The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that has shaken markets and prompted an emergency response by health officials all over the world, has killed at least 2,800 people with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in mainland China. More than 82,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide as health officials in 47 countries have reported infections. South Korea also saw a spike in cases this week, with at least 1,700 confirmed cases in the country - the most outside mainland China.
Markets Shaken by Global Outbreak
The Dow and Nasdaq Composite officially entered 'correction territory' on Thursday as US stocks opened lower today, building on a week of losses. The Dow dropped 1.9% or 515 points on the opening bell with the Nasdaq seeing losses of 2.5%. The S&P 500 also fell 1.9%.
Global markets have also reacted to the outbreak as it continues to spread beyond mainland China. After Japan announced it would keep schools closed through April, the Nikkei was down more than 2 percent. European exchanges also entered correction territory on Thursday with Britain's FTSE dropped 3.6% and Germany's DAX down 3.5%.
Investors appear to be worried about the coronavirus' effects on the global supply chain as many companies around the world have come to rely on China's manufacturing capacity for their products. And with the number of cases in the United States increasing, investors are also afraid that the world's largest economy could come to a halt if the virus continues to spread through communities and forcing people to stay home and businesses to close their doors.
California Coronavirus Patient Could be First Case of 'Community Transmission'
California health officials say a patient diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus might be the first patient to have contracted the disease with no idea where he might have gotten it from.
The Solano County resident hadn't traveled anywhere recently known to have the virus and the patient wasn't exposed to anyone who has been found to be infected with the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. This is significant to health officials as it means the case could be the first US case of "community spread" of the coronavirus.
In a memo to staff, University of California, Davis, Health CEO Dr. David Lubarsky, wrote that the hospital asked public health officials if the patient could have COVID-19, and requested he be tested by the federal agency. However, according to the memo, the CDC declined to do so.
"We requested COVID-19 testing by the CDC, since neither Sacramento County nor CDPH is doing testing for coronavirus at this time," said the memo posted to the UC Davis Health website, which was signed by Lubarsky and UC Davis Medical Center interim CEO Brad Simmons.
"Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered. UC Davis Health does not control the testing process," the note stated.
The patient was eventually tested on Sunday after the CDC reversed its decision. On Wednesday, the agency confirmed a positive test for the patient.
"This is not the first COVID-19 patient we have treated, and because of the precautions we have had in place since this patient's arrival, we believe there has been minimal potential for exposure here at UC Davis Medical Center," the memo added.
Officials Are Running Out of Time to Cancel Tokyo Olympics
Health officials with the World Health Organization say 'no decision' has been made on whether the international sporting competition should be canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
"To my understanding, no decision has or will be taken in the near term regarding the future of the Olympics," said Dr. Mike Ryan, the head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.
Ryan added that World Health Organization officials have been working "extremely closely" with the Olympics organizers, providing risk assessment and management advice of the outbreak. He also pointed out that past major events like the Olympics and the Special Olympics proceeded during previous outbreaks, of Zika and SARS.
The games are scheduled to run between July 24 through Aug. 9, attracting visitors from all around the world.
At least 186 cases have been confirmed in Japan, with at least four deaths.
Health Officials Say Beards Can Interfere With Your N-95 Mask
For all those hirsute men who love their beards, health officials have some bad news for you - those whiskers could interfere with your N-95 mask.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say face masks should only be used by people confirmed to have the novel COVID-19 coronavirus or those suspected cases and others in health care settings. The best way to use your mask is to be clean-shaven, but if you do grow out the chin whiskers, you should make sure the hair can remain under the face mask.
A graphic posted by the CDC in 2017 shows how some beards and mustaches are OK. For example, handlebar and zorro mustaches work just fine, but having a full beard, or extended goatee are not recommended.
"For any style, hair should not cross under the respirator sealing surface," the CDC's blog post read. "If your respirator has an exhalation valve, some of these styles may interfere with the valve working properly if the facial hair comes in contact with it."
Photos: Getty Images, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention