March 16 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 10:14 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020
6 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
9:21 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

CDC recommends canceling or postponing events involving more than 50 people for eight weeks

From CNN's Ben Tinker

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published interim guidance Sunday recommending "that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States."

"Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populationshand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual," the CDC's guidance said.

The CDC's recommendation does not apply to "day to day operations of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning or businesses."

"This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials," the CDC said.

9:21 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Vice President Pence says new guidelines on curfews and social distancing to come Monday

From Jason Hoffman and Nicky Robertson

Vice President Pence said there will be new guidelines released Monday morning regarding potential curfews or closures of such locations as restaurants.

Pence said those guidelines are being vetted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for now, the federal government is deferring to decisions made by state and local governments.

"What my health care team, some of the best people in the world, tell me very regularly is that it's very important that you follow the data, you make decisions based on the circumstances that are taking place in that community," Pence said.
9:21 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

29 states announce school closures amid coronavirus

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

An exterior view of Henry H Garnet in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 14 in New York City.
An exterior view of Henry H Garnet in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 14 in New York City. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Twenty-nine states have closed schools in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The states have announced that they will be closing schools in the coming weeks. The amount of time and conditions under which they will close differ from state to state.

Here are the states that have closed schools so far:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
2:38 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Measures to contain coronavirus will "take a toll on the economy in the near term," Fed chairman says

From CNN’s Clare Duffy

After cutting the target interest rate to zero on Sunday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the action is meant to help as "essential" measures taken by communities and health officials to contain the coronavirus outbreak will "take a toll on the economy in the near term."

The Fed took a number of actions "to support American families and business and the economy overall and to support the flow of credit" as it is affected by coronavirus, Powell said. 

he Fed expects to maintain the rate until “we are confident the economy has weathered" the current situation, Powell said.

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect that the Fed chairman said overall measures to contain the virus could take a toll on the economy in the near term.

9:17 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Lebanon announces two-week lockdown

From Ghazi Balkiz 

Lebanon has closed its airport, borders and ports for two weeks starting Sunday until March 29 at midnight to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, Information Minister Manal Abdul Samad said in a news conference on Sunday in Beirut.

People are obligated to stay in their homes unless there is an "extreme necessity," the minister said.

The government is banning public and private gatherings and government offices will be closed except for security, health and service offices, according to Abul Samad.

All private commercial companies, except for food production-related ones, were also instructed to close, the minister said.

Coronavirus has killed three people and infected 100 others in Lebanon as of Sunday.

9:17 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Vice President Pence says more than 2,000 labs will have high-speed testing capability by Monday

From CNN's Nicky Robertson and Jason Hoffman

During a White House briefing Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence announced that “more than 2,000 labs” will have high-speed testing capacity by Monday.

Since the declaration of a national state of emergency, Pence said federal public health services have worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and "have reached out to all 50 states to create a process that will enable all Americans who need to be tested to go to a community-based testing site outside of usual health care facilities." 

Pence noted these tests will be focused on those "most in need."

Adm. Brett Giroir with the US Public Health Service outlined how new coronavirus testing will be rolled out. He said there would be 1.9 million tests available this week across the 2,000 labs. Giroir also emphasized that the priority would be placed on those most vulnerable.

Giroir added that there wouldn’t be undue stress put on the acute health care system, meaning emergency rooms or urgent care.