March 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, James Griffiths, Steve George, Amy Woodyatt, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:04 a.m. ET, March 28, 2020
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2:44 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Cuomo says Trump's tweet about ventilators in storage was "incorrect and grossly uninformed"

From CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to President Trump’s tweet that there are thousands of federal government ventilators found in a storage facility in New York and that the state “must distribute now.”

Here's what Cuomo said:

 “That is incorrect and grossly uninformed. The point is, we have ventilators in a stockpile and we didn’t send them to the hospital yet. Of course we didn’t — that’s the whole point. The hospitals don’t need them yet. The hospitals aren’t at their apex. The hospitals have enough ventilators today, but their numbers are going up. We’re planning for an apex, a high point, in about 21 days – that’s when we need the 30,000 ventilators, not today. Right now we’re putting them in a stockpile," Cuomo added.

"So the point is, ‘well they’re in a stockpile, you must not need them is just ignorant – of course you don’t need them today! You need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We’re not there yet," he said.


2:01 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

The first NBA players who tested positive have been medically cleared

From CNN Sports Jabari Jackson

The Utah Jazz said all of their players and team personnel, including center Rudy Gobert and guard Donovan Mitchell, have completed their self-isolation period and are medically cleared by the Utah Department of Health. 

 "The UDOH has determined that all Jazz players and staff, including Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert who tested positive for the novel Coronavirus, no longer pose a risk of infection to others," said the NBA team in a statement released Friday.

Earlier this month, Gobert and Mitchell became the most high-profile athletes known to have been diagnosed with Covid-19. On March 11, the Jazz were set to play the Oklahoma City Thunder before it was ultimately postponed because of coronavirus fears – prompting NBA commissioner Adam Silver to suspend the NBA season.

The team says the players have been in isolation/quarantine since the season was postponed.

After being medically cleared, all players and staff will continue to practice distancing while limiting their time outside to essential activities as recommended by the NBA and CDC.   

1:54 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

The UK will convert two more convention centers into temporary hospitals

From CNN's Nada Bashir in London 

Manchester Central Convention Centre
Manchester Central Convention Centre  Oli ScarffAFP via Getty Images/FILE

UK will convert two further conference centers into temporary hospitals, NHS Chief Medical Officer Simon Stevens said at a news conference on Friday.

London's Excel Centre is already in the process of being turned into a field hospital. 

"And today — because this is a problem not just confined to London, but across the whole country — I have given the go ahead to the building of two further of these NHS Nightingale hospitals, beginning with Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre and the Manchester Central Convention Centre, with further such hospitals to follow," Stevens said. 

He added that hospital services have been configured so that 33,000 more beds are available to treat coronavirus patients. 

1:50 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

More than 200 FDNY members have now tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Mark Morales 

At least 206 members of the Fire Department of New York have tested positive for Covid-19, FDNY spokesperson Jim Long tells CNN.

That’s up from 131 yesterday. That includes firefighters, emergency medical service workers and civilian employees.

EMS services have had 6,043 calls in the last 24 hours. 

1:36 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

House passes $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

From CNN's Haley Byrd, Clare Foran, and Manu Raju

House TV
House TV

The House of Representatives on Friday approved a historic $2 trillion coronavirus response stimulus package, clearing the way for President Trump's signature.

The far-reaching legislation stands as the largest emergency aid package in US history. It injects a massive financial boost into a struggling economy with provisions aimed at helping American workers, small businesses and industries grappling with the economic disruption.

Key elements of the package include sending checks directly to individuals and families, an expansion of unemployment benefits, money for hard-hit hospitals and health care providers, financial assistance for small businesses and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

“No bill is perfect, but we want to make sure that it at least comes near part of the way to being sufficient,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor. She said she is already working towards a fourth coronavirus response measure: “We know that this cannot be our final bill.”

A bipartisan swath of lawmakers passed the stimulus package by voice vote, a process commonly used in the House for uncontroversial measures, after Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie attempted to force a full roll call vote — a scenario that had members scrambling to get back to the Capitol from around the country on Friday. 

