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Coronavirus updates from March 20, 2020

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More than one-fourth of Americans are being ordered to stay home as much as possible in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. The governors of New York, Illinois and Connecticut on Friday joined California and Pennsylvania in shutting down most businesses. Workers considered "essential" are exempt, meaning grocery stores, pharmacies and take-out restaurants will stay open in those states.

There are more than 19,300 cases in the U.S., and at least 250 people have died, according to John Hopkins University.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for detailed information on coronavirus treatment and prevention.


Three inmates test positive at Georgia prison

The Georgia Department of Corrections announced Friday night that three inmates that were housed at Lee State Prison have tested positive for coronavirus. 

One inmate was hospitalized on March 15, and the other two were hospitalized a day later, the department said in a press release. All had flu-like symptoms at the time, and they remain hospitalized.  

There are three other inmates at Lee State who are under observation for showing flu-like symptoms, the department added.

"Measures have been taken to screen and quarantine the entire inmate population at that facility," it said in the release, adding that all staff are being screened prior to entry. Currently, no staff members have shown signs of flu or COVID-19, according to the release. 

By Victoria Albert

Latest U.S. numbers

There are at least 250 deaths linked to coronavirus across the U.S., and more than 19,300 confirmed cases.

Here's a breakdown of where the deaths have occurred:

83 - Washington
46 – New York 
24 – California
14 – Louisiana
13 – Georgia
11 – New Jersey
10 – Florida
5 – Illinois
5 – Texas
4 - Colorado
3 – Michigan
3 – Oregon
3 – Connecticut
3 – Wisconsin
3 - Indiana
2 - Virginia
2 – Missouri
2 - Kentucky 
2 - Ohio
2 - Vermont
1 – Mississippi
1- Nevada 
1 - Kansas
1 – South Dakota
1 - South Carolina 
1 – Pennsylvania
1 – Maryland
1 - Oklahoma 
1 – Massachusetts  
1 – District of Columbia

By Justin Bey

NYSE boss sold his own stock ahead of coronavirus market meltdown

The CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, sold millions of dollars worth of the parent company's shares in late February just days before the first reported death from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. The transaction also came as financial markets were starting to tumble as the devastating economic impact of the outbreak was becoming clear.

Jeffrey Sprecher, who is the husband of Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, on February 26 sold $3.5 million in shares of ICE, as the exchange is called, at an average price of $93.42 each, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since then, ICE shares have plunged nearly 25% amid a broader downdraft in stocks.

Sprecher and Loeffler also sold $15.3 million worth of ICE shares on March 11, at an average price of around $87, SEC filings show.

Read more here.

By Stephen Gandel

Pelosi says McConnell's proposal for "phase 3" of relief bill a "non-starter"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter Friday evening that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposal for "phase 3" of an emergency coronavirus relief bill is a "non-starter." 

"As you know, Senator McConnell has released his proposal for a third coronavirus response package, which is not at all pro-worker and puts corporations ahead of working people," Pelosi wrote. "As written, it is a non-starter." 

As it stands, the proposed bill includes rebates of $1,200 for most individuals who reported less than $75,000 on their 2018 tax returns, or $2,400 per couple who filed their taxes jointly and made less than $150,000. McConnell said Thursday that the package aims to hit "four pillars": relief for small businesses, cash assistance for taxpayers, loans to businesses in major industries and resources to combat the virus.

Pelosi said that to be acceptable, the bill must rebuild health care infrastructure and secure more resources for testing and treatment, as well as "increase Unemployment Insurance and Medicaid, help small businesses survive, expand paid sick and family leave and put money directly into the hands of those who need it most."  


U.S. to rapidly turn away migrants, including those seeking asylum, over coronavirus

Citing the need to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration on Friday announced it would turn away border-crossing migrants, including those seeking refuge, by invoking sweeping powers to deny entry to foreigners whom the government determines could carry a communicable disease.

U.S. officials at both land borders are being directed to rapidly process migrants who lack the authorization to enter the country and to bounce them off U.S. soil as quickly as possible starting Saturday. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said migrants would be returned to Mexico or Canada "without delay," or rapidly deported to their home countries.

Standing alongside President Trump and other top administration officials, Wolf said the stringent measures stemmed from an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. He said it would be "all but impossible" for his officers to determine whether migrants pose a public health risk since many of them arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without medical or travel documents. 

"The CDC Director has determined that the introduction and spread of the coronavirus in the department's Border Patrol stations and detention facilities presents a serious danger to migrants, our frontline agents and officers and the American people," Wolf told reporters at Friday's White House briefing.

Read more about the decision here

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

1 in 3 new GoFundMe campaigns in U.S. are tied to the coronavirus

Struggling workers and businesses and nonprofits across the globe have generated an "unprecedented" level of activity the past few weeks on GoFundMe, the non-profit crowdfunding platform, as the coronavirus shuts down entire industries and threatens the careers of those who cannot do their jobs from home. 

Collectively, these campaigns have raised more than $40 million over the past few weeks, according to GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan.  

The rate of campaign creation is accelerating as fears mount over the spread of the virus in the U.S. Over the past 48 hours, one in every three new campaigns created in the U.S. has cited the coronavirus, Cadogan told CBS MoneyWatch. 

The range of beneficiaries is striking: Campaigns run the gamut from raising funds for closed restaurants and their workers, to subsidizing actors, medical professionals, school children and more. 

"This has happened so quickly — the speed with which this has rippled through society and the economy is unprecedented and we are seeing that reflected on the platform," Cadogan said. 

Read more about the uptick in coronavirus campaigns here

By Megan Cerullo

Hospital sews mask covers to combat shortage

In south Georgia, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is in a coronavirus crisis. Twenty-six patients have the virus, and four others have died. 

Dr. James Black, the emergency services medical director, is worried about keeping his staff healthy. He told CBS News that the hospital burned through a five month's supply of N-95 masks in six days. 

But the hospital improvised. In its cardiovascular unit, staff cut surgical linen to sew a second, washable mask to fit over the N-95's — prolonging their life and shielding staff from viral patients. The goal is to sew 2,000 masks a day. 

"We cannot be self-sustaining forever," Black said. "But our hope is to bridge and expand our supply until other supply avenues become available to us." 

By Mark Strassmann

Americans stranded abroad amid coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has caused thousands of Americans to be stranded worldwide and the State Department said it's scrambling to get some U.S. citizens home. But what travelers seem to be getting from the State Department in many cases is very little information or very expensive flight options.

"There wasn't any warning!" Lauren Davenport said from Morocco before she was scheduled to leave. "For us there was about 48 hours, in other countries we heard there was only 24 hours."

The U.S. Embassy in Morocco said Thursday night that anyone wanting to leave could get a seat on a charter flight through London for $1485 — in some cases, twice what their original ticket cost.

In Peru, more than 1,000 people are trying to figure out how to get home.

"8 o'clock on Sunday the president came on and announced that we had 24 hours to leave Peru before they were closing all the borders," one student told CBS News. But they said there were no flights available — and they're hoping to get word from the State Department on what to do next.

President Trump said Thursday he thinks the U.S. military will be called upon to help get Americans home from Peru. Sources within the Pentagon told CBS News they are currently working on a plan.

By Don Dahler

Pence staffer tests positive for coronavirus

A staff member in Vice President Mike Pence's office has tested positive for coronavirus, the vice president's press secretary Katie Miller said in a statement Friday evening. The office said neither President Trump nor Pence had "close contact" with the individual, but the ramifications of the positive testing for the vice president's office are yet unclear.

"‪This evening, we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the coronavirus. Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual," Miller said in a statement. "Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines."

The case appears to be the first confirmed and reported case of the virus among White House staff. The identity of the individual and the individual's role in the vice president's office were not disclosed. 

By Kathryn Watson

Andy Cohen tests positive for coronavirus

"Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen announced Friday that he has been diagnosed with coronavirus. 

"After a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great, I have tested positive for Coronavirus," Cohen wrote on Instagram. "As much as I felt like I could push through whatever I was feeling to do #WWHL from home, we're putting a pin in that for now so I can focus on getting better." 

"I want to thank all the medical professionals who are working tirelessly for all of us, and urge everybody to stay home and take care of themselves," he added. 

By Victoria Albert

"Very difficult to predict" how long "stay-at-home" orders will last, Dr. Fauci says

In the past 24 hours, some governors have begun issuing statewide stay-at-home orders in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Residents of California, New York and Illinois have all been ordered to remain in their homes as much as possible, barring some essential exceptions. 

In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease doctor and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said it's "very difficult to predict" when those orders will end. 

