March 5 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, James Griffiths, Adam Renton and Emma Reynolds, CNN

Updated 9:36 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020
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2:09 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

Italy confirms 41 more deaths from coronavirus

From CNN’s Ben Wedeman Hada Messia in Milan and Mia Alberti in London.

A deserted Piazza Duomo in Milan, Italy, on March 5, 2020.
A deserted Piazza Duomo in Milan, Italy, on March 5, 2020. Piero Cruciatti/AFP/Getty Images

Italy’s Civil Protection Agency has announced that 41 additional people have died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 148.

Angelo Borrelli, head of the Italian Civil Protection Agency, said Thursday that those who had died were between the ages of 66 and 99 years-old; most were in “frail conditions” and had underlying health problems, Borrelli added.

According to Borrelli, the number of those who have so far recovered from the virus has risen from 276 confirmed recoveries – as reported on Wednesday – to 414. Currently, 1790 patients remain in hospital, 351 individuals are in intensive care, and 1155 are in self-isolation.

1:26 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

Brazil confirms its 4th coronavirus case

From CNN’s Flora Charner and Sharif Paget

Brazil’s Health Ministry confirmed its fourth case of novel coronavirus today, a 13-year-old girl who arrived from Italy, according to a statement.

The teenager did not show any symptoms after returning to Brazil from Italy on March 1, health officials said.

Italy has confirmed more than 3,000 cases of novel coronavirus and over 100 people have died after testing positive for it. 

The 13-year-old will remain in her home where she will be monitored by Sao Paulo’s state health department, Brazilian health officials said. The same protocol applies to anyone she’s had close contact with.

2:20 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

Doctor issues stark warning to Congress: "Don’t just get up there and say this is a flu"

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

Dr. Peter Hotez, founding dean and chief of the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine, speaks during a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 2020. 
Dr. Peter Hotez, founding dean and chief of the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine, speaks during a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 2020.  Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, warned members of Congress Thursday against minimizing the risks of novel coronavirus in the United States, calling it “the angel of death for older individuals.”

During the House Committee on House Science, Space and Technology, Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas asked what advice he could take home to the public to not prevent panic and instill reasonable steps to avoid spread.

“In an attempt to calm public fears, you’re hearing things like it’s a mild illness, this is like flu. It’s not really the case because this is an unusual virus. For many young people, especially, it is a mild illness, but we’re seeing some devastating things,” Hotez responded.

Hotez said he’s particularly concerned about first responders, health care workers and nursing homes, saying that when the virus entered the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, it “rolled through it like a train” and led to several deaths.

“This is like the angel of death for older individuals. We need to go back and support all of our nursing home — I don’t know what we’re doing wrong,” Hotez said. “Clearly that nursing home was not prepared for this, and I’m going to guess nursing homes across Oklahoma are not prepared, as well."

“Don’t just get up there and say this is a flu, this is a mild illness," he added. "One, it’s not true and people in Oklahoma are pretty smart and will figure that out pretty quickly. Second, explain what the risks are … and here are the steps that we’re doing to mitigate that.”

1:10 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

First coronavirus-related death in the United Kingdom confirmed

From CNN's Nada Bashir

A patient who had tested positive for coronavirus in the United Kingdom has died, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust confirmed today in a statement.

According to the Trust, the patient had underlying health conditions, and tested positive for the virus after being hospitalized on Wednesday.

“Sadly, we can confirm that an older patient with underlying health conditions has died. The patient has previously been in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons, but on this occasion was admitted and last night tested positive for coronavirus,” the Trust said. 

According to the statement, all services and appointments at the hospital are running normally, and the Trust is following established guidelines to “minimize the risk of the virus spreading” within the hospital.

By the numbers: So far, there have been 116 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; this is the first coronavirus-related death in the UK.

1:06 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

Top US general creates "crisis management team" to monitor the coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Barbara Starr

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, late last week established a "crisis management team" to monitor the coronavirus outbreak around the world on a 24-hour basis, according to three US defense officials.

The team, headquartered in the Pentagon’s highly classified National Military Command Center, includes around the clock military personnel monitoring all incoming coronavirus information around the globe. 

The crisis management team is keeping Milley and senior commanders up to date to properly brief the President on all military-related matters to the crisis. 

1:05 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

Tito's Vodka does not want people using its liquor to make hand sanitizer

The social media team behind Tito's Vodka has been hard at work telling people that its liquor should not be used to make hand sanitizer.

The Austin, Texas, based distillery has fact-checked Twitter users after numerous articles and YouTube videos have surfaced explaining how people can whip up their own hand sanitizer following a strain on supply across the US over coronavirus fears.

"Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol. Tito's Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC. Please see attached for more information," Tito's Vodka has tweeted.

More on DIY hand sanitizer: The World Health Organization has published an official guide to making hand sanitizer. But it's intended for populations that do not have clean water or other medical-grade products in place.

If made correctly, DIY solution could be helpful and even effective. But if made incorrectly, it can be downright harmful.

"I worry about people making their own sanitizer as it will be difficult to make sure that the concentrations are correct," Daniel Parker, assistant professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, told CNN of the trend.

For hand sanitizer to be effective, it must have at least 60% alcohol content, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read some of the tweets from Tito's Vodka below:

12:58 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

Nevada confirms first case of coronavirus

A Clark County resident is the first “presumed positive” coronavirus case in Nevada, the Southern Nevada Health District announced in a statement.

The patient, a man in his 50s, told health officials he recently traveled to Washington state and Texas, the statement said. 

“The Health District is working with its health care partners and leading the effort to quickly identify close contacts of the patient,” the statement said.

12:57 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

CDC issues guidance on aircraft cleaning during coronavirus outbreak

From Arman Azad

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday recommended that airlines continue to follow “routine operating procedures” for cleaning aircraft during the coronavirus outbreak unless an ill passenger is on board – including those with fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

The recommendations will be updated as more information becomes available, it said.

If symptomatic passengers are identified during or immediately after a flight, the CDC said airlines should follow enhanced cleaning procedures — including personal protective equipment, such as disposable gloves and gowns, for cleaning staff.

Airlines should clean any soft surfaces — such as cloth seats and seat belts — within 6 feet of any ill passenger, the CDC said. That includes removing “visible contamination if present” and using other cleaners.

The CDC also said airlines should disinfect hard surfaces within 6 feet of an ill passenger, including seats and seatbacks, tray tables, seat belt latches, light and air controls, crew call buttons, overhead compartment handles, walls, bulkheads, windows, shades and video monitors. 

Airlines should also clean bathrooms used by symptomatic passengers and dispose of any items that cannot be cleaned, such as pillows.

Additionally, the CDC reminded airlines of their obligation, under US regulations, to report any symptomatic travelers on domestic or international flights to US health officials.

Travelers who must be reported to the CDC include those with a fever that has lasted for more than 48 hours, or travelers with a fever and other signs of illness, such as a cough or difficulty breathing.

12:52 p.m. ET, March 5, 2020

New York now has 22 confirmed coronavirus cases, governor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

There are 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus across New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday afternoon.

Eleven cases were confirmed overnight, he said.

“Eight of the new cases are connected to the attorney from Westchester,” he said, adding, two of the cases are from New York City and one is from Long Island.

The New York City and Long Island patients are hospitalized.