Latest developments for the coronavirus pandemic on March 28, 2020

LIVE BLOG - FOX 5 NY is updating this blog with the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak so you can get the information in one spot.

9:00 PM:  President Donald Trump backed away from calling for a quarantine for coronavirus hotspots in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, instead directing Saturday night that a “strong Travel Advisory” be issued to stem the spread of the outbreak.

The notion of a quarantine had been advocated by governors, including Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who sought to halt travelers from the heavily affected areas to their states. But it drew swift criticism from the leaders of the states in question, who warned it would spark panic in a populace already suffering under the virus.

8:20 PM:  Confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the United States doubled in two days, surpassing 2,000 Saturday and highlighting how quickly the virus is spreading through the country.

Johns Hopkins University reported that confirmed deaths rose to more than 30,000 around the world. The U.S. ranked sixth in deaths, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, and France. Italy alone had more than 10,000 dead.

7:45 PM: As of 4 PM on Saturday, officials say there are 30,765 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City and 672 people have died. 

The most affected boroughs are:

  • Queens: 9,831 cases
  • Brooklyn: 8,129 cases
  • Bronx: 5,752 cases
  • Manhattan: 5,237 cases
  • Staten Island: 1,781 cases

7:40 PM: The United Nations has donated 250,000 surgical masks to help New York City’s fight against coronavirus. 

7:35 PM: Tourism officials in Memphis, Tennessee say the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest have been rescheduled for the fall after they were postponed because of the new coronavirus outbreak.

7:15 PM: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican and close ally of President Donald Trump, tells reporters he had spoken with the president about the possibility of a coronavirus quarantine for the New York City area.

DeSantis says Florida will soon set up a checkpoint along Interstate 95 to screen travelers from that area, similar to one already in place along Interstate 10 to screen people from Louisiana. Many airports in Florida also are screening travelers from certain areas, requiring travelers to self-isolate for 14 days.

6:44 PM: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says an infant with COVID-19 has died and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of death.

Officials didn't release other information about the infant, who was from Cook County, which includes Chicago, including whether the child had other health issues.

6:01 PM: Governor Andrew Cuomo says that restricting New Yorkers to their state would be "a lockdown" that "doesn't make any sense" and threatened to sue the state of Rhode Island if its Governor does not roll back its policy requiring travelers from New York to self-quarantine for 14 days amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

5:55 PM: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is underlining the importance of social distancing orders, saying anyone caught throwing a 'coronavirus party' will be named, shamed and heavily fined. 

5:45 PM: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont says, in response to President Trump's consideration of a quarantine for New York and parts of New York and New Jersey, that the state has already called on residents to stay home and directed travelers to self-quarantine to prevent further transmission of coronavirus. 

5:27 PM: Leaders of several South Carolina cities say they are defying Gov. Henry McMaster's opposition to stay-at-home orders and Attorney General Alan Wilson's opinion that only McMaster can issue such measures.

In Folly Beach, where town officials had removed their checkpoint and had allowed vacation rentals to resume, the city council unanimously voted to re-establish the checkpoint and ban any new short-term rentals beginning Sunday.

4:47 PM: Spain has reported its deadliest day with over 800 deaths and over 8,000 new coronavirus cases.

4:17 PM: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the country's borders be fully closed as of Monday.

The order issued Saturday follows increasingly stringent restrictions imposed over the past several weeks to limit the spread of coronavirus.

3:33 PM: An outbreak of coronavirus at one Long Island retirement community has claimed six lives and left relatives of those still there afraid

2:20 PM: The Powerball lottery has announced that due to declining sales, after the next Grand Prize win, the starting jackpot will reset to a guaranteed $20M with minimum roll increases of $2M between drawings. 

2:05 PM: Italy reported 889 deaths in a 24-hour period ending Saturday evening in the country, where intensive care units have been overwhelmed at the heart of the outbreak in the north. That compares to 969 a day earlier, which was a one-day high in the country which has the world’s highest number of deaths of persons with confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

1:49 PM: Asked about a possible quarantine of New York and New Jersey, Murphy says that until further notification comes, the state will continue to be as aggressive as they have been to enforce social distancing and flatten the curve in New Jersey. 

1:34 PM: Persichilli: 71 long-term care facilities in New Jersey are reporting at least one coronavirus case.

1:32 PM: Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says that so far in New Jersey, the state has performed 29,822 tests, of which 10,536 tested positive for an overall positivity rate of 34.99 percent. 

1:27 PM: Murphy reminds NJ residents to fill out the 2020 Census at

1:22 PM: Murphy says that any renter facing eviction cannot be kicked out of their home during the crisis and that he expects any landlord receiving mortgage relief to provide similar relief to their tenants. 

1:18 PM: Murphy says the state is continuing to accept all PPE donations and encourages anyone looking to donate to visit

1:13 PM: Murphy announces 90-day mortgage payment grace period in New Jersey for borrowers financially hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Murphy also says late fees will be waived and the grace period cannot be used to downgrade anyone’s credit. 

1:11 PM: On Sunday, only the coronavirus testing site in Bergen County will be open, testing will begin at 8 a.m. On March 30, only the PNC Bank Arts Center site will be open, testing will begin at 8 a.m. Both will only test 500 samples. 

1:08 PM: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has announced another 2,289 positive coronavirus test results, bringing the statewide total to 11,124. Another 32 people have died, bringing the statewide death total to 140. 

