February 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ben Westcott, Eliza Mackintosh, Fernando Alfonso III, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2:36 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020
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4:11 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Trump administration may use 1950 wartime law to expand mask production

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Signs detailing the Center for Disease Control's advice for combatting Coronavirus are displayed above facemasks at a Manhattan hardware store in New York City on February 26.
Signs detailing the Center for Disease Control's advice for combatting Coronavirus are displayed above facemasks at a Manhattan hardware store in New York City on February 26.  Scott Heins/Getty Images

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.

4:51 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Why the latest California coronavirus patient wasn't initially tested for the virus

From CNN's Stella Chan

 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.

4:17 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

California is monitoring more than 8,400 people who traveled from places "of concern"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Chief Probation Officers of California Conference in Sacramento, California, on February 26.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Chief Probation Officers of California Conference in Sacramento, California, on February 26. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

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.

2:54 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Are you immune to the coronavirus after having it?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

STR/AFP/Getty Images
STR/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Celine Gounder, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at NYU School of Medicine, spoke with CNN this afternoon about the coronavirus and whether people can become immune to it.

"Common cold coronaviruses, you don't actually have immunity that lasts for very long, and so we don't know the answer with this specific coronavirus. If you recover, are you immune, and if you are immune, how long does that last? And that's actually going to be one of the challenges with designing a vaccine is how do you actually cause the immunity to last long enough to protect you," Gounder said.

How to protect yourself: In general, the public should do "what you do every cold and flu season," said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state -- where the first US case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed.

That includes washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (or 1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.

If you're the one feeling sick, cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. But don't use your hands. Use either your bent elbow or a tissue that you throw away immediately afterward.

Listen to Dr. Gounder explain:

2:50 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

What supplies should I buy?

Your coronavirus questions, answered


Dr. Celine Gounder, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the NYU School of Medicine, urged Americans to have plenty of hand sanitizer and a healthy supply of medications on hand as coronavirus fears grow.

"I would definitely have some alcohol-based hand sanitizer above 60% alcohol content. You want to have it in your purse, in your backpack all over the place," Gounder said on CNN today.

She said the first thing you should do when you come home from school or work is to use that.

Gounder also advises that you stock up on ibuprofen, Tylenol, or any prescription medications. For a lot of these products, either the ingredients that are used to make medications or the medications themselves are from China, so call your doctor if you are on prescription medications, and ask them for a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day. And make sure you have refills. 

"Have that stuff on hand. There may be some disruptions in supply as well as getting into your doctor's office," Gounder said.

Hear her answer:

2:28 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

First coronavirus case reported in Northern Ireland

From Peter Taggart in Dublin.

Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the region, according to a statement.

“Testing of a patient in Northern Ireland has resulted in a presumptive positive test for coronavirus (COVID-19)”, the statement read.

The statement does not give any more details about the patient’s nationality or how this person got infected. 

“The patient is receiving specialist care and Public Health Agency personnel are working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient had, with the aim of preventing further spread," the statement said.
2:23 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Can household cleaning products kill coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Household disinfectants are thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus. Cleaning products like Lysol and Clorox list the human coronavirus as one of the 99.9% of bacteria it can kill.

However, it's important to note that human coronaviruses are different than the novel coronavirus we are seeing now. This is a new virus and there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments that specifically target it.

Lysol's products have been proven effective in protecting against the other human coronaviruses — so they're thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus, too, said Saskia Popescu, a senior infection prevention epidemiologist in Phoenix, Arizona.

2:09 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Business travel could plunge because of coronavirus

From CNN Business' Chris Isidore

Business travel could fall by more than a third during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a survey by an industry trade group. Most businesses surveyed said they are pulling back on at least some of their travel due to the virus.

The Global Business Travel Association estimates that business spending on travel could fall by about $1.5 billion a day. That equates to $560 billion on an annual basis, or about 37% of industry spending.

It said a survey of 401 companies found nearly two-thirds reported that they had canceled at least some already scheduled meetings, events or conferences due to concerns about the conferences.

Most of the canceled trips are to China, Hong Kong or other locations in the Asia-Pacific region. About a third of the companies surveyed have already canceled trips to Europe as well.

So far travel to North and South America has seen the least cancellations.

2:01 p.m. ET, February 27, 2020

There are now 650 coronavirus cases in Italy

 From CNN’s Hada Messia in Rome

The Head of Italian Civil Protection Angelo Borelli said 650 people have tested positive for Coronavirus in Italy.  

Referring to the new figures, Borelli said that the sudden raise in numbers was because the Lombardy region did not properly update the Italian Civil Protection Agency.

"The big jump from yesterday (Wednesday) is because yesterday we didn’t have the latest numbers from Lombardy," he said.

The Italian official added that 35,000 masks have been sent to the affected areas.

Earlier today, the Italian Civil Protection agency said the total number of cases was 528.