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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1:11 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Brazilian president's press secretary tests positive for coronavirus days after visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago

From CNN's Shasta Darlington and Jonny Hallam

Fabio Wajngarten (right), the press secretary for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, with US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, March 7, 2020.
Fabio Wajngarten (right), the press secretary for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, with US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, March 7, 2020. from Instagram

Fabio Wajngarten, the press secretary for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, according to two sources who spoke to CNN.

The health of the Brazilian president is being monitored.

Wajngarten was with Bolsonaro on last weekend’s US trip, during which the Brazilian president dined with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. 

Wajngarten posted a picture of himself with Trump on Instagram a few days ago.

11:35 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

This is why Germany can't impose nationwide bans like other European countries

Analysis from CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A person walks past the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday.
A person walks past the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

While Italy imposes a nationwide lockdown, and Ireland announces school suspensions, blanket bans aren't quite so simple in fellow European country Germany.

Essentially, German chancellor Angela Merkel does not have the sweeping power to close down large parts of public life across the entire country.

Germany is a federal state. So when it comes to political decisions like canceling public events, closing down schools or implement new health regulations, those are taken at state level.

Merkel and her national ministers can only make recommendations. Over the last few days, Germany’s Health Minister, Jens Spahn, has repeatedly recommended canceling mass public gatherings with over 1,000 people.

Some of Germany’s hardest-hit regions have implemented this ban already — but not all of them have. The same goes for the closure of schools and universities. Some have been shut, while others continue to operate. 

11:33 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

What it's like inside Italy’s main international airport during the lockdown

The US has canceled travel from 26 European countries to the US for the next 30 days, beginning Friday, as the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide.

In Italy, the country is in total lockdown. CNN’s Melissa Bell is at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome, where air travel is highly restricted.

In a live broadcast for “Go There,” CNN’s show on Facebook Watch, Bell shows the quiet scene outside the international departures terminal and answers viewer questions about the lockdown and US travel ban.

11:34 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Why Iran likely has many more cases of coronavirus than it's reporting, according to researchers

From CNN's Sam Kiley

Iran’s estimates for the number of coronavirus infections early on in the epidemic are likely to be wildly inaccurate, according to research by a team from Toronto University.

The team estimated that Iran's official figures could be off by nearly 400 times.

The number of infected people in Iran could have been “around 18,000” — not the 50 that were officially acknowledged, according to assistant professor Ashleigh Tuite, one of the team members who modeled data from infections among people who had left Iran and been diagnosed elsewhere.

She said that the estimates today, based on the work they published in February, would be up in the "hundreds of thousands."

“Basically by looking at the number of infections that we were seeing in returning travelers, people who had been in Iran and then were diagnosed with COVID-19 in other countries, we were able to use that information, along with information that we have on the number of people who travel every month between Iran and different countries to estimate the number of expected cases that would have to be circulating within Iran," she said.

11:31 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

House Speaker Pelosi says coronavirus bill will be up for vote today

From CNN's Clare Foran, Haley Byrd, and Manu Raju

Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that House Democrats still plan to bring their legislative coronavirus response package to the floor for a vote today, even as she noted that talks are ongoing with the White House in an effort to reach a consensus deal.

“Today we’ll bring to the floor our Families First legislation,” she said at her weekly news conference.

She said Democrats are “addressing” some Republican concerns in their coronavirus response legislation, saying the Trump administration’s suggestions are all “very reasonable.”

But she pushed back on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s suggestion that the House stay in session instead of leaving for a week-long recess in order to further negotiate changes to the coronavirus legislation. 

"We don’t need 48 hours. We need to just make a decision to help families right now,” Pelosi said during her presser, after McCarthy said in a news conference right before hers that he thinks the House should stay in session to reach a deal and is optimistic that could get done in the next 24 to 48 hours. 

“We are responding to their concerns, we don’t want them moving the goal posts, and that’s it,” she said. “I’m not sticking around because they don’t want to agree to language.”

She said members who have complaints should “save it for another day,” and for future legislation, arguing that now is the time to find common ground.

Pelosi also left the door open for other legislative initiatives that might be negotiated with the administration, saying, “there will be other initiatives that we want to work with the administration on that may be necessary as we go forward. Some that need more discussion."

Pelosi also talked about congressional offices’ preparation to work remotely.

“That is something that we’re actually encouraging people to be prepared for. They may choose to be coming in, but be prepared to do that. It isn’t a requirement yet, but it is that we want people to be prepared. We’re providing the technology, the training and all the rest to make sure that everybody is up to par on that.” 

11:33 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Another Utah Jazz player has coronavirus

 The Utah Jazz said another player on the team has tested positive for coronavirus. The Jazz did not name the player.

Here's the Jazz statement: 

As a follow-up to yesterday’s positive COVID-19 test, Oklahoma health officials tested all members of the Utah Jazz traveling party, confirming one additional positive outcome for a Jazz player. We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials, and the NBA to monitor their health and determine the best path moving forward.

The NBA has suspended its season yesterday after one Jazz preliminarily tested positive for coronavirus.

Watch: NBA player touches mics in presser, tests positive for coronavirus

11:14 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Louisiana has 14th presumptive positive test for coronavirus

From CNN's Tina Burnside

The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting an additional case of the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of presumptive positive cases in the state to 14, according to a news release from the agency. 

Eleven of the 14 are in Orleans Parish, according to the health department. This new case comes on the heels of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declaring a public health emergency on Wednesday.

The declaration "addresses efforts to prevent price gouging should that become necessary" and limits international travel for state employees to affected countries.

11:12 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Three players at English Premier League soccer team Leicester City are self-isolating

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

Three players from English Premier League team, Leicester City, have self-isolated after showing symptoms of coronavirus and “have been kept away from the rest of the squad," manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Rodgers did not specify which players had been quarantined but added that the club had "followed procedures."

Leicester City – currently third in England’s Premier League – are due to play away at Watford on Saturday.

When asked by reporters whether the game should go ahead, Rodgers responded: "It would be a shame, but the public's health is the most important in all of this [..] The game is all about the players and the fans and if you have one of those not there, it's obviously not the same..”

The Premier League game between Manchester City and Arsenal on Wednesday was the postponed as a “precautionary measure” after several Arsenal players had come into contact with Olympiakos owner Evangelis Marinakis following their UEFA Europa League game in February – Marinakis himself confirmed he’d tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

11:24 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

More than 275,000 US public school students will be out of school due to coronavirus outbreak

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

School districts in at least three states have announced long-term school closures for K-12 public school students amounting to at least 276,669 students who will be out of their schools over the coming days.

In 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 today.

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. 

In Tennessee, Shelby County School District announced this morning a long term closure beginning tomorrow that will effect at least 100,000 students in their school district.

In 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.

Watch: Public schools closing due to coronavirus threat