Coronavirus: Senator sold off stock before market losses from virus began

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

More than 222,000 people worldwide -- including over 9,400 people in the U.S. -- have been infected with the new coronavirus and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the United States here.

>> Coronavirus: Know the facts directly from the CDC

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Live updates for Thursday, March 19, continue below:

Senator sold off stock before market losses from virus began

Update 9:50 p.m. EDT March 19: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., sold as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the market dropped in February amid fears about the coronavirus epidemic.

Senate records show that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to fall and as government health officials began to issue stark warnings about the effects of the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.

The stock sales were first reported by ProPublica and The Center for Responsive Politics. Most of them came on Feb. 13, just before Burr made a speech in North Carolina in which he predicted severe consequences from the virus, including closed schools and cutbacks in company travel, according to audio obtained by National Public Radio and released Thursday.

Burr told the small North Carolina audience that the virus was “much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history” and “probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”

Burr’s remarks were much more dire than remarks he had made publicly, and came as President Donald Trump was still downplaying the severity of the virus.

California governor issues statewide order for people to stay at home

Update 9:50 p.m. EDT March 19: California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home, restricting non-essential movements to control the spread of the coronavirus that threatens to overwhelm the state’s medical system.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said. “We need to recognize reality.”

His move came after counties and communities covering about half the state’s population already had issued similar orders.

People may still leave their homes for walks and exercise and for essential needs such as food and medical care. Restaurant meals can still be delivered to homes.

Arizona Gov. calls up National Guard

Update 8:35 p.m. EDT March 19: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is calling up the National Guard to help grocery stores and food banks, halting elective surgeries and closing businesses in areas with known cases of COVID-19.

Ducey intensified his response to the virus outbreak Thursday as public health authorities reported the biggest day-to-day jump in cases, from 30 to 44.

Ducey says his orders will ensure grocery shelves remain stocked and preserve the ability for hospitals to manage an influx of cases. Bars, movie theaters and gyms will be required to close in six counties, and restaurants will be restricted to takeout and drive-thru service.

Washington state death toll up to 74

Update 7:25 p.m. EDT March 19: The death toll in Washington state from the new coronavirus has increased to 74, and the number of cases has topped 1,300, according to state health officials.

King County reported four new deaths — bringing its total to 60 — while Snohomish, Benton and Island counties each reported one death.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued an order Thursday prohibiting non-urgent medical and dental procedures in an effort to secure protective equipment used by front-line health care workers. The order applies to any procedure that would require someone to wear protective gear.

“We know the health care personal protective equipment supply chain in Washington has been severely disrupted by the significant increased use of such equipment worldwide,” Inslee said in a statement. “We will do all we can to protect the women and men who protect us.”

Pennsylvania Gov. orders statewide shutdown

Update 6:30 p.m. EDT March 19: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m.

The governor said enforcement actions against businesses that do not close will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are among the businesses that are considered life-sustaining and will remain open.

“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” said Wolf. “This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely.”

Senate bill proposes direct payments $1,200 per person, $2,400 for couples

Update 6:05 p.m. EDT March 19: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed direct payments of $1,200 per person and $2,400 for couples as part of a sweeping Republican response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by The Associated Press.

The GOP leader unveiled his plan Thursday as Congress raced to craft a $1 trillion rescue package to shore up households, healthcare and the U.S. economy amid the pandemic crisis and nationwide shutdown that’s hurtling the country toward a likely recession.

“We need to take bold and swift action as soon as possible,” McConnell, announcing his plan on the Senate floor.

U.S. cases exceed 11,000

Update 5:05 p.m. EDT March 19: The U.S. death toll rose to 168, primarily elderly people. Johns Hopkins University, which has been tallying the virus’ spread around the world, said the U.S. had more than 11,000 cases.

In the U.S., the damage to the world’s largest economy kept piling up, with unemployment claims surging, as Congress rushed to pass a $1 trillion emergency package to shore up industry and help households pull through the crisis. The first of two possible rounds of relief checks will consist of payments of $1,000 per adult and $500 for each child.

Kohl’s to close all stores

Update 4:45 p.m. EDT March 19: Kohl’s Corp. will close its doors at 7 p.m. Thursday in response to coronavirus.

The company released a statement Thursday saying it intends to close stores through at least April 1:

“To demonstrate our support of the efforts underway to contain the spread of the coronavirus, we are closing all Kohl’s stores through at least April 1. We will support store associates with two calendar weeks of pay,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer. “We will continue to serve customers on Kohls.com and our Kohl’s App, and we look forward to reopening our stores soon to serve families across the country.”

Cannes International Film Festival facing possible cancellation

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT March 19: Organizers of the Cannes International Film Festival announced in a statement Thursday that the event will not go on as scheduled in Cannes, France in May.

France is among the hardest hit by COVID-19 with 10,995 cases reported as of Thursday, according to CNN.

“At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the COVID-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease,” organizers said in a statement posted on the festival’s website.

“Today, we have made the following decision: The Festival de Cannes cannot be held on the scheduled dates, from May 12 to 23. Several options are considered in order to preserve its running, the main one being a simple postponement, in Cannes, until the end of June/beginning of July 2020.”

State Department advises Americans not to travel abroad

Update 3:40 p.m. EDT March 19: The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Thursday recommending Americans avoid all international travel amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the travel advisory issued Thursday by the State Department, officials told Americans to reconsider plans to travel abroad as countries grapple with the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions,” officials said in a notice Thursday. “Even countries, jurisdictions or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”

San Francisco 49ers donate $500,000 to support employees amid coronavirus outbreak

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT March 19: The San Francisco 49ers announced a commitment of $500,000 to support employees and the community as businesses close to help contain COVID-19.

In a statement released Thursday, officials said the team was partnering with Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Comcast, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to support vulnerable populations in the community. As part of the effort, the team is investing $49,000 to support a fund for nonprofits in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Actor Daniel Dae Kim tests positive for COVID-19

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT March 19: Actor Daniel Dae Kim, best known for his roles in “Lost,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Angel,” announced Thursday in an Instagram post that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Kim said he noticed scratchiness in his throat while returning to Hawaii after the set of a TV series he was filming in New York shut down due to the ongoing pandemic.

“I was asymptomatic during all of this time, but as the flight was close to landing I started noticing some scratchiness in my throat, which is unlike how I usually get sick,” he said.

He called his doctor, who told him to monitor his symptoms, and self-isolated in a room at his home to rest. Later that night, he said he began to feel tightness in his chest, body aches and saw a rise in his temperature. His doctor told him to get tested.

“I went to a drive-through testing facility that had just opened here in Honolulu and the test was given to me by some incredibly professional and kind caregivers,” he said.

He said he began to feel better the day after he was tested and that “Today, even though I’m not 100%, I’m pretty close.”

“I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life -- my family, my friends, my colleagues, my fans, all of you. Thank you,” he said. “I’m grateful to be alive and healthy. It gives me hope that through our collective efforts we can beat this thing and flatten the curve. Please be safe. Please be healthy. And please be kind to each other.”

Trump visits FEMA for teleconference meeting with governors

Update 2:50 p.m. EDT March 19: President ad Trump and members of the federal Coronavirus Task Force are meeting Thursday in a televised conference.

Connecticut governor delays primary elections due to COVID-19

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT March 19: Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut announced Thursday that the state will postpone its planned presidential primary until June.

The elections were scheduled to take place next month. Lamont said they will instead go on June 2.

Winn-Dixie, other grocers limit store hours

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT March 19: Southeastern Grocers has joined the growing list of grocery stores that are limiting store hours and setting special shopping times for older, at-risk adults amid the spread of the coronavirus.

The grocery chain, which includes Winn-Dixie, BI-Lo, Harveys Supermarket and Fresco y Mas, will open from 8 to 9 a.m. Monday to Friday specifically for older and high risk adults, company officials said Thursday.

Pharmacies at the grocery stores will also be open at 8 a.m.

Texas closes schools, bans dine-in eating

Update 2:15 p.m. EDT March 19: Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Thursday ordered schools closed statewide until at least April 3 and a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10 as the state ramps up efforts to battle the coronavirus.

Abbott’s order also will shut down gyms and bars. Business closures take effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, according to the governor’s office.

The governor said his order ensures Texas is following guidance provided by the federal government.

Schools were instructed to develop education plans.

EU asks Netflix, other services, not to stream in high definition

Update 2:05 p.m. EDT March 19: Officials in the European Union are asking Netflix and other streaming services to refrain from streaming in high definition to help ensure the internet remains stable through the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN reported.

