More than 152,000 people worldwide are infected with coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the outbreak in the United States as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled.
Live updates for Sunday, March 15, continue below:
Update 11:05 p.m. EDT March 15: MGM and Wynn resorts in Las Vegas will close amid concerns about the coronavirus.
MGM Resorts will close its Las Vegas properties Tuesday. Casino and hotel operations will cease at midnight Monday.
“We will reopen our resorts as soon as it is safe to do so,” Jim Murren, CEO, said in a statement.
Wynn Las Vegas and Encore will close at 6 p.m. Tuesday for at least two weeks, officials said.
Opening will be reevaluated at that time.
Update 10:25 p.m. EDT March 15: Facing plummeting revenue, United Airlines is making aggressive cuts, slashing capacity by 50% and halving corporate officers’ salaries.
The airline is projecting $1.5 billion less in revenue in March than last year because of travel restrictions imposed worldwide because of the coronavirus, the company said Sunday in a release.
“Together, we’re facing an unprecedented challenge,” the airline said in a release. “When medical experts say that our health and safety depends on people staying home and practicing social distancing, it’s nearly impossible to run a business whose shared purpose is ‘Connecting people. Uniting the world.’”
The cut in capacity is for April and May but is expected to extend into the summer.
The airline had already reduced schedules, imposed a hiring freeze and cut the CEO’s salary.
Update 9:49 p.m. EDT March 15: Sen. Lindsey Graham tested negative for the coronavirus, he said Sunday.
Graham said he was told by the head of the House physician’s office his test was negative.
“I’m very grateful and like everyone else will follow the best practices to stay negative,” he said on social media.
Update 9:36 p.m. EDT March 15: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced tighter restrictions Sunday, barring gatherings of 25 people or more, mandating restaurants only serve food to go and closing school for the next three weeks, WFXT reported.
Baker prohibited gatherings of more than 25 people. This does not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies.
He also said restaurants, bars and like establishments cannot permit on-site consumption. Food is to be consumed through takeout and delivery only.
Baker also said all public and private schools in Massachusetts will be closed from Tuesday until April 7. Meal services will still be available to families who need them.
Update 9:06 p.m. EDT March 15: Nashville Mayor John Cooper declared a public health emergency Sunday and asked for all bars downtown and throughout Davidson County to close until further notice.
Cooper also asked restaurants to reduce capacity by half and to cap customers at 100 people.
“We understand these changes create a hardship, especially for businesses and their employees, and we hope it will be short lived,’’ Cooper said in a statement.
Bar owners did not reply favorably to the request.
“We appreciate the efforts of Mayor Cooper to combat the COVID-19 virus," Steve Smith, owner of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk Steakhouse and the Diner, told WKRN. "But unless there’s a statewide mandate that directs all bars and restaurants to be closed, the request made by Mayor Cooper is unconstitutional, as he is targeting a select group of businesses.”
There are 17 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Davidson County, WVLT reported.
Update 7:46 p.m. EDT March 15: Health officials will administer a trial vaccine for the coronavirus to a patient Monday, The Associated Press reported.
The trial will take place at a Kaiser Permanente research facility in Washington state.
It will take a year to 18 months to validate the vaccine.
The National Institutes of Health is funding the study.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Update 7:30 p.m. EDT March 15: California Gov. Gavin Newsom called on bars, nightclubs and wineries to close and for restaurants to operate at half-capacity to promote social distancing.
Newsom also asked the state’s 5.3 million residents who are 65 years old and older to isolate themselves at home, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“We recognize that social isolation for millions of Californians is anxiety-inducing ... but we need to meet this moment head-on,” Newsom said at a Sunday news conference.
In Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker said bars and restaurants must close at the end of business Monday through March 30, WGN-TV reported.
“I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. It’s unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously,” Pritzker said. “The time for persuasion and public appeals is over. The time for action is here.”
Update 6:10 p.m. EDT March 15: Starbucks announced Sunday that it will be temporarily closing some stores nationwide for at least two weeks and shifting others to a to-go model to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, KIRO-TV reported.
“In communities such as Seattle and New York with high clusters of COVID-19 cases, we will reduce operating hours or temporarily close select stores,” a release from the company said.
Starbucks said it will also temporarily close stores in dense social gathering locations such as malls and college campuses.
At all other North American locations, customers will no longer be able to use in-store seating but will still have access to mobile ordering, drive-thru and delivery.
Starbucks did not specify exactly which stores will be affected.
Update 5:44 p.m. EDT March 15: In an unprecedented move, the Federal Reserve has made an emergency economic intervention, slashing interest rates to 0% in an effort to buoy markets during uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.
“The effects of coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook,” Reserve officials said in a statement. “The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.”
Update 5:32 p.m. EDT March 15: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that schools across New York City, as well as those in Westchester and Long Island, would be closing this week.
“This action is necessary to reduce density and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Cuomo said on social media.
There are 1.1 million students in the New York Public School System, The New York Times reported.
“I believe that the New York City schools should be closed, period,” Cuomo told The Times. “We also need an immediate plan to provide child care for essential workers and for food programs for the children.”
Update 4:52 p.m. EDT March 15: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced Sunday that all schools in the state will close until March 31.
This includes primary and secondary schools, universities, colleges and technical colleges, WSOC-TV reported.
Update 3:42 p.m. EDT March 15: In a news conference Sunday afternoon, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared a public health emergency in the city, WFXT reported.
Boston Public Schools will be closed beginning Tuesday through April 27, the television station reported.
Bars, restaurants and clubs will face additional restrictions during the outbreak. The establishments must reduce capacity by 50%, close by 11 p.m. and prohibit lines from forming outside. Violators of these restrictions will have to shut down for 30 days, WFXT reported. Beer gardens will remain closed until the outbreak is over.
Update 3:18 p.m. EDT March 15: In an address to the nation Sunday, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster, adding that “urgent and drastic measures” were needed to fight the novel coronavirus cases in the country, CNN reported.
“Never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe situation,” Ramaphosa said. “If we act swiftly, with purpose and collectively we can limit the effects of the coronavirus on our people and our country.”
Ramaphosa said travel will be prohibited from the United States, Italy, Iran, South Korea; Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and China beginning Wednesday.
Update 2:30 p.m. EDT March 15: Italy continued to be the hardest-hit country outside of China, with officials Sunday hiking the total number of deaths to 1,809, The New York Times reported. That was a 25% increase over Satruday, and its 368 new reported deaths represents the highest one-day jump, the newspaper reported.
Italy’s caseload for the coronavirus is now at 24,700, the Times and The Associated Press reported.
Update 2:03 p.m. EDT March 15: Daniel Goldman, who played a large role during President Donald Trump’s impeachment, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a tweet he sent Sunday.
Goldman, counsel to the Intelligence Committee, expressed his thanks for “the outpouring of support.” Goldman said he is recovering and is “almost back to 100%.”
Update 1:51 p.m. EDT March 15: The CEO of American Airlines said it will suspend all hiring for 60 days, offer unpaid leave to employees and retire two fleets of aircraft earlier than it expected, WFAA-TV reported.
In a message to employees, Doug Parker, of the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline explained the moves were the result of the spread of the coronavirus. Parker said the airline “moved quickly to reduce our schedule to match demand, [but] it’s become clear that more is needed.”
“We will accelerate the retirement of our remaining Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft,” Parker wrote his message. "Doing so removes older, less fuel-efficient aircraft from our fleet sooner than originally planned and avoids unnecessary maintenance and fuel costs.
Update 1:32 p.m. EDT March 15: The Academy of Country Music Awards, which was scheduled for April 5 in Las Vegas, has been postponed until September, the organization said in a statement on its website. The show was originally was to air on CBS.
“The health and safety of our artists, fans, industry, staff and partners is our No. 1. priority,” the organization wrote on its website.
The ACM Awards is a tentpole event for our country music industry, and the Academy of Country Music and Dick Clark productions went to great lengths to find a safe solution for the show to go on so that we can honor our artist community," Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, said in the statement. “This decision involved many partners, stakeholders and the industry who we have been in constant conversations with over the past several days as the situation has developed. We look forward to identifying a future date that we can celebrate with our country community safely.”
Update 1:09 p.m. EDT March 15: At a news conference Sunday afternoon, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a third person died from the coronavirus. Cuomo said the latest victim was a 79-year-old woman who had several severe underlying health conditions.
The total number of cases has risen to 729, WABC reported.
Update 12:37 p.m. EDT March 15: According to a Florida Department of Health report Sunday morning, the number of new infections rose by 39, bringing the total in the Sunshine State to 100, the Miami Herald reported.
The new cases reported overnight include four in Miami-Dade County and 17 in Broward County, the newspaper reported, stretches of public beach on South Beach were closed to the public after 4:30 p.m., according to the Herald. Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales enacted emergency measures Saturday to limit the gathering of spring break visitors in South Beach, the newspaper reported.
Update 12:04 p.m. EDT March 15: Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed Sunday a second death in Louisiana from the coronavirus, WWL-TV reported. The Orleans Parish resident, 53, was being treated in New Orleans and had underlying medical conditions, officials said.
“As the number of positive cases continues to rise, we need every person to take the necessary actions to help reduce the spread of this virus,” Edward said in a statement. “Our elderly and those with chronic health conditions are the most vulnerable, but we all need to act responsibly and look out for ourselves and our neighbors.”
Update 11:48 a.m. EDT March 15: The Washington Post reported that an employee at the National Institutes of Health, the leader in the U.S. response to the coronavirus, has tested positive, according to an email sent to staff.
Update 10:53 a.m. EDT March 15: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state’s schools will close for eight days because of health concerns stemming from the coronavirus, The Star-Tribune reported. Walz and state Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker made the announcement at a news conference in St. Paul, the newspaper reported.
The closings will go into effect Wednesday, Walz said. Classes are expected to resume March 27, WCCO-TV reported.
“My top priority as governor is the safety of Minnesotans. As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I’m especially focused on the safety of our children,” Walz said at the news conference. “I am ordering the temporary closure of schools so educators can make plans to provide a safe learning environment for all Minnesota students during this pandemic. Closing schools is never an easy decision, but we need to make sure we have plans in place to educate and feed our kids regardless of what’s to come.”
Update 10:26 a.m. EDT March 15: A government spokesman tweeted that a 75-year-old man has become Hungary’s first fatality from the coronavirus, CNN reported.
“First Hungarian fatality from the #coronavirus. The victim was a 7- year-old male who was transported to the Dél-Pesti Central Hospital showing symptoms of the virus and pneumonia. He passed away shortly after arrival. May he RIP,” spokesman Zoltan Kovacs tweeted Sunday.
Update 9:35 a.m. EDT March 15: President Donald Trump has called for a national day of prayer Sunday and asked a Georgia pastor to help him lead it.
The service will be held at Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, WSB-TV reported. The service will be led by Jentezen Franklin, pastor of Free Chapel Church, the television station reported.
Update 9:33 a.m. EDT March 15: Officials for Kroger’s Atlanta division said the store will not be changing its hours of operations in the Southeast.
“Kroger stores in the Atlanta Division, which includes Georgia, Eastern Alabama and South Carolina, are maintaining current hours," Felix Turner, manager of corporate affairs for Kroger’s Atlanta division, said in a statement." We are closely monitoring the situation and at this point decided to continue current hours in these areas to help meet the needs of our customers and the communities we serve. Each Division within Kroger will make the decision on store hours based upon conditions. We will update media with any changes to store hours in the Atlanta Division.”
Update 7:51 a.m. EDT March 15: Nike announced Sunday that it is temporarily shuttering its stores in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and western Europe starting Monday amid the coronavirus outbreak, CNBC is reporting. The stores will remain closed through March 27, the company said.
“Our Nike-owned stores in South Korea, Japan, most of China and in many other countries are currently open and will continue their normal operations,” Nike said in a memo, according to CNBC.
The Hill later confirmed the report.
Update 4:54 a.m. EDT March 15: More than 152,000 coronavirus cases and 5,700 deaths have been reported worldwide, the World Health Organization reported Sunday. Among individual countries, China topped the list with more than 81,000 cases, followed by Italy with over 21,100 cases.
Update 3:55 a.m. EDT March 15: The Easter masses and Holy Week activities at the Vatican will not be open to the public this year, officials announced Sunday.
Update 12:32 a.m. EDT March 15: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said everyone who arrives in the country after Monday at midnight must undergo a 14-day self-quarantine, CNN is reporting. Cruise ships also are being prohibited from docking there, he said.
Three people have died from the virus in Australia, which has reported 249 confirmed cases, according to the news outlet.
© 2020 Cox Media Group