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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8:57 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Plane with aid from Russia expected to arrive in US on Wednesday

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

A plane from Russia loaded with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to assist in the response to Covid-19 is expected to arrive in the United States on Wednesday, a senior administration official tells CNN. 

“We expect Russia to deliver a planeload of personal protection equipment and supplies tomorrow, as President Putin offered President Trump yesterday,” the official said.
“We will put into immediate use any needed items that are FDA approved. Likewise, the United States is sending equipment and supplies to many other countries and will continue to do more as we are able.”

President Trump on Monday told reporters that Russia sent the US “a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment which was very nice.”

Why is Russia sending the equipment? The Russian embassy in DC tweeted Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin provided the assistance with the consideration that manufacturers would reciprocate and share supplies with Russia if need be.

The National Security Council and State Department did not reply to inquiries as to if President Trump promised that US manufacturers would share supplies with Russia if Russia gets to a point where they need them.

8:23 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Georgia governor will deploy National Guard to long-term health care facilities

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Over the next few weeks, Gov. Brian Kemp will deploy the National Guard to help long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Georgia with Covid-19 cases.

The National Guard will help implement infection control protocols and enhance sanitation methods in hopes of mitigating exposure to the vulnerable residents, the governor said in a press release.

"Georgia's top priority is increasing healthcare capacity to protect vulnerable Georgians, especially those residing in long-term care facilities," Kemp said. "If we can keep these populations as healthy as possible, we will be able to conserve precious medical supplies and hospital bed space in the coming days and weeks."
8:15 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

There are at least 811 new coronavirus deaths reported in the US on Tuesday

From CNN's Dave Alsup

There have been at least 811 new coronavirus deaths reported in the US on Tuesday, according to a count from CNN Health.

This is the most reported deaths in the United States in a single day since the coronavirus outbreak began. 

There have been a total of 3,815 deaths reported in the US.

8:11 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

El Salvador reports first coronavirus death

From CNN's Juliana Gonzalez

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced the country's first coronavirus death on Twitter Tuesday. 

In the short tweet Bukele added, "God will protect us." 

El Salvador has reported 32 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

8:21 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Fact check: Trump again touts anti-malaria drugs without scientific proof

From CNN'a Marshall Cohen

A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills.
A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday again touted anti-malaria drugs as a potential treatment for coronavirus, and extolled their safety, despite the lack of scientific studies on the matter. 

“It’s been out there for a long time,” Trump said of the drug chloroquine and a related drug, hydroxychloroquine. “Very powerful drug. But it’s been out there, so it’s tested in the sense that you know it doesn’t kill you.”

Facts First: Trump is right that the drugs have been available for a while, but he’s wrong to imply that they’ve been proven safe for Covid-19 patients. Public health officials have said testing is still needed, and trials are underway. 

Over the weekend, the US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for doctors to use the drugs in hospitals for a limited set of Covid-19 cases. Some physicians have already been using the malaria drugs off-label to treat coronavirus patients.

The drugs have been used to safely prevent and treat malaria, and for lupus and other conditions. But there isn’t scientific data proving that they’re safe for coronavirus patients.

There’s no evidence to back up Trump’s assertion that it’s already known that Covid-19 patients won’t die from the treatment. The drug can lead to cardiac side effects, including an irregular heartbeat, which can be especially dangerous for patients with Covid-19, doctors say.

Early tests are underway now in New York, the hardest hit area in the US with more than 75,000 cases.

This isn’t the first time Trump has made this comment. His messaging on the drugs have been far more optimistic than the messaging from the public health officials that have attended the daily White House briefings.

8:10 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

There are over 41,000 positive cases of coronavirus in New York City

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Workers build a field hospital in Central Park on Tuesday, March 31.
Workers build a field hospital in Central Park on Tuesday, March 31. Mary Altaffer/AP

There are 41,771 positive cases of Covid-19 in New York City and 1,096 fatalities, according to a press release from the New York City mayor’s office Tuesday evening. 

There were at least 8,400 people hospitalized, and of those individuals, at least 1,888 were in the ICU as of 6 p.m. ET on March 31.

7:49 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

North Carolina governor signs order prohibiting utility shutoffs for 60 days

From CNN's Jennifer Henderson 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference this afternoon that he signed an executive order to prohibit utility companies from shutting off services for people unable to pay for gas, electric, water and waste water.

Services cannot be shut off for next 60 days, Cooper said.

“This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” Cooper said. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we stay at home.”
7:51 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Trump says he wouldn't have reacted to coronavirus differently if he wasn't impeached

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

President Trump says he doesn’t think he would have responded differently to early indications of the novel coronavirus’ spread if he wasn’t being impeached.

“I don’t think I would have acted very differently or I don’t think I would have acted any faster,” Trump said during a White House press briefing.

Trump’s response follows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's recent comments blaming Democrats for distracting the Trump administration with impeachment earlier this year as coronavirus was spreading abroad. 

“I think I handled it very well, but I guess it probably did (distract me). I mean, I got impeached. I think, you know, I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it,” Trump said during the briefing Tuesday. 


7:54 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Nevada governor asks people entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days

CNN’s Jessica Jordan

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a press conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 17.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a press conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 17. Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun/AP

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a travel advisory Tuesday asking everyone entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days even if they have no symptoms of the novel coronavirus. 

“Nevada will always be a welcoming spot for travelers, but out of an abundance of caution, we are asking everyone to Stay Home for Nevada, especially if you have symptoms,” he said in a written statement.

The advisory does not apply to essential workers, including in the healthcare and food supply industries.