More than 173,000 people worldwide -- including more than 4,000 Americans -- have been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, and the number of deaths continues to rise.
Live updates for Tuesday, March 17, continue below:
Update 11:15 p.m. EDT March 17: Whole Foods announced Tuesday evening it will adjust store hours to serve customers 60 and older.
Starting on Wednesday, March 18, customers who are 60 and older will be able to enter the store an hour before the store is open to the public. The company said the change was to ensure customers would have a comfortable shopping experience in a less crowded environment.
Whole Foods also said in the statement it will close stores two hours earlier to allow time for employees to restock shelves and sanitize in preparation for the next day.
Store hours vary depending on location. Check Whole Foods website for more information.
Update 9:45 p.m. EDT March 17: Nevada’s governor ordered a monthlong closure of casinos and other non-essential businesses like bars, movie theaters and gyms starting noon Wednesday and restaurants to shutter their dining rooms and only offer takeout or delivery in order to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.
The order from Democrat Steve Sisolak Tuesday night follows similar moves by more than 10 other governors as states scramble to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Sisolak’s order gave thousands of businesses in the tourism capital less than a day to prepare. Though a number of casinos started to close their doors this week, the governor’s sweeping order shutters Nevada’s main industry, anchored by glitzy casinos lining the Las Vegas Strip.
The closures are part of federal guidance recommending social distancing. President Donald Trump has urged Americans to follow sweeping guidelines for the next few weeks, including for older residents to stay home and for all people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 as well as restaurants and bars.
Update 6:45 p.m. EDT March 17: The Federal Aviation Administration said that the tower at Midway International Airport in Chicago is temporarily closing after technicians in the tower tested positive for coronavirus.
“The air traffic control tower at Midway Airport is temporarily closing while we ensure a safe work environment for air traffic controllers and technicians,” the FAA told CNBC.
Backup facilities are assisting with operations and the airport remains open, but at a reduced rate.
Update 6:30 p.m. EDT March 17: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday night said the state has reported its first positive case of the new coronavirus, meaning that all 50 states have now confirmed cases.
Justice said the confirmed case is in the state’s Eastern Panhandle, an area close to Washington, D.C. He did not immediately disclose the county where the illness occurred.
Update 5:30 p.m. EDT March 17: Kevin Durant was among the four Brooklyn Nets players that tested positive.
The Nets initially did not name the players Tuesday, but Durant confirmed he was one of them to The Athletic, saying: “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We’re going to get through this.”
The Nets announced that one player is exhibiting symptoms, while the other three are asymptomatic. All four players have been isolated and are under the care of team physicians.
Update 5:20 p.m. EDT March 17: Four Brooklyn Nets players have tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total to seven known players in the NBA.
The team announced Tuesday that one player is exhibiting symptoms, while the other three are asymptomatic. All four players have been isolated and are under the care of team physicians.
The Nets added that all players and members of their travel party are being asked to remain isolated and closely monitor their health.
“The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible,” the Nets added in a statement.
Update 4:40 p.m. EDT March 17: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office immediately pushed back on the idea of a shelter-in-place order for the city, reiterating that it cannot be done without the state’s permission and that “there is no consideration” of issuing one.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier Tuesday that residents should be prepared for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order within days.
Update 4:20 p.m. EDT March 17: Stocks are closing solidly higher after President Donald Trump promised he’s “going big” with plans to blunt the economic pain caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Gains for stocks accelerated as Trump and Mnuchin spoke at a briefing, but neither gave details about how big the stimulus could be.
The market got back not quite half of what it lost in a breathtaking drop a day earlier, which was the biggest in more than three decades. The S&P 500 rose 6% and the Dow rose 5.2%, or 1,049 points.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government intends to send to checks to Americans in the next two weeks. Earlier, the Federal Reserve dusted off a program from the 2008 financial crisis to get the short-term borrowing market working more smoothly.
Update 3:45 p.m. EDT March 17: Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois announced the state’s first death due to the 2019 novel coronavirus on Tuesday.
