March 26 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Emma Reynolds and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0252 GMT (1052 HKT) March 27, 2020
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9:49 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Top health official says coronavirus pandemic is accelerating in the US

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, in Washington.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

The coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating” in the United States and “there are other parts of the country which we need to get a better feel for what is going on,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN Wednesday night.

"The way we do that is by increasing testing and identifying people who are infected, isolating them getting out of circulation, and then do contact tracing," Fauci said. “New York City is dominating the situation in the United States. About 60% of the infections are in the New York City metropolitan area, and 56% of the new infections are coming from the New York City metropolitan area."

Fauci added: "I mean, I have spoken to the political officials in New Orleans and in the state of Louisiana. They are now shutting things down in a very vigorous way. It is likely that that should have been done a little bit sooner -- not blaming anyone on that but you get caught unaware because the nature of this outbreak.”

9:48 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

There are at least 65,201 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

An Air Force member exits a tent builded as makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital on March 25, in New York City.
An Air Force member exits a tent builded as makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital on March 25, in New York City. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

There are at least 65,201 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, 928 people have died. 

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

9:30 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

LA mayor warns there may be "a second or third explosion" of cases in the fall

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned today that the pandemic may not be over quickly, and that "we may see a second or third explosion of (coronavirus) as we do in the flu season."

The new surge of coronavirus cases could come as early as October or November, Garcetti said.

He also added that the stay-at-home orders are showing great results so far. Los Angeles County residents have moved the least out of anyone in Southern California, he said.

“When we move less, it’s like winning the gold medal,” Garcetti said. “Everybody is safer at home."
9:33 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

New York City hospital sets up makeshift morgues to prepare for coronavirus deaths

From CNN’s Brynn Gingras, Elizabeth Joseph, Priscilla Alvarez and Mark Morales

A makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital in New York City on Wednesday.
A makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital in New York City on Wednesday. Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

At New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, a makeshift morgue including tents and refrigerated trucks is being set up in preparation for what may be a surge in the need for autopsies.

"We're in a public health crisis, and the city has declared a state of emergency. As part of that declaration, agencies like OCME have enacted emergency contingency plans to help prepare for every possible outcome,” New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said in a statement to CNN.

A similar plan was utilized after September 11 attacks. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has a request from New York and other states for assistance in mortuary operations. 

“FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) has received requests for HHS Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORT) from the States of Hawaii, New York, and North Carolina. These requests are currently in the review and approval process,” a FEMA spokesperson told CNN. 

New York City has longstanding contracts with companies to also provide refrigerated trucks to store bodies, but that plan has not been put in to effect just yet. If and when it is, those trucks would likely be stationed at various locations including makeshift hospitals such as the Javits Center.

9:33 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Two different Boston hospitals each have more than 40 employees that tested positive

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

A sign for Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
A sign for Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Credit: Jodi Hilton/Getty Images

Two different Boston hospitals tell CNN that they now each have more than 40 employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital has 45 employees that have tested positive, Brigham Health Media Relations Associate Serena Bronda told CNN.

“Employees who have tested positive are not working until after they have been cleared by Occupational Health Services,” Bronda said.

Massachusetts General Hospital has 41 employees who have tested positive, but most are believed to have contracted the virus somewhere other than the hospital, said Senior Public Affairs Officer Terri Ogan.

“Based on hospital data, our broad implementation of CDC-guided infection control procedures throughout the hospital, and the extent of community spread now ongoing in Massachusetts, it’s believed that the vast majority of these individuals did not contract the virus at work,” Ogan said in an email.
8:46 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

US hotels were mostly empty last week, new data shows

From CNN's Aaron Cooper

New data shows nearly 70% of the hotel rooms in the United States were vacant last week, according to data and analytics group STR. 

That national occupancy rate is a 56% decline from the same week last year. The average occupied room cost is about $93, also down from last year. 

The San Francisco area and New York recorded the worst declines, with less than 17% of hotel rooms in both cities occupied, according to STR. That represents an 80% decrease from this time last year.

Many hotels across the country have closed entirely. One example, The Boston Harbor Hotel, a luxury property in downtown Boston, closed last Saturday, according to its website, and hopes to reopen May 18.

9:43 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Boeing could receive billions from stimulus package

From CNN's Gregory Wallace and Phil Mattingly

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Boeing, which recently asked lawmakers for a massive financial aid package to prop up its industry, could qualify for a special $17 billion slice of the proposed $2 trillion stimulus package.

It's not clear, however, whether the company would actually take the funds.

The aerospace giant is among the companies that would qualify for the government-backed loans reserved "for businesses critical to maintaining national security," and the only one that has made it clear that it needs the assistance.

The company is intricately linked to both the US government and the nation's economy. It is the country's largest exporter, is a major government contractor, and consistently ranks among the top 10 companies lobbying federal officials, with millions spent annually.

The company has also come under scrutiny from lawmakers and the Federal Aviation Administration after two fatal 737 MAX crashes killed 346 people and internal documents showed the company mocked and belittled its regulators. 

Some context: Boeing said last week that "a minimum of $60 billion" in public and private loans is necessary "to manage the pressure on the aviation sector and the economy as a whole."

It said it would share "much of any liquidity support to Boeing" with its vast network of suppliers.

9:41 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Marine who works inside Pentagon tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Barbara Starr

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that a Marine who works inside the building has tested positive for Covid-19.

A defense official said the last time the Marine, an officer, was in the Pentagon was March 13. He began self-isolation on March 15. He works in the plans, policy and operations office of Marine Corps headquarters.

This is the first military personnel based at the Pentagon to test positive.

“A marine stationed at the Pentagon tested positive for Covid-19 on March 24. Per U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines, the Marine is in isolation at his home and will undergo further assessment by health professionals," the Marines said in a statement. "The Marine followed official guidance by isolating himself when his spouse began to show symptoms. Once he became ill, he contacted his assigned medical facility. His workspace has been cleaned by a Pentagon response team and a thorough contact investigation is underway to mitigate risk and preserve the health of our Marines, civilians, and families.”

Separately, a staff member who works in the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center is awaiting test results, a second defense official confirmed.

It's not immediately clear when the person was last in the command center and what part of that complex they work in. 

Defense One was first to report both cases.