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#UK could suffer from COVID-19 more than #Italy

– The United States now has more coronavirus cases reported than Italy.

– The US now has at least 80,837 coronavirus cases, according to CNN reporting. Italy has reported at least 80,589 coronavirus cases.

– China still leads the global number of reported coronavirus cases with 81,782 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

– Trump says Navy hospital ship expected to deploy to New York City on Saturday

– President Trump has announced that the USNS Comfort will deploy to New York City on Saturday, which is three weeks ahead of schedule.

– Trump made the announcement Thursday afternoon during a coronavirus press briefing.

“The USNS Comfort — which is incredible actually when you see it inside — will be underway to New York City on Saturday,” Trump said.

“So it’s going to be leaving on Saturday rather than 3 weeks from now,” Trump said. “They did the maintenance quickly.”

“I told the governor 20 minutes ago, Gov. Cuomo, that the ship will be arriving at New York Harbor on Monday,” Trump added.

Trump said he would travel to Norfolk to “kiss it goodbye.”

The ship is currently in Virginia, the President said.


Pentagon awards $15 million contract to retrofit Javits Center into a hospital
From CNN’s Ryan Browne

The Pentagon announced Thursday that it has awarded a $15 million contract to the operators of the Javits Center to convert the facility into a hospital by April 9 to help alleviate the burden the coronavirus is placing on civilian hospital infrastructure.

This is separate than the field hospitals being set up this weekend in New York.

“New York Convention Center Operating Corp., New York, New York, was awarded a $15,250,000 firm-fixed-price contract to retrofit the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center into an alternate care facility,” the Pentagon contract announcement said.
The announcement said that the work is expected to be completed by April 9.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the contract which is being funded via “ Fiscal 2020 defense emergency response funds.”

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said this earlier this week that he anticipates the field hospitals being used to temporarily alleviate the strain on civilian hospitals in order to allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to retrofit hotels, convention centers and college dormitories into makeshift hospitals.

“How I foresee our hospitals being used is during the early stages of the pandemic, the virus hitting a city where they’re still trying to ramp up capability, bed space, we can come in for a short period of time, for a few weeks to provide that capacity until they get either gyms converted, hotels converted, college dorms converted, all those things that the Corps of Engineers is working on right now,” Esper said.

New York City will increase its number of ventilators by 2,500, mayor says
From CNN’s Sheena Jones and Elizabeth Hartfield

New York City will have 2,500 more ventilators than they had 10 days ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday during a news conference.

This is a combination of ventilators from Federal Emergency Management Agency and other efforts, he said.

Other resources and developments: De Blasio hopes to triple the hospital bed count by May.

Right now there are about 34,000 hospital beds compared to the 20,000 the city had before, de Blasio said.

The mayor said the federal government must come through with supplies if it is going to get through May. As of Wednesday night, 200 inmates have been released, de Blasio said.

Additionally, last night New York City went below 5,000 inmates across all facilities, he said.

MLB commissioner says “public health situation” will guide when games start again
From CNN’s Devan Cole


Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that the organization will reach a decision about when to resume its delayed season only after it’s “comfortable that the public health situation supports that decision.”

“We’re going to resume playing when it’s safe for our fans, our players and the public for us to resume playing,” Manfred told CNN. “We’re fortunate — we have a great panel of infectious disease experts that we rely on to help sort through the various pronouncements from different governmental agencies and politicians.”

Some context: MLB announced earlier this month that it was pushing back the opening of the 2020 season indefinitely following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that no gatherings with 50 people or more should take place for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The announcement added to a growing list of local, state and national events that were delayed or canceled in order to help curb the spread of the virus. The organization had initially said the season would be delayed at least two weeks.

Idaho has its first deaths from coronavirus
From CNN’s Andy Rose

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said in a statement three people have died from coronavirus, marking the first deaths the state has had due to the virus.

Idaho is now the 42nd state to have confirmed deaths due to coronavirus.

The agency said two of the victims are from Blaine County, with the third from Canyon County. All of them were older than 60, and at least one had underlying health issue.

“This is very sad news, and we send our condolences to the families and friends of each of these individuals,” Elke Shaw-Tulloch, the administrator for the Division of Public Health, said in a statement. “This underscores the importance of (Idaho Gov. Brad Little)’s order to stay home — we all have to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”

Alabama schools will be closed remainder of academic year
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

Alabama schools will be closed the remainder of the school year, Gov. Kay Ivey said in a news conference Thursday.

The state was initially supposed to have schools back in session on April 6 but Ivey said she has amended that order to give the state’s board of education the right to provide online learning for the remainder of the school year.

Coronavirus death toll in New York City rises to 281
From CNN’s Sheena Jones

At least 281 people have died from coronavirus across New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a news conference Thursday.

About 21,873 people have been confirmed to have Covid-19 in the city, he said.

See how New York hospital is coping with surge of Covid-19 patients:

Pelosi opposes any attempt by lawmakers to force vote on stimulus bill in-person
From CNN’s Manu Raju

On an afternoon call with her Democratic Caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposed any attempt by a lawmaker to force House members to return to Washington for the vote on the $2 trillion stimulus bill, saying such a move would be “inexcusable” and amount to “selfishness,” according to two sources on the call.

Pelosi, along with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and a number of other rank-and-file were blunt about their preference for the vote to occur by voice Friday, rather than an in-person roll-call vote.

Several members expressed concerns about traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic, noting they have health issues or live with someone with health concerns. Others noted their challenges in traveling back to Washington, DC.

