March 31 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Joshua Berlinger, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:48 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020
143 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:21 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Fact check: Trump again touts anti-malaria drugs without scientific proof

From CNN'a Marshall Cohen

A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills.
A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday again touted anti-malaria drugs as a potential treatment for coronavirus, and extolled their safety, despite the lack of scientific studies on the matter. 

“It’s been out there for a long time,” Trump said of the drug chloroquine and a related drug, hydroxychloroquine. “Very powerful drug. But it’s been out there, so it’s tested in the sense that you know it doesn’t kill you.”

Facts First: Trump is right that the drugs have been available for a while, but he’s wrong to imply that they’ve been proven safe for Covid-19 patients. Public health officials have said testing is still needed, and trials are underway. 

Over the weekend, the US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for doctors to use the drugs in hospitals for a limited set of Covid-19 cases. Some physicians have already been using the malaria drugs off-label to treat coronavirus patients.

The drugs have been used to safely prevent and treat malaria, and for lupus and other conditions. But there isn’t scientific data proving that they’re safe for coronavirus patients.

There’s no evidence to back up Trump’s assertion that it’s already known that Covid-19 patients won’t die from the treatment. The drug can lead to cardiac side effects, including an irregular heartbeat, which can be especially dangerous for patients with Covid-19, doctors say.

Early tests are underway now in New York, the hardest hit area in the US with more than 75,000 cases.

This isn’t the first time Trump has made this comment. His messaging on the drugs have been far more optimistic than the messaging from the public health officials that have attended the daily White House briefings.

8:10 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

There are over 41,000 positive cases of coronavirus in New York City

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Workers build a field hospital in Central Park on Tuesday, March 31.
Workers build a field hospital in Central Park on Tuesday, March 31. Mary Altaffer/AP

There are 41,771 positive cases of Covid-19 in New York City and 1,096 fatalities, according to a press release from the New York City mayor’s office Tuesday evening. 

There were at least 8,400 people hospitalized, and of those individuals, at least 1,888 were in the ICU as of 6 p.m. ET on March 31.

7:49 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

North Carolina governor signs order prohibiting utility shutoffs for 60 days

From CNN's Jennifer Henderson 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference this afternoon that he signed an executive order to prohibit utility companies from shutting off services for people unable to pay for gas, electric, water and waste water.

Services cannot be shut off for next 60 days, Cooper said.

“This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” Cooper said. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we stay at home.”
7:51 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Trump says he wouldn't have reacted to coronavirus differently if he wasn't impeached

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

President Trump says he doesn’t think he would have responded differently to early indications of the novel coronavirus’ spread if he wasn’t being impeached.

“I don’t think I would have acted very differently or I don’t think I would have acted any faster,” Trump said during a White House press briefing.

Trump’s response follows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's recent comments blaming Democrats for distracting the Trump administration with impeachment earlier this year as coronavirus was spreading abroad. 

“I think I handled it very well, but I guess it probably did (distract me). I mean, I got impeached. I think, you know, I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it,” Trump said during the briefing Tuesday. 

Watch:

7:54 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Nevada governor asks people entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days

CNN’s Jessica Jordan

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a press conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 17.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a press conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 17. Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun/AP

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a travel advisory Tuesday asking everyone entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days even if they have no symptoms of the novel coronavirus. 

“Nevada will always be a welcoming spot for travelers, but out of an abundance of caution, we are asking everyone to Stay Home for Nevada, especially if you have symptoms,” he said in a written statement.

The advisory does not apply to essential workers, including in the healthcare and food supply industries.

7:21 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New York's MTA says ridership is down 90% since pre-pandemic levels

From CNN's Rob Frehse

An empty subway car is seen on March 23, 2020 in New York City. - Wall Street fell early March 23, 2020 as Congress wrangled over a massive stimulus package while the Federal Reserve unveiled new emergency programs to boost the economy including with unlimited bond buying. About 45 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.6 percent at 19,053.17, and the broad-based S&P 500 also fell 0.6 percent to 2,290.31 after regaining some ground lost just after the open. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
An empty subway car is seen on March 23, 2020 in New York City. - Wall Street fell early March 23, 2020 as Congress wrangled over a massive stimulus package while the Federal Reserve unveiled new emergency programs to boost the economy including with unlimited bond buying. About 45 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.6 percent at 19,053.17, and the broad-based S&P 500 also fell 0.6 percent to 2,290.31 after regaining some ground lost just after the open. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority ridership is down 90% since pre-pandemic levels, the group’s chairman and CEO Pat Foye announced Tuesday.

Foye, who tested positive for coronavirus last weekend, said 582 of his colleagues have also tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Foye said reports of overcrowding incidents have been sporadic and that the MTA is working closely with the NYPD to control crowding and tell riders to move to a different car or wait for another train. He added that people are mostly complying and he believes no summonses have been issued.

“It's a very sporadic number of cases given the significant decline in ridership,” Foye said. “But we're working hard to get the message out and working closely with the NYPD and the MTA Police.”
7:11 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

There are at least 184,343 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Dave Alsup

There are at least 184,343 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to CNN Health's tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the country through its public health systems,

So far, 3,796 people have died in the US from coronavirus.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, Washington, DC, and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases. Hawaii and Wyoming are not reporting a death from coronavirus. 

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

7:07 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New Jersey is ordering additional refrigeration trailers to be placed across the state

From CNN's Laura Ly

The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed to CNN that the state is ordering additional refrigeration trailers to be placed across the state to serve as additional locations for body storage.

“The state is ordering additional refrigeration trailers that will be placed in the northern, central and southern parts of the state for use by hospitals and nursing homes as well as the medical examiner’s offices around the state,” Donna Leusner, the communications director for the health department, told CNN.

Leusner also said the chief state medical examiner is working with the Funeral Directors Association to address their needs and concerns.

New Jersey currently has 18,696 cases of coronavirus, according to CNN Health's tally.

7:10 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Maine governor issues "stay healthy at home" directive

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a press briefing in Augusta, Maine, on Thursday, March 12.
Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a press briefing in Augusta, Maine, on Thursday, March 12. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Maine Gov. Janet Mills issued a "stay healthy at home" directive today that requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times, unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, according to a release from the governor’s office.

The executive order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on April 2 and will last until at least April 30.

The governor also mandated a series of other new restrictions, including prohibiting the use of public transportation unless for an essential reason and mandating the continued termination of classroom or other in-person instruction until at least May 1.

Maine has 303 confirmed coronavirus cases and five deaths, according to figures compiled by CNN.