The patient was identified as a Chicago woman in her 60s.
At least 127 coronavirus cases have been reported in Illinois.
Update 3:40 p.m. EDT March 17: More than 1,500 National Guard members are assisting with coronavirus response efforts in 22 states as officials continue working to slow the spread of the virus.
In a statement Tuesday, officials said the National Guard was helping to distribute food, disinfect public spaces and assist in running mobile screening facilities in New York.
“We’re just here to help out, hand out food and make sure everybody feels comfortable and safe,” Army Sgt. Corey Smith, with the New York Army Guard’s 1156th Engineer Company, said Tuesday. “(Residents have) been sharing stories with us about how tough it’s been for them getting food at the grocery store."
Since January, more than 4,300 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in all but one state in the U.S., West Virginia, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Update 3:25 p.m. EDT March 17: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said Tuesday that residents should be prepared for the possibility that he’ll issue a shelter-in-place order for the city as officials grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
At a news briefing, de Blasio said he was “absolutely considering” an order similar to ones issued Monday in half a dozen counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Right now we have taken a series of steps to reduce the number of people who are circulating around," de Blasio said Tuesday, according to Newsweek. “You have people that telecommute (and there’s) obviously social distancing, closing the schools -- which was particularly painful -- closing the bars and restaurants. But we’re going to look at all other options."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier Tuesday he had no interest in imposing local quarantines, but he stopped short of ruling it out. Cuomo said that more restrictions on business would come first and that a quarantine would have to be at least statewide.
Officials in six San Francisco Bay-area counties issued a “shelter-in-place” order that went into effect Tuesday, requiring nearly 7 million residents to stay inside and venture out only for food, medicine or exercise for three weeks.
Update 3:10 p.m. EDT March 17: Officials with Macy’s Inc. announced the company plans to close its stores, including Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s locations, beginning at closing time Tuesday.
The temporary closure, prompted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, will last through March 31, according to store officials.
“This includes all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s stores.” company officials said in a statement Tuesday. “Macy’s, Inc. will provide benefits and compensation to its impacted workforce.”
The stores will continue to function online.
“The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority," Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s Inc. said Tuesday. "We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen our stores and safely bring our colleagues back to work. During this closure, we will continue to serve our customers through our e-commerce sites.”
Update 3 p.m. EDT March 17: Health officials in Italy said the death toll associated with COVID-19 rose Tuesday to 2,503.
Italy has the second most coronavirus cases in the world behind China. As of Tuesday, 31,506 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In China, officials reported 81,077 cases, according to the World Health Organization.
Italy, which has the world’s second-oldest population after Japan, has been blindsided by the virus that appears to be much more deadly for the elderly and the infirm. The doctors Without Borders charity says Italy lacks key medical equipment like protective gloves or masks.
"Nearly 1,700 healthcare workers, or 8% of the total COVID-19 cases in Italy have been infected whilst tirelessly caring for the rising number of severely ill patients who require long-term hospitalization,” the group said.
Update 2:30 p.m. EDT March 17: Police in Fort Worth, Texas, will stop arresting people for low-level crimes in favor of issuing tickets when possible, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.
The move comes as police departments are coming to grips with the coronavirus outbreak, and officials want to shield officers from becoming infected or spreading the COVID-19, the newspaper reported.
Update 2:20 p.m. EDT March 17: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said 89 new coronavirus cases were reported Tuesday, bringing the total in the state to 267.
Murphy said he sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday asking for help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary hospitals to “ensure our greater regional preparedness and help alleviate the strain on our hospitals.”
On Monday, Murphy announced the mandatory closure of all non-essential retail, recreational and entertainment businesses statewide beginning after 8 p.m. that day.
“I thank everyone who is taking these measures to heart and urge others to follow their lead,” Murphy said Tuesday. “If there is no reason to be out, don’t go out.”
