Coronavirus live updates: US death toll reaches 61, cases soar in Italy

iStock(NEW YORK) — There are at least 3,244 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the United States and at least 61 coronavirus-related deaths in the country as of Sunday.

COVID-19 has spread to 49 states as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Globally, there are over 162,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 5,800 deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and ABC News reporting.

Today’s biggest developments:
– 368 people dead in 24 hours in Italy
– New York governor wants federal troops to be mobilized to fight coronavirus
– Health care workers test positive in Boston and New Jersey
– Thousands stuck in long lines at airports while waiting to be screened

Here’s how the news is unfolding. All times Eastern.

2:53 p.m.: Louis Vuitton to make free hand sanitizer

French luxury goods company Louis Vuitton says it’s dedicating its perfume and cosmetics production facilities in France to make large quantities of hand sanitizer for hospitals free of charge.

2:38 p.m.: National Institutes of Health employee tests positive for COVID-19

An employee with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has tested positive for COVID-19, NIH said Sunday.

“The individual works for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases but is not involved in patient care,” the NIH said in a statement.

The employee — who is quarantined at home and “doing well” — did not have symptoms while at work “which is believed to lower the risk of transmission,” the NIH said.

The NIH added that it anticipates more cases among its staff.

Tune into ABC News Live at noon ET every weekday for the latest news, context and analysis on the novel coronavirus, with resources from the full ABC News team.

1:58 p.m.: 368 people dead in 24 hours in Italy

Italy, hard-hit by the coronavirus, has seen nearly 3,600 new cases and 368 deaths in 24 hours.

This brings the total number of fatalities in the country to 1,809, according to the Italy Civil Protection Agency.

12:45 p.m.: St. Patrick’s Day changes for Chicago and South Boston

Two days before St. Patrick’s Day, one of Chicago’s most celebrated days of the year, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said businesses selling liquor must reduce their capacity, with no more than 100 people inside.

Bars and restaurants also can’t allow revelers to line up outside, she said.

Meanwhile, in South Boston, bars and restaurants are closing Sunday, according to a tweet from State Sen. Nick Collins.

Some South Boston bars appeared packed with St. Patrick’s Day partygoers on Saturday.

“We are in uncharted waters,” Collins tweeted. “We are in this together & it’s imperative now that we do all that we can to keep our communities safe.”

12:00 p.m.: Self quarantine recommended in New Jersey town

The northern New Jersey town of Teaneck is “ground zero” for infections in the state, Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin told ABC News.

The town of 41,000 people had 18 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday.

Teaneck is in Bergen County, which has 31 reported cases. Among the confirmed cases in Bergen County is a hospital worker. Staff in contact with that worker are now in self-quarantine.

Hameeduddin said county officials decided to close all schools, municipal buildings, parks and other places where people congregate.

The mayor recommends Teaneck families stay home and only leave for food and medicine. Hameeduddin said residents should assume they’ll be infected if they go out.

The self-quarantine is completely voluntary, Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci said Sunday.

11:36 a.m.: New York governor wants federal troops to be mobilized to fight coronavirus

In an op-ed in The New York Times, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging President Donald Trump to let states take over coronavirus testing.

Cuomo also asked the president to mobilize the Army Corps of Engineers to expand hospital capacity.

“States cannot build more hospitals, acquire ventilators or modify facilities quickly enough. At this point, our best hope is to utilize the Army Corps of Engineers to leverage its expertise, equipment and people power to retrofit and equip existing facilities — like military bases or college dormitories — to serve as temporary medical centers,” Cuomo said.

“We believe the use of active duty Army Corps personnel would not violate federal law because this is a national disaster,” Cuomo wrote. “Doing so still won’t provide enough intensive care beds, but it is our best hope.”

There are 729 cases of COVID-19 in New York, the most of any state in the country. Of those 729 people, 137 are in hospitals.

