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US Virus Death Toll Climbs To 10, Pence Says; Italy Closes Schools For 2 Weeks: Live Updates

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Summary:

  • New York has reported its third case: the son, wife and daughter of an infected Westchester County lawyer have been diagnosed with the virus
  • Pence says US death toll has climbed to 10
  • Italy finally confirms school closure
  • Italy will ban public events, and close cinemas and theaters even though the government denied an earlier ANSA report that the country would also close schools & universities momentarily
  • Fla reports 4th case
  • CDC investigating ‘small cluster’ of cases linked to cruise ship ‘Grand Princess’
  • Italy urges elderly people to stay indoors if possible
  • Ecuador confirms 3 new cases, raising total to 10
  • Pence confirms after meeting airline execs that travelers from Italy & SK would be tested multiple times
  • German finance minister declares outbreak “a global pandemic”
  • Russia blames “enemies” for spreading fake news about outbreak
  • Israel urges people to stop shaking hands, will quarantine travelers from most of Europe
  • EU reports a second coronavirus case at its headquarters in Brussels
  • France has reported 28 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 285
  • UK cases surge by 34 to a total of 85 – a 66% surge.
  • China reported 119 additional coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths
  • South Korea reported 809 additional coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths
  • Israel quarantines group of soccer fans
  • “Official” Iranian death toll hits 92
  • Saudi suspends Umra pilgrimage
  • Japan confirms 3 more cases from Osaka

* * *

Update (1340ET): France reports another 28 cases, raising its national total to 285. Deaths remained steady at 8.

Officials in Iraq are reporting a death in Baghdad; it’s unclear if this is the same case from earlier, or a different case.

* * *

Update (1325ET): The US CDC has investigated “small clusters” of coronavirus cases linked to previous journey of the Grand Princess cruise ship.

* * *

Update (1300ET): As the White House coronavirus meeting in front of a bevy of TV cameras continues, VP Pence has just confirmed that the death toll in the US has climbed to the US, though he didn’t say where the new death has been counted.

The latest total case count in the US is 137, according to BNO. Of those, 48 were repatriated during the evacuations of Wuhan and the Diamond Princess. Only 89 were diagnosed in the US.

This would suggest a mortality rate of roughly 10% if you only count the domestic cases. Since the WHO yesterday confirmed that the latest data would put the rate at 3.4%, this would suggest that thousands of cases haven’t yet been identified in the US.

Over in Europe, Hungary has just confirmed its first case of the virus, becoming the latest country to confirm the virus. Meanwhile, here’s the latest breakdown for Italy.

Coronavirus update, Italy:

– 587 new cases today


– 3,089 cases in total


– 1,346 hospitalized


– 276 recovered


– 107 deaths


– 295 in intensive care

— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) March 4, 2020

* * *

Update (1240ET): Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis has confirmed that a fourth person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in his state.

* * *

Update (1220ET): Italian public health officials have confirmed plans to keep schools closed until March 15.

Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, is reportedly preparing to take restrictions to the next level and close all schools and universities in the country for at least two weeks. This comes as the total case count has climbed above 3k, while the death toll has climbed to 107, according to health officials.

Over in the US, reports from Capitol Hill claim the bill to approve emergency coronavirus funding might be ready for a vote Wednesday evening. Reports yesterday claimed the vote wouldn’t come until next week.

* * *

Update (1140ET): During a press conference that they announced last night, LA County public health officials have reported another rash of cases, and declared a local emergency, according to media reports. Meanwhile, the CDC said 40 cases are under investigation.

Watch live below:

LA County declared its first case back in January, but that case has since recovered. With the six new cases, the total in the county has risen to seven. One person is hospitalized, but the other six are being isolated and closely monitored at home.

Here’s more on the announcement, courtesy of ABC 7:

 Los Angeles County officials on Wednesday declared a state of emergency as they confirmed six new cases of novel coronavirus in the county.

The county Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Health made the announcement alongside L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and public health officials from Long Beach and Pasadena, which both have their own public health department.

County Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council are both expected to hear reports during their Wednesday meetings about the status of the illness locally.

The county’s second case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Tuesday by Kaiser Permanente who is overseeing the care of the patient, currently in self-isolation and being treated as an outpatient, a spokesperson said. Additional details regarding the case were not available.

In Orange County, two people tested positive for the novel coronavirus, though the diagnoses were described as “presumptive positive,” pending final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

County health officer Dr. Nichole Quick said the county recently improved its ability to perform COVID-19 testing and therefore “we expect to see more cases here in Orange County.”

None of the new cases are of unknown origin: Three of the six recently returned from northern Italy, two were exposed to infected family members in a different county, and another worked in an environment that brought him into contact with travelers.

Over in Washington, a damning insider report from Stat News, it appears that researchers in Washington State have managed to start uncovering the true extent of the outbreak until local officials found a way to get around the CDC.

