February 29 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Steve George and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 9:04 PM ET, Sat February 29, 2020
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3:22 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Trump says coronavirus is no hoax

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Trump says his use of the word "hoax" does not refer to the coronavirus itself but to criticism of his administration's handling of the crisis.

Asked if he regretted calling the virus spread a hoax during a rally in South Carolina Friday night, Trump insisted that he didn’t.

 “Hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody,” Trump said of administration critics. “I’m not talking about what’s happening here, I’m talking about what they’re doing.”

Trump said the criticism was a “continuation of the hoax,” and mentioned the Russia investigation and his impeachment.

He then said he doesn’t like when his officials on the virus response are criticized.

“I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people and I don’t like it,” he said. “That’s the hoax I’m talking about.”

More on this: The President said at the rally in South Carolina Friday that Democrats are now "politicizing" the virus. "Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus," Trump said. "They have no clue, they can't even count their votes in Iowa."

"This is their new hoax," Trump added.

2:54 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Trump says the administration is considering other travel restrictions

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal and Nicky Robertson

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Trump said Saturday the administration was considering additional travel restrictions to deal with coronavirus. 

Asked if he was considering closing the southern border due to coronavirus, Trump said “yes” and later said “very strongly.” Later, he seemed to indicate he was walking it back.

“We are looking also at the southern border. In fact, some of the folks are here right now, Ken (Cuccinelli) is here some place, and yes, we are thinking about the southern border,” the President said. “We have received a lot of power over the southern border over the last couple of years from the courts but we are looking at that very strongly.”

When confronted with the fact that Mexico has far fewer cases than the US, Trump seemed to contradict himself.

“We're not talking about it,” Trump said. “We have to think all borders, we have to think about, as it pertain to what we're talking about here, this is not a border that seems to be much of a problem right now. We hope we won't have to do that.”

2:48 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Washington state patient who died had "serious respiratory issues," hospital says

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

The coronavirus patient who died in Washington state went to the hospital "with serious respiratory issues," according to an EvergreenHealth Medical Center statement.

EvergreenHealth received two patients who tested positive for Covid-19. the statement says.

The surviving patient "remains in isolation and continues to receive appropriate treatment," according to the statement.  

Mark Senis of Life Care Center of Kirkland told CNN they currently don't have Covid-19 patients in their facility but they did at one point, and later transferred that patient to EvergreenHealth. It's not clear which patient that was.

2:37 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Trump administration announces new travel restrictions in response to coronavirus spread

From CNN's Jason Hoffman


Vice President Mike Pence announced new travel restrictions Saturday in response to the spread of coronavirus.

Pence announced more restrictions on travel from Iran. The administration is “expanding existing travel restrictions to include any foreign national who has visited Iran within the last 14 days,” the vice president said.

Pence said the administration, through the US State Department, would increase the travel advisory for Italy and South Korea to Level 4 -- the highest level, advising American not to travel to specific regions in those countries.

“We are urging Americans to not travel to the areas in Italy and the areas in South Korea that are most affected by the coronavirus,” Pence said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the goal is to lower the travel to and from the most impacted areas in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.


2:31 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

President says first US coronavirus fatality was "medically high-risk patient in her late 50s"

From CNN's Ray Sanchez


The first US coronavirus fatality was a "medically high-risk patient in her late 50s," President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Saturday.

"She was a wonderful woman,” he said.

Earlier, Washington Gov. Jan Inslee referred to the patient as male.

CNN has reached out to Inslee's office for clarification.

Trump discussed the latest novel coronavirus developments after a briefing from his coronavirus task force earlier in the day.

Less than an hour before Trump's news conference, Washington state officials confirmed the death.


2:29 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Italy confirms 1,128 cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Livia Borghese

Health officials  measure the body temperature of incoming passengers. Trieste, 28th of February 2020. (Photo by Jacopo Landi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Health officials measure the body temperature of incoming passengers. Trieste, 28th of February 2020. (Photo by Jacopo Landi/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Jacopo Landi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in Italy climbed by 307 on Saturday, with 1,128 diagnoses of the virus confirmed, civil protection officials say.

Fifty-two percent of the cases are in house isolation, said the head of the Civil Protection Department, Angelo Borrelli. Another 101 people are in intensive care units, and 401 people are hospitalized with mild symptoms.

A total of 18,500 samples have been taken in Italy. Most of the swabs -- 58% -- were carried out in Lombardy, the region with the largest coronavirus cluster.

Of the eight dead on Saturday, all were elderly -- six were in Lombardy and two in Emilia Romagna. Twenty-nine people in all have died in Italy.

2:29 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: "It is a sad day in our state"

From CNN's Artemis Moshtagghian

Gov. Jay Inslee's statement confirming death of a Washington state man from the coronavirus:

"It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus. 
 "In partnership with the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Department of Emergency Management and local and community health partners, we are strengthening our preparedness and response efforts. I am committed to keeping Washingtonians healthy, safe and informed."
2:27 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

King County, Washington, confirms first coronavirus death in US

One person with coronavirus residing in King County, Washington, has died, says state Health Department spokesperson Jamie Nixon.

No further details were provided. A news conference is set for 1 p.m. local time.

2:29 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Iraq announces 5 new coronavirus cases, total now 13

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Atlanta and Aqeel Najim in Baghdad

Iraq reports five new positive cases of coronavirus, the Health Ministry says. That brings the country's total to 13.

Four new cases were in Baghdad and one in Babil Province, south of the capital, according to a statement Friday from the Iraqi Health Ministry.

The five new patients are under quarantine.