Update 2:15 p.m. EDT March 17: Online retail giant Amazon said Tuesday it will partially suspend shipments through April 5 and will “temporarily prioritize” its shipping of essential items and other “high demand products” to its warehouses as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” Amazon said on its SellerCentral website.
“So, in the short term, we are making the decision to temporarily prioritize household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers,” Amazon wrote in a blog post to customers, “so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers."
Update 2:05 p.m. EDT March 17: The Rolling Stones announced in a statement Tuesday that they’re postponing a planned North American tour due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Rolling Stones were set to begin their 15-date No Filter tour in San Diego on May 8 and end with a performance in Atlanta on July 9.
“We’re hugely disappointed to have to postpone the tour,” band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood said Tuesday in a joint statement. “We are sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to it as much as we were, but the health and safety of everyone has to take priority. We will all get through this together -- and we’ll see you very soon.”
Update 1:55 p.m. EDT March 17: Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts denied reports Tuesday that he was considering issuing a shelter-in-place order for the state, WFXT reported.
Similar orders, which bar residents from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons, have been issued in several California counties as authorities try to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Baker said that as of Tuesday afternoon, 197 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in the state.
Update 1:50 p.m. EDT March 17: Officials in Somalia announced the country’s first reported coronavirus case Monday, according to Bloomberg News.
Citing reports on state television, Bloomberg reported the patient is a Somali who returned recently from a trip abroad. Officials in the country have since suspended all flights, excluding humanitarian ones, according to the news site.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo wrote, “We commend all medical practitioners across the globe working hard to counter the (coronavirus pandemic). I urge everyone to support all efforts and recommended medical measures to slow the spread of (COVID-19) and keep the numbers low.”
Update 1:30 p.m. EDT March 17: Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland announced Tuesday that he’s issuing a proclamation to postpone the planned April 28 primary until June due to concerns over the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“Yesterday we announced that gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited statewide and it would endanger public health to allow thousands of people to assemble in places like schools and senior centers which are already closed under the state of emergency,” Hogan said Tuesday at a news conference. “It would put Marylanders at risk -- especially the poll workers and election judges, most of whom are retires and in the most vulnerable population.”
Hogan added that officials were working to set up a mail-in voting system to allow residents in the state’s 7th Congressional District to choose a new representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat has been vacant since the October 2019 death of Rep. Elijah Cummings.
Update 1:20 p.m. EDT March 12: Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Florida’s Miami-Dade County signed an emergency order Tuesday to shut down all restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and other establishments that seat more than eight people.
Gimenez said restaurant kitchens would be allowed to remain open for takeout and delivery services. Restaurants at the Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami were exempt from the order as were grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies.
“This is not a measure that I’m taking without great concern for all the workers and the businesses that are being impacted,” Gimenez said Tuesday. “I know this is a very difficult time, but the only way to get ahead of COVID-19 and stop the spread of this virus is by taking some very extraordinary action.”
Update 12:40 p.m. EDT March 17: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the president instructed him to look into sending checks to Americans “immediately” in an effort to curb the economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Mnuchin said he would be discussing the idea during his meetings Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Additional details on the logistics behind the proposal were not immediately available.
“I think we’re going to do something that gets money to (Americans affected by COVID-19) as quickly as possible,” Trump said. "That may not be an accurate way of doing it, because obviously some people shouldn’t be getting checks for $1000, but we’ll have a pretty good idea by the end of the day what we’re going to be doing.”
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 17: President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he expects the U.S. economy to “pop back like nobody’s ever seen before" once the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.
“We will be up here saying, ‘Well, we won.’ We’ll say that,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “Sure as you’re sitting there, we’ll say that. We are going to win. I think we are going to win faster than people think. I hope.”
Some economists say a recession is already underway as broad swaths of the economy come closer to a standstill due to the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to outline a White House economic package aimed at supporting Americans through the viral outbreak at a private lunch Tuesday with Senate Republicans. Officials aim to have Congress approve the measure this week.
