February 29 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Steve George and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 0204 GMT (1004 HKT) March 1, 2020
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4:12 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

10% of coronavirus cases in Lombardy involve medical personnel, Italian officials say

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo

A view outside of Cremona Hospital emergency in Cremona, Lombardy, Italy, on Saturday, February 29.
A view outside of Cremona Hospital emergency in Cremona, Lombardy, Italy, on Saturday, February 29. Carlo Cozzoli/Fotogramma/IPA/Abaca/Sipa USA

One in 10 confirmed coronavirus cases in Lombardy – the northern Italian region at the center of the country's outbreak – involve medical personnel, according to Paola Stringa, a spokesperson for Lombardy regional government.

Giulio Gallera, the welfare assessor in charge of regional healthcare in Lombardy, told reporters on Saturday that the Lombardy region is evaluating and following the advice of the World Health Organization, and deciding whether to dedicate an entire Hospital to coronavirus patients. 

“It’s important to preserve the well-being of medical personnel, which today represents the 10% of the infected,” Gallera said. 

4:12 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Senior administration official blames CDC director for Trump and Pence saying victim was woman

Asked about why President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence described the Washington patient who died from the novel coronavirus as a woman when in reality the patient was a man, a senior administration official placed the blame on the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Dr. (Robert) Redfield briefed the VP and POTUS after speaking with Washington State health officials that it was a woman. Washington State has since corrected," the official said.

CNN Health is reaching out to the CDC for reaction.

4:12 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Washington coronavirus patient who died was a man in his 50s, health officer says

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

The Washington patient who died from the novel coronavirus was a man in his 50s, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County, Washington, said during a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention news conference on Saturday.

This is the first death linked to the novel coronavirus in the United States. 

Duchin said county health officials were made aware of the case on Friday. The patient had underlying health conditions.

“It was a male,” Duchin said. “This case was reported to us yesterday from the Washington State Public Health Laboratories as a presumptive positive, confirmation pending.” 

President Trump and other health officials speaking at a White House press conference on Saturday said the person who died was a woman.

3:46 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Washington governor issues state of emergency in response to coronavirus cases

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a state of emergency in response to the new cases of coronavirus that were announced in the state late Friday night.

“This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state. Our state agency directors have been actively preparing since the nation’s first case appeared in Snohomish County. Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic,” Inslee said.

The proclamation directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything necessary to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from coronavirus, according to the emergency order.

3:52 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Trump and other officials urge Americans not to panic after first US coronavirus death

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks as National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listen, during a briefing about the coronavirus.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks as National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listen, during a briefing about the coronavirus. Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar say Americans should not panic in the wake of the first US death from coronavirus.

They noted that additional cases of coronavirus in the US are likely but that, for the average American, the risk is low.

"Healthy individuals should be able to fully recover, and we think that will be a statement that we can make with great surety now that we've gotten familiar with this problem," Trump said.

Azar added: “It's important to remember, for the vast majority of individuals who contract the novel coronavirus, they will experience mild to moderate symptoms, and their treatment will be to remain at home, treating their symptoms, the way they would a severe cold, or the flu.”

3:29 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Investigation into US coronavirus death suggests person became ill through community spread

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

The Washington woman who died from the novel coronavirus appears to have become ill through community spread, says Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The investigation at this time shows no evidence of link to travel or a known contact,” Redfield told reporters at the White House on Saturday.

Trump said there are now 22 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States. That number does not include individuals repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China, or from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Those cases have been counted separately by the CDC.

More from Washington: There are three new novel coronavirus cases in people who tested presumptive positive in Washington, health officials said during a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention news briefing on Saturday. This includes the first reported death, as well as the first reported case in a US health care worker and the first reported outbreak in a skilled nursing facility, according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

Two cases are associated with Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County, Washington. One case is in a health care worker, a woman in her 40s who is hospitalized in satisfactory condition. She had no relevant history of travel. The other case is a woman in her 70s who was a resident of the center. She is in serious condition in another hospital.