12:54 PM: The NYPD has announced the first uniformed member of the NYPD to die of coronavirus, a detective who died at a Bronx hospital on Saturday morning. The detective was a 23-year veteran of the NYPD, assigned to the 32nd Precinct in northeast Harlem. 

12:48 PM: NYPD Commissioner Shea says that the NYPD has lost three members of the force to coronavirus in the last 48 hours.

12:46 PM: Cuomo says that right now, 50 states are competing to buy medical equipment and says that we need a nationwide buying consortium. 

12:41 PM: President Donald Trump says he is considering imposing a quarantine on New York and New Jersey due to the coronavirus outbreak. The quarantine would restrict travel out of the area. 

12:38 PM: Cuomo says that there are 52,318 total coronavirus cases in New York, 7,328 people have been hospitalized, 1,755 are ICU patients and 2,726 have been discharged. The death toll has risen to 728. 

12:35 PM: Cuomo says that New York’s Presidential Primary, scheduled for April 28, will be delayed to June 23. The tax filing deadline will also be extended to July 15. 

12:33 PM: Four new temporary hospital sites, at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Aqueduct Racetrack, CUNY Staten Island and the New York Expo Center have been approved. 

12:32 PM: Cuomo says the temporary hospital at the Javits Center will open on Monday, March 30. The USNS Comfort is also expected to arrive on Monday with 1,000 beds and 1,200 medical personnel.

12:29 PM: Cuomo says the state is administering 1,100 tests of Hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax. 

12:28 PM: Cuomo says the density of people at New York City parks is still a problem, and if that compliance does not work on a voluntary basis, playgrounds may be closed. 

12:26 PM: Cuomo says the state is asking pharmacies to offer home deliveries for free. 

12:21 PM: Cuomo says that the apex of coronavirus cases in New York is still being forecast to happen in 14-21 days. 

12:16 PM: Cuomo: “The data says, at that high point of need, you could need 140,000 hospital beds, you could need 30,000 ventilators…. We’re planning for that worst-case scenario.”

12:13 PM: Cuomo: “When it comes to ventilators, they are the necessity in this situation.”

12:08 PM: Cuomo: “If you’re feeling disoriented, it’s not you. It’s everyone, it’s everywhere.”

11:59 AM: Governor Andrew Cuomo is holding a press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak.

11:30 AM: Trader Joe’s says it is temporarily closing its location on 72nd and Broadway after a crew member tested positive for coronavirus. The employee was last in the store on March 26. 

Trader Joe’s had previously closed locations in SoHo and Chelsea after employees tested positive for coronavirus. 

11:09 AM: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared a new rapid test from Abbott Laboratories, which the company says can detect the coronavirus in about 5 minutes.

10:30 AM:  Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons.

Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage, resembles the arc seen in Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to climb above 4,000 on Saturday.

10:20 AM:  The Pentagon says it's made no decisions yet about calling up reservists following President Donald Trump's order authorizing the call-up of an unspecified number to help with the coronavirus response.

10:08 AM:  The Pentagon says it's made no decisions yet about calling up reservists following President Donald Trump's order authorizing the call-up of an unspecified number to help with the coronavirus response.

The Pentagon's chief spokesman says the Defense Department anticipates tapping people mainly for administrative duties and "high-demand medical capabilities whose call-up would not adversely affect their civilian communities.”

9:25 AM:  In less than two weeks, the coronavirus has claimed six lives at one Long Island retirement community and left residents there isolated from loved-ones barred from visiting.

“I have a feeling that I very likely may never see my mother again,” said children's author James Preller, whose 94-year-old mother, Ann Preller, is a resident.

At least 12 remaining residents and 13 staff members at the Peconic Landing community, in Greenport, had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, though officials said six of the staff have since recovered.

The seaside complex is about 100 miles east of Manhattan, in an upscale beach community on the North Fork of Long Island, a peninsula jutting out into Long Island Sound. Some residents live independently in cottages, others in a memory-care center and a full-care nursing home.

Preller, 59, said the isolation and disconnection are the cruelest aspects of the outbreak.

He said he's not sure his mother, who lives in the community's nursing center, understands what is happening. He worries she may feel abandoned. Preller was forced to cancel a March 21 visit to celebrate her birthday.

9:15 AM:  An ER doctor in Washington was fired for criticizing the virus response at the hospital where he worked.  MORE:

8:56 AM: More than 10 percent of the NYPD officers called out sick on Friday.

8:30 AM:  An emergency room doctor who publicly criticized the coronavirus preparations at his hospital in Washington state has been fired.

Dr. Ming Lin, a ER doctor at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham for the past 17 years, confirmed his firing in a message to The Associated Press on Friday night.

On Facebook and in media interviews Lin has repeatedly criticized what he saw as a sluggish response to the threat by the hospital's administration. Lin insisted that the hospital was slow to screen visitors, negligent in not testing staff, wrong to rely on a company that was taking 10 days to process COVID-19 test results, and derelict in obtaining protective equipment for staff.

8:17 AM:  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday Japan will compile the "boldest-ever" stimulus package to address the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak, including cash handouts to underpin household spending.

The size of the stimulus will be larger than the emergency package the government put together in the global financial crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, Abe told a press conference, pledging to swiftly compile an extra budget to finance the stimulus.

He said the fight against the globally spreading virus will be prolonged, while calling for heightened vigilance against the surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan.

8:09 AM:  Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons.

Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage on the continent, resembles that of Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to jump above 4,000 on Saturday.

8:02 AM:  The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic.