March 31 coronavirus news
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.”
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.
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.
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.
President Trump discussed the need for Americans to wear masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Trump said that Americans “can wear scarves” in lieu of masks.
“You know, you can use a scarf. A lot of people have scarfs, and you can use a scarf. A scarf would be very good. My feeling is if people want to do it, there’s certainly no harm to it. I would say do it, but use a scarf if you want, rather than going out and getting a mask or whatever, we're making millions and millions of masks," Trump said when asked if he would recommend all Americans wear masks.
Trump said he wants the masks being produced to go to hospitals that need them.
“We want them to go to the hospitals. But one of the things that Dr. Fauci told me today is we don’t want everybody competing with the hospitals where you really need them,” Trump added.
Trump did say that it might not be a bad idea for Americans to use some sort of face cover, for at least a period of time.
“So you can use scarves if you want, it can be something else, it does not have to be a mask, but it’s not a bad idea at least for a period of time. I mean eventually you’re not going to want to do that, you’re not going to have to do that. It’s going to be gone. It's going to be gone, hopefully gone for a long time," Trump said.
President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that Covid-19 is worse than the seasonal flu, despite claiming otherwise multiple times in the past.
“It’s not the flu. It’s vicious,” Trump said of Covid-19 Tuesday while discussing a personal friend of his who is in a coma battling coronavirus.
Some context: The tone is new for Trump who on March 9 tweeted: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
Two days after Trump made that comment, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that coronavirus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”
Today members of the coronavirus task force warned that Americans should be “prepared” for over 100,000 deaths.
President Trump defended the ability of the US to conduct tests for coronavirus, despite medical workers saying they cannot test everyone who needs one.
“We're doing more than anyone in the world, by far. We are testing highly accurate tests, these are tests that work,” Trump said. “Well we’re doing, every day, and the word is exponential we are getting more and more and more, and now we have a new test that will be rolled out tomorrow or the next day and that’s going to take only a few minutes to see the result. And it's a highly accurate result."
Vice President Mike Pence later attempted to clarify why there is a discrepancy in the amount of tests that the administration said had been distributed and the amount of tests that have been conducted.
Pence said under the old testing system, tests were being sent out, but had to be returned to labs that could only tests a small number per day.
“I think that the misunderstanding early on was that there are many tests being distributed, many test kits being sent, but under the old system, the antiquated system those were being processed in state labs or at CDC that could only produce 30 to 50 tests a day," Pence said.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force response coordinator, also said she’s disappointed that Abbott Laboratories coronavirus test disbursed around the country are not being utilized.
“It is disappointing to me right now that we have about 500,000 capacity of Abbott tests that are not being utilized. So, they are out. They’re in the states. They’re not being run and not utilized. And now we have to figure out how do we create awareness,” Birx said during the briefing Tuesday.
The US Army has begun calling up members of the Individual Ready Reserve on a voluntary basis in order to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus — another sign that the US military is seeking to bolster its medical capability as the pandemic continues to spread.
"On March 29, Human Resources Command sent messages regarding the voluntary recall to nearly 10,000 members of the (Individual Ready Reserve) with specific medical skills," Lt. Col. Emmanuel Ortiz told CNN in a statement. "Protecting our citizens from the coronavirus is a vital call to action. We need the help of many of our Individual Ready Reserve medical professionals. They possess valuable training, education, skills and talents necessary to win this fight."
In most cases, after concluding their military obligations, service members will enter into what is known as the Individual Ready Reserve.
By the numbers: At present, the Individual Ready Reserve contains 224,841 members, according to the Department of Defense.
The ready reserve status requires no active participation or drilling, leading the vast majority of service members to consider being in that status the same as being out of the military. Most service members are in that designation for a period of years.
A spokesperson for the Army said that some 9,000 retirees had expressed interest in volunteering.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the US should prepare for a reality where 100,000 Americans are killed from coronavirus, he said Tuesday afternoon during a coronavirus task force briefing.
"As sobering as that number is, we should be prepared for it. Is it going to be that much? I hope not and I think the more we push back on mitigation, the less likelihood it would that number. But as being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves that that is a possibility that that's what we'll see," Fauci said.
Fauci added on the projected numbers of deaths: “We don’t accept that number. We are going to do everything we can to be below that.”
“This is the thing to anticipate but that doesn’t mean that we are going to accept it,” Fauci said in the White House briefing room.