March 20 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Joshua Berlinger, Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Steve George and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:27 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020
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5:24 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

17 doctors die of coronavirus in Italy

From CNN's Livia Borghese in Rome

As medical workers in Italy struggle to treat patients with coronavirus, a large number of them have contracted the virus themselves.

Seventeen doctors have died from Covid-19 and there are a total of 3,654 medical staff who are infected, according to the country's National Health Institute.

5:25 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

There is an "indefinite backlog" of testing kits from federal government, Nevada governor says

From CNN's Andy Rose


Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said they still don’t know the full extent of the danger the state is facing from coronavirus because they still don’t have enough testing kits. 

“The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health received a notice yesterday that all of Nevada’s requests to the federal government [for test kits] are on an indefinite backlog without any estimate of a timeline for delivery,” he said at a news conference Friday.

Sisolak said the state has made “countless calls” to ask and “even beg” for more testing materials, but the government has no guidance for when the backlog will be cleared.

In the meantime, Sisolak is responding with a new emergency order taking previous guidance for non-essential businesses to close, and now making it mandatory. 

“I am not asking them anymore,” he said. “I am telling them they must close their doors.” 

The governor said businesses that refuse to follow the order could be fined or have their business licenses revoked.

5:16 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

TSA reports second officer at Orlando airport has coronavirus

From CNN's Greg Wallace

A second Transportation Security Administration officer at the Orlando airport has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency said Friday. 

The officer last worked at the airport’s west security checkpoint on the afternoon of March 11, TSA said. 

Earlier this week, the agency reported an officer who worked at the same checkpoint also tested positive. That officer’s last shift was a day earlier – March 10. 

It is unclear if the two officers worked any shifts together or used the same equipment. The agency did not disclose further information about their work schedules or assignments. 

The latest case is the 15th the TSA has reported. 

5:16 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Designer Christian Siriano is offering to make much-needed masks

John Lamparski/Getty Images/File
John Lamparski/Getty Images/File

Fashion designer Christian Siriano says his staff is standing by with sewing machines, ready to make masks.

Earlier today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would pay a premium price for medical supplies like masks.

"If you are a business that doesn't manufacture these exact items, but if you have equipment and personnel and you believe that you could manufacture these items ... If you will make them, we will give you funding to do it," Cuomo said.

5:20 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Medical organization calls on Trump administration to address "critical shortages" of equipment and tests

From CNN’s Arman Azad

Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images/File
Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images/File

The American Medical Association has called on the Trump administration to “leverage every tool at its disposal” to address a shortage of protective equipment and coronavirus tests. 

In a statement Friday, the doctors’ group said that “critical shortages in test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) remain unaddressed.”

In response to the growing shortage, President Trump signed an executive order earlier this week that allows him to exercise wartime powers under the Defense Production Act, but the AMA said that “it is unclear to what degree that authority is being utilized.” 

Shortages of critical protective equipment are “posing a significant risk for our ability to treat COVID-19 patients and contain the spread of this pandemic,” the AMA said in its statement. 

The president of the group, Dr. Patrice Harris, described doctors taking drastic measures to make do: “Physicians don’t have enough masks; they are wearing a single mask all day, cleaning them at home, and sewing their own protective gear,” she said. 

On Thursday, CNN reported on guidance issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address shortages during the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency said that health care workers could consider using masks beyond their designated shelf life, reusing them between multiple patients, and even – as a last resort – consider using scarves and bandanas as protective equipment.

5:08 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles closed until further notice

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

RB/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images/File
RB/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images/File

Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic, a representative at the golf club confirmed to CNN Friday. 

Owned by President Trump, the 18-hole golf course is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, 30 minutes south of Los Angeles International Airport. It is generally open to the public. 

5:10 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Delta CEO: Second quarter revenue will decline 80% from last year due to coronavirus 

From CNN's Chris Isidore

Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg/Getty Images/File
Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg/Getty Images/File

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian revealed to employees that the airline now expects revenue to plunge $10 billion in the second quarter of this year — or an 80% decline compared to last year — as the airline deals with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's also clear, given the underlying damage the virus has created to the overall economy, that demand recovery will take an extended period once the virus is contained," he said in a letter to employees, obtained by CNN.

Delta arranged for $2.6 billion in new borrowing and drew down an additional $3 billion in cash on an existing credit line, Bastian revealed. And he said about 13,000 of more than 90,000 Delta employees had agreed to take voluntary unpaid leaves.

He also defended past spending by the company, saying that most of the profits in recent years went into new aircraft and employees, not to share repurchases or dividends that benefit shareholders.

Earlier this week, Bastian wrote another letter to employees in which he said the airline would cut 70% of it scheduled flights and that it would park 600 of its jets, more than half of its fleet. He also warned that involuntary furloughs or pay cuts might be necessary.

"I know everyone is concerned about the security of your jobs and pay. Given the uncertainty about the duration of this crisis, we are not yet at a point to make any decisions," he wrote on Wednesday. "And those are very painful decisions to even consider. In this unpredictable environment we can't take any options off the table, but any steps that would affect your jobs or pay rates would be the absolute last thing we would do, and only if necessary to secure Delta's long-term future."
5:03 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

This brewery will produce hand sanitizer for Delaware

From CNN’s Tanika Gray

John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images/File
John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images/File

The state of Delaware and the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are teaming up to make more hand sanitizer available to the state’s government, according to a statement from Delaware Gov. John Carney.

Dogfish Head will sell the sanitizer to the state of Delaware at market price, and 100% of the profits will go into a fund to support Delawareans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said.

According to the statement, the craft brewery has dedicated its sanitizer inventory to fulfilling critical needs of the state, including providing the product to health care facilities and first responders.

“I never thought Dogfish Head would be in the sanitizer business. But this is a time of crisis, and necessity is the mother of invention,” Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, said in the statement. “It is our duty to do what we can to keep as many people safe and healthy in our community.”
4:48 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Large increase in firearms purchases during pandemic contributed to background check delays

From CNN's Devon Sayers

A large increase in firearms purchases during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to a delay in background checks for firearms, according to a statement from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

TBI processed a total of 14,657 transactions between March 12 and March 16, the statement said. 

During a comparable five-day period, Feb. 13 through Feb. 17, they processed only 7,901 transactions, according to the statement.

A shortage in staff and an unplanned technical outage also contributed to the delay, the statement said.