March 31 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Joshua Berlinger, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:48 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020
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4:27 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

US stocks log disastrous first quarter

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

A woman walks past the New York Stock Exchange on March 19.
A woman walks past the New York Stock Exchange on March 19. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks dropped sharply in the first three months of the year as worries about the global coronavirus pandemic and its impact on businesses and the economy grew.

Here's how the markets performed in the first quarter:

  • The Dow recorded its worst start to a year in history, down 23.2% for the quarter.
  • The S&P 500, meanwhile, logged its worst quarter since the final three months of 2008, down 20%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite’s downturn was more contained. The tech-heavy index recorded its worst quarter since the final months of 2018, falling 14.2%.

The final day of the quarter also ended with all three indexes in the red today.

The Dow closed 410 points, or 1.8% lower, and was down 13.7% for the month.

The S&P ended down 1.6%. It fell 12.5% in March.

It was the worst month since October 2008 for both indexes.

The Nasdaq Composite closed down nearly 1%, for a 10.1% monthly loss. It was its worst month since November 2008.

4:24 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Texas governor issues statewide stay-at-home order

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

A truck dives down a road in Deweyville, Texas on Sunday, March 29.
A truck dives down a road in Deweyville, Texas on Sunday, March 29. David J. Phillip/AP

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a state-wide executive order requiring all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.

The executive order called Essential Services and Activities Protocols is essentially a stay-at-home order aimed at minimizing the spread and transmission of Covid-19.

The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. local time on April 2 and will end on April 30, Abbott said.

4:13 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Texas reports 41 deaths from Covid-19

From CNN's Jessica King

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press conference today, “With heavy heart, I share with you that we have now lost 41 Texans to fatality connected with Covid-19.”

Gov. Abbott said that as of noon local time, 3,266 Texans have tested positive for coronavirus of the 42,922 who have taken the test, which he noted was “less than 10%.”

He added that 2.4% of the total hospital beds across Texas specifically delegated to Covid-19 were occupied, while the large remainder are vacant.

4:47 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Ann Taylor, Loft and Neiman Marcus furlough thousands of employees amid store closures

From CNN's Kate Trafecante and Jordan Valinksy

 Noam Galai/Getty Images
 Noam Galai/Getty Images

Retailers Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and Neiman Marcus will furlough staff as the companies extend store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ascena, the owner of Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, announced Monday it made the "extremely difficult decision" to furlough all of its store associates and half of its corporate employees as it extends temporary store closures.

That amounts to roughly 45,000 employees, according to figures from a regulatory filing. The remaining corporate employees will have their salaries reduced by as much as 45%.

“Impacting our associates is one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make as an organization," Ascena CEO Gary Muto said in a statement. 

Neiman Marcus also announced it will furlough a "large portion" of its roughly 14,000-strong workforce as it prolongs store closures through at least April 30. 

Neiman Marcus CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said in a statement that he's not taking his salary during the time period and that is direct reports are also waiving a "significant amount" of their salaries.

"While these are the most difficult decisions to make, our focus is on ensuring our business is protected over the long-term so we can continue serving our associates and customers," van Raemdonck added.

Neiman Marcus and Ascena are the latest retailers to announce they would furlough the majority of their retail staff, following in the footsteps of Macy's, Kohl's, Gap and JCPenney. 

Hear more:

3:56 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Louisiana governor extends stay-at-home order for another month

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

A view of an empty Bourbon Street in New Orleans on March 27.
A view of an empty Bourbon Street in New Orleans on March 27. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will sign a proclamation later this week extending the state's stay-at-home order until April 30.

Since last Thursday, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals have doubled, and the number of patients on ventilators have doubled as well in that time frame, he said.

Today the state reported an additional 1,212 cases and 54 deaths, which Edwards called "sobering"

His proclamations will also limit funeral services to crowds of 10.

Edwards said that Region 1 — which includes New Orleans — could hit capacity on ventilators by Saturday and hospital space by April 7.

3:42 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

At least five states reporting over 1,000 new coronavirus cases Tuesday

From CNN’s Liz Stark, David Wright and Amanda Watts

At least five states are reporting more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to updates from each state's Department of Health or state officials.

Eight states increased by more than 600 cases.

At least 15 states have reported more than 200 new cases of coronavirus; they are: 

  1. New York: +9,298 cases
  2. New Jersey: +2,060 cases
  3. California: +1,169 cases
  4. Louisiana: +1,212 cases
  5. Michigan: +1,117 cases
  6. Georgia: +785 cases
  7. Pennsylvania: +756 cases
  8. Florida: +634 cases
  9. Tennessee: +405
  10. Texas: +389 cases
  11. Indiana: +373 cases
  12. Missouri: +296 cases
  13. Ohio: +266 cases
  14. Maryland: +247 cases
  15. Virginia: +230 cases
3:46 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

California unemployment climbs to 1.6 million people during pandemic

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A man takes a photo of a sign outside an Employment Development Department office in San Francisco on March 26.
A man takes a photo of a sign outside an Employment Development Department office in San Francisco on March 26. Jeff Chiu/AP

While Californians are under stay home orders and businesses are closed, about 1.6 million people have filed for unemployment, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference today.

More than 150,000 people filed for unemployment on Monday alone, the governor said.

“We’re going to have to do more to meet this moment for employees and employers,” Newsom said.

Newsom promised more to come on how his administration is planning to help small businesses, noting “the small businesses are in our heart and mind.”

3:30 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Michigan is reporting 1,117 new coronavirus cases and 75 deaths

Michigan is reporting 1,117 additional Covid-19 cases and 75 additional deaths.

The state now has a total of 259 deaths and 7,615 cases, according to the state’s website.

3:38 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Portuguese airline suspends 90% of employees

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

TAP Air Portugal planes are parked at Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon on March 24.
TAP Air Portugal planes are parked at Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon on March 24. Pedro Fiuza/Xinhua/Getty Images

Portuguese airline TAP Air Portugal has temporarily laid off 9,000 employees — about roughly 90% of its workforce — grounding most of its operations to a halt, a spokesperson for the company told CNN on Tuesday.  

According to the spokesperson, 90% of the company’s 10,000 strong workforce will be suspended from work for a period of 30 days starting on April 2. Under a government-supported scheme, those workers will still continue to receive two-thirds of their salaries. The suspension can be extended after those 30 days. 

The remainder 10% of the workforce will continue to work with a 20% reduction of their working hours and pay, the spokesman also said. 

The airline’s operation will also be significantly cut short. Before the outbreak, TAP was flying more than 3,000 flights per week, but starting tomorrow, it will limit its operation to 5 flights a week, two to the Portuguese islands of Madeira, and three to the Portuguese Islands of Azores, the spokesman added. 

The company will also assist the Portuguese government in the repatriation of Portuguese citizens from abroad, as well as help with transportation of cargo and humanitarian efforts.