March 23 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, James Griffiths, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 9:46 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020
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9:14 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

New York City hospitals will only get through this week without more supplies, mayor says

New York City hospitals will only be able to get through “this week” before they start getting “to a point where people can’t be saved,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” Monday morning.

“In our public hospitals, our 11 public hospitals right now, this week, I can only guarantee you right now, John, that we can get through this week with the equipment and supplies we have. That's the blunt reality," de Blasio said.

He added: "If we don't get some relief quickly, and I can count, John, I literally want to see hundreds of ventilators, I want to see first hundreds of thousands and millions of masks, if that doesn't come in starting this week, we will get to a point where people can't be saved who could have been saved."

More than 34,300 Americans have been infected with coronavirus across all 50 states, and at least 414 people have died. Almost half all US cases — 16,887 — are in New York state.

It's shocking to have to say this. Even just a few days ago, I thought we could get safely into April. It's moving so fast right now, that I can't even say that anymore,” de Blasio said.

“If we don't get ventilators this week, we are going to start losing lives we could have saved. I can't be blunter than that," he said.

Last week they mayor’s office said New York City needs 45 million surgical gowns, coveralls, gloves, and face masks – known as personal protective equipment (PPE) – provided early in April to ensure its healthcare system can deal with coronavirus-related issues.

Watch more:

9:03 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Postponing summer Olympics should be considered, Japan's Olympic head says

From CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo and Aleks Klosok in London

Jae C. Hong/AP
Jae C. Hong/AP

The Head of the Japan Olympic Committee said postponing this summer’s Games should be considered, among other options, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Yasuhiro Yamashita, said: “From the athletes' point of view of safety and security, we have to come to a stage where we cannot help but consider things including postponement […] I would like to say once again it is not decided that the Olympics is not held in July.”

The International Olympic Committee announced yesterday that it had given itself a deadline of four weeks to make a decision on the Games.

Yamashita, though, warned that too long a delay would be a burden to athletes given the possibility of having to qualify again for the Games.

“I think the postponing period shouldn't be long when we think about the athletes and the Olympic village,” he said.

His comments come after both Canada and Australia’s National Olympic Committees said they would not send athletes to Tokyo this year because of the risks associated with the virus. 

The Japan Olympic Committee is scheduled to hold a board meeting in Tokyo on Friday to discuss the status of this summer’s Games.

8:55 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

US Secretary of State slams Iran's Supreme Leader over coronavirus

In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sits prior to address nation on state television, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 22.
In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sits prior to address nation on state television, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 22. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement today slamming Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the regime's handling of the coronavirus outbreak

Pompeo's statement said Iran’s “fabrications” are putting Iranian people and others around the world at “greater risk”. 

Some background: On Sunday Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei floated accusations against the US that they had created the coronavirus, questioning why people would trust the US with creating a cure for the virus. He suggested that the US created the coronavirus to "further antagonize" the Iranian people.  

Pompeo said Iran did not take decisive action and are not being transparent about the number of cases and deaths resulting from the coronavirus. 

“The Iranian regime ignored repeated warnings from its own health officials, and denied its first death from the coronavirus for at least nine days. The regime continues to lie to the Iranian people and the world about the number of cases and deaths, which are unfortunately far higher than the regime admits," Pompeo said in the statement.

Pompeo said Iran refused assistance from the United States to deal with the pandemic. “Khamenei rejected this offer because he works tirelessly to concoct conspiracy theories and prioritizes ideology over the Iranian people,” Pompeo said.

Where things stand in Iran: The country confirmed 1,411 new cases of coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases to 23,049, Health Ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpoor said on state TV Monday.

He said there are 127 new coronavirus-related deaths in the country, bringing the total death toll to 1,812.

8:42 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Trump's retweets signal desire to end social distancing after 15 days

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Trump is sending retweets that seem to be encouraging an end to strong social distancing measures after the current 15-day period, despite concern from public health officials that it won't be long enough to blunt the worst of the coronavirus.

“15 days,” one user tweeted. “Then we isolate the high risk groups and the rest of us get back to work before it’s all over for everyone!! #Landslide2020” 

“Flatten the curve NOT the Economy,” reads a follow up tweet.

“After 15 days are over the world can begin to heal!,” another user tweeted. 

Yesterday, Trump tweeted this:

On Monday he retweeted one user, responding to his original tweet, who wrote, “Correct. 15 days, then we keep the high risk groups protected as necessary and the rest of us go back to work.”