Jesus, the outbreak around Seattle was only found bc enterprising researchers found a way to *get


around the CDC.*https://t.co/Zl4QTqLIP9 pic.twitter.com/IGy8CTdurl

— Eric Umansky (@ericuman) March 3, 2020

As the Trump-Pence-CDC presser continues, Trump hinted at a possible quarantine by saying the US might “close up” areas that become a “problem.” Trump also said that airlines hadn’t yet asked for any financial aid.

  • TRUMP: AS CERTAIN AREAS BECOME A PROBLEM, WE MIGHT CLOSE THEM UP
  • TRUMP SAYS AIRLINES HAVE NOT ASKED FOR ANY U.S. FINANCIAL SUPPORT, HAVEN’T DISCUSSED THAT YET
  • WHITE HOUSE MEETING ON CORONAVIRUS EXPECTED TO INCLUDE AIRLINE REPRESENTATIVES FROM SOUTHWEST, ALASKA AIR, UNITED, JETBLUE, REPUBLIC AIRWAYS, HAWAIIAN

Meanwhile, after Jim Bullard said during an interview that he feels monetary policy is “in the right place,” S&P Global cut its GDP forecast for the eurozone to 0.5% from 1%, and 0.8% for the UK, down  from 1%.

* * *

Update (1130ET): During a press conference on Wednesday following a meeting between President Trump and VP Pence and the leaders of the airline industry, Pence confirmed earlier reports that travelers from Italy and SK would be subjected to multiple tests before boarding a plane to the US, and multiple times after landing.

Pence also praised the FDA’s decision to expand testing to university labs and other state labs. Trump blamed the Obama Administration for a vague ‘decision’ that Trump blamed for slowing down testing. Trump has now undone that decision.

Here are some of the headlines from the presser:

  • AIRLINE CEOS TELL TRUMP THEY STEPPED UP CLEANING EFFORTS
  • PENCE: NEW PRIORITIES ON INSPECTIONS TO BE RELEASED TODAY
  • PENCE SAYS ALL PASSENGERS FROM ITALY, SOUTH KOREA ARE BEING SCREENED MULTIPLE TIMES FOR CORONAVIRUS

Earlier, HHS Secretary Azar told Fox News during an interview that the administration is working with the private sector to develop a better coronavirus test.

  • U.S. HEALTH SECRETARY AZAR SAYS ADMINISTRATION IS WORKING WITH PRIVATE SECTOR SO THEY DEVELOP CORONAVIRUS TEST WITHOUT FDA APPROVAL -FOX NEWS INTERVIEW
  • SEC. AZAR SAYS 12-18 MONTHS BEFORE POSSIBLE VACCINE: FOX NEWS

In Italy, government officials are still weighing whether to close all schools, while also shutting all events, sports games and cinemas.

* * *

Update (1120ET): This video of Chinese doctors and patients “square dancing” at a “shelter hospital” in Wuhan is going viral on the Chinese Internet.

Videos of medical staff and #coronavirus patients square dancing together in several “shelter hospitals” in #Wuhan have gone viral on Chinese social media.

“Square dancing helps to cheer them up and improve their immunity, which is beneficial for their recovery.” pic.twitter.com/Kpqsyqclkj

— Sixth Tone (@SixthTone) February 12, 2020

* * *

Update (1110ET): The WHO is running a live Q&A session at the moment. Check it out below:

Two linked cases of #coronavirus have been confirmed in South Ribble, Lancashire.

The two people had recently travelled to Italy and are currently isolating themselves at home. Our Director of Public Health and Wellbeing Dr Sakthi Karunanithi explains more. 1 of 2…. pic.twitter.com/YVM5AEtfrq

— Lancashire County Council (@LancashireCC) March 4, 2020

* * *

Update (1050ET): It appears the tables have turned – or at least that’s what we imagine members of the will say when they see this headline.

According to the Guardian, Russia has been targeted by “enemies” spreading fake news about the coronavirus to sow panic and discord across the country, President Vladimir Putin said.

His remarks came as Russia’s communications regulator said it had shut down access to some social media posts containing falsehoods about the virus outbreak.

“The Federal Security Service reports that they (the fakes) are mainly being organised from abroad. But unfortunately this always happens to us,” Putin said on Wednesday, in televised remarks at a government meeting.

“The purpose of such fakes is clear: to sow panic among the population.”

Reuters reports that a Russian cyber security company, Group-IB, on Monday identified what it said were thousands of fake news posts on messaging services and social networks such as Russia’s VK alleging that thousands of Muscovites have caught the virus.

In other news, the Irish Times reports that the Chinese ambassador to Ireland He Xiangdong advised the government to make a speedy decision about banning mass gatherings as the number of coronavirus cases climbs (health officials reported the country’s second case last night).

