February 25 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:50 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020
9 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:28 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

Why health officials aren't calling coronavirus a pandemic

From CNN's John Bonifield

World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a news conference on the situation regarding the coronavirus in Geneva on February 24.
World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a news conference on the situation regarding the coronavirus in Geneva on February 24. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials have yet to label the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic -- but they could be close to calling it one.

"We're on the knife's edge," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We're really on the brink," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes for Health.

Not there yet

On Monday, the World Health Organization's director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said coronavirus has pandemic potential -- but it’s not there yet. 

Tedros said the decision to use the word pandemic is based on ongoing assessments of the geographic spread of the virus, severity and impact of the society and for the moment they are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus.  

He said the virus is affecting countries across the world in different ways and requires a tailored response, adding it’s not a one-size-fits-all response.  

Remember: There is no precise, mathematical definition of a pandemic.

Outbreaks get characterized as pandemics by epidemiologists -- who are not yet using the term.

That's because they've yet to see sustained transmission among people who have not recently traveled to China or had close contact with someone who recently traveled to China. 

It's not enough for a cluster of disease in a country to exist and even spread -- it has to spread in a sustained way, from person to person, time and time again, through many generations of transmission.

Right now, certain countries may still be able to contain the clusters of disease they are experiencing, and if they snuff out the outbreaks before they progress and achieve sustained transmission, they will have avoided a pandemic.

11:12 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Major American companies are reeling from coronavirus

A United Airlines plane taxis at Los Angeles International Airport.
A United Airlines plane taxis at Los Angeles International Airport. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

A growing number of major American companies are saying coronavirus is hurting their business.

Late Monday, United Airlines announced that it has suspended flights between the United States and four destinations in China, routes that represent approximately 5% of the company's planned capacity, because of the virus.

The airline said near-term demand for flights to China has fallen to near zero, and the demand for flights to the rest of its trans-Pacific routes has declined 75%.

The canceled flights were between the US and Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong and will be suspended through April 24. United said that despite these "short-term" issues, the company believes "it will be in a strong position to deliver earnings growth in 2021 and beyond."

Read more here.

10:46 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

Bahrain suspends all flights from Dubai and Sharjah's international airports for 48 hours

From CNN’s Ruba Alhenawi in Atlanta

Bahrain's aviation authority has suspended all incoming flights from Dubai International airport and Sharjah International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates, for 48 hours over coronavirus fears, according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The statement, which was released on Tuesday shortly after midnight local time, said the suspension was “effective immediately.”

On Monday, Bahrain confirmed the country's second case of the novel coronavirus.

The patient is a Bahraini woman who arrived from Iran via Dubai, BNA reported.

11:12 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

CDC raises travel advisory for Italy and Iran to Level 2

Alert level 2 means older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
Alert level 2 means older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel. CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised its travel advisories for Italy and Iran to Alert Level 2, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

According to the CDC, both Italy and Iran are experiencing “sustained community spread of respiratory illness (COVID-19) caused by the novel coronavirus.”

Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel to these countries, the CDC recommends.

Travelers should also avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol, the CDC says.

Also on Tuesday, the CDC raised its travel advisory for South Korea to Warning Level 3 -- recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea.

10:19 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

South Korea reports 60 new cases of coronavirus. The country's total is now 893

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Seoul

Disinfection workers wearing protective gear prepare to disinfect against the coronavirus at a market in Seoul, South Korea.
Disinfection workers wearing protective gear prepare to disinfect against the coronavirus at a market in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea recorded 60 additional cases of novel coronavirus overnight, bringing the country’s total to 893 cases, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.

 Here's a breakdown of the new cases:

  • Seoul: 2
  • Busan: 3
  • Daegu: 16
  • Gyeonggi Province: 5
  • North Gyeongsang Province: 33
  • South Gyeongsang Province: 1

More than half of the country's total cases are associated with a branch of a religious group in the southern city of Daegu.

