More than 201,500 people worldwide -- including over 7,000 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 U.S. here.
>> Coronavirus: Know the facts directly from the CDC
Live updates for Wednesday, March 18, continue below:
China’s National Health Commission reports no new domestic cases
Update 11 p.m. EDT March 18: China said Wednesday evening that the former virus epicenter of Wuhan and its surrounding province had reported no new cases, a dramatic development in the city overwhelmed by thousands of new patients each day when the outbreak was peaking there last month.
China’s health ministry ministry said Thursday that all 34 of its new cases were in people arriving from abroad. Eight new deaths were reported, all in Wuhan, where the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in December and which remains under the quarantine control measures imposed weeks ago to stop its spread.
Second member of Congress releases statement after testing positive
Update 9:10 p.m. EDT March 18: Utah congressman, Ben McAdams released a statement that he has tested positive for coronavirus just hours after the first case was announced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
“On Saturday evening, after returning from Washington, D.C., I developed mild cold-like symptoms. My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remain self quarantined. On Tuesday, my doctor instructed me to get tested for COVID-19 and following his referral, I went to the local testing clinic. Today I learned that I tested positive.”
Please read my statement on contracting #COVID19. I have self-quarantined since first having symptoms and consulted with my doctor. #utpol pic.twitter.com/upx4NcTvF8— Rep. Ben McAdams (@RepBenMcAdams) March 19, 2020
President Trump signs coronavirus relief package into law
Update 8:50 p.m. EDT March 18: President signed the coronavirus response bill a few hours after it overwhelmingly passed the Senate.
First member of Congress tests positive
Update 7:10 p.m. EDT March 18: South Florida congressman, Mario Diaz-Balart has tested positive for COVID-19. Diaz-Balart exhibited symptoms Saturday and was tested for coronavirus.
He will self-quarantine in Washington, D.C.
I'm feeling much better. However, it's important that everyone take this seriously and follow @CDCgov guidelines in order to avoid getting sick & mitigate the spread of this virus. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times. pic.twitter.com/g5W5vSQIyH— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) March 18, 2020
Other members of Congress, including Florida Sen. Rick Scott, have self-quarantined, but none have reported positive test results. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tested positive for the virus last week.
Diaz-Balart has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003.1st coronavirus death reported in Pennsylvania
Update 5:50 p.m. EDT March 18: Gov. Tom Wolf has announced the first coronavirus related death in Pennsylvania, an adult from Northampton County who was being treated at a hospital.
New York Stock Exchange to temporarily close trading floor next week
Update 4:55 p.m. EDT March 18: The New York Stock Exchange said it will temporarily close its trading floor starting March 23, according to CNBC.
Electronic trading will begin Monday and the NYSE will operate under normal trading hours according to USA Today.
Congress passes multi-billion-dollar coronavirus aid package
Update 4:15 p.m. EDT March 18: The Senate overwhelmingly passed a second coronavirus response bill, sending it to Trump to enact with his signature. The vote was a lopsided 90-8 despite worries by many Republicans about a temporary new employer mandate to provide sick leave to workers who get COVID-19. The measure is also aimed at making diagnostic tests for the virus free.
Senate voting on House-passed coronavirus bill
Update 3:40 p.m. EDT March 18: The U.S. Senate is voting on a House-passed bipartisan coronavirus relief package.
Senate now voting on House-passed Coronavirus bill. Approval sends it to the President's desk. pic.twitter.com/Em9kjjPGZp— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 18, 2020
The legislative package, known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed the House on Saturday with a final tally of 363-40. All 40 nays were recorded by Republicans, and Independent Justin Amash voted “present,” CNN reported.
Over 7,000 coronavirus cases reported in U.S.
Update 3:35 p.m. EDT March 18: Officials with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 7,038 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S. since January.
The cases include 269 determined to have been travel-related and 276 cases that were caused by close contact with a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19. The remaining 6,493 cases remain under investigation.
At least 97 people have died in the U.S. due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to the CDC.
1st coronavirus death reported in Michigan
Update 3:10 p.m. EDT March 18: Officials with Beaumont Health in southeast Michigan announced Wednesday the state’s first death due to the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Hospital officials identified the patient as a man in his 50s who had underlying medical conditions. He died Wednesday morning in Wayne County.
“Our medical team went to extraordinary efforts to care for this patient and we are deeply saddened by his passing and empathize with his family,” Beaumont Health Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant said Wednesday in a statement. “Our physicians, nurses and medical staff are all working together to care for COVID-19 patients. During a time like this, we are united to battle this virus."
What is the Defense Production Act?
Update 2:55 p.m. EDT March 18: President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he plans to invoke the 1950 Defense Production Act to allow private industry to increase manufacturing and distribution of medical supplies and equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Right after we finish this conference, I’ll be signing it and it’s prepared to go,” Trump said Wednesday at a news conference with the federal Coronavirus Task Force.
The act basically allows Trump “to incentivize a company who already makes (emergency medical supplies) to make more of them,” Jeff Bialos, who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial affairs in the Clinton White House, told Yahoo News.
Professional tennis seasons suspended
Update 2:45 p.m. EDT March 18: Officials with the Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women’s Tennis Association said in a joint statement Wednesday that they’re suspending all their events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After careful consideration, and due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19, all ATP and WTA tournaments in the Spring clay-court swing will not be held as scheduled,” group representatives said in a statement released Wednesday.
“The professional tennis season is now suspended through 7 June 2020, including the ATP Challenger Tour and ITF World Tennis Tour. At this time, tournaments taking place from 8 June 2020 onwards are still planning to go ahead as per the published schedule.”
The FedEx ATP Rankings will be frozen throughout this period and until further notice.— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 18, 2020
White House considering sending $2,000 to many Americans, report says
Update 2:25 p.m. EDT March 18: The White House is considering an emergency stimulus package that could send two $1,000 checks to many Americans in the coming weeks, according to The Washington Post.
Citing two senior administration officials and a Treasury Department fact sheet, the Post reported the White House and Republicans in Congress have also talked about a $300 billion package aimed at helping small businesses avoid mass layoffs as the COVID-19 virus takes hold in the United States.
White House urges young people to heed COVID-19 warnings
Update 2:15 p.m. EDT March 18: Top federal health officials pleaded Wednesday with younger Americans to stop public gatherings and restrain their social interactions in order to stop the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“They can be carrying lots of bad things home to grandmother and grandfather, and even their parents,” President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday. He urged Americans to follow recommendations issued earlier this week to not gather in groups larger than 10 people.
1 new coronavirus death reported in California
Update 2:10 p.m. EDT March 18: Public health officials in California announced one new death Wednesday in Santa Clara County, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to at least 14 in the state.
Officials with the Santa Clara Public Health Department identified the patient as an adult man who was hospitalized March 5. He died Tuesday, according to officials.
We are very sorry to announce one death from #COVID19, bringing the total to 6. He was an adult man in his 60s. We are saddened to share this news and we express our condolences to his family and friends. Read more: https://t.co/j05eZtgyFq pic.twitter.com/BwpTsPqtNW— Santa Clara OEM (@SCC_OES) March 18, 2020
Death toll jumps by more than 400, nears 3,000 in Italy
Update 2 p.m. EDT March 18: Health officials in Italy said the death toll associated with COVID-19 jumped by 475 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 2,978.
Italy has the second most coronavirus cases in the world behind China. As of Tuesday, 35,713 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In China, officials reported 81,116 cases, according to 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.
UK closing schools nationwide
Update 1:35 p.m. EDT March 18: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that the United Kingdom will close all its schools beginning Friday.
“For many parents, these steps will be frustrating,” Johnson said during a news conference Wednesday. “That’s why we are now working on further measures ... to keep our economy going.”
WATCH LIVE: PM @BorisJohnson holds the daily #coronavirus press conference (18 March 2020) https://t.co/TuYw1Tuxgd— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 18, 2020
Health officials in the U.K. have confirmed 2,626 coronavirus cases in the country.
2 federal Bureau of Prisons employees test positive for COVID-19
Update 1:30 p.m. EDT March 18: A spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Prisons told CNN on Wednesday that two employees have tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus.
The cases mark the first confirmed in the federal prison system.
Allison told CNN one of the employees worked at a medium security prison in Berlin, New Hampshire, while the other worked at an administrative facility in Grand Prairie, Texas.
No inmates have tested positive, CNN reported.
1st coronavirus death reported in Cuba
Update 1:25 p.m. EDT March 18: Officials in Cuba on Wednesday announced the country’s first coronavirus death, according to the Miami Herald.
Citing Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban government, the Herald reported the patient was a 61-year-old Italian tourist who had been in critical condition.
Ten coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Cuba, according to the Herald.
Bonnaroo music festival postponed due to coronavirus
Update 1:20 p.m. EDT March 18: Organizers announced Wednesday that the 2020 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will be postponed until September.
“Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will be rescheduled to take place September 24-27, 2020 out of an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of all Bonnaroovians, artists, staff and our community,” organizers said in a statement on the event’s website.
Organizers said tickets bought for the festival, which had been expected to take place in June, will be honored during the newly scheduled weekend.
Bonnaroo will be rescheduled to Sept 24-27, 2020. Updates to come. Can’t wait to see you on The Farm! Visit https://t.co/L0pxsjUS50 for more info. pic.twitter.com/FhWUXnwOH9— Bonnaroo (@Bonnaroo) March 18, 2020
US stock trading resumes
Update 1:15 p.m. EDT March 18: Trading has resumed on the New York Stock Exchange after flailing numbers triggered a temporary trading halt known as a circuit breaker Wednesday.
US equity markets have resumed trading following the Market Wide Circuit Breaker trading halt— NYSE 🏛 (@NYSE) March 18, 2020
US stocks plunge, triggering another trading halt
Update 1:10 p.m. EDT March 18: U.S. stocks plunged by 7% Wednesday, triggering a pause of trading as investors worried over the economic impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
The pause, known as a circuit breaker, began around 1 p.m. and was expected to last 15 minutes.
The S&P 500 index has declined by 7%, triggering a Level 1 Market Wide Circuit Breaker trading halt. US equity markets will resume after 15 minutes.— NYSE 🏛 (@NYSE) March 18, 2020
Millennials may be getting infected with COVID-19 disproportionately, health official says
Update 12:50 p.m. EDT March 18: White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Wednesday that millennials might be at an increased risk of coronavirus infection.
“There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill and very seriously ill in the ICUs,” Birx said during a Coronavirus Task Force news conference Wednesday.
Reports previously indicated that elderly people are most at-risk for complications with coronavirus.
“Part of this may be that people heeded the early data coming out of China and coming out of South Korea of the elderly or those with preexisting medical conditions (being at) a particular risk,” she said. “There may be disproportional number of infections among (Millennials) and so even if it’s a rare occurrence it may be seen more frequently in that group.”
HUD suspending foreclosures, evictions
Update 12:35 p.m. EDT March 18: President Donald Trump said the Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending foreclosures and evictions as Americans grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April,” Trump said at a Coronavirus Task Force news conference Wednesday.
Here's the moment Trump said the Department of Housing and Urban Development would suspend "all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April" in response to #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/MABvWclI1E— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) March 18, 2020
Trump: ‘FEMA is activated in every region’
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 18: President Donald Trump said the Federal Emergency Management Agency “now is fully engaged” in the fight against the 2019 novel coronavirus.
The agency has been activated at its highest level nationwide, Trump said.
“We are at level one, level one being the highest level which we will work with, and we’ve been working with FEMA,” Trump said Wednesday at a news conference. “This is a very different kind of work for FEMA, but they will come through as they always do. We have tremendous people, tremendous talent in FEMA."
Trump plans to invoke 1950 Defense Production Act
Update 12:20 p.m. EDT March 18: President Donald Trump said he plans Wednesday to invoke the Defense Production Act to help ensure medical professionals have essential supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The act allows authorities to “expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Right after we finish this conference, I’ll be signing it and it’s prepared to go,” Trump said Wednesday at a news conference.
2 hospital ships being prepared for deployment, Trump says
Update 12:15 p.m. EDT March 18: President Donald Trump said Wednesday that two U.S. Navy hospital ships, the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort, are being prepared for deployment amid the coronavirus outbreak.
One of the ships will be sent to New York, where a majority of the country’s coronavirus cases have been reported. Trump said the second ship will be sent to a yet-to-be-chosen city on the West Coast.
“They are being prepared right now, "Trump said Wednesday at a news conference. "They’re massive ships. They are the big, white ships with the Red Cross on the sides.”
Coronavirus Task Force holding news briefing Wednesday
Update 11:50 a.m. EDT March 18: Officials with the federal Coronavirus Task Force are holding a news conference Wednesday to update the public on ongoing efforts to stymie the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.
2,382 coronavirus cases reported in New York
Update 11:45 a.m. EDT March 18: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the number of reported coronavirus cases had risen Wednesday morning to 2,382 -- the most cases reported in any state.
Cuomo shared the numbers in a news briefing Wednesday morning. Officials in the state have reported 20 deaths due to COVID-19, the second-most deaths reported in the U.S. behind hard-hit Washington state, where 52 people have died.
Providing an update on the #Coronavirus pandemic. WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/eq4DDnvc9V— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 18, 2020
Alabama governor postpones primary runoff election until July
Update 11:35 a.m. EDT March 18: Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama announced the state’s primary runoff election will be held July 14 due to concerns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The election had been scheduled to take place March 31.
“Our State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, is recommending that we should practice social distancing and refrain from public gatherings of more than 25 individuals,” Ivey said Wednesday in a news release. “Maintaining a 6-foot distance between one another is paramount. This guidance alone would be making an election day a hotbed for spreading the virus.”
Exercising my powers under the Emergency Management Act, I’m setting AL’s Primary Runoff Election for July 14. The ability to hold free & fair elections is an inherent right as American citizens, but the safety & wellbeing of AL citizens is paramount. https://t.co/VojkQzIGCV pic.twitter.com/D5bz0jWF2C— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) March 18, 2020
Missouri governor delays municipal elections due to coronavirus
Update 11:25 a.m. EDT March 18: Gov. Mike Parson of Missouri on Wednesday announced the state’s planned municipal elections will be pushed back from April 7 to June 2 due to coronavirus concerns.
“Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Parson said in a statement released Wednesday. “Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together."
240 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana
Update 11:05 a.m. EDT March 18: Officials in Louisiana said Wednesday morning that 240 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state.
A majority of the cases, 176, have been reported in New Orleans. Four people have died of the viral infection, all in the city, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
As of 9:30 a.m. March 18, 2020, the Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 240 positive cases of #COVID19 in Louisiana. https://t.co/HPzU8KU2xD pic.twitter.com/hvLniBFTtO— Louisiana Department of Health (@LADeptHealth) March 18, 2020
1st song by Bono since 2017 honors quarantined Italians
Update 10:55 a.m. EDT March 18: Bono, the famed U2 singer and songwriter, on Tuesday said he was inspired by quarantined Italians to write his first song in three years.
He took to social media Tuesday to share “Let Your Love Be Known.” He wrote that the song was “for the Italians who inspired it… for the Irish… for ANYONE who this St. Patrick’s Day is in a tight spot and still singing. For the doctors, nurses (and) carers on the front line, it’s you we’re singing to.”
Residents in Palm Springs, California, shelter in place
Update 10:50 a.m. EDT March 18: People living in Palm Springs, California, were ordered to stay home beginning at 7 a.m. local time Wednesday for all but necessary outings.
The measure, which also ordered the closure of all but essential businesses, will be in effect until April 2.
⚠️COVID-19 COMMUNITY UPDATE ⚠️— City of Palm Springs (@CityofPS) March 18, 2020
9 p.m. Tues., Mar. 17, 2020
REMINDER EFFECTIVE TOMORROW MORNING 7AM:
🔴 All residents are advised to shelter-in-place and limit activities to only those essential to daily lives
🔴 All non-essential businesses are closed to the public
At the council meeting on April 2, 2020, there will be a consideration whether an extension is necessary— City of Palm Springs (@CityofPS) March 18, 2020
Please visit our website at https://t.co/qIcb2VSZwb or the Riv. County Public Health website https://t.co/ohUOgdD1aT and follow our social media pages for info.
Several counties in Northern California have taken similar measures, affecting more than 8 million residents.
