March 29 coronavirus news

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

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020
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7:07 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

New Yorkers will be fined $250-500 for not adhering to social distancing policies

From CNN’s Laura Ly

New York City residents who violate social distancing policies will receive a summons and fines ranging from $250 to $500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.

People will be fined if they are told by officers to disperse, keep moving or maintain distance, but they continue to violate policies anyway.

"If you ignore that order … we’re going to have to fine you. We’re going to give people every chance to listen and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point," de Blasio said.

6:57 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

'Entirely conceivable' that more than 1 million people in the US could contract coronavirus, Fauci says

From CNN’s Allie Malloy

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters in the Rose Garden Sunday that it’s "entirely conceivable" that more than 1 million people in the US could contract coronavirus but added that mitigation and extending guidelines through April will hopefully curb those numbers.

"The number I gave out is, you know, based on modeling," Fauci said, explaining the models he discussed on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning.

Fauci said it was possible up to 100,000 could die from the virus.

"What we’re trying to do is not to let that happen," he said.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the decision to extend the mitigation process until the end of April a "wise and prudent decision."

He added that he and Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discussed the plans and that the President accepted their recommendation.

6:34 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Trump extends social distancing guidelines until April 30

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

Patrick Semansky/AP
Patrick Semansky/AP

President Donald Trump announced Sunday he is extending social distancing guidelines until April 30.

"We will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread. On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data and strategy to the American people," Trump said.

Modeling shows that the peak of the death rate will likely hit in two weeks, Trump said.

"The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks, so I will say it again, the peak, highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks. Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won," Trump said. 

Trump said he hopes the country will be on its way to recovery by June 1.

"We can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1. A lot of great things will be happening," Trump said.

7:05 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Singer-songwriter John Prine hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, family says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

John Prine pictured in his office in Nashville on June 20, 2017.
John Prine pictured in his office in Nashville on June 20, 2017. Mark Humphrey/AP

Musician John Prine was hospitalized Thursday after a "sudden onset" of coronavirus symptoms, according to a statement posted by his family on his verified Twitter account.

Prine was intubated Saturday night and continues to receive care but "his situation is critical," the statement said.

Prine has fought several battles with cancer, including surgery that removed a piece of his neck and changed the tone of his voice, deepening it and giving it a gravelly sound. In 2013, he had surgery for lung cancer.

6:31 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

More clinicians and ventilators have been sent to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens

From CNN’s Laura Ly

New York Mayor de Blasio said Sunday that 169 clinicians -- physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants -- have been sent recently to Elmhurst Hospital to assist in treating coronavirus patients.

De Blasio said 55 ventilators have been sent to Elmhurst over the past two weeks.

The Queens hospital has been among the hardest hit in New York City, although the number of cases in other NYC hospitals is expected to follow Elmhurst's lead, de Blasio said.

Within Elmhurst Hospital, staffers have been moved from outpatient areas to assist in the ICU. Staff from central office are moving in and taking on roles in the ICU and in the emergency department, de Blasio said, adding that the city will keep moving personnel to help Elmhurst and every other hospital that needs it.

8:36 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Visa offers to extend sponsorship for Team Visa’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls into 2021

From CNN's Jill Martin

Visa has offered its Team Visa Olympic and Paralympic athletes the opportunity to extend their sponsorship with Visa into 2021. This was previously reported by The Associated Press.

Visa released a statement:

"Visa is committed to supporting and celebrating our diverse and global roster of 90+ Team Visa athletes. We are proud of the program and the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls that make up our roster. We have offered our Team Visa athletes the opportunity to extend their relationship with Visa to support them along their new road to Tokyo next year."

Adam Peaty of Great Britain, Team Visa swimmer, also released a statement:

"Most people would agree these are unprecedented times for all of us but having Visa’s support makes these times of adversity quite a bit easier."
6:29 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

NYC Health ER's are serving twice as many patients and ICUs are three times as filled, NYC Health CEO says

From CNN’s Laura Ly 

New York City’s emergency rooms are serving twice as many patients as usual and their intensive care units are three times more filled than usual, said Dr. Mitchell Katz, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, on Sunday. 

NYC's health care providers are serving under very difficult conditions, but so far, everyone who has needed a ventilator has gotten one and that everyone needing PPE has gotten it, Katz said. NYC Health + Hospitals operates the public hospitals and clinics in New York City.

"I want to be clear that everyone who has needed a ventilator has gotten a ventilator. That people who need the protective equipment have gotten the protective equipment. But there is tremendous anxiety about the coming weeks," Katz said.

About 500 contract nurses were added to the NYC Health + Hospitals system this week and another 500 are expected next week, NYC Mayor de Blasio said Sunday.

The city sent 1,400 ventilators to hospitals throughout the city, but the overall number needed is 15,000, de Blasio said.

6:33 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Convention center in Dallas to serve as coronavirus care facility

From CNN’s Deanna Hackney 

The exterior of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas.
The exterior of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas. Juan Figueroa/Pool/Getty Images

The Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, will be the first alternative location in the state to care for coronavirus patients, although it is currently not needed, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference Sunday.

The convention center has the capacity for 250 beds with room to expand if needed. More facilities like hotels and arenas throughout the state are being identified as potential coronavirus-care locations.

Currently, there are more than 16,000 hospital beds available for coronavirus patients in Texas. The number of hospitalized currently is less than 2% of available room capacity, according to Abbott.

6:31 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Texas governor expands travel restrictions into state

From CNN’s Deanna Hackney 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has expanded an executive order that requires people traveling to Texas from certain destinations inside the US to be quarantined for 14 days.

Abbott’s previous order stated that people flying into Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the city of New Orleans be quarantined for 14 days.

The expanded version, announced by Abbott at a press conference Sunday afternoon, includes anyone driving from Louisiana and flying from the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Miami. The states of Washington and California are included in the order.

Abbott also announced an executive order that stops "dangerous felons" from being released from the state’s jails and prisons early due to coronavirus.

"Releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe," he said.