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Coronavirus updates from March 24, 2020

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President Trump said Tuesday he wants the U.S. "opened up" by Easter Sunday, which falls on April 12, despite an acceleration of coronavirus cases across the country. Mr. Trump's comments came during a town hall on Fox News in which he signaled impatience over the widespread closing of businesses and the resulting economic slowdown.

"We'll only do it if it's good," Mr. Trump added at a later briefing. "And maybe we do sections of the country, we do large sections of the country. That could be, too." He said the administration is "very in touch" with medical experts and would follow "whatever they would do."    

But Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of Johns Hopkins' Center for Health Security, said on the "CBS Evening News" he thinks it's "going to take at least until Easter to even begin to see the impact of the social distancing measures that have been put in place in the last week."

As of Tuesday evening, there were more than 54,800 reported cases in the U.S. and more than 780 people have deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

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

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
People line up to get a test at Elmhurst Hospital due to coronavirus outbreak on March 24, 2020, in Queens, New York. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
 

New Zealand latest nation to impose lockdown

New Zealand has declared a state of emergency as it prepares to go into an unprecedented lockdown late Wednesday for about a month.

The declaration temporarily gives police and the military extra powers. And Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says any New Zealanders returning home from overseas who show symptoms of COVID-19 will be put in isolation at an approved facility.

"I have one simple message for New Zealanders today as we head into the next four weeks: 'stay at home,'" Ardern said. "It will break the chain of transmission and it will save lives."

Ardern said exceptions include people working crucial jobs, those leaving to pick up essentials like groceries, and those engaging in solitary exercise. The country has 205 reported cases of the virus, although Ardern said that number could rise into the thousands before it begins to recede even with the strict measures being taken. 

-- The Associated Press

 

Puerto Rico applauds efforts of first responders, police, medical personnel in fight against coronavirus

Residents of Puerto Rico took to their balconies and porches and opened their windows Tuesday evening to applaud medical personnel and others working to combat the coronavirus.

A grassroots social media effort encouraged Puerto Ricans to cheer at 9 p.m.

The applause even caught the attention of government officials, including Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced. "It is on each of us to protect ourselves and our neighbors. It is essential as Puerto Ricans," she wrote in a tweet.

Puerto Rico has reported 39 cases of coronavirus, resulting in two deaths, according to the Puerto Rican Department of Health.

 

Los Angeles health officials say patient under 18 may not have died of coronavirus

Hours after announcing that a person under the age of 18 had died of coronavirus in California, Los Angeles health officials said "further evaluation" would be required before the fatality is linked to coronavirus. 

"The juvenile fatality that the Los Angeles County Department Public Health reported earlier today will require further evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement. "Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality. Patient privacy prevents our offering further details at this time." 

By Victoria Albert
 

Ice rink used as makeshift morgue as coronavirus death toll surges in Spain

Spain is on the brink of reporting nearly 40,000 cases of coronavirus, and the country's death toll tops 2,800, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins. Now, the country is using an Olympic-sized ice rink as a temporary morgue, according to the Reuters news agency, as the capital's funeral home is facing shortages of medical gear and is having trouble keeping up with the pandemic.

Spain ranks behind only China, Italy and the U.S. in people infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Nearly 14% of the people infected there are health care workers, according to Reuters. The rising death toll prompted a nursing union there to say hospitals in Madrid are on "the verge of collapse."

To help fight the virus, an ice rink within Madrid's Palacio de Hielo mall has been turned into a temporary morgue, officials told BBC News. Hearses have been delivering bodies to the site, BBC News added.

Palacio de Hielo used as morgue in Spain — coronavirus
General view of Palacio de Hielo, whose ice rink is being used as a morgue due to local funeral homes being over capacity due to COVID-19, as seen March 24, 2020, in Madrid, Spain. Getty
 

Trump says nation can see "light at the end of the tunnel" as Washington pushes $6 trillion stimulus

Trump wants the U.S. "opened up" by Easter Sunday, even as coronavirus cases rise

President Trump says the U.S. is beginning to see the "light at the end of the tunnel," as the number of coronavirus cases in the country is doubling every two to three days. The president has been signaling impatience with the ongoing business closures and stock market volatility caused by the spreading coronavirus, and on Tuesday began suggesting he wants the country "back open by Easter," April 12.

"There is tremendous hope as we look forward and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stay focused and stay strong and my administration and myself will deliver for you as we have in the past," the president said during a Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

Meanwhile, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the price tag for the package the Senate and administration is finalizing amounts to roughly $6 trillion, at least $4 trillion more than earlier estimates.

