US epidemiologist: "I do not know what the national plan is" on coronavirus
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
An infectious disease epidemiologist says there is still confusion over a concerted national plan for responding to the coronavirus.
“We still don't have a plan. I do not know what the national plan is for responding to this virus. Until we get that, it is a piecemeal situation,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Since there are so many areas affected by the coronavirus all at once, Osterholm said “we’re in trouble” from a supply standpoint.
“We're all going to need these ventilators all at the same time. We're going to need the protective equipment for employees all at the same time, and we’re just not going to have it,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto.
Multiple sources told CNN that there is frustration among employees within the Federal Emergency Management Agency over being brought into the coronavirus response too late, as well as communication discrepancies between the agency and the White House.
10:20 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020
A 87-year-old coronavirus patient recovered after his family was told to "prepare for the worst"
From CNN's Dominic Rech
Percy Ewart Lockton, 87, was diagnosed with coronavirus after he returned to the UK from an idyllic cruise around the Caribbean with his wife Phyllis last month.
His condition deteriorated and he was soon fighting for his life in North Manchester General Hospital.
“There were a few days when we really were very worried about him and we were told to prepare for the worst," his granddaughter, Sophie Edwards told CNN.
With the help of some antibiotics to help treat another chest infection triggered by the Covid-19, the tide began to turn for Ewart. Eventually, as his health improved, he was given the all clear to go home, according to his granddaughter.
A Facebook post from Sophie shows the moment Ewart was discharged, wearing a mask and walking out of the hospital, accompanied by a nurse.
“This is my 87 year old Grandpa saying goodbye to staff at North Manchester Hospital where he’s been for 2 weeks with Covid Positive Pneumonia. He’s now finishing his recovery where he belongs, at home with my Grandma!” the post reads.
10:14 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020
TSA screened 8% of the passengers it usually does yesterday
From CNN's Gregory Wallace
Airport security screeners are currently seeing only a sliver of the traffic they saw this time last year.
Yesterday, the Transportation Security Administration screened only 8% of the people that it did on the same day in 2019, according to newly-released numbers from the agency.
It counted 203,858 people passing through its checkpoints.
This marked the first day in the coronavirus outbreak that the agency has screened less than 10% of last year’s traffic.
The figures are one way to measure the dramatic drop in people traveling. When March began, the agency was screening slightly more people than it did on the same day last year.
10:39 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020
Members of both parties are angry with this GOP lawmaker who could delay the stimulus bill vote
From CNN's Haley Byrd, Manu Raju and Betsy Klein
Members of political parties are furious with Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, for not being clear about whether he will object to the coronavirus stimulus bill passing on voice vote, with some former top aides also saying the Kentucky Republican is endangering the safety of his colleagues.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, a House Democrat from California, said about Rep. Massie: “It’s not about him. I don’t want to make an insignificant person more significant.”
"Dear @RepThomasMassie: If you intend to delay passage of the #coronavirus relief bill tomorrow morning, please advise your 428 colleagues RIGHT NOW so we can book flights and expend ~$200,000 in taxpayer money to counter your principled but terribly misguided stunt. #thankyou,” Rep. Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat, tweeted Thursday night.
Rep. Pete King, a New York Republican, tweeted on Friday morning: “Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House. Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.”
And Brendan Buck, a former top aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, said Friday that Massie is “legitimately threatening the health of his colleagues, many in their 60s or 70s even 80s, for a stunt on a bill he knows is going to pass.”
“I hope no one forgets what he’s done here,” Buck wrote.
Democratic congressman Thomas Suozzi of New York said his message to Massie is: “Cut it out.” He also said there’s “anxiety” about being here and his family isn’t happy that he’s here.
Now President Trump has weighed in on Massie. In a Tweet this morning, Trump called on Republicans to “throw Massie out” of the party.
Some context: The House is currently debating the $2 trillion stimulus bill for the next couple hours. Leadership is hoping to pass the measure by a voice-vote shortly thereafter. The fear right now is that Massie — who has not committed to voting yes — could prevent the House from approving the bill by voice vote, forcing them instead to cast a roll-call vote in person.
Massie is among about 50 members who are in the House chamber now, sitting quietly. He has not responded to multiple requests for comment from CNN.
9:41 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020
US stocks open lower
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks kicked the day off lower on Friday, paring some of their gains from the monstrous rally over the past three days.
Here's what happened at the opening:
The Dow opened 3.9%, or 885 points, lower.
The S&P 500 fell 3.5%.
The Nasdaq Composite opened down 3.1%.
Some context: Despite the weaker open, all three indexes are still on track for strong weekly performances. As of Thursday’s close, the Dow was on track for its best week since the 1930s.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN that while she can’t say for sure how or when the bill will pass, it will be approved Friday.
“There are a few scenarios but at the end of the period of time, we will have passed the bill so I am excited about that with strong bipartisan enthusiasm,” she said as she walked from her office to open the House floor.
Some context: There is some concern that a member of Congress could block allowing a voice vote to quickly clear a massive stimulus bill,
Pelosi said debate was supposed to run until 11 a.m. ET today, but an extra hour was requested so it now will end at noon. At that point it’s not clear if a voice vote will be allowed or if it will be blocked Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky who has threatened to force a roll call vote.
“Yes,” Pelosi said, acknowledging the uncertainty in the chamber she leads. “There are some asking for one thing or another but we will be prepared for what ever it is."
Asked to confirm the bill will definitely pass Friday, she said: “Yes.”
About the bill: The Senate approved the package on Wednesday. The legislation represents the largest emergency aid package in US history and the most significant legislative action taken to address the rapidly intensifying coronavirus crisis, which is overwhelming hospitals and grinding much of the economy to a halt.
Trump has indicated he will sign the measure.
9:33 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020
Italy has not reached coronavirus peak, health official says
From CNN's Livia Borghese in Rome and Sharon Braithwaite in London
Italy has not reached the peak of coronavirus contagion, director of Italy's National Health Institute Silvio Brusaferro said Friday during a press conference.
Brusaferro said that Italy "has not reached the peak [of contagion], we have signs that the curve is slowing down which make us assume that we are close to this. We expect that we could reach the peak these coming days. We are not in a descending phase, but the growth is slowing down."
"We must not delude ourselves that a slowdown of the spread may lead us to slow down the measures of social distancing that we have adopted," Brusaferro added.
"If we had to decide today, I consider inevitable the extension of the measures, because we are not in a markedly declining phase, we are still in a containment phase," Franco Locatelli, president of the National Health institute said referring to the government containment measure that are in force till April 3.
Both Locatelli and Brusaferro are part of the technical and scientific committee that advises the government on the measures to take to stop the spread of the virus.
9:18 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020
US House debates $2 trillion stimulus bill
From Haley Byrd and Manu Raju
Floor debate on the economic stimulus bill has started in the US House.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in his opening remarks that it will be an “unusual” but “critical” session.
There are now up to three hours of debate, and a vote is expected around noon.
The Senate approved the package on Wednesday. The legislation represents the largest emergency aid package in US history and the most significant legislative action taken to address the rapidly intensifying coronavirus crisis, which is overwhelming hospitals and grinding much of the economy to a halt.
Trump has indicated he will sign the measure.
9:14 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020
UK's Health Secretary tests positive for coronavirus
Matt Hancock, the UK's Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has tested positive for coronavirus, he confirmed in a video posted to Twitter on Friday.
"Following medical advice, I was advised to test for #Coronavirus," Hancock said in a statement published to Twitter.
"I've tested positive. Thankfully my symptoms are mild and I’m working from home & self-isolating," he added.