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
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7:44 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

A 102-year-old Italian woman recovers from coronavirus

From CNN's Livia Borghese in Rome

Italica Grondona
Italica Grondona

A 102-year-old woman has recovered from coronavirus in the northern Italian city of Genoa after spending more than 20 days in hospital, doctors who treated her and her nephew told CNN.

"We nicknamed her 'Highlander' – the immortal," said doctor Vera Sicbaldi who treated Italica Grondona in the San Martino hospital in Genoa.

"Italica represents a hope for all the elderly facing this pandemic" Sicbaldi added. The average age of those who have tested positive for coronavirus and subsequently died in Italy is 78, according to the country's National Health Institute. 

Grondona was hospitalized at the beginning of March for "mild heart failure," Sicbaldi told CNN.

"She only had some mild coronavirus symptoms, so we tested her and she was positive, but we did very little, she recovered on her own," Sicbaldi added.

Doctors say her case impressed them so much that they decided to study it deeper.

"We got serological samples, she is the first patient we know that might have gone through the ‘Spanish flu’ since she was born in 1917," Sicbaldi explained, referring to the 1918/1919 flu pandemic that killed at least 50 million people, worldwide according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Grondona left the hospital on March 26 and will now spend time recovering in a care home. "I don’t know what her secret is, but I know she is a free and independent woman," her nephew Renato Villa Grondona told CNN.

Her only son died in the US a few decades ago. Grondona's nephew said she suffered from death. "But she loves life, dancing and music, she loves Freddy Mercury and Valentino Rossi," Villa Grondona said, referring to the multiple MotoGP World champion.

"The virus surrendered in front of her," he said.
7:42 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

WNBA player tests positive for coronavirus after returning from playing overseas

From CNN's Jill Martin

Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WNBA player Sydney Wiese, a guard with the Los Angeles Sparks, tested positive for coronavirus after playing overseas in Spain, according to a statement from the Sparks.

Wiese has been in isolation in Phoenix, according to the statement.

"The Sparks are in direct communication with Sydney and wish her a speedy recovery," the statement said.
7:43 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Massachusetts public health commissioner tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

In a statement on Friday, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Dr. Monica Bharel, said she has tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.   

“I want to notify the public that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Bharel’s statement said. “I was tested Thursday night and received the results back today from the State Public Health Laboratory. As the public health commissioner and an essential state employee, I have been vigilant about practicing social distancing from my colleagues and members of the public. My symptoms so far have been mild. I have notified my appropriate close contacts and will rest and recuperate at home, while continuing to carry out my work responsibilities remotely. The Department of Public Health offices will be thoroughly cleaned over the weekend."

Bharel added: “I hope everyone will continue to take seriously the threat of COVID-19.”

7:41 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Pence says 685,000 tests have been completed but its not reflected on CDC website

From CNN's Jason Hoffman, Arman Azad and the Health Unit 

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

Vice President Mike Pence said more than 685,000 coronavirus tests have been completed in the United States as of Friday morning.

Pence said that hospitals across the country are now reporting their testing numbers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Emergency Management Agency in real time, something that was not the case when testing first began. 

However, those numbers are not being reflected on the CDC’s US testing page, which paints a far different picture. 

The CDC's number are lower because they’re not reporting out data from private or commercial labs.

7:28 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Idaho secretary of state requests delay in primary election

From CNN's Andy Rose

Idaho’s secretary of state is asking the governor to delay the state’s primary election by nearly a month because of coronavirus concerns.

In an open letter to Gov. Brad Little on Friday, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney asked for an order that would set the primary election for no earlier than June 16, instead of its current date of May 19.

“A one-month delay in the election would provide the needed time to inform voters, parties, candidates and others about the changes in this process,” Denney said.

He said even if the delay is granted, he plans to encourage as many voters as possible to cast absentee ballots this summer instead of physically going to the polls. The secretary of state’s office will allow all registered voters with an official state identification card to request an absentee ballot online.

Some context: The new request is in regards to the primary election for state and local offices, and a delay would not affect the results of the Idaho presidential primary that was run on March 10.

7:43 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Trump says "a vast numbers of ventilators" have been distributed

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

When asked whether every person who needs a ventilator could get one, President Trump did not directly respond.

"Here's what I'll tell you, I think we are in very good shape," he said during Friday's press briefing on coronavirus. "We've distributed vast numbers of ventilators. We are prepared to do vast numbers. I think we are in great shape. I hope that's the case. I hope that we're going to have leftovers so we can help other people in other countries."

He expressed concern that ventilators could be distributed to states that don’t need them and then the federal government would have a hard time trying to get those ventilators back.

Trump once again attacked previous administrations for not having the amount of personal protective equipment now needed saying he “took over an empty box.”

Trump did say that there are “10,000 ventilators in stockpile. We are ready to go with those ventilators."


7:07 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Schools are using 3D printers to make personal protective equipment for health care workers

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Five schools in northeast Nebraska are printing personal protective equipment using 3D printers obtained through a grant program, Gov. Pete Ricketts said during a news conference Friday.

The schools, located near Norfolk, are a part of the new talent initiative grant program, he said.

They are printing PPE for healthcare workers at Faith Regional Hospital in Norfolk, Ricketts said. 

7:02 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Ecuador will build a mass grave for coronavirus victims

From CNN's Tatiana Arias and CNNE's Abel Alvarado

Ecuador's western city of Guayaquil, one of the hardest hit by novel coronavirus, is planning to build a mass grave as the government predicts an increase of deaths due to the virus.

Guayaquil's cleaning director Gustavo Zuñiga said the city "will implement an agreement to be able to build the corresponding site," during an interview with CNN's affiliate Ecuavisa on Friday.

The mass grave will have a capacity to hold about 300 bodies, according to Ecuavisa. A mausoleum will be built after it is closed, Zuñiga added.

There are at least 1,627 cases of coronavirus and 41 deaths in Ecuador, according to health authorities.

7:01 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Trump says his priorities are "life and safety and then the economy"

President Trump laid out his top priorities for tackling the coronavirus pandemic in the US during a press briefing on Friday.

"Life and safety and then the economy. Life and safety," Trump said.

Trump also addressed how Americans are eager to get out of their homes and back to their normal routines.

"It's life and safety, and it's our country, but we have to take care of people the same time we want to get them out. They want to get out. Our country was built on that. But, we have to make sure it's safe," he added.