February 28 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Angela Dewan, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:08 PM ET, Fri February 28, 2020
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10:37 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

World Health Organization says risk of coronavirus spread is "very high at a global level"

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO epidemiologists have been monitoring developments in global coronavirus cases and “we have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of Covid-19 to very high at a global level.”

Most cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus can still be traced to known contacts or clusters of cases, he said, and WHO does not see evidence as of yet that the virus is spreading freely.

“As long as that’s the case, we still have a chance of containing this virus,” Tedros said.
10:40 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

How can I prepare for coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

In general, the public should do "what you do every cold and flu season," said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state — where the first US case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed.

That includes washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (or 1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.

If you're the one feeling sick, cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. But don't use your hands. Use either your bent elbow or a tissue that you throw away immediately afterward.

While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend N95 respirator masks for the general public, it does recommend them for health care workers.

But certain types of facial hair can prevent respirators from working effectively. So, the CDC created an infographic showing which styles of facial hair are riskier than others.

11:28 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Former White House economist says coronavirus could "absolutely" spark US recession


Former White House economist Kevin Hassett told CNN this morning the coronavirus could “absolutely” spark recession if not contained.

He said that White House economist Peter Navarro is wrong that Apple is an anomaly in terms of taking a hit from the coronavirus. Many industries including airline and oil will also see hits.

Watch more:

10:10 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

California congressman says some members will be briefed again this afternoon on coronavirus

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Rep. John Garamendi, a Democratic member who represents the area between San Francisco and Sacramento, said today that briefers in the room this morning pushed back on the whistleblower complaint that public health officials were not properly trained or protected at March Air Force Base when they went to meet incoming travelers from China.

However, he said briefers could not answer a question about whether they believed the whistleblower was wrong about what occurred at Travis Air Force base. 

“The WB issue remains unresolved at least at Travis Air Force base,” Garamendi told reporters. “The WB complaint was raised by Mark Takano who represents March Air Force base. CDC said that protocols were followed at March. I asked if they were followed at Travis and they said ‘we will talk to you this afternoon’ and they will talk to us this afternoon."

Garamendi said some members will be briefed again this afternoon. He said he did not know who all would be invited to that briefing: It may just be more California members, but he said others may be invited as well. 

Garamendi said he is largely concerned about the fact that a patient who presented symptoms for days was not tested for coronavirus because of the protocols that had been established by CDC. He said it put health workers in the first facility in Vacaville, California at great risk and that 84 health workers at the first facility where the patient was have been sent home to self-monitor because of risk of exposure.

“They haven’t been tested yet because tests as of this morning were not available,” he said. “Those people quite possibly have been infected. Similarly, there are other hospitals in the Sacramento region whose personnel have been exposed.”

10:25 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Dow falls another 750 points at the open over coronavirus fears

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

US stocks tumbled once again on Friday, as coronavirus fears continue to mount.

Equities are on track for their worst week since the financial crisis.

The Dow opened 750 points, or 2.9% lower on Friday — its seventh-straight day in the red. The broader S&P 500 opened down 2.8%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 2.9%.

The Dow dropped 3,226 points in the first four days of the week, including its worst one-day point drop in history on Thursday. All three major indexes are on track for their worst week since October 2008.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, countries are scrambling to respond. Economists and investors are concerned about the outbreak's impact on economic growth and corporate earnings. Various American multinational companies, including Apple and Microsoft, have warned that they won't meet their earnings guidance because of disruptions from the virus.

9:44 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

How coronavirus is affecting daily life around the world

Coronavirus was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It's since spread to every continent except Antarctica.

CNN took a look at the outbreak's effects around the world — from Japan, where the Summer Olympics are due to take place this summer, to Italy, the site of Europe's largest outbreak.

Watch more:

10:41 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Do you have a question about coronavirus?

Ask it here — we'll be answering some of your questions through out the day.

9:22 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Nigeria says it's more than capable of dealing with coronavirus

From CNN's Stephanie Busari in Lagos

A person has their hands sanitized before entering a state hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 28.
A person has their hands sanitized before entering a state hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 28. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

The head of Nigeria’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the country is more than capable of dealing with coronavirus as Africa’s most populous nation records the first case in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Nigeria is ready,” Chikwe Ihekweazu said. “We successfully managed Ebola and we manage outbreaks all the time and are currently managing Lassa fever. We have a strong team that is used to doing this.”

Ihekweazu told CNN the Italian patient who arrived in the country with the virus is currently stable and “has mild to moderate symptoms.”

“We are very hopeful for his full recovery,” said Ihekweazu, an epidemiologist who was appointed CEO of the NCDC in 2016 and has been credited with transforming the organization.

According to Ihekweazu, the man was screened on arrival at the airport, however he presented no symptoms at the time, which is why the temperature scanners at the airport did not detect him.

“Screening is not a fool-proof method as the virus has an incubation period of four to five days,” he added.

Nigerian officials say the patient arrived in Lagos on Tuesday and became ill the next day, but physicians who examined him contacted the NCDC after asking him about his travel history.

“He had astute physicians,” Ihekweazu said. “The doctor got in touch with us when he found out he had just come from Milan, we collected a sample, tested it and isolated him in a facility in Lagos that manages infectious diseases.” 

Ihekweazu points to the speed with which Nigeria identified and confined the patient as a sign the country is prepared to deal with the outbreak.

“The system worked. We identified this case, diagnosed and isolated within 48 hours of it entering the country. In other countries like Iran and Italy for instance, by the time the first case had been confined, there was widespread contact.” 

He said the government is now racing to identify all the passengers on the plane and all the people he may have come in contact with the man who was working as a consultant in Ogun State, around 100 km outside of Lagos.

9:54 a.m. ET, February 28, 2020

First British coronavirus death is a man from the Diamond Princess cruise ship

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo

Emergency workers in protective clothing exit the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier in Yokohama, Japan, on February 10.
Emergency workers in protective clothing exit the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier in Yokohama, Japan, on February 10. Carl Court/Getty Images

A British man who was aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from the novel coronavirus, according to Japan’s Health Ministry on Friday.

He is the first British citizen to die since the virus outbreak.

The man remained in Japan receiving treatment, as dozens more British passengers who were found not to have the virus were evacuated back to the UK.

There are now 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.