March 27 coronavirus news

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1:44 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

WHO says new study doesn't provide evidence of airborne transmission

From CNN's Jen Christensen

A security guard with a face mask stands outside a pharmacy in Sydney on March 27.
A security guard with a face mask stands outside a pharmacy in Sydney on March 27. Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

A study published earlier this month suggested that the coronavirus could linger in aerosols -- the suspension of tiny particles or droplets in the air -- for up to three hours.

But this experiment doesn't reflect the situation in the real world, and so doesn't offer any evidence of airborne transmission, said the World Health Organization in its daily coronavirus report on Thursday.

In the report, the WHO said the experiment used high-powered lab equipment that “does not reflect normal human coughing or sneezing nor does it reflect aerosol generating procedures in clinical settings.”

The findings “do not bring new evidence on airborne transmission” since it was already known that particles that contain the virus could spread during medical procedures that generate aerosols, WHO said.

Here's what we do know about how the virus spreads. The WHO said evidence shows that the coronavirus transmits through close contact with respiratory droplets, like when someone coughs.

It is also transmitted by fomites, meaning materials that have been contaminated with droplets of the coronavirus. 

It spreads directly between people when coronavirus droplets reach the nose, mouth or eyes of an uninfected person. Since the droplets are too heavy to be airborne, they land on objects around that person. People can become infected by touching those contaminated objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. 

So is it airborne? Not that we know of --- the one way airborne transmission may occur is through aerosol-generating procedures used to help patients with coronavirus, said the WHO. It recommends health care workers wear medical masks for the regular care of patients and respirators for aerosol-generating procedures.

1:37 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Trump and Xi Jinping just spoke about the coronavirus

From CNN's Shanshan Wang in Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping has spoken with US President Donald Trump, according to Chinese state television CCTV.

Trump also tweeted about the conversation, saying he and Xi were "working closely together."

"China has been through much and has developed a strong understanding of the virus," he said -- notably omitting the term "China virus," which he has used several times in the past week.

Earlier at a press conference, Trump had mentioned he was due to speak with Xi, but took a more cautious tone. “Number one, you don’t know what the numbers are in China,” he said of the case numbers, which have dropped dramatically in the past few weeks.

1:26 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

India records largest increase in coronavirus numbers

From CNN's Swati Gupta and Vedika Sud in New Delhi

People maintain social distancing, due to the coronavirus pandemic as they wait for their turn to collect medicines from a pharmacy in Srinagar, Kashmir, India on March 26.
People maintain social distancing, due to the coronavirus pandemic as they wait for their turn to collect medicines from a pharmacy in Srinagar, Kashmir, India on March 26. Faisal Khan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

India saw its largest spike in coronavirus cases Thursday, increasing by 75, according to the Ministry of Health.

India has recorded 724 cases so far and 17 deaths.

Earlier, the Indian government extended its ban on inbound international commercials flights until April 14, according to a statement from the government’s Director General of Civil Aviation.

This extension allows the inbound travel ban to coincides with the 21 day national lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week.

The restrictions do not apply to cargo flights.

1:08 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Philippines top military commander tests positive for virus

Philippines Armed Forces Chief Felimon Santos Jr. has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to CNN Philippines.

Santos has been on home quarantine since March 24 after coming into contact with a senior officer who had tested positive for the virus. Santos received his results Thursday night and informed the Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana, CNN Philippines reported.

There are 707 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Philippines, and 45 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

12:57 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Rapid increase in coronavirus cases aboard US aircraft carrier

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

Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 18.
Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 18. U.S. Navy

There are now 25 sailors who have tested positive for the coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, just two days after the Pentagon announced that three sailors aboard the ship had tested positive for the virus, 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 that were there to be a large number of additional cases, the Defense Department would be unlikely to publicly specify how many of the Navy's overall cases are amongst members of the crew of the Roosevelt, due to concerns that adversaries such as 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 on board the carrier.

12:39 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Australian military will be called in to enforce quarantine for all flight arrivals

From CNN's Hilary Whiteman in Brisbane

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a videoconference with G20 leaders to discuss the coronavirus at the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on March 26.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a videoconference with G20 leaders to discuss the coronavirus at the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on March 26. Gary Ramage/Pool/Getty Images

The Australian Defense Force will help enforce a mandatory two week quarantine for all arrivals at airports nationwide starting Sunday, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison today.

Passengers arriving in all Australian states and territories will have to quarantine in hotels or other accommodations before being able to return homes. 

The additional measures are to prevent a rise in imported cases; two thirds of cases in Australia are from citizens returning home from abroad, said Morrison.

According to Morrison, 7,120 Australians returned to the country on Thursday.

He also said authorities will be taking greater steps to enforce isolation of those who have already arrived and are in in quarantine, but didn't elaborate further on those steps.

12:24 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Argentina closes all borders to foreign nationals

From CNN's Claudia Dominguez in Atlanta and Daniel Silva in Miami 

Argentina is closing its borders to all non-essential transportation, said the government in a statement.

Restrictions had already been in place for air transportation, meaning the measures are now being expanded to include a ban on land and sea transportation.

Argentinian citizens will still be allowed into the country. The border closures go into effect Friday at midnight.

12:21 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

If you're just joining us now, here's the latest worldwide developments

An Air Force member exits a tent builded as makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital on March 25 in New York City.
An Air Force member exits a tent builded as makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital on March 25 in New York City. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to spread globally, with the US and Europe hit the hardest. Here's what you need to know:

  • The US becomes worst hit: The US now has the highest number of confirmed cases in the world, overtaking China and Italy. Today was the deadliest day in the US so far, with at least 233 new deaths reported nationwide. New York City has become the epicenter of the US outbreak.
  • Shifting restrictions in China: New local transmissions have fallen to near zero in mainland China, so it's beginning to lift lockdowns and citizens are returning to normal life. But the number of imported cases from overseas is rising. On Thursday, China announced it would ban entry to foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits.
  • Japan struggles: The country saw case numbers spike this week, and the Tokyo governor urged residents to stay at home this weekend. In response, crowds surged to panic buy at supermarkets, while others continued gathering in outdoor parks during the cherry blossom season.
  • Events canceled globally: With borders snapping shut and serious public health concerns globally, countless events have been rescheduled. The K-pop group BTS postponed part of their world tour. Art Basel, widely considered to be the world's biggest art fair, has been postponed. And of course, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are now being pushed to 2021.
12:02 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Hospital video reveals extensive lung damage in US coronavirus patient

A recently released video shows the lungs of a 59-year-old man who had been asymptomatic just a few days earlier.

Now, the patient has Covid-19 and his lungs are failing to function properly, said Dr. Keith Mortman, the chief of thoracic surgery at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC.

The hospital released a 3D video showing the patient's extensive lung damage.

"This is not a 70, 80-year-old immunosuppressed, diabetic patient," Mortman said.
"Other than high blood pressure, he has no other significant medical issues. This is a guy who's minding his own business and gets it ... If we were to repeat the 360VR images now, that is one week later, there is a chance that the infection and inflammatory process could be worse."

In the video, areas marked yellow represent infected and inflamed parts of the lung. The scan shows the damage covering massive swaths of both lungs, showing how rapidly and aggressively the infection can take hold, even in younger patients.

Watch the video: