Updated 31m ago
Coronavirus spread in U.S. is inevitable, CDC says
A spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States is inevitable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
“Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Tuesday.
“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” she said.
Messonnier said “our containment strategies have been largely successful” so far. “As a result, we have very few cases in the United States and no spread in the community,” she said.
“But as more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” she added.
There are 14 confirmed cases in the U.S., not including 39 passengers of a cruise ship in Japan who tested positive and were brought back to the U.S. under the watch of federal health officials.
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad,” Messonnier said. “I continue to hope that in the end we’ll look back and feel like we are overprepared, but that is a better place to be in than being under prepared.”
Italy reports 10 coronavirus deaths as cases spike 45%
Civil protection officials in Italy said the number of virus cases in the country increased 45% in the last day and there now have been 10 deaths. Officials said Tuesday that 322 people have confirmed infections, 100 more than reported late Monday.
The new cases also included ones well outside the two hard-hit northern regions, including three in Sicily, two in Tuscany and one in Liguria.
Meanwhile, Italy and its neighbors decided not to close their borders over the coronavirus, saying it would be a disproportionate and ineffective measure, their health ministers said Tuesday. The decision came at an emergency meeting in Rome over the outbreak of the virus in Italy between Health Minister Roberto Speranza and his counterparts from Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland.
Updated 11:49 AM
Pompeo accuses China and Iran of censorship and coverups
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday hit out at China and Iran for their response to the outbreak of coronavirus, accusing the two governments of censorship and of trying to cover up the severity of the spread of the deadly illness.
Pompeo assailed Beijing for expelling three Wall Street Journal reporters and said a free press was needed to ensure accurate information about the virus is available to the public and medical personnel. He also said Iranian authorities must “tell the truth” about the virus amid signs the outbreak there may be far wider than officially acknowledged.
“Expelling our journalists exposes once again the government’s issue that led to SARS and now the coronavirus, namely censorship. It can have deadly consequences,” Pompeo said of China.
“Had China permitted its own and foreign journalists and medical personnel to speak and investigate freely, Chinese officials and other nations would have been far better prepared to address the challenge,” he told reporters at a State Department news conference.
On Iran, which now has the second highest number of infections after China and where officials said earlier Tuesday that the head of the country’s counter-coronavirus task force tested positive for the virus, Pompeo said the U.S. is “deeply concerned” that the government “may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak.”
“All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations,” he said.
Updated 11:03 AM
Trump says U.S. “very close to a vaccine” for coronavirus
President Trump tried to reassure Americans on Tuesday that U.S. health officials were “very close to a vaccine” for the deadly coronavirus. The president’s comments during a visit to India came as the administration asks Congress for $2.5 billion in funding to fight the outbreak.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt, however, emerging from a briefing on the virus, said a vaccine wouldn’t be available for 12 to 18 months, even as scientists around the world race to develop one.
“I think we’re approaching the vaccine as rapidly as any vaccine has ever been developed,” Blunt told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning. “But that would still be a year or a year and a half before that vaccine would move beyond the trial stage. So we will not have a vaccine in the next 12 or 18 months… A year and a half would be the quickest that a vaccine has ever been developed for something like this.”
The White House on Monday asked Congress for $2.5 billion more funding to battle the spread of the coronavirus, but Democratic leaders have already said that is insufficient given the scope of the health emergency.
Updated 10:43 AM
Olympic Committee veteran says 3 months to decide fate of Tokyo Olympics
Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, estimates there’s a three-month window to decide the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, which are being threatened by the fast-spreading virus from China.
Pound, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, did not sound alarmist. But he did speak frankly about the risks facing the Olympics, which open July 24.
Pound has been an International Olympic Committee member since 1978, 13 years longer than current President Thomas Bach.
“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound said, which would mean putting off a decision until late May and hoping the virus is under control.
If it got to the point of not going ahead, Pound speculated “you’re probably looking at a cancellation.”
“This is the new war and you have to face it. In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?'”
– Associated Press
Updated 10:34 AM
Hotel locked down as infected doctor brings Italian outbreak to Tenerife
A tourist hotel in the Canary Islands was placed in quarantine Tuesday after an Italian doctor staying there tested positive for the new coronavirus, evidence that the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe is spreading with vacationing Italians.
