March 12 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Sheena McKenzie and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0206 GMT (1006 HKT) March 13, 2020
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3:53 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New York governor bans all gatherings of more than 500 people

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images/File
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images/File

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that the state is banning all gatherings of more than 500 people.

He said that for gatherings of 0-500, they are reducing the occupancy by 50%. "So 50% of your seated capacity is the new capacity for your facility."

He said the mandate goes into effect 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday.

3:39 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

More than 400,000 US students will be out of school

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston, Chris Boyette, Andie Garcia and James Froio

School districts in at least five states have announced long-term school closures for K-12 public school students.

That means 403,233 students will be out of school over the coming days.

Here's we know about the closures:

  • Connecticut: Officials announced long-term closures for Stamford Public Schools, New Haven Public Schools, and Westport Public Schools. In total, at least 42,802 students attend the three school districts.
  • Tennessee: Shelby County School District announced a long-term closure beginning Firday that will effect at least 100,000 students in their school district.
  • New York: Three schools in the New Rochelle School District are closed through March 25: New Rochelle High School, Albert Leonard Middle School and William B. Ward Elementary School.
  • Virginia: Loudon County Public Schools canceled schools starting Thursday and going through March 20 due to fears of the coronavirus. The school district is home to over 80,000 students.
  • Washington state: At least eight school districts have announced long-term school closures effecting at least 128,174 students. Seattle Public Schools, Lake Washington School District, and Shoreline School District all begin their long-term closures Thursday. Snohomish County School District, Edmonds School District, Riverview School District, and Bellevue School District announce closures in the coming days. Northshore School District begin online instruction earlier this week.


3:31 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Amtrak workers are concerned about coronavirus exposure and possible layoffs, union official says

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

John Feltz, director of the Transport Workers Union train division — which represents workers at Amtrak, seven regional passenger rail lines, and three major freight rail lines — says workers are very concerned about potentially contracting coronavirus or losing their jobs. 

“We are all very concerned for ourselves and our families with the virus that’s going on,” he said. “They are very concerned and yet they do go to work every day.” 

The concern is particularly strong among coach cleaners who do the disinfecting of trains. He said they’ve been given protective gear like gloves, “but you never know what could happen at any time.”  

He said rail companies may look to labor for cost savings. “If they feel they’re losing money, the first place they cut on is labor.” 

2:28 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New York has 328 coronavirus cases

New York has 328 cases of coronavirus, with 112 new cases, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

Here's where the cases are located in the state:

2:58 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell says he tested positive for coronavirus

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell admitted that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

Mitchell posted the news on his verified Instagram account. On Thursday, ESPN and other media outlets, reported that his teammate Rudy Gobert and now Mitchell have tested positive for coronavirus.

Here's what Mitchell said.

“Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test. We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them. I appreciate the authorities in Oklahoma who were helpful with the testing process and everyone from the @utahjazz who have been so supportive. I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help”

Earlier on Thursday, the Jazz revealed that two of their players had tested positive for coronavirus. The Jazz have not named either player.

CNN Sports has reached out multiple times to the Jazz and the League but has not gotten a reply.

3:31 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Norwegian to temporarily lay off up to 50% of its employees due to coronavirus concerns

Heikki Saukkomaa/AFP/Getty Images/File
Heikki Saukkomaa/AFP/Getty Images/File

European budget airline Norwegian said Thursday it will temporarily lay off half of its staff “following the US ban on travel from most of Europe and the escalating coronavirus situation.”

“Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus, and thus a dramatic drop in customers and subsequent production decline, we must look at all possible measures to reduce costs. This unfortunately also includes temporary layoffs of up to 50 percent of our employees and the number may increase. All departments will be affected by the temporary layoffs,” the company said in a statement. 

The company also announced it will ground 40% of its long-haul fleet and cancel up 25% of its short-haul flights until the end of May.

“This is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the care and safety of our customers and colleagues. The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation. We urge international governments to act now to ensure that the aviation industry can protect jobs and continue to be a vital part of the global economic recovery," Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said.

2:55 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Broadway theaters' maximum capacity is now 50% of total seats, governor says

Broadway theaters in New York City are required to have maximum capacity of 50% of total seating as of 5 p.m. ET today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. 

“Fifty percent of your seated capacity will be the new capacity,” Cuomo said.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, other facilities will be required to adhere to the same rules if the venue can hold up to 500 people, the governor said.

The exceptions for that rule are:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Mass transit

All gatherings of 500 people are also banned, Cuomo said.


2:43 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New Mexico suspends all gatherings of over 100 people

From CNN’s Danielle Sills

New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel Thursday issued an order temporarily prohibiting more than 100 people from gathering in one place in New Mexico in response to the coronavirus, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The types of places covered by the order are spaces like auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference centers and theaters.



2:12 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New Jersey governor recommends cancellation of large public events

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in 2019.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in 2019. Lars Niki/Getty Images for 2019 Montclair Film Festival


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday his office is recommending canceling all public gatherings of 250 people or more, including concerts, sporting events, and parades.

“These measures are being taken as part of our coordinated response to the continued outbreak and to aggressively mitigate the spread of the virus,” his office said in a statement.