Update 12:20 p.m. EDT March 17: President Donald Trump announced a pair of initiatives Tuesday aimed at aiding states and Americans amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
During a news briefing Tuesday, Trump said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded its policies to allow state officials to authorize the use of coronavirus tests used within their borders.
“All states can now authorize tests developed and used within their borders in addition to the FDA,” Trump said.
The president also announced a “dramatic expansion” of the country’s tele-health services and a suspension of applicable HIPAA penalties to allow doctors to expand their patient care using tele-health.
“Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or video conference at no additional cost, including with commonly used services like FaceTime and Skype,” Trump said. “In addition, states have the authority to cover tele-health services for their medical patients.”
Update 12:15 p.m. EDT March 17: President Donald Trump wants the government to send checks to Americans in the next two weeks in an effort to curb the economic cost of the coronavirus outbreak, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.
“The president has instructed me we have to do this now,” he said at the White House briefing. He didn’t give details except to say the amount should be significant and millionaires would not get it.
Update 11:30 a.m. EDT March 17: Officials with the federal Coronavirus Task Force are holding a news conference Tuesday to update the public on ongoing efforts to stymie the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Update 11:25 a.m. EDT March 17: Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina announced the state’s restaurants and bars would be closed beginning Tuesday afternoon due to the coronavirus threat.
In a statement from Cooper’s office, officials said the order, which still allows for takeout and delivery orders, would go into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Update 11:20 a.m. EDT March 17: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said 192 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state as of Tuesday morning, WFTV reported.
The news station reported bars and nightclubs across the state would be closed for 30 days beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday. DeSantis said restaurants will also have to limit their occupancy numbers, WFTV reported.
At least five people have died of coronavirus in Florida, according to state officials.
Update 11:10 a.m. EDT March 17: The Federal Reserve announced Tuesday that it plans to buy up “commercial paper,” short-term promissory notes that businesses use to stay afloat, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Two other measures are being proposed to help support the economy:
- A group of Senate Democrats are proposing sending as much as $4,500 to nearly every adult and child in the US this year, in the form of quarterly payments beginning in October
- The Trump Administration will ask for an $850 billion stimulus package
The rush to inject cash and resources into the economy is an effort unlike any since the 2008 economic crisis, with political and economic interventions and eye-popping sums to try to protect Americans from the health and financial fallout.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do from here,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters late Monday.
Update 10:35 a.m. EDT March 17: Two high-profile soccer events, the Copa America and the European Championship, have been postponed due to the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to organizers.
South American soccer body CONMEBOL said the Copa America in Colombia and Argentina is scheduled to be played between June 11 and July 11. Officials with the Union of European Football Associations said they plan to play the European Championship next year from June 11 to July 11. The 24-team competition is being hosted in 12 different countries.
“It is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation, and it answers the fundamental need to avoid an exponential development of the virus," CONMEBOL President Alejandro Domínguez said.
Update 10:25 a.m. EDT March 17: Buckingham Palace officials said Tuesday that adjustments were being made to Queen Elizabeth’s schedule “as a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances.”
“In consultation with the medical household and government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by The Queen and other Members of the Royal Family in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed,” officials said in a statement.
“The annual Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel on 9th April will not go ahead. Three Garden Parties hosted by The Queen, due to be held at Buckingham Palace in May, will now not take place. Guests already invited to these Garden Parties will be asked to attend in 2021. Two additional Garden Parties given for the Not Forgotten Association and the National Trust will also not take place. Investitures will be rearranged to later dates.”
Officials said Queen Elizabeth plans to head for Easter at Windsor Castle on Thursday, one week earlier than planned. She was expected to stay at the castle “beyond the Easter period,” according to Buckingham Palace.
Update 10:10 a.m. EDT March 17: The district attorney in Brooklyn, New York, announced in a statement Tuesday that his office will “decline to prosecute low-level offenses that don’t jeopardize the public safety” amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
“During this public health emergency, it is imperative that we also protect those who might be exposed to the coronavirus during the procedures of arrest, processing and detention in central booking,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Tuesday.