The doctor hailed from Italy’s north, which has registered most of Italy’s 283 cases. He was placed in isolation at a clinic in Tenerife. The H10 Adeje Palace hotel was locked down, and its 1,000 tourists prevented from leaving, according to Spanish news media and town officials in Adeje.
The Canary Islands, an archipelago located around 60 miles west of the northwest African coast, is a popular vacation destination that attracts Europeans year-round. Many Italians are vacationing this week as schools have a mid-winter break.
The virus also spread via tourists traveling within Italy, as the southern island of Sicily reported a positive case from a woman vacationing from Bergamo, in northern Lombardy. Two cases were also reported in Tuscany, well south of the epicenter.
Updated 10:52 AM
U.S. stocks slide again after coronavirus selloff
Stock prices dropped on U.S. markets again Tuesday amid growing concern that the coronavirus is spreading beyond China.
The Dow fell more than 1,000 points on Monday, with investors spooked after countries including South Korea and Italy reported more cases of the disease this week, including Europe’s first significant cluster of infections in northern Italy.
After rising on Tuesday shortly after markets opened, the Dow fell 126 points, 0.4%, to 27,835. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 29 points, or 0.3%, and the S&P 500 declined 17 points, or 0.5% to 3,209. Stocks listed in the S&P 500 lost nearly $965 billion in market value on Monday.
Updated 9:39 AM
Chinese researchers claim to have developed coronavirus vaccine
Researchers at Tianjin University in China claim to have developed an oral vaccine to protect against the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to China’s semi-official Global Times newspaper.
Huang Jinhai, the professor who led the project, has taken four doses himself and not experienced any side effects, the report said. The university is now looking for partners to promote clinical trials of the vaccine.
“The vaccine has a very high level of security, is convenient to use and can be quickly produced on a large scale,” Huang was quoted as saying in a statement provided to the Global Times.
Facing some criticism for his early declaration of success online, Huang later stressed that his team had only completed preliminary work on their vaccine, making it clear it was still a long way from being approved for wider use. Its effectiveness and safety still need to be proven through animal and human trials. Huang said his team was looking for qualified organizations to work together on that evaluation process.
– Grace Qi and Tucker Reals
Updated 9:27 AM
Iranian parliamentarian tests positive for coronavirus
Iran’s official state media reported Tuesday that one of the country’s parliamentarians, Mahmoud Sadeghi, had tested positive for the new coronavirus. The case – one of at least 95 confirmed in the country – was a worrying development as Iran’s parliament has been holding regular daily sessions, meaning it could have spread to other members.
Sadeghi confirmed his diagnosis in a tweet.
At least 15 people have died of the COVID-19 disease in Iran, and earlier Tuesday the country’s deputy health minister confirmed he was among those infected. Global health officials believe the overall mortality rate of the new disease is about 2%, and the much higher ratio of deaths to confirmed cases in Iran was fueling concerns that the Islamic clerics who run the country could either be greatly under-reporting the true severity of the outbreak there, or or greatly underestimating it themselves.
Updated 8:33 AM
Iraq confirms five new coronavirus cases
Iraqi health authorities announced four new cases of coronavirus in the city of Kirkuk on Tuesday and one in Baghdad, bringing the total number in the country to six.
The first case was only confirmed on Monday, in an Iranian student studying in the northern city of Najaf.
China says expelled WSJ reporter stuck in Wuhan can stay, but not report
A Wall Street Journal reporter will remain in the locked-down Chinese city at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak despite being ordered to leave the country, authorities said Tuesday. Three journalists had their press credentials revoked and were told to depart China last week over what Beijing said was a racist headline in the newspaper’s opinion pages, which none of the trio were involved in writing.
Two flew out from Beijing on Monday but the third — U.S. national Chao Deng — has been reporting from Wuhan, where the virus was first detected.
The central city and industrial hub has been under effective quarantine for more than a month and its 11 million residents have been largely confined to their homes.
Chao will not be expelled for the time being but will not be permitted to work while she remains in China, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press briefing.
Updated 8:18 AM
Iran’s deputy health minister has coronavirus
Iran’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi has been infected with the new coronavirus, a ministry official said on Tuesday, amid a major outbreak in the Islamic Republic.
