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Americans warned that as many as 240,000 may die

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
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Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns stand outside Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York on March 31, 2020.John Minchillo / AP

As many as 240,000 people in the U.S. could die from COVID-19 — and that’s only with strict social distancing measures in place, one of the government’s top doctors warned Tuesday.

Dr. Deborah Birx, Vice President Mike Pence’s coronavirus response coordinator, said that between 1.5 and 2.2 million could die without the intervention.

Already, the death toll in the United States has surpassed the number of people killed on Sept. 11, 2001. According to NBC News’ tally, the disease has killed 3,768 people and infected more than 185,000.

The numbers continued to rise as Wall Street ended one of its worst quarters in history. The Dow Jones was down by 400 points — a quarterly loss of 22 percent — while the S&P 500 recorded its worst three months since 1938. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, closed down at just under 1 percent.

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Fact check: Is the U.S. really testing more people than other countries?

President Trump has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. is doing more testing than anywhere else. But this claim needs more context.

"We have done more tests, by far, than any country in the world, by far," Trump said during a news conference Monday, in response to a question about the U.S. lagging behind in testing residents "per capita."

It is true that the U.S. has run more tests than any other country. But Trump does not acknowledge that the U.S. is not testing the same share of its population as other countries, a key measure. The White House said Sunday that about 894,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered. In a country of 327 million people, that’s about 1 in 366 people who are getting tested. On Monday, the White House said there had been more than a million tests; that's 1 in 327 people who are getting tested.

South Korea, for instance, has done 410,564 tests as of Tuesday. But South Korea has a population of 51 million people, which means they’re testing a much larger share of the population — one in every 124 people.

Trump argued Monday that the U.S. is a large country and there are areas that wouldn't need ramped-up testing. But even in the hardest hit areas — like New York City — many cannot get tested.

U.K. sees a spike in coronavirus deaths

The U.K. saw a spike in the number of daily deaths Tuesday, with health officials reporting 381 new fatalities — more than double the number of new deaths seen the day before.  

There are now a total of 1,789 deaths nationwide. The number of cases has gone up by more than 3,000, bringing the total to 25,150. 

The U.K. has been under nationwide lockdown for over a week.

Photo: Italy honors its dead with minute of silence

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi observes a minute of silence Tuesday as part of a nationwide gesture to honor the victims of the coronavirus and their families.Remo Casilli / Reuters

Pelosi: 'I kept my distance' from members at Capitol, including one presumed to have coronavirus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that she kept her distance from all of her congressional colleagues last week and doesn’t need a test for coronavirus despite being in close quarters with a member who is presumed to be infected.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Pelosi was asked whether she’s concerned that when she was at the Capitol on Friday for the vote on the third coronavirus relief package, she stood near Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., who said Monday that she was “diagnosed with presumed coronavirus infection.”

“No,” Pelosi said. “In terms of my situation, I kept my distance. You know, I said we all had to be six feet apart, and I kept my distance from all of the members.”

Read the story here.

U.S. ambassador to Albania warns Americans last flight leaves tomorrow

America’s ambassador to Albania warned U.S. citizens in the country on Tuesday that the last chartered flight out of the capital, Tirana, would leave the next day on April 1. 

“If you wish to be on that flight, if you are not prepared to remain in Albania for the indefinite future, please contact us immediately so we can help you,” Ambassador Yuri Kim said in a video message posted on the embassy’s official Twitter account. 

Kim said there were no more commercial flights departing Tirana.

It was not immediately clear who had chartered the flight or its exact destination.

New Jersey parents hosted a party, got charged with child endangerment

A New Jersey couple is facing multiple child endangerment charges after throwing an event with dozens of people in violation of a state emergency order against gatherings, authorities said.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, of Lakewood, a town of about 100,000 near the Jersey Shore, threw a party Sunday. Police were called to the family's home and ordered 40 to 50 people gathered in the front yard to disperse.

The incident comes after repeated pleas by Gov. Phil Murphy for residents to abide by the order against gatherings.

Read the full story here.

Distillery makes hand sanitizer for London police officers on the front lines

African health care systems could collapse under added weight of pandemic, ICRC warns

Health care systems across Africa could collapse under the added weight of the new coronavirus pandemic, the International Committee of the Red Cross has warned.  

So far, Africa has been the continent least affected by the contagious virus. However, if measures to contain the virus are not taken immediately it could be devastating for the continent’s people, Patrick Youssef, the ICRC’s incoming regional director for Africa, has warned. 

Many African countries have closed their borders and introduced curfews and confinement rules, but some conflicts are continuing unabated, already straining nations’ health care systems with some even destroyed, the group added.