March 4 coronavirus news

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11:53 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

There are six new coronavirus cases in Los Angeles county

The LA County Department of Public Health confirmed 6 new cases of coronavirus, county officials said in a news conference.

This brings the count to 7 cases for the county.

Los Angeles County has declared a local emergency to fight coronavirus, said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

The county public health department confirmed the 6 new cases in the last 48 hours, said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

11:45 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Coronavirus mortality rate is about 2%, health official says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, right, testifies before a House appropriations subcommittees hearing on Wednesday, March 4.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, right, testifies before a House appropriations subcommittees hearing on Wednesday, March 4. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the mortality rate for novel coronavirus is about 2% if "you just do the math."

"If you look at the cases that have come to the attention of the medical authorities in China, and you just do the math, the math is about 2%. If you look at certain age groups, certain risk groups, the fatality is much higher. But as a group it’s going to depend completely on what the factor of asymptotic cases are. So if you have asymptotic cases that are a lot, it's going to come down,” Fauci said on Wednesday during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on NIH's budget.

On Tuesday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said globally the rate is about 3.4%.

Speaking about the WHO’s higher number, Fauci said, “What we're hearing right now, on a recent call from the WHO this morning is that there aren't as many asymptotic cases as we think. Which made them elevate, I think, what their mortality is.”

Fauci warned, “You know as well as anybody that the mortality for seasonal flu is .1% so even if it goes down to 1% it's still 10 times more fatal."

11:45 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

How are the New York cases of the coronavirus connected?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

A total of six people across New York are infected with coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today. 

The state's first case is a healthcare worker who had recently returned from Iran. She has been isolated at her home in Manhattan along with her husband. As of Wednesday, the husband does not have coronavirus, Cuomo said.

The 5 other cases include the city's first case of community spread -- meaning the source of infection is unknown.

That patient, an attorney in his 50s, is in critical condition at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The man has an underlying respiratory condition which made him more vulnerable to the virus, said Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. 

Now the man's wife, son, daughter, and a neighbor who drove the sick man to the hospital are all infected with coronavirus, Cuomo said.

His 20-year-old son attends Yeshiva University in Manhattan and his 14-year-old daughter attends SAR Academy and High School in the Bronx. 

11:41 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

US should be proactive in testing for novel coronavirus, health official says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a House appropriations subcommittees hearing on Wednesday, March 4.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a House appropriations subcommittees hearing on Wednesday, March 4. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the United States should be proactive when it comes to testing for the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on a budget request for the National Institutes of Health, Fauci was asked by Rep. Mark Pocan if we should be proactive with testing for novel coronavirus in hospitals, rather than waiting for people to come and be tested. 

Fauci definitively replied, "Yes. The answer is yes and I feel strongly about that."

Earlier in the hearing, Fauci explained that the new guidelines for testing are a good thing.

“The major issue that I find and many of my colleagues find problematic is that if you're looking for people in the community who don't have a recognize link to a test, we call it community transmission, then you've gotta withdraw the restrictions that in order to get a test, you have to have a link to something. It's almost inherently contradictory. Those have been lifted, the FDA has taken the constraints off and now we finally have companies that are going to be making many, many more test," he said.

11:38 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

French government will take control of country's masks during coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Pierre Bairin in Paris

A sign is displayed at the entrance to a pharmacy in Marseille, southern France, on Tuesday, March 3.
A sign is displayed at the entrance to a pharmacy in Marseille, southern France, on Tuesday, March 3. Daniel Cole/AP

The government of France is taking control of the stocks and production of surgical masks in the country in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Olivier Véran announced today. 

“Other than health professionals, contaminated people and vulnerable people, masks are not useful,” he said in the announcement.

He added that the children of people with the virus would not go to school.

“There is little health risk for children but it is a measure to limit the propagation of the virus,” he said, adding: “The President [Emmanuel Macron] is in contact with the President of the European Council [Charles Michel] and his counterparts in other countries to prepare a concerted strategy.” 

11:24 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

US auto union suspends air travel by staff

From CNN Business' Chris Isidore

The United Auto Workers union announced it has suspended all travel by staff members, both internationally and domestically.

"This is a precautionary action not meant to elicit concern, but to help in dealing with the spread of this epidemic,” said UAW President Rory Gamble. Road travel by staff is still permitted.

In addition, the union has canceled a conference scheduled to be held in San Antonio, Texas from March 8 to 13 that had been expected to draw 1,000 of the union's financial officers.

11:05 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

What should I buy to prepare for a possible pandemic?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Signs for sold out facemasks are posted in a Manhattan pharmacy on Wednesday, February 26.
Signs for sold out facemasks are posted in a Manhattan pharmacy on Wednesday, February 26. Scott Heins/Getty Images

The US Department of Homeland Security recommends on its website that, before a pandemic strikes, to store a two-week supply of water and food, as well as over-the-counter medications you tend to take.

"Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins," according to the department.

"In general for emergency preparedness, we encourage all households to have an emergency response kit," which could be used during any public health or severe weather emergency, said Jennifer Kertanis, president-elect of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

11:02 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Starbucks to host virtual shareholder meeting due to coronavirus concerns

From CNN's David Goldman

Shareholders line up for coffee at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Seattle, Washington on March 20, 2019.
Shareholders line up for coffee at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Seattle, Washington on March 20, 2019. Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Starbucks will hold a virtual annual meeting on March 18 as the state of Washington battles a coronavirus outbreak.

"Due to the emerging public health impact of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and to support the health and well-being of our partners and shareholders ... the location of the Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Starbucks Corporation has been changed," the company said in a regulatory filing. "In light of public health concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Annual Meeting will be held in a virtual meeting format only. You will not be able to attend the Annual Meeting physically."

Starbucks had been planning on holding the annual meeting in Seattle. It has set up a website where shareholders can register to participate in the meeting.

10:50 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

There are now at least 130 cases of novel coronavirus in the US

There are 130 cases of the novel coronavirus, including nine deaths, in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local governments. 

According to the CDC, there are 48 cases from repatriated citizens. According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States, there are 82 cases in 13 states. Bringing the total of coronavirus cases to 130.

This includes presumptive positive cases that tested positive in a public health lab and are pending confirmation from the CDC, and confirmed cases have received positive results from the CDC.

Here's a state-by-state breakdown of the US cases:

  1. Arizona – 2 
  2. California – 27
  3. Florida - 3
  4. Georgia - 2
  5. Illinois - 4 
  6. Massachusetts - 2
  7. New Hampshire – 2
  8. New York - 6
  9. North Carolina - 1 
  10. Oregon - 3
  11. Rhode Island - 2 
  12. Washington state - 27 (includes 9 fatalities) 
  13. Wisconsin - 1