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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N.J. may need refrigerated trucks due to rising death toll
The governor of New Jersey said Wednesday they may need refrigerated trucks to store bodies after 91 people died in the last 24 hours from the coronavirus, the biggest one-day jump since the crisis began.
“The fact that we’re having this conversation folks, this is real,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
As of Wednesday, the death toll in the Garden State was 355 with a total of 22,255 cases reported. Murphy said they were worried about running out of morgue space if this death toll continues to rise at this rate.
FEMA announced on Tuesday is was sending refrigerated truck to neighboring New York State.
Nursing homes overwhelmed by coronavirus
At five nursing homes in the New York area run by ArchCare, staff are running out of protective gear, stretching single-use masks for days and wearing rain ponchos and beautician gowns.
More than 200 of ArchCare’s 1,700 nursing home residents are infected with the coronavirus, and more than 20 have died, said Scott LaRue, president and CEO of the company. At least 10 staff members are also infected, with one in the hospital on a ventilator.
The risks are so serious that LaRue is advising family members to pull residents out if feasible. “If you have the ability to take your loved one home, and that’s possible, I would encourage you to do so,” he said. “There will be better isolation and better limited contact in a home than there would be in a nursing home.”
Central Park tent hospital admits first COVID-19 patient
The 14-tent, 68-bed hospital in Central Park, near Mount Sinai Hospital, is staffed by 60 to 70 medical professionals from Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian humanitarian organization. It will include a makeshift intensive care unit with 10 beds, each with its own ventilator, and is one of at least three temporary medical facilities planned for New York City landmarks amid the pandemic.
Samaritan's Purse was praised for building an overflow hospital for Mount Sinai’s overcrowded Manhattan facilities in just a few days, but has drawn concerns because it is run by an antigay evangelist, Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham.
In New York City, 47,439 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, and the state has reported 1,941 deaths.
'Wicked' and 'Minions' movies delayed
“Wicked” fans are going to have to wait even longer to see Stephen Daldry's film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical. Universal Pictures on Wednesday announced that another handful of theatrical release dates are shifting due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has bumped “Wicked” off the calendar entirely for the moment.
The studio said that “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which was unable to be finished for its planned summer 2020 release because of the outbreak, is being pushed back a year to July 2021. "Sing 2" will now come out on “Wicked's” original date of December 22, 2021.
Universal says that “Wicked” will be restored to the release calendar at a later time. NBC News and Universal Studios are both owned by NBCUniversal.
Justin Bieber postpones all 2020 'Changes' tour dates
Singer Justin Bieber today announced he is postponing all 2020 tour dates for his "Changes" tour in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The health and safety of my fans, team, cast and crew is the most important thing for me," Bieber wrote on Twitter. "The world is a scary place but we will all figure this out together. We held on to these dates as long as we could and I cannot wait to see all of you in person as soon as I can."
Bieber asked fans in a statement to hold on to their tickets and that information on rescheduled dates will come soon.
10 people in New Jersey charged for violating coronavirus order with engagement party
Ten adults, including a 99-year-old man, were charged Tuesday after police in New Jersey shut down an engagement party that violated the state's order against social gatherings, authorities said.
At approximately 4:30 p.m., police in Lakewood Township, near the Jersey Shore, were called to a residence on a report of a social gathering, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and police Chief Gregory Meyer said in a joint statement.
The homeowners who hosted the gathering, an engagement party, Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, were charged with six counts of child endangerment for each of their children who was in attendance and with violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor during a state of emergency.
Eight other Lakewood residents at the engagement party were also charged with violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor during a state of emergency.
157 crew members for Royal Caribbean ship docked in France test positive for coronavirus
More than 150 crew members on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in France tested positive for coronavirus.
The French prefecture of Loire-Atlantique announced that 157 crew members on board the Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Apex cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19. No passengers were on board the ship, and it was set to make its maiden voyage in March.
Not all crew members have been tested yet, and complete numbers are expected next week. The ship carried 28 American crew members and 15 non-crew Royal Caribbean employees. The number of Americans who have tested positive is unclear, and Loire-Atlantique did not disclose the number of crew members who were hospitalized.
The ship has been divided into four groups: people who are sick and have tested positive, people who have come in contact with sick people, people who came in contact with those who have had contact with sick people and people who have had no contact in that chain. Those on the ship who exhibit symptoms or have tested positive are confined to their cabins, and everyone else on board remains on the ship. The Celebrity Apex has been disinfected.
West Virginia presidential primary delayed until June
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday the state's primary will be delayed until June because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The primary, which was scheduled for May 12, will now be held on June 9, Justice told reporters. He said President Donald Trump's "very, very grim" remarks at the White House on Tuesday that over 200,000 Americans could die from the virus influenced his decision.
"I was absolutely hopeful and very supportive of trying to do our election on May the 12th," but now it's become "ever so apparent that that's just absolutely the wrong thing to do," Justice said.
"At the end of the day I want this to be the biggest turnout of all time because all of us should treasure the opportunity and privilege to vote."
The state, which was the last in the country to report a confirmed case of the virus, had 191 positive cases as of Wednesday, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Wednesday confirmed 29 new cases of COVID-19 have been officially reported to the state, making the total positive case count 191.
After weeks of resistance, Florida governor issues stay-at-home order
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state as it grapples with a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.
The order goes into effect Thursday at midnight and will last for at least 30 days, DeSantis said at a briefing on Wednesday. DeSantis had been previously criticized for refusing to implement statewide social distancing guidelines, particularly as beach-goers and students on spring break continued to gather in large groups.
The governor said "it makes sense to do this now" after President Donald Trump announced earlier this week that the administration is extending its social distancing guidelines another 30 days. DeSantis, a Republican, said he took that as a "signal" from the president that this need to be done in the state.
The state has seen nearly 7,000 coronavirus cases and 87 deaths, according to the state health department.
Pennsylvania placed under statewide stay-at-home order
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf placed his entire state under a stay-at-home order on Wednesday in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The move, which now includes all 67 counties, comes as state health officials reported its largest single-day increase of more than 960 new cases, bringing Pennsylvania's total to 5,805. At least 74 people have died.
Wolf, a Democrat, has called for residents to remain home except for essential trips. The Pennsylvania State Police also said it will no longer respond in person to some types of calls, including for lost and found items, littering, identity theft and general requests to speak to a trooper.