The request comes amid an increase in internet demand as people adjust to working from home and staying indoors amid the pandemic.

TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods stores to close for 2 weeks

Update 2 p.m. EDT March 19: Officials with TJX Companies Inc. announced it plans to close all its in-person and online stores in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia to bolster efforts to stop the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Officials said the closures will last for two weeks and include several locations in the U.S., including 1,273 T.J. Maxx stores, 1,130 Marshalls stores, 809 HomeGoods stores, 46 Sierra stores and 32 Homesense stores.

“Further, the company is temporarily closing its distribution centers and offices, with associates working remotely when they can,” officials said Thursday in a statement. “We know our Associates are very concerned for their health and financial well-being, and we plan to pay our store, distribution center and office Associates for two weeks during these closures.”

1st coronavirus death reported in Oklahoma

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT March 19: Officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday announced the state’s first death attributed to COVID-19, KOKI-TV reported.

Officials identified the patient as a Tulsa man in his 50s. In a statement posted on Facebook, Metro Pentecostal church officials identified the man as Merle Dry, according to KOKI-TV.

Indiana schools to be closed until at least May 1

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT March 19: Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana said Thursday that schools across the state will be closed until at least May 1. The order might be extended, depending on the status of the outbreak then, he said.

“As we get nearer to May 1, we may have to close permanently,” he said.

Health officials in the state have recorded 56 novel coronavirus cases in the state. Two people have died.

Death toll in Italy rises to 3,405

Update 1:35 p.m. EDT March 19: Officials in Italy said Thursday that 3,405 people have died of coronavirus, the most number of deaths associated with the virus in any other country in the world.

On Thursday, officials reported 427 new deaths. The country with the second-most number of fatal cases, China, reported 3,242 deaths from COVID-19, according to numbers from the World Health Organization.

Italy has an older population than China’s, but only has 60 million people to China’s 1.4 billion people. Medical experts say the new virus is killing people over 65 at a much higher rate than other age groups.

Queen Elizabeth: ‘My family and I stand ready to play our part’

Update 1:20 p.m. EDT March 19: In a statement shared Thursday, Queen Elizabeth thanked scientists, medical workers and officials for their work to stymie the spread of COVID-19 and vowed that she and her family “stand ready to play our part.”

“We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them,” the Queen said.

“At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.”

Buckingham Palace officials said Tuesday that adjustments were being made to the Queen’s schedule “as a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances.” She arrived Thursday at Windsor Castle, one week earlier than planned, and was expected to stay “beyond the Easter period,” officials said.

Prince Albert II of Monaco tests positive for COVID-19

Update 1:10 p.m. EDT March 19: Officials in Monaco said the country’s reigning monarch, Prince Albert II, has tested positive for the new coronavirus. His health is not worrying, officials added.

Albert, 62, appeared to be the first head of state who has publicly said he contracted the virus.

In a statement Thursday, the palace said he was being treated by doctors from the Princess Grace Hospital, named after his U.S. actress mother. Officials said Albert is working from his home office in the palace and is in constant contact with members of his government.

Albert is the second child of Princess Grace — formerly Grace Kelly — and Prince Rainier of Monaco. Albert became a five-time Olympic bobsledder and in recent years has been a global environmental campaigner.

10 deaths, 287 coronavirus cases reported in Georgia

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT March 19: The number of deaths connected to the 2019 novel coronavirus in Georgia rose to 10 on Thursday, WSB-TV reported, citing new numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The death toll is up by six from the numbers reported Tuesday. State health officials said 287 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the state as of Thursday.

FDA approves 'compassionate use’ of new coronavirus therapies

Update 12:40 p.m. EDT March 19: The U.S. Federal Drug Administration will allow for “compassionate use” of new therapies being tested to treat COVID-19, officials said Thursday at a Coronavirus Task Force news conference.

President Donald Trump told reporters the FDA “approved compassionate use for a significant number of patients" as clinical trials continue.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the FDA, said compassionate use allows for doctors to ask to use an experimental drug to treat their patients.

“We have criteria for that and speedy approval for that," Hahn said. “The important thing about compassion use ... this is beyond right to try, that we get to collect the information about that.”

Surgeon General urges young people to donate blood

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT March 19: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged young people to give blood as health officials continue working to stymie the spread of COVID-19.

“One donation can save up to three lives,” Adams said Thursday at a Coronavirus Task Force news conference. “Blood centers are open now and in need of your donation.”

Adams noted that blood centers are taking several precautions in light of the new coronavirus pandemic, including spacing beds at least six feet apart, disinfecting areas and encouraging people to make appointments.

“Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement, so give blood today,” Adams said Thursday at a Coronavirus Task Force news conference. “You’ll feel good about it and you’ll be helping your country and your community in this crisis.”

Officials with the American Red Cross said Tuesday that they were facing a severe blood shortage as thousands of blood drives were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What is chloroquine, the antimalarial drug being tested to treat COVID-19

Update 12 p.m. EDT March 19: President Donald Trump announced Thursday that a common drug used to fight malaria has shown great promise in treating people infected with COVID-19.

The drug, chloroquine, is a medication used to prevent and to treat malaria, as well as a type of liver infection. It was first used to treat malaria in 1944. Excitement has grown about the use of the drug to fight COVID-19, with research studies showing chloroquine is effective at preventing and treating the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS is in the same coronavirus family as COVID-19.

Trump says FDA fast-tracking approval of antiviral treatments for COVID-19

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT March 19: President Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is fast-tracking approval of using the drug chloroquine to treat COVID-19.

Trump said during a Coronavirus Task Force news conference Thursday that the drug could help with symptoms of COVID-19.

“It is known as a malaria drug and it’s been around for a long time and it’s very powerful,” Trump said. “The nice part is, it’s been around for a long time, and so we know that if things don’t go as planned it’s not going to kill anybody.”

Trump praised the FDA for fast-tracking approval of the COVID-19 treatment.

“Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that and it was approved very, very quickly,” Trump said. “We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately."

Coronavirus Task Force holding news briefing Thursday

Update 11:30 a.m. EDT March 19: Officials with the federal Coronavirus Task Force are holding a news conference Thursday to update the public on ongoing efforts to stymie the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Car manufacturers discuss producing medical equipment

Update 11:25 a.m. EDT March 19: The assembly lines are quiet for now, but two of the Big 3 automakers are in talks with the government to start making ventilators and other medical equipment.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Ford and General Motors want to start producing medical equipment that is in short supply as soon as possible, WXYZ reported.

Washington state building temporary field hospital due to outbreak

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT March 19: Officials in King County, Washington, are preparing for an expected influx of COVID-19 patients by converting a soccer field in Shoreline into a temporary field hospital, KIRO-TV reported.

According to the city, the facility will provide up to 200 beds and will be used for “people exposed to, at risk of exposure, or becoming ill with novel coronavirus.”

UK coronavirus death toll rises to 133

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT March 19: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 29 deaths connected to the 2019 novel coronavirus Thursday, bringing the country’s death toll to 133, according to The Guardian.

The new numbers were reported by England’s National Health Service and included patients aged between 47 and 96, The Guardian reported.

Atlanta mayor closes bars and gyms, limits restaurants to take-out

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT March 19: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta announced Thursday an executive order that limits restaurants to take-out service and close gyms and nightclubs in an effort to stop the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, WSB-TV reported.

The order includes all movie theaters, live music venues and bowling alleys, according to the news station. It also suspends towing and booting of vehicles in the city’s right of way.

8th COVID-19 death reported in Louisiana, 2nd reported in Connecticut

Update 10:55 a.m. EDT March 19: Officials in Louisiana and Connecticut provided an update Thursday morning on the number of people who have died in each state due to COVID-19.

Eight people have died in Louisiana due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to the state’s health department. Officials have recorded 347 reported COVID-19 cases in Louisiana.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont confirmed Thursday that a second person has died in the state. The patient was identified as a 91-year-old New Canaan man.

Harley-Davidson suspends US production

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT March 19: Officials with Harley-Davidson Inc. announced a suspension Wednesday of most of the company’s production in the U.S. “to help support employee health and further bolster coronavirus containment efforts.”

“We recognize the unprecedented nature of this global crisis," Jochen Zeitz, acting CEO and president of Harley-Davidson, said Wednesday in a statement. “In order to best support our employees and following the social distancing guidance issued by public health authorities, we are temporarily suspending the majority of production at our U.S. manufacturing facilities.”

The facilities suspending production include the York Vehicle Operations in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin facilities Tomahawk Operations and Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations.

