This post is being continuously updated as new information becomes available. It was originally published on Jan. 25, 2020. We’re doing our best to remain current, but things are changing very quickly every day.
You’ve seen the reports about coronavirus. Now, you’re worried about traveling. That’s completely understandable. There will be people who say not to worry, but you have every right to be concerned whether it’s about potential health risks or travel disruptions. There’s a good chance you’re here because you’ve searched “coronavirus and travel” because you’re not sure if you should cancel your trip. We don’t have that answer for you, but we can provide some information.
The 2020 outbreak of coronavirus has spread globally and is now considered a pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have issued travel advisories as the number of deaths and infections continue to rise globally. Around the world, several countries have shut down major cities, attractions, or implemented quarantine measures.
This post will share the most recent updates, tips for preparing for a pandemic as well as discuss the origins of coronavirus, how the disease is spread, and how to prevent infection. We will also explore the current travel restrictions and whether you should consider canceling your trip (spoiler — that’s ultimately your call, but for many reasons, we’re NOT going anywhere right now). This recently published article may be helpful: Americans need to start canceling travel to slow down the coronavirus: epidemiologist.
Looking for the headlines and updates? We’ve moved them to the bottom of this post for everything that happened in January, February and March. It’s become very difficult to keep up, so we may not be updating as often.
Should You Cancel Your Trip Due to Coronavirus?
Should you travel right now? Here’s a reality check that many may not want to hear or accept — travelers spread this. Had we been willing to stop traveling for just a short time when this first happened, it might have stayed in China where they committed to aggressive efforts to contain it. So far, North Americans have not been responding the same way. In fact, I personally know of people who have left epicenters in the United States and traveled all over the country. We need to do better, whether it’s cold and flu season or a pandemic.
We love writing this blog and we love seeing the world, but we’re also taking a step back and reevaluating some things. We’re definitely planning to continue traveling in the future, but we’re going to be more mindful and responsible about our choices. As such, the tone on this site will be changing.
We cannot tell you how to live your life, but we do encourage you to consider the information being provided by the CDC and WHO. When weighing the risk, it might be helpful to visualize the current data (which could change at any time) in simplified form:
- If you’re on a 300-person flight and every single person has the flu, which has a mortality rate of 0.1%, then no one gets sick enough to die.
- If you’re on a 300-person flight and every single person has COVID-19, the situation is very different. Remember, WHO says the mortality rate is currently 3.4% and 1 in 5 people will get sick enough to warrant hospitalization. Imagine 60 of your seatmates suddenly becoming seriously ill and 10 of your fellow passengers dying.
Obviously, this is specific scenario is unlikely, but when you look at the numbers this way, it makes it a lot harder to say, “80% of people will be fine, what’s the big deal?” We’ve seen a lot of people saying, “I’m going to live my life” or “this is a hoax.” Again, respectfully, how you live is your business. Please remember the following:
- We don’t know a lot about this virus yet.
- Individual health is not the same as public health. We have a responsibility to the members of our community (and the countries we visit) to keep the safety and well-being of ALL citizens in mind.
- Saying, “this happens to old people” is really callous, and as more data emerges, it’s also not true.
- There are people out there with weakened immune systems (three in my own family alone). Think of them. You might have a mild form of the illness, but it could kill someone else.
- If you go on a cruise or holiday knowing the risks, you’ll be taking up valuable resources from people who heeded the warnings if you get quarantined. That’s really unfair. Just stay home right now!
Again, we also HIGHLY recommend registering with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You’ll receive alerts from the U.S. Embassy in the country you’re visiting (or plan to visit) and they will know how to find you if something goes wrong.
How Can Travelers Protect Against Coronavirus?
If you absolutely must get on a plane during this time, it’s best to be prepared. To avoid the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, follow the same steps you’d take to avoid influenza — but take it even more seriously. Here are the CDC recommendations (and a couple of ours):
- Keep your hands clean by washing with soap and water and/or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- We know some agencies are discouraging the use of face masks. Due to our health issues, we’ve always been advised to wear them. Also, if you look at South Korea, where they’ve done a stellar job of handling this crisis, we’re seeing people continuing to use masks. Use your own discretion here.
- Another of our recommendations — wipe down your seat *thoroughly* on the airplane.
Not only could you protect yourself against coronavirus, but you could prevent it from spreading to others. You may also find the following posts on The Anxious Travelers helpful if you decide to travel, especially by airplane:
- How to Avoid Getting Sick During Cold & Flu Season Travel
- Stay Healthy While Traveling With These Natural Remedies
- Why Being In Japan Helps Us With Our Anxiety and OCD
- The Complete Germaphobe’s Guide to Restaurants
- The Best Essential Oils for Travel Anxiety
- 7 Carry-On Essentials to Avoid Getting Sick on Your Flight
- 5 Ways to Avoid Germs at Amusement Parks
- The Ultimate Germaphobe’s Guide to Hotel Stays
- Can CBD Oil Help Your Travel Anxiety?
- Can TSA Precheck Help With Travel Anxiety?
- Long Haul Flight Essentials with Travel Anxiety
Which Airlines Are Waiving Fees for Canceling or Changing Flights Due to Coronavirus?
Trying to figure out if you can cancel your flight due to coronavirus? There are some airlines that are allowing you to cancel or even change your itinerary without penalties or fees because of the outbreak. Here’s a quick roundup — please note that this may be incomplete information as things are changing rapidly and on a daily basis. We encourage you to reach out to your carrier and find out how they are handling this situation.
Alaska is waiving change and cancellation fees on all flights for travel between February 27 and March 12, 2020. Change requests must be made by March 12. You won’t get a refund, but you will get credit for future travel (must be used within one year of the issue date).
Allegiant is giving customers the ability to make a one-time change to their travel plans without incurring fees. This waiver applies to both new and existing bookings. They haven’t specified an end date for the waiver.
As of March 5, American extended its blanket waiver which eliminates change fees for travel booked between March 5 and March 31, 2020. If you booked between March 1 and March 4, 2020 you will still have protection under the previous policy — make changes no later than 14 days prior to travel and the fees will be waived.
You may be eligible for a one-time fee-free trip change or cancellation if your travel plans included the following destinations:
- China (Beijing and Shanghai)
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
If you were headed to Wuhan, China, you are eligible for no-fee cancellation as long as you purchased your ticket before January 23 and were scheduled to fly between Jan. 23 and March 31. For more information, visit the dedicated page on American Airline’s website.
Flight suspensions and cancellations:
- China: Flights between DFW/LAX and mainland China are suspended through April 24.
- Hong Kong: Flights between DFW and Hong Kong (HKG) are suspended through April 23.
- Hong Kong: Flights between LAX and Hong Kong (HKG) are suspended through April 24.
- Italy: Flights between New York-JFK and Milan (MXP) are suspended through April 25.
- South Korea: Flights between DFW and Seoul will be suspended until April 25.
Delta Air Lines
Delta offers a blanket waiver giving passengers the ability to make a one-time itinerary change for both domestic and international flights booked before March 9, 2020 for travel through April 30. Anything booked between March 1 and March 31, 2020 is also eligible for free changes, regardless of travel dates.
Passengers heading to the following destinations re eligible for a one-time fee-free itinerary change if the original itinerary was for travel through May 31:
- Tokyo-Portland: 3 times weekly
- Tokyo-Atlanta: 5 times weekly
- Tokyo-Minneapolis: 5 times weekly
- Nagoya-Detroit: 3 times weekly
- Nagoya-Honolulu: 3 times weekly
- Osaka-Honolulu: 3 times weekly
- Seoul and Atlanta: 5 times weekly through April 30
- Detroit and Seattle: 5 times weekly through April 30
Flight suspensions and cancellations:
- China: Suspended until April 30.
- Italy: expect a severely limited schedule.
- South Korea: Minneapolis/St. Paul flights suspended through April 30.
- Tokyo-Manila service will end on March 27 (this was a planned consolidation at Haneda airport).
- Osaka-Seattle seasonal summer service is suspended for 2020.
Find more information about Delta’s waivers on the dedicated page on its website.
Hawaiian has issued a blanket waiver, so if you booked flights between March 1 and March 31, 2000 you can make a one-time change to your itinerary without a fee.
Flight suspensions and cancellations:
- Japan: Kona to Tokyo-Haneda will be suspended from March 28 through May 1, 2020.
- Japan: Tokyo to Honolulu will operate on a slightly adjusted schedule.
- South Korea: Flights between Honolulu and Seoul suspended between through April 30.
More information about Hawaiian’s coronavirus waivers can be found on its website. Note that the waiver policies may differ depending on destination.
JetBlue is waiving change and cancellation fees on new flights booked between February 27 and March 11, 2020. Passengers who cancel their flights will be issued a credit.
United is waiving change fees on all new bookings made between March 3 and March 31, 2020. Your new itinerary must be within 12 months of your original travel dates. You will be responsible, however, for any fare differences. If you cancel, however, you’ll be issued a voucher for the value of your tickets. The voucher must be used within 12 months of being issued.
You may be eligible for a one-time fee-free trip change if you are traveling to or from:
- China (Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai)
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
If you were headed to Wuhan, China, you are eligible for no-fee cancellation on un-flown segments as long as you booked by January 21 and you were scheduled to fly between Jan. 22 and March 29. For more information, visit the dedicated page on United Airline’s website.
Flight suspensions and cancellations:
- China (Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai): Suspended through April 30.
- Hong Kong: Suspended through April 30.
- Japan: Flights between Narita and Los Angeles are canceled March 8 through April 24.
- Japan: Flights between Narita and Houston are canceled March 8 through April 24.
- Japan: Flights between Narita and Chicago are canceled March 8 through March 27.
- Japan: Flights between Chicago and Haneda will begin on March 28.
- Japan: Flights between Narita and Newark are reduced to five-times weekly in April.
- Japan: Flights between San Francisco and Kansai are reduced to five-times weekly in April.
- Singapore: Flights from San Francisco reduced to once daily from March 8 through April 24.
- South Korea: Flights between San Francisco and Seoul are reduced to three-times weekly from March 8 through April 30.
More information about United’s coronavirus waivers is available on its website.
Cruise Travel During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Should you go on a cruise during the coronavirus outbreak? Here’s a MAJOR UPDATE for you from the U.S. State Department: “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. American people value our cruise line industry, it brings great joy and great entertainment value for Americans. We want to ensure Americans can continue to enjoy the opportunities of the cruise line industry.”
