March 4 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Steve George, Emma Reynolds, Mike Hayes, Rachel Bowman and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 10:15 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020
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12:26 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

US Congress strikes coronavirus funding agreement

From CNN's Manu Raju

US congressional negotiators have struck a deal on a sweeping spending package to spend billions on dealing with the coronavirus, according to two sources involved with the talks.

The White House is expected to back the deal, which is set to be voted on by the House today.

Asked for comment, a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee said they are “very close” to a deal.

12:23 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Cancellation or postponement of 2020 Tokyo games not mentioned at Olympic board meeting

From CNN's Aleks Klosok in London

People walk past the Olympic rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 4.
People walk past the Olympic rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 4. Jae C. Hong/AP

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that neither the words “cancellation” nor “postponement” were mentioned during a two-day executive board meeting focusing on preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Bach again reiterated that he did not want to “take part in any kind of speculation”’ regarding hypothetical scenarios which could impact the Summer Games and reiterated his full backing to the Games going ahead as planned adding, “It is still to true and it is even more true – we are fully committed to a successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

Bach did, though, admit that the virus has meant challenges with some of the Tokyo 2020 qualification events being cancelled, namely there may now need to be quota allocations to decide which athletes complete at the Games in some disciplines – although he did not elaborate on how such a proposal would be put into practice.

12:14 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Trump tries to reassure the public on coronavirus

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump tried to reassure the public that the fatality rate from coronavirus could drop as more tests are done.

“If you add many, many people that have it and they don’t know they have it,” the President said during a meeting with airline executives on Wednesday. “I think that number will probably be a lot different number.”

“I think that’s an important thing for people to know,” he added.

More on this: In a news briefing on Tuesday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity.

That means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease. Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected."

12:06 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

What are the current US travel restrictions?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

An increasing number of travel advisories have been issued by countries around the world, urging caution for select destinations, and discouraging travel to others.

The US State Department's travel warning for China is at the highest level — Level 4: Do not travel. The department's warning for travel to Iran, which was already at Level 4 prior to the outbreak, was recently updated to add information about coronavirus.

The State Department is advising travelers to reconsider travel to Italy and South Korea, while travel to specific areas of those countries — Lombardy and Veneto in Italy and Daegu in South Korea — is discouraged. The department also advises travelers to reconsider travel to Mongolia.

Level 2 warnings, urging increased caution, are in effect for JapanHong Kong and Macau due to the outbreak.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is discouraging nonessential travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Japan and Hong Kong carry lower-level CDC advisories.

10:15 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Thailand has not announced a quarantine on certain travelers, despite what a minister's social media says

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

A worker disinfects a train at Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok on Wednesday, March 4.
A worker disinfects a train at Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok on Wednesday, March 4. Adisorn Chabsungnoen/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

The entire profile of a Thai minister has been deleted after he posted yesterday that the country was imposing a quarantine for travelers from certain countries.

Sirima Teerasak, Director for Information Bureau under the Ministry of Public Health tells CNN that the announcement posted yesterday is not valid. She said, “there is no such announcement came out from our ministry yet.”

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Tuesday that travelers from “Japan, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China including its special territories Macao and Hong Kong, Taiwan, French Republic, Republic of Singapore, Italian Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran” would face self-quarantine upon arrival in Thailand.

The post was later deleted Tuesday from Charnvirakul’s account before his account was fully deleted.

Charnvirakul did not explain why that post was deleted. He told in his text reply to CNN “We have not declared that announcement. And I don’t know how the document was leaked, I haven’t signed it and it was not published on Ratchakitja (Royal Gazette) yet.”

This post has been updated to reflect the timeline of events.

11:56 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Vice President Pence says new guidance coming for US nursing homes after coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

Vice President Mike Pence said that the administration is sending new guidance for nursing homes on the coronavirus, after a nursing home outside of Seattle became a hotbed of infections. 

Pence made the announcement during a meeting with airline industry leaders and President Trump.

“Even earlier today, at your direction, we met with leaders of our nursing home industry to talk about the increased measures to prevent the spread of infectious disease,” Pence said to the President.

“We’ve sent new guidance out to nursing homes,” he said, and added that the administration will be announcing “priority of inspections for infectious diseases.”

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.