- Coachella, Stagecoach reschedule events due to coronavirus concerns.
- Vice President Pence updates reporters and the public on the White House meeting with health insurance industry executives regarding coronavirus containment
- Harvard announces it will move students to online classes because of COVID-19. Students are also asked not to return to campus after their spring break.
- New York's governor is sending the National Guard to a "containment area" in a New York suburb to help fight what appears to be the nation's biggest known cluster of coronavirus cases.
- President Trump said he would hold a press conference Tuesday to outline a proposal for a payroll tax cut and other measures to ease financial concerns due to the coronavirus outbreak
- Stocks are surging on Wall Street following the market's worst day since the financial crisis of 2008.
President Donald Trump says his administration will ask Congress to pass payroll tax relief and other quick measures as a public health and economic maelstrom brought on by the coronavirus drew closer to him personally.
Intending to calm the fears of financial markets over the impact of the epidemic, Trump told reporters Monday he is seeking “very substantial relief" to the payroll tax. Trump also said he was seeking help for hourly-wage workers to ensure they’re “not going to miss a paycheck” and “don’t get penalized for something that’s not their fault."
Trump said he would hold a press conference Tuesday to outline the plans.
Washington governor to ban large gatherings in Seattle
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is going to announce a ban on gatherings and events of more than 250 people in virtually the entire Seattle metro area in an attempt to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
The state has at least 24 COVID-19 deaths, the most in the U.S. The person who spoke about the decision late Tuesday was involved in the planning of the decision but spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Inslee has scheduled a news conference in Seattle for late Wednesday morning.
The source said the ban would apply to King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, home to almost four million people. The order would not prohibit the operation of workplaces and is not expected to include school closures, the source said. It would apply to sporting events like Seattle Mariners baseball and Seattle Sounders soccer games.
Santa Clara County in California, home to San Jose and Silicon Valley, on Monday announced a ban on all gatherings of 1,000 people or more.
At least 24 people have died in Washington from COVID-19, most in the Seattle metro area. Nineteen of the deaths are linked to one suburban Seattle nursing home and authorities in King County said the virus has spread to at least 10 long-term care facilities
At least 10 long-term care facilities in the Seattle area have reported COVID-19 cases, with deaths at three of them.
Coachella, Stagecoach reschedule events due to COVID-19
Officials announced on Tuesday, at the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, that Coachella and Stagecoach will be rescheduled due to the new coronavirus.
"While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously," the statement said.
Coachella has been rescheduled to October 9, 10 and 11 and October 16, 17 and 18, 2020. Stagecoach will take place on October 23, 24, and 25, 2020.
South Dakota announces 5 cases of coronavirus, 1 death
A South Dakota man with underlying health problems who tested positive for COVID-19 has died, and four others from across the state have tested positive for the virus, officials announced on Tuesday.
Gov. Kristi Noem said the man died Tuesday, but officials have not confirmed if his death was caused by the virus. He was in his 60s and from Pennington County in the western part of the state.
The four other cases confirmed on Tuesday were in separate locations stretching across the state — Beadle, Charles Mix, Davison, and Minnehaha Counties. Health officials said they have not found a link between the cases. The patients were both male and female and in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They are being treated in their homes. Officials are sending the positive samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further confirmation.
Gov. Kristi Noem said the people had recently traveled, though not necessarily overseas, and that health officials are working to identify those who came into “close contact” with people who tested positive for the virus.
“Our team has been preparing for weeks, and I am confident we have the right people in place to address this fluid situation,” Noem said in a statement. "Without panicking, I encourage all South Dakotans to take this seriously — now is the time to prepare and to stay informed.”
Noem encouraged people to wash their hands and to remotely contact their physician if they experience symptoms of the virus.
White House holds coronavirus task force briefing on camera Tuesday
Anthony S. Fauci, an immunologist on the White House's coronavirus task force urged the public to see the CDC's guidelines on keeping the workplace and other frequently attended locations safe.
