Florida issues stay-at-home order as cases grow

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A person stands in line to be tested for the coronavirus at Elmhurst Hospital in New York on April 1, 2020.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

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After weeks of resistance, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order Wednesday to stem the spread of coronavirus, reversing a previous position that left closures up to local officials.

The state has reported nearly 7,000 confirmed cases and 86 deaths.

In Connecticut, a 6-week-old baby who died at a Hartford hospital is thought to be one of the youngest deaths linked to coronavirus. Gov. Ned Lamont said the newborn was brought to the facility last week and couldn’t be revived.

And in Guam, 93 sailors aboard the USS Teddy Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19. Nearly a quarter of the more than 4,000 crew members on the ship have been tested, and nearly half of those results have been reported. The vast majority are negative.

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Global death toll jumps significantly in past 24 hours

The global death toll from the coronavirus has jumped significantly in the past 24 hours. 

Shortly before 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the global death toll was nearing 38,000. On Wednesday at around the same time, it was more than 43,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Italy and Spain account for nearly half of the global total fatalities, recording more than 21,400 deaths combined.

Cruise ship passengers desperately plead with Florida to allow them in

Andrea Anderson and others aboard the MS Zaandam are begging Florida officials to let them dock after having been rejected by by Chile, Peru and Argentina, which all sealed their ports amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“I don’t know if they are going to accept us, I hope they do,” said Anderson, 63, a fiber artist from Maineville, Ohio. “We need to get off this ship.”

Four people have died on the ship, at least two from the coronavirus, nine others have tested positive and 179 others are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Read the full story here.

Home of the U.S. Open turns from tennis court to hospital

The home of the U.S. Open, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) in New York City, is preparing to turn into a 350-bed hospital, the U.S. Tennis Association said on Wednesday. 

The 12 courts at the NTC's indoor training center will provide almost 100,000 square feet of supplemental hospital space, officials said.

“It’s an incredibly small part, but it’s the least we can do,” Danny Zausner, the NTC's Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement. New York City continues to be among the hardest-hit places in the United States during the coronavirus outbreak.

New York cancels spring break, orders remote learning to continue

The New York education department has canceled spring break for all public school districts in the state, ordering remote learning to continue during the scheduled time off.

“Districts must continue to provide remote instruction for students, meals for students, and child care for essential workers every weekday between April 1, 2020, and April 14, 2020, even if the district is scheduled to be on spring break during that time,” the education department said in a statement.

In New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, public schools have been shuttered through at least April 20. Spring break was scheduled to take place between April 9 and April 17; it will now only span April 9 and April 10, covering part of Passover and Good Friday.

The move was made to help keep families at home and avoid the spread of the coronavirus, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a video posted on Tuesday night.

Sounds of our time? People around the world share recordings during coronavirus lockdowns

Birds chirping in New York City, rainfall in India and clapping for health care workers in Belfast — those are just a few of the sounds collected on a website that is crowdsourcing audio of the coronavirus lockdowns from across the globe. 

Cities and Memories, run by U.K.-based sound artist Stuart Fowkes, is undertaking a global collaborative project to document a unique social moment and has received contributions from people staying home in more than 70 countries.

"The world hasn’t sounded quite like this during our lifetimes," writes Fawkes on the site. "Whether it’s something simple like less traffic, or how you can hear more birdsong and wildlife, through to how people are coming together through song and music."

The project has sparked interest online with #StayHomeSounds garnering support and organizers urging people to submit their recordings but cautioning avid listeners not to defy lockdown rules to go outside.

For China's overworked IT professionals, coronavirus lockdown means longer days

For Chinese information technology workers who already had to grapple with punishing work schedules, coronavirus lockdowns across the country have meant increased workloads, higher expectations from bosses and colleagues and ever more blurred boundaries between work and personal life.

China's IT industry already had a notorious "996" work culture, in which people work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. But some describe the current working-from-home mode as closer to "007" — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And the extra overtime is unpaid.

Read the full story here.

Swedish airline crews retrain to help hospitals fight coronavirus

Airline crews in Sweden, grounded by the coronavirus outbreak, are training in basic hospital duties to help plug gaps in the Swedish healthcare system, Reuters reports. 

Cabin crew from the crisis-hit Scandinavian airline SAS, are learning new skills such as sterilizing equipment, making hospital beds and providing information to patients and their relatives.

Sweden is among the few European countries that has defied lockdown trends but healthcare officials in Stockholm have scrambled to set up a temporary hospital in a convention center and warned of a lack of staff and safety equipment to meet the crisis.

New London hospital opens to treat thousands of COVID-19 patients

Putin works from home after possible coronavirus exposure

Russian President Vladimir Putin is now practicing social distancing and working remotely after a doctor who met with him last week tested positive for coronavirus, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Dr. Denis Protsenko met Putin for a tour of the Kummunarka Hospital, Moscow's main coronavirus treatment center. On Tuesday, he said had tested positive for coronavirus and was working remotely from his isolated office. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters said that Putin would conduct his first teleconference meeting Wednesday afternoon, and that the meeting would be live streamed for all to see.

Humanitarian bodies push for protection of refugees, stateless during crisis

International humanitarian organizations warned that the health of refugees, migrants and stateless people must be protected during the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. 

As countries close down borders, migrants and refugees must be ensured equal access to health services and be included in national responses to COVID-19, the United Nations' refugee agency, the World Health Organization and the International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.

The organizations said that unsanitary conditions in overcrowded camps, makeshift shelters and detention centers, is a cause for worry.

Spain sets grim record for daily death toll as cases top 100,000

Spain reached two grim milestones on Wednesday as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections passed 100,000, and the number of deaths in one day reached a new high, the Health Ministry reported. 

The spike of 864 fatalities has brought the country's death toll to 9,053, while the total confirmed cases have risen to 102,136. Spain's death toll is second highest in the world following Italy, while the number of people infected is behind only the U.S. and Italy.

The rate of new infections had slowed from the previous day, suggesting that the spread of the virus is stabilizing.