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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3:18 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Ohio closes gyms, movie theaters and more


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the closure of many facilities across the state in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, including....

  • Fitness centers
  • Gyms
  • Bowling alleys
  • Movie theaters
  • Recreational centers
  • Indoor water parks

These facilities must close by end of day Monday.

3:08 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

San Francisco orders residents to shelter in place

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

San Francisco’s mayor is ordering residents to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Mayor London Breed announced in a tweet that residents will be required to stay home starting at midnight, except for essential needs.

“The most important thing you can do is remain home as much as possible,” Breed said in a tweet.

This shelter in place order will not apply to necessary government functions and essential stores, Breed said.

3:16 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Ohio governor recommends delaying primary until June

From CNN's Dan Merica

Voters take advantage of early voting, Sunday, March 15, in Steubenville, Ohio. 
Voters take advantage of early voting, Sunday, March 15, in Steubenville, Ohio.  Gene J. Puskar/AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Monday that he is recommending moving the primary election that was slated to take place on Tuesday to June over fears around the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“It is clear that tomorrow’s in person voting does not conform, and cannot conform with these CDC guidelines. We cannot conduct this election tomorrow, the in person voting for 13 hours tomorrow and conform to these guidelines,” DeWine said.  

“We should not be in a situation where the votes of these individuals, who are conflicted, are suppressed. It is therefore my recommendation after talking with the secretary of state, talking with the attorney general, talking with the lieutenant governor, that voting be extended until June 2nd. That no in person voting occur today, but rather that in person voting occur on June 2nd, but between now and then that absentee ballot voting be permitted.”

Important to note: DeWine, however, said he does not have the power to move the primary unilaterally and will now go to court to move the primary.

The move is a complicated one for Ohio officials, as voters have already started voting in the state where 136 pledged delegates are at stake.

The spread of the coronavirus has effectively stopped in person campaigning in the Democratic primary, forcing Biden and Sanders to cancel rallies and town halls. It has also had significant implications on down ballot races.

Ohio is now the latest state to move elections based on the spread of the coronavirus, joining Louisiana, where state officials moved the presidential primary to June, and Georgia, where elections officials will postpone the March 24 presidential primary to May 19. Wyoming Democratic Party Chair Joe Barbuto also announced Friday that "the in-person portion" of their state's caucuses were "suspended due to growing concern" over the virus.

But Ohio’s move is the most significant, given voting had already begun in the state and that it is a sizable delegate prize in the nomination fight.


2:58 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

There are now more than 4,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US

 A sign on a door at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, instructs people not to come into the courthouse if they feel sick as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States onMonday, March 16.
A sign on a door at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, instructs people not to come into the courthouse if they feel sick as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States onMonday, March 16. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There are at least 4,008 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the state and local health agencies, governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are 70 cases from repatriated citizens, per the CDC. According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases detected and tested through US public health systems, there are 3,938 cases in 49 states, the District of Columbia and US territories, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 4,008. 

West Virginia remains the only US state without any confirmed cases.

At least 70 people have died.  

2:48 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

These baseball organizations donated $1 million to emergency food services

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association are making a joint donation of $1 million to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America to help fight the hunger caused by the closures of schools and quarantines.

“In these difficult times of navigating this pandemic, it is important that we come together as a society to help the most vulnerable members of our communities,” Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said in a statement. “As an institution, Baseball is extending our commitment to addressing childhood hunger and food availability issues during this crisis. We are grateful for the partnership with our players on this critical issue, which has the potential to deeply affect children and seniors.”

Tony Clark, Executive Director of the MLBPA, added: “In this time of international crisis, players are eager to do their part both individually and collectively to ease the significant burdens placed on the most vulnerable people in our communities. This contribution represents one of those efforts.”

The donation will be split between the two organizations:

  • Feeding America will use the funds to help feed children and families impacted by the closing of schools.
  • Meals on Wheels will focus their funds to provide meals for vulnerable senior citizens. 

2:55 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Lufthansa will reduce flight schedule up to 90%

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen 

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images


Lufthansa will be reducing flights by up to 90% due to the spread of coronavirus, it said in a statement.

It also announced Austrian Airlines, a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, will suspend all flight operations temporarily starting on Thursday. 

“Lufthansa Group airlines will further reduce their short- and long-haul schedule. The cancellations, which will be published as early as tomorrow, March 17th, will lead to a sharp decline in long-haul service especially in the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America. Overall, the Lufthansa Group's seating capacity on long-haul routes will be reduced by up to 90 per cent”, the statement said.

In regards to European flights, Lufthansa said:

“Within Europe the flight schedule will also be further reduced. Starting tomorrow [Tuesday], around 20 percent of the originally planned seating capacity will still be offered."
2:43 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

New York's Statue of Liberty closes indefinitely

Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images/FILE
Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images/FILE

The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island has suspended operations, effective Monday, due coronavirus concerns, according to a statement from the National Parks Service. 

A reopening date has not yet been determined.

The park is working with the NPS Office of Public Health, US Public Health Service, and state and local authorities to closely monitor the outbreak, and park officials will notify the public when they reopen, NPS said. 

2:48 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Actor Idris Elba says he's tested positive for coronavirus

Actor Idris Elba tweeted on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and said he feels OK.

"This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus," Elba wrote.

Here's his message:

2:25 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Pentagon puts "a bubble" around civilian leaders during coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Mike Conte

The Pentagon is keeping the two top civilian leaderships posts “physically separated” in order to create “a bubble around them” with limited personal interactions. 

“Starting today, the secretary and the deputy secretary are remaining physically separated, so we are attempting to put a, for lack of a better term, a bubble around the two of them. That means they and their staffs will only interact via teleconference. We’re screening people that are entering the secretary’s suite and limiting the number of people who have access as well,” Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathon Hoffman said Monday.