Coronavirus, officially recognized as COVID-19, took less than three months to travel around the world. After surfacing in late 2019, the virus has spread to more than 50 countries and claimed thousands of lives. After weeks of slowly spreading around the United States, the first American fatality from the virus occurred outside Seattle, Washington in King County just before the calendar flipped to March. As of Wednesday, nine deaths were blamed on the COVID-19 in the U.S., all in Washington state.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has avoided deeming the virus a pandemic, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "This virus has pandemic potential."
Weather and its potential impact on how COVID-19 behaves has remained a consistent focus since the outbreak erupted.
Hong Kong University pathology professor John Nicholls said that he suspected three factors would potentially kill the virus, according to the transcript of a private conference call in early February.
"Three things the virus does not like: 1.
Sunlight, 2. Temperature, and 3. Humidity," Nicholls said in remarks that were leaked on social media. "The virus can remain intact at 4 degrees (39 degrees Fahrenheit) or 10 degrees (50 F) ... But at 30 degrees (86 degrees F) then you get inactivation."
The CDC has cautioned that not enough is known about the virus to say for sure that weather will affect the spread, but a spokesperson said, "I’m happy to hope that it [the threat] goes down as the weather warms up."
As experts work toward a better understanding, the world shudders in fear of the unknown, a worry that has rocked global financial markets. In what was the worst financial week since 2008 in the U.S., jitters sent the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all plunging on Feb. 23. The markets rebounded a bit on Monday, March, 2, but volatility remained high through Tuesday's trading session.
Here are the latest updates, listed in eastern time, and the most important things you need to know about coronavirus.
March 4, 12:50 p.m.
The International Monetary Fund said it is making $50 billion available to help address COVID-19 for "low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support."
"I am particularly concerned about our low-income and more vulnerable members – these countries may see financing needs rise rapidly as the economic and human cost of the virus escalates, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at a press conference." The announcement came one day after the World Bank Group announced $12 billion in immediate support "to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak."
March 4, 12:16 p.m.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, officials declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles county in response to the coronavirus. This will help to open up funding from the state to combat the virus. This announcement came shortly after six new cases were reported in the county. "I want to reiterate this is not a response rooted in panic,” L.A. County supervisor Kathryn Barger said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “We need every tool at our disposal.”
March 4, 11:29 a.m.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state has risen to six.
Cuomo said the four new cases are tied to a 50-year-old man from New Rochelle, a New York City suburb about 20 miles northeast of Manhattan in Westchester County. Officials said on Tuesday this was the second confirmed patient in the state.
The patient's wife, two of his children and the neighbor who drove the man to the hospital are the latest confirmed to have the virus. The man remains hospitalized while his family is quarantined in their home.
On Tuesday, officials said the man, a lawyer who works in Manhattan, had not traveled to any of the countries where the number of COVID-19 cases is the highest, indicating this was a case of community spread.
Cuomo also said students with the State University of New York and the City University of New York that were studying abroad in China, Italy, Japan, Iran or South Korea were being transported home. Upon arrival they will be quarantined for 14 days.
"Remember: We have been expecting more cases & we are fully prepared," Cuomo said. "There is no cause for undue anxiety."
March 4, 9:55 a.m.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. climbed past 125 on Wednesday, with 9 fatalities blamed on the virus -- all in Washington state. It's not time to panic, but being vigilant is always wise. Here's a reminder on what coronavirus symptoms to look out for, according to the WHO.
Fever is a symptom in 90% of COVID-19 cases
70% of cases include a dry cough as a symptom
Symptoms usually do not include a runny nose
March 4, 9:41 a.m.
The COVID-19 global mortality rate is 3.4%, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday. "Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected," he said.
March 4, 9:20 a.m.
Italy's government will close all of the country's schools and universities from Thursday until mid-March as a result of the virus, according to a report from Italian newswire service ANSA.
Italy has reported more than 2,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll in the country stands at 79. Only China, South Korea and Iran have a higher number of cases.
March 4, 8 a.m.
After being closed for three days due to fears about the spread of COVID-19, Paris' famed Louvre Museum reopened on Wednesday.
According to The Associated Press, museum employees voted to return to work on Wednesday after the museum's management presented several new "anti-virus" measures. This includes wider distributions of disinfectants and more frequent staff rotations so employees can wash their hands, the AP said.
The Louvre is said to be the world's most visited museum and in 2019 attracted more than 9.6 million visitors. The museum's website states that about 25% of its visitors in 2019 were French, with "visitors from other countries representing almost three-quarters of total attendance." Weather in Paris for the next week will be mostly rainy and chilly, according to the AccuWeather forecast.
March 4, 7:42 a.m.
An Amazon employee in Seattle has tested positive for COVID-19.
"We’re supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine," a company spokesperson told Reuters. The company also said two employees in Milan, Italy were infected and in quarantine.
In total, Washington state has 27 cases of COVID-19, the most of any state in the U.S., and all of the U.S. fatalities have occurred in Washington.
March 4, 6:40 a.m.
Here are the latest updated numbers from around the world according to Johns Hopkins University:
Total confirmed cases: 93,455
Total deaths: 3,198
Total recovered: 50,743
Tuesday's 2,500 new cases was the largest jump globally in new confirmed cases since Feb. 14.
March 3, 9:30 p.m.
A woman who recovered talked about what it felt like to have coronavirus and sit in isolation in an interview with BBC News.
“Isolation is basically four walls with a door. I got my food though a secure hatch, my medication, my change of clothing,” a woman identified as Julie from Singapore said.
“When I was going through the critical stage, one of the things I encountered was really breathing. It felt like my lungs were going into overdrive,” Julie, 53, continued.
“Yes you have the phone, you can text someone you may have a video call but just being completely without human interaction. I almost felt like I wanted to go knock on the wall and talk to the patient next door just to have some conversation with a human being,” she said.
Many who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered don't want to discuss it publicly due to concerns about stigmas and discrimination they may face. But Julie decided it was time to speak out and counteract those forces, BBC News reported. Watch the full interview below.
March 3, 8 p.m.
South Korea has declared war on COVID-19. The country has emerged as a major coronavirus hotspot in recent weeks and has the most confirmed cases outside of mainland China. More than 5,000 patients have tested positive and at least 28 deaths have been blamed on the virus. South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday said, "The entire country has entered war against the infectious disease," Reuters reported, and he apologized that the country is suffering through a shortage of face masks.
South Korea has been aggressive about testing its population for COVID-19, going so far as to set up drive-through testing sites that allow people to be screened for the virus without even getting out of the car. Drive-through testing sites are also in use in Northern Ireland, which has just one confirmed case, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
March 3, 5:53 p.m.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all posted losses during Tuesday’s trade session, falling nearly 3% on fears of the spreading coronavirus. The markets did briefly turn positive early in the day when the Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut of half a percentage point, but the three indexes fell back into the negative by midday.
Tuesday’s losses wiped out most, but not all, of the gains from Monday when the stock market tried to rebound from last week’s losses. The Dow posted its largest-ever point surge on Monday, gaining 1,294 points before falling 786 points on Tuesday.
March 3, 4:24 p.m.
"We can’t count on high humidity to save us." Those are the words of Dr. Bryan Lewis, a professor at the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia who is sounding the alarm that COVID-19 could have a historically unprecedented impact on life across the globe. AccuWeather reporter John Roach talked with Lewis and Dr. Madhav Marathe, also from UVA. They touched on what they know about weather's impact on the virus, which they caution is not definitive at this point.
Compared to influenza, "COVID-19 seems to be a bit more resilient to weather changes than the flu," Marathe told AccuWeather. "Its spread in warmer regions is evidence." Lewis said that "we can’t count on high humidity to ‘save us'," but even if the virus is suppressed in summer, that will buy health officials valuable time because "COVID-19 will most likely return once the humidity drops in the fall.”
March 3, 3:45 p.m.
A resident of North Carolina has tested positive for COVID-19, the first person in the state to be diagnosed with the virus. The person that recently traveled to Washington, and was exposed at a long-term care facility where there is currently a COVID-19 outbreak, according to a press release by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
“I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. “Our task force and state agencies are working closely with local health departments, health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur.”
March 3, 3:02 p.m.
The death toll has risen to nine in Washington state, according to the state's health department. In a daily update issued at 11:40 a.m. local time, the agency said that there are 27 positive cases. Twenty-one of those are in King County and the remaining six are in Snohomish County. Eight of the deaths have occurred in King County.
Earlier Tuesday it was confirmed that a person who died last week in a Seattle hospital is now confirmed to have had the virus. This marks the earliest known fatality from the virus in the U.S., according to the New York Times. The Times reported that the patient died on Feb. 26, after being brought to the facility on Feb. 24.
