CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • At least 722,000 people worldwide – including more than 142,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Monday, March 30, continue below: Field hospital being built in New York’s Central Park Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 30: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced Sunday that officials are building a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park to help respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re adding hospital beds,” de Blasio said Sunday. “You’ll see an unusual sight in Central Park. We’re working with Mount Sinai (Health System) to open a field hospital in Central Park’s East Meadow.” Officials said the 68-bed hospital will begin to accept patients from Mount Sinai Hospital on Tuesday. Trump weighs in on coronavirus response in new interview Update 8:38 a.m. EDT March 30: President Donald Trump weighed in on the coronavirus pandemic in a Monday morning interview with “Fox and Friends.” When asked whether the country has enough equipment to deal with the crisis, he pointed to efforts to build a 2,900-bed mobile hospital and medical centers in New York City, and said “massive planeloads” of deliveries and thousands of ventilators were on the way. 'We're delivering so much equipment, nobody's ever really seen anything like it,' he said, touting his relationship with governors of states that have been hit hard by the virus. Trump said he expected the pandemic to peak in the U.S. “around Easter,” and by June 1, “the deaths will be at a very low number.” He said that he reassessed his initial '15 days to slow the spread' plan after listening to advice from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah L. Birx. “We picked the end of April as the day where we can see some real progress,” he said of the new timeline to continue social distancing through April 30. He added that if the government hadn't 'shut [the economy] down,' up to 2.2 million people here could have died from the virus. Trump also said new, rapid coronavirus tests could be available as soon as this week. Additionally, he slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticism of his response to the outbreak, calling her 'a sick puppy.' “I think it’s a disgrace to her country, her family,” he said. Israeli prime minister self-isolating after possible coronavirus exposure Update 8:30 a.m. EDT March 30: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was self-isolating Monday after one of his aides tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports. Officials told Reuters that Netanyahu was scheduled to take a coronavirus test Tuesday. He previously tested negative for COVID-19 on March 15, according to Reuters. Officials said in a statement obtained by CNN that Netanyahu’s doctor would determine when to end the self-isolation. Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for 2021 Update 8:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Organizers announced Monday that the Tokyo Olympics, which had been set to take place over the summer, have been rescheduled for 2021. Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. “The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games,' Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.” Adviser to British PM Boris Johnson experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolating Update 7:26 a.m. EDT March 30: Just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he tested positive for coronavirus, one of his chief advisers is experiencing symptoms and has decided to self-isolate. According to The Associated Press, Dominic Cummings said he started feeling sick over the weekend and has been staying at home. Meanwhile, Johnson took to Twitter on Monday morning to say he’s “been working from home and continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus.' >> See the tweet here FDA issues ‘emergency use authorization’ of anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment Update 6:45 a.m. EDT March 30: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an “emergency use authorization' to allow two anti-malaria drugs donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to possibly be used to treat coronavirus patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in a news release Sunday. HHS said it “accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals' on Sunday. The authorization allows the donated drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” the release said. In addition, the authorization “requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including the known risks and drug interactions,” according to the FDA’s website. Read more here or here. New York City to fine people who violate social-distancing rules Update 5:20 a.m. EDT March 30: New York City will fine those who fail to follow social-distancing guidelines, officials said. According to WPIX-TV, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the news in a Sunday news conference. “We’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” he said, adding that people could face fines of $250 to $500 if they continue to violate the rules after receiving a warning from police. The city has already shut down nonessential businesses and instructed to residents to stay inside when possible, WPIX reported. Budget airline EasyJet grounds entire fleet Update 4:32 a.m. EDT March 30: British airline EasyJet announced that it is grounding all of its 344 planes amid the coronavirus pandemic, ITV is reporting. According to CNN, the budget carrier’s decision takes effect Monday. “At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights,” the Luton-based airline said in a statement. The carrier tweeted Monday that entitlements for customers whose flights were canceled “are available for up to a year after your flight was originally due to depart.” >> See the tweets here 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' songwriter Alan Merrill dies of complications from virus Update 3:23 a.m. EDT March 30: Alan Merrill, best known for writing the hit song “I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” died Sunday morning after experiencing coronavirus complications. He was 69. According to USA Today, Merrill’s daughter, Laura, said in a Facebook post that her father died at a New York City hospital. “I was given two minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out,” she wrote of Merrill, who also was a guitarist and vocalist. “He seemed peaceful, and as I left, there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn’t be a ticker on the right-hand side of the CNN/Fox News screen.” She said she walked home and received the news of his death by the time she reached her apartment. “I’ve made a million jokes about the ‘Rona’ and how it’ll ‘getcha’ ... boy, do I feel stupid,” she continued. “If anything can come of this, I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying. You don’t think it’ll happen to you or your strong family. It has.” >> See the post here ″I Love Rock 'n' Roll' was originally released by the Arrows, a band Merrill was part of, in 1975, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” Seven years later, rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released a version of the song, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the outlet reported. Jett took to Twitter to pay tribute to Merrill on Sunday, sending “thoughts and love” to his loved ones and the music community. “I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,” Jett wrote. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.” >> See the tweet here News of Merrill’s death came the same day that country music star Joe Diffie died from the virus, “ET” reported. Costco to temporarily change store hours Update 1:31 a.m. EDT March 30: In an effort to help protect its customers, Costco announced it will temporarily implement new weekday closing hours for its locations nationwide. Beginning Monday, all its warehouses will close at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and its gas stations will close at 7 p.m. However, it said some specific locations’ hours would be different. The wholesale giant said its weekend hours would remain the same. For its members ages 60 and older and those with physical impairments, Costco has special operating hours from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Costco said it has made some temporary department changes to create more space for social distancing and is following CDC recommendations to minimize risk to its members and employees. U.S. cases soar past 142,000, including more than 2,500 deaths Update 12:39 a.m. EDT March 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 142,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Sunday. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 142,502 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 2,506 deaths. Worldwide, there are 722,435 confirmed cases and 33,997 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 97,689 reported in Italy and the 82,149 confirmed in China. Of the confirmed deaths, 966 have occurred in New York, 200 in Washington state, 161 in New Jersey and 151 in Louisiana. In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 59,746 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 13,386, California with 6,284 and Michigan with 5,488. Four other states have each confirmed at least 4,000 novel coronavirus cases, including: • Massachusetts: 4,955, including 48 deaths • Florida: 4,950, including 60 deaths • Illinois: 4,596, including 66 deaths • Washington: 4,493, including 200 deaths Meanwhile, Louisiana and Pennsylvania have confirmed at least 3,000 novel coronavirus infections each, while Texas, Georgia and Colorado have confirmed at least 2,000 cases each. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A study by wallethub.com shows that Floridians are pretty stressed out and the COVID-19 is not helping, in fact the website says “that coronavirus has become the biggest source of stress for Americans in 2020.”  Researchers considered 41 key factors and found that Sun Shine State residents were the 13th most stressed in the U.S. in 2019.  Most of the worry came from family-related issues where the state came in second for high divorce rates. Next on our stress list is money followed by health and safety and then work.  Floridians are about on par with our northern neighbors in Georgia who ranked 12th, but we are graying much faster than the folks in Minnesota who are the most relaxed. Louisiana topped Mississippi and New Mexico as the most stressed-out state.  Click here to see the entire study. 
  • A Florida man is facing several charges after he told a deputy he tested positive for COVID-19 and coughed toward the deputy, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said Christian Perez, 23, was taken into custody after he was stopped for reckless driving. Perez reportedly told deputies he had COVID-19, so deputies provided him with a protective mask to cover his mouth. Deputies said at one point, Perez removed the mask and began intentionally coughing toward a deputy. The deputy got the mask back on Perez’s mouth to reduce the risk of contamination, officials said. Deputies said Perez was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license, assault on a deputy and threatening a public servant. Sheriff William Snyder said men and women of law enforcement encounter enough dangers daily without actions like this. “We have zero tolerance for this despicable behavior, and anyone who threatens the health and lives of my deputies will face the maximum charges,' Snyder said.
  • NASA confirmed that despite the work-from-home order and even a confirmed case of COVID-19 or coronavirus at Kennedy Space Center, they are still on target to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in May. If all goes as planned, a Crew Dragon capsule will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS, it will be the first flight from American soil in nearly a decade. App users click here to see the animation. The test mission, dubbed Demo-2, will pave the way for future launches from U.S. soil, but the launch, approach, dock and re-entry must be successful.  In a press release, NASA defined mission-essential work as “ that which must be performed to maintain critical mission operations to ensure the schedule of time-sensitive mission-critical launches, or work to protect life and critical infrastructure.” The Commercial Crew Program is considered a critical element to maintain safe operations at the ISS. In the meantime, NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy is also continuing to prepare for an April 9th launch to the ISS, he is safe from contamination in pre-flight quarantine in Star City near Moscow.  He will launch aboard a Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  App users click here to see the interview. Most of the agency remains under a Stage 3 status, with mandatory telework for all employees with limited exceptions for on-site work,  but NASA maintained they would continue to assess the rapidly changing situation.  
  • A Florida man is facing several charges after he told a deputy he tested positive for COVID-19 and coughed toward the deputy, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said Christian Perez, 23, was taken into custody after he was stopped for reckless driving. Perez told deputies he had COVID-19, so deputies provided him with a protective mask to cover his mouth. Deputies said at one point, Perez removed the mask and began intentionally coughing toward a deputy. The deputy got the mask back on Perez’s mouth to reduce the risk of contamination, officials said. Deputies said Perez was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license, assault on a deputy and threatening a public servant. Sheriff William Snyder said that men and women of law enforcement encounter enough dangers daily without actions like this. “We have zero tolerance for this despicable behavior, and anyone who threatens the health and lives of my deputies will face the maximum charges,' Snyder said.

Washington Insider

  • After talking for days about relaxing federal calls for Americans to drastically restrict their social activities in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he would be extending those guidelines through the end of April, after new estimates showed the threat of a huge number of deaths from the virus outbreak. 'The peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,' the President told reporters gathered in the Rose Garden. 'Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.' 'We will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread,' Mr. Trump said, urging Americans to help by limiting their social activities.  'The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,' the President added. The President said the decision was made after new modeling made available to the White House estimated the death totals from the Coronavirus could run over 1 million unless strong mitigation efforts were taken by Americans. At the White House, top federal experts endorsed the President's course change. 'We feel that the mitigation we are doing right now is having an effect 'The decision to prolong - not prolong, but extend - this mitigation process until the end of April, I think was a wise and prudent decision,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci. White House Coronavirus expert Dr. Deborah Birx said the 'growing number of potential fatalities' shown by the models made clear the need for more action to hold down the spread of the virus. Birx told reporters it is 'not a simple situation when you ask people to stay home for another 30 days, so they have to know that we really built this on scientific evidence and the potential to save hundreds of thousands of American lives.' “To every metro area out there, we have to do better,' Dr. Birx said at the Sunday briefing.