Officials with the motorcycle manufacturing company did not estimate when production would resume. Company officials asked employees at its Milwaukee-area headquarters and product development center to work remotely if possible.

TSA officers in Florida, New Jersey, New York test positive for COVID-19

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT March 19: Four transportation security officers, who work at airports in Florida, New Jersey and New York City, have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Two TSA officers working at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York tested positive along with an officer working at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport. Officials said the three officers worked in checked baggage rooms and that they did not have duties that required them to interact with the public.

Officials also announced a second TSA officer working at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has tested positive for COVID-19. The officer was resting at home Wednesday.

At least 11 TSA officers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Beaches closed in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Update 10:15 a.m. EDT March 19: Mayor Robert Craft of Gulf Shores, Alabama, announced the city will be closing its public beaches beginning at 7 a.m. Friday.

“Yesterday we declared a state of local emergency so we could start making decisions and acting in appropriate ways and be eligible for any type of federal funds or opportunities that come our way,” Craft said. “We will be, and our plan right now is, we’re closing all the public beaches in Gulf Shores.”

Craft said Gulf Shores has a large population of elderly people and that locals have expressed concern about all the visitors. Many of the people drawn to the beaches are young people on spring break who, despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have continued to gather without heeding calls for social distancing to deter the spread of COVID-19, Craft said.

“They’re not doing that and we’re not able to control the crowds,” he said. “Somebody is going to come here sick, and we don’t want to facilitate spread throughout the area -- spread throughout the state -- because of what happened here. ... Our locals are scared to death about all the visitors coming into town and our inability to control that.”

Officials in Alabama are meeting Thursday morning to decide whether action is necessary at all the state’s beaches. Crraft called for all beaches to be closed for at least two weeks.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll close all of it and let’s not send people home sick because they came down here and we allowed them to get together,” he said. “This might be a threat to our livelihood, but it’s also a threat to our lives."

Who has tested positive for coronavirus?

Update 9:40 a.m. EDT March 19: With COVID-19 continuing to spread around the globe, some of the world’s most famous people have announced that they have tested positive for the virus, including actors Tom Hanks, Idris Elba and Kristofer Hivju.

US military pauses troop movements in Afghanistan due to COVID-19

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT March 19: The U.S. military says it is pausing the movement of any new troops into Afghanistan and is quarantining 1,500 troops and civilians who recently arrived in order to protect them from the coronavirus, the top commander in the country said Thursday.

Troops who are already in the country may have their deployments extended so missions can continue.

The announcement comes as the U.S. is reducing its troops presence in Afghanistan as part of the peace deal signed last month between the Taliban and the United States.

Death toll in Spain rises to 767

Update 9:05 a.m. EDT March 19: Health officials in Spain said Thursday the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic rose by more than 200 to 767, according to The Guardian.

Officials with the country’s health ministry said the number of cases rose from 13,716 on Wednesday to 17,147 on Thursday, the newspaper reported.

Global death toll tops 9,000

Update 8:40 a.m. EDT March 19: The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported worldwide has risen to 9,115, according to numbers compiled by John Hopkins University.

Most of the deaths have been reported in China, where 3,130 people have died, followed by Italy, which has reported 2,978 deaths. At least 145 deaths have been reported in the U.S.

As of 8:35 a.m., 222,642 cases have been confirmed worldwide, including 81,154 in China, 35,713 in Italy and 9,415 in the U.S., according to John Hopkins.

Top EU Brexit negotiator tests positive for coronavirus

Update 7:46 a.m. EDT March 19: The European Union’s top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday that he has tested positive for coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.

According to the Post, Barnier, 69, posted a video and accompanying tweet explaining his status.

Paid volunteers wanted for UK coronavirus vaccine study

Update 7:30 a.m. EDT March 19: A clinical research group in London needs help laying the groundwork for coronavirus vaccine development, and thousands of people have already answered the call.

According to The Wall Street Journal, more than 20,000 people volunteered to be infected with a milder version of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

Participants have received a fee of $4,480.

Read more here.

Entire Georgia legislature, staffs asked to self-quarantine for coronavirus

Update 7:11 a.m. EDT March 19: The entire Georgia state legislature are being asked to self-quarantine for two weeks after a senator was confirmed to have the novel coronavirus, CNN reported.

