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Florida issues stay-at-home order as cases grow

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
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

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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Los Angeles mayor tells residents to wear face masks

LOS ANGELES — The mayor of Los Angeles on Wednesday told everyone in the nation’s second-largest city to start wearing masks to combat the coronavirus, but California’s governor isn’t ready to take that idea statewide.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he’s focused instead on keeping people inside. He also announced the state may need 66,000 additional hospital beds, 16,000 more than previously forecast, to handle the crush of illnesses expected during the second part of May.

At an afternoon news conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti said all 4 million residents who are performing essential tasks such as food shopping should wear homemade, non-medical face coverings, or even bandannas, as people in other COVID-19-struck countries have done.

YouTube viewership up, but creators wonder if money will follow

Tyler Hoover is known for buying the least expensive versions of some of the world's most exclusive cars. His used "hooptie fleet" includes a modern Rolls-Royce, an orange Lamborghini and a six-figure BMW that has been reduced to near-junkyard status by an engine part about the size of a fingertip.

His attempts at reviving neglected chariots on the cheap are riveting for his nearly 1 million YouTube subscribers. So when self-isolation started for much of the country in mid-March, his "Hoovies Garage" channel, like those of many video creators, saw an increase in viewership.

"We are doing better with the captive audience," Hoover, 32, said by email from his home in Wichita, Kansas.

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Americans stranded overseas warned time is running out

More than 24,000 Americans remain stuck overseas and need help to get home, but assistance may be increasingly hard to come by, authorities said Wednesday.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the State Department has helped more than 30,000 Americans stranded in 60-plus countries board 375 U.S.-bound flights, officials said.

While Washington will continue working to bring Americans home, Ian Brownlee, who leads the State Department's repatriation task force, signaled for the first time Wednesday that the clock's ticking for U.S. citizens to seek help.

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Inmates file lawsuit against jail in Washington, D. C.

Four inmates at a jail in Washington, D.C., filed a class-action lawsuit this week alleging staff members are not taking proper safety precautions and putting the inmates at risk.

The lawsuit claims that inmates at the Central Detention Facility and a treatment center next door were showing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, but were denied tests and had to wait days before they could get medical treatment.

It also accuses the jail of failing to provide free soap to inmates and moving the hand sanitizer so only staff can use it. The suit against the Corrections Department was filed Monday in U.S. District Court by the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Defender Service.

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How to stay healthy when bringing home groceries

NYC medical workers fearful, confused as protective equipment rationed

Medical workers at New York City hospitals describe fear, desperation and confusion as the coronavirus creates chaos in the health care system, with facilities rationing protective equipment and changing the playbook in unprecedented ways.

"You have all these things that keep changing every single day," said a medical resident who works at multiple public hospitals in Brooklyn. "It's very terrifying to be flying the plane at the same time you're building it."

There were nearly 45,000 coronavirus cases in New York City with more than 1,100 deaths as of early Wednesday. Some hospitals are overwhelmed as the state projects that the peak could be weeks away at the end of April.

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Social Security recipients won't have to file tax return to get stimulus check

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration backtracked Wednesday evening on new rules for getting stimulus checks, saying Social Security recipients won't have to file a tax return to receive a payment.

The move is a response to pressure from elderly Americans and senators to rescind guidance issued Monday that said seniors needed to file a return to get the checks of up to $1,200, even if they weren't ordinarily required to file taxes.

"We want to ensure that our senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and low-income Americans receive Economic Impact Payments quickly and without undue burden," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 

Read the full story here.

Feds charge man with intentionally derailing train near USNS Mercy

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors charged a locomotive engineer who worked at the Port of Los Angeles with intentionally derailing a train at full speed near the Navy hospital ship Mercy because of suspicions over its activities surrounding COVID-19, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro, California, was charged with one count under a little-known train-wrecking statute that carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in the incident Tuesday, according to the 10-page criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Moreno, who was held overnight, was turned over to FBI agents Wednesday morning.

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Domestic violence calls up 21 percent, Seattle police say

Over the last month, the Seattle Police Department has seen a 21 percent increase in reported domestic violence cases, the department said Wednesday, while also urging people who need help and resources to seek them. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a "stay home, stay healthy" order on March 23 that requires residents to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of the illness caused by the new coronavirus. 

Isolation from such orders can be devastating for domestic abuse survivors forced to shelter somewhere unsafe, experts have warned. 

"Life as we know it, has come to a halt, but #DomesticViolence has not," Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted Tuesday. He warned that there is no excuse for violence, which could escalate because of increased stress.

The NYPD has also warned that survivors of domestic violence may be experiencing increased isolation and danger while at home during the pandemic and assured people that the department is there to help. 

Trump admin orders suspension of personal protective gear shipments abroad

President Donald Trump at Wednesday's briefing denied that the U.S. Agency for International Development was ordered to suspend shipments of protective equipment, or PPE, abroad, saying it was “not true.”  But a USAID email obtained by NBC News makes clear that the administration has ordered a freeze on all shipments of personal protective gear overseas and that agency staff were told not to make public references to those shipments or post about them on social media.

The March 23 email titled, "Worldwide Pause on PPE Shipments and Outreach," from a senior USAID official sent out to communications officers and other staff members at the agency states: “There is a worldwide pause on PPE shipments. As such, we have been directed to hold on all communications (events, press releases, and social media) about PPE and USAID. Therefore, please do not post any further PPE photos on social media (either people in PPE or of our PPE shipments) given that many U.S. hospitals lack PPE.”

The hold on shipments comes amid desperate appeals from hospitals and state and local officials for protective equipment and accounts of shortages as the number of infections from the coronavirus continues to rise across the country.

The suspension described in last week's email still stands, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.