Latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Tuesday, March 24, 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.

10:45 PM: YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime lower the quality of streaming video to keep up with the heavy internet traffic as millions of people are staying at home during the coronavirus crisis.

10:42 PM: The National Health Commission in China reports 47 new COVID-19 cases, all from people who recently returned from other countries; no new cases were reported in Wuhan, the epicenter of the country’s outbreak.

10:36 PM: A second CDC employee tests positive for the coronavirus.

10:30 PM: The New Mexico Supreme Court halts all housing evictions for failure to pay rent after health authorities began enforcing an order for people to stay home.

9:45 PM: Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked President Donald Trump to declare Florida a disaster area.

8:30 PM: President Jair Bolsonaro continues to say that the concern over COVID-19 is overblown and accuses media outlets in his country of trying to stoke hysteria.

8:02 PM: Starbucks says it will pay its employees for the next month whether they are able to work or not.

7:03 PM: Ford is helping 3M redesign the powered air-purifying respirator that 3M makes for first responders and health care workers.

7:00 PM: Officials in Indiana warn that the state's rapid jump in coronavirus illnesses is just the beginning and that residents must obey Gov. Eric Holcomb's new stay-at-home order.

6:15 PM: Vice President Pence: We will use the Defense Production Act to mandate companies produce supplies but so far we haven't needed it because companies are already doing that on their own.

6:14 PM: Vice President Pence: I want the people of New York to know we are with you; supplies are on the way.

6:12 PM: Vice President Mike Pence urges all Americans to avoid non-essential travel; if you recently visited the New York area, monitor your temperature and other symprtoms and self-isolate for 2 weeks.

6:05 PM: Dr. Anthony Fauci of White House coronavirus task force calls what is happening in New York very serious. He says anyone who left New York for somewhere else needs to be very careful about staying isolated for at least 2 weeks and monitor for any developing symptoms.

6:01 PM: The White House is calling for people who have recently left New York City to self-quarantine for 14 days because of a spike in infections.

5:40 PM: NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell: The city asked for 50,000 ventilators, 50 million surgical masks, 3 million N95 masks; some supplies are trickling in, a few truckloads arrived at the Javits Center today; "While all of these items are really critical in order for us to be successful with this, our No. 1 most precious commodity in all of my years of disaster experience is time. And you can't get time back. And every day that goes by that decisions aren't made and supplies don't come in are going to cost people their lives." 

"[O]ur No. 1 most precious commodity in all of my years of disaster experience is time. And you can't get time back. And every day that goes by that decisions aren't made and supplies don't come in are going to cost people their lives." 

— Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell

5:33 PM: Mayor de Blasio reiterates that he is not satisfied with the federal response in NYC; he says he has spoken to several federal officials who are being much more responsive but what the city has right now is not enough to get through the crisis.

5:26 PM: Commissioner Shea says 211 members of the NYPD (177 sworn law enforcement and 34 civilians) have tested positive for COVID-19 so far; 2,700-plus members of the department are out sick (more than double the daily average).

5:23 PM: Mayor de Blasio elaborates that the approximately 300 inmates in NYC that he ordered released are all behind bars for low-level crimes and misdemeanors and were sentenced to 1 year or less; all are inmates that he has the legal authority to release on his own.

5:13 PM: The European Space Agency is scaling down operations during the pandemic; will put 8 spacecraft into hibernation; "It was a difficult decision, but the right one to take. Our greatest responsibility is the safety of people, and I know all of us in the science community understand why this is necessary," ESA Director of Science Günther Hasinger says.

5:07 PM: NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot: We need at least 14 days to see a possible change in trajectory of cases attributed to social distancing; COVID-19 could peak in late April/early May; this is our best bet of changing the tide, we face an onslaught of people coming into our hospitals.

4:59 PM: Commissioner Shea says Monday's level of reported crime was comparable to a "day that had 3 feet of snow"; arrests have dropped significantly; however, robberies increased last week; thefts of cars is still a problem; and the reports of sexual assaults are down dramatically but that is probably due to a drop in willingness to report them.

4:57 PM: NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea says releasing inmates early is "very difficult decision" but must be made by weighing many factors.

4:54 PM: Mayor de Blasio says any federal financial relief package should include money for public and private hospitals. 

