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Coronavirus updates: Italy in major lockdown, Trump announces tax cuts

por Heather Meyers (2020-04-03)

id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> In three months, coronavirus has spread across every continent, except Antarctica, leaving some cities empty.

Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images COVID-19, the disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus first detected in China in December, has rapidly spread across the globe and made its way to every continent besides Antarctica. The World Health Organization has stopped short of calling the outbreak a pandemic but has declared COVID-19 a "public health emergency of international concern."

The outbreak is not only negatively affecting health but has stoked fears of an economic downturn. On Monday, stock trading was temporarily stopped shortly after the market opened when the S&P 500 index fell 7%, triggering an automatic 15-minute halt. Shares rebounded after the market reopened but then resumed their slump. The major indices closed more than 7% lower for the day. Silicon Valley companies, including Apple, urged employees to work from home and instituted measures to help hourly workers affected by the policies. Around the globe, high-profile tech giants have been hit by supply chain issues in China. Social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, have wrestled with the spread of misinformation and taken steps to mitigate the rise of conspiracy theories and panic.

The spread of COVID-19 has progressed at a blistering pace. If you're wondering what a coronavirus is, what the symptoms are and how you can protect yourself, head over to CNET's FAQ.

We've created a timeline for the virus below, in reverse-chronological order and will update it with the latest developments each day.

More on the coronavirus

Coronavirus: All your questions answered

Coronavirus: Latest updates

How face masks work and who should wear them (hint: very few of you)

Hand sanitizer can't fully protect you from getting sick
Coronavirus timeline
March 9
Selling overwhelmed the US stock market, triggering an automatic halt that paused trading for 15 minutes, as fears over the virus' effect on the global economy grew. Sliding oil prices and a fall in Treasury yields contributed to the selling. Stocks rebounded when trading resumed, but then resumed sliding. The major indexes were off by more than 7% for the day. As measured by the S&P 500, stocks are down more than 15% since the beginning of the year, shortly after the new coronavirus was identified.

In Silicon Valley, companies urged employees to work from home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Santa Clara County, where many US tech giants are headquartered, and the San Francisco Bay Area, more broadly, are the epicenter of the outbreak in California, the most populous state. Tech companies have said they'll continue paying hourly staff during the outbreak. 

Meanwhile, sporting events like the lighting of the Olympic torch in Greece have reportedly been closed to the public, while the Serie A soccer tournament in Italy has been suspended.

Trump and Pence announce guidelines, more tests, financial help
US President Donald Trump said he will be announcing "very substantial relief" on a payroll tax cut "that's a huge number," as well as giving help to hourly wage earners and small businesses. During a White House press conference Monday afternoon, Trump said he's been working with the airline, cruise ship and hotel industries because "we want people to travel to certain locations and not to other locations."

Also speaking during the conference, Vice President Mike Pence said all travel from China into the US has been suspended, while there are travel advisories for portions of South Korea and Italy, with all passengers coming from those countries to be screened on arrival in the US. Pence said commercial labs have already brought a test forward and are making it available today. Also, all state labs have a test available.

Pence said the Grand Princess cruise ship has docked in Oakland, California, with the 21 infected people in isolation. His team is hoping to disembark California residents to Travis Air Force Base today, and has made arrangements with Canada and the UK to take their passengers back. Those passengers will be transported directly to the tarmac and flown home on chartered planes.

Trump didn't respond to questions about whether he's been tested. Pence hasn't been tested, and said he will find out if Trump has. The guidance will be released later tonight on The White House has also given additional guidelines to nursing homes around the country, with the virus now present in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

Italy shuts down entire country
Italy's population of 60 million is now under restrictions, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte banning public gatherings and travel except for work and emergencies.

Qantas slashes international flights
Australian airline Qantas announced a series of changes to its flights due to the coronavirus, including grounding eight of its largest aircraft, the A380, until September. It's also re-routing its Sydney-Singapore-London flights to go through Perth instead of Asia and delaying the launch of its new Brisbane-Chicago route. Its budget airline, Jetstar, has suspended flights to Bangkok (it suspended flights to Seoul last week) and reduced flights to Vietnam and Japan by almost half. 

Seattle confirms three more deaths
King County, home to Seattle, has confirmed 33 new cases of coronavirus and three more deaths, bringing total deaths in the county to 20 and in the state of Washington to 22. 

Justice Department warns price gougers
The US Department of Justice has warned that anyone found to be fixing prices or rigging bids of personal health protection equipment like gloves and face masks could face criminal prosecution.

FTC warns seven companies on cure and prevention claims
The US Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to seven companies for advertising products that they falsely claim can cure or prevent coronavirus, including Silver Lozenges, herbal products, colloidal silver products, essential oils and frankincense.