At least 10 members expressed their concerns on the call, noting that the bill will pass regardless so it makes little sense to potentially endanger members’ health or their families’ health, one of the sources said.

Any House member can request a recorded vote Friday during consideration of the stimulus bill, which would mean the House would have to hold a vote by Monday with members returning to the Capitol to cast the vote. If no one requests a recorded vote, the bill can quickly be approved by voice vote Friday, with few members present.

At least two lawmakers, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Thomas Massie, have not ruled out requesting a recorded vote because of their concerns with the bill.

Megabus suspends service in and out of NYC
From CNN’s Mirna Alsharif

Megabus has suspended all service in and out of New York City through April 9, according to the company’s website.

All passengers booked on trips in and out of New York during this time will receive an email with instructions on how to reschedule their trip.

BRONX, NEW YORK – MARCH 26: A Woman wears a mask as she walks past a closed Yankee Stadium on the scheduled date for Opening Day March 26, 2020 in the Bronx, New York. Major League Baseball has postponed the start of its season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently said the league is “probably not gonna be able to” play a full 162 game regular season. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Arizona governor orders hospitals to increase bed capacity by 50%
From CNN’s Andy Rose

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order Thursday, telling hospitals to increase their capacity to prepare for an influx of coronavirus patients.

Ducey’s order requires hospitals to have 50% more bed capacity by April 24, with half of the increase in place within the next two weeks, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Hospitals also have to implement an emergency plan to quickly move non-critical patients to other facilities, if necessary.

“Building additional capacity now, ahead of any increased demand is the responsible thing to do,” Ducey said in a statement.

Minnesota’s youngest coronavirus patient is 5 months old
From CNN’s Melissa Alonso

Minnesota’s youngest coronavirus patient is 5 months old, Gov. Tim Walz said during a briefing Thursday.

The state has 346 confirmed cases with ages ranging from 5 months to 104 years old, he said.

The child is among the youngest cases in the country. Washington, DC, reported an 8-week-old boy had with the virus.

Several other states, including California, have reported cases with patients under 1 years old.

CNN’s Brian Rokus and Nick Watt contributed to this report.


Texas institutes mandatory quarantine for travelers from New York area
From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the city of New Orleans will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before entering state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that at a news conference Thursday.

Abbott explained that the order, which applies only to those who arrive in Texas by plane, will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Travelers from the designated areas will be asked to provide officials with a quarantine location, the governor explained.

DPS will conduct visits to the designated quarantine locations to verify compliance, Abbott said.

People affected by the order cannot have any visitors besides health care providers and they may not visit public spaces, Abbott said.

Failure to comply will be considered a criminal offense punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, 180 days in jail, or both, Abbott said.

California now has more than 3,000 cases of coronavirus
From CNN’s Cheri Mossburg

There are at least 3,006 cases of coronavirus in California, according to the latest statistics released by California Department of Public Health. At least 65 people have died as a result of Covid-19.

Los Angeles County alone is seeing a dramatic increase with 465 new cases, bringing the total up to at least 1,216. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer attributed the jump directly to an increase in testing.

Broward County in Florida issues shelter-in-place order
From CNN’s Denise Royal

Broward County has issued a shelter-in-place order effective midnight Friday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The county, which includes Fort Lauderdale, is one of the hardest hit counties in the state of Florida.

US stocks log third straight day of gains

New Orleans’ convention center will be used to house coronavirus patients
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

Louisiana is working to stage 1,120 hospital beds for coronavirus patients at New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

The first 120 beds will be ready by this weekend.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said state officials anticipate 1,000 beds will be needed for patients in New Orleans.

Other hospitals in the state are also increasing their ICU capacity.

Illinois received 100,000 more unemployment claims than the same time last year
From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

There have been 100,000 more unemployment claims in Illinois since the beginning of March than the state had the same time last year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a Thursday news conference.

Emergency workers are delivering containers of nearly a million units of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, to health care workers Thursday, Pritzker added.

The equipment is being delivered in Peoria, Edwardsville, and Champaign, Pritzker said.

Around the country: A record number of Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week, as businesses shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Initial jobless claims soared to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million in the week ended March 21, according to the Department of Labor.

That is the highest number of initial jobless claims in history, since the Department of Labor started tracking the data in 1967. The previous high was 695,000 claims filed in the week ending October 2, 1982.

House officials detail new steps to limit member interactions due to coronavirus fears
From CNN’s Manu Raju

In a notice sent to all House offices obtained by CNN, the House sergeant-at-arms and the Capitol physician’s office provided new procedures to limit the interactions between members and promote social distancing ahead of Friday’s vote on the stimulus package.

Amid fears of the virus spreading to members, the officials say access around the House chambers and on the floor will be limited.The House is closing the Speaker’s Lobby, which is right off the House floor where reporters stake out and interview lawmakers.

If there’s a recorded vote, new procedures are detailed to only allow small groups of members on the floor at a time.

Illinois governor says nearly 1 million pieces of medical equipment will be delivered today
From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

Emergency workers are delivering containers of nearly one million units of personal protective equipment (also known as PPE), including masks and gloves, to health care workers Thursday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at an afternoon press conference.

The PPE is being delivered in Peoria, Edwardsville and Champaign, Pritzker said.

Iowa announces more business closures through April 7
From CNN’s Shawn Nottingham

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the closure of many Iowa retail businesses, including book and clothing stores and restaurants and bars until April 7 at a news conference Thursday.