Asked why Easter was chosen, the president said he thinks that's "a beautiful timeline," and it marked a certain number of weeks since the White House issued social distancing and business closure guidelines.

By Kathryn Watson
 

Pregnant women face new concerns amid coronavirus pandemic

Two major hospital chains in New York City are blocking spouses and partners from maternity rooms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Millions of expectant mothers have concerns about the virus, including CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste, who is nearly nine months pregnant.

At 27 weeks pregnant, Raquel Iacurto tested positive for COVID-19. "I was in shock," she said. "I broke down and my husband was my rock and calmed me down."

Data on the impact of coronavirus in pregnant women, fetuses and newborns is limited but hopeful. "What we know, at this point, is that pregnant women do not seem to get any sicker once they get COVID-19 than the general population," Dr. Laura Riley said.

Riley said the flu is still more dangerous for pregnant women. Doctors say coronavirus does not appear to pass from mother to baby through the placenta or breast milk, but that it's too early to tell if there are concerns for women in early pregnancy, like miscarriage or birth defects.

Read more here.

Expectant mothers concerned about isolation and health risks amid coronavirus pandemic
By Nikki Battiste
 

White House advises anyone leaving New York City to self-quarantine

The White House Coronavirus Task Force on Tuesday said that anyone who has recently traveled to New York City should self-quarantine for 14 days.

"We are asking anyone who has traveled out of the NYC-metropolitan area to anywhere else in the country to self-isolate for 14 days. We have to deal with the NYC metropolitan area as a high-risk area," Vice President Mike Pence said.

White House urges 2-week quarantine for anyone recently in New York metro area
By Justin Carissimo
 

"We're really at the beginning of this epidemic": Doctor worries about ending social distancing measures too soon

President Trump said Tuesday that he wants America "back open by Easter," signaling impatience with the economic slowdown and stock market drops brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. His comments quickly sparked concern from lawmakers and health experts. 

In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell, Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of Johns Hopkins' Center for Health Security, weighed in on the president's proposed timeline.

Read O'Donnell's interview with Dr. Inglesby here.

Johns Hopkins health security director on coronavirus in the U.S. and social distancing
By Victoria Albert
 

Andrew Cuomo says Trump administration's inaction will decide who dies

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said the state's efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus have not worked, and instead, the virus is "accelerating on its own." Cuomo made a plea for more ventilators in the state, saying thousands more are needed than the federal government has offered to send.

According to Cuomo, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, agreed to send 400 ventilators to New York — a fraction of what is needed.

"What am I going to do with 400 ventilators? When I need 30,000," Cuomo said. "You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators."

N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo demands thousands of ICU beds and ventilators

Read more here.

 

CBS News poll: Views of economy drop but Americans optimistic about recovery

Assessments of the economy have plummeted, and many are concerned about a potential job loss, but most Americans are optimistic about the economy's ability to rebound in the future. 

Now, just over a quarter of Americans say the economy is in good shape, a drop of 32 points from December when 6 in 10 said the economy was at least somewhat good.

image001-3.jpg
CBS News

Read more here.

 

Person under 18 dies in Los Angeles

A person under the age of 18 has died of coronavirus, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Tuesday. The department said the victim lived in Lancaster and announced the deaths of two others, who were between the ages of 50 and 70.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said the victim was the youngest to die in America, but that has not been confirmed.

Update: Hours after announcing that the patient died from coronavirus, Los Angeles health officials said "further evaluation" would be required before the patient's death was officially linked to the disease. Read more here

By Victoria Albert
 

Dow jumps 2,100 points on Wall Street hopes of coronavirus bill

Stocks surged Tuesday as investors weighed the Federal Reserve's vow to support key financial markets and prospects for a nearly $2 trillion relief bill in Congress to help soften the economic impact of the coronavirus. 

The Dow jumped 2,113 points, or 11.4%, to 20,705. The broad-based S&P 500-stock index jumped 9.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 8.1%. 

The Dow had lost 37% of its value through Monday since its most recent high in February, with investors spooked by the sudden shutdown of economic activity across the U.S. in reaction to the pandemic. With millions of workers expected to lose their jobs this month, lawmakers are working on a stimulus bill that would provide aid to individuals and families as well as hard-hit industries. 

But despite those measures, economists say the U.S. is already in a recession and predict a historic surge in unemployment in the coming weeks.

Read more here.

