February 28 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Angela Dewan, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 0208 GMT (1008 HKT) February 29, 2020
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12:26 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

3 Italian soccer players test positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Mia Alberti

The US Pianese, a soccer club in the Italian region of Tuscany, has confirmed that three of its players plus one of its staff members have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement.

The club has not released the names for the four patients.

The first case, a football player, was assisted by the team’s doctor after showing symptoms such as fever and headache on Saturday, and was later transferred to Siena’s Hospital, the statement says. 

After that, the team “followed the instructions of the Ministry of Health” and the staff was put on quarantine and underwent a swab test.

The results revealed that three more people tested positive: two football players who are asymptomatic and quarantined in their own homes, and a collaborator who was taken to Siena’s hospital by ambulance after spending Thursday night with a high fever.

“As of now, every player, technical staff and managers present at the events of last weekend are in a 15-day fiduciary quarantine, in their own homes, and no one is showing symptoms of the COVID-19”, the club stated on Facebook.

US Pianese’s President, Maurizio Sani, has also put himself on quarantine voluntarily, the statement added.

12:24 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Both Illinois coronavirus patients have fully recovered, governor says

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Both US novel coronavirus patients from Illinois have fully recovered and returned home, Gov. J. B. Pritzker said at a press conference Friday morning.

The state is taking several precautionary measures in the coming weeks, Pritzker says. Illinois is one of a few states able to test for coronavirus, next week it will be expanding to two additional testing labs outside of Cook County; one in central Illinois and one in southern Illinois, Pritzker said. This is a "cautionary measure" to respond to any potential cases, Pritzker said.

Voluntary testing will also be available in select hospitals in the state, according to Pritzker.

The best thing the general public can do is "continue with the same precautions that you take during flu season," Pritzker said.

12:00 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

What it means for coronavirus outbreak to be at the WHO's "highest level of alert"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The coronavirus outbreak has reached the “highest level” of risk for the world, the World Health Organization announced today.

“This thing can go in any direction. We’re not undermining the risk, it’s there. That’s why today we said the global risk is very high. We increased it from high to very high,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said during a press briefing in Geneva on Friday. 

Remember: That risk assessment makes no “legal difference” in how countries should prepare for the outbreak, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said during today's press briefing.

Rather, “raising the risk to very high is essentially reflecting what’s actually happening at a global level,” Ryan said, adding that this is a “reality check” for governments to prepare. 

“We are on the highest level of alert, on the highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact, but that is not in order to alarm or scare people,” Ryan said. “We can avoid the worst of this but our level of concern is at its highest.”

11:54 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

There are 61 cases of coronavirus in the US now

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

There are now 61 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, according to an update today by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These include...

  • 43 people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship
  • 3 people repatriated from China
  • 15 US cases

A total of 285 individuals from the Diamond Princess are currently under quarantine in the United States, according to the update.

The 15 US cases include nine in California, one in Massachusetts, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, two in Illinois and one in Wisconsin. Among these cases, there are two instances of person-to-person transmission, one in Illinois and one in California. 

The latest case in California did not have any relevant travel history or known contact with another infected person, suggesting it could be the first instance of "community spread" of the virus in the United States, according to health officials.

11:52 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

World Health Organization says drug manufacturers affected by coronavirus are starting to come back online

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

The World Health Organization has been monitoring the impact of the novel coronavirus on the global supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, said today during a press briefing, and it is concerned.

“We do believe, though, with the decreasing incidence in China, that many companies who do produce these APIs are beginning to come back online,” Ryan said.

“So while there is a big slump in supply, we believe that’s being switched on again. We continue to monitor that.”

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday the country’s first novel coronavirus-related drug shortage. The maker of an unnamed drug that has recently been added to the FDA Drug Shortages list told the agency that the shortage is due to the novel coronavirus. Earlier in the week, the agency said it had identified 20 drugs that either solely sourced their active pharmaceutical ingredients, or produced finished drug products, from or in China.

11:08 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

The market plunged this week — but Clorox stocks are up

From CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn

Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Cleaning goods companies are stepping up production to meet demand as fears of coronavirus intensifies.

"We are taking up inventory levels [to] be prepared for the potential increase in demand for some of our bleach products," Clorox chief financial officer Kevin Jacobsen said on a call with analysts earlier this month. Clorox is one of four S&P 500 stocks to rise this week as the rest of the market has plunged.

Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Dettol and Lysol said it was investing in its supply chain to be able to prevent shortages. 

"We're continuing to make capacity investments to ensure that we don't run out at the peak for some of these products that we have that, frankly, consumers demand and we can't fulfill," said CEO Laxman Narasimhan.

The best way to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus is washing your hands — thoroughly — with soap and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More on the markets: The Dow dropped 3,226 points in the first four days of the week, including its worst one-day point drop in history on Thursday. All three major indexes are on track for their worst week since October 2008.

10:50 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

More than 20 coronavirus vaccines are in development around the world, WHO says

From CNN Health’s Jacqueline Howard

There are dozens of coronavirus vaccines in development and being studied across the globe, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said during a press briefing in Geneva on Friday.

Tedros said that work is “progressing” on the development of vaccines and therapeutics.

“More than 20 vaccines are in development globally, and several therapeutics are in clinical trials. We expect the first results in a few weeks,” Tedros said.

In the meantime, Tedros added that to protect yourself from illness make sure to wash your hands and clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant, among other healthy habits.

10:37 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

World Health Organization says risk of coronavirus spread is "very high at a global level"

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO epidemiologists have been monitoring developments in global coronavirus cases and “we have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of Covid-19 to very high at a global level.”

Most cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus can still be traced to known contacts or clusters of cases, he said, and WHO does not see evidence as of yet that the virus is spreading freely.

“As long as that’s the case, we still have a chance of containing this virus,” Tedros said.
10:40 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

How can I prepare for coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

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.

While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend N95 respirator masks for the general public, it does recommend them for health care workers.

But certain types of facial hair can prevent respirators from working effectively. So, the CDC created an infographic showing which styles of facial hair are riskier than others.