The death was not associated with a long-term care facility.

3:22 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Mike Bloomberg to speak about coronavirus in taped address Sunday

From CNN’s Caroline Kenny

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg will speak about the coronavirus in a taped address on Sunday night.  

The taped address, entitled "Leadership In Crisis," will air during commercial airtime on CBS and NBC at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET. 

Here are the full remarks he will deliver:

Good evening. I know this has been a very worrisome week for many Americans.

The Coronavirus is spreading, and the economy is taking a hit. Markets have fallen because of uncertainty.

At times like this it is the job of the President to reassure the public that he or she is taking all the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of every citizen. 

The public wants to know their leader is trained, informed and respected. When a problem arises, they want someone in charge who can marshal facts and expertise to confront the problem.

They want him or her to prepare for events like these in advance with teams of experts.

Communications must be honest and transparent, so people can be confident that professionals are in charge. Trust is essential.

Government’s resources must be focused and priorities clear and consistent.

Presidents have vast tools at their disposal — and they must be used effectively and decisively. This includes building strong, cooperative relationships with nations around the world to prevent and prepare for pandemics and other global emergencies that cross borders.

The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health must be given all of the resources necessary to do their job free of political interference.

Decisions must be based on data and must empower the doctors and scientists whose job it is to keep us safe. 

As the former mayor of New York City, I know it is critical that the federal government work in close partnership with state and local leaders who administer services and deploy first responders. That requires putting politics and partisanship aside.

I was first elected just weeks after the attack on 9/11 — a massive rebuilding, security and health challenge. In my 12 years in office I dealt with a hurricane, a blackout, attempted terror attacks, the West Nile virus and swine flu.

My method of leadership was to plan ahead before the problem arrived – we worked with hospitals and first responders to develop plans in advance, to improve communication and to invest in preparedness. 

Through the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, I understood the challenges hospitals and medical professionals face and we worked as a team to upgrade readiness. 

Each crisis is different, but they all require steady leadership, team building and preparation.

As Americans we have faced many challenges before, and we have overcome them together by looking out for one another — and I am confident that is how we will get through this one as well.

I’m Mike Bloomberg and I approve this message.

3:22 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Trump says coronavirus is no hoax

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Trump says his use of the word "hoax" does not refer to the coronavirus itself but to criticism of his administration's handling of the crisis.

Asked if he regretted calling the virus spread a hoax during a rally in South Carolina Friday night, Trump insisted that he didn’t.

 “Hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody,” Trump said of administration critics. “I’m not talking about what’s happening here, I’m talking about what they’re doing.”

Trump said the criticism was a “continuation of the hoax,” and mentioned the Russia investigation and his impeachment.

He then said he doesn’t like when his officials on the virus response are criticized.

“I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people and I don’t like it,” he said. “That’s the hoax I’m talking about.”

More on this: The President said at the rally in South Carolina Friday that Democrats are now "politicizing" the virus. "Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus," Trump said. "They have no clue, they can't even count their votes in Iowa."

"This is their new hoax," Trump added.

2:54 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Trump says the administration is considering other travel restrictions

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal and Nicky Robertson

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Trump said Saturday the administration was considering additional travel restrictions to deal with coronavirus. 

Asked if he was considering closing the southern border due to coronavirus, Trump said “yes” and later said “very strongly.” Later, he seemed to indicate he was walking it back.

“We are looking also at the southern border. In fact, some of the folks are here right now, Ken (Cuccinelli) is here some place, and yes, we are thinking about the southern border,” the President said. “We have received a lot of power over the southern border over the last couple of years from the courts but we are looking at that very strongly.”

When confronted with the fact that Mexico has far fewer cases than the US, Trump seemed to contradict himself.

“We're not talking about it,” Trump said. “We have to think all borders, we have to think about, as it pertain to what we're talking about here, this is not a border that seems to be much of a problem right now. We hope we won't have to do that.”