Death Toll From the Coronavirus in the U.S. Rises to 14
The number of deaths in the United States from the novel coronavirus dubbed COVID-19 has risen to 14 as additional cases have been confirmed in 19 states. Washington state had the highest number of cases, with 75 confirmed so far. The U.S. has confirmed 233 cases of COVID-19 following reports of positive test results from Colorado, Maryland, Nevada and New Jersey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
At least nine of those deaths were residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home near downtown Seattle, Washington. Thirty-nine cases have been reported in the Seattle area, with many experts believing the virus had likely been circulating in the area for several weeks. Some schools and businesses in the area have shut down in response to the outbreak, with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee saying organizers of large events should reconsider their plans.
"We have encouraged people who are responsible for large gatherings to give consideration whether it really makes sense to carry those on right now," Inslee said. "Right now, we are deferring to the judgment ... of these organizations."
Thousands Asked to Self-Quarantine in New York and California
More than 2,500 people in New York have been instructed to self-quarantine as health officials continue to search for anyone who may have come into contact with one of the state's first confirmed coronavirus case. Another 9,700 people in California were also asked to stay home and avoid contact with other people while monitoring their health. California declared a state of emergency earlier this week after the state reported its first death from the virus.
Health officials say people being asked to self-quarantine aren't necessarily infected with COVID-19, but, had likely come in contact with someone who was infected. Self-isolation also helps to stop the spread of the disease. Most people are being asked to stay home for two weeks and monitor their health and report and possible symptoms. They are not allowed to go to work, school or any public places where they might have contact with others.
Passengers Aboard a Cruise Ship Off Coast of California Await COVID-19 Test Results
Thousands of people aboard a cruise ship being held off the coast of California are anxiously awaiting the results of dozens of coronavirus tests after a passenger who was on board the Grand Princess cruise ship died after returning home. At least 45 passengers on board showed some symptoms of the coronavirus.
Test kits were dropped off by helicopter on Thursday by the California Air National Guard, and were airlifted back to a lab in Richmond, California where those results are expected back later Friday.
More than 3,500 people are currently on board the Grand Princess - 2,422 guests and another 1,111 crew members according to the cruise line. No guests will be allowed to disembark until all results have been received. Passengers who are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, such as fever, coughing, or shortness of breath, are being told to stay in their rooms. The CDC has not declared a quarantine of the ship, but it had advised guests to stay in their rooms.
Health officials say the ship could dock in San Francisco sometime later on Friday.
President Donald Trump Signs Emergency Spending Package
On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency funding package approved by Congress earlier this week to help combat the spread of the virus. The supplemental spending package includes more than $3 billion in funding for research and development. Another $2.2 billion was set aside for direct prevention and response efforts. The spending package also included $1 billion for state and local response.
States will receive at least $4 million to help combat the coronavirus threat.
Trump also canceled a previously planned trip to Atlanta to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The trip was canceled because the president said he didn't want to interrupt the agency's work.
"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," the White House said in a statement.
Number of Global Cases Surpasses 100,000
Globally, the number of cases has skyrocketed to surpass 100,000, health officials reported on Friday. Nearly 3,400 people worldwide have died from the virus - the vast majority of which are located in mainland China.
The Vatican also reported its first case of the disease on Friday. The health clinic inside Vatican City was closed for sanitizing following the news of the positive test result. At least one Vatican official was placed in a protective quarantine. The official isn't showing any symptoms, but lives in the same church as the confirmed case.
Wall Street Takes Hit From Coronavirus Fears
Despite a strong jobs report for the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 600 points Friday morning as markets remained jittery over the effects of COVID-19 on economies around the world. The S&P 500 dropped 2.7% with the Nasdaq Composite dropping 2.5%.
Markets have seesawed through the week as it reacts to the news of former Vice President Joe Biden's big win on Super Tuesday and the unknowns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
The U.S. economy beat expectations in February adding at least 273,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.5%, the lowest it's been in 50 years.
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