March 23 coronavirus news

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6:29 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

More than 100 deaths reported in single day, brings US total to over 500

Health workers work at a drive-through coronavirus testing station in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 23.
Health workers work at a drive-through coronavirus testing station in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 23. John Moore/Getty Images

State health officials reported more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, according to CNN Health's Tally. 

This brings to the total deaths nationwide in the United States to 520, with the state of New York having the most deaths in a single state with 157.

5:57 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Oregon issues stay-at-home order

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is clamping down on nonessential activities in the state, issuing a new executive order that requires residents to stay home whenever possible.��

Nonessential businesses must also close immediately, including gyms, malls, spas, clubs and salons.

“If businesses are not complying with this order, we will shut them down,” Brown said. 
9:17 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Florida governor will issue order mandating self-isolation for travelers from New York and New Jersey

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he is issuing an executive order that calls for a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travelers coming from airports in New York and New Jersey.

“Today there’s over 190 direct flights from the New York City area to the state of Florida, and I would reckon, given the outbreak there, that every single flight has somebody on it who’s positive for Covid-19,” DeSantis said at a news conference.

There are at least 1,171 cases of coronavirus and 13 deaths in Florida, according to CNN Health’s tally of US cases.

DeSantis said travelers will be met by local or state law enforcement, as well as personnel from the Florida Department of Health. Passengers will also be subject to temperature checks, DeSantis said. Passengers planning to stay with family in Florida would not be exempt from the order.

DeSantis said the order “will go out today."

The governor said he believes New York State’s shelter-in-place order may have contributed a surge in visitors to his state.

“As soon as that shelter-in-place order came down from the New York governor, man, the flights took off and people just got the heck out of Dodge,” DeSantis said. “We’re just ending up having to deal with this.”
5:36 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Georgia's bars and nightclubs will shut down starting noon Tuesday

Georgia’s bars and nightclubs will shut down beginning noon Tuesday until April 6, according to the governor's executive order.

Gatherings of 10 or more people are also prohibited as part of the order as well as a “shelter-in-place” for all elderly residents and those with compromised immune systems.

5:35 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Trudeau tells Canadians: "Enough is enough. Go home and stay home."

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP
Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from his home in Ottawa on Monday, had a message for Canadians who choose to ignore social distancing advice: "Enough is enough. Go home and stay home." 

Trudeau reiterated the need for self-distancing, saying, "If you choose to ignore that advice, if you choose to get together with people or go to crowded places, you are not just putting yourself at risk, you are putting others at risk too."

He went on to warn Canadians, saying, "We are going to make sure this happens. Whether by educating people more on the risks or by enforcing the rules if that is needed. Nothing that could help is off the table."

There are at least 1,432 cases of coronavirus and 20 deaths in Canada.  

5:22 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Pennsylvania issues stay-at-home order for 7 counties

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a stay-at-home order for seven counties in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, according to a statement from his office.

The counties include Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.

The order takes effect at 8 p.m. ET on Monday and will continue until at least April 6, the statement said.

Individuals will only be permitted to leave their homes for essential activities, such as seeking medical care and getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, according to the statement.

A number of operations are exempt from the order, including health care services, news media, law enforcement, and religious institutions, Wolf said.

6:24 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Hiking trails closed in Los Angeles County due to overcrowding

People gather on a hiking trail at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, on March 22.
People gather on a hiking trail at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, on March 22. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Hiking trails throughout Los Angeles County are too crowded to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, so they are being shut down entirely, Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced at a news conference.

All beach parking lots are also being closed, Barger said. Parks and Recreation facilities in Los Angeles have been closed since Thursday.

Barger encouraged people to walk around their neighborhoods, but warned residents to "keep to the six-foot rule"

Health Director Barbara Ferrer said social distancing isn’t just sometimes — “it’s all the time.”

5:07 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Army field hospitals will arrive in NYC and Seattle within the next "72 hours or less"

Within the next “72 hours or less,” New York and Seattle should expect Army field hospitals to arrive in their cities by truck and start setting up, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley told a group of reporters Monday.

Each hospital has 248 beds of which 48 are ICU beds.

The mobile hospitals also each come with 11 ventilators. Several mobile military medical facilities are on “prepare to deploy” orders, but these two are expected to be among the first to go.

5:40 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

UK's Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown today — but what took him so long?

Boris Johnson has just imposed the most stringent social restrictions on the British public since the end of the World War II.

With immediate effect, the public is being instructed by the prime minister to stay at home. The only exceptions are: shopping for basic necessities; one form of exercise a day; any medical need; and, for the designated key workers, traveling to and from work. If they don't follow the rules, police will have the power to enforce the rules by dispersing gatherings and fines. 

The move comes after weeks of criticism that the Johnson has not taken the coronavirus outbreak seriously enough, as Britain's European counterparts had moved faster and harder. In fact, even after this latest announcement, the UK's response is still behind countries like Germany, France and Italy. 

What's taken him so long? Johnson is not naturally comfortable with removing anyone's personal liberties. Throughout his career, Johnson has been disparaging about ideas of the "nanny state" and disdainful of the political instincts of those who use the state to tell the public what to do.

In a 2004 newspaper column, Johnson wrote of a proposed smoking ban: "We should have the common sense to listen to others before we presume to act in their interests." Mocking those who were in favor of the ban, he wrote: "Next thing, I said, you'll be wanting to ban drink in order to remove any temptation to get drunk, or ban cars, to avoid ever being tempted to drive too fast…" 

Johnson's reluctance to tell others what to do goes beyond gags about drinks. In the same column, he made reference to the Iraq war — and attacked the government of the time (now the opposition Labour party) who "decided, from a position of such ignorance, that the best way to help Iraq was to kill so many of its people."

This stuff runs deep for Johnson. He has spent decades honing his image as a liberal Conservative who believes people should be free to live their lives how they wish. It is a seam which has run through his entire professional career: from editing magazines to running the official Brexit campaign. Johnson has for years defined his political views as driven by personal liberty. 

It might go some way to explaining why the new rules might be a little less drastic than they initially sound. Yes, the police can break up gatherings of people and impose fines, but no mention of detention (which would be defensible under human rights law). And the rules will be reviewed in three weeks, the prime minister's advisers were keen to remind journalists. 

Yes, these measures are a big deal for the UK, as it slowly comes to terms with how serious this crisis really is. But Johnson will hope that the message towards the end of his address, "no Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this," will have reached the audience at home. And his team will be crossing their fingers that whenever these measures are lifted, it's remembered that this was done with the heaviest of hearts.