By Aimee Picchi
 

First immigrant in ICE custody tests positive for coronavirus

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Tuesday revealed the first confirmed case of coronavirus among the population of tens of thousands of immigrants in its custody across the country. 

A Mexican immigrant held in New Jersey tested positive for the virus, officials announced in a statement Tuesday afternoon. The 37-year-old immigrant is being quarantined and receiving medical treatment, the agency said.

The detainee was being held at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey, which the federal government uses to detain dozens of immigrants. Officials say those who may have been exposed are being monitored for symptoms of the virus. ICE is also suspending the transfer of detainees to the northern New Jersey jail.

Tuesday's announcement comes as ICE continues to face intensifying pressure to downsize its detainee population, which stands at more than 37,000. 

Read more here. 

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez
 

Judge rules Michael Cohen's sentence won't be reduced

Judge William Pauley on Tuesday denied Michael Cohen's bid to reduce his sentence. "It's time that Cohen accept the consequences of his criminal convictions for serious crimes that had far-reaching institutional harms," he wrote in his two-page order. 

Cohen originally petitioned the court in December — but he later used the coronavirus pandemic as part of an argument to let him out of his three-year sentence early. He is currently serving time at a minimum-security facility in New York and is set to be released in November 2021. 

"Apparently searching for a new argument to justify a modification of his sentence to home confinement, Cohen now raises the specter of COVID-19," Judge Pauley wrote. 

"That Cohen would seek to single himself out for release to home confinement appears to be just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle. As the Government points out, he is 'manifestly ineligible' for compassionate release and has not exhausted his administrative remedies." 

By Clare Hymes
 

Playwright Terrence McNally dies at 81

Playwright Terrence McNally died Tuesday due to complications of coronavirus, spokesperson Matt Polk said. McNally was 81 years old. 

McNally won four Tony Awards: two for the plays"Love! Valour! Compassion!" and "Master Class" and two for the musicals "Ragtime" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

McNally, a lung cancer survivor, lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. He died Tuesday at a hospital in Saratoga, Florida.

2014 Tony Awards - Arrivals
Terrence McNally attends the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York City. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty
By Justin Carissimo
 

Bureau of Prisons announces 14-day quarantine for inmates entering system

The Bureau of Prisons announced Tuesday that it is implementing a mandatory two-week quarantine for all new inmates that are entering the federal system across 122 facilities. 

In a press release, the Bureau said the quarantine will complement existing restrictions, which include a limit on visitation, reduced inmate movement, and increased health screening of staff and inmates. The Bureau added that all facilities have been ordered to provide space for isolating and quarantining inmates. 

 

Coronavirus creates long waits in nation's "virtual waiting rooms"

Shannon Picha realized Monday she needed a refill for a prescription medicine. To avoid a doctor's office, where there's a risk of interacting with someone carrying coronavirus, Picha did what officials have advised: She sought a virtual appointment using a telemedicine app. Then the hours-long wait began.

Across the country, remote appointments have suddenly become the norm, testing a relatively new industry that has never before faced demand on this scale. The telemedicine app Picha used, Amwell, allows users to choose a specific doctor and wait in their "virtual waiting room."

Picha voiced her frustration in a comment on Amwell's Facebook page. Patients of many nation's top telemedicine companies have taken to Twitter and Facebook to note similar frustrations with wait times, and the responses from customer service are consistent across the industry: "We're experiencing an unusually high volume of people seeking care due to COVID-19."

Read more of the story here.

By Graham Kates
 

Mitt Romney says he tested negative for coronavirus

GOP Senator Mitt Romney announced Tuesday that he has tested negative for coronavirus. 

"Thankfully I've tested negative for COVID-19," the Utah senator wrote. "Nevertheless, guidance from my physician, consistent with the CDC guidelines, requires me to remain in quarantine as the test does not rule out the onset of symptoms during the 14-day period." 

By Victoria Albert
 

India issues 21-day lockdown

India will begin the world's largest lockdown on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a TV address, warning citizens to stay inside or risk inviting the pandemic into their homes, and pledging $2 billion to bolster the country's beleaguered health care system.

"To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out," Modi said Tuesday night, acknowledging that the 21-day lockdown would be a major blow to the economy, but insisting that the alternative could set the country back 21 years.

The move puts nearly one-fifth of the world's population under lockdown. — AP

 

Trump says he wants the country "raring to go by Easter"

President Trump said during a Fox News town hall Tuesday that he wants the country "back open by Easter" on April 12, signaling impatience with the ongoing business closings, economic slowdown and stock market plunges that are a result of the spreading coronavirus. 

The "cure," meaning the severe economic slowdown, is "worse than the problem" of the deadly virus, and will kill more people, Mr. Trump insisted. 

Mr. Trump expanded upon what he said during a Monday night Coronavirus Task Force briefing — that the U.S. was not built to be shut down, and needs to return to normal soon. The president said the White House will reevaluate the president's 15-day guidelines for social distancing and business closures at the end of that 15 days, which would be early next week. 

"I would love to have it open by Easter. I would love to have it open by Easter," Trump said. "I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter."

Read more here.

By Kathryn Watson
 

Amazon suspends 3,900 sellers for coronavirus-related price gouging

Amazon has booted nearly 4,000 sellers for what the ecommerce company called "seeking to profit off the COVID-19 crisis." More than half a million offers were pulled from the biggest U.S. online marketplace and more than 3,900 accounts suspended for violating Amazon's fair pricing policies, the retailer said. 

"Amazon strictly prohibits sellers from exploiting an emergency by charging excessively high prices on products and shipping," the company said Monday in a blog post

"We have deployed a dedicated team that's working continuously to identify and investigate unfairly priced products that are now in high demand, such as protective masks and hand sanitizer," the company added.

Read more here.

By Kate Gibson
 

20 House Democrats urge Trump to issue nationwide shelter in place order

A growing number of states have implemented "shelter in place" orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, ordering the closure of nonessential businesses and barring residents from making unnecessary trips. But some in Congress believe those closures should not just be ordered on a state-by-state basis, but on a federal level as well.

Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California and 19 of his colleagues sent a letter to the White House Tuesday asking the president to issue a two-week shelter in place order for the entire country.

"We're watching our health care system collapse before us. We're seeing people separated from their loved ones. We're witnessing students shut out from their classrooms and workers let go from their jobs," Khanna told CBS News. "If we want to demonstrate true American leadership and stop this outbreak, we need a nationwide shelter in place order. Let's listen to the experts who are telling us that step is the only way we can truly mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Months of continued half-measures will cost us far more than two weeks of sheltering in place."

Read more here.

By Grace Segers
 

Spanish army finds dead, abandoned patients at senior care facilities

The Spanish army has been called in to help disinfect care homes in the country, and during some of their visits, they found morbid scenes, BBC News reports. Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said the military "found some older people completely abandoned, sometimes even dead in their beds."

During an interview with Spanish TV channel Telecinco, Robles said that the staff in some care homes left after coronavirus was detected at facilities. 

The government is now "going to be strict and inflexible when dealing with the way older people are treated" in retirement homes, Robles said, according to BBC. An investigation into the situation has been launched, Spanish prosecutors said. 

Read more here.

By Caitlin O'Kane
 

New York is experimenting with splitting one ventilator between two patients

Health officials in New York are experimenting with having two patients share one ventilator as the coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread shortages of the machine, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press briefing Tuesday morning. 

Cuomo emphasized the severity of the shortage of hospital equipment, including beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment. He said ventilators are difficult to produce and extremely expensive.

"This is a critical and desperate need for ventilators. We are going so far as to try an experimental procedure where we spit the ventilator," Cuomo said. "We use one ventilator for two patients. It's difficult to perform, it's experimental, but at this point, we have no alternatives." 

Read more here.

By Sophie Lewis
 

Egypt and Syria announce curfews

Egypt, the Middle East's most populous country, and Syria, ravaged by nine years of war, will impose nightly curfews starting this week, their governments announced Tuesday.

Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said an 11-hour nationwide curfew from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. will go into effect Wednesday, during which various forms of transportation will also come to a halt. Egypt has 366 confirmed cases and 21 fatalities, including two senior military officers.

In Syria, where the healthcare system has been decimated by conflict, the government said a 12-hour curfew beginning at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) will go into effect Wednesday. Syria has reported one coronavirus case so far. 

There are over 31,000 confirmed cases of the virus across the Mideast, the vast majority in hard-hit Iran.

-The Associated Press 

 

New York governor says 40,000 ICU beds could be needed

New York Governor Andrew Cumo said Tuesday that the rate of coronavirus cases is doubling every three days and that the anticipated need for the peak in New York, which could be in 2-3 weeks, is 140,000 hospital beds and approximately 40,000 ICU beds. 

"Those are troubling and astronomical numbers," he said, noting that they're higher than previously projected.

There are currently 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 ICU beds available in the state, he said.  

