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U.S. coronavirus cases top 1,000

More than 1,400 have disembarked from Grand Princess cruise ship

More than 1,400 people have disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship, the vessel that was delayed off the coast of California after it was linked to the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the cruise company said Tuesday evening.

There were 3,533 people aboard the ship — including 2,422 guests and 1,111 employees — when it returned from Hawaii to California last week, the cruise company has said. Princess Cruises said that as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, 1,406 people had disembarked.

The ship was delayed for testing after several people from a voyage in mid-February tested positive for COVID-19, including one who died last week in Placer County. On Friday, tests that were flown to the ship came back positive for 21 people aboard, which included 19 crew and two passengers.

On Monday people began disembarking, and California officials have said that 407 people disembarked then.

Officials have said that those disembarking would be subject to a 14-day quarantine, many of them at military bases. Disembarking all of the passengers “will be a multiple day process,” Princess Cruises said. 

U.S. coronavirus cases top 1,000

More than 1,000 cases of the coronavirus have now been diagnosed in the U.S.

The states with the greatest number of cases are Washington (271), New York (173), California (159) and Massachusetts (92).

The numbers are sure to continue to rise before the outbreak is brought under control, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a news conference Tuesday. 

The first U.S. case was announced Jan. 21.

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Philadelphia calls off St. Patrick’s Day parade as first case reported

The same day it announced its first case of COVID-19, Philadelphia called off its St. Patrick’s Day Parade and all related events on Tuesday. 

About the time that the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association announced the parade cancellation, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney urged people to avoid “any event with 5,000 or more attendees from now through Friday.” 

Boston canceled its annual parade on Monday, and the Republic of Ireland also canceled St. Patrick’s Day festivities this week, including the national St. Patrick’s Festival parade in Dublin on March 17.

MGM Resorts temporarily closing Vegas buffets

Las Vegas casino and hotel company MGM Resorts said Tuesday that it was temporarily closing buffets at seven properties on the Las Vegas Strip.

The buffets will be closed at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur starting Sunday, a spokesman said in a statement.

“These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis,” Brian Ahern, director of media relations for MGM Resorts International said. The statement does not explicitly say whether the move was prompted by the novel coronavirus, but it comes amid a growing number of cases in the U.S.

The company last week said in a statement that it was closely monitoring the coronavirus and has “taken measures to combat the potential impacts on our resorts and facilities,” which includes enhanced cleaning procedures and the placement of hand sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas.

Wynn Las Vegas has said that effective Wednesday its buffet “will have stationed culinary staff at each food station to serve our guests, which eliminates the need for guests to touch serving utensils,” and that its staff is routinely cleaning all surfaces and has hand sanitizing stations at the entrance, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported.

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Third death in California linked to COVID-19

A third death in California has been linked to the coronavirus illness COVID-19, Sacramento County health officials said.

The death brings the total reported deaths in the United States to 30, according to NBC News reporting.

A resident of an assisted living facility in their 90s who had an underlying health condition died of complications from COVID-19, Sacramento County Public Health said Tuesday evening.

Two other deaths from the coronavirus illness have been reported in the state. One person in Placer County who was on a cruise in mid-February died last week, and Santa Clara County health officials said Monday that a patient had died there.

‘Dr. Phil’ and ‘Wendy Williams’ are latest shows to cancel live audiences

 “Dr. Phil” and “The Wendy Williams Show” on Tuesday became the latest television shows to announce they would not have live audiences because of the spread of novel coronavirus.

Both shows will remain on air, but without live audiences. “The health of our audience members, staff and crew are the priority,” Carla Pennington, executive producer of the “Dr. Phil” show, said.

On Monday, “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” made a similar move.

Warner Bros., which tapes the “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” said it is “asking all guests to confirm that neither they nor any member of their household have traveled within the past three weeks to or through a location that has been deemed ‘Level 3’ by the CDC.”

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No fans allowed inside college basketball tournaments for Big West, MAC conferences

The Big West Conference will play its postseason college basketball tournaments with no fans in the stands, league officials announced Tuesday.

The women’s tournament is set to start in California on Tuesday night at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach before ending at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The men’s competition begins on Thursday at Honda Center and all of these games “will be played without spectators,” the conference announced.

The men’s title game is scheduled to be televised by ESPN2 on Saturday 11:30 p.m. ET.

And the Mid-American Conference, or MAC, will ban almost all fans from its tournaments at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. Only family members of athletes will be allowed in, the MAC said.

The Big West and MAC are both NCAA conferences. The NCAA and other college conferences are still weighing spectator bans as the March Madness tournament approaches. 

New York biotech company races to find coronavirus treatment

As the new coronavirus continues to envelop much of the globe, a lab outside New York City is racing to find a antibody treatment that could temporarily protect from the illness — or even treat it.

The biotech company Regeneron is in early development of a treatment that could guard against catching the coronavirus for several months using antibodies from mice that have been genetically modified with immune systems to mimic those of humans.

“We are optimistic, because we’ve done this approach to treat many human diseases,” CEO Leonard Schleifer said.

Read the full story here.

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