Seema Verma, an administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spoke at the briefing and said that health insurance providers are going to comply with recommendations of the task force that would foster more social isolation. These measures would allow for less contact with places where people would gather and possibly spread the virus.
Alex Azar, Heath and Human Services Secretary said that the goal for the California citizens and the UK citizens on the virus-stricken cruise ship docked off the coast of northern California is to get them off as soon as possible so they can be repatriated.
White House Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow spoke about a plan for a temporary payroll tax cut holiday that the White House says they would like to see last until the end of the year.
Washington reports 2 more deaths from virus
Health officials in Washington state on Tuesday reported two new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total there to at least 24.
The virus has infected more than 800 people in the U.S. and killed at least 29 people. New Jersey reported its first coronavirus death Tuesday.
Harvard moves classes online, asks students to not return to campus
Harvard's President Larry Bacow released a statement on Tuesday to the school's community claiming it will being transitioning students to virtual classrooms for graduate and undergraduate classes. The goal is to have this transition complete by Monday, March 23, which is the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess.
Bacow also asked students not to return to campus after Spring Recess which is from March 14 to 22.
"The decision to move to virtual instruction was not made lightly," Bacow's statement said. "Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of leading health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 and are also consistent with similar decisions made by a number of our peer institutions. The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of the community."
The school is also transitioning over the course of the next few days to non-essential gatherings of no more than 25 people.
'Dr. Phil' talk show will tape without audiences
The “Dr. Phil” daytime talk show will tape without a studio audience for roughly two weeks as a precaution against the new coronavirus.
The show typically tapes with an audience of about 300 people at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.
A statement announcing the decision Tuesday says it will affect 12 shows, and audience shows are expected to resume the week of March 23. The announcement came a day after the popular game shows “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” said they would record upcoming shows without audiences.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus, but for some, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
New Jersey reports its 1st coronavirus death
New Jersey is reporting its first case of a death in a coronavirus patient.
Judith Persichilli, commissioner of the state health department, said Tuesday the patient who died was a 69-year-old Bergen County man with underlying medical conditions.
The man had no travel outside of the United States but had gone to New York, where there are more than 150 cases of the new coronavirus. New Jersey has 15 cases of the virus.
Schools to shut for 2 weeks in NY suburb 'containment area'
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is closing schools, houses of worship and large gathering spots for two weeks in a “containment area” centered in suburban New Rochelle. It's the heart of what Cuomo described Tuesday as the nation's largest cluster of cases of the coronavirus.
Cuomo says the state will send National Guard troops to help deliver food and clean surfaces in the area, a 1-mile-radius (1.6 km) around a point near a synagogue connected to some existing cases. Schools will close for two weeks starting Friday, and state and local officials are working to determine “large congregate facilities or gathering places” that also will shut down.
Colorado and North Carolina declare state of emergency
Colorado governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in the state, where 15 people have tested positive. Three new cases were announced Tuesday. Polis has directed the Colorado Dept. of Labor & Employment to engage in emergency rule-making to ensure workers in food handling, hospitality, childcare, healthcare and education, get paid sick leave to miss work if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work.
He also asked the Dept. of Revenue to make temporary changes that allow people over age 65 to renew driver's licenses online, rather than requiring them to do so in-person.
In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency after five people tested positive for coronavirus Monday. The statewide total cases are now seven.
Washington state announces new rules for nursing homes to slow virus spread
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced visitors, staff and volunteers at nursing homes and long-term care centers will have new protocols in an attempt to slow the virus spread.
Residents at these facilities are now limited to one adult visitor a day and the visits must take place in the resident's room. The rule doesn't apply to end-of-life situations.
Additionally, visitors must comply with COVID-19 screening and precautionary procedures. Owners and operators of these facilities must keep a 30 day visitor log. Employees or volunteers must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 at the start of every shift.
The announcement of new rules comes after at least 13 people died at the Life Care Center in Kirkland. The center was the first widespread outbreak of the virus in the U.S.
Ivy League cancels basketball tournaments
The Ivy League announced it will be cancelling its men's and women's basketball tournaments because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement, the league said its regular-season champions, Princeton women and Yale men, would instead by the automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament.
