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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3:08 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Should I be wearing a mask?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

N95 masks rest on a cart of filled with protective gear that must be worn when dealing with patients with an infectious disease as Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston prepares for a possible surge in coronavirus patients on Thursday, February 27.
N95 masks rest on a cart of filled with protective gear that must be worn when dealing with patients with an infectious disease as Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston prepares for a possible surge in coronavirus patients on Thursday, February 27. Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

As the number of coronavirus cases increase, reports are showing that there is a growing worldwide mask shortage. This has people asking themselves if they should be wearing one.

Tariro Mzezewa, a New York Times travel reporter, tells CNN the measure is not necessary unless you are sick or are interacting with sick people.

"If you're not interacting with somebody's who's sick or you're not the person who's sick, you don't really need a mask. The people who are sick need those, and you know, there are various kinds of masks. CDC has a whole guide on its side that's breaking down the differences between the kinds of masks and so on. If you're not the sick one, you probably don't really need it," Mzezewa said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend Americans wear surgical masks in public. Surgical masks are effective against respiratory infections but not airborne infections.

2:52 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

US Federal Reserve chair says coronavirus poses an "evolving risk” to economic activity

From CNN's Kate Trafecante

Despite a strong US economy, the coronavirus poses an evolving risk to economic activity, according to a statement from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Powell said the Fed is closely monitoring developments and that the central bank will use its “tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.”

2:37 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Kenya court orders all passengers on flight from China quarantined

From CNN’s Farai Sevenzo and Ingrid Formanek in Nairobi. 

Kenya High Court has ordered all 239 passengers who arrived in Nairobi on a flight from Guangzhou, China, Wednesday, to be quarantined.

The passengers will be quarantined at a Kenya Defense Forces facility or another guarded medical facility. 

CNN obtained a copy of the court ruling, which states that all passengers from China Southern Arline’s flight CZ 6043 are to be traced, accounted for, re-examined and quarantined until “they are duly certified to be free from Coronavirus (COVID-19)."

A copy of the ruling was provided to CNN by Allen Gichuhi, President of the Kenya Law Society, KLS. 

KLS jointly, and successfully, petitioned the country’s high court today to suspend all non-essential flights from China to Kenya. 

2:31 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Amazon asks employees to postpone non-essential travel

From CNN��s Brian Fung

Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance/Getty Images
Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance/Getty Images

Amazon is trying to keep its workers from traveling amid mounting global concerns about the novel coronavirus.

"We're asking employees to defer non-essential travel during this time,” the company confirmed in a statement to CNN.

The statement follows a statement from Amazon’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, which said it will not be attending a major conference for video game developers in San Francisco. 

"While we won’t get to see everyone at GDC this year, we still have exciting things to share,” the company said in an online post. "AWS Game Tech has decided to host a global online event, open to everyone, to showcase our planned content for GDC and more."

2:31 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Google cancels summit over coronavirus concerns

From CNN’s Kerry Flynn

Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Google has canceled its upcoming Google News Initiative Global Summit due to the "novel coronavirus situation," according to an email sent to registered attendees today.

The two-day event, held in Google's Sunnyvale, California office, would have brought together hundreds of people in the media industry.

"We regret that we have to cancel our global Google News Initiative summit but the health and wellbeing of our guests is our number one priority," Google spokesperson Maggie Shiels said.
2:27 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Israel confirms 2 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country's total to 7

From CNN's Amir Tal and Oren Liebermann

Israel's Ministry of Health confirmed two new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to seven. The two new cases are men who returned from Italy and tested positive after developing symptoms. One citizen returned from Italy four days ago; the second returned from Italy six days ago.

In total, three cases in Israel are from citizens who returned from Italy.

One case is from a transmission from a citizen who returned from Italy.

Three other cases are from Israelis who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and tested positive after returning to Israel.

2:14 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

13% of Americans have already changed travel plans due to coronavirus, survey says

From CNN Business' Chris Isidore

About one American in eight surveyed says they have already canceled or changed travel plans due to concerns about the novel coronavirus.

The survey was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and polled about 1,200 adults.

It found that there were high awareness of the disease with 97% of those surveyed saying they have followed at least some news about the outbreak, and 56% saying they knew a lot about the disease. And 55% also said they are somewhat or very concerned that there will be a widespread outbreak in the United States.

The survey also found that 13% say their level of concern is enough for them to have changed or canceled travel plans already — although it does not specify whether those travel plans were domestic or overseas. Another 9% said they are already bought or worn a protective mask.

The survey was conducted between Feb. 12 and 18 by Kaiser, a nonprofit foundation focused on health policy issues.

2:07 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

There's no known shortages of medical devices in the US due to coronavirus, FDA says

From CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich

N95 masks rest on a cart of filled with other protective gear that must be worn when dealing with patients with an infectious disease as Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston prepares for a possible surge in coronavirus patients on Thursday, February 27.
N95 masks rest on a cart of filled with other protective gear that must be worn when dealing with patients with an infectious disease as Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston prepares for a possible surge in coronavirus patients on Thursday, February 27. Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

The US Food and Drug Administration says there are currently no known shortages on medical devices within the US market.

The agency says it contacted 63 manufacturers which represent 72 facilities in China that produce essential medical devices, according to Stephen Hahn FDA Commissioner.

“Essential devices are those that may be prone to potential shortage if there is a supply disruption. We are aware that several of these facilities in China are adversely affected by COVID-19, citing workforce challenges, including the necessary quarantine of workers. While the FDA continues to assess whether manufacturing disruptions will affect overall market availability of these products, there are currently no reported shortages for these types of medical devices within the U.S. market,” Hahn said in a statement. 

The agency noted an increased market demand for some products which could include surgical gowns, gloves, masks, and respirator protective devices. 

Mark Bonifacio — founder of Bonifacio Consulting services, a group that works with medical devices and contract manufacturers — says coronavirus is not having an immediate effect on the medical device industry.

“There is no effect. Companies have deep inventory benches and a two week shutdown doesn’t show up on the radar as long as you can catch up quickly” said Bonifacio. “If this continues, it will be a different story.”

Most factories in China were already shutdown because of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The coronavirus has added about an additional two weeks of inactivity, sad Bonifacio. 

1:54 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Spain coronavirus cases reach 34

From CNN's Laura Perez-Maestro in Madrid

The Health Department for the Valencia region in Spain announced a new case of coronavirus on Friday afternoon. This makes the total number of cases reported in Spane 34.

There are 32 patients in quarantine — six in Andalusia, one in Aragon, two Castilla Leon, 10 in Valencia, five in Canary Islands, five in Madrid and three in Catalonia.

Two people have recovered: one in Canary Island and one in The Balearic Islands