March 24 coronavirus news

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2:48 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

The US has more than 50,000 coronavirus cases

There are at least 50,076 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 United States through US public health systems.

At least 646 people have died.

There have already been over 100 deaths reported today due to coronavirus, according to a tally by CNN.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

 

2:37 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

US Treasury Secretary still optimistic there will be a stimulus package deal today

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin moves from one meeting to another as he continues negotiations on a $2 trillion economic stimulus in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, March 24.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin moves from one meeting to another as he continues negotiations on a $2 trillion economic stimulus in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, March 24. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he still hopes to reach a Senate deal on a coronavirus stimulus plan today.

“I would just say we’re trying to finalize all the documents. Going through a lot of complicated issues and we’re making a lot of progress," he said as he went from one meeting to another moments ago.

“Again we’re trying to get a deal as quick as we get a deal. So, I hope it’s tonight. Absolutely. Still think we can get there," he said when asked if there would be a deal tonight. 

Where things stand now: Pressure has been intensifying for days on the Senate to pass a massive stimulus package to respond to the economic fallout of the coronavirus, but yesterday came and went without much action.

After four straight days of marathon negotiations, the Trump administration and senators again failed to secure an agreement on a roughly $2 trillion plan to provide a jolt to the economy and give aid to hard-hit workers and industries.

Leaders emerged from late-night meetings in the Capitol optimistic that a deal could be struck today.

2:32 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Canada's Trudeau says he may impose further border restrictions with US

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

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he and his officials will "shift our posture," if necessary, when it comes to stricter border controls with the United States. 

“We are braced for a broad range of scenarios, we have put contingency plans for next steps depending on what trajectory the virus takes in Canada or indeed around the world," said Trudeau during his daily news conference outside his Ottawa home where he remains in quarantine.

"We are looking at a broad range of things nothing is off the table but we will respond every step of the way with the necessary actions," he said.

Border states including Washington and New York have become Covid-19 hotspots and Canadian officials are becoming more concerned about community spread as hundreds of thousands of Canadians return to the country from the US and beyond.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has tested more than 120,000 Canadians to date and there’s an almost equal mix of travel-related and community spread cases across the country. Canada now has at least 2,500 cases of the virus, with cases spiking by at least 25% Tuesday alone. Canada has reported 25 deaths.

2:34 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

New York City Fire Department says 51 members test positive for coronavirus

FDNY
FDNY

Fifty-one members of the New York City Fire Department have tested positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, according to department spokesperson Jim Long.

The members include firefighters, as well as emergency medical service personnel and other workers.

Long said five people have been hospitalized.

2:24 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

France will launch financial aid package to stem spread of coronavirus to developing nations

The French government will launch a new financial aid package in order to stem the spread of coronavirus to developing nations, with a particular focus on countries within Africa, France's Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday. 

"We will mobilize a financial package of assistance to prevent the epidemic from spreading to regions or subcontinents, which today are not contaminated but tomorrow could be a new risk for us," Le Drian told lawmakers in the French National Assembly. 

"International cooperation and support must absolutely be given to the most vulnerable of the third-world countries, because they are going to need it very quickly," the Foreign Minister added, highlighting Africa as particular area of concern. 

2:24 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Sierra Leone declares 12-month state of "public health emergency"

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio declared a 12-month state of “public health emergency” starting Tuesday in the West African nation to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It has yet to report a case.

Bio, in a televised address to the nation, expressed concerns about the rapid spread of the virus, warning that it could send Sierra Leone into “a state of emergency.”

The country was at the center of the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak that ended with more than 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths.

The President said the coronavirus pandemic poses “enormous” health and economic challenge to citizens and the country’s health facilities and it has become necessary for the government to take critical steps to protect its citizens. He offered no immediate details on what those steps would be during the address.

Bio did say the announcement is not a lockdown and warned against hoarding and hiking of goods and services in the country.

“This is not a lockdown and nobody must use this as an excuse to hoard goods, hike prices, or engage in acts of lawlessness. This public emergency is not meant to make the lives of Sierra Leoneans difficult or unbearable,” he said.

Bio said the government would deploy police and country’s security forces to ensure that citizens comply with public health directives in the country.

“We believe that the actions that we take as a government, will have an impact on the well-being of our beloved nation,” the President said.

Sierra Leone had banned overseas travel for public officials last week and prohibited gathering of more than 100 people as a precautionary measure against the virus.

2:19 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Italians could be fined more than $3,000 if they don't comply with coronavirus restrictions

A view shows a deserted street in Vertova near Bergamo, Lombardy, on March 24, 2020, a village of some 5,000 inhabitants where 36 people have died of coronavirus in 23 days.
A view shows a deserted street in Vertova near Bergamo, Lombardy, on March 24, 2020, a village of some 5,000 inhabitants where 36 people have died of coronavirus in 23 days. Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Italy will impose higher fines for people who defy coronavirus emergency regulations, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday. 

People who violate the emergency measures will be slapped with fines ranging from 400 to 3,000 euros — or $435 to $3,225, Conte said. 

The latest in Italy: In Codogno — the village in Lombardy where the first big cluster of Covid-19 was reported at the beginning of the epidemic in Italy — had no new cases on Tuesday, Giulio Gallera, Lombardy’s health assessor said in a news conference.

“We know there are hospitals completely full of patients, in particular in the area of Bergamo were two hospitals are at their maximum capacity: the Pope John XXII hospital has 417 Covid-19 patients and the other hospital has 424 Covid-19 patients,” Gallera said.  

He thanked the Italian military for its assistance in building a field hospital in Crema.

2:15 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks close during coronavirus outbreak

Old Faithful geyser erupts in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on June 11, 2019
Old Faithful geyser erupts in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on June 11, 2019 Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will be closed to visitors until further notice during the coronavirus outbreak.

"The National Park Service listened to the concerns from our local partners and, based on current health guidance, temporarily closed the parks,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly and Grand Teton Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said in a statement.

They added: “We are committed to continued close coordination with our state and local partners as we progress through this closure period and are prepared when the timing is right to reopen as quickly and safely as possible.”  

2:08 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Trump says that he and coronavirus task force doctor "get along very well"

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

 

President Trump said Tuesday that he still has a good relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the coronavirus task force member who leads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. 

“We get along very well,” Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall.

“I think it’s very good,” he said of his relationship with Fauci. “You would have heard about it if it wasn’t.”

Asked why Fauci wasn’t at the town hall today, Trump said, “You know, they have other things to do. And yesterday we weren’t really talking about what he’s an expert on. We were talking about other things.”

The President complained that when a task force member isn’t seen at a briefing or meeting, the press is quick to ask why they aren’t there.

“I respect all of these people. These are great people,” Trump said. He called Dr. Deborah Birx and Fauci “extraordinary.”

Earlier in the town hall, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams asserted that the President listens to his health experts, including Fauci, about the coronavirus.