February 27 coronavirus news
The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a simple message for Americans: No, you shouldn't be afraid.
During a House Foreign Affairs hearing, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan asked CDC Director Robert Redfield a number of rapid-fire questions about what Americans should do as coronavirus spreads.
Houlahan said she wanted to ask simple questions, “for the human beings who are at home, for my kids, my family members, my community.”
Redfield's answers were equally simple.
Here's the full exchange:
Houlahan: Should people be afraid?
Houlahan: Should people engage in regular handwashing and coughing into their sleeves?
Houlahan: Should people be stocking up on cleaning supplies?
Houlahan: Should people be stocking up on prescription medicines that they have?
Redfield: Not at this time.
Houlahan: Should people be stocking up on food supply?
Redfield: Not at this time.
Houlahan: Should you wear a mask if you are healthy?
Houlahan: Is there a website where people can go to access good information about these questions?
Redfield: Yes, absolutely, CDC.gov.
When asked if Houlahan missed anything, Redfield took the time to add: “We need to make sure those N95 masks are available for the doctors and nurses that are going to be taking care of individuals that have this illness. And it really does displease me, to find people going out, there is no role for these masks in the community.”
The coronavirus outbreak is continuing to spread across the globe.
As of 3:30 p.m. ET, there are more than 82,000 cases in 51 countries and regions. Cases have been reported in every continent except Antartica.
If you're just tuning in, here are the latest developments as officials attempt to contain the virus:
- The latest numbers: There are more than 82,000 cases around the world, including 2,808 deaths. The vast majority of these are in mainland China, which has reported 78,497 cases and 2,744 deaths.
- Saudi Arabia bans some pilgrimages: Saudi Arabia has suspended pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina for people outside the country over coronavirus fears. For context, a wholesale temporary ban on foreign visits to the holy sites is a first in living memory.
- More cases in Italy — and beyond: At least 650 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Italy, officials said. Across Europe, at least 11 countries now have confirmed cases of coronavirus, some of which have been traced back to the Italy outbreak.
- The worst week for stocks since financial crisis? US stocks faced another sharp selloff today as worries about coronavirus mounted. Both the Dow and the S&P are on track for their worst week since the fall of 2008, the midst of the financial crisis.
Life around Italy's coronavirus 'red zone':
Scott Minerd managed money during the 2008 financial crisis and the bursting of the dotcom bubble. But the influential investor said he fears the coronavirus outbreak impact could exceed those events.
"This is possibly the worst thing I've seen in my career," Minerd, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, told Bloomberg TV today.
Pointing to the spike in cases in South Korea and Italy, Minerd said the outbreak has the potential to "reel into something extremely serious."
"It's very hard to imagine a scenario where you could actually contain this thing. That's the thing that is very frightening," Minerd told Bloomberg.
Some context: The S&P 500 plunged into a correction today, signifying a 10% decline from previous highs. All three indexes are on track for their worst weekly percentage drops since October 2008 — and Minerd warned stocks could plunge further if the outbreak isn't contained.
US stocks sold off sharply again today, with all three major stock indexes falling more than 10% from their most recent high, otherwise known as a correction. Investors continued to fret about the fallout from the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow closed down 1,191 points, or 4.4% – the worst one-day point drop in history. The index has now lost 3,226 points this week.
The S&P 500 also finished down 4.4% and closed below 3,000 points. It was its worst one-day percentage drop since August 2011.
It was the sixth-straight day of losses for the Dow and the S&P.
The Nasdaq Composite closed 4.6% lower.
All three indexes are on track for their worst weekly percentage drops since October 2008.
Anderson Cooper is joined by Dr. Alok Patel around 5 p.m. ET to answer your coronavirus questions live.
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The Ministry of Health for the Netherlands has confirmed that one person has tested positive to coronavirus, marking the country’s first confirmed case.
“The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been found in a patient in the Netherlands. This was established today with lab work,” the Health Ministry said Thursday in a statement.
According to the Health Ministry, the individual in question had recently been in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy; Italy’s Health Ministry confirmed Thursday that a total of 403 individuals have tested positive to the virus in Lombardy, while 14 people have so far died in the northern Italian region.
“The patient, who was recently in the Lombardy region, is in isolation,” the Dutch Health Ministry added, confirming that health authorities are looking into the patient’s recent contacts.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Thursday that he is in close contact with Dutch Minister for Medical Care Bruno Bruins, adding via Twitter that “all efforts have been made to prepare” the Netherlands for a Coronavirus outbreak.
The Trump administration is considering using a 1950 wartime law to expand the production of masks and protective gear to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to an administration official.
Officials are weighing whether to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would allow the administration to expand the manufacture of products deemed necessary for national security.
Trump administration officials have said they would need a bigger stockpile of masks to prevent the spread of the virus. There have been internal discussions about using the law to require companies to scale up the production of medical masks and other wearable equipment.
No decisions have been made yet, though officials have testified publicly about the shortage of available N95 masks.
The Defense Production Act was first passed in 1950 as a response to the Korean War.
Reuters first reported that use of the act is currently under consideration.
A resident of Solano County, California, who might be the first example in the US of "community spread," is now being treated at UC Davis.
Before she was moved, she spent 3 days at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital. A statement from that hospital said she was not immediately given a coronavirus test because she didn't "fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19."
Her condition worsened, and she was transferred to UC Davis via ambulance, according to the release.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said today that the state is taking necessary precautions with people who traveled recently due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have a number of other flights including the most recent at Travis AFB in Solano County. Over 800 people have come in on those flights, but that’s a small part of the overall picture. Thousands and thousands of other people have come in on more traditional flights through the state of CA. Some 8,400-plus are currently being monitored with 49 local jurisdictions doing those protocols and monitoring as it relates to more traditional commercial flights that came in from points of concern and potential points of contact particularly in Asia," Newsom said.
Dr. Sonia Angell, a California Department of Public Health Director and State Health officer, said of a Solano County resident who tested positive for novel coronavirus, “This case marks a turning point."
The patient, who officials referred to as a “she” or “her” in a press conference this morning, said she is now in care in Sacramento County and has no travel history and no known exposure to coronavirus.