8:39 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

UK prepared to impose stricter distancing measures, as health official calls those who refuse to stay apart "very selfish"

From CNN's Luke McGee and Niamh Kennedy

Pedestrians walk on Primrose Hill with the skyline of central London as a backdrop on Monday, March 23.
Pedestrians walk on Primrose Hill with the skyline of central London as a backdrop on Monday, March 23. Frank Augstein/AP

The British government is prepared to do more to force people to keep apart if necessary, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said Monday.

Pubs and restaurants were told to close across the UK on Friday to curb the spread of coronavirus, but large numbers of people continued to visit parks and beaches across the UK over the weekend, despite government advice to stay home.

“We will look at data to see if people have been interacting. If they have then we will need to take further measures. We are getting data all the time. Discussion are taking place all the time. If we do need to take further measures then we won’t hesitate,” the spokesperson said, adding that public transport and high street footfall data was being monitored "daily."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday UK citizens who fail to practice government-advised social distancing are “very selfish.”

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today program, Hancock said: “If people go within two meters of others who they don’t live with, then they are helping to spread the virus and the consequence of that costs lives and it means that for everyone this will go on longer.”

Hancock added that the UK government have been “clear in their actions” in asking the British public to maintain a distance of 2m (about 6.5 feet) away from all those they don’t live with.

Watching Europe: Hancock said that the UK government is “looking at what other European countries are doing,” adding: “They are further down the curve. They have a higher number of cases than we do here. Now that means we can act sooner and earlier in this epidemic but all the way through we have said that we are prepared to take the actions that are necessary and we are.”

8:30 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

US is "looking into" why young people are getting coronavirus

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said the US is looking into why young people in the country are being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

"So far the demography definitely seems to be very different in the United States versus in other countries that saw this hit earlier," US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on the "Today" show on Monday morning.

"And we're looking into that," Adams told NBC's Savannah Guthrie. 

"There are theories that it could be because we know we have a higher proportion of people in the United States and also in Italy who vape," Adams said. "We don't know if that's the only cause."

In New York state so far, more than half of coronavirus cases — 53% — have been among young people between the ages of 18 and 49, Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted on Sunday.

8:47 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Why the US Surgeon General mentioned Kylie Jenner this morning

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Jean-Baptiste Lacroix/AFP/Getty Images
Jean-Baptiste Lacroix/AFP/Getty Images


US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has been relying on social media influencers, including Kylie Jenner, to spread the word about the seriousness of the novel coronavirus to young people, he said on the "Today" show on Monday morning.

"It's important for young people to know you can get this disease, you can be hospitalized from this disease, you can die from this disease, but most importantly, you can spread it to your loved ones," Adams told NBC's Savannah Guthrie.

Jenner posted a message about the coronavirus to her 167 million followers in an Instagram story, and last week she told her 32 million Twitter followers, "i hope everyone is feeling well! it’s so important right now to self quarantine to ensure we aren’t endangering ourselves or anyone who can’t handle this virus".

"That's why I reached out and I want to give a shout out to Kylie Jenner, who stepped up last week and sent out a message," Adams said. "My daughter and my son said, 'Dad make sure you call out Loren Gray' and I believe it's Roman Atwood. ... This is serious and this includes you." 

8:25 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Nigeria reports its first coronavirus-related death

From CNN's Bukola Adebayo in Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria reported its first coronavirus-related death on Monday, the country's Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said.

The patient was a 67-year-old man who came back to Nigeria in March after undergoing medical treatment in the UK, the NCDC said in a tweet.

He had multiple underlying health conditions including including cancer and diabetes, and he had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments, the statement from the agency said.

Patients discharged: Two people, including an Italian who was the first case of coronavirus diagnosed in the country, have recovered and been discharged from the hospital, authorities said.

8:22 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

'My daughters are safer here than in England,' mayor of Italy's worst-hit area says

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite

Giorgio Gori, mayor of Bergamo, Italy, is pictured in Milan, in January 2018.
Giorgio Gori, mayor of Bergamo, Italy, is pictured in Milan, in January 2018. Omar Bai/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The mayor of Italy’s worst-hit coronavirus area is bringing his daughters home from England because he thinks they are safer in Italy, he told a British news channel on Monday.

I have two daughters. They're studying in England, and when I saw what the British government was thinking about this problem, I decided to bring them back because I think that even if we are at the center of the epidemic, probably they are more secure here than in England," Bergamo mayor Giorgio Gori told Sky News. 
I don't understand why the (British) government did not decide in time to protect citizens.”

The UK government has stopped short of ordering a lockdown across the country and in London after pubs and restaurants were told to close on Friday. Large numbers of people continued to visit parks and beaches across the UK over the weekend despite government advice to stay at home.

Bergamo, north of Milan, is the worst-hit province by coronavirus in Italy with 6216 confirmed cases, according to the Italian Civil Protection department.