Disneyland, Coronavirus & Other Theme Parks
You might be asking yourself “is it safe to go to Disneyland due to the coronavirus outbreak?” The answer is unclear. What we do know, however, is that theme parks including Disneyland and Disney World are being temporarily closed or staff is being told to stay home. Here are some stories you can read for more information:
- Disneyland Closes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
- Tokyo Disneyland And DisneySea Will Close For At Least Two Weeks Because Of Coronavirus
- Disneyland Paris maintenance worker tests positive to coronavirus but park will stay open
- Universal Studios Japan will be closed through mid March
- Handful of Disney World workers told to stay home over coronavirus concerns following Italy trip
- Shanghai Disneyland closes in midst of coronavirus scare, reopening date to be determined
- Hong Kong’s Disneyland is closed and letting the government use some of its land to quarantine people
- Two Hong Kong Disneyland Hotels Closing In Response to Coronavirus
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
We HIGHLY recommend registering with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You’ll receive alerts from the U.S. Embassy in the country you’re visiting (or plan to visit) and they will know how to find you if something goes wrong. So far, we’ve received emails from the U.S. Embassy in Japan, as we’re scheduled to visit later this year. It’s incredibly helpful. Not from the United States? Please contact your local government about similar programs.
What Is Coronavirus?
You may not have heard about it before this month, but coronavirus is a fairly common type of virus. According to WebMD, this type of virus can cause infections in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat, but it’s usually not dangerous. Unpleasant, but not the end of the world.
Unfortunately, there are types that can lead to serious illness and death. An example would be the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (see below), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has killed 858 people across the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States.
You’re most likely very familiar with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which caused an outbreak back in 2003. My youngest daughter had just been born and I was a nervous wreck. Ultimately, SARS claimed the lives of 774 people worldwide.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV or COVID-19)
The 2020 coronavirus outbreak is caused by a brand new strain. The World Health Organization started calling it “2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).” It was first detected in Wuhan, China and the earliest cases were linked to a large animal and seafood market, prompting some to assume this was caused by animal-to-person exposure.
Now that it’s clearly being found outside of China, it seems as though this is being spread person-to-person. We still don’t fully know what’s happening, so for the latest updates, keep an eye on the CDC’s web page Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Here are a few quick facts (this can change as we learn more about the 2020 coronavirus):
- The current known fatality rate is 2.3% (this has bumped up to as high as 3.4% but continues to fluctuate and differ across countries, so this is an average).
- That’s high compared to the seasonal flu (0.1%) and low compared to SARS (10%)
- It’s quite contagious.
Note: As of February 11, 2019, scientists started calling this COVID-19.
How Many People Have Coronavirus?
After being identified in December, 2019, the 2020 outbreak of coronavirus has killed at least 5,836 people and infected more than 156,697, worldwide (75,925 have reportedly recovered). This is a current map from the CDC of the locations/countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19. The United States is still behind on testing, but there are now 2,943 confirmed cases and the number is expected to rise.
Please note that all of these numbers change throughout the day so please click the above links to see the most recently updated information. We’re aware that statistics may vary from one site to another. We rely on the information from the Johns Hopkins official website, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO).
Can You Catch Coronavirus?
If you’re wondering, “Can you catch coronavirus?” the answer is yes. Absolutely, you can catch coronavirus and there’s a good chance you’ve already had some form of it. In fact, according to WebMD and the CDC, everyone becomes infected with coronavirus at least once in their life. They are most common in the fall and winter, and we all probably had it as young kids. Of course, those infections would be associated with the less serious form of the virus.
How are coronaviruses spread? Pretty much like any cold or flu:
- Through the air from someone who has coughed or sneezed.
- By being in close contact with an infected person, including shaking hands.
- Touching a surface that is covered with the virus.
- Sometimes (rarely) through fecal contamination (I don’t want to know!).
- We don’t know for sure whether coronavirus can be spread by people who have no symptoms.
This is exactly why some people are worried about the coronavirus and travel. You could be trapped in an airplane full of coughing and sneezing people (or even someone who’s asymptomatic), and don’t get us started with that nasty tray table.
Here’s our best piece of advice — keep your hands clean and don’t touch your face. Being really strict about those two things has dramatically reduced how often we get sick, which is why we included it in our guide Avoid Getting Sick During Cold & Flu Season Travel.
Germs love to hitch a ride into your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth. So, don’t rub your eyes, scratch your nose, or eat without cleaning your hands. Using hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands is a great idea, and something we do often. We also rub our eyes and noses with the inside of our shirt/hoodie collar to avoid making contact with our skin and/or mucous membranes.
Something I’ve seen people asking is, “How do I know if I have coronavirus?” Undoubtedly, the internet is exploding with searches for signs that you’ve been infected with the coronavirus. It’s spreading quickly, so you know there are folks who recently returned from China (or are currently there!) that are freaking out.
General Coronavirus Symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- A general feeling of being unwell
- Less commonly, pneumonia and bronchitis
Symptoms of 2020 Coronavirus
Again, the full details about 2019-nCoV infection are still developing, but the patients with confirmed cases had shown mild to severe respiratory illness along with the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
According to the CDC, preliminary evidence suggests that you could show signs of coronavirus as soon as two days, or as long as 14, after exposure.
Could You Have Coronavirus?
Have you had direct contact with someone who is sick or traveled recently? Are you feeling sick or showing any signs of being infected with the coronavirus? Here’s what you should do:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel if you think you might have coronavirus. Consider self-quarantining to protect at-risk members of your community, even if it’s “just” the flu.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Shield your face with your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands!).
- Wash your hands often (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and hot water. Can’t get to a sink? Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If you think you could have been exposed, or haven’t been feeling well since returning from a trip, call your healthcare provider or local hospital. DO NOT show up without giving them advance notice. They may want to prepare a separate, quarantined area for you to help avoid spreading coronavirus in the event that you are infected.
Right now, there are no antiviral treatments recommended for this particular type of coronavirus. Instead, the focus has been managing the specific symptoms of those infected with 2019-nCoV. So, if someone has a fever, the medical team will work on bringing it down. If they’re struggling to breathe, they’d address that, and so on.
Again, before seeking medical assistance, call ahead and let them know that you’re coming. Among other things, they may ask you to wear a face mask before entering clinical areas. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Travel history.
- Date of onset of symptoms.
- Share any public places where you may have come in contact with other people.
It’s easier said than done, but if you suspect you might have coronavirus, stay calm. You’ll think better with a clearer head. Also, do not ignore any warning signs. Stay home and contact a physician so that you can get the care you need without putting others at risk.
Coronavirus Outbreak: How to Prepare
As of February 25, we’ve been warned by the CDC to start preparing for outbreaks in the United States. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more really a question of when it will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. “We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare with the expectation that this could be bad.”
Related: Here’s a Full List of EPA-approved Cleaners That Kill Coronavirus
Even if you’re not afraid of catching the illness, we’re seeing huge numbers of people, such as in California and Washington State, placed under a sudden and unexpected quarantine. We’re also seeing people trapped at resorts, hotels, and on cruise ships for similar reasons.
Do you have everything you need to stay inside your home for 14 days? Don’t go on the assumption that you could just order something from Amazon, Walmart or your local store if you needed it. We’re already seeing crucial supplies such as hand sanitizer and face masks selling out. We’ve adapted the following guidelines from KingCounty.gov to provide some guidance.
Store Water, Food, and Other Essentials
The most common time frame we’re seeing for quarantines is 14 days, so you should plan to have supplies to get you through two weeks. This works whether you’re avoiding a cluster outbreak in your area or in the unfortunate event that you, or someone in your home, has been exposed to coronavirus.
Not only could supplies run low at local stores (and as mentioned, even Amazon is short on some key items!), but public services could be disrupted. In fact, US officials have warned of ‘severe’ disruptions. Keeping extra supplies on hand doesn’t make you paranoid — it makes you prepared.
- Bottled Water (yes, plastic is problematic but so is dying of dehydration)
- Baby Formula and baby food
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Canned meats, such as tuna, chicken, turkey, Vienna sausage
- Canned beans, fruits, vegetables, soups
- Protein or fruit bars
- Nuts and trail mix
- Dried fruit
- Comfort food (you might really need some cookies, candy, instant coffee, or tea!)
Medical and Health Supplies:
- Hand soap
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as Purell or store-brand
- Prescribed medicines and supplies, such as glucose meters and blood-pressure monitoring equipment
- Pain and fever relievers, such as acetaminophen, naproxen and ibuprofen
- Disposable diapers
- Feminine hygiene products
- Diarrhea remedy, such as Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate
- Anti nausea meds such as meclizine, Dramamine, and ginger drops
- Throat lozenges
- Cough syrup
- Vitamins and supplements (we’re stocking up on Vitamin C, elderberry, Vitamin D, and more)
- Fluids with electrolytes, like Gatorade and Pedialyte (preferred for small children)
Other Emergency Supplies:
- Pet food and kitty litter
- Portable radio
- Batteries for flashlights, radios, games, thermometers
- Manual can opener
- Plastic garbage bags
- Paper towels, toilet paper, tissues
- Entertainment – board games, crafts, books, movies, etc.
- Supplies for persons with special needs
- Extra cash
Household Emergency Plans:
- Prepare for possible changes in healthcare. You might have to be flexible about providers.
- Talk to your family and loved ones about the types of medical intervention you’d prefer in case of an emergency.
- Practice social distancing by staying away from others (especially sick people) and from public places.
- Plan to limit the number of trips you take to the store or to run errands.
- Keep in mind that public transportation routes and times may be limited.
- Come up with a plan for providing care to people in your family who have disabilities if support services become unavailable.
- Decide who will take care of your kids if the local schools close.
- Agree on a point of contact where all family members can check-in if you become separated during an emergency.
Other Ways to be Prepared for a Pandemic:
- Know work/school policies about sick leave, absences, time off, and telecommuting (this has already become popular with the current outbreak).
- Encourage planning. Your efforts might be for nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Know your neighbors.
- Learn more about local emergency preparedness efforts.
Prevent the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Stay away from others as much as possible when they are sick.
- Wash hands frequently. Soap and water is best, but an alcohol-based sanitizer is a good alternative.
- Cover your mouth and nose with the crook of your elbow when coughing and sneezing.
- Throw away used tissues right away and immediately clean your hands after use.
- Be a good example for your children. Show them how to limit the spread of viruses and germs.
January Coronavirus Updates
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has declared a public health emergency in the United States. Here’s what that means:
- U.S. citizens returning from Hubei province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to a 14-day quarantine.
- Foreign nationals, other than immediate family members of U.S. citizens, who have traveled to China in the previous 14 days will be denied entry into the country. The temporary measures take effect February 2, 2020 at 5 p.m.
- Americans returning from other parts of China in the previous 14 days will be subject to a health screening upon entry and asked to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.
- Update (January 30): The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a “public health emergency of international concern.” They are also offering travel advice.
- Update (January 31): Many major airlines have cancelled flights in and out of China. A seventh person in the United States has tested positive for coronavirus.
February Coronavirus Updates
- Update (February 2): The Philippines is reporting the first coronavirus death outside of China.
- Update (February 2): A scientific model created by the University of Hong Kong claims that, as of January 25, the “real number of coronavirus cases is more than 75,000…and will double in size every 6.4 days.”
- Update (February 4): A cruise ship off the coast of Japan is being held and quarantined after a growing number of passengers has tested positive for the virus. There are at least 174 cases on board (updated on February 12).
- Update (February 5): A newborn tested positive for coronavirus just 30 hours after being born. The child’s mother is infected.
- Update (February 6): The Chinese doctor who was punished by the Chinese authorities for trying to alert others in the early stages of this coronavirus outbreak has died.
- Update (February 8): One American is dead and there are at least 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States as of Saturday morning.
- Update (February 10): The death toll in China is 1,107. The current number of people infected with coronavirus in China is 43,090. Coronavirus has spread to 24 countries, causing 393 cases and 1 death, in the Philippines.
- Update (February 11): A U.S. evacuee with coronavirus was accidentally released from the hospital in California. A couple in the state has also suddenly become very ill. There’s also fear that coronavirus could be spread through pipes in buildings.
- Update (February 11): We’ve got an official name now – COVID-19.
- Update (February 12): The number of new cases has slowed down. According to WHO: Outbreak in China “reducing,” and outside China it’s “very manageable.”
- Update (February 12): There are now 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in the United States.
- Update (February 13): There are now 15 confirmed cases in the United States.
- Update (February 13): While reports indicated that the spread of the virus had slowed down just yesterday, today we’re seeing a massive spike. In fact, it’s the largest one-day jump since this all started. There are 14,840 in Hubei Province alone, bringing the total number to 48,206. The death toll in the province rose to 1,310, including 242 new deaths.”
- Update (February 14): A Japanese man developed cold-like symptoms while visiting Hawaii. His symptoms worsened after he returned home to Japan. He has now been diagnosed with COVID-19. As of today, there have been 1,383 deaths and more than 64,000 confirmed cases worldwide.
- Update (February 14): Someone has died of coronavirus in Japan, bringing the total to three deaths outside of China. Also, 1,700 healthcare workers have been infected.
- Update (February 15): France has reported the first coronavirus fatality outside of Asia. An 80-year-old Chinese tourist died after becoming ill in mid-January. Also, the U.S. has decided to evacuate Americans from the quarantined cruise ship.
- Update (February 16): The number of deaths is up to 1,665 with a total of 68,500 confirmed cases. There are now 355 (including one American) passengers with coronavirus on that quarantined cruise ship.
- Update (February 17): The coronavirus COVID-19 is more than 20 times more fatal that the seasonal flu (can we stop comparing it now???). Director of hospital in Wuhan, China has died. Over 700 people in Washington are being monitored. As of today, 1868 people have died and 72,436 have been infected.
Update February 21
Okay, I’ve been gone for a few days, and a LOT has happened. Today’s news stories warrant a whole new subsection. Wow!
- 14 passengers evacuated from the cruise ship in Japan tested POSITIVE for coronavirus and they were put on a plane FULL of healthy people anyway. WHAT IN THE WORLD!? The CDC fought this, but the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did it anyway.
- 11 of 13 Diamond Princess evacuees taken to Nebraska test positive.
- The coronavirus just killed a 29-year-old doctor who postponed his wedding to fight the disease.
- WHO officials say coronavirus outbreak in Iran is ‘very worrisome.’
- How One Singapore Sales Conference Spread Coronavirus Around the World.
- South Korea reports big jump in cases, virus spreading in Chinese prisons.
- US health officials prepare for coronavirus outbreak to become pandemic.
- There’s still a ‘fighting chance’ to contain coronavirus but time is running out, world health leader says.
- Texas company says it has coronavirus vaccine.
Update February 22:
- The Diamond Princess cruise ship, where some people remain quarantined, will sail again in April 2020. Here’s how they plan to disinfect it.
- Sacramento has confirmed its first case of coronavirus.
- California Tells 7,600 People To Self-Quarantine Over Concern Of Coronavirus Spread.
- White House fears coronavirus could shape Trump’s 2020 fortunes.
- Coronavirus May Be the ‘Disease X’ Health Agency Warned About.
- China’s National Health Commission reported 648 new confirmed cases, and 97 additional deaths.
- China’s Hubei province reported 630 new confirmed cases, and 96 additional deaths.
- South Korea’s new cases jumped by 123, bringing the country’s total to 556 infected. It also reported a fourth death.
- Infections in Italy saw a sharp spike, surging to nearly 80 cases by Saturday.
- Can coronavirus be spread by people who don’t have symptoms?
- Flying coronavirus class: Photos of American Diamond Princess passengers’ flight from hell
Update February 23:
- Coronavirus infections surge in Italy, South Korea as virus kills at least 8 in Iran.
- Why the coronavirus outbreak increasingly looks like a pandemic.
- Coronavirus live updates: Turkey closes Iran border, South Korea on high alert.
- Sex does matter when it comes to coronavirus.
- A passenger who traveled from Vancouver to Montreal has tested positive for coronavirus, eight days after the Valentine’s Day flight
Update February 24:
- Drugmaker Moderna Delivers First Coronavirus Vaccine for Human Testing
- Secretive Church Sect At The Center Of South Korea’s Coronavirus Outbreak
- Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission: Impossible VII’ filming halted in Venice due to coronavirus outbreak
- Surge of Hundreds of New Coronavirus Cases Raise Fears of Global Pandemic
- Dow closes down 1,000 points as virus fears wipe out year’s gains
- CNBC’s Jim Cramer: We have lost containment and this could be worse than we thought
Update February 25:
- Hundreds of guests ‘on lockdown‘ in Tenerife hotel after positive coronavirus case
- A Korean Air flight attendant tested positive for the coronavirus
- Austria, Croatia confirm first coronavirus cases
- Korean Air is not offering refunds on flights to South Korea (despite the CDC raising travel warning for South Korea)
- Iran’s Deputy Health Minister has tested positive for coronavirus
- Outbreak shakes China’s expectant mothers
- South Korea testing 200,000 members of a doomsday church that is the source of more than 60% of its coronavirus cases
- US plans trial of Gilead drug
- Coronavirus outbreak in China has ‘peaked‘ but world must prepare for pandemic, says WHO
- White House seeks $2.5B for coronavirus, but Pelosi says that’s not enough
Update February 26:
- 60 cases are now confirmed in the United States
- At least 12 UK schools send pupils home amid coronavirus fears
- Every continent except Antarctica has reported coronavirus cases
- There are now at least 1,300 cases in South Korea
- San Francisco has declared a state of emergency over coronavirus fears
- Three more people tested positive at Tenerife hotel
- How to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic
- The US has started human testing of a drug to treat the novel coronavirus
- Could a pandemic be stopped? US warns of ‘severe’ disruptions
- The coronavirus seems unstoppable. What should the world do now?
- More New Cases Are Now Reported Outside China Than Inside
- Why is Iran’s reported mortality rate so much higher than in other countries?
- Trump is reportedly furious that the stock market is plunging on coronavirus fears
- How coronavirus could force the work-from-home movement
- Coronavirus concerns prompt universities to cancel study abroad programs
Update February 27:
Read this Statement on Tourism and COVID-19 from UNWTO and WHO – A Call for Responsibility and Coordination.
- Prime Minister Abe asks all Japan’s schools to close over coronavirus
- California is monitoring at least 8,400 people for the coronavirus
- Diagnosis Of Coronavirus Patient In California Was Delayed For Days
- “Fatal mistake” for countries to assume they won’t get coronavirus -WHO chief
- Only a handful of children have been diagnosed with coronavirus
- Pope Francis ‘sick‘ one day after meeting masked Ash Wednesday audience
- Wuhan-born ‘Mulan’ star talks coronavirus: ‘I’m really hoping for a miracle’
- Japan woman tests positive for virus after ‘recovery’
- Hundreds of guests in coronavirus-hit hotel in Tenerife ignore quarantine to lie on sunbeds
- Streets of Milan deserted as residents stay indoors over coronavirus fears
- China fears mount over virus cases from outside
- CDC calls new California case ‘possible instance of community-spread’
- Washington high school closed over coronavirus concerns after staff member’s relative is tested for virus
- Coronavirus is threatening to end the world air-travel boom
Update February 28:
*United Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to make broad cuts to its Asia service because of the virus. United has more service to Asia than any other U.S. carrier. The reductions raise concerns of further cuts to other regions*
- WHO increases risk to ‘very high,’ tells governments to ‘wake up‘
- Coronavirus hits tech companies: Google employee tests positive
- U.S. workers without protective gear assisted coronavirus evacuees
- People can get the coronavirus more than once, experts warn
- Coronavirus reappears in discharged patients, raising questions in containment fight
- Air Transat kicked a family off a plane after their daughter started coughing
- Bill Gates says the coronavirus is a pandemic and a ‘once-in-a-century pathogen.’
- Universal Studios and Disneyland Parks in Japan close through mid March
- Mexico Has Its First Coronavirus Case, Second Being Verified
- If coronavirus spreads within the US, here’s how daily life might change
- Nigeria confirms first coronavirus case
- Singapore claims first use of antibody test to track coronavirus infections
- They were infected with coronavirus and never showed signs
- America’s bad paid sick leave policy could make the coronavirus outbreak worse
- Covid-19 infects top officials and hundreds more in Iran
- Pope Francis is still unwell and has postponed all official audiences for Friday
Update February 29:
The first coronavirus death in the United States is being reported today. President Donald Trump said in a press briefing that the patient died overnight. He described the patient as a “medically high-risk patient in her late 50s” and said she was “a wonderful woman.” Earlier, Washington Gov. Jan Inslee referred to the patient as male. The CDC has admitted to giving Trump the wrong information.
25 staff and 27 residents of the the Life Care nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington state, are showing symptoms of coronavirus.
- Officials announce possible coronavirus outbreak in Washington nursing facility
- There are now four US coronavirus cases with unknown origin
- Why did CDC send NYC man home without testing for coronavirus?
- 2 new coronavirus cases emerge in Washington, in King and Snohomish counties
- MAP: Which Countries Have CDC Travel Advisories Because Of Coronavirus
- South Korea virus cases surge as WHO sounds maximum alert
- CDC warns: Save respirator masks for health care workers
- Expert: There’s a ‘million-dollar question’ surrounding coronavirus
- Kim warns of ‘serious consequences‘ if virus reaches North Korea
- Oregon has 1st coronavirus case: elementary school employee
- Americans Are Stockpiling Cleaning Products. Do They Actually Prevent Coronavirus?
- Coronavirus fears empty store shelves of toilet paper, bottled water, masks as shoppers stock up
- CBS Suspends ‘The Amazing Race’ Production Over Coronavirus Fears
Update March 1:
A second coronavirus-related death is being reported in Washington state. Also, the CDC mistakenly released an infected individual from the quarantine.
According to a new study: Coronavirus fatality rates vary wildly depending on age, gender and medical history — some patients fare much worse than others.
- US cases jump to 71, West Coast is hardest hit (it’s now 86 cases)
- President Trump Says He’s Considering Closing Southern U.S. Border as More COVID-19 Cases ‘Likely’
- HHS Secretary Azar says new case appears in Chicago
- Australia confirms first death from coronavirus
- Airport Workers Fear They’re Unprotected From The Coronavirus
- Local USPS employee tests positive for coronavirus
- RIDOH confirms first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Rhode Island
- UK fears of undetected cases grow as 12 more test positive
- Can people spread coronavirus after they recover?
- Two dozen first responders quarantined for possible coronavirus
- Iranian Coronavirus Cases Jump as More Officials Infected
Update March 2:
- U.S. death toll climbs to 6 as viral crisis eases in China
- 100 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the US
- More testing sheds light on how virus is spreading in US
Update March 3:
Seeing many, many reports of people showing symptoms of coronavirus who go to the doctor and are refused a test. Not sure how normal that is, but one of my friends is among them in a state where there are multiple cases. Makes you wonder how many people in the United States have this but don’t know due to a lack of testing. Meanwhile, South Korea has “drive-thru” testing available.
Feds strive to speed up coronavirus testing after CDC’s slow start: ‘The opportunity was missed‘
- It’s being reported that there have been 9 deaths in the US
- WHO says coronavirus death rate is 3.4% globally, higher than previously thought
- Health experts warn coronavirus could be the ‘Hurricane Sandy of epidemics’
- Two test positive for coronavirus in Georgia
- FDA official expects 1M coronavirus tests to be available by week’s end
- New York insurers ordered to to waive costs associated with coronavirus testing
- As much as 70 percent of world’s population could get coronavirus
- 9 Coronavirus Cases Now Confirmed in Santa Clara County
Update March 4:
Not going to lie to you guys. My updates are late today because this has become overwhelming. I’m so sad about some of the things that are happening and I hope that you’re all being safe and compassionate towards each other. You may not get seriously ill, but remember that you can spread the virus to someone who is high-risk. Fortunately, this is a welcome headline today: Coronavirus Testing Available With a Doctor’s Approval, C.D.C. Says
- Coronavirus death toll climbs in the U.S. as virus spreads
- California county says person who died from coronavirus had recently taken cruise to Mexico
- NY Gov. Cuomo confirms 5 new cases of coronavirus: ‘This is literally like trying to stop air’
- New Hampshire Coronavirus Patient Breaks Quarantine to Attend Dartmouth Event
- Seattle feels like ‘ghost town‘
- ‘We are in a crisis here‘: The Yale professor who said US cases were set to ‘explode’
- Tinder warns users to take precautions over coronavirus
- CDC planned to drop cruise passengers at mall after quarantine
- White House Bans Filming At Coronavirus Briefing, Triggering Backlash
- New York lawyer, his wife, children and neighbour all test positive as city braces for community spread
Update March 5:
A California man who self-quarantined after returning home from China amid the coronavirus outbreak said he is ‘100x more concerned‘ for his health in the US than he was in China. He said that he saw more safety precautions being taken in China than in the US and that officials understood the gravity of the situation. Seeing how differently the Chinese and US governments handled the outbreak convinced him that he felt safer in China than he does on American soil.
- United is first to cut US flying due to virus outbreak
- Health Official Warns People Not To Touch Their Mouths, Then Licks Her Hand
- WHO urges nations to pull “out all the stops” in coronavirus fight: “This is not a drill”
- 4 more cases confirmed in LA County, health officials say
- Schools Shut in Seattle Area as Spread Grows
- First two coronavirus cases confirmed in San Francisco
- From empty sidewalks to deserted hotels, coronavirus is slamming the tourism industry
- Coronavirus in NY: 9 new cases confirmed, including first in Nassau County
Update March 6:
If you haven’t heard, the families of the people who died or were sickened at the life care facility in Washington have spoken out and described what happened. They are distraught about how things were handled by the staff, local agencies, and CDC and now demanding answers.
- W.H.O. Chief Warns It’s ‘Time to Act’
- Backlash over White House virus response builds
- Coronavirus cases rise across the world
- Grand Princess cruise passengers, crew await test results: What we know
- Seattle XFL stadium worker tests positive for coronavirus
- Global cases top 100,000, US accuses China of setting back containment
- White House sidelines Azar from response
- Here’s why Chinese scientists say there’s a second, more dangerous strain
- Trump cancels CDC visit
- Coronavirus is different from influenza, and that means it can be contained
- How Coronavirus Spreads: A Cough In Your Face … Or A Kiss On Your Cheek
- Iran threatens use of force to restrict spread of coronavirus
- Bodies ‘pile up’ in morgue as Iran feels strain
A quick word on masks: You will see pictures of us wearing masks on this site. This is because we have been wearing them for years. There are immunecompromised people in our home, and we’re also heavily influenced by Japanese customs as our family has lived there off and on for years.
The WHO has warned people against wearing them, largely because there is a shortage and most people won’t use them properly (handling with dirty hands, for example). For now, we are not wearing them when we go out in public. However, if things change, we’d have to reevaluate our feelings on this. It’s a personal choice and I’d hope you’d do whatever YOU feel is best for YOUR health. For instructions on how to properly wear a mask, please check out the WHO website.
- Virginia has its first confirmed case
- CPAC attendee tested positive for coronavirus
- Italy Plans Large-Scale Lockdown in Country’s North to Fight Coronavirus
- Florida reports 2 dead from coronavirus ,first known fatalities on East Coast
- Dozens trapped after hotel used for quarantine collapses in China
- Passengers on cruise ship said they found out 21 people on the ship tested positive from the news
- Starbucks closes first store due to partner testing positive for coronavirus
- What went wrong with coronavirus tests in the U.S.
- How gyms and yoga studios are responding to coronavirus
- Iran death toll jumps to 145, govt lashes out at US
- Resident at Washington state nursing home hit with coronavirus says she feels ‘trapped‘
- Around 4,000 New Yorkers are being told to self-quarantine.
- SXSW 2020 canceled: Coronavirus leads to cancellation as COVID-19 spreads
- Here’s The Difference Between Coronavirus And Flu Symptoms
- Elon Musk says ‘coronavirus panic is dumb’ as other Silicon Valley execs tell workers to stay home
Update March 8:
- Passengers aboard cruise ship off California to be transferred to military posts for quarantine
- US cases top 500 as Oregon joins list of states declaring emergencies
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund coronavirus home-testing kits in Seattle
- Health officials shift tone on coronavirus, say elderly and sick at risk
- How the rapidly-spreading coronavirus evolved in the US
- Travel chaos as Italy puts quarter of population under coronavirus quarantine
- U.S. Health Experts Say Stricter Measures Are Required to Limit Spread
- Train passengers in heated row over ‘disgusting‘ cough
- Should we expect closures and shutdowns in the U.S?
- US ‘past the point of containment‘ in battle to stop outbreak spreading
Update March 9:
Traveling to Italy? Those plans probably won’t pan out. It’s been announced that Italy has extended its coronavirus measures nationwide.
- Family in St. Louis County Violated Quarantine By Going To School Dance
- Woman coughs on flight attendant over coronavirus delay
- Disneyland Paris maintenance worker tests positive to coronavirus
- Oil crashes, stocks crater on coronavirus, crude war fears
- Washington nursing home with outbreak resident went from ‘no symptoms to death‘
Update March 10:
- The Dangerous Delays in U.S. Coronavirus Testing Haven’t Stopped
- Azar warns ‘medically fragile’ Americans against large gatherings
- Global death toll passes 4,000; Boston, Dublin cancel St. Patrick’s Day parades
- Coronavirus spread could last into next year, but impact could be blunted
- Grand Princess passengers sue cruise line for $1 million over coronavirus handling
- New Jersey patient fighting coronavirus unable to talk from illness
- Colorado Under State Of Emergency Will Include Paid Sick Leave For Workers And More Tests
- Trump Announces New Agreements From Health Insurance Companies Amid Wuhan Virus Spread
- Why has Italy recorded the second most coronavirus cases in the world?
- Health chief warns coronavirus outbreak could last months and vaccine may never be found
- Lawmakers race to respond to outbreak; Trump to go to Hill
- The Global Mask Shortage May Get Much Worse
- A contractor who tested positive for the coronavirus lied about his health to access a US military base
Update March 11:
Well, it’s finally happened. The coronavirus outbreak has been named a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher. We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
Also, this article is absolutely worth reading: A Seattle lab uncovered Washington’s coronavirus outbreak only after defying federal regulators.
- Coronavirus: 1,000 Cases Now In U.S. And ‘It’s Going To Get Worse,’ Fauci Says
- Italy confirms almost 200 deaths in 24 hours
- What Will You Do If You Start Coughing?
- Coronavirus Patient Recounts Coming ‘One Inch From Death’
- Take this seriously. Coronavirus is about to change your life for a while
- 3 TSA Officers at SJC Test Positive for Coronavirus
- Stop putting your phone, wallet, and keys into the bins at airports. Do this instead.
Update March 12:
- Disneyland Closes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
- N.B.A. Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus
- Tom Hanks Got Sick in Australia, Where Coronavirus Testing Is a Snap
- Donovan Mitchell becomes second NBA star to test positive for COVID-19
- Tests indicate coronavirus can survive in the air
- Singapore Wins Praise For Its COVID-19 Strategy. The U.S. Does Not
- 9 charts that explain the coronavirus pandemic
- Ireland closes schools and colleges to halt coronavirus spread
- Update March 13:
Sorry, I haven’t had my updates up quicker today. It’s been a difficult day. I’m sure some of you are feeling similarly. To those of you who are feeling overwhelmed or scared, I send all my love. We can get through this.
- President Trump has declared a national emergency
- Coronavirus survivors may suffer from reduced lung function
- Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths
- Spain Becomes Latest Epicenter of Coronavirus After a Faltering Response
- World leaders are affected as the virus causes political and social disruption worldwide.
- Spain declares a state of emergency and orders its first mandatory lockdowns.
- Coronavirus Is an Even Worse Threat to More Than Half of Americans
Update March 14:
Conor McGregor has vented his fury at “stupid” coronavirus after suggesting his aunt died from the respiratory illness. Irish UFC superstar McGregor took to social media to pay tribute to his relative and expressed his concerns about the continued spread of COVID-19 across the world.
- Employees test positive for coronavirus at Luxor, Wet Republic in Vegas
- Americans need to start canceling travel to slow down the coronavirus: epidemiologist
- A newborn baby in London has become the youngest person in the world to test positive for coronavirus
- Coronavirus Will Change How We Shop, Travel and Work for Years