“The coronavirus test for Mr Harirchi, the deputy health minister who was on the front lines combating the coronavirus, was positive,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, a media adviser to the health minister, said in a tweet.
Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference on Monday with government spokesman Ali Rabiei.
The deputy health chief was among central government figures who last week disputed claims from regional officials in the outbreak epicenter city of Qom who suggested Tehran was trying to cover up the severity of the outbreak in the country.
Updated 7:03 AM
Coronavirus outbreak spreads in, and from, northern Italy
Italian police have cordoned off areas near Milan and Venice where about 50,000 people live, but CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips said the big question on Tuesday was whether all of Italy’s coronavirus cases could be traced to that northern region.
Luigi d’Angello is coordinating the Italian government’s emergency response, and he told CBS News that the seven people confirmed to have died in the country with the new disease had underlying health problems, but the coronavirus “amplified their sickness.”
Phillips noted that while the World Health Organization hasn’t yet labeled the new virus a global pandemic – meaning it is not considered to be spreading uncontrolled around the world, it still has the potential to become one, and fast-growing new clusters like the one in Italy are a worrying sign. So too are cases popping up elsewhere with links to northern Italy.
An Italian doctor from the north of his country tested positive for the virus while visiting the Spanish island of Tenerife, prompting all guests at his hotel to be confined to their rooms on Tuesday.
Updated 6:43 AM
Italy confirms dozens of new virus cases
Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, the first major one in Europe, continued to grow on Tuesday as officials confirmed dozens of new cases. There were a total of 283 people with the COVID-19 disease, seven of whom had died. That was an increase of 54 confirmed cases since Monday evening.
The outbreak was centered in the northern region of Lombardy, with total of 212 cases and six of the deaths. Dozens more were sick with the virus in nearby Veneto.
Britain’s government on Tuesday urged anyone returning to the U.K. from those regions to self-isolate for two weeks, and anyone returning from other parts of Italy to do the same if they felt any flu-like symptoms.
– Anna Matranga and Tucker Reals
Updated 6:15 AM
Hundreds confined to hotel rooms amid virus fears on Spanish island
Hundreds of people were confined to their rooms at a hotel in Tenerife, a Spanish island off the west coast of northern Africa, on Tuesday after an Italian tourist was hospitalized with a suspected case of coronavirus, health officials in Spain’s Canary Islands said.
“Hundreds of hotel clients are being monitored for health reasons and the degree of supervision will be assessed during the day, but so far, we’re not talking about quarantine,” health authority spokeswoman Veronica Martin told AFP, confirming that the Italian tourist “was staying at this hotel while on holiday in Tenerife.”
Updated 5:50 AM
Trump says U.S. in “very good shape” to handle coronavirus
Speaking to reporters during a visit to India on Tuesday, President Donald Trump voiced confidence that U.S. health care officials were ready and able to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
He called the COVID-19 outbreak that began in China “pretty bad,” noting it’s severe impact on stock markets Monday, but said “we think we’re in very good shape in the United States.”
“I think it’s going to be under control,” Mr. Trump said, lamenting the huge drop in stock values Monday, but saying it was out of his or anyone else’s control.
He said the U.S. had been “fortunate so far,” with just 53 confirmed cases, most of them from a single cruise ship that docked weeks ago in Japan. “We think it’s going to remain that way,” said Mr. Trump.
The president again lauded China’s handling of the outbreak and said it looked as though the Chinese were, “getting it more and more under control, and so I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.”
Updated 5:38 AM
Stock prices sink in Europe and Asia, but not like Monday’s sell-off
Shares opened lower in Europe on Tuesday after a mixed session in Asia, where Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index skidded more than 3% as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged fresh efforts to contain the outbreak of a new virus that has spread from China to nearly three dozen countries.
Nerves appeared to have steadied after sell-offs Monday that gave Wall Street its worst day in two years, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling more than 1,000 points.
But a growing number of companies are forecasting their profits will suffer from disruptions caused by efforts to contain the virus. New clusters of the disease were rattling markets as they emerge, unleashing waves of volatility.
Germany’s DAX lost 0.3% to 12,991.67 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.5% to 7,156.83. In Britain, the FTSE 100 lost 0.4% to 7,126.90.
Updated 5:14 AM
Key aviation hub UAE bans Iran flights as virus spreads there
The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday banned all flights to and from Iran over the outbreak of the new coronavirus, just a day after its spread from the Islamic Republic was announced across multiple Mideast nations. Iran meanwhile raised the official death toll from the virus to 15 killed amid 95 confirmed infections.
The UAE, home to long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad, remains a key international transit route for Iran’s 80 million people. The flight ban, which will last at least a week, shows the growing concern over the spread of the virus in Iran amid worries the outbreak may be larger than what authorities there now acknowledge.
“All passenger and cargo aircraft traveling to and from Iran will be suspended for a period of one week, and could be up for extension,” the Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority said. “The decision is a precautionary measure undertaken by the UAE to ensure strict monitoring and prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus.”
Updated 5:05 AM
Democrats blast White House virus spending plan
Democrats were quick to slam an urgent $2.5 billion plan the White House sent lawmakers Monday to address the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Democrats said the request fell far short of what’s needed.
In a statement Monday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the president’s request “long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.” She said the House would advance “a strong, strategic funding package that fully addresses the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., called the plan “woefully insufficient.”
“We have a crisis of coronavirus and President Trump has no plan, no urgency, no understanding of the facts or how to coordinate a response,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
To help fund the plan, the administration wants to transfer $535 million from an Ebola preparedness account that’s been a top priority of Democrats. House Democrats said that request was dead on arrival.
Updated 5:02 AM
California city alarmed over possible transfer of virus patients
A federal judge on Monday ordered U.S. and California officials to answer questions from local officials about plans to relocate former cruise ship passengers who test positive for a new coronavirus to a facility in Southern California.
U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton, who had already temporarily blocked federal officials from transferring passengers to the site, said mistakes can be made when acting in haste. She set another hearing to review the issue next Monday.
The contentious hearing lasted more than two hours and was so crowded some people had to sit on the courtroom floor.
Officials from Costa Mesa, an Orange County city of 113,000, are trying to halt the transfer to their community of patients who were evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan and are under quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California. Those who tested positive for the virus were sent to area hospitals but can’t be returned to Travis once they no longer need treatment, federal officials said.
City officials questioned why a facility that was recently deemed too dilapidated for a homeless shelter is suddenly being considered for this purpose. Local officials said they weren’t included in the planning process and want to know what safeguards are in place to prevent the possible transmission of the virus that has caused more than 2,600 deaths, most of them in China.
– The Associated Press
Updated 4:57 AM
“Mission: Impossible 7” temporarily halts production in Italy
Production on “Mission: Impossible 7,” which is being filmed in Venice, Italy, has been temporarily halted due to the recent coronavirus outbreak.
“Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew, and efforts of the local Venetian government to halt public gatherings in response to the threat of coronavirus, we are altering the production plan for our three week shoot in Venice, the scheduled first leg of an extensive production for “Mission: Impossible 7,” a spokesperson for Paramount Pictures told CBS News.
Italy has the largest number of coronavirus cases of any country outside of Asia.
Paramount Pictures and CBS News are both owned by ViacomCBS
Updated 4:57 AM
CDC upgrades travel notice for South Korea to “Avoid nonessential travel”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upgraded its travel notice for South Korea on Monday to “Avoid nonessential travel,” warning of “a widespread, ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness.”
The coronavirus has spread rapidly in South Korea in recent days. There have been more than 700 confirmed cases of the disease in the country, according to the World Health Organization.
Updated 4:56 AM
White House proposes $2.5 billion plan to help fight coronavirus epidemic
The Trump administration has proposed a $2.5 billion plan to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, according to a statement from the Office of Management and Budget.
“The Trump Administration continues to take the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease very seriously,” said spokesperson Rachel Semmel. “Today, the Administration is transmitting to Congress a $2.5 billion supplemental funding plan to accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities and to procure much needed equipment and supplies.”
The plan includes a request for $1.25 billion in emergency funding, as well as for an additional $535 million currently earmarked for Ebola prevention and treatment.
An administration official told CBS News that the plan includes more than $1 billion for vaccines, and that the money will be requested in a lump sum to give the Department of Health and Human Services the maximum amount of flexibility. The official added that while the resources are intended for 2020, the language will allow for spending to continue through 2021.
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