Latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic for March 26, 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.

11:27 PM: R&B singer R. Kelly cited the novel coronavirus in asking a federal judge Thursday to free him from a federal jail in Chicago as he awaits trial on child pornography and other charges, a court filing by his lawyers saying scant precautions to stem the spread of the virus behind bars put Kelly's life at risk.

10:05 PM: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York City is introducing new street closures to encourage more social distancing. The closures begin Friday, March 27 through Monday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The closures are:

  • Manhattan: Park Avenue between 28th and 34th Streets
  • Brooklyn: Bushwick Avenue between Johnson and Flushing Avenues
  • Queens: 34th Avenue between 73rd and 80th Streets
  • Bronx: Grand Concourse between East Burnside Avenue and 184th Street

9:15 PM: The NYPD has announced its first coronavirus pandemic casualty after a custodian assigned to police headquarters died at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

8:40 PM: In a memo released Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the NFL Draft will go forward as scheduled on April 23-25, with teams operating in a location outside of their facilities and a limited number of people present.

8:20 PM: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told leaders of the world’s 20 major industrialized nations during an emergency virtual summit today that "we are at war with a virus — and not winning it” despite countries' dramatic measures to seal their borders, shutter businesses and enforce home isolation for well over a quarter of the world's population.

5:54 PM: The United States now has had more confirmed COVID-19 cases (more than 82,000) than either China or Italy, according to Johns Hopkins University.

5:49 PM: Mayor de Blasio says he can't rule out layoffs for city workers.

5:31 PM: Dr. Oxiris Barbot, NYC health commissioner: We are looking at different ways we can extend the life of our medical supplies, such as sanitizing masks and reusing them and similar options.

5:18 PM: Mayor de Blasio: National jobless claims are staggering; we estimate that about 500,000 New Yorkers will end up losing their jobs; NYC needs support from state and federal government to help people.

5:15 PM: Mayor de Blasio: 200 inmates have been released from NYC jail system; we expect to release up to 175 more by tonight; NYC jail system now has under 5,000 inmates (hasn't been that low since 1949).

5:07 PM: Mayor de Blasio: Bednark Studios and Duggal Greenhouse at Brooklyn Navy Yard set up a factory to make faceshields; they made a plan, got the supplies, obtained approval from Health Dept., and starting making fakeshields to distribute to hospitals and first responders; expect to make 120,000 by next Tuesday.

5:05 PM: Mayor de Blasio: After working with the White House and FEMA, we should have about 2,500 more ventilators by next week; we need many more very soon.

5:04 PM: Mayor de Blasio: NYC normally has 20,000 hospital beds; goal is to triple that by May. 

5:01 PM: Mayor de Blasio says additional staff has been sent to Elmhurst Hospital.

4:55 PM: Mayor de Blasio: This week, we have the supplies we need, I hope we will have what we need beyond that.

4:53 PM: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: "I can barely comprehend" these numbers: 21,873 confirmed cases; 281 people have died.

4:48 PM: Gov. Lamont has submitted a request to the FEMA for a presidential major disaster declaration. 

4:44 PM: Gov. Lamont: "You can accuse me of overreacting but you can't accuse me of underreacting." 

4:37 PM: Gov. Lamont: Self-quarantining for 2 weeks if you are coming from the NYC area "makes sense"; recommends you monitor your temperature and possible symptoms; be respectful, stay inside.

4:30 PM: Gov. Lamont: Connecticut has 137 new positive tests, state total is now 1,012 confirmed cases; 125 people have been hospitalized; 21 have died.

4:28 PM: Sen. Murphy: President Trump needs to fully use the Defense Production Act to compel companies to make PPE, ventilators, and other supplies that hospitals need.

4:23 PM: U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut discuss the federal relief bill; Murphy says the legislation will help gig workers, small businesses, higher education, and hospitals.

4:18 PM: The NYC Medical Reserve Corps has immediate openings: This position will provide technical assistance to volunteers at health-care facilities; If you are interested in this position, call 718-422-3001 or email

4:10 PM: U.S. stocks surged again as the U.S. Congress moved closer to passing a massive coronavirus relief bill; the S&P 500 is up 17% since Monday.

4:00 PM: Mayor Bill de Blasio says in a tweet that Elhurst Hospital in Queens is at the center of the crisis after the New York Times posts a story called "13 Deaths in a Day: An 'Apocalyptic' Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital" with narrative video captured by a doctor who works there; "It’s the number one priority of our public hospital system right now. The staff on the frontlines are going above and beyond. We’re doing everything we can to get them what they need."

3:48 PM: McDonald’s is temporarily ending its all-day breakfast menu and removing slower-selling items to simplify kitchen operations and help its struggling U.S. franchisees.

3:25 PM: China says it is temporarily barring most foreigners from entering the country as it seeks to curb the number of imported coronavirus cases.

3:17 PM: Gov. Murphy: "This is a marathon. ... We have to break the back of that curve. ... Keep doing what we've been doing. Stay at home. ... Stay away from everybody else."

3:15 PM: Commissioner Persichelli: We expect to update our model tomorrow with more specific numbers about flattening the curve and hospital capacity.

3:00 PM: Gov. Murphy: Tax-filing deadline will most likely be moved but final decision is coming.

2:58 PM: Gov. Murphy: "Anybody who has a 'corona party' in New Jersey – we will crash your party. And you will pay a big price for that. Stay home. Be smart."

2:52 PM: Commissioner Persichelli: We still don't have enough specific information on whether someone who has had COVID-19 subsequently has some immunity; however, based on other coronaviruses, such as MERS, that could be possible.

2:49 PM: New Jersey State Police Col. Patrick Callahan: Compliance with the governor's orders has been very good; a few citations issued.

2:40 PM: Commissioner Persichelli: We have about 2,000 ventilators but we need about 2,300 more.

2:26 PM: New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichelli: 34 residents and 5 staff members at St. Joseph's nursing home in Woodbridge have tested positive; 5 residents have died; we are assuming all residents and staff have been exposed to the coronavirus. 

2:23 PM: Gov. Murphy chastises a "small group" of people who are blaming the crisis on New Jerseyans of certain ethnicities or religions; "We are one family, period. And we will get through this as one family."

2:20 PM: Gov. Murphy: The state's Economic Development Authority has approved an initial $75 million program to help stabilize small businesses; get information on the program here.

2:17 PM: Gov. Murphy: Executive Order 109 requires any business, non-hospital health-care facility, or institution of higher learning to submit an inventory of their PPE, ventilators, respirators, and more by March 27 at 5 PM at; anyone who can donate PPE can submit information at

2:14 PM: Gov. Murphy: 155,000 New Jerseyans filed unemployment claims last week; that is 16 times the number from the week before.

2:12 PM: Gov. Murphy says the federal stimulus bill doesn't have enough money for New Jersey but it is a good start; "Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of good"; thanks New Jersey's congressional delegation.

2:11 PM: Gov. Murphy: Residents will now have faster access to FEMA resources thanks to a declaration from President Trump.

2:07 PM: Gov. Murphy: The mass-testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center on Saturday, March 28, will be taking symptomatic health-care workers and first responders only.

2:03 PM: Gov. Murphy: New Jersey has 2,492 new positive cases (436 positive tests from mobile sites), state total is 6,876 confirmed cases; 19 more people have died, 81 deaths total; says every one of these lives is precious and we mourn individually and as a collective New Jersey family.

2:02 PM: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he was just on a videoconference call with President Trump and the coronavirus task force; calls it a "productive call."

1:49 PM: U.S. Homeland Security Department pushes back the enforcement deadline of the REAL ID Act for one year to Oct. 1, 2021, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

1:34 PM: County Executive Latimer: I ordered the county's schools closed under my authority but subsequently Gov. Cuomo's statewide order superseded mine, so I cannot reopen schools; we may lose the rest of the academic year.

1:28 PM: County Executive Latimer: State Health Dept. is responsible for setting up testing sites; the county has offered a location in the northern part of the county for another site if it is needed.

1:21 PM: County Executive Latimer: Westchester has 5,944 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19; 8 people have died.

1:20 PM: County Executive Latimer: If you can donate or sell PPE or other items, email:

1:19 PM: County Executive Latimer: If you are a nurse, doctor, or other health-care pro who can volunteer to help with the county's COVID-19 response, please email Lindsey Jackson at

1:18 PM: County Executive Latimer: Westchester residents who have questions can email:

1:14 PM: County Executive Latimer: We have a day care available for children of parents whose jobs are deemed essential and need to go to work while schools are out; if you are a Westchester County health-care worker or first responder and you need child care so you can go to work, contact Blanca Lopez at

1:10 PM: County Executive Latimer: We have kept county parks, trailways, golf courses open; but we must practice social distancing; when you go to these open spaces, you must stay away from each other; we have reports that people have been clustering at Kensico Dam Plaza--that must stop or we will close that facility and other parks.

1:06 PM: County Executive Latimer: Buchanan has no reported cases; only municipality in the county that has no case so far.

1:02 PM: Westchester County Executive George Latimer: The county has tested more per capita than anywhere.

12:53 PM: They may not be able to say thank you face to face, but residents of Vancouver, British Columbia have found a creative way to show their gratitude to health care workers. Every night at 7 p.m., the city’s West End erupts in applause in honor of the medical professionals on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

12:45 PM: To further the social distancing protocol put into place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, New York City is implementing a pilot program to close four streets.

12:22 PM: Cuomo: The school closure plan and whether to extend it is an ongoing discussion. 

12:20 PM: Cuomo when asked why construction workers are deemed essential: We are examining that. I get the point.

12:19 PM: Cuomo: Anyone who needs a test and the hospital doesn't have it we have mobile testing units. Call your department of health.

12:18 PM: Cuomo: We have about 12,000 ventilators. We don't have an estimate for when we would run out.

12:17 PM: Cuomo: I don't have any travel ban on my agenda.

12:15 PM: Cuomo: Not all the hospitals are at capacity. You distribute patients in the hospital system. The last option would be transferring people from downstate to upstate hospitals.

12:14 PM: Cuomo: The state budget will not likely be ready by next Tuesday.

12:12 PM: Cuomo: We don't have enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for the longterm. We distribute it on an as-needed basis. We're dealing with hospitals who need it tomorrow and the day after. We are buying it from China. We have people flying to China to pick up gear.

12:08 PM: State official says they have spoken to Elmhurst Hospital about story in NY Post regarding workers using garbage bags because they were out of gowns and that the issue has been addressed.

12:06 PM: Cuomo: We've called the individual hospitals. Maybe the distribution is a little start and stop. We have enoug PPE (personal protective equipment) and New York City officials and they say they have all the PPE they need.

12:05 PM: Cuomo: Any hospital that needs ventilators we get them ventilators. The number of ventilators we need is so astronomical. The federal government is doing what we're doing. They're buying ventilators or converting ventilators or ordering companies to manufacture ventilators.

12:03 PM: Cuomo: I have my daughters here. Think about this generation. This is the first time they've dealt with a national tragedy. They never went to war. This is going to shape them. But they're also learning through this. They are rising through the occassion.

12:00 PM: Cuomo: Tough times forge character. This is not a sprint. This is a marathon. People are really stepping up to the plate and our doing phenomenal work. Next time you feel tired, and I feel tired, I think of the first responders showing up every day. I think of the police officers. I think of the firefighters. The pharmacists who have lines outside the door. I think of the grocery store workers keeping food on the shelves. The transportation workers who don't have the luxury of feeling tired.

11:59 AM: Cuomo: 12,000 people volunteered in one day to provide medical services. We now have 8,600 mental health professional volunteers.

11:57 AM: Cuomo: There are 487,648 cases worldwide.

11:57 AM: Cuomo: Louisiana is becoming a hot spot. Our prayers are with Louisiana. 

11:54 AM: Cuomo: There are 37,258 positive cases that includes 6,400 new cases. There are 5,327 hospitalized, 1,290 in ICU and 1,517 are discharged.

11:53 AM: Cuomo: There have been 385 deaths up from 285.

11:50 AM: Cuomo: Testing is up 18,650. The really bad news is the number of deaths is increasing. The longer you are on a ventilator the greater the probabilty of a bad outcome. We have had people on ventilators for 20-30 days.

11:47 AM: Cuomo: We are going to adjust down our revenue projections and then we're going to adjust the budget through the years to reflect the actual revenue.

11:44 AM Cuomo: The stimulus bill did not help local governments or state governments and it did not address government loss. I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless.

11:43 AM: Cuomo: We are spending more to take care of the COVID crisis, but we're receiving less. We estimate the loss of revenue from $10B-$15B. That's a ton of money for the State of New York budget.

11:42 AM: Cuomo: Non-COVID patients are on ventilators 3-4 days. COVID patients are on ventilators from 11-21 days.

11:40 AM: Cuomo: We approved the technology that allows you to split a ventilator for two patients. We are also converting anesthesia machines to ventilators.

11:40 AM: Cuomo: Equipment and PPE is an onoing issue. We have enough PPE for the immediate future. We have enough in stock now.

11:37 AM: Cuomo: You cannot get the curve down low enough so you don't overwhelm the hospital capacity. We are adding to the hospital capacity everywhere we can. Our goal is to have a 1,000+ bed overflow facility in all of the counties in downstate.

11:37 AM: Cuomo: We are looking for a reduction in the rate of increase of positive cases.

11:35 AM: Cuomo: We have to deal with the public health situation and the economic situation.

11:35 AM: NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo updates the public on the coronavirus response in the state. Watch live:

11:28 AM: MIller Brewing Co. says it will donate $1 million to a fund supporting laid-off bartenders. 

11:26 AM: British actor Idris Elba says he and wife remain quarantined but still are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

11:23 AM: Speaker Pelosi: It's like giving you a dime for a cup of coffee; it doesn't cost a dime anymore; we must meet the needs of the people. 

11:21 AM: In response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying the rescue bill's money for New York is just a "drop in a bucket," Speaker Pelosi says she knows it isn't enough but at several billion dollars, "it is something"; she agrees states will need more help; the Fed can help, interest rates are low.

11:19 AM: Speaker Pelosi: Coronavirus is a public health issue; we have to strengthen family medical leave and make treatments for COVID-19 no-cost to patients.

11:11 AM: Speaker Pelosi: The coronavirus stimulus bill will come to the floor for a vote on Friday; we will debate and then expect to hold a voice vote; the bill will pass with strong bipartisan support. 

11:05 AM: Notify NYC: "Scammers are calling NYers to set up testing. This is NOT the City. Directly contact your healthcare provider or call 311 for real info."

11:04 AM: Speaker Pelosi thanks first responders and health-care workers for fighting on the front lines and calls for more to be done to safeguard them; "Testing, testing, testing."

11:02 AM: Speaker Pelosi: We must follow a scientific-based path to find a cure for COVID-19 and slow the spread of the virus; thanks scientists for working on this.

11:00 AM: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi thanks fellow lawmakers who worked on the coronavirus rescue legislation.

8:37 AM: US unemployment claims soar to 3.3 million -- quadrupling record from 1982 -- as layoffs from coronavirus engulf economy.

7:53 AM: An assistant nursing manager in Manhattan died earlier this week, reportedly from coronavirus. Kious Kelly, 48, had tested positive for coronavirus two weeks ago. He was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital on the Upper East Side on March 17, according to the NY Post. He died Tuesday night from complications.

7:04 AM: MTA mass transit service changes are in effect.

Visit for all the updates.

7:00 AM: Watch Good Day NY live at this link:

6:40 AM: Attention, Journal Square PATH customers, the concourse closed until further notice. Access to all buses including @NJTRANSIT buses and PATH are available from the plaza level only. Access available to ATM’s, TVM’s, freedom news, concessionaires, and elevators. Please use in-station signage for wayfinding.

6:23 AM: After the final vote, President Trump took to Twitter to praise the historic deal:

6:22 AM: The Senate late Wednesday passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the pandemic.