Cuomo: "I will turn this state upside down to get the beds we need" for coronavirus patients
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Senate appears close to a deal over massive coronavirus stimulus bill

The Senate appeared Tuesday to be inching closer to a deal on a massive stimulus bill to respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic after late-night negotiations between Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats and Republicans were "very close" to a deal and he hopeed to move forward Tuesday.

"We're on the 5-yard line," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "Today we can make all of the Washington drama fade away. If we act today, what Americans will remember and what history will record is that the Senate did the right thing."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who introduced her own $2.5 trillion stimulus package Monday, also said she was hopeful that both chambers could come to an agreement.

"I think there is real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours," Pelosi said in an interview on CNBC.

By Grace Segers
 

Residents of 3rd largest county in U.S. ordered to stay home

Houston, Texas, and the surrounding Harris County have issued a stay-at-home order that goes into effect Wednesday. The order will remain in effect until at least April 3, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at a news conference Tuesday. 

"This means that all of us should stay home unless our jobs are essential for the health and safety of our community," Hidalgo said according to CBS News affiliate KHOU.

With a population of more than 4 million, Harris is the most populated county in Texas, and the third largest county in the United States. 

By Audrey McNamara
 

South Korea says Trump has requested shipments of medical equipment

President Trump has requested medical equipment from South Korea, according to the South Korean president's office. The request was made during a phone call Tuesday between Mr. Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, according to an official read-out of the discussion provided by the Blue House, the South Korean leader's official residence.

It comes as the U.S. struggles to supply health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak with protective gear and hospitals with ventilators.

Moon apparently told Mr. Trump that he would "provide as much as I can if there is enough supply," but then noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might need to approve an imported equipment.

As coronavirus preparations ramp up, U.S. still faces medical shortage

Mr. Trump replied, according to the South Korean read-out of the 23 minute call, that he would act immediately to ensure needed items were allowed into the U.S. and made available for use, possibly even seeking approval on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump was said to have shown interest in the South Korean government's handling of its own outbreak, telling Moon: "You're doing great."

-Jen Kwon and Tucker Reals

 

UN Human Rights chief urges lifting of sanctions on nations grappling with coronavirus

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called on countries to "urgently" reconsider economic sanctions against adversaries to help all nations address the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

"Broad sectoral sanctions should urgently be re-evaluated in countries facing the coronavirus pandemic, in light of their potentially debilitating impact on the health sector and human rights," the former Chilean president said.

The U.N.'s top human rights advocate, Bachelet urged nations to exempt countries from the sanctions imposed on them, specifically mentioning Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. She cited the impact that outbreaks in some of those countries could have on neighboring nations.

In the case of Iran, for instance, where the economy has been put under huge pressure by a wide array of U.S. sanctions, Bachelet said the measures could end up hurting Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"It is vital to avoid the collapse of any country's medical system – given the explosive impact that will have on death, suffering and wider contagion," she said. "In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us."

By Pamela Falk
 

Cuba shuts down vital tourism industry to curb coronavirus

Cuba's streets were tourist-free Tuesday after the country shut down a key economic sector in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

By Monday there were just 32,500 tourists still in Cuba, down from 60,000 last Friday. No more are allowed to enter. International flights arrive empty to repatriate tourists who never imagined their Caribbean vacations ending in quarantine.

No one is permitted to leave their hotel except to get to an airport. All car rentals to tourists and tourist excursions have been canceled and vehicles are being reclaimed.

CUBA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Stranded passengers line up looking for a flight to return to their countries, at Havana's Jose Marti airport, on March 23, 2020. ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty

About 9,400 tourists staying in private homes, 6,000 of them in Havana alone, will be moved to hotels. They will get reduced rates comparable to what they were already paying.  

Many of the tourists are from Canada, Russia, Spain and France.

As of Monday evening there were 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cuba, most of them Cubans who have returned from abroad and the rest tourists. Another 531 people are being monitored with suspected COVID-19.

By Portia Siegelbaum
 

Ford says its ventilators should be in hospitals by "early June"

Ford Motor Company hopes to send new ventilators to hospitals treating coronavirus patients in early June, its president and CEO said Tuesday. The company is one of the private companies stepping up after medical professionals across the country warned that hospitals will run out of the vital pieces of equipment as the number of coronavirus patients grows. 

"The problem is that the lines that have been in place produce hundreds or thousands. We're talking about needing hundreds of thousands," Jim Hackett said on "CBS This Morning." "So we're talking about early June, where we don't think it's a problem, but between now and June it's about ramping up."

Ford Motor CEO on shifting production from cars to ventilators

Ford is partnering with GE Healthcare to produce the ventilators in the United States. It is also working with McLaren Automotive and Airbus in the United Kingdom. 

