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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6:27 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Bars to close and restaurants services to be limited in Kentucky

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced new measures on Monday to combat the spread of novel coronavirus, including closing bars and limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery orders.

As a result, the governor announced that the state would be waiving the waiting period for unemployment.

Beshear also announced an executive order to prohibit price gauging.

These are the other services affected by the coronavirus outbreak:

  • All Kentucky hospitals must stop elective surgeries.
  • All child care centers must close by the end of the business day on Friday.
  • Kentucky’s state capitol will be closing to non-essential personnel starting Tuesday morning.  
6:05 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

"Game of Thrones" actor says he's tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Megan Thomas

Actor Kristofer Hivju, best known for his role as Tormund Giantsbane in "Game of Thrones," announced in an Instagram post on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Hivju said he was experiencing "mild symptoms" of a cold, and he and his family are self-isolating at their home in Norway.

See his full post:

6:00 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

US airports seek $10 billion in government assistance

From CNN's Geneva Sands

US airports are seeking $10 billion in government assistance to offset losses spurred by the coronavirus outbreak, an airport industry source tells CNN. 

The $10 billion figure is in line with anticipated airport revenue losses, the source added.  

Reuters first reported the request. 


6:02 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

SoulCycle and FlyWheel Sports close studios nationwide due to coronavirus mandates

From CNN's Allison Flexner

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

SoulCycle and FlyWheel Sports will close its studios nationwide due to coronavirus concerns and government mandates.

SoulCycle’s closure goes into effect Monday by 8 p.m. local time for all studios in the US and Canada due to ongoing coronavirus developments and government mandates, according to an email sent to their members.

Flywheel studios are closing effective March 17, the company said in an email to members.

6:13 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Hospital masks will be rationed for health care workers in France, Macron says

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer in Paris and Lauren Kent in London

Rescue workers take care of a man in Strasburg, France, on Monday, March 16.
Rescue workers take care of a man in Strasburg, France, on Monday, March 16. Jean-Francois Badias/AP

The French government will pay for hotels, taxis and child care for health care staff during the coronavirus crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a series of tweets Monday after addressing the nation.

“We owe the care of their children to our healthcare teams: a minimum service has been put in place, from today, in kindergartens and schools,” Macron said. “We also owe them serenity in their travel and rest: this is why, from tomorrow onwards, taxis and hotels can be mobilized for their benefit. The state will pay.”

Macron also said hospital masks will be rationed for health care workers.

“We have decided to reserve the masks as a priority for hospitals and for medical personnel in cities and in the countryside, especially for general practitioners and nurses, who are now at the front line of dealing with the crisis,” he said in a tweet.

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.