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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1:44 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

New York reports 114 coronavirus-related deaths

From CNN's Sheena Jones and Melanie Schuman

New York has 15,168 confirmed Covid-19 cases across the state, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a press conference Sunday morning. 

So far, 114 people have died in New York from the disease, Cuomo added.

At least 61,401 people have been tested for the coronavirus across the state.  

Some context: On Saturday morning. New York State reported a total of about 12,260 coronavirus cases and 70 deaths.

1:16 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Russia is flying doctors and supplies to Italy to help with its coronavirus response

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow and Livia Borghese in Rome

A nurse stands next to a pre-triage tent outside a hospital in Cremona, near Milan.
A nurse stands next to a pre-triage tent outside a hospital in Cremona, near Milan.

Russia is sending equipment and teams of doctors to Italy, as the nation continues to battle its worsening coronavirus outbreak.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said Sunday it had started flying 100 doctors and virologists, along with disinfection equipment, to the country.

The first Il-76 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces departed Sunday from Moscow’s Chkalovsky military airfield with Russian military specialists and equipment aboard, the Russian military said in a statement. 

Nine Il-76 transport aircraft, with military doctors, special vehicles for disinfecting and other medical equipment on board, will land today at the military airport of Pratica di Mare, the Italian defense ministry added. 

Some context: This news came a day after telephone conversations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the defense ministers of both countries.

According to a Kremlin readout, Russia agreed to provide assistance on Italy’s request, including protective equipment, KAMAZ truck-mounted units used for disinfection, medical and other equipment.

“Italy is not alone in this challenge,” Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini said after speaking with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu by phone late Saturday, according to a readout. “I want to thank Russia for the help it is giving our country to overcome this emergency.”

The view from Russia: Putin’s move came in for some criticism at home. Russian officials have faced questions about shortages of protective equipment for medical workers, and the city of Moscow is scrambling to complete a medical facility for coronavirus patients.

Anastasia Vasilyeva, a doctor for Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and leader of the Alliance of Doctors union, wrote a sardonic post on Twitter about Russia’s move to help Italy. 

“Is Putin our president at all?” she wrote. “We have a shortage of doctors, they do not have protective equipment, they are sewing masks from gauze. How many times have we asked them to be provided. And then he sends help to Italy. Does he not care about his country?”

Putin and Russian officials claim they have been proactive in combating the spread of coronavirus in Russia. The country’s coronavirus tracking headquarters says Russia has 367 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

12:43 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Florida to receive 2 million N95 masks this week

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The state of Florida has 300,000 N95 masks and will be receiving 2 million more this week, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said during a Sunday press conference.

The masks will be distributed to healthcare facilities and workers in various state departments, Moskowitz said.

The division is setting up field hospitals in Broward and Miami-Dade counties to increase capacity. Each will be able to accommodate 250 people, according to Moskowitz. 

They have procured 3,000 beds, which includes ICU beds, in order to increase the capacity available to respond to the coronavirus, Moskowitz said.

There are also 300 nurses on standby and 300 medics with the National Guard available to respond as needed, Moskowitz said.

12:45 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Pelosi says no deal yet on stimulus bill, House Democrats will introduce their own

From CNN's Ted Barrett, Kristin Wilson and Lauren Fox

Speaker Pelosi speaks to the press on March 13.
Speaker Pelosi speaks to the press on March 13. Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departed the a meeting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office and said there is no deal yet on the coronavirus economic stimulus bill, adding that the House will introduce its own bill — something that could significantly draw out the process to finalize the legislation.

Some context: The massive emergency aid package being negotiated on Capitol Hill has grown to roughly $2 trillion as bicameral, bipartisan leaders come together Sunday to try and clinch a final agreement, according to two people directly involved in the talks.

12:21 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Emirates Group suspends passenger flights and cuts staff salaries amid coronavirus outbreak

From CNN’s Clare Duffy

Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Emirates Group is temporarily suspending passenger flights — maintaining just its cargo operations — because of coronavirus.

The Dubai-based airline plans to halt passenger services as of March 25, it said in a statement Sunday. Emirates is also taking a number of other cost-cutting measures, including reducing operations at its air services division, Dnata, and a temporary cut to most employees' basic salaries.