Eurovision 2020 canceled
Update 10:40 a.m. EDT March 18: Officials with the European Broadcasting Union announced the cancellation Wednesday of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 due to “uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe.”
In a statement shared Wednesday on social media, organizers said government restrictions prompted by the novel coronavirus outbreak have made it "impossible to continue with the live event as planned."
“We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May,” organizers said.
An official statement from the European Broadcasting Union on the #Eurovision Song Contest 2020. pic.twitter.com/b3h7akxvpF— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) March 18, 2020
Celebrities donate food, millions of dollars amid coronavirus pandemic
Update 10:25 a.m. EDT March 18: Musicians, sports stars, actors and other celebrities have donated millions of dollars to help Americans deal with issues caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, singer Ciara, announced in a video posted Tuesday evening on social media that they were partnering with Seattle’s Food Lifeline to donate a million meals.
The world needs us ALL. Unprecedented times. @DangeRussWilson & I are supporting our community in Seattle by donating 1 million meals with Seattle @FoodLifeLine https://t.co/3FlJi9GU2G Rally & support your local food bank @FeedingAmerica— Ciara (@ciara) March 18, 2020
Let’s all keep the Faith during this time pic.twitter.com/kqwkuh50pi
Actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively earlier this week announced they were donating $1 million to be split between a pair of food banks: Feeding America and Food Banks Canada.
Country music star Brad Paisley said Tuesday in an Instagram post that his Nashville, Tennessee-based free grocery store “is mobilizing delivery of a week’s groceries to our elderly neighbors in Edgehill and Berry Hill on Wednesdays/Thursdays.”
View this post on Instagram
So, in light of changing times, @thestore_nashville is mobilizing delivery of a week’s groceries to our elderly neighbors in Edgehill and Berry Hill on Wednesday’s/Thursdays. If anyone needs to be included on this list, we urge them to contact firstname.lastname@example.org Also We will continue to operate regular hours 1-7 Th/F 11-5 Sat for walk ins but please bring ID and either proof of income, proof of residence, or statement of unemployment for our recently unemployed neighbors. #nashvillestrong
Honda plants to suspend production due to COVID-19
Update 10:15 a.m. EDT March 18: Honda plants in North America will shut down for six days starting next week due to “anticipated decline in market demand” amid the coronavirus pandemic, WHIO-TV reported.
BREAKING: Honda will suspend production for six days at all production plants beginning March 23. More to come.— WHIO-TV (@whiotv) March 18, 2020
Production will be suspended starting March 23, with plans to resume operations March 31, the company said in the online statement.
The halt will impact around 27,600 employees, however they will be paid in full during the production halt, Honda said.
Facebook systems mistakenly mark coronavirus posts as spam
Update 10:10 a.m. EDT March 18: A glitch in Facebook’s anti-spam system has caused the social media platform to accidentally mark posts and links about the coronavirus as spam, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said Tuesday.
We're on this - this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We're in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back. More soon.— Guy Rosen (@guyro) March 17, 2020
Users who posted about school closings, store information and other issues related to COVID-19 were blocked by Facebook’s automated system, according to The Associated Press.
“We’ve restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics - not just those related to COVID-19,” Rosen said in a subsequent Twitter post.
‘Stunning shift’ in demand prompts JetBlue to cut flights
Update 10 a.m. EDT March 18: Officials with airline JetBlue announced a 40% reduction in its flight capacity in April and May due to plunging demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Demand continues to worsen, and the writing is on the wall that travel will not bounce back quickly,” JetBlue’s chief executive officer, Robin Hayes, and president and CEO, Joanna Geraghty, said Wednesday in an update to crewmembers.
“Last year on a typical day in March we took in about $22 million from bookings and ancillary fees. Throughout this March, our sales have fallen sharply and in the last several days we have taken in an average of less than $4 million per day while also issuing over $20 million per day of credits to customers for cancelled bookings. This is a stunning shift, which is being driven by fewer new bookings, much lower fares and a customer cancel rate more than 10 times the norm.”
Airline officials said JetBlue will ground some of its aircraft and determine later whether further reductions are needed for June and July.
Trump says border with Canada to be closed to non-essential traffic
Update 9:45 a.m. EDT March 18: President Donald Trump said Wednesday in a Twitter post that the U.S. and Canada have agreed to temporarily close their border to non-essential traffic as governments scramble to contain the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“Trade will not be affected,” Trump said. “Details to follow!”
We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
Target adjusts hours, allows at-risk customers to shop without crowds
Update 9:05 a.m. EDT March 18: Target on Tuesday became the latest retailer to adjust store hours and allow for seniors and people with health concerns to shop without having to brave crowds amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Store officials announced that starting this week, the retailer will allow an hour a week each Wednesday for shoppers with health concerns or the elderly to visit the store, USA Today reported. Retailers including Dollar General, Whole Foods, Albertsons and Fresh Market have taken similar measures.
Iran confirms coronavirus deaths top 1,100
Update 7:55 a.m. EDT March 18: With 147 new deaths confirmed Wednesday, Iran announced its total death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus has now reached 1,135.
Health officials also confirmed an additional 1,192 cases on Wednesday, bringing the nation’s total number of infections to 17,361.
GAP closing North American stores for 2 weeks
Update 6:55 a.m. EDT March 18: In response to the expanding novel coronavirus pandemic, Gap Inc. said Wednesday morning it is closing all of its stores across North America for two weeks, effective Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The San Francisco-based retail giant includes Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Janie &Jack and Intermix stores.
According to the Journal, all of the company’s brands will remain available through its e-commerce channels and affected store employees will still receive pay and benefits during the two-week period.
Click here to see the Journal’s running list of which stores are open and closed.
BMW halts production in Europe, South Africa amid coronavirus fallout
Update 5:38 a.m. EDT March 18: Luxury automaker BMW AG has shuttered European and South African production facilities in response to market uncertainty in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to The Wall Street Journal, BMW Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said during a news conference the current economic climate bears striking resemblance to chaotic conditions spawned by the 2008 financial crisis.
“We find ourselves in an extraordinary situation,” Zipse said, adding, “But we are also cautiously optimistic. There is a time during the coronavirus. And there will be a time after.”
The shutdown is effective today through at least April 19, the Journal reported.
The Munich-based company produces BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles.
BMW To Shut Down European Factories Over Coronavirus.https://t.co/B2aPEuS96Q pic.twitter.com/1Q9JBIaIut— Channels Television (@channelstv) March 18, 2020
US Surgeon General to millennials: Step up your social distancing skills
Update 4:40 a.m. EDT March 18: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams took direct aim at millennials Tuesday, imploring them to bypass large groups and socializing as a protective measure against the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus.
In a public service announcement video issued from the White House, Adams told any U.S. citizen between the ages of 23 and 39, “We know that if you get coronavirus, you’re at risk for spreading it to someone else.”
A message from @Surgeon_General to millennials: pic.twitter.com/L3407PXmDb— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 18, 2020
US coronavirus cases continue mounting
Update 4:18 a.m. EDT March 18: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States eclipsed 6,100 in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Wednesday.
According to state and local health agencies as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are at least 6,135 confirmed cases of the virus, which have resulted in 112 deaths to date, CNN reported.
Of the total patients, 70 involve repatriated citizens and 6,065 were tested and diagnosed on U.S. soil.
Of the hardest hit states, New York has confirmed more than 1,600 cases, Washington state has confirmed more than 1,000 and California has diagnosed more than 600.
First NHL player tests positive for the coronavirus
Update 3:09 a.m. EDT March 18: A hockey player for the Ottawa Senators has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the team confirmed via social media early Wednesday.
An Ottawa Senators player has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The player has had mild symptoms and is in isolation.— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 18, 2020
MORE: https://t.co/c0W87y7bHX pic.twitter.com/UAxLPmaf2o
The case marks the first positive COVID-19 case documented in the National Hockey League. The Senators are part of the league’s North American division.
The player, who has not been identified, is in isolation but experiencing only mild symptoms at this time, according to the team statement.
As a precaution, all the other team members are being isolated as well.
Nearly 8 million Northern Californians asked to shelter in place
Update 2:34 a.m. EDT March 18: The total number of Northern California residents urged to shelter in place amid the novel coronavirus pandemic swelled to nearly eight million early Wednesday as Sonoma County joined nine other counties issuing the order, CNN reported.
