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

Former White House economist says coronavirus could "absolutely" spark US recession


Former White House economist Kevin Hassett told CNN this morning the coronavirus could “absolutely” spark recession if not contained.

He said that White House economist Peter Navarro is wrong that Apple is an anomaly in terms of taking a hit from the coronavirus. Many industries including airline and oil will also see hits.

Watch more:

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

California congressman says some members will be briefed again this afternoon on coronavirus

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Rep. John Garamendi, a Democratic member who represents the area between San Francisco and Sacramento, said today that briefers in the room this morning pushed back on the whistleblower complaint that public health officials were not properly trained or protected at March Air Force Base when they went to meet incoming travelers from China.

However, he said briefers could not answer a question about whether they believed the whistleblower was wrong about what occurred at Travis Air Force base. 

“The WB issue remains unresolved at least at Travis Air Force base,” Garamendi told reporters. “The WB complaint was raised by Mark Takano who represents March Air Force base. CDC said that protocols were followed at March. I asked if they were followed at Travis and they said ‘we will talk to you this afternoon’ and they will talk to us this afternoon."

Garamendi said some members will be briefed again this afternoon. He said he did not know who all would be invited to that briefing: It may just be more California members, but he said others may be invited as well. 

Garamendi said he is largely concerned about the fact that a patient who presented symptoms for days was not tested for coronavirus because of the protocols that had been established by CDC. He said it put health workers in the first facility in Vacaville, California at great risk and that 84 health workers at the first facility where the patient was have been sent home to self-monitor because of risk of exposure.

“They haven’t been tested yet because tests as of this morning were not available,” he said. “Those people quite possibly have been infected. Similarly, there are other hospitals in the Sacramento region whose personnel have been exposed.”

10:25 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Dow falls another 750 points at the open over coronavirus fears

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

US stocks tumbled once again on Friday, as coronavirus fears continue to mount.

Equities are on track for their worst week since the financial crisis.

The Dow opened 750 points, or 2.9% lower on Friday — its seventh-straight day in the red. The broader S&P 500 opened down 2.8%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 2.9%.

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.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, countries are scrambling to respond. Economists and investors are concerned about the outbreak's impact on economic growth and corporate earnings. Various American multinational companies, including Apple and Microsoft, have warned that they won't meet their earnings guidance because of disruptions from the virus.

9:44 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

How coronavirus is affecting daily life around the world

Coronavirus was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It's since spread to every continent except Antarctica.

CNN took a look at the outbreak's effects around the world — from Japan, where the Summer Olympics are due to take place this summer, to Italy, the site of Europe's largest outbreak.

Watch more:

10:41 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Do you have a question about coronavirus?

Ask it here — we'll be answering some of your questions through out the day.

9:22 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Nigeria says it's more than capable of dealing with coronavirus

From CNN's Stephanie Busari in Lagos

A person has their hands sanitized before entering a state hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 28.
A person has their hands sanitized before entering a state hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 28. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

The head of Nigeria’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the country is more than capable of dealing with coronavirus as Africa’s most populous nation records the first case in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Nigeria is ready,” Chikwe Ihekweazu said. “We successfully managed Ebola and we manage outbreaks all the time and are currently managing Lassa fever. We have a strong team that is used to doing this.”

Ihekweazu told CNN the Italian patient who arrived in the country with the virus is currently stable and “has mild to moderate symptoms.”

“We are very hopeful for his full recovery,” said Ihekweazu, an epidemiologist who was appointed CEO of the NCDC in 2016 and has been credited with transforming the organization.

According to Ihekweazu, the man was screened on arrival at the airport, however he presented no symptoms at the time, which is why the temperature scanners at the airport did not detect him.

“Screening is not a fool-proof method as the virus has an incubation period of four to five days,” he added.

Nigerian officials say the patient arrived in Lagos on Tuesday and became ill the next day, but physicians who examined him contacted the NCDC after asking him about his travel history.

“He had astute physicians,” Ihekweazu said. “The doctor got in touch with us when he found out he had just come from Milan, we collected a sample, tested it and isolated him in a facility in Lagos that manages infectious diseases.” 

Ihekweazu points to the speed with which Nigeria identified and confined the patient as a sign the country is prepared to deal with the outbreak.

“The system worked. We identified this case, diagnosed and isolated within 48 hours of it entering the country. In other countries like Iran and Italy for instance, by the time the first case had been confined, there was widespread contact.” 

He said the government is now racing to identify all the passengers on the plane and all the people he may have come in contact with the man who was working as a consultant in Ogun State, around 100 km outside of Lagos.

9:54 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

First British coronavirus death is a man from the Diamond Princess cruise ship

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo

Emergency workers in protective clothing exit the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier in Yokohama, Japan, on February 10.
Emergency workers in protective clothing exit the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier in Yokohama, Japan, on February 10. Carl Court/Getty Images

A British man who was aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from the novel coronavirus, according to Japan’s Health Ministry on Friday.

He is the first British citizen to die since the virus outbreak.

The man remained in Japan receiving treatment, as dozens more British passengers who were found not to have the virus were evacuated back to the UK.

There are now 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. 

10:11 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

How United Airlines is changing its flight schedule to Japan because of coronavirus fears

United Airlines announced today it will reduce flying to Japan amid coronavirus fears. They've also extended suspension of flights to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. 

Here are the specific flights affected:

  • Los Angeles to Tokyo canceled March 8 until April 24
  • Chicago to Tokyo canceled March 8 to March 27, then switches to Chicago to Haneda on March 28
  • Haneda schedule is not affected
  • Newark to Tokyo reduction to 5 times weekly for April (from daily)
  • Honolulu to Tokyo down-gauged from 777-200 to 787-8 for April
  • San Francisco to Kansai reduction to 5 times weekly in April (from daily)
  • San Francisco to Singapore reduction to 1 time daily for March 8 until April 24 (from 2 times daily)
  • San Francisco- to Incheon reduction to 3 times weekly for March 8 until April 30 (from 1 time daily in March and 2 times daily in April)
  • San Francisco to Taiwan down-gauged from 777-300 to 787-9 for March and April.
10:11 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

US whistleblower says workers without proper protection were scolded when they raised safety concerns

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Sam Fossum 

The Americans who allegedly took care of Wuhan evacuees without proper protective gear were "admonished" and "accused of not being team players" when they raised safety concerns, according to a whistleblower complaint about the incident.

US members of Congress have asked for more information on the complaint, which claimed American workers who helped Wuhan evacuees lacked proper training or protective gear. 

The House Ways and Means Committee has sent letters to US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the department's deputy inspector general, and the comptroller's office requesting more information about the complaint.

The letter to Azar includes a quote from the whistleblower complaint, which has been obtained by the Washington Post but not independently verified by CNN. 

Here's one of the sections of the letter that quotes the whistleblower:

"The report alleges that staff were sent into quarantined areas 'without personal protective equipment, training, or experience in managing public health emergencies, safety protocols, and the potential danger to both themselves and members of the public they come into contact with.' The whistleblower also reported that when staff raised safety concerns, they were 'admonished by [redacted] for 'decreasing staff morale,' accused of not being team players, and had their mental health and emotional stability questioned.'"