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
171 Posts
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7:05 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Chicago and Detroit could be new coronavirus hotspots, public health expert says

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Jason Hoffman 

Paul Sancya/AP
Paul Sancya/AP

Chicago and Detroit are demonstrating a concerning spread of coronavirus, Dr. Deborah Birx said at Thursday’s White House briefing.

“We are concerned about certain counties” that have seen increased spreading of the virus, Birx said, naming Wayne County, Michigan, (home to Detroit) and Cook County, Illinois, (home of Chicago) as examples.

She said those locations were showing a “more rapid increase” of spread.

Forty percent of the country has “extraordinarily low rates” of coronavirus, Birx said. And 55% of all cases are in the New York and New Jersey area, she said. 

Birx also noted that 19 states currently have fewer than 200 cases, noting those states have been conducting tests, and that the low numbers are not because those states have not been testing. 

“There is no reality on the ground that 60-70% of Americans will get infected in the next 8-12 weeks," Birx said.

Despite multiple daily reports of shortages of supplies like personal protective equipment and the growing need for ventilators at hospitals nationwide, Birx insisted that most areas will have access to hospital beds or ventilators if they need them. 

“To say that to the American people to make the implication that when they need a hospital bed it’s not going to be there, or when they need that ventilator it’s not going to be there, we don't have an evidence of that right now," Birx said. “And it's our job collectively to assure the American people of that. It’s our collective job to make sure that doesn't happen.”
6:50 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Trump says he doesn't "know" what steps are being taken to stop hate crimes against Asian Americans

From CNN's Allie Malloy and Maegan Vazquez 

President Trump, when asked what steps he is taking to stop hate crimes against Asian Americans, said he didn’t “know” and added that “all I know is Asian Americans are doing fantastically well.” 

“I don’t know,” Trump initially said when asked what steps he was taking but added that his tweet earlier in the week “was a very important tweet to me, and I didn’t like some things I was hearing.” 

“To me, Asian Americans are a great part of our country,” Trump said Thursday in the briefing room.

Trump also said of Asian Americans; “I’m very close to them. They’re doing fantastically well. I think they appreciate the job we’re doing."

On Tuesday, Trump said that he had decided to pull back from associating the novel coronavirus with China, which he had previously done by calling it the "China virus" or the "Chinese virus."

"Look, everyone knows it came out of China, but I decided we shouldn't make any more of a big deal out of it," Trump told Fox News. "I think I've made a big deal. I think people understand it." 

The President said he didn't regret using the terms to describe the virus and defended his past adoption of the terms by referencing other infectious diseases that are named after where they originate.

"It came from China," he said. 

When the virus was officially named, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that "having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing."

Separately, Trump said he would be speaking with China's President Xi Jinping Thursday evening. 

6:38 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Trump says he's open to pushing cruise line owners to register in the US in order to get economic relief

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Trump warmed up to the concept of having cruise companies register in the US and pay US taxes in order to receive relief from the federal government for the economic impact of the novel coronavirus. 

Many cruise lines are incorporated overseas, meaning the lines can avoid many US federal taxes, and US labor laws. 

Royal Caribbean's global headquarters are in Miami but the corporation is incorporated in Liberia, while Carnival Cruise Lines is incorporated in Panama. Their ships also fly the flags of those countries meaning employees working on board can be paid far less than US minimum wages.

“I do like the concept of perhaps coming in and registering here, coming into the United States. You know it’s very difficult to make a loan to a company when they’re based in a different country,” Trump said Thursday in the White House briefing room, before adding that the industry employs a large number of Americans at domestic ports.

Trump said his administration would “maybe really look at that very seriously.”

6:33 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Trump says he will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping tonight

From CNN's Sarah Westwood and Kevin Liptak 

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

President Donald Trump said he will speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday night about coronavirus.

He suggested the administration does not believe all the data coming out of China — despite his previous praise of how Xi has handled the outbreak.

Asked about projections that the US could overtake China in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Trump said, “I think it’s a tribute to our testing.”

“Number one, you don’t know what the numbers are in China,” Trump said.

He added that he would be speaking to Xi later Thursday.

“I’m sure you’re not able to tell what China is testing or not testing,” he added. “I think that’s a little hard.”


7:09 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

US sees record number of coronavirus deaths today

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

At least 237 additional coronavirus deaths were recorded on Thursday across the United States, according to CNN's reporting.

This marks the deadliest day for reporting of US cases, according to CNN.

On Wednesday, there were 233 total death cases reported during the full day, CNN reported.

In total, there are at least 1,175 deaths from the coronavirus in the United States.

6:04 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Trump: "We have to start the process pretty soon" on getting the country back to work

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

President Trump repeatedly stressed that the US “has to go back to work” but noted that people should still practice social distancing as best they can.

Trump during a news conference Thursday that he is “hearing it loud and clear from everybody” that people want to go back to work.

“We may take sections of the country, we may take large sections of our country that aren’t so seriously affected and do it that way, but we have to start the process pretty soon," Trump said.

Trump also said more information will come early next week in terms of his plans. 

Some context: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Wednesday night "You don't make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline," when asked how long the novel coronavirus could affect daily life in the US.  

"You've got to be realistic," Fauci told CNN Wednesday.

6:01 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Trump thanks Senate for unanimously passing economic relief package

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump thanked both Democrats and Republicans for unanimously passing the $2 trillion stimulus package in the Senate.

“I am profoundly grateful that both parties came together to provide relief for American workers and families in this hour of need," Trump said Thursday.

Trump went on to say that he hoped the House of Representatives passes the bill without delay. Trump said he believes there is tremendous support for the package in the House, but noted there could be “one grandstander” who votes against the stimulus package.


5:54 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

US overtakes Italy in total coronavirus cases

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

The United States now has more coronavirus cases reported than Italy.

The US now has at least 80,837 coronavirus cases, according to CNN reporting. Italy has reported at least 80,589 coronavirus cases.

China still leads the global number of reported coronavirus cases with 81,782 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

5:57 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Trump says Navy hospital ship expected to deploy to New York City on Saturday

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has announced that the USNS Comfort will deploy to New York City on Saturday, which is three weeks ahead of schedule.

Trump made the announcement Thursday afternoon during a coronavirus press briefing.

“The USNS Comfort — which is incredible actually when you see it inside — will be underway to New York City on Saturday,” Trump said.

“So it’s going to be leaving on Saturday rather than 3 weeks from now,” Trump said. “They did the maintenance quickly.”

“I told the governor 20 minutes ago, Gov. Cuomo, that the ship will be arriving at New York Harbor on Monday,” Trump added.

Trump said he would travel to Norfolk to “kiss it goodbye.”

The ship is currently in Virginia, the President said.