Harvard and Princeton had both already announced their schools would be closing classrooms and moving to online-only teaching starting later this month.
Stocks surge on Wall Street following worst day since 2008
Stocks are surging on Wall Street following the market's worst day since the financial crisis of 2008.
The Dow jumped nearly 800 points, or 3.3%, making up less than half of its plunge from the day before. Overseas markets were also higher. The price of oil also bounced back 8% after cratering a day earlier as an oil price war broke out between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Energy stocks did especially well following steep falls a day earlier. Feeling less fearful, investors pulled money out of ultra-safe U.S. government bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 0.65%.
Red Cross urges the healthy to donate blood
The Red Cross says flu season has impacted the nation's ability to maintain blood supplies and the number of people eligible to donate blood could continue to dwindle as the coronavirus continues to spread.
The organization is urging healthy people to donate blood in order to maintain the national blood supply.
"As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it's critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients," Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services said in a statement." "As fears of the coronavirus rise, low donor participation could harm blood availability at hospitals, and the last thing a patient should worry about is whether lifesaving blood will be on the shelf when they need it most."
Airlines slash flights, freeze hiring as virus cuts travel
Airlines are slashing flights and freezing hiring as they experience a sharp drop in bookings and a rise in cancellations in the face of the spreading coronavirus.
Delta said Tuesday that travel demand has fallen so badly in the past week that it expects one-third of seats to be empty this month on flights within the U.S. The drop in travel demand is across the board -- business travelers are grounded as meetings and conferences are being canceled, and leisure travelers are avoiding unnecessary trips.
Delta says fear of travel is felt most sharply among people over 55, and it’s worse on the West Coast than the East Coast.
In Europe, major airlines are canceling flights to and from Italy after the country put a nationwide lockdown on travel.
British Airways canceled all flights and could not confirm the status of future flights. Air France is reducing traffic to Italy by half for the month of March and suspending flights to Hong Kong and Taipei until March 29. The French airline has cancelled 3,600 flights this month.
Ryanair, Europe's busiest airline, canceled all international flights to and from Italy From Saturday, March 14 to April 9. The carrier said passengers currently in Italy could fly home on one of the flights operating up until March 13.
Spain's cabinet banned direct flights between Italy and Spanish airports, which amount to 9% of all Spanish international air traffic.
Japan unveils $4 billion package to fight virus
A task force set up by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has approved a 430 billion yen ($4.1 billion) package that includes support for small to medium-size businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak, amid criticisms over his handling of the crisis.
The package also includes subsidies for parents who need to take time off work due to school closures, funding for the development of virus vaccines and test kits and for extra production of protective masks, banning of their resale. As of Tuesday, Japan had more than 1,200 confirmed cases of the virus, with 16 deaths.
Austria shuts border with Italy
In a dramatic move to keep the coronavirus from shifting north, Austria's chancellor says the country is barring travelers from Italy from entering.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Tuesday that exceptions will be made for those with medical notes and authorities will help repatriate Austrians from Italy.
Malta has suspended all flights into and out of Italy. Austria, Britain and Ireland have issued travel advisories for the whole country as Italy’s extraordinary anti-coronavirus lockdown looked set to isolate the country inside and out.
Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that until further notice, flights to and from Italy would be suspended and ships from Italy would only be allowed to dock if they were carrying cargo, food or medicine.
Abela said the cruise ship MSC Grandiosa, which was to dock in Malta on Tuesday would not be allowed in since it just came from Palermo in Italy.
Austria issued a full travel warning for Italy to "urgently recommend" that Austrian travelers return home. Britain and Ireland advised against all nonessential travel. Germany's national disease control institute, is describing all of Italy as a “risk area.”
Poland cancels mass events in proactive move
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says all mass events like concerts or sporting fixtures are being cancelled across the country in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Though Poland has only recorded 18 cases of the coronavirus, two of whom are said to be in a serious condition, Morawiecki said the country is trying to be proactive in light of the increases recorded elsewhere in Europe, particularly in Italy.