In other news: Twitter said Wednesday that it will block advertisers from using the coronavirus outbreak to send inappropriate advertisements to its users.

Twitter has said it will stop any attempt by advertisers to use the coronavirus outbreak to send inappropriate advertisements to its users.

And more cases have been confirmed in the UK as the two people who traveled to Italy are currently isolating themselves at home.

Two linked cases of #coronavirus have been confirmed in South Ribble, Lancashire.

The two people had recently travelled to Italy and are currently isolating themselves at home. Our Director of Public Health and Wellbeing Dr Sakthi Karunanithi explains more. 1 of 2…. pic.twitter.com/YVM5AEtfrq

— Lancashire County Council (@LancashireCC) March 4, 2020

To be sure, the latest numbers out of the UK, where the total number of cases has jumped to 85, does not suggest the country is past the stage where the containment approach is no longer valuable, according to a senior microbiology expert.

* * *

Update (1040ET): As deaths mount in Iran and Italy, Al Jazeera reminds us that Poland, Morocco, Andorra, Armenia and Argentina have all confirmed their first cases of the virus over the last 24 hours.

Ecuador has just confirmed three new cases, bringing its total to 10.

* * *

(Update 0950ET): A Yeshiva University student who is the son of the Westchester County man infected by the coronavirus, has also been diagnosed with the illness, the school announced Wednesday. “We have unfortunately received news this morning that out student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with him and his family as well as to all those affected,” Yeshiva said in a statement. “We are taking every precaution by canceling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights. This includes all in-person graduate courses on that campus as wall as the boys’ high school,” it added.

The student’s father, attorney Lawrence Garbuz, 50, runs a boutique law firm with his wife that also employs one of their four kids as a paralegal, according to information posted online. The seven-lawyer practice, Lewis & Garbuz, is located across the street from Grand Central Terminal.

In addition to the son. Garbuz’s wife and daughter, as well as a neighbor who drove the man to the hospital, are among the new cases confirmed in the state.

According to Governor Cuomo, this means that there are now 6 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York State.

There are now 6 confirmed cases of #coronavirus in New York State, per information from @NYGovCuomo

— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) March 4, 2020

* * *

(Update 0940ET): PM Netanyahu has told Israelis that while it is not openly spoken of as such, the coronavirus epidemic is a global-scale pandemic and it could “possibly be among the worst diseases in this century.”

He asked Israelis to avoid handshakes and suggested greeting one another using the Indian greeting of namaste while keeping one’s hand clasped together.

Additionally, all travelers will be quarantined from these nations: France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland

* * *

(Update 0935ET): France has reported 45 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 257.

* * *

(Update 0920ET): In addition to general de-socialization across Italy, the new decree urges elderly people to stay indoors if possible. It seems Italy is resorting to China’s strategy to stall the exponential spread of the virus.

* * *

(Update 0917ET): UK health authorities have just announced that the number of virus cases soared overnight, jumping by 34 to 85 total cases (16,659 people have been tested)

* * *

(Update 0905ET): While we wait to see if Italy will close all schools and universities as the country’s coronavirus pandemic gets worse, Reuters reported that the country is now planning a decree banning public events as well as close cinemas and theaters across the country.

Meanwhile, AFP reported that there has been a second case of coronavirus found at the EU office in Brussles.

* * *

Update (0835ET): The outbreak in Osaka is expanding: Kyodo just reported three more confirmed cases from a concert that also sickened a McDonald’s worker mentioned below. The total from the concert is now 14.

* * *

Update (0820ET): The Italian education ministry said Wednesday morning that “no decision has yet been made” regarding whether to close schools, or not. The decision has apparently been delayed for a few hours, the minister added. The headline about the school closures took a little bit of the momentum out of markets earlier, but stock futures in the US have rallied back.

* * *

Update (0800ET): Italian newswire ANSA reports that the Italian government will move ahead with plans to close all schools and colleges in the country for two weeks.

BREAKING: Italy closes all schools and universities nationwide to stop coronavirus

— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) March 4, 2020

Until now, only schools in Italy’s virus-plagued northern region had been closed due to the outbreak, even as the death toll from the virus nears 80. France has also closed some 120 primary and secondary schools near Paris as cases in France have surged, a decision that’s impacting about 35,000 kids.

Meanwhile, the Global Times can’t help but gloat…

Some mainstream #US media calls for learning from #China’s experiences in the fight against #coronavirus as the epidemic situation is gradually improving in China. pic.twitter.com/wHWvPvR233

— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 4, 2020

…Even as school closures in China will enter their 7th week next week.

#Italy to close all schools and universities around the country until mid March because of #coronavirus outbreak, local news outlet Ansa reports. (#China school closures heading into 7th week next week…)

— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) March 4, 2020

In other news, the Israeli government has quarantined a group of soccer fans who attended a match last week in Tel Aviv after a teenager in the crowd tested positive for the virus. He’s believed to have contracted the virus from the manager of a toy store who recently visited Italy, according to the BBC.

In other news, after religious authorities in Saudi Arabia banned foreigners from traveling to the holy land last week, the Saudi government said Wednesday that it would temporarily suspend a lesser Muslim pilgrimage called the Umra for both foreigners and citizens, the BBC reports.

The Umra is an optional pilgrimage that includes some of the rituals of the most important pilgrimage, the Hajj, though they are shortened and there are fewer rituals.

* * *

Update (0740ET): German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has been pushing for Germany to defy its constitutional “debt break” and bolster spending. Now, he’s taking his rhetoric up a notch and defying the WHO to declare the coronavirus outbreak a “global pandemic.”

  • GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKER GERMANY WOULD HAVE “ALL THE STRENGTH” TO COUNTER IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS IF EPIDEMIC PLUNGED WORLD ECONOMY INTO CRISIS – SOURCES
  • GERMANY’S SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKERS GOV’T IS PREPARED AND READY TO ACT DECISIVELY TO COUNTER CORONAVIRUS – SOURCES
  • GERMANY’S SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKERS ANY FISCAL MEASURES TO COUNTER CORONAVIRUS IMPACT WOULD BE “TIMELY, TARGETED, TEMPORARY” – SOURCES

The FinMin has encountered resistance from within the ruling coalition, and if he’s going to succeed in delivering the fiscal stimulus that Europe so desperately needs, he’s going to need to outmaneuver his rivals.

* * *

Update (0722ET): Japan has confirmed 9 more cases in Osaka.

JAPAN CONFIRMS NINE NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES IN OSAKA AND FIRST IN MIYAZAKI PREFECTURE – KYODO

And Nikkei rising.. ridiculous.

— Cookie Trader (@cookie_trader) March 4, 2020

* * *

As we reported last night, Tuesday marked a major shift in the coronavirus outbreak: For the first time, more deaths were reported outside China than inside. And already on Wednesday, we’ve seen some unfortunate firsts: Iraq reported its first death after the virus leaked across the border from Iran.

The EU’s decision not to close borders and impose travel restrictions has come back to bite it: Just a few minutes ago, the European Union confirmed the first case of the virus at EU offices in Brussels. It appears to be tied to the European Defense Agency.

First case of #coronavirus in the EU institutions: the European Defence Agency has cancelled all meetings until 13 March after a senior official tested positive for #COVID_19, according to an internal mail seen by EURACTIV.@gerardofortuna reports.https://t.co/T8mHPm0u4A

— EURACTIV (@EURACTIV) March 4, 2020

Brussels only confirmed its first case in the city a couple of days ago.

Last night, China reported 119 additional coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths for March 3. That’s compared with 125 additional cases and 31 new deaths the previous day. The new cases bring the total number of mainland cases to 80,270 and death toll at 2,871.

South Korea reported 809 additional coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths, bringing its total cases to 5,621 and death toll to 32, while Italy’s total cases rose to 2,502 from 2036, and its death toll increased to 79, up from 52 earlier in the day on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, over in Japan, a part-time worker at a McDonald’s in Kyoto has tested positive, prompting the restaurant to close. The cashier attended music events in Osaka on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, where investigators believe he may have been infected.

Last night, Japanese officials raised the possibility of delaying the Olympics. NTV reports Wednesday morning in the US that Japan would scale back Olympic Torch relay events.

Unsurprisingly, an a global Ipsos poll highlighted by the Guardian showed that a majority of Italians would accept quarantines of cities and towns, though that number climbed to 74% for the UK and 91% for Vietnam.

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) March 4, 2020

As we reported yesterday, Ireland has recorded a second case of coronavirus. However, officials are still planning to go ahead with St. Patrick’s Day festivities when the holiday arrives in a couple of weeks.

While the WHO has embraced alternative greetings, Public Health England, the agency in charge of the UK outbreak, said that while it might recommend people stop shaking hands, “we’re not there yet.

Over in Iran, the health ministry said the coronavirus had killed 92 people, up from 77 the day before, while the number of infections rose to 2,922, Al Jazeera reports. To be sure, reports last week claimed the true death toll had surpassed 200 – and that was a week ago.

Elsewhere in Europe, Bloomberg reports that Italy’s government is weighing a closure of all schools nationwide to contain the coronavirus outbreak. A closure could last 15 days and start this coming Monday, or the Monday following. This comes after officials reportedly considered cancelling all sports games in the country for a month.

Over at the ECB, the central bank has cancelled travel for all members of the Christine Lagarde-led executive board, as well as other employees judged to be non-essential, until 20 April 2020, at which time the central bank will reassess the situation.