March 23 coronavirus news

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9:36 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

US Surgeon General: "This week, it's going to get bad"

Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks during press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Thursday, March 19.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks during press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Thursday, March 19. Evan Vucci/AP/FILE

 

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams gave a "somber" message to the nation while speaking on NBC this morning,  

"I want America to understand — this week, it's going to get bad," Adams told NBC's Savannah Guthrie, adding that some people have not been properly practicing social distancing.

"This is how the spread is occurring. So we really, really need everyone to stay at home," Adams said. "I think that there are a lot of people who are doing the right things, but I think that unfortunately we're finding out a lot of people think this can't happen to them."

See the moment:

7:42 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

McDonald's and Nando's shut down all their UK restaurants, even for takeout

A McDonalds restaurant is pictured in Plymouth, England, on March 19.
A McDonalds restaurant is pictured in Plymouth, England, on March 19. Dan Mullan/Getty Images

McDonald's and Nando's will close all their restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland starting Monday, including for takeout, to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's UK and Ireland, said in a statement Sunday that the decision had been taken because it was "increasingly difficult" to maintain safe social distancing while operating "busy takeaway and drive thru restaurants."

The UK government has advised against all non-essential social contact and is urging people to keep a distance of at least two meters if they need to leave their homes.

On Friday, it ordered all pubs, bars and restaurants to close but said they could continue offering food and drink to go.

Nando's said in a statement that eat in, takeaway and delivery for customers "will all stop until further notice."

Read the full story here.

7:24 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Moscow stay-at-home orders don’t apply to Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a security council meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on March 20.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a security council meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on March 20. Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo/AP

An order by Moscow authorities directing individuals over 65 or those with chronic diseases to remain at home do not apply to Russian President Vladimir Putin -- who is 67 -- Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

The president is still working, you see that,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
“Of course, no one is holding any massive public events and we are not considering them now … but work is work, especially as the president’s work is an exception.”
7:29 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Global markets plunge as US coronavirus relief bill stalls and cities worldwide lock down

A pedestrian passes an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo on Monday.
A pedestrian passes an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo on Monday. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Global stocks and US futures plunged again on Monday as governments worldwide lock down their cities and the United States stalls on a massive stimulus package meant to help Americans handle the coronavirus pandemic.

Dow futures fell more than 900 points at one point, hitting a 5% decline that triggered a maximum allowable limit, or "limit down." That prevented futures from falling further. They were last down around 800 points, or 4%.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also fell as much as 5%, and were last down 3.8% and 3.1%, respectively.

Stocks in Asia and Europe posted more dramatic declines. Markets in Australia and South Korea's dropped more than 5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 4.9% while China's Shanghai Composite shed 3.1%.

London's FTSE 100 fell 4.4% in early trading. Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 also declined by over 4%.

At least 341,000 people have contracted the novel coronavirus and over 14,700 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University -- forcing further travel restrictions, shut downs and disruptions for businesses.

New measures to combat the virus have been imposed in Australia, New Zealand and India, and the United Kingdom is considering whether further action is needed after pubs and restaurants were told to close on Friday but large numbers of people continued to gather in public spaces.

Read the full story here.

6:54 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Spain expects outbreak to peak as soon as Wednesday

Police officers stop a car at a control point in Madrid, Spain, on March 20.
Police officers stop a car at a control point in Madrid, Spain, on March 20. Manu Fernandez/AP

Spanish authorities expect the so-called "peak" of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country to happen as soon as Wednesday.

Enrique Ruiz Escudero, senior health official of Madrid's Regional Government, told radio COPE on Monday that the number of cases in the country is expected to begin decreasing by the end of this week.

"We believe this week we'll reach the famous ‘peak’ - in which we see new cases, but less than the day before," he said.

Escudero explained the estimate is based on the correlation between the virus' maximum incubation period (14 days) and the beginning of isolation measures and school closures across the country.

Health workers test positive: Escudero also added that in Madrid, 600 health workers tested positive for Covid-19, and 1,400 others who were in direct contact with infected patients and are in preventive home isolation.

Nursing homes infected: Around 20% of all nursing homes in the Spanish capital of Madrid have registered cases of Covid-19, Ignacio Aguado, the Vice President of Madrid's regional government told radio "Onda Cero" Monday.

"The problem is that the people who live there are very vulnerable: our elderly. When the virus gets in there, it's devastating," he said.