4:44 PM: Mayor de Blasio says that he, the NYPD commissioner, and all 5 district attorneys agree that releasing inmates must balance public safety needs with public health needs.

4:34 PM: Mayor de Blasio says more than 500 convicted inmates serving sentences for misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes on Rikers Island will be reviewed for possible early release; about 300 of these inmates could be released immediately but says he is not prepared to release inmates who have a history of domestic violence of sexual offenses.

4:32 PM: Mayor de Blasio says no one over the age of 70 should be in the city's jail system right now; he is working with the proper agencies to release them. 

4:30 PM: Mayor de Blasio says Citi Bike will offer a free 30-day membership for essential workers who have to get to work.

4:28 PM: Mayor de Blasio says the city's public hospitals (Health and Hospitals Corp.) will allow partners to be in the delivery room with a woman giving birth but must wear mask/gown and must not be sick; he notes that private hospitals may have their own policies.

4:26 PM: Mayor de Blasio: Alternate-side parking rules will be suspended through Tuesday, March 31; streets appear to be sufficiently clean.

4:24 PM: Mayor de Blasio announces pilot program: Up to 2 streets per borough will be closed to traffic and opened to pedestrians but NYPD and other agencies will enforce social distancing; should happen Thursday; more details TBA.

4:20 PM: Mayor de Blasio says the city's parks are emptier today, which is good; police and other departments will continue to do patrols to make sure that people are practicing social distancing and that businesses are abiding by the rules; says that he will order the playgrounds closed if people do not follow the rules. 

4:20 PM: Mayor de Blasio says several companies and individuals are stepping up to help; he spoke to 3M CEO Mike Roman who has promised to deliver as many supplies as possible.

4:17 PM: Mayor de Blasio says Defense Production Act is finally being used; he is pleased to see progress and the act needs to be used to the maximum.

4:14 PM: Mayor de Blasio says he is worried about the first week of April; "This is a race against time. ... We need our federal government to join us in the race against time."

4:13 PM: Mayor de Blasio says 400 ventilators have arrived from FEMA; he is grateful but NYC needs many more; 2,000 more are coming from federal government; "We need the ventilators."

4:09 PM: Mayor de Blasio pays tribute to playwright Terrence McNally, who died of COVID-19 complications; the mayor knew McNally personally; McNally's husband, Tom Kirdahy, was one of the mayor's college roommates. 

4:03 PM: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he "respectfully disagrees" with President Trump about this crisis lasting weeks not months; says this will indeed last months and that April will be worse than March in New York.

4:02 PM: The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its best day since 1933 as Congress and the White House neared a deal to inject nearly $2 trillion of aid into the economy.

4:00 PM: Costco is temporarily setting aside special operating hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for members who are 60 and older.

3:55 PM: Vice President Pence says the White House is not considering a nationwide "lockdown" or "stay-at-home order" during the pandemic.

3:50 PM: Houston-based rapper Slim Thug has tested positive for COVID-19.

3:33 PM: The legendary American playwright Terrence McNally dies of complications from coronavirus; he was 81.

3:15 PM: Gov. Murphy: The Army Corps of Engineers will construct the 4 field hospitals in Bergen County (Meadowlands Convention Center), Middlesex County (Edison Convention Center), Atlantic County (Atlantic City Convention Center); location of 4th site is TBD. 

3:13 PM: Commissioner Persichelli: 4 field hospitals will be set up in three regions (north, central, south); we will be calling up medical reservists, getting nursing students certified.

3:08 PM: Gov. Murphy: We went to the most-drastic social distancing rules on Saturday (March 21), so don't read too much into the data yet; we probably want to wait 10 to 14 days (March 31 to April 4) before interpreting the effect of that action.

3:02 PM: Commissioner Persichelli: Some patients who do not have a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 and who pass away from those conditions will not be tested; most of these patients are elderly and die of so-called natural causes, such as congestive heart failure.

3:00 PM: Commissioner Persichelli: Hotel rooms will be used for certain confirmed infected patients who need to be isolated from others; a number of chain hotels have offered rooms.

2:58 PM: Gov. Murphy says FEMA and military staff are in the state working on the COVID-19 response. 