Read Norah O'Donnell's interview with Dr. Fauci here.  

By Victoria Albert

American women's football team airlifted from Honduras

The U.S. military has airlifted an American women's soccer team that was stuck in Honduras, the Pentagon said Friday. The team is a part of the American Football Events USA All-Stars, a non-profit that provides players a chance at exposure.

The team was being transported to Charleston, South Carolina, Chief Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman tweeted.  The U.S. Air Force, Southern Command and Transportation Command joined the operation. 

Hours before attempting to travel home, Honduras closed its border in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

By Justin Bey

Illinois governor issues statewide stay-at-home order

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced a statewide stay at home order on Friday, according to CBS Chicago. The announcement comes after the governors of New York and California adopted similar measures.

"As this epidemic has progressed, we have had to make some hard decisions," Pritzker said Friday afternoon, according to CBS Chicago. "To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay at home order for the state of Illinois, so that is the action that I'm announcing today."

The order will begin on Saturday at 5 p.m., and is scheduled to last through April 7, CBS Chicago reports. Like other stay-at-home orders, residents will still be able to go outside for solitary exercise, to visit grocery stores, and to pick up medications, among other things. 

"For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much," Pritzker said. "There is absolutely no need to rush out to a grocery store or a gas station. On Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday, and every day thereafter, those will be available to you."

By Victoria Albert

Andrew Yang's nonprofit to donate $1 million to families

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang's brand-new nonprofit plans to contribute more than $1 million to working families impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak in New York City and across the country, the group announced Friday.

The Humanity Forward Fund, a nonprofit founded by Yang after he suspended his 2020 presidential campaign, will begin sending $1,000 over the next couple of weeks to 1,000 households in New York City's Bronx borough.

"We figured out very quickly that people are going to need money immediately. And our government should do this," Andrew Yang told CBS News in a phone interview on Friday. "[This fund] exists to demonstrate the power of these ideas, so we started giving money out immediately."

Yang is no stranger to cash stipends. Before the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., Yang, then a presidential candidate, proposed granting every adult American monthly payments of $1,000, turning the concept of "Universal Basic Income" into a household name, for many. His presidential campaign launched a "Freedom Dividend Pilot Program" to test and promote his signature policy, in December 2019.

Read more here.

By Nicole Sganga

New York liquor stores deemed "essential" under Cuomo's statewide order

Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order mandates 100% of the state's workforce "must stay home, excluding essential services," until further notice. That order does not apply to liquor stores, the New York State Liquor Store Association clarified later Friday.

"Liquor stores have been deemed an essential business and may remain open," the association said in a press release. "You do not need to reduce your workforce. This applies to all SLA licensed entities as per the SLA."

Beverage manufacturing, including alcoholic beverages, is also considered an essential operation and is included under the state's list of exemptions, according to the SLA. 

The California Retailers Association said it is "not commenting at this time" on whether liquor stores in the state are also considered "essential services."

Read more here.

By Audrey McNamara

Stocks tumble as Wall Street spooked by statewide shutdowns

Stocks slumped on Wall Street as investors weighed the impact of more shutdowns, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's order to keep most of the workforce in the state at home. It marks the end of another turbulent week that witnessed punishing drops as investors weighed the economic impact of the widening coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow shed 913 points, or 4.6%, to 19,174. The broad-based S&P 500-stock index slipped 4.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite declined 3.8%.

Read more here.


U.S. Army closing recruiting stations

The U.S. Army is closing recruiting stations and will shift to virtual recruiting, officials said in a Friday briefing. The Army will still accept recruits at basic training, which is running at about 50%. There were six recruits who showed symptoms and put into isolation, officials said.


"Grey's Anatomy" among TV shows donating medical supplies

Television shows are now donating medical supplies to real-life emergency personnel who need them in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak in the United States has led to a nationwide shortage of medical supplies and calls for donations of items necessary to treat patients. 

"Grey's Anatomy" has stepped up to provide gloves and gowns, while "Station 19" is donating N95 masks to the City of Ontario Fire Department and a firehouse in Los Angeles, an ABC spokesperson confirmed to CBS News.

"At 'Station 19,' we were lucky enough to have about 300 of the coveted N95 masks which we donated to our local fire station," Krista Vernoff, executive producer of both shows, said in a statement. "They were tremendously grateful. At Grey's Anatomy, we have a backstock of gowns and gloves which we are donating as well."