NASA worker reportedly infected 
The NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley in California is reportedly asking employees to work from home until further notice after one tested positive for COVID-19. The facility works on advanced computing, aerosciences and astrobiology. NASA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

March 8 
In the US, coronavirus cases hit 500, with the worldwide case numbers topping 100,000. A full breakdown can be found using Johns Hopkins case tracking tool. 

Sen. Ted Cruz in isolation
US Sen. Ted Cruz released a statement Sunday detailing his interaction with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, Cruz said he has decided to remain at his home in Texas until a full 14 days have passed. The interaction occurred at the Conservative Political Action Conference, approximately 10 days ago. According to his statement, Cruz feels "fine and healthy."

Today I released the following statement:

— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 8, 2020 US State Department: "Avoid cruise ships" 
The US State Department is advising travelers to forgo cruise ship travel, particularly those with underlying health conditions. In an update to its travel site Sunday, the department says the "CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment."

The warning comes as the Grand Princess cruise ship, which departed from San Francisco on a trip to Hawaii, is scheduled to dock in Oakland, California, on Monday. At least 21 passengers have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive, including 19 members of the staff. The ship itself contains approximately 3,500 people and will undergo a 14-day quarantine when it docks sometime Monday. Passengers won't be required to stay on the vessel but will be moved to military bases around the country, according to CBS News.

Italy lockdown 
The Italian government signed a decree ordering millions of people into lockdown across the northern part of the country. The order puts the northern region of Lombardy, as well as 14 other regions, under travel restrictions, CNN reported. The lockdown quarantines tens of millions of citizens. Italy's outbreak is the worst outside Asia and the worst in Europe, with over 7,000 cases and 300 deaths.

Public health checks have kicked in worldwide. Here, health workers take a man's temperature before a soccer game in Italy in early March.

Gabriele Maricchiolo/NurPhoto via Getty Images March 7: In the US, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and announced that the number of cases in the state had risen to 76. Elsewhere, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser reported the city's first infection, and Florida and 바카라사이트 Georgia both reported new coronavirus cases, a day after the Florida Department of Health announced the first deaths on the East Coast.

Also near DC, the American Conservative Union said an attendee at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference has tested positive for the coronavirus, CNN reported. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were among those at the conference. The White House told CNN that "at this time there is no indication that either President Trump or Vice President Pence met with or were in close proximity to the attendee." That person is now receiving medical care in New Jersey. And Amtrak said late Friday that its Acela nonstop train service between New York and Washington, DC, will be suspended from March 10 to May 26.

In the western US, Arizona, California and Oregon reported new cases, and an employee at a downtown Seattle Starbucks was diagnosed with COVID-19. The employee is quarantined at home, Starbucks told USA Today. "We quickly activated our protocols, immediately closing the store and initiating a deep clean overnight, following all recommended guidelines from the City of Seattle and King County public health authorities," the company told the news service in a statement late Friday. It's the first US coronavirus case reported by Starbucks, according to USA Today. Earlier in the week, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said two of its employees had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The head of Italy's co-governing Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti, said in a tweet that he'd been diagnosed with COVID-19, adding that he's fine but has to remain at home. He said on Facebook that his family was following protocols and that local health officials were contacting people he'd been in contact with, CNN reported. Also in Italy, a US Navy sailor in Naples has tested positive for coronavirus, the first recorded COVID-19 case for an American service member in Europe, the Navy Times reported. 

And in Iran, a member of parliament, 55-year-old Fatemeh Rahbar, has died from the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported. Rahbar is the second lawmaker in Iran killed by the coronavirus and one of several politicians and government officials who've succumbed during the outbreak, The Times of Israel reported.

On the social media front, Facebook said late Friday that it's temporarily banning face mask ads to help curb the exploitation of fears around the coronavirus.

March 6: Coronavirus cases reached the 100,000 milestone globally, while Trump signed the emergency funding package and the South by Southwest festival got canceled. The US also saw the first coronavirus deaths on the East Coast, with the Florida Department of Health announcing that two people had died from COVID-19.

Global cases hit a milestone
Confirmed global cases of COVID-19 have now topped 100,000, according to a tracker developed at Johns Hopkins University. The tracker pulls data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other local and international health authorities.

Trump signs $4 billion emergency funding package
Trump signed the emergency funding package Friday morning, while later tweeting that he spoke to California Gov. Gavin Newsom "about the cruise ship quarantined off the California coast." Trump said test kits have been delivered for the cruise ship.

South by Southwest gets canceled
Austin, Texas-based SXSW joined a growing list of events to pull the plug amid coronavirus concerns.  The event drew 417,4000 attendees in 2019. "Based on the recommendation of our public health official and director of public health and after consultation with our city manager, I've gone ahead and declared a local disaster. And along with that issued an order that cancels SXSW this year," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a press conference Friday, later calling the cancelation "unfortunate." The cancellation follows multiple dropouts from companies and artists slated to appear at SXSW.

Deaths on the East Coast
The East Coast of the US saw its first coronavirus deaths, with the Florida Department of Health announcing that two people had died from COVID-19. Both victims had traveled internationally, the department said.

Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, Kentucky, Hawaii confirm first cases
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf confirmed Friday that two people in the state have presumptive positive test results for the coronavirus. One of them, an adult from Wayne County who recently traveled to a country with an outbreak, is at home in isolation. The other, an adult from Delaware County who recently traveled to an area in the US where the coronavirus is spreading, is also at home in isolation.

Indiana health officials confirmed the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus during a Friday press conference. The adult patient, a Marion County resident, had recently returned from a conference in Boston. Officials said he's now in isolation and in stable condition, according to officials. An investigation is underway. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb declared a public emergency to ensure additional funding.

Minnesota also confirmed its first case Friday: An "older adult" in Ramsey County who traveled on a cruise ship with a known coronavirus case. The patient developed symptoms Feb. 25 and sought health care March 5, and is now in quarantine at home while recovering.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed the first case in Lexington and has declared a state of emergency. There have been 10 tests, with nine coming back negative, he said in a press conference Friday afternoon. Beshear gave no details about the person who's sick, except that he or she is currently in a medical facility. Kentucky has repurposed the poison control hotline for COVID-19 calls  (800-222-1222).

Hawaii also confirmed its first case Friday. The patient was likely exposed while aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, with the Hawaii Department of Health saying it doesn't think the patient came into close contact with anyone who was ill. There's so far no evidence of community spread in Hawaii.

Kansas is investigating two potential cases, it said late Friday. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said 11 people have previously been tested for COVID-19 but received negative results.

Passengers stranded on Grand Princess cruise
More than 2,000 passengers remain stranded onboard a cruise ship off the coast of Northern California, CNET sister site CBS San Francisco reported Friday. US Vice President Mike Pence said 46 people were swabbed, with 21 testing positive for the coronavirus -- 19 crew members and two passengers. The ship has been banned from docking in San Francisco but will be brought into a "noncommercial port" this weekend where all passengers and crew will be tested for the coronavirus, Pence said during the late Friday press conference.

The ship's previous voyage from San Francisco to Mexico between Feb. 11-21 has so far resulted in one death and five diagnoses. Former passenger Margie Hartle told CBS that passengers weren't tested before getting off the ship, and that many were coughing during the bus ride back to Sacramento. "We were ground zero and you have 2,500 people walking out right now in Sacramento, up in the foothills, whatever, that might be carriers," she said. 

March 5: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the first case of COVID-19 in Williamson County on Thursday. A 44-year-old man tested positive on Wednesday and is now quarantined at home. The man had returned from Boston on a nonstop flight before falling ill, according to a report.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said three people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus. All three cases are in Montgomery County, and the patients are in quarantine at their homes. All three people, a couple in their 70s and an unrelated woman in her 50s, contracted the virus during overseas travel. Hogan declared a state of emergency to ramp up the state's response. 

Google, Microsoft, Amazon tell some employees to work from home
Some companies with offices in Seattle are telling employees to work from home when possible. A Google spokesperson confirmed this move after talking with local health officials. Microsoft published a post Wednesday saying that all Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay Area employees who can work from home should do so through March 25. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is increasing its coronavirus testing capacity after approval to partner with more labs. Starbucks won't let you fill your own cup anymore due to virus-spreading concerns, but it will continue to honor the 10-cent discount for those who do bring in their own cups.

San Francisco confirms two cases of unknown origin
Mayor London Breed of San Francisco has confirmed two "community-spread" cases of COVID-19 in the city, meaning the patients aren't known to have traveled or had contact with an infected person. During a press conference, Breed said a man in his 90s with an underlying health condition is in serious condition, and that a woman in her 40s is in fair condition. The patients are unrelated and are being cared for in isolation at two separate hospitals in the city.

Pelosi signs $8.5 billion emergency response package
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the bipartisan US emergency response package, which covers issues across employment insurance, food, telehealth, small businesses and schooling. It'll help states and local governments with the costs they incur, and also help fund vaccine research. It now heads to President Trump's desk for final signature.

IBM's supercomputer is on the case
IBM's Summit supercomputer, one of the most powerful in the world, is joining the fight against COVID-19. Simulations can examine the virus faster than growing the micro-organism in labs, IBM said. Jeremy Smith, governor's chair at the University of Tennessee and director of the UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics, said the team is "very hopeful" the findings will help inform studies to find a treatment.

"Using Summit, researchers were able to simulate 8,000 compounds in a matter of days to model which could impact that infection process by binding to the virus's spike, and have identified 77 small-molecule compounds, such as medications and natural compounds, that have shown the potential to impair COVID-19's ability to dock with and infect host cells," IBM said in a blog post, adding that this would've taken months on a normal computer.

March 4: One death in California was attributed to COVID-19, while New York City began cracking down on price gouging and Australia reported its second fatality.

Contagion movie rose on iTunes
Steven Soderbergh's decade-old story of how humans might respond to a deadly airborne virus hit the top 10 rentals.

Apple out of SXSW
Tech giant Apple has canceled appearances at SXSW 2020, joining other huge tech brands like Facebook, TikTok, Amazon and Twitter in skipping this year's festival because of coronavirus concerns. 

First fatality in California, state of emergency declared
On Wednesday, Placer County Public Health in Northern California announced the first death in the state. The victim was an elderly adult with underlying health conditions, who tested positive on Tuesday after likely contracting the disease during a Princess Cruise from Feb. 11-21 between San Francisco and Mexico. The patient was put in isolation at Kaiser Permanente Roseville. Placer County is just north of Sacramento and extends into the Lake Tahoe region.

"The state is working with federal officials to follow up on contact tracing of individuals that may have been exposed," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Wednesday. "This case demonstrates the need for continued local, state and federal partnership to identify and slow the spread of this virus." During a press conference late Wednesday in Sacramento, Newsom then declared a state of emergency for California.

Washington also reported its 10th coronavirus death, while the virus is spreading further in New York. PresidentTrump tweeted late Wednesday that Congress had voted to provide $8 billion in funding to help the COVID-19 response.

Pence says 1.5 million more test kits coming
During a coronavirus conference Wednesday afternoon, US Vice President Mike Pence said 1.5 million test kits are going out today to hospitals. In addition, every state health lab and university lab can now conduct a coronavirus test. He said they also want to get to a place where all doctors and clinics have access to tests, which he said would be possible "within a number of weeks."

Second Australian fatality reported in Sydney
A second COVID-19 death has been confirmed in Australia. A 95-year-old resident from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge at Macquarie Park, an aged care facility just north of the city of Sydney, was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Wednesday after dying Tuesday. The first Australian coronavirus fatality occurred March 1 in Western Australia after the 78-year-old man returned to the nation from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

There are now 22 cases in New South Wales, the state's department of health said, with six additional cases confirmed Wednesday. The new cases include an elderly female resident in her 70s at the same Macquarie Park facility; a female doctor from Liverpool Hospital; a female in her 30s from the Northern Beaches; a man in his 50s from Cronulla; and a woman in her 60s who is believed to have returned from the Philippines on March 3.

New York City to fine stores that jack up prices on supplies
New York City tweeted it would begin issuing fines "to any store found price gouging supplies." You can call 311 to report any price gouging. Sen. Ed Markey on Wednesday likewise sent a warning letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, asking him not to allow price gouging on the online retailer, while Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson also warned stores against jacking up pricing, saying "we are taking formal investigative actions."

TED Vancouver conference reportedly delayed
TED2020 Uncharted, a conference slated to take place from April 20-24 in Vancouver, has reportedly been delayed. TED is considering postponing until July or doing "an expanded and ambitious digital experience," a spokesperson told CNET in an email.

NASA and the US Air Force to reportedly test working from home
Due to fears about the spread of the coronavirus, NASA and the US Air Force will test teleworking on Friday, according to a Politico report that cites a NASA spokesperson and an Air Force memo. The US Air Force said it's required to test its telework capacity once a year, which it typically does during snow days. Since it hasn't had any inclement weather, it said it'll test working from home Friday. NASA said it's "taking various actions" to be prepared for the spread of the coronavirus, including making Friday an agency-wide work from home day. 

March 3: Two deaths in the Seattle area in the week beginning Feb. 24 were attributed to COVID-19, state health officials revealed, according to The New York Times. The death toll in Washington state has now reached nine. Seven new cases were announced in the state, bringing the total number of infections to 21. 

More SXSW cancellations
After Facebook and Twitter pulled out of the SXSW festival in Texas on March 2, another social media platform has followed suit: The short form video giant, TikTok.