Update 9:40 a.m. EDT March 17: Organizers announced Tuesday that the Kentucky Derby, which was scheduled for May 2, has been pushed back until September 5.
“Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community," Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc., said Tuesday in a statement. “The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe, necessary decisions and our hearts are with those who have been or continue to be affected by this pandemic.”
Update 9:25 a.m. EDT March 17: The largest movie theater chains in the U.S. are temporarily closing their theaters in light of new guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that urges people to stay away from crowds above 10 people.
In a statement released Tuesday, officials with AMC Theatres announced screens would be closed nationwide for at least six to 12 weeks.
“We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres," AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said Tuesday in a statement. “Still, the health and well-being of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else.”
On Monday, officials with Regal Cinemas announced the company’s theaters would be closed beginning Tuesday as a precaution.
Update 9:05 a.m. EDT March 17: Officials in the United Kingdom are urging Britons not to travel for the next 30 days unless it’s necessary amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
“UK travelers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lock downs in various countries,” British Foreign Secretary Dominc Raab said Tuesday in a statement. “The speed and range of those measures across other countries is unprecedented.”
Officials did not require all Britons to return home from abroad, though officials warned, “they need to take account of the fast moving situation and plan accordingly, while flights remain available in many places.”
Update 8:45 a.m. EDT March 17: Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle on Monday announced the city will provide a total of $5 million in grocery vouchers to families impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, KIRO-TV reported.
Durkan said the program will provide 6,520 families with $800 each in vouchers for food, cleaning supplies and other household goods at any Safeway in the state, according to KIRO-TV.
“We know that working families in Seattle are already struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic," Durkan said. “As schools and child care facilities close, we need to do everything we can to support families and ensure they can put food on the table.”
Update 7:50 a.m. EDT March 17: Uber announced on Tuesday it will suspend shared rides for customers in the United States and Canada, The Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, users of the ride-sharing app will see “unavailable” next to the “Pool” option, which allows up to three people share a ride for a discounted price.
Update 7:36 a.m. EDT March 17: German automaker Volkswagen announced plans on Tuesday to temporarily suspend production amid the uncertainty created by the coronavirus outbreak.
The company also warned 2020 will be a difficult year, Reuters reported.
“Given the present significant deterioration in the sales situation and the heightened uncertainty regarding parts supplies to our plants, production is to be suspended in the near future at factories operated by Group brands,” Chief Executive Herbert Diess said on Tuesday.
The lull is expected to begin Friday and last two weeks.
According to Diess, production will be halted at Spanish plants, in Setubal in Portugal, Bratislava in Slovakia and at the Lamborghini and Ducati plants in Italy before the end of this week, Reuters reported.
Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter said, “2020 will be a very difficult year. The corona pandemic presents us with unknown operational and financial challenges. At the same time, there are concerns about sustained economic impacts.”
Update 6:32 a.m. EDT March 17: Malaysia’s Disaster Management Committee issued a statement Tuesday confirming the nation’s first novel coronavirus fatality.
The victim has been identified only as a 60-year-old pastor from Emmanuel Baptist Church Kuching in Sarawak.
Update 6:24 a.m. EDT March 17: Toulouse, France-based Airbus announced early Tuesday it will suspend production and assembly activities at its French and Spanish facilities for the next four days, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“These measures will be implemented locally in coordination with the social partners,” the company said in a prepared statement, adding, "Airbus is also working together with its customers and suppliers to minimize the impact of this decision on their operations.”
Update 6:15 a.m. EDT March 17: London Mayor Sadiq Khan took to social media Tuesday morning to implore residents to continue – and even step up – social distancing as the novel coronavirus continues its spread across the United Kingdom.
“The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) has said that London is now a few weeks ahead of the rest of the country because of our global connectivity and size,” Khan said, adding, "All Londoners should now stop all non-essential social contact. This means working from home wherever possible and stopping all visits to pubs, clubs, theaters or other venues with immediate effect.”