At a news conference Sunday, Cuomo urged private businesses to “aggressively consider” working from home and voluntary close. He did not rule out taking more action.  

10:20 a.m.: More universities stop classes

Yale is joining the growing list of universities to cancel in-person classes for the rest of semester.

One Yale community member has tested positive for COVID-19 and two others who were in contact with that person are awaiting test results, university officials said Saturday. All three are at a New Haven, Connecticut, hospital, officials said.

Students are to remain off-campus and learn online for the rest of the spring semester, including final exams, officials said.

“It is too soon to say whether Commencement Weekend, scheduled for mid-May, will be carried out in the traditional way,” the officials said.

Michigan State University officials also decided Saturday that classes will only be offered online for the rest of the semester.

MSU said graduation is postponed.

9:27 a.m.: Holy Week celebrations closed to public, says Vatican

Vatican officials said Sunday that Holy Week celebrations — the week before Easter — will be closed to the public because of the coronavirus. Easter is on April 12.

Why is Italy being hit so hard?

Italy is on lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 which has killed over 1,400 people in the country.

Two of the pope’s weekly gatherings, on Wednesdays and Sundays, will continue to be livestreamed until Easter Sunday, said Vatican officials.

8:38 a.m.: Nike closes stores

Nike is closing its stores in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, company officials said Sunday.

The closures will last from March 16 through March 27.

8:03 a.m.: Hospital workers contract coronavirus in Boston

A spokesperson for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has confirmed that an undisclosed number of their health care workers have contracted coronavirus.

“As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, it is inevitable that health care workers will be infected, as is now the case at the Brigham. We are in the process of contacting patients and staff who may have been exposed,” the spokesperson said. “We have been in close contact with the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission and we will continue to follow their and CDC’s guidance, as well as the advice of our own infectious diseases experts as the situation continues to evolve.”

5:55 a.m.: People over 70 to self-isolate in U.K.

People over the age of 70 will be asked to self-isolate for up to four months as the United Kingdom escalates its fight against the coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that it is a “very big ask,” but it is for their own “self-protection.”

The U.K.’s coronavirus death toll rose on Saturday from 11 to 21 and the total number of people testing positive passed 1,000.

5:31 a.m.: Muslim holy sites close

The Islamic Waqaf, the highest Islamic authority in Jerusalem for Muslims, has decided to close down the third holiest place in Islam for prayer because of the coronavirus. The prayer will only be allowed at the plaza in the open air area but not inside the two buildings, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

3:57 a.m. Tom Hanks tweets Australian-themed update

“Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other,” tweeted actor Tom Hanks, along with a photo of a kangaroo, koala and vegemite on toast.

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, are in Australia where they tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

3:10 a.m. Israeli Prime Minister’s corruption trail postponed

A Jerusalem district court announced it was postponing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial for two months because of restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The hearing will now begin on May 24.

2:50 a.m. Long lines at airports as travelers wait for screenings

As President Trump’s European travel restrictions go into effect, thousands of airline passengers are facing hours-long waiting lines for enhanced coronavirus screenings by the CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at airports across the country.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted, “The crowds & lines [Chicago’s] O’Hare [airport] are unacceptable & need to be addressed immediately.”

Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, is calling wait times “unacceptable.”

Morgan tweeted Sunday that “some of the resources of our partners are stretched thin” and that CBP is continuing to adjust its resources.

The Department of Homeland Security said: “Upon arrival, travelers will proceed to standard customs processing. They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities. Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.”

Trump said in a tweet Sunday, “We are doing very precise Medical Screenings at our airports. Pardon the interruptions and delays, we are moving as quickly as possible, but it is very important that we be vigilant and careful. We must get it right. Safety first!”

1:30 a.m.: Trump tests negative for COVID-19

Trump has tested negative for COVID-19, a White House physician said Saturday.

While hosting the Brazilian delegation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last week, Trump came in close contact with at least two people who later tested positive for the virus.

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