March 31 coronavirus news

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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. 

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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.

7:21 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New York's MTA says ridership is down 90% since pre-pandemic levels

From CNN's Rob Frehse

An empty subway car is seen on March 23, 2020 in New York City. - Wall Street fell early March 23, 2020 as Congress wrangled over a massive stimulus package while the Federal Reserve unveiled new emergency programs to boost the economy including with unlimited bond buying. About 45 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.6 percent at 19,053.17, and the broad-based S&P 500 also fell 0.6 percent to 2,290.31 after regaining some ground lost just after the open. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
An empty subway car is seen on March 23, 2020 in New York City. - Wall Street fell early March 23, 2020 as Congress wrangled over a massive stimulus package while the Federal Reserve unveiled new emergency programs to boost the economy including with unlimited bond buying. About 45 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.6 percent at 19,053.17, and the broad-based S&P 500 also fell 0.6 percent to 2,290.31 after regaining some ground lost just after the open. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority ridership is down 90% since pre-pandemic levels, the group’s chairman and CEO Pat Foye announced Tuesday.

Foye, who tested positive for coronavirus last weekend, said 582 of his colleagues have also tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Foye said reports of overcrowding incidents have been sporadic and that the MTA is working closely with the NYPD to control crowding and tell riders to move to a different car or wait for another train. He added that people are mostly complying and he believes no summonses have been issued.

“It's a very sporadic number of cases given the significant decline in ridership,” Foye said. “But we're working hard to get the message out and working closely with the NYPD and the MTA Police.”
7:11 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

There are at least 184,343 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Dave Alsup

There are at least 184,343 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to CNN Health's tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the country through its public health systems,

So far, 3,796 people have died in the US from coronavirus.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, Washington, DC, and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases. Hawaii and Wyoming are not reporting a death from coronavirus. 

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

7:07 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New Jersey is ordering additional refrigeration trailers to be placed across the state

From CNN's Laura Ly

The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed to CNN that the state is ordering additional refrigeration trailers to be placed across the state to serve as additional locations for body storage.

“The state is ordering additional refrigeration trailers that will be placed in the northern, central and southern parts of the state for use by hospitals and nursing homes as well as the medical examiner’s offices around the state,” Donna Leusner, the communications director for the health department, told CNN.

Leusner also said the chief state medical examiner is working with the Funeral Directors Association to address their needs and concerns.

New Jersey currently has 18,696 cases of coronavirus, according to CNN Health's tally.

7:10 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Maine governor issues "stay healthy at home" directive

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a press briefing in Augusta, Maine, on Thursday, March 12.
Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a press briefing in Augusta, Maine, on Thursday, March 12. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Maine Gov. Janet Mills issued a "stay healthy at home" directive today that requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times, unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, according to a release from the governor’s office.

The executive order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on April 2 and will last until at least April 30.

The governor also mandated a series of other new restrictions, including prohibiting the use of public transportation unless for an essential reason and mandating the continued termination of classroom or other in-person instruction until at least May 1.

Maine has 303 confirmed coronavirus cases and five deaths, according to figures compiled by CNN.

7:01 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Trump discusses the potential need for Americans to wear masks

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

President Trump discussed the need for Americans to wear masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Trump said that Americans “can wear scarves” in lieu of masks.

“You know, you can use a scarf. A lot of people have scarfs, and you can use a scarf. A scarf would be very good. My feeling is if people want to do it, there’s certainly no harm to it. I would say do it, but use a scarf if you want, rather than going out and getting a mask or whatever, we're making millions and millions of masks," Trump said when asked if he would recommend all Americans wear masks.

Trump said he wants the masks being produced to go to hospitals that need them.

“We want them to go to the hospitals. But one of the things that Dr. Fauci told me today is we don’t want everybody competing with the hospitals where you really need them,” Trump added.

Trump did say that it might not be a bad idea for Americans to use some sort of face cover, for at least a period of time.

“So you can use scarves if you want, it can be something else, it does not have to be a mask, but it’s not a bad idea at least for a period of time. I mean eventually you’re not going to want to do that, you’re not going to have to do that. It’s going to be gone. It's going to be gone, hopefully gone for a long time," Trump said.

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7:07 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Trump warns coronavirus more "vicious" than flu, despite his previous comments

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that Covid-19 is worse than the seasonal flu, despite claiming otherwise multiple times in the past.

“It’s not the flu. It’s vicious,” Trump said of Covid-19 Tuesday while discussing a personal friend of his who is in a coma battling coronavirus.

Some context: The tone is new for Trump who on March 9 tweeted: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

Two days after Trump made that comment, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that coronavirus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.” 

Today members of the coronavirus task force warned that Americans should be “prepared” for over 100,000 deaths.

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