To date, the UK has reported 1,547 cases, resulting in 55 deaths.
Update 5:45 a.m. EDT March 17: The World Health Organization has confirmed 173,344 novel coronavirus cases across the globe, accounting for 7,019 deaths.
The latest figures were released early Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicate total cases could actually number closer to 182,400, resulting in at least 7,100 deaths.
Update 5:12 a.m. EDT March 17: In “deference” to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines, organizers of the star-studded Met Gala are postponing the annual red-carpet event.
"The Museum will remain closed through Saturday, April 4. Additionally, the CDC advised over the weekend that there should not be any gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. In deference to this guidance, all programs and events through May 15 will be canceled or postponed,” a Metropolitan Museum of Art spokesperson told CNN via email.
The annual gala is hosted by Condé Nast's Anna Wintour, with proceeds benefitting the Met’s Costume Institute, and typically launches the museum’s spring exhibition.
Update 4:58 a.m. EDT March 17: Foot Locker and Nordstrom became the latest retail casualties of the ever-expanding novel coronavirus pandemic, with both retailers announcing early Tuesday the temporary closure of all North American properties.
Foot Locker issued a statement confirming the closure will last from March 17-31.
Meanwhile, Nordstrom will also close its U.S. and Canadian stores for two weeks, effective Tuesday and applicable to its multiple brands, including Nordstrom Rack, Trunk Club and Jeffrey.
“The health and safety of our customers and employees remain our top priority as we continue to make decisions during this rapidly evolving situation,” CEO Erik Nordstrom said in a statement.
Update 4:44 a.m. EDT March 17: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow private companies to begin marketing coronavirus test kits without prior approval, The Wall Street Journal reported.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn called the measures a "flexible regulatory approach,” intended to strike a balance between speed and regulatory oversight, the Journal reported.
Update 4:38 a.m. EDT March 17: The novel coronavirus is beginning to gain footholds outside of China and Europe, with Egypt and Pakistan seeing their numbers surge in recent days.
In Egypt, the health ministry confirmed Monday night that 40 additional people have tested positive for the virus and two more people have died. The latest figures bring Egypt’s total number of cases to 166, resulting in four deaths.
Meanwhile, Pakistan confirmed the country’s total cases have increased to 184, or more than three times the figure reported two days ago.
According to CNN, many of the most recent cases confirmed in Pakistan have been among pilgrims who were retested in their home districts after having already been quarantined two weeks ago at the Pakistan-Iran border.
Update 3:33 a.m. EDT March 17: The complete state-by-state breakdown – including presumptive cases – of the 4,405 cases detected on U.S. soil is as follows:
• Alabama, Utah: 29 each
• Alaska, North Dakota, U.S. Virgin Islands: 1 each
• Arizona, Nebraska: 18 each
• Arkansas, District of Columbia: 22 each
• California: 448, including 11 deaths
• Colorado: 160, including 1 death
• Connecticut: 41
• Delaware, Missouri: 8 each
• Florida: 154, including 5 deaths
• Georgia: 121, including 1 death
• Hawaii, Montana: 7
• Idaho, Puerto Rico: 5 each
• Illinois: 105
• Indiana: 25, including 1 death
• Iowa: 23
• Kansas: 11, including 1 death
• Kentucky: 22, including one death
• Louisiana: 136, including 3 deaths
• Maine, Wyoming: 3 each
• Maryland: 38
• Massachusetts: 197
• Michigan: 53
• Minnesota: 54
• Mississippi: 12
• Nevada: 45, including 1 death
• New Hampshire: 17
• New Jersey: 178, including 3 deaths
• New Mexico: 21
• New York: 950, including 5 deaths
• North Carolina: 32
• Ohio: 50
• Oklahoma: 10
• Oregon: 47, including 1 death
• Pennsylvania: 76
• Rhode Island: 21
• South Carolina: 33, including 1 death
• South Dakota: 9, including 1 death
• Tennessee: 52
• Texas: 56
• Vermont: 12
• Virginia: 51, including 2 deaths
• Washington: 909, including 48 deaths
• West Virginia: 0
• Wisconsin: 33
Update 3:14 a.m. EDT March 17: The Taj Mahal joined the ever-growing list Tuesday morning of global attractions closing their doors as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues its worldwide spread.
