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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Number of infected UT spring breakers grows to 44
The number of students at the University of Texas at Austin who went on a spring break trip to Mexico and later tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 is now 44, a university spokesperson said.
About 70 young adults traveled together on a chartered plane to Cabo San Lucas a week and a half ago, the Austin Public Health Department said.
On Tuesday, the city of Austin and the university said 28 students had tested positive but dozens more from the group that traveled were under public health investigation. The 28 were self-isolating and others were under quarantine and being tested, officials said then.
Some of the travelers returned to the U.S. on commercial flights, the health department said. Four of the initial 28 who tested positive did not present any symptoms, the city said. The coronavirus can be dangerous to anyone, but a major concern for health officials is that the young and healthy will spread it to others.
UT Austin officials tweeted Wednesday that they are concerned about the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the student body and told students to take the pandemic seriously and follow social distancing and other guidelines. UT Austin has moved classes online amid the pandemic.
Leaders in Hawaii ask Trump to halt inbound travel
A trio of Hawaiian mayors asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to halt nonessential out-of-state travel to the islands.
In a letter to the president, Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu, Derek Kawakami of Kauai and Mike Victorino of Maui argued the move would slow the spread of coronavirus, which has caused one death in a state with 258 cases. Caldwell said a majority of those cases were "travel-related."
"Now is not the time for leisurely travel," Kawakami said.
On Tuesday, Gov. David Ige ordered those traveling between islands to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Health care workers share struggle of caring for patients, family, themselves
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.