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.
- Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.
- MAPS: Where cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and worldwide.
- Stay-at-home orders across the country: What each state is doing — or not doing — amid widespread coronavirus lockdowns.
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Senators urge people to wear homemade face masks
A pair of senators are urging Americans to begin wearing homemade masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in order to flatten the curve and buy the U.S. more time to develop an effective treatment.
“If people need to be out in public, and they're likely to interact with other people, some kind of base covering will help to reduce the rate of transmission. It'll reduce the risk of infecting someone,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., told reporters on a conference call Wednesday with Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colo.
They said that people should wear homemade face masks like a scarf or bandana and to leave N95 masks to medical professionals.
People who have no symptoms should wear a face mask because the virus can be transmitted by asymptomatic people, added Toomey, who said he spoke to President Donald Trump Tuesday about their push for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue new guidance on masks. The current guidance advises that only sick people or those caring for a sick person wear masks.
Bennett added, "it is awkward to walk around wearing a mask when everybody else is not wearing one. I think that's part of the reason why it's important for the CDC to weigh in here because it'll give everybody a sense of what their responsibility is to each other."
Restaurant owners demand insurance companies pay up
A group of chefs including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck is calling for insurance companies to pay out to help prevent hundreds of small businesses and restaurants from closing.
While some business interruption insurance clearly states that insurers "will not pay for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any virus, bacterium or other microorganism that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness or disease," even restaurants whose coverage does not contain that specific disclaimer say their claims are being denied.
Without an insurance payout, a vast number of restaurants across the country will not be able to reopen and rehire staff, and some owners say they may have to close for good.
“We need insurance companies to do the right thing and save millions of jobs," said Keller, who oversees a dozen restaurants.
San Francisco Bay Area health officers extend stay-at-home order through May 3
Seven San Francisco Bay Area jurisdictions will extend their stay-at-home orders through May 3, Santa Clara County said in a press release.
The prior order would have expired April 7, but health officers said in a press release that while it had helped reduce the rate of transmission, coronavirus cases in the area have risen and are straining healthcare resources.
“Extending the stay-at-home order should reduce the number of sick patients seeking care at one time, giving us time to acquire more medical supplies for providers who will be providing care to people sick with COVID-19,” Contra Costa County health officer Chris Farnitano said in the press release.
The order indicates that people in the Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and the city of Berkeley must stay home, but can leave for essential needs such as grocery shopping. Non-essential businesses must remain closed.
6,100 NYPD officers call out sick
The number of New York City police officers calling out sick continues to climb, with about 6,100 of them, or about 17 percent of the entire department, staying home on Wednesday, officials said.
The NYPD has been hampered by the coronavirus, and Chief of the Department Terrance Monahan said more than 1,400 of its members, mostly uniformed and some civilian, have tested positive for COVID-19. Four civilian employees and one detective have died after contracting the virus so far.
The nation's largest police force is now implementing their plan to have administrative and narcotics officers out in patrol cars to fill the void.
Man wanted cops to shoot him because he may have coronavirus, NYPD says
Police shot a New York City man after he advanced on them with a gun early Wednesday morning in the Bronx, according to senior New York Police Department officials. The man later told investigators in a post-shooting interview at the hospital he was positive for COVID-19 and wanted the cops to shoot and kill him, according to the NYPD.
"This was apparently attempted suicide by police officer," Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. "He is overweight, has diabetes, he thought he was gonna die so he wanted the cops to shoot and kill him."
The man advanced on officers in the Bronx just before 4:00 a.m. with a black powder pistol. He was shot and struck in the hip and back after officers repeatedly told him to drop his weapon, according to police. The incident was recorded on police body cameras and the man, who has not been identified, is expected to survive.
'Star Wars' actor Andrew Jack dies of coronavirus at 76
SYDNEY — "Star Wars" actor Andrew Jack has died in Britain as a result of coronavirus, his agent said on Wednesday. He was 76.
The actor, who also worked as a dialect coach, died in a hospital in Surrey on Tuesday, Jack’s agent Jill McCullough said in a statement.
Jack appeared in “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” as General Ematt, as well as “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.”
Photo: British Spider-Man entertains kids stuck at home
Wimbledon canceled over coronavirus concerns
This year's Wimbledon tennis tournament was cancelled on Wednesday due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
Organizers announced that the tournament, which was scheduled to take place in London, U.K., between Jun. 29 and Jul. 12, will instead be staged next summer.
A number of major sporting events and matches had to be cancelled or postponed in recent weeks over coronavirus concerns, the biggest being the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Second federal inmate dies after contracting coronavirus at Louisiana prison
A second federal inmate has died after contracting the coronavirus at a prison in Louisiana grappling with a surge of cases among prisoners and staffers, officials said.
The Bureau of Prisons confirmed the death of an inmate who was held at a low-security prison in Oakdale, but a spokesman said he was unable to provide further information pending family notification.
The death comes four days after another Oakdale inmate, Patrick Jones, succumbed to COVID-19. Jones was the first federal inmate to die after contracting the virus.
According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Prisons, seven Oakdale inmates and three staffers have tested positive for the virus. But earlier this week officials said Oakdale inmates presumed to have COVID-19 are no longer being tested in order to conserve resources. Prison union leaders say at least nine inmates and 10 staffers have tested positive.
The Bureau of Prisons on Tuesday said it will keep all federal inmates locked up in their cells for the next 14 days in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.
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.