Live Updates

March 27 coronavirus news

03:37 - Source: CNN
Doctors answer your coronavirus questions

What you need to know

  • The US now has the most known cases worldwide, surpassing China and Italy.
  • A total of 3.3 million unemployment claims were filed in the US — the highest number of initial jobless claims in history.
  • The US House approved a historic $2 trillion coronavirus response stimulus package.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Nearly a third of the world’s population are living under coronavirus-related restrictions.
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Biden says people who have lost loved ones to coronavirus should "seek help, talk to people"

Former Vice President got visibly emotional Friday night when discussing how hard it is to not be there for loved ones dying from coronavirus.

Biden referenced his personal history of losing his wife, children and parents.

“My message is, God love you. You know, I’ve lost a couple children, I’ve lost a wife and it is incredibly difficult to go through and it’s harder to go through when you haven’t had an opportunity to be with the person while they’re dying. My mom, my dad I was able to be with them and lie in bed with them as they took their last breath. My son I was able to do that. My deceased wife I was not able to do that. I was not able to be there. And it makes a gigantic difference for people,” Biden said during CNN’s town hall.

He continued: “And seek help. Seek help afterwards. Seek help, talk to people who have been through it so they know, they know they can tell you that you can get through it. You really can. It’s possible. But, boy, it is so, so, so hard. That’s one of the cruelest, cruelest things that’s happening.”

Biden closed out the town hall by encouraging anyone struggling with loss to contact his campaign.


FDA authorizes 15-minute coronavirus test

Federal health officials on Friday green-lit a point-of-care coronavirus test that can provide results in less than 15 minutes, using the same technology that powers some rapid flu tests.

Teased by Vice President Mike Pence in a Thursday press briefing, the new diagnostic could accelerate testing in the United States, allowing for rapid results in doctors’ offices. But shortages of critical equipment used to collect patient specimens, such as masks and swabs, could blunt its impact.

The US Food and Drug Administration authorized the test for emergency use, signaling that federal regulators were satisfied with the test’s validation data and believe its benefits outweigh any risks, such as false positives or negatives.

The test’s maker, Abbott, said it expects to deliver 50,000 tests per day beginning next week. The technology behind the test looks for genes that are present in the virus, similar to PCR tests already on the market.

The platform used to run the test weighs less than 7 pounds, according to Abbott, and could be deployed “where testing is needed most,” such as at coronavirus hotspots.

More on this: Last week, the FDA authorized another rapid test – one from molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, which provides results in about 45 minutes. Most laboratory tests for the coronavirus take anywhere from a few hours to days to receive results. 

All FDA-authorized tests, however, require samples from patients – and health care facilities say they’re facing shortages of critical supplies needed to collect specimens. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued guidance allowing some patients to collect their own nasal swabs in health care facilities, which could reduce the amount of protective equipment needed for health care workers.

But some jurisdictions, such as New York City, have said that patients with coronavirus-like illness should stay home – saying that is “safer for the patients and health care workers” and doesn’t change the treatment patients receive.

Biden: "No one should be evicted during this period"

Joe Biden said he would freeze rent for the next three months and forgive the payments missed amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Freeze it and forgive it so that you’re able to stay in that place,” the former vice president said in a CNN town hall Friday night. 

Biden implied there could be conditions – noting that enhanced unemployment insurance replacing lost income up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 cash payments approved by Congress this week could replace the income of some people who have lost their jobs, and “then in fact that would take care of it.” 

Then, Biden added: “There should be a rent freeze. No one should be evicted during this period – period.” 

Today in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a freeze on eviction enforcement and legal proceedings related to coronavirus through May 31.


Biden worries that small business will get left behind by stimulus 

Joe Biden praised the $2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump today, but worried that the largest emergency aid package in US history might not be enough to save the small businesses ravaged by the crisis.

“Small businesses need help now. And so we have to make sure you’re in a position to be able to get the kind of immediate aid that’s available to you under this new legislation,” Biden said, adding that a lot of it would come down to Trump’s ability and desire to pull the right levers. “It’s about management. How it gets out the door from the federal government and the White House.”

Biden said the provision in the bill that blocks executives from buying back stock was a good step in assuring that those who need the help get it, but pushed for additional government action if banks don’t start pumping out capital.

“We have to make sure the small business loans you get and/or the low-interest loans you get. They are in a position where we’re going to say to the banks you got to get them out the door. As you know, they’re not very good at getting out the door the small business loans,” Biden said. 

The former vice president also suggested that, should banks fail to recapitalize those businesses, the White House should consider finding some executive authority – “another version of the Defense Production Act” – as a way, he said, to “keep the economy in better shape than anything else we’re doing.”