Some context: The announcement comes as airlines around the world grapple with a massive loss of business as demand for air travel dries up amid the coronavirus outbreak. Around the world, coronavirus cases have topped 300,000, nearly 13,000 people have died and many countries and local jurisdictions have implemented travel restrictions to stop the spread.

US airlines say they have seen a "virtual shutdown" in air domestic travel, and some wonder if federal officials will ground many or all domestic flights. The US airline industry is seeking about $50 billion in federal help to deal with the crisis.

5:51 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Nearly 1 in 10 of Italy's infected are health care workers

From CNN’s Livia Borghese, Valentina Di Donato, Nicola Ruotolo and John Fiegener in Rome.

A medical worker tends to a patient in a hospital in Lombardy.
A medical worker tends to a patient in a hospital in Lombardy.

A total of 4,826 health care workers in Italy have been infected by the novel coronavirus, according to the latest information Sunday from Italy’s National Health Institute (ISS). 

That means some 9% of those infected nationwide by Covid-19 are health care workers.  

Italy’s National Federation of Surgeons and Dentists is publishing a record of doctors who have contracted and died of Covid-19 since the start of the outbreak. It lists 18 doctors who have passed away since March 11; of those, 15 are from Lombardy, the hardest-hit region and the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak.

It is unclear if each of the doctors listed was directly battling the coronavirus outbreak and treating the infected.

Among those doctors who have died is Marcello Natali, 57, who died on March 18, according to the federation website.  

Natali, as reported by local media, had been a vocal critic of the initial Italian government response to the outbreak, and also sounded the alarm on the dearth of medical supplies.

Also among the doctors who have died is Francesco Foltrani, 67, who died on March 19. The federation says Foltrani had in-person contact with a local retirement home where many of the elderly residents were known to have contracted coronavirus.  

By the numbers: There are approximately 53,578 confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center

5:51 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Fauci says 'there isn't, fundamentally, a difference' between his view and Trump's on coronavirus

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said there is a problem with people trying to separate himself and President Trump when it comes to their approaches to the coronavirus crisis, but that “there isn’t, fundamentally, a difference there.” 

Fauci, in an interview on CBS "Face the Nation," was asked about the President’s tweet on Saturday in which he stated that a mixture of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could help people suffering from Covid-19. 

"HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine ..." Trump tweeted on Saturday.  

When asked on Sunday where the President got that information, Fauci said Trump had heard about this combination of drugs from anecdotal reports.

“I am not disagreeing with the fact that, anecdotally, they might work but my job is to prove definitely from a scientific standpoint that they do work,” Fauci said, adding that people trying to separate himself and the President, but they approach these issues from differing standpoints; the President from a “hope, layperson standpoint” and Fauci from a “scientific standpoint."
12:00 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

There are at least 29,235 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

There are at least 29,235 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the country through public health systems.

So far, 371 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.

11:57 a.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Pelosi warns House Democrats not ready to sign on to stimulus bill

From CNN's Ted Barrett, Kristin Wilson and Lauren Fox

Speaker Pelosi speaks to the press on March 13.
Speaker Pelosi speaks to the press on March 13. Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounded an ominous warning Sunday that she may not support an emerging coronavirus economic stimulus bill that had been on a fast track through the Congress this weekend. 

“From my standpoint, we’re apart,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol when asked if she expected a deal today.

Pelosi spoke as she arrived at a critical meeting of the top four congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to finalize the bill, which has been the subject of intense negotiations on the Senate side for days. 

The Senate did consider input from Pelosi and House committees who worked through Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to provide it.

On Saturday, Schumer signaled he might accept the bill. But on Sunday morning, Democratic sources said they had uncovered numerous problems with provisions dealing with aid to workers and loan assistance to businesses. 

What could happen next: If Pelosi doesn’t support the bill, Senate Democrats could stall action on the bill by blocking a procedural motion set for a vote Sunday afternoon.

The House Speaker also could change it when the bill goes to the House if it passes the Senate Monday, as Senate Republicans and the White House want. 

That could slow getting out the much-needed aid to workers and businesses. Pressure would mount — from Wall Street to Main Street — on Pelosi and House Democrats if they don’t act quickly.