2:52 PM: Gov. Murphy says a man he describes as a "knucklehead" coughed on a grocery store worker in Manalapan and told her he had coronavirus; he now faces charges.

2:49 PM: Commissioner Persichelli: If you have tested negative for COVID-19 but are still sick, you should still stay home and stay away from people because you are likely infected with another resipiratory illness.

2:45 PM: New Jersey Heath Commissioner Judith Persichelli: Social distancing is crucial to being able to cope with this pandemic; data from South Korea and eslewhere prove this is true; we are trying to limit the number of cases in a short period of time.

2:43 PM: Gov. Murphy: We are hearing too many non-essential businesses that are violating the stay-home order and are forcing all their employees to report to work; no one who can do their job from home should be going to work; "Let me be clear: my Executive Order is not a polite suggestion. It is an order."

2:37 PM: Gov. Murphy: We don't know when the plateau (of positive cases) will happen; the benefits of social distancing won't bee seen for a while; "We will continue to take every step possible to ensure social distancing. ... We need you to continue to stay at home." 

2:35 PM: Gov. Murphy says more testing sites are opening but "we just don't have the capacity to test the worried well"; a site will open in Passaic County that will be only for Passaic County residents.

2:33 PM: Gov. Murphy gives updated case numbers: 17 more residents have died; highest number of deaths in a single day; 44 people have died overal; "Do not be alarmed by our numbers. The more we have facts, the more we can make fully informed decisions, as opposed to educated guesses"; 846 new positive COVID-19 cases, total: 3,675.

2:30 PM: Gov. Murphy: We asked that the REAL ID deadline be delayed; appears that the federal government will be doing so.

2:24 PM: Gov. Murphy: Several employers that are conidered "essential" are actually hiring people for "front-line work"; any New Jerseyan who needs work and is willing to work on the front lines should go to COVID19.NJ.GOV to find employers; also, if you are an essential business and you need to hire people, please list your job there.

2:22 PM: Gov. Murphy: All water utilities should voluntarily suspend shutoffs; if they don't, I will order them to.

2:19 PM: Gov. Murphy: State Police is working with private companies to collect donations of PPE and other equipment and then distributing where needed.

2:18 PM: Gov. Phil Murphy: New Jersey will received a second shipment of medical PPE, including masks, respirators, from the federal government; PSEG is donating thousands of masks; several private-sector companies are donating supplies, too; "I'm extraodinarily grateful" but we will need more, Murphy says.

2:16 PM: Gov. Murphy: Discetionary funding has been placed into reserve.

2:14 PM: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy: We have applied to cancel all federal standardized testing; school is out until further notice. WATCH LIVE: https://www.fox5ny.com/live

1:20 PM: From the NYC Office of Emergency Management: Staying home saves lives. Do your part NYC. If you must go out, keep your distance; stay at least 6 ft from others.

1:15 PM: Watch LIVE coverage on the coronavirus epidemic at CoronavirusNOW.com 

12:00 PM: Watch FOX 5 News 'The Noon' at this LINK: fox5ny.com/live

11:42 AM: Cuomo: FEMA, What am I going to do with 400 ventilators? You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you sent 400 ventilators.

11:40 AM: Cuomo: Where are the gowns? Where are the ventilators? 

11:35 AM: Cuomo: We are resourceful. We are going to make it. Because I love New York and New York loves all of you.

11:34 AM: Cuomo: 387,000 cases in the world; 100,000 recoveries worldwide.

11:33 AM: Cuomo: 1-2 percent of the population are the vulnerable people. Those with underlying medical conditions like bad asthma, compromised immune systems.

11:32 AM: Cuomo: 80 percent of cases will self-resolve. 

11:30 AM: Cuomo: The nurses, doctors, healthcare workers and police officers. These are extraordinary people. The firefighters and transportation workers. Those running the pharmacies and other essential services. They are going out there every day despite their fear. They are doing it for your family.

11:28 AM: Cuomo: There will be no hospital in the city of New y\York that will say that their doctors and nurses cannot get the supplies there need. Long Island and Westchester, too. We have aquired everything on the market that there is to acquire. 

11:25 AM: Cuomo: Positive cases: 25,665 in NYS; 4,700 new cases. 3,000 people are hospitalized. 756 people are in ICU units. 

https://www.fox5ny.com/news/ny-coronavirus-cases-jump-to-25000

11:24 AM: Cuomo: FEMA is sending us 400 ventilators. We need 30,000. 

11:23 AM: The crisis facing us today is hospital capacity. If the federal government said we are going to deplay all 20,000 ventilators its going to take us two weeks to set it up.

11:22 AM: Cuomo: Once we have a test for the antibodies, you are going to find that hundreds of thousands of people have recovered.

11:20 AM: Cuomo: About the President saying that the economy cannot be shut down. Ask the American people. No one is going to say accelerate the economy at the cost of human life. Job one has to be to save lives.

11:19 AM: Cuomo: I will send the equipment, the personel. Let's help each other.

11:18 AM: Cuomo: As soon as you finish with the ventilators you move it to the next part of the country with its critical problems. I will take person responsibility of transporting the 20,000 ventilators once we've oved past our apex.

11:17 AM: Cuomo: New York is the canary in the coal mine. California and Washington are next.

11:16 AM: Cuomo: There are 25,665 cases in New York. It has 10 times the problem than California and Washington.

11:14 AM: Cuomo: I don't understand the reluctancy of using the Federal Defense Act to make the ventilators.

11:13 AM: Cuomo: We are looking at an apex of 14 days. If we don't have the ventilators in 14 days it does us no good. Only the federal government has the power to require companies to create ventilators.

11:13 AM: Cuomo: The only way we can obtain these ventilators is from the federal government.

11:10 AM: Cuomo: We need an additional 30,000 ventilators. The ventilators make the difference between life and death.

11:10 AM: Cuomo: We want retired medical professionals to enlist to help in the fight. We will need a backup reserve staff.

11:09 AM: Cuomo: I have no problem using the dormitories at all our state universities, taking over hotels, I will turn this state upside down to get the number of beds we will need.

11:06 AM: Cuomo: We are pursuing a new level of testing to see if people have the antibodies of the coronavirus. If you had the coronavirus and resolved you now have an immunity of the coronavirus for a period of time.

11:04 AM: Cuomo: The rate of infection is spiking. We haven't flattened the curve. The curve is increasing.

11:03 AM: Cuomo: We will need as many as 140,000 hospital beds.

11:00 AM: WATCH LIVE NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo updates the public on the coronavirus response in New York State. CLICK: https://www.fox5ny.com/tag/health/coronavirus

9:57 AM: From the NYC Emergency Management Office: If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, stay home & isolate. Only go to the Emergency Dept if you are severely ill. Protect yourself & others.

9:40 AM: Dow Jones opens up more than 1,200 points as coronavirus-induced volatility continues.

9:31 AM: The governor of Florida is mandating that anyone arriving from the NYC region be in quarantine for 14 days. MORE: https://www.fox5ny.com/news/mandatory-quarantine-for-anyone-from-nyc-arriving-in-florida

8:55 AM: LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Tokyo Olympics officially postponed to 2021 by International Olympic Committee.

8:29 AM: Gov. Ned Lamont says Connecticut students won't be returning to the classroom until at least April 20. The Democratic governor will sign an executive order soon that will impose the new school opening date. Lamont previously instituted a two-week school closure on March 17. 

7:25 AM: Egypt announces a two-week, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for its over 100 million people because of the coronavirus outbreak.

7:20 AM: As of 12:01 AM, a 14-day quarantine is in place in Florida for anyone arriving from New York City.

7:04 AM Mass transit update:

NY Waterway/ Harborside to Brookfield on weekend schedule;

Seastreak Ferry From Highlands 5:30 am- 6:30 pm. No shuttle service Highlands to Atlantic Highlands; East River Ferry/ Modified Schedule;

Amtrak NEC & ACELA Reduced Service;

Keystone Service Suspended;

NJ Transit rails operating on a President's Day schedule with some enhancements;

NJ Transit buses and light rail on a regular weekday schedule;

Newark light rail will operate on a Saturday schedule starting on March 29;

NY Waterway Haverstraw and Newburgh normal schedule;

NY Waterway Harborside to Brookfield weekend service only; No NY Waterway buses operating in NY and NJ.

7:00 AM Watch Good Day New York LIVE at this LINK: fox5ny.com/live

(LIVE BLOG MARCH 23)