10:08 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

Death toll from novel coronavirus rises to 2,698

From CNN’s Shanshan Wang in Beijing

A medical staff member treats a patient infected by the coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province.
A medical staff member treats a patient infected by the coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province.  STR/AFP/Getty Images

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus has risen to more than 2,698 across the world.

Where the death toll stands:

China reported 71 new deaths on Monday, with 68 of those in Hubei province -- the epicenter of the outbreak. The additional three deaths outside of Hubei brings the death toll in mainland China to 2,663, according to the country's National Health Commission.

There have been 35 deaths reported outside of mainland China. Here's a breakdown of those numbers:

  • Iran: 12
  • South Korea: 7
  • Italy: 7
  • Japan: 4
  • Hong Kong: 2
  • Philippines: 1
  • France: 1
  • Taiwan: 1

The cases:

Confirmed cases in mainland China increased by 508 on Monday. Of those cases, 499 were in Hubei province. That means according to the NHC, there were nine new cases reported outside of Hubei.

The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is now 77,658, bringing the global total to at least 80,067.

China's NHC added that a total of 27,323 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

10:41 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak

Disinfection workers wearing protective gear spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea. 
Disinfection workers wearing protective gear spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea.  Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Clusters of novel coronavirus outbreaks are spreading as cases surge in South Korea, Iran and Italy, though the World Health Organization (WHO) said it is still too early to declare a pandemic.

Here's what you should know:

The numbers: The novel coronavirus has infected at least 80,067 people worldwide and killed 2,698. Some 35 of those deaths occurred outside mainland China. In China, the vast majority of cases and deaths remain concentrated in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Areas of concern: South Korea reported 60 cases overnight, bringing the total there to 893. Iran is on the front line of the outbreak -- the health ministry has confirmed 61 cases and 12 deaths -- though one lawmaker in the city of Qom claims the death toll could be as high as 50. Iran's health ministry denies those claims. In Italy, about 100,000 people are affected by travel restrictions as seven people have died and at least 229 others have been infected with the virus. 

More countries report first cases: Oman has announced its first two cases of the virus, after two Omani women returning from Iran tested positive. Meanwhile, an Iranian student who entered Iraq prior to the country's travel ban on Iran has been confirmed to have the virus.

Markets are nervous: US stocks plunged on mounting worries about the spread of the coronavirus outside China to major economies. The Dow Jones index finished down more than 1,000 points at the closing bell on Monday, its worst day since February 2018.

Outbreak is not a pandemic: Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, said it's too early to declare the novel coronavirus a pandemic -- but now is the time to prepare. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus has pandemic potential -- but it’s not there yet. 

Military drills on hold: The US and South Korea are considering scaling back joint military exercises due to the coronavirus on the Korean Peninsula. 

The situation in the US: There are now 53 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36 of whom were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Meanwhile, Alabama's mayor said the state was not prepared to handle coronavirus patients. President Donald Trump tweeted today that "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA."

Closing access to Iran: Due to Iran's outbreak, Oman has suspended flights to and from the country. Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq have closed their borders with Iran, while Kuwait Airways, Iraq Airways and Turkey have suspended flights to the country. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is banning its citizens from traveling to Iran and Thailand.

9:26 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak is rattling global markets

From CNN's Laura He

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as stocks fall over global concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus. 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as stocks fall over global concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus.  Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Fears about the novel coronavirus outbreak are roiling some global markets Tuesday. 

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index plunged 3.1% in early trade. Markets in the country were closed Monday for a holiday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.1% Tuesday morning. China's Shanghai Composite dropped 1%. 

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.8% after closing down nearly 3.9% on Monday, its worst day since October 2018. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index also slightly increased following a 1.8% decline on Monday.

A terrible day: The mixed showing in Asia Pacific followed a terrible day for US stocks. The Dow closed down 1,032 points -- a 3.6% drop -- for its worst day in two years. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each ended the day down more than 3%, too.

Read more here.

11:13 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

CDC raises travel advisory for South Korea to Level 3

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea.
CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea. CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised the travel advisory for South Korea to Warning Level 3, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea, because there is limited access to adequate medical care in novel coronavirus affected areas.

South Korea has a total of 893 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.