Soldiers spray disinfectant in Seoul. Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

March 7 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020
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1:20 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Grand Princess cruise ship moves closer to shore as passenger needs medical assistance

The Grand Princess cruise ship quarantined off California is moving within 20 miles of the coast at the request of the US Coast Guard because a passenger needs medical assistance.

The ship's captain announced in a video sent to CNN by a passenger onboard that moving closer would allow for greater ease in managing logistics and "the delivery of supplies."

The US Coast Guard has been called and the passenger may be airlifted off the ship, the captain added. While the exact time of the operation is unknown, a few guests will be asked to leave their rooms during the operation.

“I know some of you may have onward travel booked for tomorrow morning since that was our originally scheduled disembarkation time, but unfortunately It does not look probable that disembarkation will occur,” the captain said.

He also announced that medication orders are being filled for passengers onboard as required.

1:15 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

California's Stanford University cancels all in-person classes for winter quarter

All in-person classes for the final two weeks of the winter quarter will be cancelled starting Monday, California's Stanford University announced in a letter on the university’s website.

“To the extent feasible, we will be moving classes to online formats in place of in-person instruction,” Provost Persis Drell said in the letter.

Exams that were scheduled to be taken in-person will be taken in a take-home format, the university said.

Stanford University is also canceling campus tours and the “Admit Weekend” event for prospective undergraduates that was originally scheduled for the weekend of April 23-26.

Stanford University is in Northern California’s Santa Clara County, which currently has 24 cases of the coronavirus. California has 65 cases of the virus.

1:04 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

'Preppers' have endured years of mockery. Now the self-survival business is booming

From CNN's Emma Reynolds

Do you have your "bug-out bag" (BOB) ready for when the "s*** hits the fan" (SHTF), or will you "bug in" for "the end of the world as we know it" (TEOTWAWKI)?

This jargon is well understood within niche "prepper" communities, whose members spend their lives preparing for impending armageddon -- natural disasters, pandemics or financial collapse.

And the ideas that drive this culture are becoming increasingly mainstream as coronavirus panic sees people across the world stockpiling rations, sourcing gas masks and self-isolating at home.

Now, "civilians" are turning to expert preppers in droves for help in getting ready for the worst.

Read the full article here.

12:51 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Employee's coronavirus case an "isolated incident," Chicago public schools tells parents

A woman in her 50s who was a staff member at Chicago's Vaughn Occupational High School tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

In the wake of the diagnosis, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) sent out a letter on Friday evening to parents to say that they will be supporting the staff and students of Vaughn.

The employee had been a passenger on board the Grand Princess cruise ship, disembarking on February 21.

CPS said while the development was concerning, "at the moment this remains an isolated incident and public health experts believe the immediate health risk to the general public remains low."

CPS said it was not considering closing schools at this time, based on the recommendations of local health authorities.

12:44 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Donald Trump's dangerous freelancing on coronavirus

Analysis by CNN's Chris Cilizza

On Friday morning, amid questions of why President Donald Trump had canceled a planned trip to Atlanta to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House released this statement:

"The President is no longer traveling to Atlanta today. The CDC has been proactive and prepared since the very beginning and the President does not want to interfere with the CDC's mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency."

OK! Makes some sense, since a presidential visit requires a massive amount of logistics and security that, theoretically, could take away from the important work the CDC is doing in identifying and containing the novel coronavirus.

Except that, when asked later Friday morning why he had canceled the CDC trip, Trump said this:

"We may go. They thought there was a problem at CDC, somebody that had the virus. They've tested the person very fully and it was a negative test," Trump said. "I may be going they're going to see if they can turn it around with Secret Service."

Uh. So, which is it?

Read the full analysis here.

12:36 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Utah's first coronavirus patient was only told about cruise ship outbreak after they got home

The first patient to be diagnosed with coronavirus in Utah didn't know that there had been an outbreak among their fellow Grand Princess cruise ship passengers until they returned home.

The Utah Department of Health said in an earlier news release that the resident had contracted the coronavirus while onboard the Grand Princess, which is anchored off the coast of California under quarantine.

Utah state officials said that the cruise line informed the patient of the outbreak after they got home, and then the passenger went to a clinic to be checked.

State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said there were other Utah residents on the cruise, and they are reaching out to those passengers to encourage them to watch for potential symptoms.

People who live with the confirmed patient are also being tested for the coronavirus, and they are looking for other people who were in close contact.

12:27 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

University of Southern California temporarily moves classes online next week due to coronavirus

The University of Southern California (USC) has announced that classes will temporarily move online from March 11 to 13, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We will replace in-person classes with online lectures & seminars to test our readiness should we need to take stronger action for health & safety. The campus will remain fully open and functional at this time,” the university said in a tweet.

According to a statement sent out to the USC community, this is a campus-wide test in case longer term home classes are ever needed.

“We need to test our technical capabilities to ensure academic continuity in an online environment should there be a disruption,” said the university.

The school confirmed that there are no cases of the coronavirus on campus and that the university is fully functional. Campus events are scheduled to take place as planned and employees are expected to be at work, according to the statement.

12:23 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

NYC says slow federal action has "impeded our ability" to fight virus in letter to CDC

New York City has urgently requested more resources from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a letter obtained by the New York Times.

In the letter from Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Raul Perea-Henze, the New York City government said “the slow federal action on this matter has impeded our ability to beat back this epidemic."

The city also asked for additional testing kits, according to the New York Times, noting the two previously provided kits “do not meet the needs of New York City, America’s most populated city with 8.6 million (population).”

“With multiple positive cases, NYC needs maximum testing capacity to enable successful implementation of the public health strategies that best protect New Yorkers,” Perea-Henze wrote.
“The importance of NYC having additional testing kits and expanding our testing capacity cannot be overstated."
12:15 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Worldwide coronavirus cases have passed 100,000. These 5 countries are the worst hit

The novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December. More than 3,400 people have died globally and over 101,000 have been infected, according to CNN's tally.

These five countries have been worst hit:

  1. Mainland China: 80,651 cases; 3,070 deaths 
  2. South Korea: 6,767 cases, 44 deaths
  3. Iran: 4,747 cases, 124 deaths
  4. Italy: 4,636 cases, 197 deaths
  5. Japan: 1,045 cases, 12 deaths (includes 706 cases linked to Diamond Princess cruise ship)

Here's a full list of cases worldwide.