March 29 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Jenni Marsh, Amy Woodyatt and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020
103 Posts
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9:40 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

9:57 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Trump describes grim scenes from Elmhurst Hospital in Queens

From CNN's Gregory Clary

The exterior of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Sunday, March 29.
The exterior of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Sunday, March 29. Mary Altaffer/AP

President Donald Trump described a grim scene of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, including body bags and refrigerated trucks to take away bodies.

"I've been watching them bringing in trailer trucks. Freezer trucks. Freezer trucks, because they can’t handle the bodies because there are so many of them," Trump said.

 Trump added that he has never seen anything like this in this country.

This is in my community in Queens, New York. I have seen things that I’ve never seen before. I mean I've seen them, but I’ve seen them on television and faraway lands, never in my country," Trump said. "When I see the trucks pull up to take out bodies, and these are trucks that are as long as the Rose Garden. And they're pulling up to take out bodies and you look inside, and you see the black body bags and you say what is in there? (It's) Elmhurst Hospital, must be supplies. It is not supplies, it is people. I have never seen anything like it."

Trump also described body bags in hospital hallways, but CNN has seen no evidence that there are body bags in the hallways of the hospital. There are refrigerated trucks where hospital personnel have been putting bodies to alleviate the capacity of the regular morgue.

8:19 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

West Virginia reports its first coronavirus death

From CNN’s Deanna Hackney, Hollie Silverman and Laura James

West Virginia reported its first coronavirus-related death Sunday, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The victim was an 88-year old woman from Marion County.

Gov. Jim Justice and his wife Cathy issued a statement on the death:

I ask all West Virginians to join Cathy and I in praying for the family, friends, and loved ones of this individual. It is truly a sad day in West Virginia."

"We are working around the clock, along with members of my administration, and the top medical experts in our state to do absolutely everything we can to protect West Virginians," Justice said.

"I implore all West Virginians to continue to stay at home, limit their exposure to others, keep practicing good hygiene, and if you feel sick seek medical attention right away. Be vigilant, stay calm and do your part to help us keep battling this pandemic," Justice said.

The only two states not reporting coronavirus deaths now are Hawaii and Wyoming.

8:07 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Honduras extends curfew until April 12

From CNN’s Juan Paz and Jackie Castillo 

Honduras extended its curfew until April 12 to help stop the spread of coronavirus  according to a statement released by the government Sunday.

Besides the curfew, residents will be allowed to get necessities like food, medicine and gas on certain days of the week during designated times of the day, according to the release. 

Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with disabilities will be allowed special access to supermarkets, banks and pharmacies for two hours during the designated shopping day.

8:32 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Amazon workers to stage a walkout Monday, demanding closure of Staten Island facility

From CNN’s Brian Fung and Sara Ashley O’Brien 

An employee works at the Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island in 2019.
An employee works at the Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island in 2019. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon employees at the company’s facility in Staten Island, New York, plan to walk off the job Monday amid allegations the online retail giant has mishandled its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The walkout will begin at 12:30 p.m. and could involve anywhere between 50 and 200 people, said Christian Smalls, an assistant manager at the facility who is leading the walkout.

"The plan is to cease all operations until the building is closed and sanitized," Smalls told CNN in an interview. "We’re not asking for much. We’re asking the building to be closed and sanitized, and for us to be paid."

Following the walkout, the workers will gather at a nearby public bus stop and speak to the press. Employees are protesting Amazon’s decision to keep the Staten Island warehouse open despite news of a confirmed case of the virus there last week, Smalls said.

Many more employees have tested positive for the virus at the facility than the company has publicly acknowledged, Smalls said, claiming that as many as five to seven workers have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to several requests for comment.

8:32 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

US stock futures down after Trump extends social distancing guidelines to April 30

From CNN’s Clare Duffy

Pedestrians walk outside the New York Stock Exchange on March 24.
Pedestrians walk outside the New York Stock Exchange on March 24. Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/AP

US stock futures were lower Sunday night after President Donald Trump announced an extension of the social distancing guidelines to April 30.

Dow futures were down 371 points, or about 1.7%. S&P 500 futures fell around 1.8% and Nasdaq futures were down around 1.5%. 

Stocks turned positive last week, and the Dow even left the bear market after climbing more than 20% from its recent low as lawmakers and central bankers around the world made progress on measures to bolster economies weakened by coronavirus.

7:33 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Self-swab testing for coronavirus to be implemented this week, HHS assistant secretary says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

After the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of self-swab testing for the novel coronavirus, it will be implemented this week, said Adm. Dr. Brett P. Giroir, assistant secretary for US Department of Health and Human Services during a White House press conference Sunday evening.

It was a very big thing that the FDA approved last week and it will now be implemented this week," Giroir said.

With this approval, people with suspected coronavirus can use a foam swab in their nose to collect a nasal sample that they then would put in a plastic bag and submit for testing.

Self-swab testing not only could be more comfortable for the general public, but Giroir said that it also eliminates the need for health care workers to change their personal protective equipment each time a test is performed.

"Instead of having a provider stick this all the way in the back of your nose, that's uncomfortable but it also requires PPE changes every time it's done," Giroir said.

"This not only increases the speed but it eliminates all those changes of PPE," Giroir said. "So we will be implementing that this week, which will increase speed but also save our precious resources as we build them up in the stockpile and out to hospitals."
8:33 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Birx says that '12 different models' impacted decision not to loosen social distancing guidelines

From CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht

Patrick Semansky/AP
Patrick Semansky/AP

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said during a Sunday briefing at the White House that "we've reviewed 12 different models" in deciding whether to continue the social distancing guidelines.

Birx emphasized that officials brought "that data and that evidence to the President to consider for extending, which is not a simple situation when you ask people to stay home for another 30 days."

"They have to know that we've really built this on scientific evidence and the potential to save really hundreds of thousands of American lives," she said.

7:10 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

There are at least 137,047 cases of coronavirus in the US

From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

There are at least 137,047 cases of coronavirus in the United States as of 7 p.m. ET Sunday, according to CNN Health's tally of cases detected and tested through US public health systems.

A total of 2,400 people have died in the United States from coronavirus.

For the most up-to-date US numbers compiled by CNN, please check this map which automatically refreshes every 10 minutes: