March 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, James Griffiths, Steve George, Amy Woodyatt, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:04 a.m. ET, March 28, 2020
173 Posts
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8:34 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Arkansas asks visitors coming from New York to quarantine for 14 days

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Signs outside the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, include reminders about social distancing.
Signs outside the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, include reminders about social distancing. Andrew Demillo/AP

The Arkansas Department of Health is recommending all travelers from New York state and foreign countries to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"This is due to high rates of COVID-19 in New York as well as in a growing number of international locations," the department said in a statement.

Any visitors showing a fever, cough, or other symptoms of coronavirus should contact their doctor for advice on where to be evaluated, the department said.

8:35 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Biden says "time and money" are needed to help ordinary Americans get coronavirus tests

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Sheri Reiter, a speech pathologist, has an elderly father in Houston, Texas, who has been waiting more than a week to get the results of his coronavirus test.

Reiter shared her story and frustration Friday night during CNN's town hall with former Vice President Joe Biden.

Reiter specifically asked the presidential hopeful, "Why is it that some rich and famous can have Covid-19 test and get results in 24 hours?"

Biden claims part of the problem is the country has not been "focused on dealing with what needs to be done from the outset."

"We talk about the ability to have tests. We can get results very quickly. I'm not a scientist but they tell me that that can be done. But what we have to do is we have to invest the time and money in getting them — those — those tests set up and made. Scientists put them together. And what we're not doing is we're not doing that ourselves now. And what we're doing is we should be using the Defense Production Act to do whatever we need to do," Biden said.


8:21 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Madrid prepares improvised morgue to hold 200 bodies

From CNN's Laura Perez Maestro in Madrid and Mia Alberti in Lisbon

Madrid's regional government is preparing to open an improvised morgue in the next few days to increase the city's capacity to deal with the growing Covid-19 fatalities.

The center will be set up in the Justice Campus, a building which officials said is "designed to be the headquarters of Madrid's Forensic Institute." As such, the facility will have enough mortuary refrigerators to receive around 200 bodies.

"This is an exceptional and temporary measure to help the work of funerary services, diminish the pain of the families of victims and the situation happening in the hospitals in the region," the government said in a statement.

The center should be ready "in the next few days." More than 2,400 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Madrid, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.

8:25 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Biden: Economy vs. public health is a "false choice"

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Joe Biden on Friday night said the Trump administration has taken a fundamentally flawed view of the crisis.

Trump has repeatedly cast efforts to combat the virus as the cause of economic troubles and suggested that he would ease up on public health efforts, like social distancing, ahead of medical experts' recommendations.

"It's a false choice to make, saying that you either open the economy or everything goes to hell. Or, in fact, you take care of the medical side," Biden said. "You cannot make this economy grow until you deal with the virus." 

Trump has suggested he would like to "open up" the economy by Easter, but Biden pointed to the ongoing upward trend in cases, suggesting people will likely have to stay home significantly longer.

"They're one and the same -- you can't deal with the economic crisis until you deal with the healthcare crisis," Biden said, before calling on the government to get stimulus funds to the publics. 

"In the meantime, Congress has acted and they moved with a $2 trillion package on top of the one they already passed," he said. "And it's about managing, about getting that out to the people. Getting that out in the communities. Getting that distributed."


8:30 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Biden warns against moving too slowly in deploying medical equipment

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Joe Biden said over-producing or deploying too many ventilators and masks to hospitals shouldn't be a problem.

“The only thing that you really make a mistake is going too slow. Going too fast -- meaning you’re providing the kind of help that is needed and planning for it -- is not a problem,” Biden said. 

The former vice president was criticizing the speed of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in a CNN town hall. 

“Get out now what can be gotten out -- now, now, now, and yesterday, and last month, and last week,” he said. 


8:30 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Biden says he would recommend lockdown in every state

From CNN's Dan Merica

Joe Biden said Friday that he, as president, would recommend every governor lock down their states for several weeks to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“For the time being, I would, yes,” Biden told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Here is the point… you don’t know who doesn’t have it. You don’t know who doesn’t have the virus. So a lot of people walking around looking like they're pretty healthy and they may very well have the virus and transmit it.”

The question stemmed from billionaire investor Bill Gates telling CNN on Thursday that the United States should shut down the entire country for a short period of time to control the spread of the coronavirus. Gates suggested closing for six to 10 weeks.

Biden added that “two weeks in what is going to be a long fight to deal with this is a small price to pay,” adding that is especially the case because the country can “compensate people for the lost time” with legislation like the sweeping bill that President Donald Trump signed on Friday.

Biden did not explicitly endorse the length of Gates' suggestion.

Biden’s comments stand in opposition to Trump, who has not called for a nationwide lockdown and has said he hopes the nation will re-open by mid-April.


9:06 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Joe Biden describes a typical day as he works from home

From CNN's Maeve Reston

Joe Biden said he’s trying to get through his days just like anyone else with a stay-at-home order at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The former vice president said his morning starts with a conference call with his campaign’s medical team where they give him a briefing on the latest Covid-19 numbers that spans 20 minutes to an hour.

That briefing covers “how much has been done…equipment we can get to people.” The medical briefing is followed by another meeting with his economic team, including economists who worked with him in the White House, about the recent legislation passed and “what the Trump administration has done, has not done.”

Biden said he speaks to all five of his grandkids either by phone or text. The two children who live a mile from his home walk through the woods to Biden’s house.

“We sit on our back porch and they sit out on the lawn with two chairs,” Biden said. "They talk through everything that’s happened during their day now that they are home from school, 'who’s driving who crazy.'"

Sometimes, Biden said, he and his wife Jill walk the track at a nearby school with their dog.

“I am doing things like we are doing with you now. I’m trying to keep abreast, and trying to keep on top of our President, and trying to do things that could’ve been done, or doing faster,” he said.


8:27 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Biden says he’s spoken with governors of Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Louisiana

From CNN's Eric Bradner


Joe Biden said he’s spoken with several governors in recent days “to see what’s happening on the ground for them” as their states react to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Biden named four Democratic governors with whom he has spoken: Washington’s Jay Inslee, a one-time 2020 presidential rival; Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, who is one of four co-chairs of Biden’s campaign; Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf; and Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards — who Biden said he’d missed a call from earlier Friday afternoon. 

The former vice president also said he has spoken with Republican governors. 

Trump earlier Friday had singled out Inslee and Whitmer for criticism, saying they had not been appreciative enough of federal efforts as their states have become epicenters of the growing crisis. “I want them to be appreciative,” Trump said. 

He said he instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to speak with Inslee and Whitmer — but Pence has done so anyway. 

“I say ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan,’” Trump said. 


8:11 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Biden town hall is being conducted remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic


CNN town hall has taken unique steps to broadcast tonight due the coronavirus pandemic.

Host Anderson Cooper's camera is being robotically controlled in order to abide by social distancing guidelines while former Vice President Joe Biden is filmed from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.