Read more here.

By Christopher Brito

In 24 hours, 1,000 retired health care workers volunteered in New York City

In just 24 hours, 1,000 retired health care workers in New York City volunteered to join the fight against coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an interview with WCBS 880 on Wednesday. The mayor likened their bold decision to his parents' generation entering war.

"This is going to be like a war effort. Most New Yorkers haven't experienced what this city and this country is like in a full-scale war," de Blasio said. "My parents both served in the war effort in WWII. I heard these stories from the youngest years of my life."

Read more here.

By Caitlin O'Kane

Trump says he doesn't think a national lockdown will be necessary

President Trump on Friday praised recent decisions by the California and New York governors to enforce state-wide restrictions, but said he doesn't think a similar nationwide order will be needed.

"I don't think we'll ever find that necessary," Mr. Trump said at a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, when asked if a national lockdown was being considered. 

The president said the virus has not impacted the Midwest in the same way that it has coastal states. "You go out to the Midwest, you go out to other locations, and they're watching it on television but they don't have the same problems. They don't have by any means the same problem," Mr. Trump said. 

Coronavirus cases have been reported in all 50 states. 

By Audrey McNamara

Fauci says malaria drug's effectiveness on COVID-19 is "anecdotal"

Evidence that a malaria drug will work as an effective treatment for COVID-19 is "anecdotal" and needs more research, leading infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a Coronavirus Task Force briefing, after President Trump expressed hope on Thursday that the drug could be a solution.

During Thursday's briefing, Mr. Trump spoke at length about the drug Hydroxychloroquine, suggesting it has "tremendous promise." Fauci insisted Friday there isn't distance between his message and the president's "feeling" about how the drug might play out. Health officials have pointed to the need for more thorough, clinical studies of the drug on coronavirus patients. 

"There really isn't that much of a difference in many respects with what we're saying. The president feels optimistic about something -- his feeling about it," Fauci said on Friday. "What I'm saying is that it might, it might be effective, I'm not saying that it isn't. It might be effective. But as a scientist, as we're getting it out there, we need to do it in a way as while we are making it available for people who might want the hope that it might work, you're also collecting data that will ultimately show that it is truly effective and safe under the conditions of COVID-19. So it really isn't different, it's just the question of how one feels about it." 

Read more


National Spelling Bee called off

The Scripps National Spelling Bee won't be held as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus. Scripps announced its decision Friday morning, citing recommendations against large gatherings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ongoing state of emergency in Maryland.

The bee had been scheduled for the week of May 24 at its longtime venue, a convention center in Oxon Hill, Maryland, just outside Washington.  Scripps said it would try to reschedule the bee for later this year but it did not commit to a new date. 

 "Canceling the bee would cause an emotional breakdown for most spellers," said Navneeth Murali, a 14-year-old spelling bee veteran from Edison, New Jersey. "It would basically be crushing their dreams."

-The Associated Press


Tax Day filing deadline moved to July 15 from April 15

Americans will have an additional three months to file their taxes. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday that Tax Day has been shifted to July 15 from the usual April 15. 

It's the second tax delay that the federal government has announced because of the outbreak, with the Treasury Department earlier giving taxpayers an additional three months to pay the IRS in case they owed taxes. In a tweet, Mnuchin said the decision was ordered by President Donald Trump.

Read more

By Aimee Picchi

Trump announces suspension of non-essential traffic at Mexican border

President Trump announced Friday he's temporarily closing the U.S.-Mexico border to non-essential traffic, as the U.S. and Mexico both look to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions go into effect at midnight, but Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Border Patrol will "immediately" return all migrants attempting to cross both the Mexican and Canadian borders "without delay."

Mr. Trump also announced that last night he put the Defense Production Act "into gear" to boost the production of medical equipment and supplies like ventilators and masks. 

Read more


Trump temporarily suspends federal student loans, standardized testing requirements

President Trump announced Friday that all federal student loan payments have been suspended without penalty "for at least 60 days," and all federal student loan interest is temporarily waived. Mr. Trump said the government has instructed lenders to suspend loan payments to "minimize the impact of the Chinese virus on our nation's students."

"Borrowers should contact their lenders, but we've given them very strong instructions so we've temporarily waived all interest on federally held student loans," he said.

The president also said the Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing requirements for K-12 students for the remainder of the school year. 

