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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Pennsylvania county facing the coronavirus crisis without a health department

When the Democrats swept into power in November in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, for the first time since the Civil War, one of the first things on their agenda was to create an agency the county has never had — a health department.

With a population of more than 560,000, this densely packed collection of towns west of Philadelphia is one of the largest counties in the country without its own health department, and it has to rely on nearby counties and the already overextended state services headquartered two hours away in the state capital, Harrisburg.

Monica Taylor, who is vice chair of the County Council and holds a doctorate in exercise physiology, said that because the county doesn't have a health department, it is limited in its ability to help people who suspect that they caught the coronavirus or test them for it or to track down people who were in contact with them.

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Richard Engel on the biggest coronavirus headlines

Surgeon general says coronavirus death toll projections are 'sobering'

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Wednesday that projections presented by the White House a day earlier estimating that coronavirus could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans are “sobering.”

In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, host Savannah Guthrie referred to the projection that, at the low range of the estimate, 100,000 people in the U.S. could die by mid-June, adding that 4,000 have succumbed to the illness so far. She asked Adams whether the country could see 96,000 people dying over the next several weeks.

“Those projections are definitely sobering, but they don’t have to be our reality,” Adams said in response.

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Tracking coronavirus cases in hot spots across the United States

As U.S. authorities and medical personnel work to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the number of total cases is growing across the country at different rates. The factors are many, from when the disease first broke out in a place to the testing capabilities and the different stay-at-home orders in each state.

With thousands of cases being confirmed every day in New York, the state is the epicenter of the nation’s crisis and on a different scale from the rest of the country. NBC News will be updating the data in these charts, which show the per-day count of confirmed cases in each state, between 6 and 7 p.m. ET every day.

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U.K. registers 563 new deaths

The U.K. registered another spike in the number of new deaths on Wednesday.

Health officials reported 563 new deaths from the coronavirus, 182 more than the day before, bringing the toll to 2,352. 

More than 4,300 new infections were recorded, with the cumulative number of cases now standing at 29,474. 

Global Update on the coronavirus pandemic with Willem Marx

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.