March 23 coronavirus news

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1:55 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Brazilian soccer stadiums and convention centers convert to field hospitals to treat coronavirus patients

The field of the Pacaembu stadium is lined with metal frames as workers erect an open-air hospital to treat patients in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, March 23. (
The field of the Pacaembu stadium is lined with metal frames as workers erect an open-air hospital to treat patients in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, March 23. ( Andre Penner/AP

Some of Brazil’s soccer stadiums, arenas and convention centers will be converted into field hospitals to treat patients infected with coronavirus.

In São Paulo, the city with the largest number of confirmed deaths and cases, the mayor’s office announced that 2,000 hospital beds would be added to the Pacaembu stadium and the Anhembi convention center in the next few weeks.

São Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas said 200 beds would be made available in Pacaembu within two weeks and 1,800 beds in Anhembi within three weeks.

In Rio de Janeiro, 2019 Copa Libertadores winner Flamengo said it had made its facilities available to the state and city government, including the city’s iconic Maracanã stadium.

Other soccer clubs that have offered their facilities include Corinthians, Santos, São Paulo’s Morumbi stadium and Goiás, which said it would offer its Serrinha stadium as a vaccination center.

The Brazilian Football Confederation suspended all national soccer tournaments last week, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil has more than 1,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 25 deaths, according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.


1:52 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

West Virginia orders residents to stay home

West Virginia Governor’s Office
West Virginia Governor’s Office

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has issued a stay-at-home order that will go into effect Tuesday at 8 p.m.

"Because bordering states are taking action that may cause folks to make their ways into West Virginia it’s a real problem, we can’t have that happen," he said at a news conference Monday.

Justice said his initial intentions were to close all nonessential businesses, but after additional consultations, he realizes the situation has become even more serious.

1:40 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Mexico City closes museums, gyms and theaters as coronavirus cases rise

A street vendor sells candy outside a closed movie theater in Mexico City, Monday, March 23.
A street vendor sells candy outside a closed movie theater in Mexico City, Monday, March 23. Fernando Llano/AP

Effective Monday, Mexico City is temporarily suspending various activities throughout the capital in an effort to reduce the contagion curve and to avoid situations where the city’s hospitals could become overwhelmed, Mexico City’s Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said in a video on her official Twitter account.

The new measures include closing museums, gyms, movie theaters, night clubs, zoos, sports centers and bars until April 20, Sheinbaum said adding that private and public events of 50 people or more will also be suspended. Schools have already been closed across the country since Friday.

Sheinbaum’s message came as Mexico City saw Covid-19 cases double from 21 positive cases on Wednesday to 45 on Sunday.

“I know these measures affect the economies of a lot of families,” she said, adding that her government is working on an economic plan for those who will be heavily impacted.

“It’s a global sanitary crisis,” she said, asking for citizens to collaborate, listen and stay home.

1:33 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

New Jersey is releasing about 1,000 inmates from county jails

The chief state judge in New Jersey ordered the release of hundreds of inmates in county jails by Tuesday “based on the dangers posed by coronavirus disease 19.”

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued the order on Monday after consulting with the state attorney general, County Prosecutors Association, Public Defenders Office and the ACLU of New Jersey.

The ACLU of New Jersey estimates up to 1,000 people may be released under the order.

“The reduction of county jail populations, under appropriate conditions, is in the public interest to mitigate risks imposed by Covid-19,” the judge wrote.

Inmates who are detained for probation violations, municipal court convictions, disorderly persons offense, and for fourth-degree or petty crimes, will be released beginning Tuesday, according to the order.

An inmates release can be appealed if there are questions about public safety. The judge said no inmates who have tested positive for the virus will be released until the judge determines a plan to isolate the individual. 

“This is truly a landmark agreement, and one that should be held up for all states dealing with the current public health crisis,” said Amol Sinha, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey.

1:33 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Archbishop of New Orleans tests positive for coronavirus

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement on the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ website.

The Archbishop said that he is experiencing mild symptoms and is self quarantining.

“I will use this quiet time for additional prayer and sacrifice for all those seriously affected by the virus. I pray to get well soon and continue ministry,” the Archbishop said in the statement. 

1:36 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Italy reports 601 new deaths of coronavirus

Italy has confirmed 601 new coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 6,077. 

This is the second day that has seen a small decrease in cases and deaths.

Another 4,789 new cases have been diagnosed, bringing the total number of cases to 63,927. 

1:23 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Indiana governor issues stay-at-home order

Indiana Governor's Office
Indiana Governor's Office

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has issued a stay-at-home order, which goes into effect just before midnight Tuesday and lasts until April 6.

The order calls for all Indiana residents to stay home unless they're doing an essential activity such as getting food or medical supplies.

Like other states that have issued these orders, some workers deemed essential like grocery store and gas station employees and medical professionals are exempt from the order.

1:25 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

WHO expects decision on Tokyo 2020 Games "very soon"

Jae C. Hong/AP
Jae C. Hong/AP

A decision will be made “very soon” on the future of this summer’s Tokyo Games, according to Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's health emergencies program.

“We have every confidence the Japanese government and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) would not proceed with any Games if it would be dangerous to athletes and spectators," Ryan said at a press briefing at WHO Headquarters in Geneva on Monday.

Ryan added that the future of the Games was under “very, very close observation at the moment” and that the WHO was contributing to deliberations with all relevant parties involved. 

The IOC said on Sunday it has given itself a deadline of four weeks to make a decision on the Games. It stated that cancellation is “not on the agenda,” and added that postponement and a “scaled-down" Games are options under consideration.

A number of nations’ Olympic committees have already called for the postponement of the Games until 2021.

Canada and Australia are so far the only two nations to confirm that they will not sending athletes to Tokyo this year because of the risks associated with the virus.

1:24 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Pentagon chief wants to setup military field hospitals in US cities this week


US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the military is looking into deploying field hospitals and personnel this week to areas in need like Seattle and New York City.

"We are looking at hospitals and equipment and medical professionals, and my aim is to get them out this week," he said. 

Esper said he is waiting on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to validate this deployment. "We'll be moving out this week," he said. 

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