"They've been through a lot… I think probably a lot of the students will be extremely happy, some probably not."

By Audrey McNamara

New York mandates all non-essential workforce stay home

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new executive order Friday that prohibits all non-essential workforce from coming to work. The mandate goes into effect Sunday. Cuomo said the order will essentially put the state on "pause."

"These are not helpful hints … these are legal provisions, they will be enforced," Cuomo said.

Any business that does not comply will be subject to civil fines, according to the governor.  

Only "essential businesses," such as grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores and food delivery, will be allowed to remain open. Cuomo said people should "remain indoors to the greatest extent." 
"This is the most drastic action we can take," Cuomo said. 

New York Governor Cuomo shuts down "non-essential" businesses amid coronavirus outbreak 06:06

The governor dispelled misinformation that young people are immune to the virus, noting that about 20% of coronavirus cases effect people 20 to 44-years-old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"You can get it … you can transmit it, even if you're not symptomatic," Cuomo said. 

"When you're young you think you're invincible, you're wrong."

The governor called out gatherings that continue to take place in city parks, but said there are currently no individual fines for people who disobey social distancing guidelines.

He said he accepts "full responsibility" for the far-reaching impact of the statewide order, telling New Yorkers to "blame" him.

"I want to look back and make sure I can say, 'I did everything we could do.'"

Read more

By Audrey McNamara

Veteran NBC News staffer dies of coronavirus

NBC News has lost a long-time staff member to the coronavirus, the network confirmed Friday.

NBC confirmed to CBS News that a memo was sent to employees from Chairman Andy Lack, telling them that sound engineer Larry Edgeworth had died after catching the COVID-19 disease.

Lack said Edgeworth had "suffered from other health issues that led him to succumb to the illness."

"Many of you were fortunate enough to work with Larry over the years, so you know that he was the guy you wanted by your side no matter where you were," Lack said in the internal statement.  

Like NBC, CBS News has also been directly affected by the virus outbreak. Multiple employees have tested positive — including Rome-based foreign correspondent Seth Doane, who discussed his diagnosis on "CBS This Morning" from isolation in his apartment earlier this week.   

By Tucker Reals

Australian police force offers list of suggested items to panic buy

Police in the state of New South Wales, where Australia's biggest city of Sydney is located, took a tongue-in-cheek approach Friday to try to convince residents not to panic buy groceries amid fear of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A tweet sent by the force early Friday offered a suggested list of items to stock up on:

Grocery retailers in many countries have reassured nervous customers that stocking up on vital good is unnecessary, as there has been little disruption to supply chains. Nonetheless, panic buying has been a major problem in the U.S., Britain and elsewhere, with grocery store shelves stripped of many items quickly after opening.

By Tucker Reals

90-year-old coronavirus patient from hard-hit Seattle care facility recovering

A 90-year-old woman who contracted coronavirus at Life Care Center senior care facility in Seattle has recovered, her family says. Life Care Center experienced a massive spread of the virus in mid-February. 

According to a CDC investigation, 62% of the roughly 130 elderly residents had become infected and more than a quarter of them have died.

Geneva Wood, however, is now a beacon of hope for the thousands of Americans with the virus – and the millions more fearing it. Health officials say elderly people and those with chronic medical problems are especially vulnerable to the disease.

90-year-old Geneva Wood is recovering from coronavirus. Neidigh Family
By Caitlin O'Kane

Coronavirus response is now streamlined, FEMA administrator says: "There's nothing in my way"

As FEMA takes over the United State's federal response to the coronavirus, Administrator Peter Gaynor said he has "every single federal agency" and commercial partner at his disposal. But speaking to "CBS This Morning" on Friday, he  was short on specifics of what the agencies are doing.

"All of government is under one roof," he said. "There's nothing in my way from coordinating."

Gaynor said he has several priorities including supply chain management. Asked if FEMA is coordinating the effort to distribute tests, he said they are. Watch the full interview below:

FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor on taking over U.S. coronavirus response 04:29

Stocks rise as Wall Street winds up a turbulent week

Stocks rose on Wall Street at the end of another turbulent week that witnessed punishing drops as investors weighed the economic impact of the widening coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, major market indices rose on the expectation for a fiscal stimulus that will aid American workers and businesses. 

The Dow rose 82 points, or 0.4%, to 20,169.59 in early trading. The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1%. 

