March 22 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 10:30 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020
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5:44 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

There are now more than 30,000 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

There are at least 30,565 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health’s tally of cases that are detected and tested in the country through US public health systems.

Health care workers administer a coronavirus test at a drive-through testing facility in Jericho, New York, on March 21.
Health care workers administer a coronavirus test at a drive-through testing facility in Jericho, New York, on March 21. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

So far, 384 people have died in the US.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, Washington, DC, and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

2:53 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Opera singer Placido Domingo tests positive for novel coronavirus

From CNN's Natasha Chen

Opera singer Placido Domingo performs in Hamburg, Germany, in 2019.
Opera singer Placido Domingo performs in Hamburg, Germany, in 2019. Christian Charisius/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

Opera singer Placido Domingo has tested positive for Covid-19, the artist confirmed on his Facebook page.

"I feel it is my moral duty to announce to you that I have tested positive for COVID19. My Family and I are all in self-isolation for as long as it is deemed medically necessary," the Spanish singer said.

Domingo added he is currently in good health but had experienced "fever and cough symptoms."

Some background: Domingo, a world-renowned opera singer, resigned as general director of Los Angeles Opera last year, after accusations of sexual harassment.

On March 10th, CNN’s Stephanie Elam reported that L.A. Opera’s independent investigation into 10 allegations of sexual harassment by Domingo were found to be credible. Domingo willingly participated in an interview but denied all allegations.

5:45 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

IOC will consider rescheduling Olympics, says cancellation not on the agenda

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Theh Iternational Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 22.
Theh Iternational Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 22. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee executive board announced Sunday that the group has decided to step up scenario-planning for the 2020 Tokyo Games in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The options that the IOC are currently considering include modifying operational plans to allow the games to begin on schedule on July 24 as well as changing the start date for the games. 

The IOC said it is confident that it will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks. This scenario-planning will allow for the best decision in the interest of the athletes and everyone else involved, the IOC added.

The IOC executive board decided that cancellation of the Tokyo Games would not solve any problems or help anybody, and thus decided cancellation is not on the agenda.

The IOC points out that conditions in Japan have improved significantly, though globally there has been a dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases.

5:45 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Boston Police Department officer tests positive

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A member of the Boston Police department has tested positive for coronavirus, according to Sgt. Detective John Boyle.

Authorities were notified last night and are conducting a thorough cleaning of the facility where the officer was stationed at.

The male officer will remain at home until medically cleared, Boyle said.

Public health officials are looking into contact tracing from this infected officer, Boyle said.

The department, which has about 2,000 officers, continues to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first responder guidelines with regards to protocols in the wake of the virus.

Boyle said the health and safety of department members is the utmost priority.

6:03 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

A New York hospital system is barring visitors, including partners, during childbirth

From CNN Health’s Michael Nedelman

A health care system in New York is no longer allowing visitors, including partners, for its patients about to give birth, citing coronavirus risk.

"For the time being, we really do need to exclude all visitors, including partners, for women admitted in labor," Dr. Dena Goffman, chief of obstetrics at Columbia University Medical Center, said Sunday during a daily leadership briefing for the NewYork-Presbyterian health care system.

Goffman described the move as a "very difficult decision and not one taken lightly."

NewYork-Presbyterian has also made the decision to test all women in labor who are admitted to labor and delivery units for Covid-19, regardless of symptoms.

Goffman said there had been a number of patients with little to no symptoms upon admission, and others with atypical symptoms, who were later found to test positive for the novel coronavirus. Moreover, "many symptoms of labor and of pregnant women really mimic some of the symptoms of Covid-19," including fatigue and shortness of breath, she added.

"As a result, these women were not identified by our usual screening, infection prevention and control, or testing processes, and therefore our practices for protection for Covid-19 were not implemented. In this case, many staff members were exposed," Goffman said. 

Testing women in labor, she added, would allow doctors to isolate newborns who may have been exposed to the virus, thus preventing outbreaks in neonatal ICUs and well-baby nurseries. 

Absent in-person visitors for these patients, Goffman said the hospital system was looking into ways to allow families to participate virtually in childbirth, perhaps through tablet computers.

"We recognize that we will need to provide additional support for moms, as well as mom and baby pairs, as they're in the hospital through the duration of their stay," she said.

2:22 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

UK to introduce "shielding measures" for vulnerable people amid coronavirus outbreak

Ian Vogler/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Ian Vogler/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's 1.5 million most vulnerable citizens are being told to stay at home for the next 12 weeks to help shield them from coronavirus.

Communities Minister Robert Jenrick says authorities will be writing to those who’ve been identified to offer them assistance to maintain social distancing during the outbreak. This includes providing food, so they don’t have to leave the house 

The announcement was made at Sunday’s daily press briefing at Downing Street, alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson said the measures being announced today were foreshadowed in the government’s response plan.

“This shielding will do more than any other single measure that we are setting out, to save life,” Johnson said.
2:12 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Spain to extend coronavirus state of emergency as deaths soar

From CNN's Rob Picheta

Spain plans to extend its state of emergency for another 15 days, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Sunday, as the number of Covid-19 deaths soars in the country.

Sanchez addressed citizens in a televised briefing on Sunday, after meeting with health and security officials.

He said he expected Parliament to approve his request to lengthen the order, which has been in place for over a week.

By the numbers: It comes with the country's death toll from the virus accelerating. The country's health ministry said on Sunday that another 394 had died in just the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed fatalities to 1,720.

2:14 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

German chancellor goes into self-quarantine

From CNN’s Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going into home quarantine immediately, after a doctor who gave her a vaccination on Friday has tested positive for coronavirus, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert announced in a press statement on Sunday.

Seibert also stated that the chancellor will continuously be tested for coronavirus because a test at this early stage would not be reliable. Merkel will continue her full workload from her quarantine, Seibert added.

Earlier Sunday: Germany has implemented a "contact ban" rather than a full nationwide lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, Merkel said.

Merkel said in a press conference Sunday that the country would toughen measures and "reduce contact with people as much as possible."


2:36 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Half of patients tested at one New York health care system yesterday were positive for Covid-19

From CNN Health’s Michael Nedelman

NewYork-Presbyterian performed more than 500 tests for the novel coronavirus Saturday, and 50% came out positive.

"That's very high," Chief Operating Officer Dr. Laura L. Forese said in a leadership briefing Sunday.

Forese said the hospitals had 558 Covid-19 inpatients, and about 1 in 5 are receiving ICU care.

That number "is a snapshot. It's changing probably as I'm speaking to you today," she said. "We have many more who have been sent home, either Covid-positive tested, or presumed to have that."

Some context: Like other health care systems around the country, NewYork-Presbyterian is not able to test every patient for Covid-19, citing a shortage of swab kits.

Of nearly 30,000 cases in the United States, more than 15,000 are in New York state, including more than 9,000 in New York City.