 

Texas becomes latest state to halt abortion services amid coronavirus outbreak

The Texas Attorney General's office has ordered all clinics that provide abortions to immediately stop providing the procedure in order to comply with the state's temporary suspension of surgeries that are not deemed "medically necessary," according to a statement shared with CBS News. Texas is the latest state to halt abortion services amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the Attorney General's office, "any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother" must be suspended. Those in violation will face "penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time."

By Kate Smith
 

Ex-FDA chief Scott Gottlieb says coronavirus must be stopped before rebooting economy

As President Trump signals his desire to restart the U.S. economy, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, his first commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, is warning that society can't get back to normal as long as the coronavirus continues spreading in the nation's largest cities.

In a series of tweets Monday night, Gottlieb said it is vital for the country to end the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and that the U.S. health care system can't function and people can't return to work if they are "terrified of a virus raging uncontrolled." Gottlieb has been one of the most vocal advocates for aggressive government intervention to combat the virus.

"There's a strong and understandable desire to return to better times and a functioning economy," he wrote. "But it should not be lost on anyone that there's no such thing as a functioning economy and society so long as covid-19 continues to spread uncontrolled in our biggest cities."

By Melissa Quinn
 

Japan's leader says IOC has agreed to his proposal for 1-year Olympics delay

Japanese officials and the International Olympic Committee have agreed to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for about one year until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.  

A statement posted online by the IOC Tuesday said the committee's President Thomas Bach and other IOC officials had reached the decision on a conference call with Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the head of Japan's Olympic planning committee.

The statement said the World Health Organization's characterization on Monday of the pandemic as "accelerating" had led to the decision that the summer Games "must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."  

CBS News' Lucy Craft reports from Tokyo that speculation has swirled about whether the Summer Games could actually be rescheduled for earlier in the year to avoid Japan's sultry season. The sweltering summers are an issue so problematic that the IOC decided to hold the marathon and race-walking events outside Tokyo, in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido. 

The new Olympics schedule was expected sometime in the coming weeks.

By Tucker Reals
 

Here are 700,000 open jobs that need to be filled immediately

Millions of Americans are already losing their jobs as the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. and wreaks havoc on the economy. But the pandemic is also driving a surge in hiring at businesses seeing a huge increase in demand for their products and services because of the outbreak. 

At least 700,000 jobs are open at the moment, according to a tally of big businesses such as Walmart and Amazon that have announced plans to hire. There are also plenty of "gig" economy jobs that are available for delivery workers, tutors, personal assistants and more. 

To be sure, the new jobs won't come close to replacing all the work now being lost, especially in hard-hit sectors like travel, hotels and retail. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicts that unemployment could reach 30% over the next few months — that would exceed the highest jobless rate during the Great Depression, when unemployment hit nearly 25%.

Who benefits when a business goes cashless?
By Aimee Picchi
 

Restaurant industry struggles with closures and layoffs

Restaurants across the U.S. have been required to alter their operations in order to survive, with several cities and states shutting down bars and restaurants over the coronavirus pandemic. Shifting to take-out only service is the only way some eateries can stay in business, but that requires fewer employees and altered menus. 

The shift has been difficult for restaurant workers facing increased layoffs and reduced hours. Ashley Gregg, a bartender in Ohio, was let go while still facing medical bills for her young son who died of cancer in 2018. 

"We have medical bills and everything that we need to catch up on," Gregg told CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers. However, she said she was "more concerned about the owners" of the brewery that let her go, "because, you know, this was their livelihood."  

Restaurants struggle to adapt to coronavirus precautions

Restaurant owners across the country have had to make equally difficult calls. Click here to read the full report.

By Tucker Reals
 

Americans struggle to follow "stay at home" orders and keep their distance

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Americans are being ordered to only leave their home for essential needs and stay six feet from other people when they do. But in crowded cities across the country, that's not always easy to do.

"You forget, and then you have to take a step back," said Matt Zender in Seattle. 

Zender said he was initially surprised by grocery store policies to help keep customers at a distance. Several major chains are limiting the number of people allowed inside. Others are adding visual cues like taped squares on the floor to space out customers waiting in line or placing large crates in front of registers to keep people away from cashiers, CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan reports. #

Cities struggle with social distancing
 

30 TSA staffers at airports nationwide have tested positive for the coronavirus

At least 30 Transportation Safety Administration workers at airports across the country have tested positive for the new COVID-19 disease since the end of February, including 25 airport screeners who deal directly with the public, the agency has confirmed.

