Latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic for March 18, 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.

10:32 PM: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law guaranteeing paid sick leave for New Yorkers under mandatory or precautionary quarantine. 

10:10 PM: There were no new cases of novel coronavirus infection in Wuhan, China or the surrounding provice of Hubei on Wednesday according to health authorities there. The city of 11 million people was put on lockdown on January 23 in order to prevent the spread of the virus.  

7:51 PM: New York City Transit says daily subway ridership is down by the millions: St. Patrick's Day 2019 saw 5,568,464 rides whereas March 17 this year had 1,785,252.

7:21 PM: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announces a mandatory 8 p.m. curfew and the closing of non-essential businesses at 8 p.m. Wednesday until further notice; people are not allowed on the streets after 8 p.m. except in an emergency or if they are coming from/going to work.

6:54 PM: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., tests positive for COVID-19. He says he is "feeling much better."

5:34 PM: The World Health Organization says Africa should "prepare for the worst" as the coronavirus begins to spread there; "I think Africa should wake up. My continent should wake up," says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who comes from Ethiopia.

5:06 PM: The New York Stock Exchange is closing its trading floors and will move to fully electronic trading on Monday, March 23.

4:30 PM: The director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says he met virtually with business leaders to talk about the supply chain during the pandemic.

4:22 PM: The U.S. Senate passes a coronavirus response measure that would provide sick leave and free testing; goes to President Trump's desk for his signature.

4:18 PM: Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont announces the state's first death from COVID-19 complications. "The patient, a man in his 80s, had recently been admitted to Danbury Hospital, where he was receiving treatment," Lamont says. "He had been a resident of an assisted living facility in Ridgefield. I want to thank all of the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals at the hospital who did everything in their power to save his life."

4:14 PM: Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler to shut down factories

4:04 PM: Dow Jones Industrial Average loses more than 1,330 points on the day; closes at 19,898.92, erasing all gains made since President Trump took office in January 2017.

3:56 PM: The Suffolk County (N.Y.) Police Department makes operational changes to limit person-to-person contact: Residents feeling ill should NOT come to a precinct or police headquarters and instead should call 911 and "disclose all health concerns and symptoms"; residents should NOT visit a precinct unless critically necessary; fingerprinting services are not available; select police reports can be filed online at or via phone at 631-852-COPS.

3:47 PM: New York City Health Department creates "Stop the Spread" informational poster (PDF): "New Yorkers working together and staying home can slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York City. When you go out for essential needs, work or to get fresh air, keep distance between yourself and others and take the following precautions."

3:32 PM: JPMorgan Chase says it is temporarily closing about 1,000 of its bank branches to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.


Coronavirus: JPMorgan Chase to temporarily close 1,000 locations

JPMorgan Chase will temporarily close about 20% of its branches and reduce staffing in the ones remaining in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

3:17 PM: Gov. Murphy: "History will be very unkind to our country and our state if we undershoot." Governor says the size of a federal stimulus package for the nation and the state will have to be significant. 

3:15 PM: Bergen County, N.J., coronavirus testing site will be up and running on Friday and will prioritize symptomatic health care workers and first responders.

3:10 PM: Gov. Murphy: Pennsylvania joins regional coalition with New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to encourage social distancing and "strengthen our greater regional preparedness."

3:07 PM: Gov. Murphy says he has had more direct communication with Vice President Pence and his team than President Trump.

2:45 PM: New Jersey activates call center to help handle COVID-19-related calls. Residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and resources available to them can call 211, a service operated by United Ways of New Jersey.

2:35 PM: N.J. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli issues an executive directive authorizing hospitals to use N.J.-certified mobile intensive care paramedics in hospitals setting to perform functions and duties within their scope of practice.

2:27 PM: Gov. Murphy: "To those that do not yet believe, believe. Trust us."

2:25 PM: Gov. Murphy thanks faith leaders for adhering to social distancing guidelines and bans on groups.

2:23 PM: Gov. Murphy: 162 new positive tests; state total is 427.

2:21 PM: Gov. Murphy: Home health aides, child care pros are "an essential part" of response. 

2:16 PM: Gov. Murphy: All gatherings of 50 and more people are banned, everywhere: "We don't want them going underground. ... This is not a time to be bringing anyone together." Asks New Jerseyans to "Make the right call" and "help flatten the curve."

2:10 PM: N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy delivers updates about the state's response to COVID-19. Watch live:

1:09 PM: Watch live coverage from FOX on the coronavirus at

12:40 PM: Trump: There is a great bi-partisan support on a bill to help Americans financially that I have never seen before.

12:39 PM: Trump: We will win. There will be a comeback and it will happen very quickly.

12:36 PM: Pence: We have in excess of 10,000 ventilators and the DOD will add more.

12:34 PM: Trump: I view this as a wartime response by government.

12:33 PM: Trump when asked about money for Americans from the federal government: we're looking at different numbers and splitting the payments.

12:31 PM: Trump on why he calls the virus the 'Chinese virus.' "Because it comes from China. It's not racist."

12:30 PM: Trump: does not agree with a report that unemployment will reach 20 percent.

12:25 PM: Members of DOD are meeting with Gov. Cuomo today to discuss providing services.

12:23 PM: Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper: The DOD to provide one million masks to Health and Human Services.

12:20 PM: Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force: There may be disproportional numbers of occurrences in the millennial group. We are concerned about early reports of severe cases within younger generations.

12:18 PM: Pence: all doctors and medical professionals can work across state lines.

12:17 PM: Pence: People who are not symptomatic should not get tested.

12:17 PM: Pence: Number of tests being conducted increased into the thousands every day.

12:16 PM: Pence: tomorrow , Trump will host all the nation's governors from FEMA.

12:14 PM: Vice President Mike Pence: Trump, Canadian President Trudeau agreed on mutual border closure but not from commerce. MORE DETAILS:

12:13 PM: Trump: HUD is suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.

12:13 PM: Trump: Federal health officials are working on a self-swab testing method

12:10 PM: Trump: USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy hospital ships have been deployed.

12:09 PM: President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force update the public in the battle against the virus. Watch LIVE:

11:50 AM: Treasury proposal: Deliver $500B in checks to millions of Americans, first round coming April 6.

11:49 AM: Cuomo: a shelter in place cannot just be New York City. 

11:47 AM: Cuomo: a list of what is considered an 'essential service' will be made public.

11:46 AM: Cuomo: every state across the country needs ventilators. We can create more beds but the supply of ventilators is low.

11:45 AM: Cuomo: his niece did not need to take the coronavirus test because despite having cold-like symptoms she had not visited a hotspot, had not come in contact with anyone that she knew of with the virus.

11:42 AM: Cuomo: the first coronavirus case- a health care worker in New York City who had visited Iran- is free of the virus. She took a second coronavirus test that came back negative.

11:42 AM: Cuomo: 108 people have been discharged from the hospital.

11:40 AM: Cuomo: there are 2,382 total coronavirus cases in New York State and 20 deaths. In New York City, there are 1,339 coronavirus cases.

11:36 AM: Cuomo: No business can have more than 50 percent of its workforce report to work outside their home. Essential services are exempt including pharmacies, shipping services, groceries, food deliveries.

11:34 AM: Cuomo: USNS Comfort hospital ship will be deployed to New York Harbor immediately. MORE DETAILS:

11:33 AM: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has an update on the coronavirus response in New York. Watch LIVE:

11:06 AM: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says golf courses are the perfect place to spend time during the pandemic.

11:05 AM: There are 278 confirmed coronavirus cases in Nassau County.

11:04 AM: Nassau County officials update public on coronavirus and mental health services available in the county. Watch LIVE:

10:09 AM: Mayor Bill de Blasio announces Grab-and-Go breakfast and lunch available at the entrance of EVERY NYC school building between 7:30 AM and 1:30 PM — ANY student can pick up a meal at ANY school building. Head to for more information.

9:41 AM: President Trump says border between US and Canada to be temporarily closed by mutual consent to non-essential traffic amid COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

9:31 AM: Stocks open sharply lower on Wall Street as fears spread of economic damage from virus; Dow sinks 1,200 points, or 6%.

9:10 AM: Hoboken Mayor Ravinder Bhalla says all non-essential businesses must close as of 9 a.m. today.

8:40 AM:  As people hunker down and stock-up on essentials, many in the San Francisco area are also stocking up on marijuana. 

Shelter-in-place orders across eight counties are making it more difficult, even impossible, to buy cannabis products. 

8:30 AM: The White House says it's postponing an upcoming state visit by Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia because of the coronavirus pandemic. The visit, including a lavish, black-tie state dinner hosted by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, had been announced for April 21. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham cited the coronavirus pandemic in announcing the postponement on Wednesday.

8:17 AM:  The Japanese government and the ruling coalition are considering providing cash to households in an effort to buoy personal spending dented by the coronavirus outbreak, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Officials and lawmakers are studying the possibility of extending more than 12,000 yen ($112) per person, a level the government provided to all Japanese people in 2009 in response to the global financial crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., according to the sources.

The envisaged cash handouts may serve as a pillar in an emergency economic package the government and the coalition are expected to put together as early as sometime in April.

8:16 AM:  Health officials in Florida are deploying three field hospitals across the state to help combat the new coronavirus.

In an email sent Tuesday night, Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz announced that one field hospital is currently staged in Orlando and can be sent to other areas of the state if needed.

7:56 AM:  New York's new takeout and delivery-only rule does not just apply to food.  Bars and restaurants can also sell alcohol-to-go.  MORE:

7:47 AM:  Desperate travelers in cars and trucks choked European borders on Wednesday, creating traffic jams up to 17 miles long as they sought to get back home before borders slammed shut or deliver critical supplies to help nations cope with calamity of the quickly spreading coronavirus.

7:35 AM:  Confirmed cases of new coronavirus top 200,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University tally.

Its online tally showed 201,436 cumulative cases by 6:13 a.m. EST on Tuesday, with 82,032 listed as recovered.

 It also recorded 8,006 deaths.

The countries with the most confirmed cases were China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany.

7:18 AM: Iran reported its single biggest jump in deaths from the new coronavirus on Wednesday, saying that another 147 had died in a nearly 15% spike that raises the death toll to 1,135 people nationwide.

It marks the biggest 24-hour rise in deaths since officials first acknowledged cases of the virus in Iran in mid-February.

6: 22 AM: Joe Biden swept to victory in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, increasingly pulling away with a Democratic presidential primary upended by the coronavirus and building pressure on Bernie Sanders to abandon his campaign. 

(MARCH 17, 2020 BLOG)