A state of emergency has been in effect for the entire state since Feb. 29.
March 3, 1:48 p.m.
What's a place that could be a potential hotspot for the spread of COVID-19? A polling station on Super Tuesday. And that was an issue in Texas as coronavirus fears caused disruption in Travis County, which includes Austin, on Super Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Dana DeBeauvoir, the Travis County Clerk, said nearly a dozen judges who were assigned to open polling stations didn't show up to do so on Tuesday. "Election judges are comprised of a group of older adults," DeBeauvoir told the Statesman. "They just decided they did not want to do this and decided the news was scaring them."
Health officials have said COVID-19 has had a harsher effect on older patients and those with underlying health issues. In Travis County, DeBeauvior said backup workers were enlisted. "The elections will go on,” he declared. “They always do." The weather in Austin on Super Tuesday was cloudy with temperatures headed for a high of 80 and some rain possible in the evening.
March 3, 1:12 p.m.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, alongside Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the MERS-CoV technical lead for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. (WHO)
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization's director-general, said in a press conference, "This virus is not SARS, it’s not MERS, and it’s not influenza. It is a unique virus with unique characteristics." Ghebreyesus issued a plea for countries to combat price gauging and said supplies of protective equipment were being rapidly depleted.
"Shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline health care workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons." He added, "We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting our health workers."
March 3, 12:43 p.m.
Good news continued to emerge from China as the number of new cases declined once again. Mainland China reported 129 new cases of confirmed infections, down from 202 new cases confirmed on Sunday and 573 cases on Saturday.
This is the lowest number of confirmed cases reported in the country since January 20, The WHO reported.
March 3, 12:20 p.m.
A recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined a "detailed clinical and epidemiologic description" of the first 425 cases reported in Wuhan, the epicenter where the virus originated late in 2019. The authors, which include CDC director Robert Redfield, noted the following high-level findings:
Median age of the patients was 59 years
Higher morbidity and mortality among the elderly and among those with coexisting conditions -- similar to the flu virus
56% of the patients were male
Particularly notable: no cases in children younger than 15 years of age
Either children are less likely to become infected, which would have important epidemiologic implications, or:
Children's symptoms were so mild that their infections escaped detection, which has implications for the size of the denominator of total community infections.
March 3, 11:16 a.m.
Outdoor sporting goods retailer REI said it closed three corporate campuses in Washington state due to two incidents of potential exposure to the virus, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
A spokesperson told Bloomberg that the cases met the CDC's definition of "low risk" and the company is expected to do a thorough cleaning of the offices in Kent, Bellevue and Georgetown before employees are allowed back.
At least six deaths and 18 cases have been reported in the state. The number of deaths accounts for all of the COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S., and confirmed cases are higher in Washington than anywhere else in the nation.
March 3, 10:19 a.m.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday morning at a press conference that a second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the state.
A 50-year-old man who works in Manhattan and lives in Westchester County, a suburb about 30 miles north of the city, has tested positive for the virus.
The man has not traveled to any of the countries overseas that have been considered a hotbed for the spread of COVID-19, according to Cuomo, although the man did recently visit Miami.
"Our information is the gentleman had an underlying respiratory illness and he is ill and is hospitalized," Cuomo said.
The first case in New York was reported over the weekend after a Manhattan resident who recently traveled to Iran tested positive. The patient, a 39-year-old female health worker, remains at home with mild symptoms.
March 3, 9:22 a.m.
Japan's Olympic Minister said Tuesday that the country's contract with the International Olympic Committee allows Japan's organizers to push the games back to the end of the year if necessary, Reuters reported. The Games are scheduled to begin in Tokyo on July 24.
“The contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement,” Seiko Hashimoto said, according to Reuters.
March 3, 8:05 a.m.
Here's a look at the latest updated numbers from around the world according to Johns Hopkins University:
Total cases: 91,320
Total deaths: 3,118
Total recovered: 48,155
March 2, 9:45 p.m.
First presumptive positive case confirmed in Norfolk County in Massachusetts after a woman recently traveled to Italy with a school group, according to WWLP. The young woman in her 20s was reportedly symptomatic and is recovering at her home.
There are two coronavirus cases in Fulton County in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp announced.
Kemp said one of the victims traveled to Milan, Italy, and both patients are being quarantined inside their homes.
March 2, 8:30 p.m.