The new measures go into effect at 10 p.m. local time today. Reynolds also announced that nonessential medical procedures will also be suspended.

By the numbers: Iowa now has at least 179 cases of coronavirus, Reynolds said.

Illinois announces 673 more cases of coronavirus
From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

At least 673 new cases of novel coronavirus have been identified in the state of Illinois, state Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said during an afternoon press conference.

Of those new cases, 7 new deaths have been reported, Ezike said.

The state’s total cases is now at least 2,538, including 26 deaths, Ezike said.

The UK will invest more than $250 million in development of coronavirus vaccine
From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Lindsay Isaac in London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the government will invest approximately $255 million in new funding to support global efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Johnson also called on international leaders to work together to speed up the vaccine development process.

“While our brilliant doctors and nurses fight coronavirus at home, this record British funding will help to find a vaccine for the entire world,” Johnson said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the new funding will “ensure British scientists and researchers continue to lead the global fight” against the deadly virus.
Speaking after a virtual meeting of G20 leaders, Johnson called on world leaders to “step up” to help defeat the virus.

“The UK has led the way in responding to the economic impact of coronavirus…but without targeted and coordinated interventions from international governments, the virus could have far-reaching global implications,” he added.

Toyota will keep its North American plants closed until April 20
From CNN’s Alison Kosik

Toyota is extending the closure of all its North American automobile and components plants until April 20.

Toyota North America said Thursday in a statement it will continue to suspend production due to “the ongoing pandemic and decline in vehicle demand.” The company added that “service parts operations and finished vehicle centers will continue to operate to meet the needs of our customers.”

This is the third shutdown extension for Toyota. Originally, Toyota said it would reopen facilities on April 6.

Some context: Chrysler also announced Thursday it would keep its North American operations closed until April 14. Ford recently announced it would reopen plants on April 6.

With New York quickly becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, health care workers in the state have been working nonstop.

Knowing that these heroes wouldn’t have time to stop and grab a meal, one of New York’s most famous couples — Bill and Hillary Clinton — stepped in to help.

On Wednesday evening, the Clintons sent over 400 pizzas to hospitals in Westchester County “as a small token of their appreciation for everything medical professionals are doing for their communities,” according to Angel Ureña, spokesperson for President Clinton.

“Thank you for protecting our communities. From Bill and Hillary Clinton,” a note sent with the pizzas read.
There were 80 pizzas delivered to St. John’s Riverside Hospital alone.

“Thank you to the Clintons for pizza today at DOBBS FERRY ED! Leaders like you will get us through this. So much gratitude thank you thank you thank you,” Angela Cirilli, the emergency medicine ultrasound director at St. John’s Riverside Hospital, said in a tweet.

South Florida doctor who tested positive for coronavirus has died
From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

A doctor from South Florida who tested positive for coronavirus has died.

Dr. Alex Hsu, 67, died on Tuesday, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office.

He had recently traveled to China and had complained of shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea and a cough, according to medical examiner’s office records. Hsu was transferred to the ICU where he was placed on a ventilator.

Hsu’s positive result for Covid-19 was received Wednesday, documents from the medical examiner’s office show.

New Hampshire tells residents to stay home during outbreak
From CNN’s Sheena Jones

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, right, tours a makeshift medical facility at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 24.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has issued a stay-at-home order starting at midnight Friday. The order will last until May 4.

Nonessential businesses are also expected to close by the end of the day Friday, he said at a news conference Thursday.

Sununu acknowledged that it was an “incredibly big ask.”

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect the exact date the order will be lifted.

Canada says it is strongly opposed to the US putting troops on the border
From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the US is requesting American troops be placed within 20 miles of the US-Canada border to help with border surveillance especially at irregular crossings. Trudeau indicated his government did not believe that was necessary at this time, but that talks were ongoing.

“Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way. We have been in discussions with the United States on this,” Trudeau said during a news conference outside his Ottawa home where he remains in quarantine.
Later at a government news conference in Ottawa, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland revealed Canada had made its opposition known to many levels of the US government, including the Defense Department and US Homeland Security.

“Canada is strongly opposed to this US proposal and we’ve made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts,” she said. “We understand the concerns of our American neighbors and friends. What we have said is we really do not believe at all that there would be a public health justification for you to take this action.”
In blunt terms Freeland underscored that, in her opinion, this was not the way treat a trusted friend and military ally.

Some context: Canada borders 13 American states and before the Covid-19 crisis the two countries shared one of the most lucrative trading relationships in the world. Both countries jointly decided to close the border to nonessential traffic earlier this month. Essential commercial trade and traffic has continued with enhanced medical screening.

Hilton employees brace for more furloughs
From CNN’s Cristina Alesci

Hilton employees are bracing for the possibility of additional furloughs, two people familiar with the company’s plans said.

The company, which includes brands like Waldorf Astoria and Embassy Suites, has already begun furloughing employees at hotel properties it manages.

A new round of reductions, which is expected any day now, will hit the company’s corporate staff, according to two people familiar with the plans. It’s possible Hilton will find a way to avoid furloughs but it’s highly unlikely, said one of the people.

As members of the Trump administration continue to downplay Thursday’s unemployment claims number, business and labor groups, as well as employees who are facing the reality of losing their jobs, are coming forward to talk about the hardships ahead.

Earlier Thursday, the flight attendants union criticized Treasury Secretary’s Steven Mnuchin’s claim that the unemployment statistic is “not relevant.”

