March 16 coronavirus news

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10:47 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Connecticut, New York and New Jersey ban gatherings of more than 50 people

A man eats lunch in a deserted restaurant on Saturday, March 14, in New York City.
A man eats lunch in a deserted restaurant on Saturday, March 14, in New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday on a call alongside Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

The three states agreed to close:

  • Casinos
  • Gyms
  • Movies theaters

These will all close at 8 p.m. ET today.

All eat-in services from bars and restaurants will close at 8 p.m. ET Monday and transition to take-out only services.

10:27 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

CNN's Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast is busting common virus myths today

Each day, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is breaking down the latest news about the coronavirus on the Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast.

As the coronavirus spreads, so do bogus claims and conspiracy theories. In today's episode, Gupta sets the record straight on some of the most inaccurate information floating around.

You can listen to the episode here.

10:42 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

German biotech investor says vaccine should be available worldwide, not mentioning Trump

From CNN’s Nadine Schmidt, Claudia Otto and Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

Dietmar Hopp speaks to the media after the opening of the "Klima Arena," or Climate Arena, on October 7, 2019 in Sinsheim, Germany.
Dietmar Hopp speaks to the media after the opening of the "Klima Arena," or Climate Arena, on October 7, 2019 in Sinsheim, Germany. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

A lead investor in a German biotech company that is working on a coronavirus vaccine has issued a statement saying that it should be available anywhere, without mentioning US President Donald Trump.

The comments by Dietmar Hopp, the main investor in CureVac, come after the company denied a report that Trump was trying to lure its scientists to the US in a statement Sunday.

It did not deny being in touch with the President or US government, but rejected rumors of an acquisition.

Hopp said: “I am equally committed to the goal of protecting all people from infections and improving therapies for patients worldwide, ideally curing them, as well as to my intention of creating sustainable innovative infrastructure and jobs in Germany.

"Hopefully, we will soon succeed in developing an effective vaccine against the coronavirus. This vaccine should be available not only regionally, but to people all over the world in solidarity to help and protect them. I would be glad if this could be achieved from Germany through my long-term investment.” 
11:48 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Trump administration is discussing recommending curfews across the country

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Betsy Klein

There are active discussions within the Trump administration to encourage a possible “curfew” across the nation in which non-essential businesses would be encouraged to close by a certain time each night, according to an administration official and another source familiar.  

The recommendation would likely focus on malls, restaurants and bars. Grocery stores and pharmacies could be exempt from the curfew. The idea would be fashioned after the European model but would likely have to be enforced at a local level.

The source familiar tells CNN that a curfew could be strongly encouraged at the state level.

Vice President Mike Pence’s spokeswoman Katie Miller strongly disputed that a curfew was under discussions.

“A curfew is not on the table,” she said.

Miller said curfews would not be discussed during the President’s video teleconference with governors today. 

Life inside the first US containment zone:

CLARIFICATION: This post has been clarified to stress that the discussion have been about recommending a curfew, not mandating one.

10:17 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Kentucky will also close bars and restaurants

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear discusses developments in Kentucky regarding COVID-19 on Friday, March 13, in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear discusses developments in Kentucky regarding COVID-19 on Friday, March 13, in Frankfort, Kentucky. Bruce Schreiner/AP

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear will put out an order today to close all restaurants and bars, as part of new steps the state is taking to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We’re going to have exceptions in there for drive-thru, for delivery but we are to the point now that this is a step that we have to take,” Beshear said.

Beshear also said that the state’s Emergency Operations Center has moved to level 3 — which allows them to have heightened preparedness.

He is also asking all hospitals to cancel all elective surgeries by end of day Wednesday.

Regarding having more testing available in the state, Beshear said that they hope there will be widespread testing, but they don’t have a timeline for that. 

“Every time we get a timeline, it seems to be extended,” the governor said.

Earlier today, Michigan announced it was closing all bars and restaurants. Ohio, California and New York City, among other areas, announced similar bans yesterday.

10:00 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Trading has resumed, but there are more "circuit breakers" if stocks fall again

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe 

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday, March 16.
Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday, March 16. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Stocks resumed trading at 9:45 a.m. ET, after the New York Stock Exchange halted activity following a more than 7% drop in the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 was down 9.8%, the Dow fell 11.8%, or 2,725 points, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.7%.

About the pause: The NYSE has a series of “circuit breakers” that will kick in to halt market trading if we see severe declines in the S&P 500 Index, basically an automatic breather to try and calm market.

  • Level 1: (A drop of 7%) decrease – 15 minute halt
  • Level 2: (13%) – 15 minute halt
  • Level 3: (20%) – market closes for the day
11:20 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Egypt suspends all flight for 2 weeks

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi and journalist Magdy Sama’an in Cairo

A passenger wearing a protective mask rides a bus at Upper Egypt's Luxor airport to the arrivals hall on Tuesday, March 10.
A passenger wearing a protective mask rides a bus at Upper Egypt's Luxor airport to the arrivals hall on Tuesday, March 10. Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Image

Egypt will suspend all flights in Egyptian airports starting Thursday to stop the spread of coronavirus, state media reported.   

Most of the countries in the Middle East have partially or fully suspended flights over the past week. 

Egypt heavily relies on tourism for its economy. In February alone, 900,000 tourists visited Egypt, according to Egyptian tourism minister Khaled Al Anany. 

The Egyptian government has already suspended schools and universities for two weeks, according to state media. 

9:46 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Women's tennis tour suspended until May

A sign flashes outside the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 9, in Indian Wells, California. The BNP Paribas Open was cancelled by the Riverside County Public Health Department, as county officials declared a public health emergency when a case of coronavirus was confirmed in the area.
A sign flashes outside the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 9, in Indian Wells, California. The BNP Paribas Open was cancelled by the Riverside County Public Health Department, as county officials declared a public health emergency when a case of coronavirus was confirmed in the area. Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

The women’s professional tennis tour, the WTA Tour, has announced that it is now suspending play until May 2 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Due to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, the WTA tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague will not be held as scheduled. We regret this is the case for all of our loyal fans, players, sponsors and all those who support women’s professional tennis," the tour said in a statement.

Last week, WTA Tour CEO Steve Simon said that the next two scheduled tennis tournaments had been cancelled. 

The men’s professional tennis tour, the ATP Tour, also suspended play for six-weeks last week.

The Madrid Open is scheduled to start on May 2nd. 

9:46 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Trading stopped for 15 minutes at the open as stocks fall

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday, March 16.
Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday, March 16. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks opened sharply lower on Monday as investors grew concerned that the emergency policy measures by global central banks over the weekend meant the economy is in much worse shape than previously believed.

Instead of soothing the markets, another emergency interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve had the opposite effect.

Here's where things stand:

  • The S&P 500 opened down 8.1%. The index hit a circuit breaker after falling more than 7%. Trading is now halted for 15 minutes.
  • The Dow opened 9.7%, or 2,250 points, lower.
  • The Nasdaq Composite fell 6.1%.