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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7:57 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Per capita, US outpaces China in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Matthew Hilk

The per-capita number of coronavirus cases in the US is almost four times that of China, based on most recent population estimates. 

Based on CNN's count Thursday evening, the US now has 81,836 cases for a country with an estimated population of just over 328 million. That's about one case for every 4,010 people.

China's number is similar, 81,782, but for a country four times larger in population. Current United Nations estimates put China's population at over 1.4 billion. That's about one case for every 17,582 people.

China typically reports new nationwide case totals around 9 p.m. ET, so the comparison could soon change.

7:56 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Actor Mark Blum dies after complications due to Covid-19

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Actor Mark Blum, known for his roles in the movies "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Crocodile Dundee," died due to complications from Covid-19, according to a statement released by the Screen Actors Guild. He was 69.

“This is a painful loss to our SAG-AFTRA family,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement.

“Mark Blum understood that all performers working in this industry share the same employers and that our strength depends on our unity. He was a visionary. Mark will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to his wife, Janet Zarish, his friends and all of his loved ones," Carteris added.
8:00 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

New York City's coronavirus death toll rises to 365

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Workers build a makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital in New York on March 25 to handle the number of coronavirus victims.
Workers build a makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital in New York on March 25 to handle the number of coronavirus victims. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

At least 365 people have died from Covid-19 across New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet Thursday. 

About 23,112 people have tested positive for coronavirus, he said.

These numbers are up from what the mayor reported during a news conference earlier Thursday.

“The next few months will be painful and stress our health care system like never before," de Blasio's tweet said.

Read the tweet:

7:50 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Hilton furloughs much of its corporate staff

From CNN's Cristina Alesci


Hilton, one of the largest US hotel brands, announced Thursday much of its corporate staff will have reduced schedules or be furloughed up to 90 days, according to a statement.

CNN reported earlier that the company’s corporate staff was bracing for the announcement.

Furloughed employees will maintain health benefits and will also be eligible for unemployment benefits, according the statement.

The company also announced a pay cut of 50% for its executive committee.

It’s unclear how many employees this impacts. In total, the company had about 60,000 direct US employees at end of last year. However, that number represents both corporate staff and workers at its properties. The company already started furloughing that latter group of employees.

CNN has reached out to Hilton for more details.

7:52 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

US aircraft carrier now has 25 confirmed cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne and Michael Conte


There are now 25 sailors who have tested positive for coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Navy official has confirmed to CNN. 

The Navy says they expect there to be additional positive tests among the crew, with one official telling CNN there could possibly be “dozens” of new cases that emerge.

A second official said if there is a large number of additional cases, the Defense Department would be unlikely to publicly specify how many of the Navy’s overall cases are members of the crew, out of concerns that adversaries China or North Korea could see the ship as vulnerable.

Despite the outbreak, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement, "We are confident that our aggressive response will keep USS Theodore Roosevelt able to respond to any crisis in the region."

Earlier in the day, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly had said there were "several" more cases onboard the ship, but did not give a specific number.

"We are in the process now of testing 100% of the crew of that ship to ensure that we're able to contain whatever spread might've occurred," Modly told reporters at the Pentagon at a briefing Thursday morning.

There are approximately 5,000 personnel onboard the carrier.

Some context: The Roosevelt is in the process of pulling into Guam, according to Modly. "No one on the crew will be allowed to leave anywhere into Guam, other than on pier side," he said.

The ship was last in port in Vietnam more than two weeks ago. It is not clear where the sailors initially contracted the virus. The Navy is now in the process of flying all personnel off the ship.

7:30 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Los Angeles County needs face shields

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Plastic face shields are the only personal protective item currently out of stock in Los Angeles County, according to Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly.

“The stockpile has been distributed, those supplies come in on a daily basis," she added about the city's personal protective equipment.

There are 208 open ICU beds in Los Angeles County, Ghaly said. More efforts are being made to increase bed capacity – all hospitals have ability to surge capacity.

As for ventilators, currently 830 are available with approximately 200 more nearly available. Those units are either being serviced for proper use or are in the process of distribution.

7:47 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

UK police given new powers to enforce coronavirusstay-at-home measures

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Peter Summers/Getty Images
Peter Summers/Getty Images

British police have been given new powers to enforce a stay-at-home order, including arresting people in violation, the UK Home Office said on Thursday. 

According to the Home Office, police can first instruct people to go home, leave an area or disperse; and issue citations and fines.

Those who do not pay a fine could be taken to court.

“If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary,” the statement said.


7:42 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

US now has most reported coronavirus cases in the world

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP
David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

The United States now has more coronavirus cases reported than any other country in the world. 

According to CNN reporting, there are now at least 81,836 coronavirus cases reported in the United States.

China is currently reporting 81,782 cases, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University.

Italy is third globally in total reported coronavirus cases with 80,589 cases.

These numbers are changing constantly. Both the totals and the rank order of countries could change at any time.

The US, Italy and China will vary on the per-capita rate of cases due to their vast differences in population.  

7:10 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

American Airlines calls economic stimulus bill "much-needed relief"

From CNN's Kate Trafecante

Matt York/AP
Matt York/AP

American Airlines calls the new economic stimulus bill "much-needed relief" for the company as the airline deals with a drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to employees obtained by CNN, CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom say the legislation "will provide additional stability for our team members ― the heart of our company — as we continue to weather this storm."

The airline industry is seeking $50 billion in federal help as it fights for survival during a stunning decline in worldwide travel. 

American says it's cutting costs as demand dries up, and that includes pay cuts for executives. Starting in April, Isom and other senior officers will forgo 50% of their pay.  

Parker, who is paid entirely in stock, has seen a nearly 50% pay cut, according to the company.

American Airline's stock is down more than 44% this year.