March 16 coronavirus news
Nearly seven million people living in a wide swath of Northern California, including Silicon Valley, are being ordered to shelter in place starting at midnight on Monday.
Along with San Francisco, which previously announced its order, residents in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties, along with the city of Berkeley are being required to stay home, according to an order from health officials in those jurisdictions.
“This decision is exponentially difficult,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody said, but added that a regional approach is necessary. “We know we need to do this.”
Health services, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, and food delivery services will remain open. Mass transit will stay open, but it is only to be used for travel to and from essential services.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a proclamation today closing all bars, nightclubs, casinos, movie theaters, malls, gyms and health clubs in the city due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Restaurants will be required to end dine-in services and offer takeout and delivery only.
All Pennsylvania state liquor stores and licensee service centers will close indefinitely tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced.
“This was a tremendously difficult decision to make, and we understand the disruption our store closures will have on consumers and licensees across the commonwealth,” Board Chairman Tim Holden said in a statement.
“But in these uncertain and unprecedented times, the public health crisis and mitigation effort must take priority over the sale of wine and spirits, as the health and safety of our employees and communities is paramount.”
The liquor control board handles all beverage alcohol distribution in Pennsylvania, operating nearly 600 wine and spirits stores statewide. It licenses 20,000 alcohol producers, retailers, and handlers, according to the statement.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced its first employee diagnosed with novel coronavirus, according to a statement.
The agency, which is leading the national public health response to the pandemic, said the employee who tested positive is in "good condition and is isolated to prevent spread of infection to others."
The infection was confirmed by CDC's own lab testing.
The agency specified that the employee was not involved in its response to the outbreak, nor have they been on the premises since March 6 — at which time they did not have any symptoms. Other employees in the same unit are working remotely while their office undergoes deep cleaning, the statement added.
The CDC said it is not sharing further details about this case, or other potential cases down the line, due to privacy concerns.
On March 9, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters the agency that no one of the "more than 1,500 people who have worked on this response so far" had tested positive for the virus.
Boeing said Monday it is directing employees who are able to perform their work from home to telecommute until further notice — but that won't stop it from building planes.
The company did not say how many employees will continue to report to work to build planes. But it said it has enhanced cleaning procedures in work spaces, common areas and on high-touch surfaces in its assembly plants.
"We’re assessing the safety of all of our sites and their alignment with local, state and national government guidance as we continuously monitor this evolving situation," said Boeing's statement.
Washington state is one of the areas of the United States with the most severe outbreaks of the disease.
The company had 161,000 employees as of Dec. 31, according to a company filing. About 35,000 are members of the Machinists union, and they are primarily involved building planes.
There are about 18,000 technical and engineering employees who are also represented by a union, and while some of them may be able to work from home, others are needed on the assembly line to oversee construction. The company also has a nonunion assembly plant in South Carolina.
Sudan has closed its borders, sealing of all sea ports, land crossings and airports, Mohamed Al-Faki Suleiman, spokesperson for Sudan's Transitional Sovereign Council, said in a press statement.
The Council has formed an executive committee to put in place measures to further prevent the entry coronavirus into the country and has declared a state of medical emergency.
"The first undertaking by the committee is hereby to close all ports, airports and land crossings, with the exception of trips that carry aid and technical and humanitarian support and scheduled air freight flights," Suleiman said.
The Council also laid out all the necessary measures to receive citizens stranded in land crossings and prepare places for them to go into quarantine.
Elsewhere in Africa, Eritrea has issued travel bans and Kenya has denied entry to anyone traveling to Kenya "from any country with reported Coronavirus cases."
President Trump gave himself a 10 when asked how he would grade his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also praised the professionals who work on the coronavirus task force.
Trump went on to criticize the testing system he inherited calling it “obsolete.”
When asked if the buck stops with him, Trump said “yeah normally” but once again discussed things that took place in 2009 and 2011.
In his Rose Garden address on Friday, Trump said, “No, I don’t take responsibility at all” for the delay in coronavirus testing.
President Trump said he did not advise states to postpone primary elections, calling the delays “unnecessary” shortly after Ohio’s Republican governor called for the postponement of Tuesday's primary election.
“Well I’d leave that up to the states. It’s a big thing, postponing an election,” Trump said at a coronavirus task briefing.“It goes to the heart of what we’re all about.”
Trump said states could conduct elections safely by “spreading people out.”
“They have lots of room in lots of electoral places,” Trump said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said earlier Monday that he would like to see the primary on Tuesday delayed because the election could not be conducted in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines.
Previously, Louisiana and Georgia announced they would postpone their primaries.
“I think postponing elections is not a very good thing,” Trump said. “I think postponing is unnecessary.”
It was another ugly day for US stocks. The Dow recorded its worst one-day point drop in history and its worst performance on a percentage basis since October 19, 1987, also known as “Black Monday."
Stocks fell to session-lows in the final hour of trading, President Trump suggested fighting the outbreak could last until July or August.
Here's where things stand:
- The S&P 500 finished down nearly 12%.
- The Dow closed 2,999 points, or 12.9%, lower.
- The Nasdaq Composite ended down 12.3%.