According to CNN, the Taj Mahal attracts an estimated 50,000 tourists per day and will be closed until March 31.
Update 2:56 a.m. EDT March 17: Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively said Monday they’re donating $1 million to two organizations that support food security and target both older adults and low-income families.
The organizations benefiting from the Hollywood power couple’s philanthropy are Feeding America and Food Banks Canada.
According to the Journal, more than 3,800 people outside China have succumbed to the virus, while about 3,200 inside the country have died. Total cases within the country continue to hover around 81,000, while the number of cases confirmed elsewhere has surpassed 100,000.
According to China’s National Health Commission, 3,226 people have died from the virus in mainland China. Meanwhile, an analysis by Johns Hopkins University pegs the figure of deaths outside China at 3,912, a difference of about 700 cases.
The World Health Organization’s figures narrow the gap considerably to 3,218 and 3,392 respectively, or at least 174 more deaths outside than inside China to date.
Meanwhile, Italy has confirmed a total of 2,158 deaths, while Iran has reported 853 and Spain has recorded 342, according to Johns Hopkins.
Update 1:08 a.m. EDT March 17: Rollout of an informational novel coronavirus website has been delayed until later this week, CNN reported.
"With local and national guidance evolving rapidly, Google will continue working with relevant agencies and authorities to roll out a website later this week that will surface authoritative information for people in the U.S., including on screening and testing,” Google said in a statement.
Developers had originally planned to take the site live on Monday.
Despite claims made earlier in the week by U.S. President Donald Trump, the site is not expected to offer screening or test-site navigation capabilities.
It is, however, expected to include information on how to access screenings as well as a link to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s own screening tool, still under development, CNN reported.
Update 1:02 a.m. EDT March 17: In direct response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft is closing all of its stores globally, effective immediately.
Update 1 a.m. EDT March 17: Discount retailer Dollar General announced late Monday it will begin dedicating the first hour of operations in its store each day for “senior shoppers,” beginning today.
In a statement, the company said the step has been taken to help meet the needs of elderly shoppers, “who are one of the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus.”
"In keeping with the Company’s mission of Serving Others, Dollar General wants to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods,” the statement continued.
Update 12:55 a.m. EDT March 17: Beginning Wednesday, all gyms, theaters and casinos in the state of Colorado will be shuttered, and both restaurants and bars will be prohibited from serving food.
The measures, announced late Monday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, are slated to last 30 days.
Per the new restrictions, food establishments will not be allowed to serve food and drinks on premises, but delivery, takeout and drive-through services will be allowed.
“We understand the gravity of this public health order, and the disruption it will cause,” Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the health department’s executive director told CNN, adding, “But we are weighing this disruption against the need to save lives. Based on the experience of other countries, the state of Washington, and modeling data, the sooner we begin social distancing measures on a large enough scale, the more quickly we can slow transmission of the virus, which translates into less people requiring hospitalization at the same time and more lives saved.”
Update 12:50 a.m. EDT March 17: A US Navy sailor in San Diego has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from the Navy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet confirmed the presumptive diagnosis.
The sailor is stationed at Naval Base Point Loma, but he is in quarantine at his residence.
Update 12:42 a.m. EDT March 17: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States eclipsed 4,400 in 49 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia early Tuesday morning.
According to state and local health agencies as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are at least 4,459 confirmed cases of the virus, which has resulted in a total of 87 deaths to date.
The figures include 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship and 49 repatriated citizens. The repatriations include 46 sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and three others retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China.
Of the 4,389 cases detected and tested on U.S. soil, more than 900 cases have been confirmed in both Washington state and New York. California has confirmed 448 cases.
West Virginia remains the only state with zero confirmed cases.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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