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
117 Posts
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8:58 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

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8:28 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

US confirms 64th coronavirus case. The person was a passenger on the Diamond Cruise ship

The US has confirmed its 64th coronavirus case.

The new case was reported Friday in Solano County, California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed with Solano County Public Health. 

The individual was a Travis Air Force Base evacuee and passenger of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, the county confirmed in a press release. 

Another Solano County resident and Travis Air Force Base evacuee also tested positive by Japanese testing. This case -- which would be the 65th in the US -- is pending confirmation from the CDC.

8:08 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Bill Gates pens op-ed saying coronavirus is a 'once-in-century pandemic'

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Hou Yu/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images/FILE
Hou Yu/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images/FILE

Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an op-ed in the New England Journal of Medicine calling the coronavirus a "once-in-a-century pandemic" and urged leaders to both "solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again."

We need to save lives now while also improving the way we respond to outbreaks in general," Gates wrote.

Gates went on to write that larger, more developed countries should help their own citizens in responding to pandemics, but also assist 'low- and middle-income countries" in preparing for them.

"By helping African and South Asian countries get ready now, we can save lives and slow the global circulation of the virus," Gates wrote.

7:59 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Port of Los Angeles estimates 25% decrease in volume due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Krecyte Villarreal and Sarah Moon

Mario Tama/Getty Images/FILE
Mario Tama/Getty Images/FILE

The Port of Los Angeles has canceled 40 vessel calls and estimated it has experienced a 25% drop in overall volumes this month, Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield told CNN.

The Port of Los Angeles is one of the world’s busiest seaports and the leading gateway for international trade in the Western Hemisphere, according to the port’s website.

The cancellations, which cover scheduled vessel calls between February 11 and April 1, represent about 25% of the port’s normal vessel calls during the time frame, Sanfield said.

The 25% decrease in overall volumes this month compared to February of last year is “largely due to coronavirus,” Sanfield said. He explained that trade war is a factor, but coronavirus is the main reason.

The port estimates an overall decrease for the first quarter of 2020 of about 15% compared to 2019, Sanfield added.

7:49 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

California public health laboratories receive coronavirus testing kits

From CNN's Sarah Moon

A file image of the California Department of Public Health laboratory in Richmond, California. This is not an actual test of a novel coronavirus specimen.
A file image of the California Department of Public Health laboratory in Richmond, California. This is not an actual test of a novel coronavirus specimen. CAPublicHealth

Coronavirus testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have arrived in California, the California Department of Public Health announced in a press release Friday.

The state will receive an additional shipment of testing kits to test up to 1,200 people, according to the press release.

“The availability to test at California’s public health laboratories is a significant step forward in our ability to respond rapidly to this evolving situation,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, CDPH director.

“As we face the likelihood of community transmission here in California, having this resource where we need it, is essential to better inform public health response and protect our communities," Angell said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the "new testing protocols and resources will help California medical experts identify and treat" coronavirus. It will also help trace potential exposures and better protect the public's health, he said.

 “I am grateful to the CDC and federal government for quickly heeding our state’s requests and assisting California’s response to this evolving situation,” Newsom added.

7:50 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Southeast Asian leaders meeting with President Trump postponed

From CNN's Jason Hoffman and Kevin Bohn 

The March 14 meeting between President Donald Trump and the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) in Las Vegas, Nevada, was postponed Friday, a senior administration official told CNN. Reuters first reported the postponement.

“As the international community works together to defeat the novel coronavirus, the United States, in consultation with ASEAN partners, has made the difficult decision to postpone the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Nations) leaders meeting previously scheduled for mid-March. The United States values our relationships with the nations of this critical region, and looks forward to future meetings,” a senior administration official told CNN.

Exact plans for the meeting had not been announced, but administration officials said they expected President Trump to attend and to have bilateral meetings while there.

7:20 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

The 63rd confirmed case of coronavirus in the US has 'evidence of community transmission,' medical officials say

From CNN’s Sarah Moon

Dr. Sara Cody
Dr. Sara Cody KRON

The 63rd case of coronavirus reported Friday in Santa Clara County, California, is the second US case of unknown origin, according to the county's public health department.

The individual diagnosed is an older adult woman with chronic health conditions who was hospitalized for a respiratory illness, the department said in a press release.

The woman's infectious disease physician contacted the health department to discuss the case and request testing for coronavirus. Since receiving the results Thursday night, the department has been working to identify contacts and understand the extent of exposures, the release said.

"This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission, but the extent is still not clear," said Dr. Sara Cody, the director of the county's health department. "I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease."
7:06 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

63rd case of coronavirus confirmed in US

From CNN’s Jon Passantino

A new confirmed case of the novel coronavirus was reported Friday in Santa Clara County, California, by the county’s public health department.

The new case is the third in the county.

There are now 63 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States.

7:15 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

A relative of a Washington school staff member tested negative for coronavirus after school closed

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Elaine Thompson/AP
Elaine Thompson/AP

A person who was under investigation for coronavirus in Snohomish County, Washington, has tested negative for the virus, according to a statement from the Snohomish Health District.

That person was in close contact with someone from Bothell High School, the statement said.

Bothell High School was closed Thursday and Friday for cleaning in response to a staff member’s relative being quarantined and tested for the virus.

The school's closing was "not necessary," according to public health officials with Seattle and King County but was done out of "an abundance of caution," the school district's superintendent said.