Congressional leaders blocked Massie's effort, saying an insufficient number of members supported his request. A quorum of the House — 216 members — was needed to block Massie’s attempt. Members who made it to DC for the debate attempted to maintain social distancing, with some staying on the House floor while others sat in the upstairs gallery above the chamber, where the public usually sits.

Essentially, hundreds of lawmakers traveled to the Capitol in the 24 hours leading up to the vote, not to hold a full vote, but in order to prevent a full vote from happening. If a roll call vote had been taken, it would have been very slow: members would have voted in alphabetical groups in order to limit their social interactions.

Massie wrote on Twitter ahead of the showdown that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy worked together "to block a recorded vote just to insulate members of Congress from ACCOUNTABILITY.”

“Biggest spending bill in the history of mankind, and no recorded vote? #SWAMP,” he said.

1:46 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

First patients in WHO's coronavirus treatment trial to enroll in Norway and Spain

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

The World Health Organization announced on Friday that the first patients enrolled in its Solidarity trial, which will examine potential treatment options for Covid-19, will be based in Norway and Spain. The first patient enrolled in the trial is at the University of Oslo in Norway. 

"We are delighted to announced that today in Norway and Spain, the first patients will shortly be enrolled in the Solidarity trial, which will compare the safety and effectiveness of four different drugs or drug combinations against Covid-19," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

"This is a historic trial which will dramatically cut the time needed to generate robust evidence about what drugs work. Over 45 countries are contributing to the trial and more have expressed interest," Tedros said. "The more countries who join the trial, the faster we will have results."

WHO announced last week that it had organized the trial to test coronavirus treatment approaches across several countries and compare data to find which treatments may be most effective. When the announcement was made, WHO noted that many countries agreed to join the trial, including Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

1:35 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Louisiana sees spike in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Louisiana has reported at least 441 new coronavirus cases and 36 deaths since yesterday.

There are at least 2,746 cases of coronavirus and 119 deaths in the state, according to the Department of Health's website.

The majority of cases are in Orleans Parish, which includes the city of New Orleans.

1:28 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Trump administration appears to back off Easter timeline to relax coronavirus guidelines

From CNN's Betsy Klein

After repeatedly suggesting that social distancing guidelines could be lifted – at least in some places – in time for Easter Sunday, the Trump administration appears to have backed off that timeline.

During a town hall interview with Fox News and subsequent one-on-one interview with Fox’s Bill Hemmer, Trump raised the prospect, at one point saying there would be “packed churches all over our country.” Trump again floated the idea during Tuesday’s press briefing.

The idea was widely criticized and was not supported by any prominent politician or doctor.

CNN's Jim Acosta reported Tuesday that the coronavirus task force received plenty of feedback from public health experts sounding the alarm over easing the social distancing guidelines next week, a source familiar with the matter said. Although Trump has talked about reopening the country by Easter, the source said, the President hasn’t reached a final decision on exactly when the government’s guidelines would be relaxed to get the economy back up and running.

When Trump talked up the idea of packing churches on Easter, the source continued, the president knew it was more wishful thinking than a realistic goal.

“He was being himself,” the source said.

On Wednesday, Trump’s language softened: “I would say by Easter we'll have a recommendation, and maybe before Easter,” he said at the briefing.

By Thursday, Trump did not reference the Easter timeline at all – neither during the briefing nor his interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity. Thursday night, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Trump provided an "aspirational projection to give people some hope."

And Friday morning, Vice President Mike Pence called it an “aspirational goal” during an interview with CNBC.

1:22 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Rate of coronavirus infection in UK doubling every three to four days

From CNN's Nada Bashir in London 

The rate of infection in the UK has been doubling every three to four days according to "best scientific analysis" UK Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said on Friday. 

Gove added that these figures were a "powerful reminder" of the "need for all of us to act."