March 16 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 10:14 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020
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5:35 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Children with COVID-19 show less severe symptoms than adults, study confirms

From CNN’s Gina Yu

Children in China infected with novel coronavirus showed less severe symptoms than adults, though infants and toddlers were vulnerable to moderate and severe infection, according to a new study published online in the medical journal Pediatrics on Monday. 

The study examined 731 confirmed and 1,412 suspected cases of COVID-19 in children. Out of the combined 2,143 cases, one child, a 14-year-old boy, died and nearly 6% of cases were severe, compared with 18.5% of adults experiencing severe symptoms.

Young children, particularly infants, were vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, the authors of the study said. Nearly 11% of cases were severe and critical for infants less than 1 year old. 

More than 90% of all pediatric patients were asymptomatic, showing mild or common forms of illness. About 13% of patients who tested positive for the virus did not show symptoms of illness.

Researchers remain unsure why children with COVID-19 were not as ill as adults.

5:33 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

World Health Organization issues new coronavirus clinical guidance for pregnant women

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The World Health Organization has issued new clinical guidance on how to care for coronavirus patients who are children, older adults and pregnant women, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing on Monday.

"This is a serious disease. Although the evidence we have suggests that those over 60 are at highest risk, young people, including children, have died," Tedros said.

Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that women experience changes in their bodies during pregnancy that may increase their risk of some infections. 

WHO's guidance notes that "there is no evidence that pregnant women present with different signs or symptoms or are at higher risk of severe illness. So far, there is no evidence on mother-to-child transmission when infection manifests in the third trimester."

Yet "considering asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 may be possible in pregnant or recently pregnant women, as with the general population, all women with epidemiologic history of contact should be carefully monitored," the guidance says.

Also, "pregnant women with suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19, including women who may need to spend time in isolation, should have access" to appropriate care and "all recently pregnant women with COVID-19 or who have recovered from COVID-19 should be provided with information and counseling on safe infant feeding" as well as ways to prevent transmission of the virus, the guidance says.  

The guidance also notes that currently there is no evidence that pregnant women present increased risk of severe illness or fetal compromise.


5:32 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Amazon will fill 100,000 new positions due to surge in online orders

From CNN's Andy Rose

Employees work at the Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland.
Employees work at the Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland. Melissa Lyttle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Amazon said it will be hiring people for 100,000 new full-time and part-time jobs in the US to meet a surge in online orders as people avoid public areas during the coronavirus outbreak. 

In a post on Amazon’s corporate blog, the company is inviting people who may lose their current jobs in the hospitality and travel industries to consider working for Amazon temporarily.

Amazon said it also will be raising pay by $2 per hour through the end of April for employees dealing with the increased demand, with similar increases for workers outside the US. The company said the temporary pay hike for hourly employees will cost Amazon over $350 million in the US, Canada and Europe.

5:26 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Louisiana orders series of closures due to coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Louisiana is closing all bars, clubs, casinos, movie theaters and gyms until April 13, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Edwards said restaurants will only be open for takeout and delivery.

He said gatherings should be limited to 50 people.

Visitation will be prohibited to nursing homes and prisons unless there is an "end of life" or emergency issue.

5:21 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

DC orders restaurants, bars and clubs to close by 10 p.m. Monday

Washington, DC, is ordering restaurants, bars and clubs to close by 10 p.m. ET on Monday, according to an order from Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Take-out and delivery services will still be allowed. The closure will be in effect until April 1.

Health clubs, spas, massage parlors and theaters must close by Tuesday.

5:15 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Kentucky Secretary of State recommends moving election to June

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams is recommending moving the state's May 19 election until June 23.

In a video posted to his Twitter page, Adams said Gov. Andy Beshear agreed to the idea. 

"These are unprecedented times," Adams said in the video. 

He said it was not an easy decision but that he spoke to other state officials who he said agreed to the change. He said he hopes it will lead to a normal election, but that if it doesn't, it will give him time to prepare.


5:18 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

NYC is considering everything, including curfew

Empty tables are seen in Times Square on Monday, March 16.
Empty tables are seen in Times Square on Monday, March 16. Gabriela Bhaskar/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mayor Bill de Blasio said city officials are considering “everything” in terms of “curfew” or other possibilities. 

“Stay home as much as you can. That guidance might get a lot sharper at any point," de Blasio said. 

As of now, it’s acceptable to get some exercise and fresh air if social distancing is practiced. 

“It will get a lot worse before it gets better,” de Blasio said.

4:56 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

May SATs canceled because of coronavirus 

The College Board is canceling the May SAT exams due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

Here's what the board tweeted:

The board also announced they are finalizing options to allow students to test at home in May for AP exams depending on the circumstance.  

4:47 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Switzerland bans all events and closes shops

From CNN's Mia Alberti and Lauren Kent

Switzerland’s government banned all private and public events from midnight local time on Monday for more than a month, according to a statement from the Swiss Federal Council.

"Until April 19th, every shop, restaurant, bar and all recreational areas should remain closed. There will be an exception for supermarkets and health services,” the statement said. “From midnight today we'll also impose border controls with Germany, Austria and France."

The Swiss government also deployed 8,000 military personnel to assist with coronavirus measures.

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga said in an Instagram post: “Right now we need the support of everyone, young and elderly. We have to make sure our hospitals can keep treating the seriously injured and sick. Respect rigorously the measures and recommendations of the federal Council. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”