Biden: "We are seeing the soul of America now"

Joe Biden has run for president essentially promising to be the nation’s healer-in-chief. He argued during CNN’s coronavirus town hall that America is showing a spirit of togetherness that he hopes will extend well beyond the crisis.

“We are seeing the soul of America now. Take a look at what is happening, everywhere you look, you see people reaching out to help people,” Biden said. “This is an incredible nation. The American people are generous, decent, good, fair, bright, and it makes you so proud to be an American. What I think we should be looking at is how we extend this kind of reaching out to others that exists today, as we move into recovery, into the health recovery and economic recovery. Because it is who we are. We are an incredible people.”

Biden offered an example of a kindergarten teacher in North Carolina who drove from home to home of her students, beeping her horn so they would come out and wave from the driveway for a moment. He said it took her several hours to get through the neighborhood, but she’s continuing to do it. Biden, who advanced an initiative to try to beat cancer, said his wife Jill is helping to put together a network to offer support for patients who are dealing with their cancer diagnoses and get through chemotherapy.

“I am so proud, and it sounds corny, but I am proud to be an American,” Biden said.


Biden: "There is no distinction" between mental and physical health problems

Joe Biden said Friday that he believes there is “no distinction” between the physical and mental health problems that stem from coronavirus, acknowledging the increasing rates of anxiety and depression as the country uses social isolation to combat the spreading virus.

“First of all, we have to deal with the stigma,” Biden said. “There is no distinction between a mental health problem and a physical health problem. They are both health problems and there should be absolute parity. Insurance companies should have to cover both equally.”

Biden said he has heard not only about the anxiety that comes from being forced to stay home for long stretches of time, but also the “fear of going into the operating room or the physical fear of pulling someone out of a burning car that, in fact, may also have had the virus.”

The comment stemmed from a question clinical psychologist and professor from Chicago, who asked the former vice president about the mental health impact of being socially isolated as the country fights coronavirus.

Biden also said, as president, he would force insurance companies to cover physical and mental health equally and “open a significant number of mental health clinics” in rural America.

“In most rural areas, there’s still the same problems as every other area but they don’t have these clinics available to them,” Biden said, “so I double the number of mental health clinics that exist.”

And, lastly, Biden said he would increase spending on early childhood education because teachers and social workers can “pick up the early signs of distress among students.”


More than 101,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the US

John Minchillo/AP

There are at least 101,242 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems.

At least 1,588 people have died in the US from coronavirus. 

Today there have been at least 402 new deaths reported. That is the most deaths reported in the US in a single day. The previous single day high of deaths reported in the US came yesterday. There were 253 deaths reported yesterday.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

Biden: Congress should pass law covering all coronavirus-related health expenses

Joe Biden said the House and Senate should expand on the stimulus deal Congress approved this week to cover all Americans’ coronavirus-related health care expenses. 

“Anything related to the cost of the coronavirus health care should be free, paid for out of the federal funds,” Biden said in a CNN town hall Friday night. 

His comment came as he addressed questions about health expenses amid the pandemic. Biden called on President Donald Trump and Republican state attorneys general to drop their lawsuit challenging Obamacare, through which millions of Americans have health insurance. 

He also said he has proposed a plan that would provide coverage through a “public option” to anyone who loses their jobs as a result of a struggling economy. 

“But in the meantime, with regard to this virus, you should not have to pay anything for the cost of the virus,” Biden said.


Arkansas asks visitors coming from New York to quarantine for 14 days

Signs outside the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, include reminders about social distancing.
Andrew Demillo/AP
Signs outside the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, include reminders about social distancing.

The Arkansas Department of Health is recommending all travelers from New York state and foreign countries to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“This is due to high rates of COVID-19 in New York as well as in a growing number of international locations,” the department said in a statement.

Any visitors showing a fever, cough, or other symptoms of coronavirus should contact their doctor for advice on where to be evaluated, the department said.

Biden says "time and money" are needed to help ordinary Americans get coronavirus tests

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Sheri Reiter, a speech pathologist, has an elderly father in Houston, Texas, who has been waiting more than a week to get the results of his coronavirus test.

Reiter shared her story and frustration Friday night during CNN’s town hall with former Vice President Joe Biden.

Reiter specifically asked the presidential hopeful, “Why is it that some rich and famous can have Covid-19 test and get results in 24 hours?”

Biden claims part of the problem is the country has not been “focused on dealing with what needs to be done from the outset.”

