March 20 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Joshua Berlinger, Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Steve George and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:27 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020
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5:16 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Designer Christian Siriano is offering to make much-needed masks

John Lamparski/Getty Images/File
John Lamparski/Getty Images/File

Fashion designer Christian Siriano says his staff is standing by with sewing machines, ready to make masks.

Earlier today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would pay a premium price for medical supplies like masks.

"If you are a business that doesn't manufacture these exact items, but if you have equipment and personnel and you believe that you could manufacture these items ... If you will make them, we will give you funding to do it," Cuomo said.

5:20 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Medical organization calls on Trump administration to address "critical shortages" of equipment and tests

From CNN’s Arman Azad

Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images/File
Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images/File

The American Medical Association has called on the Trump administration to “leverage every tool at its disposal” to address a shortage of protective equipment and coronavirus tests. 

In a statement Friday, the doctors’ group said that “critical shortages in test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) remain unaddressed.”

In response to the growing shortage, President Trump signed an executive order earlier this week that allows him to exercise wartime powers under the Defense Production Act, but the AMA said that “it is unclear to what degree that authority is being utilized.” 

Shortages of critical protective equipment are “posing a significant risk for our ability to treat COVID-19 patients and contain the spread of this pandemic,” the AMA said in its statement. 

The president of the group, Dr. Patrice Harris, described doctors taking drastic measures to make do: “Physicians don’t have enough masks; they are wearing a single mask all day, cleaning them at home, and sewing their own protective gear,” she said. 

On Thursday, CNN reported on guidance issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address shortages during the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency said that health care workers could consider using masks beyond their designated shelf life, reusing them between multiple patients, and even – as a last resort – consider using scarves and bandanas as protective equipment.

5:08 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles closed until further notice

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

RB/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images/File
RB/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images/File

Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic, a representative at the golf club confirmed to CNN Friday. 

Owned by President Trump, the 18-hole golf course is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, 30 minutes south of Los Angeles International Airport. It is generally open to the public. 

5:10 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Delta CEO: Second quarter revenue will decline 80% from last year due to coronavirus 

From CNN's Chris Isidore

Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg/Getty Images/File
Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg/Getty Images/File

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian revealed to employees that the airline now expects revenue to plunge $10 billion in the second quarter of this year — or an 80% decline compared to last year — as the airline deals with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's also clear, given the underlying damage the virus has created to the overall economy, that demand recovery will take an extended period once the virus is contained," he said in a letter to employees, obtained by CNN.

Delta arranged for $2.6 billion in new borrowing and drew down an additional $3 billion in cash on an existing credit line, Bastian revealed. And he said about 13,000 of more than 90,000 Delta employees had agreed to take voluntary unpaid leaves.

He also defended past spending by the company, saying that most of the profits in recent years went into new aircraft and employees, not to share repurchases or dividends that benefit shareholders.

Earlier this week, Bastian wrote another letter to employees in which he said the airline would cut 70% of it scheduled flights and that it would park 600 of its jets, more than half of its fleet. He also warned that involuntary furloughs or pay cuts might be necessary.

"I know everyone is concerned about the security of your jobs and pay. Given the uncertainty about the duration of this crisis, we are not yet at a point to make any decisions," he wrote on Wednesday. "And those are very painful decisions to even consider. In this unpredictable environment we can't take any options off the table, but any steps that would affect your jobs or pay rates would be the absolute last thing we would do, and only if necessary to secure Delta's long-term future."
5:03 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

This brewery will produce hand sanitizer for Delaware

From CNN’s Tanika Gray

John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images/File
John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images/File

The state of Delaware and the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are teaming up to make more hand sanitizer available to the state’s government, according to a statement from Delaware Gov. John Carney.

Dogfish Head will sell the sanitizer to the state of Delaware at market price, and 100% of the profits will go into a fund to support Delawareans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said.

According to the statement, the craft brewery has dedicated its sanitizer inventory to fulfilling critical needs of the state, including providing the product to health care facilities and first responders.

“I never thought Dogfish Head would be in the sanitizer business. But this is a time of crisis, and necessity is the mother of invention,” Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, said in the statement. “It is our duty to do what we can to keep as many people safe and healthy in our community.”
4:48 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Large increase in firearms purchases during pandemic contributed to background check delays

From CNN's Devon Sayers

A large increase in firearms purchases during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to a delay in background checks for firearms, according to a statement from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

TBI processed a total of 14,657 transactions between March 12 and March 16, the statement said. 

During a comparable five-day period, Feb. 13 through Feb. 17, they processed only 7,901 transactions, according to the statement.

A shortage in staff and an unplanned technical outage also contributed to the delay, the statement said.

4:41 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Some US Census field operations delayed by coronavirus

From CNN’s Sarah Jorgensen

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Some field operations used in the US Census have been delayed due to coronavirus, officials said during a briefing on Friday.

Al Fontenot, associate director for the Decennial Census Program, said census teams are working closely with New York and California state governments to navigate the new essential worker regulations.

Fontenot praised the “high level of dedication” of census workers during this time.

“This is not anything any of us could have anticipated or planned,” he said. “Of all of our worst nightmares of things that could have gone wrong with the census, we did not anticipate this set of actions.”

Fontenot and Tim Olson, associate director for field operations, said at this time, there is no plan to request that Congress delay the federally mandated December 31 deadline for the conclusion of the census, according to the officials.


4:34 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

US military airlifts US women's football players from Honduras

From CNN's Mike Callahan

The United States military airlifted a group of US women’s football players from Honduras to the US on Friday.

Pentagon Chief spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman tweeted about the move on Friday.

See his tweets:

4:38 p.m. ET, March 20, 2020

Connecticut governor asks all non-essential employees to "stay home to stay safe"

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Jessica Hill/AP/File
Jessica Hill/AP/File

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has asked all non-essential employees to "stay home to stay safe" at least for the "foreseeable future."

This announcement Friday comes after the state confirmed 194 Covid-19 cases and four deaths.

This is an executive order and businesses could be subjected to fines if they stay open, Lamont said. The order has not been officially signed yet, but will be later today and guidance will be issued, officials said at the presser. 

The order is expected to go into effect by 8 p.m. ET Monday.

During a press conference on Friday, the governor called for more people to donate medical equipment to the hospitals of Connecticut, including N95 mask, gowns and gloves. The state is testing about 1,000 people per day now, Lamont said, so he expects the numbers to go up.

Lamont said about 500 retired nurses stood-up to come back to work, they are also working on getting nursing students certified to come and help at hospital.

A very "generous donor" donated millions of dollars to open 26-day care centers near or adjacent to hospitals to help ease the demand on healthcare staff, he said. 

The governor also rolled out the stay home to stay safe policy to help combat the spread of Covid-19. This will require all people over 70 to stay home and to stay off public transportation.

Retail stores are not to open unless they are an essential service for at least the foreseeable future, Lamont added.

The governor said major construction projects and major manufactures are exempted from this, however he asked for all of them to be tested before and after work and no major gatherings when they are off.