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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11:28 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans must now sequester

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced that 100% of non-essential workers must stay home.

This comes only a day after California's governor took similar measure, locking down the entire state of nearly 40 million.

These two states taking these measure means that one in five Americans now must sequester themselves due to the outbreak.

11:30 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

These are the rules for the most vulnerable groups

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a series of rules all New Yorkers in the most vulnerable groups should follow in order to protect themselves from coronavirus.

This group includes seniors, those with compromised immune systems and people with underlying illnesses. 

Here are the rules:

  • Remain indoors
  • Can go outside for solitary exercise
  • Pre-screen all visitors and aides by taking their temperature
  • Do not visit households with multiple people
  • All vulnerable persons should wear a mask when in he company of others
  • To the greatest extent possible, everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask
  • Always stay at least six feet away from individuals
  • Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary
11:38 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

New York governor mandates all non-essential workers must stay home

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced that 100% of non-essential workers should stay home. Only essential businesses will be functioning.

Cuomo is calling it "New York state on pause."

"We need everyone to be safe, otherwise no one can be safe," Cuomo said.

"This is the most drastic action we can take," Cuomo said.


11:20 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

New York governor: "Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is in dire need of ventilators to battle coronavirus, calling ventilators "the key piece of equipment."

"If you are a regulated health facility, we are asking you by order of the Department of Health to make that ventilator available. We will purchase it from you. You could lend it to us. But we need ventilators," Cuomo said.

He said that anyone in possession of ventilators that can be sold or loaned to New York should contact the state Department of Health.

"We need those ventilators. The ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II."

11:21 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

New York governor calls on medical students, retired medical professionals to help

State of New York
State of New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on retired medical professionals and medical school students to help with the growing number of infected people visiting New York hospitals.

Cuomo said this personnel is necessary because hospitals have been instructed to operate at "maximum capacity."

"We want to know from each hospital how many beds can you get in your hospital. We're waiving the department of health and DFS regulations about space, et cetera. This would be for short-term emergency basis, but we want to plan from every hospital, if you use every available space how many beds can you get in the hospital. And we started that a few weeks ago, but that is now coming to a critical point. With more beds, you need more staff. So we're going to nursing schools, medical schools, asking retired doctors and nurses to come back into service," Cuomo said.
11:17 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

New York governor: We will pay premium price for medial protective equipment

State of New York
State of New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said manufacturers of masks, ventilators and other medical protective equipment should contact his office, and he will pay a premi

"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. They're not complicated, a mask is not a complicated item to make. A PPE gown is not a complicated item. Gloves, nitrile gloves are not a complicated item. If you will make them, we will give you funding to do it," Cuomo said.


More context: Earlier today, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said on CNN that New York City will run out of medical supplies in 2 to 3 weeks.

Ventilators are the greatest need, according to Cuomo.

11:00 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

American Heart Association offers advice for heart attack and stroke survivors amid pandemic

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

During the current coronavirus pandemic, it is "more important than ever" for heart attack and stroke survivors to reduce the risk of another event and "avoid busy hospitals," the American Heart Association said in a statement Friday.

"Based on current information, it appears elderly people with coronary heart disease or hypertension are more likely to be infected and to develop more severe symptoms. Stroke survivors may face increased risk for complications if they get Covid-19," the statement said.

The AHA noted that after a heart attack or stroke, as many as 1 in 4 survivors will have another one. To prevent a heart attack or stroke, the AHA offered these tips:

  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Manage your risk factors by quitting smoking, eating healthy, staying active
  • Keep any follow-up appointments with your doctor and see if virtual visits are possible
  • Participate in a cardiac rehab program virtually
  • Get support from loved ones as needed when you feel overwhelmed, scared or confused
11:01 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

National Spelling Bee postpones annual competition

From CNN's David Close

Students fill the stage during the second round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on  May 28, 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland.
Students fill the stage during the second round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 28, 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/FILE

Organizers of the Scripps National Spelling Bee have suspended the annual event due to the on-going coronavirus threat.

The competition that pits over 500 spellers, all of whom are 15 years-old or younger but have not passed eighth grade, was set to start on May 24 in Oxon Hill, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC.

Scripps said in statement it would attempt to reschedule the 93rd competition later this year.

What happened last year: The competition featured an epic ending with eight co-champions.

After 20 rounds and a run of 47 correct words, Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao, and Rohan Raja were all crowned winners.

10:58 a.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Marriott to furlough most associates at its headquarters

From CNN’s Jordan Valinsky


Marriott's furloughs, which previously were only for its hotel workers, are now hitting the corporate level.

The world's largest hotel chain confirmed to CNN Business that it's moving to shortened work weeks at its corporate headquarters and it's putting many of its employees on temporary leaves that could last as long as three months. 

The changes will "impact most associates" at the Bethesda, Maryland-based company, a spokesperson said.

Marriott shares are up 22% in early trading because of hopes of a stimulus package from the US government.