March 15 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Ivana Kottasová and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 10:22 PM ET, Sun March 15, 2020
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2:21 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Chef José Andrés closes all Washington, DC, restaurants due to coronavirus

From CNN's Gregory Clary

Chef José Andrés in 2019.
Chef José Andrés in 2019. Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Chef José Andrés is closing all of his restaurants around Washington, DC, but says some will open as, “Community Kitchens to offer to-go lunches for those who need a meal,” according to a series of tweets he sent today.

Andrés went on to say those kitchens will expand across the country in the coming days and weeks.

Andrés is known for opening kitchens in times of disaster, like when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017.

Read some of Andrés' tweets:

1:16 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Academy of Country Music Awards postponed

From CNN's Steve Forrest and Shawn Nottingham

The Academy of Country Music Awards scheduled for April 5 in Las Vegas has been postponed, according to a news release from the organization.

The awards show, originally scheduled to air on CBS, will now happen in September.

An exact date has yet to be determined. Health and safety concerns given the current coronavirus outbreak were cited as the reason for postponing the event.

1:49 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Chicago mayor asks businesses that sell liquor to adjust operating procedures

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2019.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2019. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Concerned about St. Patrick's Day festivities and the coronavirus outbreak, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is enforcing all businesses that sell liquor to have less than half of their regular max capacity and requiring any establishments that sell liquor to have a max capacity of 100 people.

Lightfoot is requiring business owners to discontinue lining patrons up who are waiting for entry outside of establishments.

Last week: The mayor announced new guidance on large gatherings, mandating that events exceeding 1,000 individuals be cancelled and recommending that community events of 250 people or more should be cancelled or postponed.

1:06 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

New York reports third coronavirus-related death

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Another person with underlying health conditions has died in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced in a press conference. 

The death of a 79-year-old woman who had “multiple major underlying health issues” brings the state-wide death toll of those who had coronavirus to three, Cuomo said.

There are 729 confirmed coronavirus cases across the state, Cuomo said, adding, “New York is the state with the most number of cases.”

12:56 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

National Institutes of Health announces first known employee to have COVID-19

From CNN's Ross Levitt

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it informed staff this morning of its first known case of COVID-19 among its workers.

NIH says the person did not have contact with patients and is at home and doing well.

"While this is an unfortunate development, it is not surprising, and NIH expects that there will be more cases of infection among NIH staff," NIH said in a statement. 

NIH says the person did not have symptoms while at work, but that it is notifying people who came in contact with this person and will screen those people for symptoms. They may also be asked to self-quarantine depending on their potential exposure. 

"NIH commends the infected individual for following the NIH guidance, which has allowed us to take swift action," the statement said. 

12:58 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Trump defends medical screenings at airports while long lines persist

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

People wait in line to go through the customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on March 14.
People wait in line to go through the customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on March 14. Austin Boschen via AP

President Trump tweeted a response to the massive lines and wait times that have occurred at airports around the country as the US Customs and Border Protection screens passengers coming back to the United States.

Trump said that there are “precise medical screenings” being conducted and asked that people, “Pardon the interruptions and delays, we are moving as quickly as possible, but it is very important that we be vigilant and careful.”

Americans returning from countries included in the latest travel restrictions have to go through one of 13 US airports which has contributed to the long lines and delays.

Read Trump's tweet:

12:52 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Michigan governor signs executive order on price gouging  

Empty shelves at a supermarket in Dunkirk, Maryland, is seen on March 13.
Empty shelves at a supermarket in Dunkirk, Maryland, is seen on March 13. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order today that will temporarily impose enhanced restrictions on the excessive pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies and consumer food items. 

Executive order 2020-8 states that if a business or individual has acquired any product from a retailer, the business or individual must not resell that product in Michigan at a price that is in excess of the purchase price of the product, the governor's office said in a news release.

"Additionally, a business or individual must not offer for sale or sell any product in Michigan at a price that is more than 20 percent higher than what the business or individual offered or charged for that product as of March 9, 2020, unless the business or individual demonstrates that the price increase is attributable to an increase in the cost of bringing the product to market," the release said.

These restrictions go into effect on March 16 at 9 a.m. and will remain in place until April 13 at 11:59 p.m.

12:37 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

There are more than 3,000 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Amanda Watts

There are at least 3,010 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the state and local health agencies, governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, there are 70 cases from repatriated citizens. According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through public health systems, there are 2,940 cases in 49 states, Washington, DC, and territories, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 3,010. 

In total, 61 people in the US have died. 

West Virginia remains the only state yet to report a case of coronavirus.

12:50 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Maryland governor issues emergency order to close all casinos, racetracks

From CNN's Liz Turrell

Horses are led across the track in front of an empty grandstand area before racing at Laurel Park Race Track, in Laurel, Maryland, on March 14.
Horses are led across the track in front of an empty grandstand area before racing at Laurel Park Race Track, in Laurel, Maryland, on March 14. Terrance Williams/AP

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order to close all Maryland casinos, racetracks and simulcast betting facilities to the general public indefinitely today.

"This situation continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically….these are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe," Hogan said.

The order does not apply hotels adjacent to the casinos.

The following properties are affected by the governor’s emergency order, which takes effect at midnight on March 16 and will remain in effect until the state of emergency has been terminated or until superseded by other orders:

  • MGM National Harbor
  • Live! Casino & Hotel
  • Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
  • Hollywood Casino Perryville
  • Ocean Downs Casino
  • Rocky Gap Casino Resort
  • Laurel Park
  • Pimlico Race Course
  • Timonium Race Course
  • Fair Hill Races
  • Rosecroft Raceway
  • Ocean Downs
  • All simulcast betting facilities in the state