart working" which encourages Italians to work from home.

12:10 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Can pets catch coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Pets can catch coronaviruses — the group of virus the novel coronavirus belongs to — and the infections can become severe.

Sometimes the viruses can lead to deadly diseases. One can cause feline infectious peritonitis in cats and something called a pantropic canine coronavirus can infect cats and dogs, according to a 2011 study.

Cats can catch SARS, but none of the infected cats developed symptoms, according to the study. The feline coronavirus typically is asymptomatic, but can cause mild diarrhea. Feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, can cause flu-like symptoms for a cat, but can also be more serious for cats and can cause organ failure, but it is not contagious and will not spread from animal to animal or person to person.

Pantropic canine coronavirus that can impact cats and dogs can be fatal to dogs, studies show.

These particular dog and cat viruses don't seem to spread to humans.

12:04 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

CDC has confirmed 59 cases of novel coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

The US has now confirmed 59 cases of coronavirus, according to an update Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is an increase from the 57 reported Tuesday. The newly confirmed cases are all among passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The current total breaks down to 42 passengers who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, three people repatriated from China and 14 US cases.    

These are the states with confirmed cases:

  • Eight in California
  • One in Massachusetts
  • One in Washington state
  • One in Arizona
  • Two in Illinois
  • One in Wisconsin 
12:08 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

The US has a stockpile of masks, health secretary says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Alison Main

Susan Walsh/AP
Susan Walsh/AP

The US has more masks in the national stockpile than the 30 million Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described yesterday, he told members of the House Appropriations Committee today.

Azar gave the 30 million number when talking to the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday.

Today he clarified it like this:

"We have 30 million surgical masks. Those would be the gauze tied behind the ear-type masks meant to really protect people from the healthcare workers spreading. We have 12 million N95 NIOSH-certified masks in the stockpile and we have about 5 million N95 masks that I believe may have expired, they're no longer NIOSH-certified.”  

Azar did not go into detail about what an expired mask means, or whether it can still be used. NIOSH refers to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Azar explained that N95 masks are “mostly for health care workers.” 

When asked if the public should access N95 masks, Azar said, "No no, we do not recommend that. We do not recommend that, no,” adding the best defense is basic public health hygiene — washing hands for an extended period of time, not touching your face and coughing into your elbow.

Still, he said the stockpile is not enough. “What we have talked about is approximately 300 million additional N95 masks from the emergency supplemental," Azar said.

11:41 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Trump administration stands by its coronavirus funding request

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond, Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly

The White House and Senate Democrats are at least $6 billion apart when it comes to determining how much funding the federal government needs to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

Soon after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed an $8.5 billion package, a senior Trump administration official told CNN that the administration is “very confident” that its request for $1.25 billion in new emergency funds as part of a $2.5 billion total package will be sufficient to fund the US's coronavirus response.

The official rejected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's $8.5 billion counter and punched back at Democrats who are calling for significantly higher funding levels to respond to coronavirus.

"The Democrats, as predictable, they try to hop onto a crisis to see if there's a way they can make it a Christmas tree," the official said. "We are very confident that our $2.5 billion request is going to be what we need."

 The official said the administration's request "was carefully developed based on current and expected expenditures and will fully fund our robust all-of-government response to coronavirus. We’ll continue working with Congress to get this done."

Remember: It's not just Democrats who are saying the Trump administration's funding request is insufficient. Even Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Tuesday that he worried that administration was "lowballing" the request.

 And it's possible that pressure will soon come to bear on the administration.

Capitol Hill sources told CNN that the Trump administration has already indicated that they know they will need more money down the line than initially requested. One Republican Senate aide said that while it is true the administration can ask for money whenever they want, the official said it was a strategic mistake for the Trump administration to not ask for a number closer to the Obama administration’s Ebola funding request.

 “The naïve thing the administration was thinking was they can ask for what they want now and can come back later,” the source said.
11:44 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

How is the coronavirus spread?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed for the Wuhan coronavirus, but experts are now trying to understand who is transmitting it most, who is at most risk and whether transmission is occurring mostly in hospitals or in the community.

When it comes to human-to-human transmission of the viruses, often it happens when someone comes into contact with an infected person's secretions, such as droplets in a cough. 

Depending on how virulent the virus is, a cough, sneeze or handshake could cause exposure. The virus can also be transmitted by touching something an infected person has touched and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Caregivers can sometimes be exposed by handling a patient's waste, according to the CDC.

11:29 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

How can I protect myself from coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

While there is no cure or vaccine available for the novel coronavirus, there are still measures you can take to help protect your health.

Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state, recommends that you do "what you do every cold and flu season."

You can reduce your risk of infection by...

  • Avoiding those who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds