March 24 coronavirus news

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6:47 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

New York City will close streets to create outdoor space for residents

From CNN's Laura Ly

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

New York City will initiate a pilot program of closing two streets per borough for outdoor exercise and for people to get fresh air, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

The city is aiming to get these sites closed to traffic and open to New York City residents by Thursday. Every site will have authorities who will enforce social distancing policies, de Blasio said. 

For now, playgrounds and parks remain open in the city, but the city is working with state and local officials to maximize education and enforcement.

The city will continue to monitor the situation until Saturday evening, at which point they will decide whether residents are adhering to social distancing policies well enough, or if they need to close playgrounds for the foreseeable future.

Citi Bike will also over a free 30-day membership for “essential workers,” de Blasio said.

6:44 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Trump says a "big part" of Dow surge today was due to his work on getting country "open as soon possible"

From CNN's Allie Malloy

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said that a “big part” of the stock market and the Dow’s surge today was due to his work to get the country “open as soon possible” as well as the potential deal reached on the Hill.

“This is very encouraging and I think part of the reason is looking what is close to being passed and I think a very big part of it is they see that we want to get our country open as soon as possible. They see we’re working very hard on that. That’s a very big factor I think in today’s historic gain,” Trump told reporters in the briefing room on Tuesday.

US stocks ended in the green on Tuesday, recouping all of Monday’s losses as investors grew optimistic about the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

“The legislation developed in the Senate is the first step to restoring confidence and stability to America’s economy,” Trump added.

Trump also mistakenly claimed that today was the biggest one day gain for the Dow in history. In reality, it was the biggest one day gain for the Dow since 1933. 

Watch:

7:02 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Anyone who was in New York should self-quarantine, White House coronavirus official says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

The administration remains “deeply concerned about New York City and the New York metro area,” Dr. Deborah Birx said Tuesday, providing additional information on the hotspot and urging anyone who may have left the area to self-quarantine. 

“About 56% of all the cases in the United States are coming out of that metro area and 60% of all the new cases are coming out of the metro New York Area and 31% of the people succumbing to this disease,” Birx said at Tuesday’s press briefing. 

“It means, because they are still at the 31% mortality compared to the other regions of the country, that we can have a huge impact if we unite together. This means that, as in all places, they have to be following the presidential guidelines … and this will be critical,” she said. 

Birx sounded an alarm for any New Yorkers who may have left the region for other parts of the country in recent days.

“To everyone who has left New York over the last few days, because of the rate of the number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left New York and I think like Gov. DeSantis has put out today, everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others. No matter where they have gone whether it’s Florida or North Carolina or out to the far reaches of Long Island,” she said.

Birx said they are “starting to see new cases across Long Island: That suggest people have left the city.”

She explained that the self-quarantine should be timed based on 14 days after they left the New York area.

President Trump wouldn’t say whether he gave New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo a heads-up that guidance for New Yorkers to self-quarantine was coming Tuesday. 

“We’re talking to them about it,” Trump said as he left the briefing room, in response to a question from CNN's Kaitlan Collins. 

Watch:

6:16 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Trump says his authorization of the Defense Production Act serves as "leverage"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

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

President Trump suggested Tuesday that his recent authorization of the Defense Production Act serves as enough “leverage” to compel companies to produce medical supplies without invoking the act to force them to start up production.

“Private companies are heeding our call to produce medical equipment and supplies because they know that we will not hesitate to invoke the DPA in order to get them to do what they have to do,” Trump said during a White House press briefing. “It’s called leverage. … The threat of it being there is great leverage. Companies are doing as we ask, even better than that.”

Trump continued: “We didn’t have to exercise or utilize the DPA in any way. The fact that we have it helps but we didn’t have to and for the most part we won’t have to.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency describes the act as "the primary source of presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space and homeland security programs."

6:27 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Spain requests NATO assistance to tackle coronavirus pandemic 

From CNN's Ingrid Formanek in Madrid 

Members of Spain's Military Emergency Unit wait outside the Palacio de Hielo ice rink in Madrid, Spain, on March 24.
Members of Spain's Military Emergency Unit wait outside the Palacio de Hielo ice rink in Madrid, Spain, on March 24. Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) has received a formal request from Spain's Ministry of Defense for international humanitarian assistance, NATO confirmed Monday in a statement, highlighting both medical and personal protective equipment as key areas of demand for Spain's armed forces, who are supporting the country's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

"The Armed Forces of Spain request international assistance in their response to the global pandemic of the coronavirus COVID-19. The Armed Forces of Spain are acting in favour of civil population to mitigate the virus spread," NATO said in its statement. 

"In order to prevent the spread of the virus in the military units of the Armed Forces of Spain and in the civil population, international partners are asked to provide assistance to the Ministry of [Defense] of Spain in supplying humanitarian assistance," the statement added. 

Equipment including 1.5 million surgical masks, 500,000 Covid-19 rapid tests, 450,000 respirators, and some 500 mechanic ventilators were outlined in the request submitted by the Spanish Ministry of Defense. 

The request comes as the number of health care workers in Spain contracting the deadly virus continues to rise, with medical workers accounting for approximately 13.6% of the country's total coronavirus cases, according to Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Coordinating Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies. 

6:02 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

More than 52,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the US

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

There are at least 52,381 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 680 people have died.

At least 139 deaths were reported Tuesday, according to a tally by CNN, making this the deadliest day in the United States.

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

 

6:15 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Trump: Goal is to open up the country "as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump began Tuesday’s coronavirus task force briefing reiterating his goal to ease social distancing guidelines around Easter. 

“Ultimately, the goal is to ease the guidelines and open things up to very large sections of our country as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy. Been going for a while, but we’ll win, we’ll win,” Trump said.

His remarks on nearing the end come as health officials, including Surgeon General Jerome Adams, sound the alarm that the virus is going to get much worse in the US before it gets better.

Trump said his team is “working very hard” to make an Easter timeline a reality, saying he “will be meeting with a lot of people to see if that can be done.”

“What a great timeline that would be. My first priority is always the health and safety of the American people. I want everyone to understand that we are continuing to evaluate the data. We’re working with the task force and making decisions based on what is best for the interest of our fantastic country,” he said.

Watch:

5:51 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Congress unlikely to give stimulus deal final approval tonight

From CNN's Manu Raju

With the time slipping as senators and the White House continue to negotiate the final bill language of the $2 trillion stimulus, it's growing increasingly unlikely that both chambers of Congress can give final approval to the plan tonight.

A senior Democratic aide said that it's unlikely the House can approve the Senate deal tonight. That's because lawmakers will need time to review the details of the bill and may need to hold another conference call to discuss the elements of the Senate plan.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to ensure that her caucus is in line because they need full cooperation to bring the bill to the floor so it can be approved by either voice vote or unanimous consent — so members don't have to return to Washington and vote in person.

Similarly, a GOP Senate aide that with the time slipping and bill text still being drafted, it's unlikely the Senate will vote tonight.

7:30 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

A person in Kentucky tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a coronavirus party, governor said

From CNN's Sheena Jones and Stephanie Gallman

Matt Stone/Courier Journal/Imagn
Matt Stone/Courier Journal/Imagn

A person attended a coronavirus party in Kentucky and then tested positive for the virus, Gov. Andy Beshear said at a news conference Tuesday.

The governor said he hopes he doesn’t have to speak about this incident again and reminded himself to forgive the person who attended the party.

"This is one that makes me mad,” the governor said, discouraging the action. “We have to be much better than that.” 

Bashear later said the “coronavirus party” was a group of “young adults” who intentionally got together, “thinking they were invincible" and purposely defying the state’s guidance to practice social distancing. 

Beshear stopped short of naming the county where the patient is from or where the party took place, not wanting to identify the person who “made a mistake.” 

At least 163 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Kentucky, the governor said.