FEMA officials are preparing in case the president announces an "infectious disease emergency declaration” that would allow the agency to provide disaster relief funding to aid the coronavirus response, according to agency planning documents reviewed by NBC News.
March 2, 7:20 p.m.
Officials and emergency experts are comparing coronavirus preparedness to hurricane preparedness. "Even before the coronavirus, if you had asked the CDC what you should do about preparedness we would say that every individual should think ahead and prepare -- whether it's a hurricane -- and those recommendations haven’t changed,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said at a news conference Monday. Sherilyn Burris, a crisis consultant and the former head of Manatee County Emergency Management, said officials in Florida should develop a strategy that's "like a hurricane plan on steroids."
March 2, 6:05 p.m.
The World Baseball Softball Conference announced Monday that it has postponed the final Olympics qualifying event until mid-June amid fears about COVID-19, The Associated Press reported.
The final qualifying event was set to take place in Taipei, Taiwan, April 1-5. It will now be held June 17-21, about a month before the 2020 Olympics open in Tokyo. Temperatures in Taipei in early April are typically in the mid-70s.
Near the very beginning of summer, when the games are now scheduled to be played, average highs there are in the low 90s. Taiwan has seen 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one fatality, according to statistics kept by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
March 2, 4:25 p.m.
Coronavirus fears rattling world financial markets eased in the U.S. as markets rebounded on Monday. The Dow surged more than 1,200 points, its biggest gain since 2009, according to CNBC, after taking a beating last week.
March 2, 3:13 p.m.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a public health emergency after two patients in the Sunshine State have tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19. One patient is from Manatee County, South of Tampa, and has no history of travel to any of the coronavirus hotspots, Florida health officials said. The other patient, from Hillsborough County, which encompasses the Tampa area, recently traveled to Italy. Both are in isolation. There's been much speculation that warmer weather, like with other viruses, will help suppress spread of COVID-19. But health experts have yet to make a determination.
The weather down in Manatee County has been mostly sunny and pleasant recently with highs in the mid-60s and low 70s. The AccuWeather forecast calls for temperatures there to make a run into the high 70s this week. In the Tampa area, weather has been similar with highs ranging from the mid-60s to high 70s recently and heading into the low 80s this week.
March 2, 2:28 p.m.
COVID-19 claimed another life in King County, Washington, outside of Seattle, officials announced on Monday. The fatality was "a woman in her 80s" who was already in critical condition, public health officials said on Twitter. There have now been 14 confirmed cases in the Seattle area and the death toll in King County now stands at five along with another fatality in nearby Snohomish County, according to KOMO News, for a total of six deaths in Washington state.
March 2, 1:51 p.m.
In King County, Washington, home of the first two coronavirus fatalities in the U.S., officials have said the area will be declaring a state of emergency in response to the outbreak.
On Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency declaration for the entire state in response to the first death.
March 2, 12:29 p.m.
One of the top advisors to Iran's supreme leader died Monday from COVID-19, the first top government official in Iran to succumb to the virus. According to Time, Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Expediency Council, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Tehran at the age of 71. Iran has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The country has nearly 1,000 confirmed cases, fourth-most worldwide, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University, and 54 fatalities.
March 2, 11:58 a.m.
Some potentially positive news emerged from Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Reuters, officials are shutting down one of the 16 hastily-built hospitals used to treat COVID-19 patients due to a sharp drop in the number of confirmed cases in recent days.
March 2, 11:13 a.m.
What does the coronavirus look like? Images of the COVID-19 strands under a microscope have emerged from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Rocky Mountain Laboratories, based in Hamilton, Montana. The NIAID chief of Pathogenesis Unit, Emmie de Wit, shared the images, which were produced by microscopist Elizabeth Fischer, per NPR.
March 2, 9:52 a.m.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams admonished Americans who are buying large quantities of face masks in an attempt to prevent catching the virus. "Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!" Adams said on Twitter over the weekend.
"They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!" he continued. In a subsequent tweet, Adams said the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is "staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water."
March 2, 7:23 a.m.
A second death in Washington was confirmed on Sunday night after a 70-year-old resident from King County, the same area as the United States' first victim, passed away.
According to health authorities, the individual who died was one of six residents in a nursing home who had contracted the virus. Three others remain in critical condition, according to The New York Times.
March 2, 6:30 a.m.
The global death toll from COVID-19 climbed past 3,000. Here's a look at the latest updated numbers from Johns Hopkins University:
Total cases: 89,197
Total deaths: 3,048
Total recovered: 45,150
March 1, 7:30 p.m.
Researchers on Sunday announced that the coronavirus may have been circulating undetected in Washington state for weeks, The Associated Press reported. This could mean there are more undiagnosed cases of the virus in the state.
"I believe we're facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China," Trevor Bedford, who had announced the preliminary findings, said on Twitter.
March 1, 6:44 p.m.
A 40-year-old man in Rhode Island who had traveled to Italy in February was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday, the Providence Journal reported. and a third case was announced in Illinois.
March 1, 5:57 p.m.
Seven medics at Redmond Fire Department outside Seattle were quarantined as a precaution on Sunday.
As of Sunday evening, Seattle has 9 confirmed COVID-19 cases -- the highest amount of confirmed cases in any U.S. city to date. This includes the deadly case that was the first fatality in the U.S. associated with the virus. One case has recovered while seven other cases remain.
March 1, 4:00 p.m.
Here's a look at the latest updated numbers from Johns Hopkins University:
Total cases: 87,508
Total deaths: 2,990
Total recovered: 42,670
Globally, only about 3.4% of the coronavirus cases have been deadly. This percentage comes from 2,990 deaths out of 87,508 confirmed cases accounted for globally by John Hopkins University.
The largest number of deaths associated with the virus comes from the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei, China, where 2,761 of the 66,907 confirmed cases of the region were deadly. This equates to a little over 4% of the cases in Hubei.
In mainland China, 2,870 cases, or about 3.6% of the 79,826 confirmed cases in the nation, have been deadly. Of the cases in Mainland China outside of Hubei, 109 of the 12,919 confirmed cases were deadly. This amounts to about .8% of the Mainland China cases outside of the epicenter.
March 1, 2:00 p.m.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump banned travel to the U.S. from Iran and had urged Americans to not travel to areas in Italy and South Korea that had been hit by COVID-19.
In Iran, 54 of the 978 cases have been deadly, accounting for about 5.5% of the cases.
Italy has recorded 29 deaths out of the 1,128 cases. This amounts to about 2.6% of the cases being deadly.
South Korea has seen 17 deaths out of the 3,526 confirmed cases in the nation, making nearly .5% of its cases deadly.
In the U.S., there have about 76 confirmed cases and one death. The singular death equates to a little over 1% of the nation’s confirmed cases.
The U.S. accounts for less than 1% of the total confirmed cases globally while Hubei, China, accounts for about 76% of the confirmed cases worldwide.
Globally, 42,670 of the 87,508 confirmed cases have ended in recovery, amounting to nearly 53% recovered cases.
These numbers are as of 4 p.m. EST. on March 1.
Nearly 3,000 people have died from COVID-19 globally. That is three times more people than the population of the world's smallest country, Vatican City (1,000 people), or about one fourth the population of Nantucket (11,229 people as of 2017).
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams recommends using simple steps to stay healthy, including washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are sick to prevent the spread of the virus.
March 1, 1:00 p.m.
To contain the outbreak, France canceled all gatherings of 5,000 people or more on Saturday.
Elsewhere in France, the Louvre Museum closed on Sunday after workers were fearful of being contaminated by all of the tourists that visit from around the world.
Mexico has confirmed its first cases of the virus as Australia and Thailand see the first deaths in their countries due to the coronavirus.
Find the latest updated numbers from Johns Hopkins University below.
Total cases: 87,470
Total deaths: 2,990
Total recovered: 42,670
March 1, 11:30 a.m.
Satellite images show a significant decrease in pollution over China amid coronavirus quarantine.
A significant decrease in airborne nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has been detected over China by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites.
According to NASA, there is evidence that the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus could be at least partly related to the decrease in NO2.
Total cases: 87,470
Total deaths: 2,990
Total recovered: 42,670
March 1, 7:30 a.m.
What are the coronavirus symptoms people should look out for? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), fever is a symptom in 90% of COVID-19 cases. Some 70% of cases include a dry cough as a symptom. "It's usually not a runny nose," WHO officials have said.
The United States has a total of 71 coronavirus cases as of early Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Seven of those cases have fully recovered, but one person has died in the Seattle, Washington area.
Of the 71 people, there were 44 who caught the virus onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Most of the remaining cases are on the West Coast, including 12 confirmed in California, six from the Seattle area, and one in Oregon.
Total cases: 86,987
Total deaths: 2,979
Total recovered: 42,596