March 13 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:49 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020
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4:06 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Trump shaking hands with Rose Garden guests

From CNN's Kevin Liptak 

Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation shakes hands with US President Donald Trumpon Friday, March 13.
Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation shakes hands with US President Donald Trumpon Friday, March 13. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump continues to shake hands with corporate chiefs in the Rose Garden, even as health experts warn against the practice in a bid to prevent community spread.

Trump, who has come into contact with at least one person who tested positive for coronavirus, has a self-avowed dislike of shaking hands. 

But he couldn't seem to shake the habit on Friday until at last a CEO offered an elbow bump instead of a handshake.

4:02 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will get "broad new authorities" to deal with coronavirus

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP?FILE
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP?FILE

President Trump said the emergency orders issued today will also "confer broad new authorities" to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Azar will be able to "waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals — all hospitals — and health care providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus," he said. 

That includes waivers of some federal licensing requirements, waivers to critical access limits on numbers of beds and lengths of stays, and waivers to rules to bring additional physicians on board at certain hospitals. 

3:54 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Trump is both declaring "national emergency" and invoking the Stafford Act, a source says. Here's what that means.

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

A source familiar with the President's plans says Trump is declaring both a national emergency and invoking the Stafford Act. 

What this means:

  • The Stafford Act is what frees up the extra federal funding and allows access to the funds. 
  • The national emergency gives access to expanded authorities for the executive branch.
3:55 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Trump claims private sector will provide 5 million coronavirus tests within a month

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump announced that private labs and vaccine developers will be able to provide five million coronavirus tests within a month. 

He also claimed that drive-through testing sites will be set up to make coronavirus tests available to more people and more quickly, something that has been implemented in other countries.

4:56 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Trump says he doesn't want everybody taking coronavirus tests

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

Even as he announced a scaling up of testing capacity for coronavirus, President Trump said Friday he did not believe all Americans should rush to be tested.

“We don't want people to take a test if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it. And we don’t want everybody running out and taking — only if you have certain symptoms," he said in the Rose Garden.

Trump, who began his remarks giving himself plaudits for his response to the outbreak, still appeared to believe the spread could be limited and that not every person in the country would require access to tests.

“We don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary," he said.


3:49 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Top health official: Ultimately, "this will end"


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised President Trump's emergency action on coronavirus, saying the move "remove the constraints" health, state and local officials have in containing the virus.

"We still have a long way to go. There will be many more cases. But we'll take care of that and ultimately, as the President said, this will end," he said.

Fauci added: "But what's going on here today is going to help it to end sooner than it would have."

5:08 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Trump declares "national emergency"

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump declared a "national emergency" on Friday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the action would "open up access to up to $50 billion," which he described as "a large amount of money for states and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease."

Trump also urged states to set up emergency operation centers immediately.


3:32 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

NOW: Trump is speaking about the coronavirus pandemic


President Trump is now speaking from the White House about the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump is likely to make an emergency declaration that would free up tens of billions of federal dollars to combat coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the decision.

3:10 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020

AMC will reduce capacity by 50% in all US movie theaters

From CNN’s Frank Pallotta 

Noam Galai/Getty Images/FILE
Noam Galai/Getty Images/FILE

AMC Theatres announced on Friday that they are proactively reducing the maximum capacity of each of its theaters by at least 50%, according to a press release.

Beginning Saturday through April 30, the movie theater chain will cap ticket sales for each of its theatre’s auditoriums to an amount equal to 50% of the normal seating capacity.

Adam Aron, CEO and President of AMC Theatres, said “with this action, we are facilitating the ‘social distance’ between guests who still want to see movies on a big screen.”

The company is also enhancing its cleaning protocols by cleaning “hightouch” point areas at least once per hour, the company said.