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Coronavirus

News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

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FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:

If you think you might have coronavirus, call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov

State Monitoring 150 People For Coronavirus

Feb 29, 2020
coronavirus
Wikimedia Commons

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Friday that 15 people in Florida have tested negative for coronavirus.

The state is monitoring another 150 people for the deadly virus, a significant drop from the 700 people who were at one time under investigation, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appeared with Rivkees at Palm Beach International Airport Friday afternoon, told reporters.<--break->

As of Friday, Florida had no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which began in China and is known as COVID-19.

Updated at 1:11 a.m. ET, Feb. 29

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Friday that it is "aware of four new presumptive cases of COVID-19."

The new cases were reported in:

  • California (another possible instance of community spread),
  • Oregon (that state's first possible case of community spread),

Growing Concerns Of Coronavirus Should Spur Plans – Not Panic – In The Workplace

Feb 28, 2020

Chances are, if you work for a large company, you received an email like one sent to Volkswagen employees Monday: Coronavirus concerns mean some limits on business travel, everyone should remember to “wash your hands frequently” and stay home if sick.

Governor Ron DeSantis updated media Thursday morning about Coronavirus, or Covid-19, and how Florida is monitoring the international outbreak. Right now, there are no confirmed cases in the state. Some people have been quarantined on suspicion they could be infected. Senate Democrats are calling for more transparency about who is being monitored and where.

No one in Florida has the illness caused by the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus, but state officials say they’re preparing in case that changes.

Students marching, holding flags of their home countries.
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

The coronavirus is causing local universities to bring home some of their students who were studying abroad.

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

The U.S. health care system is trying to be ready for possible outbreaks of the new coronavirus, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned communities this week to prepare for the kind of spread now being seen in Iran, Italy, South Korea and other areas outside the virus' epicenter in China.

Updated at 10:17 p.m. ET

Hours after the White House rejected the idea of appointing a coronavirus czar, President Trump on Wednesday put Vice President Pence in charge of the administration's response to the disease.

"We're doing really well, and Mike is going to be in charge," Trump said, noting that Pence's experience as governor of Indiana made him adept at working with state and local health authorities.

"This is not a czar," the president later added.

President Trump will hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon about the rapidly spreading coronavirus, as fears have sent the stock market into a spiral and Republican and Democratic leaders have questioned the administration's response.

Trump announced the event in a tweet and said it was a retort to media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC trying to "make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible."

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers have voiced dissatisfaction with the administration's response.

building
Jabil

The coronavirus outbreak could impact the state's economy - and at least one Tampa Bay area company is already seeing some effects.

Stocks fell sharply for a second day in a row. The Dow dropped 879 points on Tuesday, after tumbling more than 1,000 points on Monday.

While the coronavirus outbreak in China appears to have peaked, investors are worried by the growing number of cases in other countries, as well as a warning from U.S. health officials that the virus could hit closer to home.

Just last week, the S&P 500 stock index was hitting record highs. Now it's fallen more than 6% in just the last two days.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Federal health officials issued a blunt message Tuesday: Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

The strongly worded warning came in response to outbreaks of the virus outside China, including in Iran, Japan, South Korea and Italy, which officials say have raised the likelihood of outbreaks occurring stateside.

After returning to Miami last month from a work trip in China, Osmel Martinez Azcue found himself in a frightening position: he was developing flu-like symptoms, just as coronavirus was ravaging the country he had visited.

Florida health officials say they can’t release information about how many people have been tested for COVID-19, the coronavirus, but have confirmed there have been no confirmed cases in the state. On this week's roundup we looked at what listeners need to know about the virus, and the flu this year along with the ongoing fight over Amendment 4.

Flu A Bigger Worry In Florida Than Coronavirus, USF Doctor Tells Lawmakers

Feb 19, 2020

The flu remains a far deadlier illness to worry about in Florida than the coronavirus, state lawmakers were told on Tuesday.

