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
130 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:37 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Massachusetts governor asks Trump for federal disaster declaration assistance

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker today announced that his administration has submitted a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the President for federal disaster declaration assistance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Baker also announced that a former Boston Medical Center facility, the Newton Pavilion, will be temporarily reopened to help treat the city's homeless population during the pandemic.

“The facility will provide a safe isolated place for people to stay and recover if they don’t require hospitalization,” Baker said.

According to the governor, the facility has the capacity for about 250 beds.

Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders spoke about personal protective equipment supplies for the state today, saying “in order for us to have sufficient supplies in the Commonwealth, and since the command center was stood up, we've placed more than $15 million in orders for PPE and are working with suppliers to expedite shipping to the Commonwealth.”

“As you know, as we've announced before, we've requested additional supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. To date, approximately 17% of those requests have been filled. We received a third confirmation of a delivery, but it's not yet been received,” Sudders added.
3:01 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Chicago mayor: "Dear God, stay home, save lives"

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Chicago's bike trails, paths and green spaces will be closed until the "threat to our lives is over," Chicago Mayor


Lori Lightfoot said at a news briefing today. 

Lightfoot addressed Chicagoans who continued to congregate in public areas in large numbers, while the state is under a stay-at-home order.

"Your continued failure to abide by these orders" could lead to more deaths, Lightfoot said. 

"Dear God, stay home, save lives," she added.

Chicago's is closing its lakefront from north to south, effective immediately. Chicago Police will ramp up patrol and are prepared to give warnings and citations and, if necessary, arrests will be made, Lightfoot said.

"You must stay at home, period," Lightfoot said. 


2:55 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

The faces of health workers around the globe fighting coronavirus

From CNN's Fernando Alfonso III

Nicola Sgarbi 
Nicola Sgarbi 

While the world collectively shelters in place to protect against coronavirus, medical professionals flock to the front lines to work long hours tending to a burgeoning number of infected people.

One of them is Dr. Nicola Sgarbi, 35, who unknowingly became part of a growing photo trend of health workers coping with this exponential rise in sick patients.

Sgarbi is a doctor in training who works in the ICU of the civil hospital of Baggiovara in Modena, Italy.

Almost everything about Sgarbi's shift on March 13 was part of his new normal since the outbreak: working 12 hours to treat Covid-19 patients while wearing protective equipment. But at about 8 p.m. that day, he stripped off his face mask and snapped a quick selfie, something he rarely does.

"I mainly took the photo for two reasons. Firstly, to send it to my partner, to tell her that I had finished my shift at work and that I was on my way home, slightly bruised," Sgarbi told CNN over email. "Secondly, to show it to my 1-year-old daughter when she will have grown up. I will be telling her about this moment."

Sgarbi's photo was posted on Facebook and Reddit, where it was shared more than 75,000 times and voted on at least 119,000 times, respectively. The photo drew worldwide praise and comparisons to "Batman and Superman rolled into one," among other things.

Since then, numerous photos and stories of health workers in and out of protective gear have been posted around the internet. Each one captures the physical and emotional toll this pandemic is taking.

See people around the world celebrating health care workers:

2:52 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Why the $2 trillion federal aid package for small businesses may not be enough to save them

From CNN's Jeanne Sahadi

The $2 trillion economic aid package unveiled Wednesday contains several provisions to help small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, small business groups are pleased some assistance is coming. But they also stress the package — which includes close to $400 billion in aid for small business owners — is still not enough to save Main Street.

"This doesn't cure the crisis. It's a good start. But more support will be needed," said Derek Peebles, executive director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).

The provisions are also unlikely to save those small businesses that will have to come up with cash to stay afloat until they can actually get the government's aid money in hand.

"There's no way many can keep going," said John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy group.

Speed will be key to helping any small business survive, especially when it comes to dispensing the forgivable loans that will be available to owners who keep paying their employees during the crisis.

2:47 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Bolivia proposes delaying elections during coronavirus outbreak

From CNN’s Sharif Paget in Atlanta


Bolivia’s electoral tribunal said on Thursday it had proposed new dates for the country’s presidential elections to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

The electoral tribunal recommended to Bolivia’s legislative assembly that elections be postponed from May 3 and held sometime between June 7 and Sept. 6.

Bolivia’s electoral tribunal warned last week that the May 3 elections would be difficult to hold since the country’s quarantine order impedes the body from carrying out preparatory activities.

An interim government has ruled Bolivia since former President Evo Morales fled the country following allegations of fraud in an October vote that would have given him a fourth term in office. Morales has said he was the victim of a coup.

2:33 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Canceled March Madness tournaments leaves NCAA with $375 million shortfall

From CNN's David Close

The financial repercussions of canceling March Madness and other National Collegiate Athletic Association championships due to the coronavirus pandemic have made a substantial impact on the money sent to college and university athletic departments.

The NCAA announced on Thursday that there will be $225 million distributed to schools, rather than the budgeted $600 million in "response to the cancellation of all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships."

The NCAA said it receives "most of its revenue from the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship television and marketing rights, as well as championship ticket sales. The revenue is used to provide distributions to member conferences and schools along with funding championships, national programs and other initiatives to support student-athletes."

The NCAA canceled all remaining 2020 winter and spring championships on Thursday, March 12 – less than a week before March Madness was slated to tip off.

2:30 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

115 more people have died from coronavirus in the UK

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Another 115 people have died of coronavirus in the UK, Britain’s national public health said on Thursday. 

There have been at least 578 coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the UK. The UK has at least 11,658 cases of coronavirus.

2:43 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

NBCUniversal CEO says he has tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Frank Pallotta

Jeff Shell, Chief Executive Officer, NBCUniversal at a  post-Golden Globe Awards party Sunday, January 5, in the Jean-Georges Restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.
Jeff Shell, Chief Executive Officer, NBCUniversal at a post-Golden Globe Awards party Sunday, January 5, in the Jean-Georges Restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Evans Vestal Ward/NBC/Getty Images

Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, told staff in an email on Thursday that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I recently have been feeling under the weather and just learned that I have tested positive for Covid-19,” Shell wrote. “Although the virus has been tough to cope with, I have managed to work remotely in LA and am improving every day."

Shell, who succeeded Steve Burke in January, added that it is “absolutely critical” that employees work from home if they can.

“In the short term, the goals are simple. Take care of each other and take care of our viewers. Taking care of each other means working from home,” he wrote. “While I can’t give you an end date, I can commit that we will give everyone ample warning before we ask you to return to the office.”

Larry Edgeworth, an NBC News staffer, died as a result of complications from the coronavirus last week.

2:18 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

UK government announces new financial support for self-employed workers

The UK government will introduce a new financial support scheme for self-employed workers, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today, outlining the terms of a new taxable grant worth 80% of people's average monthly profit. 

"The government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profit over he the last three years, up to £2500 a month," Sunak announced.

He said "95% of those who are majority self-employed" will benefit from the plan.

Speaking during the government's daily coronavirus press briefing at Downing Street, Sunak told self-employed workers that they have "not been forgotten," but warned that there are "challenging times ahead" for British businesses. 

"Despite these extraordinary steps, there will be challenging times ahead. We will not be able to protect every single job, or save every single business," Sunak said. "I am confident that the measures we have put in place will support millions of families, businesses and self-employed people to get through this, get through it together, and emerge from the other side both stronger and more united."

The government is aiming to have the plan readily available to self-employed workers no later than June 2020.