“We talk about the ability to have tests. We can get results very quickly. I’m not a scientist but they tell me that that can be done. But what we have to do is we have to invest the time and money in getting them — those — those tests set up and made. Scientists put them together. And what we’re not doing is we’re not doing that ourselves now. And what we’re doing is we should be using the Defense Production Act to do whatever we need to do,” Biden said.


Madrid prepares improvised morgue to hold 200 bodies

Madrid’s regional government is preparing to open an improvised morgue in the next few days to increase the city’s capacity to deal with the growing Covid-19 fatalities.

The center will be set up in the Justice Campus, a building which officials said is “designed to be the headquarters of Madrid’s Forensic Institute.” As such, the facility will have enough mortuary refrigerators to receive around 200 bodies.

“This is an exceptional and temporary measure to help the work of funerary services, diminish the pain of the families of victims and the situation happening in the hospitals in the region,” the government said in a statement.

The center should be ready “in the next few days.” More than 2,400 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Madrid, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Biden: Economy vs. public health is a "false choice"

Joe Biden on Friday night said the Trump administration has taken a fundamentally flawed view of the crisis.

Trump has repeatedly cast efforts to combat the virus as the cause of economic troubles and suggested that he would ease up on public health efforts, like social distancing, ahead of medical experts’ recommendations.

Trump has suggested he would like to “open up” the economy by Easter, but Biden pointed to the ongoing upward trend in cases, suggesting people will likely have to stay home significantly longer.

“They’re one and the same – you can’t deal with the economic crisis until you deal with the healthcare crisis,” Biden said, before calling on the government to get stimulus funds to the publics. 

“In the meantime, Congress has acted and they moved with a $2 trillion package on top of the one they already passed,” he said. “And it’s about managing, about getting that out to the people. Getting that out in the communities. Getting that distributed.”


Biden warns against moving too slowly in deploying medical equipment

Joe Biden said over-producing or deploying too many ventilators and masks to hospitals shouldn’t be a problem.

“The only thing that you really make a mistake is going too slow. Going too fast – meaning you’re providing the kind of help that is needed and planning for it – is not a problem,” Biden said. 

The former vice president was criticizing the speed of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in a CNN town hall. 

“Get out now what can be gotten out – now, now, now, and yesterday, and last month, and last week,” he said. 


Biden says he would recommend lockdown in every state

Joe Biden said Friday that he, as president, would recommend every governor lock down their states for several weeks to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The question stemmed from billionaire investor Bill Gates telling CNN on Thursday that the United States should shut down the entire country for a short period of time to control the spread of the coronavirus. Gates suggested closing for six to 10 weeks.

Biden added that “two weeks in what is going to be a long fight to deal with this is a small price to pay,” adding that is especially the case because the country can “compensate people for the lost time” with legislation like the sweeping bill that President Donald Trump signed on Friday.

Biden did not explicitly endorse the length of Gates’ suggestion.

Biden’s comments stand in opposition to Trump, who has not called for a nationwide lockdown and has said he hopes the nation will re-open by mid-April.


Joe Biden describes a typical day as he works from home

Joe Biden said he’s trying to get through his days just like anyone else with a stay-at-home order at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The former vice president said his morning starts with a conference call with his campaign’s medical team where they give him a briefing on the latest Covid-19 numbers that spans 20 minutes to an hour.

That briefing covers “how much has been done…equipment we can get to people.” The medical briefing is followed by another meeting with his economic team, including economists who worked with him in the White House, about the recent legislation passed and “what the Trump administration has done, has not done.”

Biden said he speaks to all five of his grandkids either by phone or text. The two children who live a mile from his home walk through the woods to Biden’s house.

Sometimes, Biden said, he and his wife Jill walk the track at a nearby school with their dog.

“I am doing things like we are doing with you now. I’m trying to keep abreast, and trying to keep on top of our President, and trying to do things that could’ve been done, or doing faster,” he said.


Biden says he’s spoken with governors of Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Louisiana


Joe Biden said he’s spoken with several governors in recent days “to see what’s happening on the ground for them” as their states react to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Biden named four Democratic governors with whom he has spoken: Washington’s Jay Inslee, a one-time 2020 presidential rival; Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, who is one of four co-chairs of Biden’s campaign; Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf; and Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards — who Biden said he’d missed a call from earlier Friday afternoon. 

The former vice president also said he has spoken with Republican governors. 

Trump earlier Friday had singled out Inslee and Whitmer for criticism, saying they had not been appreciative enough of federal efforts as their states have become epicenters of the growing crisis. “I want them to be appreciative,” Trump said. 

He said he instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to speak with Inslee and Whitmer — but Pence has done so anyway. 

“I say ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan,’” Trump said. 