Over 4,000 people are under quarantined at home after having been potentially exposed to the virus.
The western Poznan region, which has registered one case of the COVID-19 disease, has also closed all schools, kindergartens, sports centers and the zoo.
In Austria, the Health Minister Rudolf Anschober says all indoor events with more than 100 people and all outdoor events with more than 500 people are being canceled until mid-April.
Cyprus reports first cases of virus, now spread to all EU countries
Authorities in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of ethnically split Cyprus on Tuesday reported the first virus case in the region, a 65-year-old German tourist who arrived on Sunday and developed a high fever.
The hotel where she and the group of 30 tourists she traveled with has been quarantined.
The Cypriot government on Monday announced the country's first two cases. They include the head of the cardiology unit at the country's largest state hospital in the capital, Nicosia. The unit has been placed under quarantine while staff are being tested. All hospital visits and admissions have been suspended for 48 hours.
Every EU nation now has reported cases of the virus.
Italy restrictions spark panic buying
The Italian government is assuring its citizens that supermarkets will remain open and stocked after panic buying erupted after broad anti-virus measures were announced nationwide, sparking overnight runs on 24-hour markets.
Shoppers lined up overnight outside a Rome Carrefour to stock up after the government extended restrictions on movement from hard-hit northern Italy to the rest of the country. Some shoppers wore masks as they waited with their carts to be allowed into the store a few at a time.
Italian doctors are celebrating one small victory in their battle against the coronavirus after Patient No. 1 — a 38-year-old Unilever worker named Mattia — was moved out of intensive care. It's the first time he has been breathing on his own since he tested positive Feb. 21 and opened Italy’s health care crisis.
The Associated press reports that with 463 dead and 9,172 infected, Italy’s fatality rate is running at 5% nationwide and 6% in the Lombardy region, far higher than the 3%-4% estimates elsewhere.
Thousands on virus-hit cruise ship await disembarkation
Thousands of passengers aboard a cruise ship struck by the novel coronavirus are waiting anxiously Tuesday for their chance to leave the vessel, even if means being shipped to military bases for weeks of quarantine.
After days of being forced to idle off the Northern California coast, the Grand Princess docked Monday in Oakland with some 3,500 passengers and crew aboard.
Several hundred were released from the ship, including some requiring hospital care and a group of Canadians who were flying home. Some Californians were bused to nearby Travis Air Force Base. But about 2,000 people still await their chance to disembark.
Xi makes first visit to China's outbreak epicenter
Chinese State media says President Xi Jinping is making his first visit to Wuhan, the central Chinese city that has been hit hardest by the new virus epidemic. Xi will inspect the epidemic prevention and control work and visit medical workers, community volunteers, patients and others on the front lines.
China says 19 new cases of the new virus were recorded over the previous 24 hours, the lowest update since China began reporting national figures on Jan. 20. All but two of the cases were recorded in Wuhan.
Panama confirms 1st case of coronavirus
Panama has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus.
The patient is a Panamanian woman in her 40s who had returned Sunday from Madrid. While only a few dozen cases have been confirmed in Latin America, the epidemic is growing in Europe. Spain is among four European countries with more than 1,000 cases each.
The woman is isolated at home and will receive daily visits from health workers.
Coachella, Stagecoach may move to October
The Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals may need to be postponed to October due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, according to multiple reports.
Coachella may move to the weekend of October 9 and Stagecoach to the weekend of October 16, according to Variety and others. Coachella is currently slated to take place on the weekends of April 10 and 17, followed by Stagecoach on the weekend of April 24. If a move is not possible, the events reportedly could be canceled.
The festivals are held in Riverside County, Calif, which just declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak.
'Jeopardy!', 'Wheel of Fortune going sans audience
Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” will tape without studio audiences in response to the ongoing virus outbreak.
A person close to the shows tells The Associated Press Monday that the move is being taken out of an abundance of caution given the spread of the new coronavirus in numerous communities in the United States and abroad.
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek is 79 and battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, putting him in one of the highest-risk groups of complications should he contract the virus.