6:29 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Germany

Volunteers transport beds into the former St. Marien hospital in Laer, Germany, on March 21, as the hospital prepares to treat coronavirus patients.
Volunteers transport beds into the former St. Marien hospital in Laer, Germany, on March 21, as the hospital prepares to treat coronavirus patients. Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

Germany has reported 86 deaths and a total of 22,672 cases of novel coronavirus on Monday.

Lothar Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, the national agency for disease control and prevention said the average age of those deceased is 82 years old.

57% of the deceased are men and 43% are women.

As Germany's cases continue to rise, Wieler once again pleaded for citizens to practice social distancing.

“Please keep a distance of at least 1.5 to 2 meters, please stick to the hygienic rules, wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow," Wieler said.

"In Germany we have a lot of test capacity, in comparison to other countries," he said. "Our test capacity is increasing all the time, the tests itself are there, but we have to test with a target.”
5:42 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Nigeria records chloroquine poisoning after Trump endorses drug for coronavirus treatment

President Donald Trump speaks at a coronavirus press briefing at the White House on March 22.
President Donald Trump speaks at a coronavirus press briefing at the White House on March 22. Patrick Semansky/AP

Health officials in Nigeria have issued a warning over chloroquine after they said three people in the country overdosed on the drug, in the wake of President Trump's comments about using it to treat coronavirus.

A Lagos state official told CNN that three people were hospitalized in the city after taking the drug. Officials later issued a statement cautioning against using chloroquine for Covid-19 treatment.

Drug not approved: President Donald Trump claimed at a White House briefing last week that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the "very powerful" drug chloroquine to treat coronavirus.

The FDA after the briefing issued a statement saying it had not approved the drug for use against Covid-19 and is still studying its effectiveness against the disease.

Price hikes: After Trump's comments, there was a surge of interest among people in Lagos keen to stock up on the medication, which has led to price hikes in the megacity of around 20 million inhabitants. 

One man told CNN that in a pharmacy near his home on the Lagos mainland, he witnessed the price rise by more than 400% in a matter of minutes.

No evidence: The Lagos State Health Ministry issued a brief statement saying there was no "hard evidence that chloroquine is effective in prevention or management of coronavirus infection."

What is it used for? Chloroquine is used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Read the full story here:

6:10 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Coronavirus rages out of control as Washington struggles to catch up

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attend a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, on March 22.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attend a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, on March 22. Patrick Semansky/AP

In Washington's new war, the coronavirus pandemic is out-sprinting frantic government efforts to cope with its tragic humanitarian and grave economic toll.

A failed Senate vote on a mammoth stimulus bill amid acrimony between Republicans and Democrats came as the virus trimmed the GOP majority with five members quarantined.

State and local leaders and front-line health workers meanwhile pleaded with President Donald Trump to rush lifesaving medical gear to them and their patients as US infections topped 32,000.

Trump responded, announcing the dispatch of large quantities of medical equipment to hard-hit states, and showed signs of settling into his role in offering compassion to a fearful nation -- before digressing into his normal political grudges.

A dark and disorientating weekend that stretched federal and local governments, the economy and the health care system to a breaking point, served to clarify the mind-numbing scale of the worst domestic crisis to hit the nation since World War II.

It ended with deeply ominous questions about the economy -- which appears to be tumbling into the abyss, and with fresh doubts over the President's capacity to lead and reassure the nation.

Read the full story here.

5:28 a.m. ET, March 23, 2020

There are now more than 34,000 US coronavirus cases and 414 deaths

A close-up view of a swab used by a medical worker to administer a coronavirus test at the drive-in center at ProHealth Care on March 21, 2020 in Jericho, New York.
A close-up view of a swab used by a medical worker to administer a coronavirus test at the drive-in center at ProHealth Care on March 21, 2020 in Jericho, New York. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There are at least 34,354 cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health's tally of cases that are detected and tested through US public health systems. 

At least 414 people have died. The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

At least seven states have 1,000 cases or more:

  1. New York: 16,887 cases, 114 deaths
  2. Washington: 2,025 cases, 95 deaths
  3. New Jersey: 1,914 cases, 20 deaths
  4. California: 1,488 cases, 32 deaths
  5. Illinois: 1,049, cases, 9 deaths
  6. Michigan: 1,035 cases, 8 deaths
  7. Florida: 1,001 cases, 2 deaths