Investors were encouraged after seeing more steps by the Federal Reserve and other central banks and governments to support credit markets and the economy. Hopes are rising that there will be progress in finding virus treatments and that "a boatload of stimulus by both central banks and governments will put the global economy in position for a U-shaped recovery," said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.



Walmart to hire 150,000 temp workers as consumers stock up

Walmart plans to hire 150,000 temporary workers to keep up with demand from shoppers who are stocking up during the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer also said it plans to give $300 bonuses to all full-time hourly workers who have been employed as of March 1 and are still working there on March 24. 

Part-time workers employed by the same dates will receive a bonus of $150, the company said. It expects to pay the bonuses on April 2. The company also said it would push forward its first-quarter bonuses for hourly workers to late April, which is a month earlier than normal. 

"We know this is a difficult time when many people could use more cash, and we want to support you how we can," John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. said in a memo sent to Walmart workers that was posted on the company's website.

By Aimee Picchi

1st German state goes on lockdown as COVID-19 spreads

Bavaria has become the first German state to impose lockdown measures to try to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease, but more states are expected to follow suit.

Bavarian Minister Markus Söder announced Friday that his state was "shutting down public life almost completely."

People will only be allowed to leave their homes if absolutely necessary. Key workers unable to do their jobs from home are allowed out, and everyone is still permitted to leave for medical treatment and to buy groceries or medicine. The measures take effect Friday evening and will remain in place for two weeks. 

The number of infected people in Bavaria has risen by more than 35% since Thursday, and the number of deaths by 50%, to 15. The chains of infection were practically untraceable, the minister said.

With over 13,000 infections in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is to hold a meeting with state leaders on Sunday to discuss the next steps, and a possible nationwide lockdown.  

-Anna Noryskiewicz


What you need to know about coronavirus if you have asthma

If you have asthma, you are among those at greatest risk in the coronavirus pandemic and must take precautions, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) says.

It's important to keep your asthma well-controlled, so continue your medications. No asthma medications — including inhaled corticosteroids and biologics — have been shown to increase the risk of getting COVID-19, according to the ACAAI.

Coronavirus: When should you seek help? 04:15

And, the group added, if you do get the virus, there's no information that asthma medications will make your infection worse.

Click here for more coronavirus information for asthmatics

- Robert Preidt


More than 4,000 National Guard reservists deployed to help battle coronavirus

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says more than 4,000 National Guard reservists have been deployed in 31 states to help battle the coronavirus.

Esper told Fox News that the Army Corps of Engineers were in New York three days ago working to help identify sites, such as college dorms or hotels, that it could renovate for hospital beds. Esper says the military also is preparing Army units to assemble field hospitals.

Esper, who has spoken with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, says the Comfort hospital ship will be in New York. He says the Mercy hospital ship will be deployed early next week on the West Coast.

He adds 67 U.S. service members are infected with coronavirus and that 1,500 Americans are quarantined on four U.S. bases in an effort to lighten the burden on the nation's civilian medical facilities. 

- Associated Press


Slowly, Florida's tourism hotspots are closing for business

Florida's largest county has inched closer to economic shutdown. Miami-Dade County's mayor ordered all beaches, parks and "non-essential" commercial and retail businesses closed because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

"We must all act as if we are infected and take every precautionary step to prevent transmitting this virus," Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Thursday in his announcement of the closures, which appear to go beyond other state and local orders in Florida.

His order allows several businesses to remain open, including health care providers, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and banks.

Are college students taking coronavirus seriously? 04:20

Several cities have closed their beaches and others are expected to follow. Some officials wondered why all Florida beaches aren't closed as some remain packed.

The Florida Keys will close to visitors starting Sunday evening. Monroe County officials announced Thursday that no new reservations would be permitted until further notice. Long-term renters who are already in the Keys will be allowed to remain until the conclusion of their contracts.



College students with COVID-19 warn they've learned to heed restrictions the hard way

While some young adults haven't taken guidance about stopping the spread of the coronavirus seriously, a group of students at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University have learned the hard way that they can not only spread the virus, but become ill themselves.

One senior among the students to test positive for COVID-19 at the school told CBS News that he has multiple friends in the hospital.

"I think that the narrative is completely flipped," he said. "If you go out now, you're going to get shamed from a lot of people."