While the coronavirus that started in China has spawned massive media attention --- and reams of misinformation --- Tampa General Hospital physician and University of South Florida faculty member John Sinnott said the state has more pressing health risks right now.

“Influenza is the elephant in the room no one is talking about,” Sinnott told members of the Senate Health Policy Committee. “It’s killing people.”

Another 70 cases of the coronavirus infection have been confirmed aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, currently quarantined in Japan, according to Japanese health officials.

This brings the total number of cases aboard the vessel as of Sunday to 355, the largest confirmed cluster outside mainland China. People with confirmed infections have been taken to hospitals in Japan.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

The U.S. State Department is sending a charter plane to evacuate Americans aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship that is in quarantine in Japan because of the spread of the coronavirus named COVID-19.

On Saturday, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo sent a letter to U.S. citizens aboard the ship informing them of the planned extraction scheduled for Sunday night.

Chunlin Leonhard spends most of her time alone in her room at a hotel at the Travis Air Force Base in California, anxiously reading the latest news about the coronavirus outbreak in China.

"I'm doing about as well as can be hoped for under the circumstances," Leonhard, 55, a New Orleans law professor, says during an interview over Skype.

JUSTIN BRIGHT/FRESH TAKE FLORIDA

Florida’s flagship university is warning its professors to stop requiring students who may be visibly sick to leave class and be tested for the new coronavirus.

The coronavirus is affecting the local economy through important local industries, like tourism. It's also having a severe impact on another industry — commercial fishing.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship is currently quarantined in Japan because of 175 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the infectious disease the World Health Organization is calling COVID-19, raising questions about the future of the cruise industry.

The question is important for Tampa, a port for six cruises lines and over one million passengers annually.

Updated at 9:51 a.m. ET

The Diamond Princess cruise ship has become a symbol of a global health nightmare. To date, 175 cases of the coronavirus — the infectious disease the World Health Organization is now calling COVID-19 — have been confirmed aboard the ship.

Chunlin Leonhard is grateful to be back in the United States, even though she's now living under the first federally mandated quarantine in 50 years. "The primary feeling is a sense of relief that I'm back in the States," she says. "I'm just tired and glad and grateful."

The U.S. Embassy in China confirmed on Saturday that a 60-year-old American infected with coronavirus died at a hospital in Wuhan on Thursday. It's the first known American death from the outbreak, which has been declared an emergency by the World Health Organization.

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss," an embassy spokesperson said. "Out of the respect for the family's privacy, we have no further comment."

The number of people who are infected with the new coronavirus that is spreading from China is dwarfed by those affected by a far more common respiratory illness: seasonal flu.

Every year there are as many as 5 million severe flu cases worldwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths. By contrast, so far there have been about 20,000 (and rising) cases of coronavirus, most of them mild.

Updated 7:55 p.m. ET

The Trump administration declared a public health emergency in the U.S. Friday in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

"Today President Trump took decisive action to minimize the risk of novel coronavirus in the United States," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a White House press conference.

The risk of contracting the coronavirus is the U.S. is low — something that federal health administration officials emphasized repeatedly. "We are working to keep the risk low," Azar said.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

The World Health Organization announced Thursday that the outbreak of a deadly and fast-spreading strain of coronavirus constitutes a global health emergency.

"Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen, which has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak and which has been met by an unprecedented response," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

The deadly strain of coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan has now spread to every part of mainland China, from Shanghai to Tibet. The rapid increase caused the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency and prompted Russia to close its long border with China.

Late Thursday, the U.S. State Department also issued a "do not travel" advisory for China.

Global health organizations have put themselves on high alert over the coronavirus, a deadly illness that originated in China, and has made it's

Coronavirus Has Not Been Found In Florida

Jan 28, 2020

The coronavirus has not been found in any people who have traveled to Florida recently from the area of China where an outbreak of the respiratory illness began, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday. 

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