In an emailed statement to CNET, the company said: "TikTok has decided not to participate in SXSW this year. While we think the risk is relatively low, we are erring on the side of caution as we prioritize safety for our team, creators, partners, artists, and brands. We are looking at a variety of alternative ways to bring parts of the previously scheduled experience to audiences in creative new forms."

Tokyo 2020 in doubt
Japan Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto suggested the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be postponed. 

"The IOC has the right to cancel the games only if they are not held during 2020," Hashimoto reportedly told parliament. "This can be interpreted to mean the games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year."  

The International Olympic Committee has doubled down on efforts to ensure the games go ahead as planned. The opening ceremony is scheduled for July 24. The Paralympics are scheduled to run from Aug. 25. 

Google cancels I/O
The biggest event on search giant Google's calendar each year is I/O, a developers conference held in the San Francisco Bay Area. The I/O 2020 conference was scheduled to begin May 12, but Google has decided not to go ahead with the conference this year. Attendees will get a full refund, the company said in an email. 

"Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities, we have decided to cancel the physical Google I/O event at Shoreline Amphitheater," Google said in a statement. 

March 2: Confirmation of another four deaths in the US, all in Washington state.

German automaker BMW has placed 150 employees under at-home quarantine, according to a report by Automotive News Europe. Germany has reported around 160 cases of the disease.

SXSW sees two big names drop out
Twitter announced it's pulling out of SXSW, citing coronavirus concerns. A blog post from Twitter on Sunday noted that the company is adjusting its travel policy. "On February 29, we informed our people and started notifying partners that we are suspending all non-critical business travel and events," the blog post said.

Twitter's attendance would have included a keynote address from CEO Jack Dorsey, as well as a larger presence from the company. In past years, Twitter has hosted speakers and events at its "Twitter House."

Facebook announced it's pulling out of SXSW due to fears over the COVID-19 outbreak.

Google Cloud, a platform that runs a suite of services on the search giant's cloud, made its biggest event of the year, Google Cloud Next, digital-only. Scheduled for April in San Francisco, the event will now take place digitally, with "streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital "ask an expert" sessions with Google teams," according to a blog post.

Coronavirus virus gets an official name: SARS-CoV-2
A paper, published in the journal Nature Microbiology by the Coronaviridae Study Group, officially designated the coronavirus that causes the disease, "SARS-CoV-2." In a slightly confusing move, the authors suggest it should be considered distinct from the virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003 -- but the virus is so closely related to the coronavirus responsible for that outbreak.

The latest data shows over half of all patients have recovered, with a total of 45,605 COVID-19 cases resolved. It's unclear whether recovered individuals can be infected a second time.

March 1: A second US death is confirmed in Washington state, in the same facility as the first fatality. New York state confirms its first positive case.

In France, the Louvre -- the world's largest and perhaps most famous art museum -- closed as a secondary outbreak in Italy continues to spread through the northern regions. Around 9.6 million people visited the museum in 2019. 

Now playing: Watch this: Coronavirus and COVID-19: Everything you need to know 5:50 Feb. 29: The first fatality in the United States from the coronavirus was confirmed by the Washington State Department of Health. The man was in his 50s with an underlying health condition, state health officials said during a briefing. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Saturday that the state is working to keep its citizens safe, and he declared a state of emergency.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted advice for the public to stop buying face masks, suggesting they're not effective at preventing transmission. This echoed advice from the CDC which "does not recommend" healthy people wear a face mask to protect themselves from any respiratory disease.

Feb. 28: Game Developers Conference, a huge gathering of video game developers that takes place in San Francisco every year, was postponed. The event was scheduled to take place March 16-20 but big-name developers like Epic, Facebook/Oculus, Blizzard, Microsoft and many more decided to pull out.

"After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we've made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March," the organizers said in a statement. "Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we're genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time."

The GDC didn't provide a new date for the event, saying only that "we fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer." 

Feb. 27: Coronavirus concerns prompted cancellation of Facebook F8 developers conference, the biggest event for the social media giant. The event was scheduled for May 5 and 6.

"This was a tough call to make -- F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it's one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world -- but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on," Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook's director of developer platforms and programs, said in a statement.

Instead of F8, Facebook said it's planning to bring developers together through locally hosted events, videos and livestreamed content.

Feb. 26: In a press conference, President Donald Trump reiterated the risk to Americans remains low. "The No. 1 priority from our standpoint is the health and safety of the American people," he said. He noted that of the original 15 US cases, one remains in hospital and is "pretty sick," with 14 others either fully recovered or in recovery. He also announced that Vice President Mike Pence will coordinate the response to the virus.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed local transmission of the virus had occurred in the US. This means the virus was able to spread from person-to-person in the US, rather than being imported by a traveler.