"TSA is working with the CDC and state and local health departments to monitor local situations as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public," the agency said in a statement posted to its website.

The statement warns that some security checkpoints would be closed as necessary, so travelers "may be redirected to other security screening checkpoints at the airport."

No restrictions have been imposed on domestic U.S. travel due to the virus outbreak as of Tuesday.

By Tucker Reals
 

Arizona man dies after taking drug touted by Trump as coronavirus treatment

A Phoenix-area man has died and his wife is in critical condition after the couple took chloroquine phosphate, CBS affiliate KPHO reported. The additive is used to clean fish tanks and is also found in an anti-malaria medication that has been touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

Banner Health said Monday that the couple in their 60s got sick within half an hour of ingesting the additive. The man couldn't be resuscitated when he arrived at a hospital, but the woman was able to throw up much of the chemical, Banner said.

"Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure," the woman told NBC. She said her advice for people would be: "Don't take anything. Don't believe anything. Don't believe anything that the president says and his people ... call your doctor."  Read the full story here. 

-CBS/AP

By Tucker Reals
 

Mormons criticized for crowded airport welcoming of missionaries

Hours after hundreds of people welcoming missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints crowded together in an airport parking garage, authorities announced new rules to prevent it from happening again amid the coronavirus crisis.

The people who showed up Sunday at the Salt Lake City Airport and stood shoulder-to-shoulder, some hugging arriving loved ones, should have heeded warnings to keep their distance to help prevent the spread of the virus, said critics of the gathering, including Senator Mitt Romney, Utah's governor and lieutenant governor, and the church itself.

While Utah residents welcoming returning missionaries is an airport tradition, officials this time asked for only one or two family members of each returning missionary to come, and to stay in their cars — guidance that wasn't followed by many people, said airport spokeswoman Nancy Volmer.

-CBS/AP

 

With Americans in lockdown, hope and calm beat nervousness - CBS News poll

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the personal has become national: the more danger you think you and your family are in from the virus, the more trouble you think the country is in, too.

Americans report staying calm and hopeful most of the time amid the outbreak, punctuated with feelings of nervousness and stress — especially for those who aren't going out, and particularly for those concerned they'll get the virus themselves. 

Our new CBS News Poll shows, however, that few Americans report feeling lonely often, even among those not leaving the house, and most remain optimistic that their fellow Americans will take the steps needed to stop the spread.

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Detroit Police confirm member of the force has died of COVID-19

The Detroit Police Department has confirmed what appears to be the first death of a member of a U.S. police force due to the new coronavirus.

The department said in a brief statement released Tuesday morning that Chief James Craig would hold a press conference later in the day "to report out on the first loss of a member of the Detroit Police Department to COVID-19."

No further information was provided on the department member who died, and it was unclear whether the individual was a police officer or worked for the force in another capacity. 

By Tucker Reals
 

Americans see months-long pandemic fight ahead - CBS News poll

Most Americans (57%) say the nation's efforts to combat the coronavirus are going badly right now, most call it a crisis and see a months-long process before it is contained. But the public is pinning its hopes heavily on the nation's scientists, with eight in 10 optimistic about their ability to eventually find a cure or vaccine, and most are also optimistic that Americans themselves can take steps to slow the spread.  

Click here to read more about Americans' views on the U.S. COVID-19 response, and how our leaders and experts are handling it.

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WHO says "very large acceleration" of COVID-19 could make U.S. new pandemic epicenter

A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said Tuesday that the U.N. health agency was seeing a "very large acceleration" in confirmed COVID-19 infections in the U.S.

According to the Reuters news agency, spokeswoman Margaret Harris said the rate of spread was putting the U.S. on pace to become a possible new global epicenter in the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S.," she said according to Reuters. "So it does have that potential" to become the most challenging outbreak around the world. 

Americans brace for predicted rise in coronavirus cases

For about two weeks the WHO has referred to Europe as the epicenter of the pandemic, with Italy and Spain bearing the brunt of the disease. There have been encouraging signs in Italy over the past two days, however, that draconian restrictions on daily life are starting to pay of: the rate of confirmed new infections in the hardest-hit northern region has levelled off. 

By Tucker Reals
 

Iran reports record jump in new COVID-19 cases

Iran on has announced 122 new coronavirus deaths, raising the official toll in the country to 1,934. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said a record 1,762 new cases were confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people were known to have been infected in total.