The Georgia House issued a statement identifying Sen. Brandon Beach as the infected lawmaker.

Meanwhile, two members of the U.S. Congress have tested positive for the virus: Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, CNN reported.

The Georgia measure will apply to all legislative staffs as well.

Italy on track to surpass China in number of coronavirus deaths

Update 6:57 a.m. EDT March 19: Italy is approaching a gruesome milestone as European nation braces to surpass China in the total number of deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began three months ago.

According to The Associated Press, Italy confirmed 475 virus-related deaths on Wednesday, bringing its nationwide total to 2,978. Given the country’s average daily death toll from the virus of more than 350 since March 15, and Italy appears poised to overtake China’s 3,249 deaths when Thursday figures are released.

An estimated 70 percent of Italy’s dead have been over the age of 70, the AP reported.

Pro sports leagues stepping up streaming options for self-isolating fans avoiding coronavirus

Update 6:07 a.m. EDT March 19: Professional sports junkies, rejoice!

In the absence of regular-season play, both the National Football League and the National Basketball Association are offering some fans free streaming of old games to help ease the boredom of self-isolation to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the NFL is making every game since 2009 available for free streaming via NFL Game Pass, its direct-to-consumer service.

Meanwhile, the NBA and Turner Sports have removed the paywall for the League Pass subscription service until April 22, the Journal reported.

Singapore records largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases

Update 5:25 a.m. EDT March 19: Singapore confirmed 47 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, marking the nation’s largest single-day spike in cases to date.

According to the Singapore Ministry of Health, the country has confirmed a total of 313 novel coronavirus cases and zero deaths, though 15 patients are currently listed in critical condition.

Meanwhile, Fiji reported its first case Thursday morning.

Russia, Mexico report 1st coronavirus deaths

Update 5:10 a.m. EDT March 19: Russian health authorities confirmed the nation’s first novel coronavirus-related death early Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the country’s coronavirus response team, the 79-year-old woman was hospitalized on March 13 but had a lengthy medical history, including Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and hypertension.

Russia has reported a total of 147 coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s health minister confirmed the nation’s first coronavirus-related death on Wednesday. The patient reportedly also suffered from diabetes.

To date, Mexico has recorded a total of 93 cases.

South Africa outlaws spread of coronavirus misinformation

Update 5:02 a.m. EDT March 19: Spreading false information about the novel coronavirus in South Africa is now a crime, punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine or both, CNN reported.

Other measures announced by government officials late Wednesday to curtail the spread of both the virus and misleading information regarding it include legally enforcing testing, treatment and quarantine or isolation of suspected cases, the network reported.

To date, South Africa has confirmed 116 coronavirus cases and zero deaths.

Rise in new South Korean coronavirus cases, clusters concern health officials

Update 4:49 a.m. EDT March 19: Following a days-long decline in the number of new coronavirus cases diagnosed in South Korea, health officials confirmed 152 new cases yesterday, CNN reported.

Although hopes had risen in recent days that the nation’s outbreak was winding down with fewer than 100 new cases confirmed for several consecutive days, the newest data indicates vigilance will be required to prevent resurgent infection clusters such as the new one developing in the city of Daegu, Yoon Tae-ho of the Central Disaster Relief Headquarters told the network Thursday morning. About two-thirds of Wednesday’s new cases were confirmed in Daegu.

To date, South Korea has confirmed 8,565 novel coronavirus cases, resulting in 91 deaths.

Australia, New Zealand close borders to foreign visitors

Update 4:40 a.m. EDT March 19: Leaders in Australia and New Zealand announced Thursday the nations are closing their borders to foreign visitors in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Under the new restrictions, all but citizens and permanent residents and their foreign dependents are prohibited from entering the two countries, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Read more here.

The London Underground to close numerous stations to slow coronavirus spread

Update 3:06 a.m. EDT March 19: As many as 40 of the London Underground’s stations begin closing today in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Transport for London said in a statement.

“Up to 40 London Underground stations that do not interchange with other lines will be closed until further notice. Anyone who needs to make essential journeys should check www.tfl.gov.uk for live travel updates before they travel,” the statement read, adding, “The Mayor of London and Transport for London are urging all other customers to follow the Government’s advice and not make anything but essential journeys.”

Meanwhile, the New York City subway system confirmed traffic on Tuesday was nearly one-third of what it was for the same day one year ago: 1.79 million vs. 5.57 million.

4 in 5 US coronavirus deaths among adults 65 and older

Update 2:38 a.m. EDT March 19: Citing a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Wednesday,

an estimated 80 percent of novel coronavirus-related deaths in the United States occur among adults aged 65 and older, CNN reported

The report examined patient deaths that occurred between February 12 and March 16.

According to the results:

• Adults aged 85 and older experienced the highest death rate, ranging from 10 percent to 27 percent.

• The death rate for adults aged 65 to 84 ranged from 3 percent to 11 percent.

• No U.S. deaths have been reported among anyone aged 19 or younger.

36 percent of virus-related hospitalizations have occurred among adults aged 65 to 84.

• That same age group made up 46 percent of coronavirus-related ICU admissions.

According to The New York Times, however, 38 percent of the 508 coronavirus patients known to have been hospitalized have been adults aged 20 to 54. In addition, nearly half of the 121 sickest patients admitted to ICU were adults under 65.

“I think everyone should be paying attention to this,” Stephen S. Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, told the Times, adding, “It’s not just going to be the elderly. There will be people age 20 and up.”

Novel coronavirus cases worldwide near 219,000

Update 2:15 a.m. EDT March 19: The number of novel coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide has surpassed 218,800 and resulted in a total 8,810 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

China confirmed only 34 new cases on Wednesday, and claimed all were imported from overseas. Since December, the virus has sickened a total of 80,928 in China, resulting in 3,245 deaths. Health officials have stated 70,420 patients have recovered.

Italy announced its biggest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases Wednesday with 4,207 diagnoses confirmed in 24 hours. To date, 35,713 have been sickened, resulting in 2,978 deaths.

Iran confirmed 147 new deaths from the coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the nation’s total death toll to 1,135. A total of 17,361 cases have been confirmed to date.

State-by-state breakdown of the 8,736 US coronavirus cases, 149 deaths

Update 1 a.m. EDT March 19: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States neared 9,000 in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands late Wednesday night.

According to state and local health agencies as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are at least 8,736 confirmed cases of the virus, which have resulted in a total of at least 149 deaths to date, CNN reported.

The New York Times database tracking infection activity pegged the figures slightly lower at 8,281 total cases, resulting in 147 deaths.

Of the confirmed deaths, 67 have occurred in Washington state, 21 in New York and 17 in California. In terms of diagnosed cases, New York is now the hardest hit with more than 2,900 confirmed cases, followed by Washington with 1,187 and California with 690.

The figures include 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship and 49 repatriated citizens. The repatriations include 46 sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and three others retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China.

The complete state-by-state breakdown – including presumptive cases – of the 8,666 cases detected on U.S. soil is as follows:

Alabama: 56

Alaska, North Dakota: 6 each

Arizona, Nebraska: 27 each

Arkansas, Rhode Island: 33 each

California: 690, including 17 deaths

Colorado: 183, including 2 deaths

Connecticut: 96, including 1 death

Delaware: 26

District of Columbia, New Hampshire: 39 each

Florida: 322, including 7 deaths

Georgia: 197, including 4 deaths

Hawaii: 16

Idaho: 11

Illinois: 288, including 1 death

Indiana: 39, including 2 deaths

Iowa: 38

Kansas: 21, including 1 death

Kentucky: 35, including 1 death

Louisiana: 280, including 7 deaths

Maine: 42

Maryland: 85

Massachusetts: 256

Michigan: 110

Minnesota: 77

Mississippi: 34

Missouri: 24, including 1 death

Montana: 9

Nevada: 84, including 1 death

New Jersey: 427, including 5 deaths

New Mexico: 28

New York: 2,914, including 21 deaths

North Carolina: 63

Ohio: 88

Oklahoma: 29

Oregon: 75, including 3 deaths

Pennsylvania: 133, including 1 death

Puerto Rico: 5

South Carolina: 60, including 1 death

South Dakota: 11, including 1 death

Tennessee: 98

Texas: 108, including 2 deaths

US Virgin Islands: 1

Utah: 51

Vermont: 19

Virginia: 77, including 2 deaths

Washington: 1,187, including 67 deaths

West Virginia: 2

Wisconsin: 72

Wyoming: 10

The Associated Press contributed to this report.