March 29 coronavirus news

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7:11 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

At least 135,856 coronavirus cases in the US

There are at least 135,856 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health’s tally of cases detected and tested through US public health systems.

A total of 2,391 people have died in the United States from coronavirus. 

For the most up-to-date US numbers compiled by CNN, please check this map which automatically refreshes every 10 minutes:

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-us-maps-and-cases/

4:36 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in New York describes how quickly patients are deteriorating

Elmhurst Hospital in New York
Elmhurst Hospital in New York John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx/AP

A nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in New York described to CNN how quickly patients are deteriorating in their hospital.

"It’s frightening because although they are sick, they appear stable," the nurse said. "Then right before your eyes they start to desaturate and in a few moments, they are gone." 

Desaturate refers to a patient's oxygen saturation levels dropping to unsafe and, in this case, fatal levels.

The nurse said they watched, completely helpless, with two doctors alongside, as patients died from coronavirus complications. 

"Even though you restart the heart, they cannot breathe and before you get a minute to process the life lost, they come and snatch the ventilator," the nurse said. "And (then) another patient is crashing."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the stresses this particular hospital is experiencing during his daily press conference.

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Elmhurst had been the hospital hit hardest by the surge in cases and more medical personnel were being sent there. CNN previously reported that 13 patients died at the hospital from coronavirus within 24 hours last week.

4:51 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Illinois governor says there's 'not enough capacity' at hospitals for surge

Hospitals in Illinois don't have enough capacity for anticipated surge numbers from coronavirus, Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker said in a press conference Sunday.

"There's not enough capacity today," Pritzker said.

He said the state is working diligently to build facilities and triage centers. National Guardsmen are helping to erect tents and create isolation areas in dozens of hospitals, Pritzker said.

Pritzker said the state is expected to see the peak of coronavirus cases in mid-April, according to studies, and officials are working to be prepared for the surge by that time.

5:24 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Country singer Joe Diffie dies of complications from coronavirus

Joe Diffie performs at Country Thunder Milwaukee in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, in 2016.
Joe Diffie performs at Country Thunder Milwaukee in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, in 2016. Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

Grammy Award-winning country singer Joe Diffie, 61, died Sunday from complications of coronavirus, according to his publishing agency Adkins Publicity.

Two days before his death, Diffie released a statement saying he had tested positive for coronavirus.

"I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment. My family and I are asking for privacy at this time. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic."

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Diffie was a 25-year member of the Grand Ole Opry. Some of his hits included "John Deere Greene" and "Home."

4:31 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Nigeria's President announces 14-day 'cessation of movement'

Both Nigeria's largest city and capital city will be under a "cessation of movement" for 14 days, said Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in a Sunday address, which was published on Twitter.

Based on advice from the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Buhari issued an order prohibiting all movements in Lagos and Federal Capital Territory for 14 days. The order will go into effect Monday at 11 p.m. local time.

"As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can," said Buhari.

Citizens in areas effected by Buhari's order will be required to stay in their homes and businesses and offices "should be fully closed during this period," Buhari said. Businesses involved in health care, food processing and distribution, petroleum, power and private security are exempt from the order. Workers in telecommunications and the media who prove they are unable to work from home are also exempt.

4:31 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

CBS News executive dies from coronavirus

Maria Mercader
Maria Mercader Courtesy of CBS News

Maria Mercader, a CBS News producer and talent executive, has died of Covid-19 in New York, according to a news release from CBS News.

Mercader, 54, worked at CBS for three decades, most recently as a director of talent strategy. She "courageously fought cancer and related illnesses for 20 years, enduring numerous treatments and surgeries," CBS said.

"To her colleagues and family, she was an inspiration and a symbol of hope each time she returned to work after the latest medical setback threatened to end her life," CBS said.

"Maria was a friend to all," said Laurie Orlando, senior vice president of talent for CBS News. "It’s nearly impossible to be someone EVERYONE loves, but Maria was. She always had a warm hug, a word of advice or support and a big smile for everyone in her life. She was a bright light and will be sorely missed."

Mercader helped produce breaking news coverage during her years working on the foreign and national desks of CBS News, including the death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks, the release said. She won a business Emmy in 2004 for her work on a CBS "Sunday Morning" report on computer spam.

Mercader is survived by her father, Manuel and brother, Manuel, the release said.

7:11 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

There are at least 133,924 coronavirus cases in US

There are at least 133,924 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health’s tally of cases detected and tested through US public health systems.

A total of 2,352 people have died in the US from coronavirus. 

For the most up-to-date US numbers compiled by CNN, please check this map which automatically refreshes every 10 minutes:

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-us-maps-and-cases/

4:32 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Moscow orders citywide quarantine starting Monday

An announcement on a screen urges people to keep 1.5-2m apart in a subway car in Moscow on March 29.
An announcement on a screen urges people to keep 1.5-2m apart in a subway car in Moscow on March 29. Sergei Fadeichev/TASS via Getty Images

Moscow imposed a citywide quarantine starting March 30 until further notice for all residents regardless of their age, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said in a statement. 

“(Since restrictions were imposed) movements in the city decreased by two-thirds, which this is very good,” Sobyanin said. "Although it is obvious that not everyone heard us."

Residents will only be able to leave their houses to get urgent medical help, go to a nearby grocery store or pharmacy, and to walk their pets in the proximity of 100m from their residence. The exception will be made for essential workers.

City officials will deploy a "smart monitoring" system to enforce these restrictions, Sobyanin said, and the city will develop a special pass system for people to get permission to leave their homes.

Public and private transportation, as well as leaving or entering the city, is still allowed, according to the statement.

3:44 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Ohio governor says state does not have enough N95 masks

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks in February.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks in February. Tony Dejak/AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said his state does not have enough N95 masks to meet the demand of health care workers and first responders.

Many people who need the masks are using them longer than they would normally use them, DeWine said.

DeWine said he is hoping the Food and Drug Administration will give a full approval for the use of a mask-cleaning machine produced by Battelle.

The governor said he called President Donald Trump Sunday morning to express how urgently the approval is needed and said the President told him he would do all he could to get the approval.

Trump took to Twitter to express "hope" that the "FDA can approve Mask Sterilization equipment ASAP."

"As per Governor @MikeDeWine, there is a company in Ohio, @Batelle, which has equipment that can sterilize masks quickly," the President's tweet continued.

Battelle's machine is capable of sanitizing 80,000 N95 masks a day for reuse, DeWine said.