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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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. 
2:53 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

MLB pushes back Opening Day indefinitely

From CNN's David Close

Major League Baseball has announced that the opening of the 2020 season has been pushed back indefinitely.

MLB said the league is following the recommendation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Because of those recommendations, "the opening of the 2020 regular season will be pushed back in accordance with that guidance, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

MLB stated last Thursday that the season would be delayed at least two weeks.


2:24 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Israel prepares convert 4 hotels to quarantine sites

From CNN's Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem

Israel is preparing to open four hotels across the country as quarantines sites for confirmed cases of coronavirus, Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett announced Monday night. The hotels will be used to treat people exhibiting mild symptoms of the virus.

The first two hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are expected to be ready for use as quarantine sites by Tuesday, the head of Israel’s Home Front Command told reporters in a conference call. The other two hotels — one in the north of the country and one in the south — will be ready by the end of the week, the Defense Minister said.

Each hotel is expected to hold up to 500 patients but capacity could be increased up to 2,000 in each hotel if necessary, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai told reporters.

On Sunday, Bennett said in a news conference, “We have to tell the public the truth: we simply don’t know how many cases there are.”

“We currently do not have a vaccine for corona. The real vaccine is awareness, caring, and responsibility,” he added.

2:21 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Olympic boxing qualifiers in Europe and the Americas suspended due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

The European, Americas and final world qualifying boxing tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been suspended due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) announced in a statement on Monday.

It said the European qualifiers, which have been taking place in London since Saturday and were due to run until March 24, would end after Monday’s evening session.

The European qualifiers, which featured athletes from over 60 countries, will now resume in May to allow participants to adjust their travel plans and return safely home “amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures.”

The statement added that the BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily with the aim of completing the distribution of the remaining boxing quota places for the games in May and June.

Several Olympic qualifying events, including those for climbing, fencing and judo, have already been canceled or postponed with new dates for those events yet to be announced.