By the numbers: Hilton has 60,000 direct employees in the US but that figure includes workers at Hilton owned and managed properties. It’s unclear how many corporate employees the company has.

Coronavirus death toll in France climbs by more than 300 in 24 hours
From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer in Paris

At least 1,696 people in France have died after contracting coronavirus, France’s Director-General of Health Jérôme Salomon said Thursday.

The new total, which marks an increase of 365 in just 24 hours, went “against expectations,” Salomon added.

Speaking during a news briefing in Paris, Salomon said at least 29,155 people have tested positive for the virus.

According to Salomon, 3,375 patients are currently being treated in intensive care; of these cases, 34% are under the age of 60, he added.

Rhode Island is requiring anyone traveling from New York to self-quarantine
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo today said she is “mandating, not suggesting” a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone traveling to her state from New York.

The executive order – effective immediately – also applies to anyone who has traveled to New York in the last 14 days.

The governor said she plans to execute the mandate by stationing members of the National Guard at bus terminals and train stations and will require anyone arriving from New York to check in and provide their contact information.

State police have also been instructed to flag down cars with New York state license plates as they come into Rhode Island.

“This is unusual… this is radical,” the governor said of the plan to execute the mandate.
Raimondo said Rhode Island has added 33 cases of coronavirus since yesterday, bringing the state’s total to 165 cases.

17 detainees test positive for coronavirus in Illinois
From CNN’s Brad Parks and Melissa Alonso

Fifty detainees in Illinois have been tested for coronavirus after “exhibiting flu-like symptoms” at one of the largest jails in the country, according to a Cook County Sheriff’s Office statement.

According to the statement, of those detainees at Cook County Department of Corrections:

17 have tested positive
2 have tested negative
31 people have pending test results
Additionally, four correctional staffers and one deputy have tested positive, the statement said.

More than 20 coronavirus cases reported at nursing home in West Virginia
From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced that 20 residents at a nursing home in Morgantown and eight staffers have tested positive for novel coronavirus.

“This is the horror story we absolutely did not want to have happen,” Justice said during a news conference Thursday.
Justice said he has appointed Dr. Clay Marsh to coordinate the state’s response and preparedness as the virus continues to spread.

“It gives us one more layer of expertise and one more layer of affiliation with hospital,” Justice said.

By the numbers: CNN has counted at least 52 Covid-19 cases in West Virginia as of Thursday afternoon.

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston

There have been 170 new cases of coronavirus and three new deaths reported in the state of Indiana, according to State Health Commissioner Kris Box.

Box said that Indiana has now reported a total of 645 cases and 17 deaths statewide.

The new fatalities were reported in Jasper, Putnam and Franklin counties.

Massachusetts governor asks Trump for federal disaster declaration assistance
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker today announced that his administration has submitted a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the President for federal disaster declaration assistance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Baker also announced that a former Boston Medical Center facility, the Newton Pavilion, will be temporarily reopened to help treat the city’s homeless population during the pandemic.

“The facility will provide a safe isolated place for people to stay and recover if they don’t require hospitalization,” Baker said.
According to the governor, the facility has the capacity for about 250 beds.

Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders spoke about personal protective equipment supplies for the state today, saying “in order for us to have sufficient supplies in the Commonwealth, and since the command center was stood up, we’ve placed more than $15 million in orders for PPE and are working with suppliers to expedite shipping to the Commonwealth.”

“As you know, as we’ve announced before, we’ve requested additional supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. To date, approximately 17% of those requests have been filled. We received a third confirmation of a delivery, but it’s not yet been received,” Sudders added.

Chicago mayor: “Dear God, stay home, save lives”
From CNN’s Melissa Alonso

Chicago’s bike trails, paths and green spaces will be closed until the “threat to our lives is over,” Chicago Mayor

Lori Lightfoot said at a news briefing today.

Lightfoot addressed Chicagoans who continued to congregate in public areas in large numbers, while the state is under a stay-at-home order.

“Your continued failure to abide by these orders” could lead to more deaths, Lightfoot said.

“Dear God, stay home, save lives,” she added.
Chicago’s is closing its lakefront from north to south, effective immediately. Chicago Police will ramp up patrol and are prepared to give warnings and citations and, if necessary, arrests will be made, Lightfoot said.

“You must stay at home, period,” Lightfoot said.

The faces of health workers around the globe fighting coronavirus
From CNN’s Fernando Alfonso III

While the world collectively shelters in place to protect against coronavirus, medical professionals flock to the front lines to work long hours tending to a burgeoning number of infected people.

One of them is Dr. Nicola Sgarbi, 35, who unknowingly became part of a growing photo trend of health workers coping with this exponential rise in sick patients.

Sgarbi is a doctor in training who works in the ICU of the civil hospital of Baggiovara in Modena, Italy.

Almost everything about Sgarbi’s shift on March 13 was part of his new normal since the outbreak: working 12 hours to treat Covid-19 patients while wearing protective equipment. But at about 8 p.m. that day, he stripped off his face mask and snapped a quick selfie, something he rarely does.

“I mainly took the photo for two reasons. Firstly, to send it to my partner, to tell her that I had finished my shift at work and that I was on my way home, slightly bruised,” Sgarbi told CNN over email. “Secondly, to show it to my 1-year-old daughter when she will have grown up. I will be telling her about this moment.”
Sgarbi’s photo was posted on Facebook and Reddit, where it was shared more than 75,000 times and voted on at least 119,000 times, respectively. The photo drew worldwide praise and comparisons to “Batman and Superman rolled into one,” among other things.

Since then, numerous photos and stories of health workers in and out of protective gear have been posted around the internet. Each one captures the physical and emotional toll this pandemic is taking.

See people around the world celebrating health care workers:

Why the $2 trillion federal aid package for small businesses may not be enough to save them
From CNN’s Jeanne Sahadi

The $2 trillion economic aid package unveiled Wednesday contains several provisions to help small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, small business groups are pleased some assistance is coming. But they also stress the package — which includes close to $400 billion in aid for small business owners — is still not enough to save Main Street.

“This doesn’t cure the crisis. It’s a good start. But more support will be needed,” said Derek Peebles, executive director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).
The provisions are also unlikely to save those small businesses that will have to come up with cash to stay afloat until they can actually get the government’s aid money in hand.

“There’s no way many can keep going,” said John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy group.

Speed will be key to helping any small business survive, especially when it comes to dispensing the forgivable loans that will be available to owners who keep paying their employees during the crisis.

Bolivia proposes delaying elections during coronavirus outbreak
From CNN’s Sharif Paget in Atlanta

Bolivia’s electoral tribunal said on Thursday it had proposed new dates for the country’s presidential elections to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

The electoral tribunal recommended to Bolivia’s legislative assembly that elections be postponed from May 3 and held sometime between June 7 and Sept. 6.

Bolivia’s electoral tribunal warned last week that the May 3 elections would be difficult to hold since the country’s quarantine order impedes the body from carrying out preparatory activities.

An interim government has ruled Bolivia since former President Evo Morales fled the country following allegations of fraud in an October vote that would have given him a fourth term in office. Morales has said he was the victim of a coup.

Canceled March Madness tournaments leaves NCAA with $375 million shortfall
From CNN’s David Close

The financial repercussions of canceling March Madness and other National Collegiate Athletic Association championships due to the coronavirus pandemic have made a substantial impact on the money sent to college and university athletic departments.

The NCAA announced on Thursday that there will be $225 million distributed to schools, rather than the budgeted $600 million in “response to the cancellation of all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.”

The NCAA said it receives “most of its revenue from the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship television and marketing rights, as well as championship ticket sales. The revenue is used to provide distributions to member conferences and schools along with funding championships, national programs and other initiatives to support student-athletes.”

The NCAA canceled all remaining 2020 winter and spring championships on Thursday, March 12 – less than a week before March Madness was slated to tip off.

115 more people have died from coronavirus in the UK
From CNN’s Lindsay Isaac

Another 115 people have died of coronavirus in the UK, Britain’s national public health said on Thursday.

There have been at least 578 coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the UK. The UK has at least 11,658 cases of coronavirus.

NBCUniversal CEO says he has tested positive for coronavirus
From CNN’s Frank Pallotta

Jeff Shell, Chief Executive Officer, NBCUniversal at a post-Golden Globe Awards party Sunday, January 5, in the Jean-Georges Restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.

Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, told staff in an email on Thursday that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I recently have been feeling under the weather and just learned that I have tested positive for Covid-19,” Shell wrote. “Although the virus has been tough to cope with, I have managed to work remotely in LA and am improving every day.”
Shell, who succeeded Steve Burke in January, added that it is “absolutely critical” that employees work from home if they can.

“In the short term, the goals are simple. Take care of each other and take care of our viewers. Taking care of each other means working from home,” he wrote. “While I can’t give you an end date, I can commit that we will give everyone ample warning before we ask you to return to the office.”

Larry Edgeworth, an NBC News staffer, died as a result of complications from the coronavirus last week.

UK government announces new financial support for self-employed workers
The UK government will introduce a new financial support scheme for self-employed workers, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today, outlining the terms of a new taxable grant worth 80% of people’s average monthly profit.

“The government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profit over he the last three years, up to £2500 a month,” Sunak announced.
He said “95% of those who are majority self-employed” will benefit from the plan.

Speaking during the government’s daily coronavirus press briefing at Downing Street, Sunak told self-employed workers that they have “not been forgotten,” but warned that there are “challenging times ahead” for British businesses.

“Despite these extraordinary steps, there will be challenging times ahead. We will not be able to protect every single job, or save every single business,” Sunak said. “I am confident that the measures we have put in place will support millions of families, businesses and self-employed people to get through this, get through it together, and emerge from the other side both stronger and more united.”

The government is aiming to have the plan readily available to self-employed workers no later than June 2020.

Chrysler will keep North American plants closed through April 14
From CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich

Chrysler will keep its North American operations closed until April 14, the company said Thursday.

“FCA plants across the U.S. and Canada, as well as headquarters operations and construction projects, are intended to remain closed until April 14, dependent upon the various states’ stay-in-place orders and the readiness of each facility to return to production,” the company said in a statement.
The news comes following Ford’s announcement it would reopen plants on April 6.

Chrysler’s Mopar Distribution Centers, vehicle part distribution centers which have been deemed essential, will continue to operate with paid volunteers. The fate of FCA’s Mexico operations will made clear in a separate announcement, according to the statement.

The United Auto Workers Union Wednesday announced the death of one of their members at FCA’s Warren Truck in Michigan who passed away due to the Coronavirus.

Trump says he’s preparing new social distancing guidelines in letter to governors
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak

US President Donald Trump listens during the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 24.
US President Donald Trump listens during the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 24. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump told US governors on Thursday his administration was preparing to issue new social distancing guidelines based on geographic risk factors.

In a letter, Trump said new coronavirus testing capabilities would allow his administration to identify “high-risk, medium risk and low-risk” counties.

New guidelines will help governors and other state policymakers decide on “maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place,” Trump wrote.

There are now more than 500,000 coronavirus cases around the world
From CNN’s Jonny Hallam

Medics take care of a coronavirus patient upon his arrival from Italy to a hospital in Dresden, Germany, on March 26.
Medics take care of a coronavirus patient upon his arrival from Italy to a hospital in Dresden, Germany, on March 26. Matthias Rietschel/Pool via AP
There are now more than 500,000 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus globally , according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of 1:54 p.m. ET, the totally number of confirmed cases stands at 510,108.

Los Angeles hospital official says supplies are day to day
From CNN’s Stephanie Elam

As the coronavirus pandemic grows, hospital supplies at Southern California’s Cedars-Sinai Health Systems are day to day, according to the hospital’s chief operating officer.

“It is hard to estimate because we are consuming more than we would baseline,” Dr. Jeff Smith told CNN.

Cedars-Sinai typically treats more than a million patients each year in more than 40 locations throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

Smith said that Cedars-Sinai continues to receive supplies but the supply chain is irregular. They are obtaining personal protective equipment from multiple sources – manufacturers, local and federal caches.

“The challenge is that there are so many unknown variables,” Smith said speaking about the ratio of patients to supply. He said this is not the way he would want things because it is “day by day.”
Some context: Currently, Cedars-Sinai is seeing an increase in the volume of patients presumed and confirmed positive. “Several dozen” patients have now turned positive, Smith said.

Cedars-Sinai currently has enough ventilators for their patients in intensive care.

As for capacity, Cedars-Sinai has more than 200 open beds including in the ICUs. The hospital system is making plans to care for patients in less conventional spaces, including recovery units and other areas of the hospital.

China will ban most foreigners from entering country
From CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing

China will close its borders to most foreigners starting Saturday, the government announced Thursday, amid continued concerns over rising imported cases of novel coronavirus.

Foreign nationals currently holding Chinese visas or residency permits will be temporarily banned from entering the country until further notice, according to a statement from the foreign ministry and the national immigration authority.

The government is also suspending all visa-free transit and visa-on-landing programs. People holding diplomatic passports are exempted from the new rule.

Foreign nationals who must visit China out of necessity need to apply for new visas, and holders of Chinese visas issued after Thursday will be allowed into the country, the statement added.

Federal courts in Newark close after several employees test positive for coronavirus
From CNN’s Sarah Jorgensen

Federal courthouses in Newark, New Jersey, will be closed through April 6 because “several” federal employees who work there have tested positive for Covid-19, according to a judge’s order.

“No one will be permitted to enter the building during this closure with the exception of authorized cleaning personnel,” the order reads in part.
The order, which went into effect Thursday, does not apply to other federal courthouses in New Jersey, and electronic filing is still available.

“The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey otherwise remains open for official business,” the order reads in part.

Indy 500 rescheduled to August
From CNN’s David Close

General view of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
General view of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Clive Rose/Getty Images
The Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race has been moved from May 24 to August 23 due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials announced today.

“Memorial Day weekend has always provided Indianapolis 500 fans an opportunity to honor the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our nation’s freedom…This August, we’ll also have a unique and powerful opportunity to honor the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said in a statement.

US attorney general directs federal prison system to increase home confinement for some inmates
From CNN’s David Shortell

Attorney General William Barr directed leaders of the federal prison system to increase the use of home confinement for certain inmates as the number of cases of coronavirus in the nation’s corrections system continues to multiply.

At a news conference Thursday in Washington, D.C., Barr told reporters that he had sent a memo to the Bureau of Prisons, telling officials there to increase the use of the program, which will likely see some older and especially vulnerable inmates released from prison early.

Barr said the measure was being done to try to “control the spread of this infection.”

Six inmates and four Bureau of Prisons employees had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday, as the Bureau of Prisons continued to implement strict measures to stave off the spread of the virus, including a ban on most visitors and a two-week quarantine for all new inmates entering a facility.

It was not immediately clear what inmates among the more than 175,000 in federal custody will be eligible for the expanded early release and home confinement program.

Barr said that he had asked the Bureau of Prisons last week to assess if it was possible to expand the use of home confinement “particularly for older prisoners who had served substantial parts of their sentence and no longer posed a threat and may have underlying conditions that make them particularly vulnerable.”

Louisiana sees a spike of more than 500 cases in one day
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

Louisiana has reported an additional 510 positive cases of Covid-19 and an additional 18 deaths since Wednesday.

Currently, there are at least 2,305 cases of coronavirus and 83 deaths in the state.

According to the state Department of Health, 676 patients are in hospitals and 239 are on ventilators.

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday said the state could run out of ventilators by early April in Orleans Parish, one of the hardest hit areas.

Italy records increase in new coronavirus cases
From Nicola Ruotolo in Rome

Doctors tend to Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit of San Matteo Hospital, in Pavia, Italy, on March 26.
Doctors tend to Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit of San Matteo Hospital, in Pavia, Italy, on March 26. Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP
Italy reported an increase of 4,492 cases of coronavirus in the past day, bringing the total of active cases to at least 62,013.

There were at least 662 fatalities in the past 24 hours, raising the total to at least 8,165 deaths.

US Army says field hospital in New York City will be ready Monday
From CNN’s Michael Conte

Army field hospitals deploying to New York will be ready to treat non-coronavirus patients at the Javits Center beginning Monday, according to Army Chief of Staff General James McConville.

The Army will bring 284 beds to New York. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also bringing additional beds.

Here’s how the final vote on the stimulus bill will play out
From Manu Raju and Haley Byrd

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks with reporters during her weekly press conference at the US Capitol on March 26.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both made clear today they want the $2 trillion stimulus bill to be approved by their chamber Friday by voice vote. That would ensure that most House members would not have to return to Washington.

But if any member requests a recorded vote, then House members would have to return at a later date to cast a roll call vote. So far, at least two members, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Thomas Massie, have not ruled out requesting a recorded vote.

What happens next: House GOP leaders plan to walk through the stimulus bill with their members on a 1:30 p.m. conference call today, according to a Republican source.

House Democratic leaders will have their own caucus call at 3 p.m., according to a Democratic source.

These calls will be important to ensure leaders have cooperation from their rank-and-file to allow the bill to pass by voice vote Friday morning — rather than requiring all members to come back to vote in person.

How the vote will happen: On Friday, the House will convene at 9 a.m. Then there will be time for a debate, equally divided between the two sides. And then they will proceed to a voice vote. Once the presiding officer says the “ayes” have it, the bill will be passed — unless a member requests a recorded vote.

It’s unclear how many members will show for Friday’s debate and voice vote — it can be very few, or it can be a lot, there is no requirement.

Also, at his news conference today, McCarthy made clear the House will look different than it usually does in order to promote social distancing. He said the members won’t sit next each other, they’ll alter where the members stand, and staff will be cleaning as members come and go. He also said that members will have to enter one designated door and leave out the other.

Honduras announces first coronavirus death
From CNN’s Sharif Paget in Atlanta

Honduras’ health ministry announced on Thursday the country’s first novel coronavirus-related death.

The patient was a 60-year-old man with a history of heart disease, the health ministry said in a statement. He died Wednesday night.

The man tested positive for Covid-19 on March 19 after he checked himself into a hospital because he had trouble breathing, the ministry added.

During his stay, he developed pneumonia, which caused respiratory failure and lead to a cardiac arrest.

There are at least 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Honduras, the health ministry said.

There are more than 1,600 coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania
From CNN’s Liz Stark

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now reporting at least 1,687 cases of coronavirus in the state. Of those cases, 16 people have died.

A quarter of the cases are in Philadelphia County.

Coronavirus pandemic will likely be around “for 12 to 18 months,” Harvard doctor says
From CNN Health’s Jacqueline Howard

The coronavirus pandemic may not go away in just a few weeks or so, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said during a Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday.

“This is not a virus that goes away in two weeks or four weeks or six weeks. We are going to be living with this, in one form or another, for 12 to 18 months if we are lucky,” Jha said, referring to how long some health officials have predicted it would take to develop a vaccine.
“Once we have a vaccine that’s effective and widely deployed we can bring the pandemic to an end,” Jha said. “Until that time, we are going to continue to have to confront and deal with the virus.”

Scientists around the world have been working on developing vaccines that are effective against the novel coronavirus and there are dozens in development.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general for the World Health Organization, said in February that a vaccine for the novel coronavirus could take 12 to 18 months.

Just last week, a vaccine trial in the United States announced that its first patient had received a dose.

CNN reported last week that a 100-page federal plan on how to tackle the coronavirus pandemic showed the Trump administration is making contingency plans for a pandemic that could stretch up to “18 months or longer” and could include “multiple waves of illness.”

More than 4,000 prisoners in Ethiopia pardoned to help prevent coronavirus spread
From CNN’s Bukola Adebayo

Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde speaks during the World Economic Forum Africa meeting on September 4, 2019, in Cape Town.

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has granted pardon to more than 4,000 prisoners in efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Sahle-Work Zewde announced the order in a tweet on Wednesday and said it would help prevent overcrowding in prisons.

The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.

There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, according to the World Health Organization on Wednesday.

Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.

Canada and US in discussions about placing American troops along border, Trudeau says
From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the US is requesting American troops be placed within 20 miles of the US-Canada border to help with border surveillance, especially at irregular crossings.

Trudeau indicated his government did not believe that was necessary at this time, but that talks were ongoing.

“Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way. We have been in discussions with the United States on this,” Trudeau said during a news conference outside his Ottawa home where he remains in quarantine.

Chicago beaches are closed, official says

Chicago’s Lakefront Trail and the city’s beaches have been closed to public access, according to Alderman Harry Osterman, who represents the 48th Ward, one of Chicago’s lakefront districts.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot yesterday urged individuals going to the Lakefront Trail to exercise, and not to congregate in large groups, or she would be forced to close the area.

“This order has been put in place to ensure social distancing between individuals and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Osterman said in a statement.
Lightfoot is expected to speak at a daily coronavirus briefing this afternoon.

Employee at FEMA headquarters in DC tests positive for coronavirus
From CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez

A federal employee working at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, DC, tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and other members of his task force, according to a statement from the agency.

FEMA said the person who tested positive Tuesday did not “come within six feet of the Vice President or any other Task Force principal for any period of time.”

The statement said the agency conducted contact tracing to determine the areas of the FEMA headquarters building and the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and compared it to the movements of task force principals in recent days.

“All areas visited by the Vice President and other Task Force members were disinfected prior to their visits,” the statement said.
FEMA said it will clean to make sure the “potentially affected workspace meets federal health and safety standards.”

Prince Charles thanks well-wishers for support after coronavirus diagnosis
From CNN’s Lindsay Isaac in London

Prince Charles tweeted his thanks for the public support he has received since being diagnosed with coronavirus.

A message on behalf of the Duke of Cornwall was posted on the official Clarence House account. It read:

“Thank you for all your ‘Get Well Soon’ messages for His Royal Highness. He is enormously touched by your kind words.”
What we know: The Prince of Wales is only displaying mild symptoms and is otherwise in good health, Clarence House said in a statement. It is unknown how the 71-year-old caught the virus because of his recent busy schedule of public events.

40,000 retired medical workers have volunteered to help New Yorkers
From CNN’s Adrienne Vogt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of volunteers during the coronavirus crisis has been “inspiring.”

Cuomo said 40,000 retired medical staff volunteered, with 12,000 more people in one day volunteering to help work at health care facilities.

There have also been 8,600 mental health professionals volunteering.

“Easy times don’t forge character. It’s the tough times that forge character,” he said.

More than 37,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in New York

So far, at least 37,258 people have tested positive for coronavirus across the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.


5,327 people are currently hospitalized
1,290 patients are in intensive care
1,517 patients have been discharged after being hospitalized

Michigan is “a few weeks out from the apex” of coronavirus cases, official says
Khaldun said they can flatten the curve if people listen to the stay-at-home order and practice social distancing.

More than 1,000 people in the US have died from coronavirus
From CNN’s Amanda Watts

An NYC Medical Examiner’s van is parked along the street where members Air Force Reserve set up tents and medical related equipment as they build a makeshift morgue outside Bellevue Hospital to handle potential high number of Coronavirus victims, on Wednesday, March 25, in New York City.
An NYC Medical Examiner’s van is parked along the street where members Air Force Reserve set up tents and medical related equipment as they build a makeshift morgue outside Bellevue Hospital to handle potential high number of Coronavirus victims, on Wednesday, March 25, in New York City. Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/AP

At least 1,046 people have died due to coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN’s tally.

Florida reports more than 2,000 coronavirus cases
From CNN’s Tina Burnside

The Florida Department of Health has recorded at least 2,349 positive cases of novel coronavirus and 27 deaths as of Thursday.

That is a significant increase from Wednesday’s report of 1,921 cases and 22 deaths.

Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties make up the vast majority of cases in the state.

CORRECTION: This post has been updated with the latest number of coronavirus cases in Florida.

New York governor says any “realistic” scenario will overwhelm state’s health care system
From CNN’s Adrienne Vogt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to warn that the coronavirus pandemic will cause a huge strain on hospitals and health care facilities.

“Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current health care system. A little reality,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the goal is to have a 1,000-bed overflow facility in each of the five New York City boroughs, plus Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Right now, hospitals and health care facilities in the state have enough personal protective equipment for the “immediate future,” Cuomo said, but they are still looking around the country for ventilators.

The state has approved the splitting of ventilators to allow one machine to serve two patients. Cuomo said they are also working on converting thousands of anesthesia machines into ventilators.

New York has done 25% of all coronavirus testing in the US

About 25% of all coronavirus testing nationwide has been performed by New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference Thursday.

“We’re testing more than any state in the country,” and more per capita when compared to China and South Korea, he said.

Pelosi “certain” of bipartisan vote on economic stimulus plan tomorrow
From CNN’s Haley Byrd, Manu Raju and Kristin Wilson

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is “very proud of the product” of the congressional negotiations for the coronavirus stimulus bill, ahead of an expected vote in the House tomorrow.

“I feel certain that we will have a strong bipartisan vote,” Pelosi said, touting the changes Democrats were able to secure in the final package.
She said Democrats are already working towards another bill to address some of their unaddressed concerns, including changes for who qualifies for family leave, stronger Occupational Safety and Health Administration protections for workers, boosts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and more money for state and local governments.

Pelosi said House Democrats will “be taking the lead” in crafting the next bill, but she emphasized that negotiations should be carried out by the four corners of congressional leadership. She said she’ll mostly be working from DC and the House committee chairs will be involved in the process.

The House speaker also appeared to push back on President Trump’s push in recent days to end social distancing by Easter Sunday.

“I’ve said from the start that we must have a proposal that’s government-wide, science-based, so that we can really address the challenge that we face in a scientific, evidence-based way. That is not necessarily the course that has been advocated by some, but it’s where we must be if we’re going to end this,” Pelosi said.

New York governor on stimulus bill: “I find it reckless”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the Senate-passed $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, saying it does nothing to help local and state governments fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“I believe what they did failed to meet the governmental need,” he said at a news conference today. “I find it reckless.”

Cuomo said he would give congressional leaders “a piece of my mind” after the coronavirus outbreak has passed, but now he’s focused on the pandemic response.

“I promise you I’m going to give them a piece of my mind, but I would say to them today, this is an extraordinary time in this nation, and it’s an extraordinary time for government. This was the time to put politics aside and partisanship aside.”
“Do your job,” he told Congress.

The US Senate passed a $2 trillion economic relief package. It goes to the House next.


Coronavirus death toll in France climbs by more than 300 in 24 hours

At least 1,696 people in France have died after contracting coronavirus, France’s Director-General of Health Jérôme Salomon said Thursday.

The new total, which marks an increase of 365 in just 24 hours, went “against expectations,” Salomon added.

Speaking during a news briefing in Paris, Salomon said at least 29,155 people have tested positive for the virus.

According to Salomon, 3,375 patients are currently being treated in intensive care; of these cases, 34% are under the age of 60, he added.

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