The Sonoma County order goes into effect at midnight local time and is expected to last through April 7.
"The violation of any provision of this Order constitutes an imminent threat to public health and will be enforced by law enforcement," the statement from Sonoma County health officials read.
The other counties currently ordered to shelter in place include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, CNN reported.
Walmart pledges $25M to global coronavirus response effort
Update 2:19 a.m. EDT March 18: Walmart and the retailer’s charitable foundation have committed $25 million to the global fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, the company said in a news release.
According to the statement, funds will be allocated via grants to address public health needs, food security and other community needs with the first grants slated to be issued this week. Specifically:
• $5 million will support global efforts in preventing, detecting and managing the virus
• $10 million will support food banks, school meal programs and organizations that provide access to food for underserved populations
• $10 million will support efforts in both U.S. communities and global markets
“In times of need, we see communities come together to do extraordinary things. This pandemic is no different,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation.
White House requests emergency funds totaling $45.8B
Update 2:08 a.m. EDT March 18: In a bid to cushion the economic effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the White House Office of Management and Budget submitted an emergency funding request late Tuesday to the U.S. Congress for an additional $45.8 billion, CNN reported.
The 118-page request is in addition to the Trump administration’s $1 trillion stimulus proposal released earlier in the day as well as the $8.3 billion in emergency funding approved by Congress just two weeks ago
In a letter to lawmakers late Tuesday, Russell Vought, the acting OMB director, said “resources needs have also grown” alongside the pandemic’s spread.
“The unprecedented mobilization the Administration has achieved has forced agencies to incur unanticipated costs. These costs must be met with a legislative response to ensure full operational capacity,” Vought’s letter reads.
State-by-state breakdown of the 5,748 US coronavirus cases, 105 deaths
Update 1:22 a.m. EDT March 18: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States eclipsed 5,700 in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands late Tuesday night.
According to state and local health agencies as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are at least 5,748 confirmed cases of the virus, which has resulted in a total of at least 105 deaths to date, CNN reported.
The New York Times database tracking infection activity pegged the figures slightly higher at 5,726 total cases, resulting in 107 deaths.
Of the confirmed 105 deaths, 54 have occurred in Washington state; 12 each in New York and California; six in Florida; four in Louisiana; three in New Jersey; two each in Virginia and Indiana; and one each in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.
West Virginia reported its first case Tuesday, while New York announced its cases now top 1,300.
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 5,678 cases detected on U.S. soil is as follows:
• Alabama: 36
• Alaska: 3
• Arizona: 20
• Arkansas, District of Columbia: 22 each
• California: 579, including 12 deaths
• Colorado: 160, including 1 death
• Connecticut: 68
• Delaware: 16
• Florida: 210, including 6 deaths
• Georgia: 146, including 1 death
• Hawaii, Vermont, Wyoming: 10 each
• Idaho, Missouri: 8 each
• Illinois: 160, including 1 death
• Indiana: 30, including 2 deaths
• Iowa, New Mexico: 23 each
• Kansas: 16, including 1 death
• Kentucky: 26, including 1 death
• Louisiana: 196, including 4 deaths
• Maine: 32
• Maryland: 57
• Massachusetts: 218
• Michigan: 65
• Minnesota: 60
• Mississippi: 21
• Montana: 9
• Nebraska: 18
• Nevada: 55, including 1 death
• New Hampshire: 26
• New Jersey: 267, including 3 deaths
• New York: 1,374, including 12 deaths
• North Carolina: 40
• North Dakota, U.S. Virgin Islands, West Virginia: 1 each
• Ohio: 67
• Oklahoma: 17
• Oregon: 65, including 1 death
• Pennsylvania: 96
• Puerto Rico: 5
• Rhode Island: 23
• South Carolina: 47, including 1 death
• South Dakota: 11, including 1 death
• Tennessee: 73
• Texas: 64, including 1 death
• Utah: 51
• Virginia: 67, including 2 deaths
• Washington: 1,012, including 54 deaths
• Wisconsin: 33
The Associated Press contributed to this report.