Officials have been trying harder to convey the seriousness of the disease to young people. The U.S. surgeon general asked influencers like Kylie Jenner to spread the message, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo brought his 22-year-old daughter to a news conference to show she's staying put.  

Young people aren't the only ones resisting dramatic changes to their routines.

"My dad is in sales, and he's a baby boomer, a go-getter and last time I talked to him, he was still out moving and grooving," Amanda Lezcano told CBS News.


More restrictions in India amid fear of a looming COVID-19 explosion

A spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in India has prompted the federal and state governments to widen restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of the disease. 

All offices in Mumbai and at least three other cities in Maharashtra state have been ordered to lock down until the end of March. On Sunday, the entire country will go under a one-day lockdown, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., in what is being seen as a trial run of the stricter national measures by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

"One day's cooperation will help break [the] chain of coronavirus transmission," India's Health ministry said on Friday, without providing any evidence of how a single day of restricted movement might help halt the spread of a disease believed to be contagious for anywhere from several days to several weeks.

Workers clean the coaches of a train amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at a railway station in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, India, March 20, 2020. NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty

The government has urged people to stay home unless "absolutely necessary." Schools, colleges, movie theaters, and shopping malls have already been closed, and large gatherings banned in most parts of the country. 

Experts believe the low number of COVID-19 tests administered so far in India may be hiding "tens of thousands" more patients from the current data, and that India could be the next hotspot in the pandemic after China and Italy. 

Arshad R. Zargar


More than 140 D.C. emergency responders sidelined as 3 test positive for COVID-19

More than 140 members of Washington D.C.'s Fire and Emergency Medical Services are under self-quarantine and three firefighters have tested positive for the new coronavirus, department officials said Thursday.

Gregory Dean, the chief for D.C. FEMS, said two of the firefighters were partners, according to CBS News affiliate WUSA. He also warned that the number of quarantined firefighters could go up.

"We do not have the numbers on what the spread of that is right now," Dean said Thursday. "The health and safety of our residents and our members is my top priority."

A spokesperson for D.C. FEMS told WUSA there had not been any impact on emergency responses, and all units remained in service as of Thursday.

"To the men and women of the D.C. fire department who have volunteered to backfill all these members that are out, I must tell you I'm extremely proud of you for taking care of your community, and thank you very much," Dean said.

By Tucker Reals

Virus ends daily London spectacle of the "Changing of the Guard," for now

"In line with Government advice to avoid mass gatherings, it has been agreed that the ceremonial of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace and Windsor Castle will be postponed until further notice," Britain's royal family confirmed Friday.

The daily spectacle, particularly at Buckingham Palace in central London, typically draws thousands of tourists who watch as the military units traditionally tasked with protecting the British monarch march in formation in and out of the palace gates. 

Members of the Queen's Guard perform the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in a 2011 file photo. Getty/Peter Macdiarmid

Amid an increasingly deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus in Britain, Queen Elizabeth II herself has left Buckingham Palace and taken up indefinite residence at Windsor Castle, her home about an hour west of London.

The statement released by Buckingham Palace on Friday morning said "advice will be reviewed on an ongoing basis," to ensure the ceremonies could resume "when appropriate."

By Tucker Reals

New Jersey family has lost 4 people to the coronavirus

A fourth member of a New Jersey family died Thursday from the novel coronavirus. Vincent Fusco died Thursday morning at a hospital in Freehold, reported.  

His death was confirmed by Roseann Paradiso Fodera, an attorney and relative. Fusco's mother, Grace Fusco, died Wednesday night, hours after another son, Carmine Fusco, died in Pennsylvania.

A sister, Rita Fusco-Jackson, died last Friday. In her final hours, Grace Fusco wasn't aware her two children had died, Paradiso Fodera, told the newspaper.



Scores detained in Turkey over "provocative" coronavirus posts on social media

Turkey has detained 64 people over "provocative and baseless" social media posts about the new coronavirus pandemic, the interior ministry said.

The ministry did not give details but there have been instances in other countries of misinformation shared online including in Indonesia and the United States.

"We have found 242 suspects making baseless and provocative coronavirus posts on social media, and 64 have been detained," the ministry said on Twitter late Thursday. 

Doctor separates coronavirus fact from fiction 02:41

It did not give further details but said work continued to detain others.

Turkey has so far confirmed four deaths from the novel coronavirus, while 359 cases of infection have been recorded. 



"I don't know what people here are thinking": Expert dismays at Italians ignoring lockdown

The vice president of the Chinese Red Cross has expressed dismay at the extent to which Italians continue to flout government orders to remain indoors for all but essential needs amid the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak on the planet.

Italy has confirmed more than 3,400 deaths from the coronavirus, with the northern region of Lombardy being the hardest-hit.

With China reporting no new domestic coronavirus infections for two consecutive days now, the country has declared itself over the worst of the disease and sent teams of experts to Italy and other nations where it is still getting worse. 

Sun Shuopeng was part of a Chinese team that visited Lombardy this week. According to the South China Morning Post, he told reporters Thursday that adherence to the measures implemented in Lombardy to try and stem the disease's spread has been "lax."

"Here in Milan, the hardest hit area by COVID-19, the lockdown measures are very lax. I can see public transport is still running, people are still moving around, having gatherings in hotels and they are not wearing masks," he said according to the Hong Kong-based newspaper. "I don't know what people here are thinking. We really have to stop our usual economic activities and our usual human interactions. We have to stay at home and make every effort to save lives. It is worth putting every cost we have into saving lives."

Italy's hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus as death toll soars 01:26
By Tucker Reals

Richard Burr, some other senators sold lots of stock as virus fears started

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the market dropped in February amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak, Senate records show.

Several other senators sold big stock stakes around the same time, Senate records reveal.

The documents show that Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in 33 separate transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to fall and as government health officials began to issue stark warnings about the effects of the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.


By Tucker Reals

Almost half of coronavirus patients have digestive symptoms, study finds

Diarrhea and other digestive symptoms are the main complaint in nearly half of coronavirus patients, Chinese researchers report. Most patients with the coronavirus have respiratory symptoms, but these findings from the early stages of the outbreak show that digestive problems are prevalent in many patients with COVID-19.

"Clinicians must bear in mind that digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, may be a presenting feature of COVID-19, and that the index of suspicion may need to be raised earlier in these cases rather than waiting for respiratory symptoms to emerge," wrote the investigators from the Wuhan Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19.

The researchers analyzed data from 204 COVID-19 patients, average age nearly 55, who were admitted to three hospitals in the Hubei province between Jan. 18 and Feb. 28, 2020. The average time from symptom onset to hospital admission was 8.1 days.

-Robert Preidt


"There is hope": Two drugs could help patients fight back

One of the reasons health professionals are so worried about the coronavirus pandemic is that there is no specific medicine to treat or prevent the disease — if a patient gets sick, all doctors can do is provide supportive treatment to help them breathe. But in Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing from the White House, President Trump touted two preexisting treatments that have been floated as potential ways to help patients fight back.

Both drugs are still in clinical trials for coronavirus. But CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus joined "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell to break down what we know about the medications.

Read the full interview with Dr. Agus here


COVID-19 confirmed in staff at facilities housing migrants in U.S.

Officials confirmed Thursday that a staffer at a New York facility that cares for unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. custody tested positive for COVID-19. The government is consulting with the local health department about "the level of exposure for the children" in the facility.

The unidentified New York facility, overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), has stopped receiving unaccompanied minors and officials are notifying any staff that may have been exposed. Nationwide, the U.S. government has tested four unaccompanied children in ORR custody for the coronavirus. Two tests came back negative and the others are pending.

Separately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials announced that one of the agency's medical staffers at a detention facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey, tested positive for the virus. The staffer was recently under self-quarantine and is now receiving treatment, according to officials. Earlier in the day, an officer at a jail in Bergen County, New Jersey, used by ICE also tested positive for the virus.

ICE said there have not been any confirmed COVID-19 cases among its tens of thousands of immigrant detainees. But the agency is facing mounting pressure to release some detainees to avert a potentially deadly outbreak inside the world's largest immigration detention system. 

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

California governor announces statewide stay-at-home order

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a statewide order for residents to stay at home, taking effect Thursday evening. Essential services like grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open, but venues like bars, dine-in restaurants and gyms will be closed. 

"This is a moment where we need to have straight talk and we need to tell people the truth," Newsom said. 

All of California ordered to shelter in place over coronavirus 02:02

He added that the order will not be enforced by law enforcement, and that he is relying on the social contract to keep people indoors. 

"I don't believe the people of California need to be told through law enforcement," he said.  

By Victoria Albert
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