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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1:09 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic will likely be around "for 12 to 18 months," Harvard doctor says

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

The coronavirus pandemic may not go away in just a few weeks or so, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said during a Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday.

"This is not a virus that goes away in two weeks or four weeks or six weeks. We are going to be living with this, in one form or another, for 12 to 18 months if we are lucky," Jha said, referring to how long some health officials have predicted it would take to develop a vaccine. 

"Once we have a vaccine that’s effective and widely deployed we can bring the pandemic to an end," Jha said. "Until that time, we are going to continue to have to confront and deal with the virus."

Scientists around the world have been working on developing vaccines that are effective against the novel coronavirus and there are dozens in development.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general for the World Health Organization, said in February that a vaccine for the novel coronavirus could take 12 to 18 months.

Just last week, a vaccine trial in the United States announced that its first patient had received a dose.

CNN reported last week that a 100-page federal plan on how to tackle the coronavirus pandemic showed the Trump administration is making contingency plans for a pandemic that could stretch up to "18 months or longer" and could include "multiple waves of illness."

1:05 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

More than 4,000 prisoners in Ethiopia pardoned to help prevent coronavirus spread

From CNN's Bukola Adebayo

Ethiopia's President Sahle-Work Zewde speaks during the World Economic Forum Africa meeting on September 4, 2019, in Cape Town.
Ethiopia's President Sahle-Work Zewde speaks during the World Economic Forum Africa meeting on September 4, 2019, in Cape Town. Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has granted pardon to more than 4,000 prisoners in efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Sahle-Work Zewde announced the order in a tweet on Wednesday and said it would help prevent overcrowding in prisons.

The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.

There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, according to the World Health Organization on Wednesday.

Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.

12:50 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Canada and US in discussions about placing American troops along border, Trudeau says

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the US is requesting American troops be placed within 20 miles of the US-Canada border to help with border surveillance, especially at irregular crossings.

Trudeau indicated his government did not believe that was necessary at this time, but that talks were ongoing.

“Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way. We have been in discussions with the United States on this,” Trudeau said during a news conference outside his Ottawa home where he remains in quarantine.
12:42 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Chicago beaches are closed, official says


Chicago's Lakefront Trail and the city's beaches have been closed to public access, according to Alderman Harry Osterman, who represents the 48th Ward, one of Chicago's lakefront districts. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot yesterday urged individuals going to the Lakefront Trail to exercise, and not to congregate in large groups, or she would be forced to close the area. 

"This order has been put in place to ensure social distancing between individuals and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19," Osterman said in a statement. 

Lightfoot is expected to speak at a daily coronavirus briefing this afternoon. 

12:35 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Employee at FEMA headquarters in DC tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

A federal employee working at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, DC, tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and other members of his task force, according to a statement from the agency.

FEMA said the person who tested positive Tuesday did not "come within six feet of the Vice President or any other Task Force principal for any period of time."

The statement said the agency conducted contact tracing to determine the areas of the FEMA headquarters building and the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and compared it to the movements of task force principals in recent days.

"All areas visited by the Vice President and other Task Force members were disinfected prior to their visits," the statement said.  

FEMA said it will clean to make sure the “potentially affected workspace meets federal health and safety standards.”

12:26 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Prince Charles thanks well-wishers for support after coronavirus diagnosis

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac in London

Prince Charles tweeted his thanks for the public support he has received since being diagnosed with coronavirus.

A message on behalf of the Duke of Cornwall was posted on the official Clarence House account. It read:

“Thank you for all your ‘Get Well Soon’ messages for His Royal Highness. He is enormously touched by your kind words.”

What we know: The Prince of Wales is only displaying mild symptoms and is otherwise in good health, Clarence House said in a statement. It is unknown how the 71-year-old caught the virus because of his recent busy schedule of public events.


12:42 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

40,000 retired medical workers have volunteered to help New Yorkers

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of volunteers during the coronavirus crisis has been “inspiring.” 

Cuomo said 40,000 retired medical staff volunteered, with 12,000 more people in one day volunteering to help work at health care facilities.

There have also been 8,600 mental health professionals volunteering.

“Easy times don’t forge character. It’s the tough times that forge character,” he said.


12:27 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

More than 37,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in New York

State of New York
State of New York

So far, at least 37,258 people have tested positive for coronavirus across the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.


  • 5,327 people are currently hospitalized
  • 1,290 patients are in intensive care
  • 1,517 patients have been discharged after being hospitalized
12:22 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Michigan is "a few weeks out from the apex" of coronavirus cases, official says

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief deputy director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief deputy director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Pool

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief deputy director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said that as they are able to test more Michiganders, their target date for the apex of cases will improve, but right now they are “a few weeks out from the apex.”

Khaldun said they can flatten the curve if people listen to the stay-at-home order and practice social distancing.