USA TODAY answers a question you may be wondering: Is coronavirus worse than the flu?


We’ll update this story throughout the day with the latest news about coronavirus and its impact in Florida. 

The Florida Department of Health continues to monitor and test people in the state for the novel coronavirus.

The DOH also is advising all individuals who have traveled internationally to follow new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summarized below:

  • Level 3: Recommends 14-day self-isolation and social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider.
  • Level 2 and Cruises: Travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider.

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Here is the latest information available from the FDOH:

MLB delays Opening Day, cancels spring training games

3:22 p.m.

Major League Baseball announced Thursday that it is halting spring training games and will delay Opening Day by at least two weeks due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The regular season was scheduled to begin on March 26.

Get the complete story here

Coronavirus shutters Broadway, Metropolitan Museum of Art; White House tours canceled

3:05 p.m.

Major tourist hot spots across the country, including the White House and Broadway, are taking precautionary measures by closing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

PGA Tour will not allow fans for ‘forseeable future’

12:24 p.m.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that all tour events through April 5 will be played without fans.

That includes THE PLAYERS Championship, which starts Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach. The ban is in effect through the Valero Texas Open, which ends April 5 in San Antonio.

Monahan also said the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, which was scheduled for March 26-29 in the Dominican Republic, has been postponed due to travel advisories and potential logistical issues associated with players and staff traveling internationally. 

Bill allows pharmacists to start flu testing July 1

9:50 a.m.

Gov. Ron DeSantis late Wednesday signed into law a bill that will allow pharmacists to test and treat Floridians for flu, strep throat and some other non-chronic conditions, under certain circumstances.

The legislation, sponsored in the House by Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island  takes effect July 1.

Although the measure was not a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, it would give patients another option to determine whether their illness is a common flu or potentially something more serious.

“With all that is going on in the world, now is the time to normalize our pharmacists as a point of contact for folks to receive care,” Sirois said in a statement.

Princess, Viking Cruises suspend operations

9:38 a.m.

Princess Cruises announced that it is suspending its global operations for 60 days amid the coronavirus pandemic that has already forced two of its ships’ passengers into quarantine.

All operations will be suspended from March 12 to May 10.

Viking Cruises announced earlier Thursday it was canceling cruises through April 30.


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PBIA passenger tests positive for coronavirus

6:28 a.m.: 

A person with coronavirus flew into Palm Beach International Airport aboard a commercial plane Wednesday night, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said early Thursday.

Health officials followed all guidelines “for a COVID-19 positive patient” in the 8:40 p.m. incident and spoke with all passengers who were aboard the flight, the agency said.

More:  Coronavirus in Florida: FAU, other universities told send students home

Passengers who were near the person “were advised of monitoring procedures. Other passengers “were released to go home” and told to call the Florida Department of Health’s Palm Beach County office “with any medical concerns.”

Florida universities told to send students home

5:55 p.m. Wednesday

If you’re a Florida college student who is on spring break or about to be, the state university system doesn’t want you to return to school for at least two weeks after that break ends, according to a directive posted Wednesday and aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus.

Recognizing that not every student can pick up and move, universities are directed to make plans to keep residence halls open and provide limited services for those who need a place to stay.

As for academics, the State University System told all universities that they must also transition to remote instruction as soon as possible.

Coronavirus affecting preparations at the polls

6 p.m. Wednesday

Brevard County Elections Office Chief Deputy Karen Graham said that last week a conference call with staff from the state level division of elections took place to discuss guidance from the state. Beyond making hand sanitizer available, specific courses of action are at the discretion of each county’s election supervisor. 

About 70 poll workers in Lee and Collier counties have dropped out as the number of Southwest Florida COVID-19 coronavirus infections grows.

Boards of Elections offices in the two counties say they still have enough people to staff polling stations. But if pullouts continue, it may mean longer lines on Election Day — the kinds of crowds public health officials are warning people to avoid.

Lee County has lost about 50 poll workers, Elections Supervisor Tommy Doyle said. Collier County has lost roughly 15 to 20, said Trish Robertson, spokeswoman for the Collier County Elections Supervisor.

In Brevard County preparations are in place. “Since last week we’re taking precautions, we have hand sanitizer, hand wipes at every polling location and Clorox wipes for wiping down booths and pens, poll workers have been instructed to do that once per hour,” Graham said.

Stores limiting purchases of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper

1:35 p.m. Wednesday

Shoppers hoping to stock up on hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are running out of options as more coronavirus cases continue to surge.

Many stores including Target, Walmart, Kroger and Publix are restricting shoppers by placing limits on how many of these COVID-19-related items that shoppers can buy with signs citing “high demand” or “increased demand.”

Target confirmed to USA TODAY that it began limiting purchases over the weekend, limiting customers to six disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers and hand and face wipes per person. Publix set a limit of two of each of the sanitizers, along with masks, rubbing alcohol, bleach, facial tissue, and cups, plates and utensils.

Walmart said in a statement that store managers have been authorized to “manage their inventory, including the discretion to limit sales quantities on items that are in unusually high demand.” The limits can vary by location.

More: Coronavirus rationing: Target, Walmart limit purchases of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper

More: You can still buy hand sanitizer online at these places

Germiest public places, objects you should avoid to reduce chances of picking up COVID-19

There are 10 places WebMD recommends to avoid: 

  • Swimming pools
  • Gyms
  • Restaurants and their menus
  • Public water fountains
  • Shopping carts
  • Hand dryers and soap dispensers
  • Hotel rooms and elevator buttons
  • Playgrounds
  • Touch screens
  • ATMs

In the know: Coronavirus advice and information

More: Coronavirus updates: Trump travel ban spooks US stocks; NBA suspends season; US death toll at 38

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