Biden town hall is being conducted remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic


CNN town hall has taken unique steps to broadcast tonight due the coronavirus pandemic.

Host Anderson Cooper’s camera is being robotically controlled in order to abide by social distancing guidelines while former Vice President Joe Biden is filmed from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

NOW: Joe Biden discusses coronavirus outbreak at CNN town hall

Former Vice President Joe Biden is participating in a live CNN town hall tonight focused on the coronavirus outbreak

“The Coronavirus Pandemic A CNN Democratic Presidential Town Hall with Joe Biden” will feature questions submitted by individuals living in some of the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will moderate the hourlong discussion on the impact to Americans’ health, the repercussions for the nation’s economy and the human toll to US society.

Biden will join the town hall via satellite from his home studio in Delaware.

The Democratic presidential candidate has been critical of President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic, and this week he told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he thinks Trump should allow the experts and scientists to do the talking.

A 102-year-old Italian woman recovers from coronavirus

Italica Grondona

A 102-year-old woman has recovered from coronavirus in the northern Italian city of Genoa after spending more than 20 days in hospital, doctors who treated her and her nephew told CNN.

“We nicknamed her ‘Highlander’ – the immortal,” said doctor Vera Sicbaldi who treated Italica Grondona in the San Martino hospital in Genoa.

“Italica represents a hope for all the elderly facing this pandemic” Sicbaldi added. The average age of those who have tested positive for coronavirus and subsequently died in Italy is 78, according to the country’s National Health Institute. 

Grondona was hospitalized at the beginning of March for “mild heart failure,” Sicbaldi told CNN.

“She only had some mild coronavirus symptoms, so we tested her and she was positive, but we did very little, she recovered on her own,” Sicbaldi added.

Doctors say her case impressed them so much that they decided to study it deeper.

“We got serological samples, she is the first patient we know that might have gone through the ‘Spanish flu’ since she was born in 1917,” Sicbaldi explained, referring to the 1918/1919 flu pandemic that killed at least 50 million people, worldwide according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Grondona left the hospital on March 26 and will now spend time recovering in a care home. “I don’t know what her secret is, but I know she is a free and independent woman,” her nephew Renato Villa Grondona told CNN.

Her only son died in the US a few decades ago. Grondona’s nephew said she suffered from death. “But she loves life, dancing and music, she loves Freddy Mercury and Valentino Rossi,” Villa Grondona said, referring to the multiple MotoGP World champion.

WNBA player tests positive for coronavirus after returning from playing overseas

Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WNBA player Sydney Wiese, a guard with the Los Angeles Sparks, tested positive for coronavirus after playing overseas in Spain, according to a statement from the Sparks.

Wiese has been in isolation in Phoenix, according to the statement.

Massachusetts public health commissioner tests positive for coronavirus

In a statement on Friday, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Dr. Monica Bharel, said she has tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.   

“I want to notify the public that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Bharel’s statement said. “I was tested Thursday night and received the results back today from the State Public Health Laboratory. As the public health commissioner and an essential state employee, I have been vigilant about practicing social distancing from my colleagues and members of the public. My symptoms so far have been mild. I have notified my appropriate close contacts and will rest and recuperate at home, while continuing to carry out my work responsibilities remotely. The Department of Public Health offices will be thoroughly cleaned over the weekend.”

Bharel added: “I hope everyone will continue to take seriously the threat of COVID-19.”

Pence says 685,000 tests have been completed but its not reflected on CDC website

Alex Brandon/AP

Vice President Mike Pence said more than 685,000 coronavirus tests have been completed in the United States as of Friday morning.

Pence said that hospitals across the country are now reporting their testing numbers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Emergency Management Agency in real time, something that was not the case when testing first began. 

However, those numbers are not being reflected on the CDC’s US testing page, which paints a far different picture. 

The CDC’s number are lower because they’re not reporting out data from private or commercial labs.

Idaho secretary of state requests delay in primary election

Idaho’s secretary of state is asking the governor to delay the state’s primary election by nearly a month because of coronavirus concerns.

In an open letter to Gov. Brad Little on Friday, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney asked for an order that would set the primary election for no earlier than June 16, instead of its current date of May 19.

“A one-month delay in the election would provide the needed time to inform voters, parties, candidates and others about the changes in this process,” Denney said.

He said even if the delay is granted, he plans to encourage as many voters as possible to cast absentee ballots this summer instead of physically going to the polls. The secretary of state’s office will allow all registered voters with an official state identification card to request an absentee ballot online.

Some context: The new request is in regards to the primary election for state and local offices, and a delay would not affect the results of the Idaho presidential primary that was run on March 10.