Iran accuses the U.S. of crippling its coronavirus response with sanctions, while the U.S. accuses Iran of lying about how and why the disease has spread so fast in the Islamic Republic.

As CBS News' Seyed Bathaei reported Monday, Iranian authorities say harsh U.S. sanctions have made it hard for the country to import the medical equipment needed to fight the epidemic. Some Iranian officials have even pushed a claim that the U.S. government created the virus and deliberately unleashed it on the country.

President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly said the sanctions do not affect medical resources, and Pompeo said Monday that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's "fabrications" about the disease were "dangerous and they put Iranians and people around the world at greater risk." 

By Tucker Reals
 

Mnuchin and Schumer say deal expected today on $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package

Top congressional and White House officials emerged from grueling negotiations at the Capitol over the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package saying they expected to reach a deal Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said they had spoken by phone with President Donald Trump during the long night of negotiations. While the two sides have resolved many issues in the sweeping package, some remain.

At midnight Monday, they emerged separately to say talks would continue into the night.

"We look forward to having a deal tomorrow," Mnuchin told reporters after exiting Schumer's office.

"The president is giving us direction," Mnuhcin said. "The president would like to have a deal, and he's hopeful we can conclude this."

Moments later, Schumer agreed that a deal was almost within reach. "That's the expectation - that we finish it tomorrow and hopefully vote on it tomorrow evening," he said. 

Associated Press

Senate continues to argue over relief package
 

Confusion as U.K.'s semi-lockdown takes effect

Confusion rippled through Britain on the first morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week halt to all nonessential activity to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. The government has told most stores to close, banned gatherings of three or more people and said everyone apart from essential workers should leave home only to buy food and medicine or to exercise once a day. 

But photos showed crowded trains on some London subway lines Tuesday amid confusion about who is still allowed to go to work.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now. Employers: please support your staff to work from home unless it's absolutely necessary. Ignoring these rules means more lives lost." 

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
A commuter wearing a protective face mask with people on a platform at Hammersmith underground station as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 24, 2020. HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS

The government says police will have powers break up illegal gatherings and fine people who flout the rules. But some expressed doubts about whether the lockdown could be enforced.

Associated Press  

 

Virus outbreak forces major downgrading of Olympic torch relay

With this year's Tokyo Summer Olympics likely to be postponed, organizers made a last-minute decision Tuesday about how to handle one of the most visible icons of the Games: The highly symbolic torch relay will go on ― but without runners, spectators or even the flaming torch itself.

While 10,000 runners were originally enlisted to carry the Olympic flame on foot, traversing a route meant to showcase Japanese culture and scenery while building local enthusiasm for the quadrennial sporting event, the relay instead has been downgraded to just a safety lantern ― the kind used to transport the flame aboard aircraft ― ferried by car. The four-month relay is set to kick off at the J-Village soccer training center in Fukushima on March 26. 

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic flame is displayed outside the railway station in Tono, Iwate prefecture on March 22, 2020.  PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty

Would-be torchbearers didn't conceal their disappointment. "I was so happy when I was chosen to be a torch runner," one Fukushima man told TBS TV. "Just having a lantern is extremely regrettable."

But if reports are accurate, runners will eventually get their day on the macadam ― if the Olympics are rescheduled, organizers say a proper torch relay will be reassembled to usher it in.

By Lucy Craft
 

China eases curbs on one-time virus epicenter

Chinese authorities are lifting a lockdown in most of its virus-hit Hubei province.

People who are cleared will be able to leave the province after midnight Tuesday.

The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started in late December, will remain locked down until April 8. China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan starting Jan. 23 and expanded it to most of the province in the days that followed.

Hubei has seen almost no new infections for more than a week. 

-Associated Press

 

Activists push for the release of vulnerable inmates during pandemic

The nearly 2.3 million people incarcerated across America are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak, activists warn, and the virus has already made its way behind bars. The close proximity of inmates, coupled with inadequate treatment, can cause diseases to spread quickly inside prisons, where resources like soap, cleaning supplies and warm water can be hard to come by.

The disease, COVID-19, has sickened tens of thousands of Americans, including 21 inmates and 12 staffers at New York City jails, the largest outbreak behind bars to date. There are more than 40,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., including more than 20,000 in New York state alone. 

After freeing two dozen inmates, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he and city officials were reviewing the cases of 200 others and considering them for early release. Across the Hudson River, the New Jersey Supreme Court approved the release of up to 1,000 inmates serving time for low-level offenses, which is believed the largest release in response to the virus.

Read more here. 

By Tyler Kendall
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