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
157 Posts
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6:50 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Alabama's governor activates its national guard

Gov. Kay Ivey has authorized the activation of up to 100 Alabama National Guardsmen on an as needed basis in response to novel coronavirus, a statement from her office said.

The activation was done as a preparedness measure, the statement read, and that the guard had no "determined need for formal assistance" right now.

“I want to ensure Alabamians that our National Guard stands ready to be part of this team effort to combat this invisible enemy," Ivey said in the statement. “My administration has been given clear instructions to do everything possible to ensure the continuity of government while being flexible and responsible to the needs of our state."
6:48 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Miami Beach orders all hotels to shut down and establishes curfew

From CNN's Sara Weisfeldt

Lynne Sladky/AP
Lynne Sladky/AP

All hotels in Miami Beach have been ordered to shut down, and a new city-wide curfew will soon take effect, according to a city statement.

Hotels and commercial lodging establishments have also been ordered to evacuate all guests and renters from their premises by 11:59 p.m. Monday, the statement said. 

A city-wide curfew will also go into effect starting Tuesday from 12 a.m. until 5 a.m. until further notice, the statement said.

6:51 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Someone in vice president's office tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Alex Brandon/AP/File
Alex Brandon/AP/File

Neither President Donald Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence had close contact with somebody in the vice president's office who has tested positive for coronavirus, Pence's press secretary said Friday.

“‪This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus," Pence's press secretary Katie Miller said. "Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual. Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines.”


6:45 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

French city of Nice imposes curfew to fight coronavirus

From CNN’s Mia Alberti in Lisbon

Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images
Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

The city of Nice in France will impose a curfew beginning Saturday night to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Bernard Gonzalez, prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes, told CNN affiliate BFM TV the curfew will be imposed to “stop the gathering of people in the streets.” 

“All who need to circulate can circulate: health professionals that need to keep moving around, as well as taxis,” Gonzalez said.

“But this is essentially to stop gatherings of people in the streets, even tonight in the center of Nice we are still seeing gatherings of young people. "

Gonzalez added the curfew will start at 11 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET) and run until 5 a.m. (12 a.m. ET).

6:36 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers close over coronavirus concerns

From CNN's Evan Perez

The Department of Homeland Security, citing the effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, shut down the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers on Friday.

The academy trains thousands of future officers and agents for 90 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies around the country. This means thousands of agents training to join DHS and other agencies, including Postal Inspection Service, ATF and others, are going home.

It also poses a potential problem as agents and officers for those agencies retire and aren’t replaced by new people who the agencies were counting on. 

6:45 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Officials consider "Covid wards" and "self test" to ease strain on health care system

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

Alex Brandon/AP/File
Alex Brandon/AP/File

US officials are looking into a number of options to increase hospital capacity and ease the strain on protective gear like gowns and masks, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Friday.

Hospitals may consider "creating Covid wards," similar to what has happened abroad. They are checking the availability of Veterans Affairs hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.

"Now that we asked people to give up elective surgeries, that opens up a large number of beds that are already fitted with ventilators that can be utilized," Birx said.

In addition to utilizing industrial N95 masks, Birx expressed interest in developing an option for people to "self test" for the virus. 

If that becomes a reality, "then we could really eliminate the amount of personal protective devices needed in the testing arena," she said.

"So we're looking at all of these things to be both sparing of our current supplies as well as finding new innovations to expand our supply."


6:23 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Andy Cohen, television host and producer, says he's tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Megan Thomas

Andy Cohen, a television producer and host of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live," announced in an Instagram post on Friday that he's tested positive for coronavirus.

"After a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great, I have tested positive for coronavirus," Cohen wrote. "As much as I felt like I could push through whatever I was feeling to do #WWHL from home, we’re putting a pin in that for now so I can focus on getting better.  I want to thank all the medical professionals who are working tirelessly for all of us, and urge everybody to stay home and take care of themselves."

In recent years, Cohen has also served as co-host of CNN's New Year's Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper.

Read his full post:

6:25 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Ohio announces first coronavirus death

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

A 76-year-old Lucas County man is the first death due to Covid-19 in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine and Health Director Amy Acton announced Friday.

There are currently 169 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ohio.

DeWine ordered on Friday all of Ohio's senior centers and adult day care services to stop providing care in settings, where more than 10 people, including staff and providers, are in a confined space.

6:21 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

US official implies about 170,000 Americans have been tested for novel coronavirus

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

The United States may have tested roughly 170,000 people so far, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Friday.

"I know that in general our positivity rate is between 9 and 11%," Birx said. "If 90% are negative, you can do the calculation of how many tests we have done." 

There are currently more than 17,000 confirmed cases in the United States.

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters that "tens of thousands of tests are being performed every day."

On Friday, President Trump said, "We have now a great system. And it's almost fully in gear, but it's able to test millions of people."

Currently, testing occurs through a variety of channels, including public health labs, hospitals and commercial labs. US health officials have said they are working on a system to share that data with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as required by law.

Birx said she expects numbers to rise sharply over the coming days as labs run through a backlog of tests, as well.