March 31 coronavirus news

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9:48 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

9:39 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Sources at two US hospitals say they're running out of sedation drugs

Two nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver, Colorado, have told CNN that they're running out of proper sedation drugs because they've had to intubate so many patients since the coronavirus epidemic began in the US.  

A nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, tells CNN that their hospital is running out of fentanyl, which they used to sedate intubated Covid-19 patients. 

"We are starting to run out of proper sedation medication like propofol and fentanyl," one nurse says. 
"It’s hard to watch when you have to flip these people onto their bellies and use oral medications to sedate them through their feeding tubes."

SCL Health Vice President of System Communications Nikki Sloup said that their hospital system, which includes St. Joseph's Hospital, currently has an adequate supply to meet patient needs.  But Sloup warns that if they experience a patient surge, it could see shortages. 

"We have put in place numerous conservation programs and continue to work with public and private partners to secure the supplies we need to provide safe and appropriate care to our patients and ensure the safety of our caregivers," Sloup told CNN in a statement.

CNN reached out to Johns Hopkins Hospital for comment but did receive a response.

One nurse said they've never seen so many ventilators being put to use.

"Being on a ventilator is a package deal -- it typically comes with the addition of sedation in order to tolerate being ventilated and that’s where fentanyl comes into play," they said. "It is being used in such high doses to appropriately sedate these patients."
9:28 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

At least 80% of Americans are under stay-at-home orders

More than 262 million Americans are currently under stay-at-home orders -- over 80% of the US population -- according to a CNN count.

This count includes state, city and county orders. The numbers were tallied using US census data.

Among the most heavily impacted states are:

  • California: 39.5 million people
  • New York: 19.4 million people
  • Illinois: 12.6 million people
  • Ohio: 11.6 million people
  • North Carolina: 10.4 million people
9:12 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Only one US state is yet to report a death from coronavirus

Hawaii has reported its first death from the coronavirus, leaving Wyoming as the only US state without a fatality from Covid-19.

The Hawaii victim “was an older adult resident of Oahu” with preexisting health problems, according to Dr. Bruce Anderson with the state Department of Health.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in Hawaii,” Governor David Ige said in a news conference Tuesday evening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.