Boris Johnson in intensive care, U.S. death toll tops 10,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: UNLV Medicine Nearing Point Of Running Out Of Coronavirus Testing Kits
From left, certified medical assistants Lakietha Flourney, Yatziri Perez and Evelyn Laolagi conduct tests for COVID-19 at a drive-up testing station in the parking lot of UNLV Medicine in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6, 2020.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

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The number of deaths in the U.S. topped 10,700 by Monday night, according to NBC News' tally.

The rising toll comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said Sunday that the U.S. is "struggling" to get the coronavirus outbreak under control. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has passed 337,000. Globally, the number of deaths has topped 70,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken into an intensive care unit for coronavirus, his office announced Monday. He had tested positive in March and was hospitalized Sunday for exhibiting symptoms for more than 10 days.

Meanwhile, an internal government watchdog report released Monday said that hospitals across the country face dire shortages of vital medical equipment — including testing kits and thermometers.

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Signs of hope in Italy as daily death toll falls again

The number of daily coronavirus deaths in Italy fell to the lowest level in more than a week, as the head of the country's National Health Institute, Silvio Brusaferro, said that the number of deaths and infections "has reached a plateau and begun to descend.”

“It is a result that we have to achieve day after day. If this is confirmed, we need to start thinking about the second phase and keep down the spread of this disease,” said Brusaferro. The country recorded 525 deaths on Sunday, bringing its total toll to 15,887.

Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza issued a plan for "phase two" of coronavirus response, which would soften lockdown restrictions but still keep social distancing measures in place. Despite the positive news, Speranza warned it is too early to know when the country will exit lockdown, telling the Italian daily La Repubblica "there are difficult months ahead."

Trump health official on coronavirus: 'We may be seeing the worst upon us right now'

A top Trump administration health official, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, said Monday that several parts of the country including New York, New Jersey and Detroit are expected to hit their peaks this week in terms of the number of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths. 

In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Giroir said "we may be seeing the worst upon us right now,” but added that that experts believe some areas are “turning a corner because of all of the physical distancing that we’re doing.” 

Giroir, the assistant secretary for health, said that other cities like New Orleans will hit their peaks in a few weeks. “We'll see some rolling peaks across the country as the next few weeks unfold,” he said, but warned that if people let their “foot off the gas,” then the situation could worsen.

Spain sees daily death toll drop for fourth day

A plane from China arrives at Madrid airport Sunday with medical supplies on board to fight coronavirus in Spain. Getty Images

The number of new coronavirus deaths in Spain declined for the fourth day in a row on Monday, giving hope to the country’s health officials that the epidemic could be slowing down. 

A total of 637 new deaths were reported as of Sunday, the lowest number recorded since April 1, when Spain recorded 950 deaths, the highest one-day toll for any country since the start of the epidemic. 

"We are observing that the pandemic's growth rate is slowing down in almost every region," Maria Jose Sierra, deputy head of Spain’s Health Emergency Committee, told reporters at a virtual news conference Monday.

Health minister Salvador Illa said Monday the country, and the rest of the world, are facing "the worst health emergency in the past one hundred years."

The total number of coronavirus cases has reached more than 135,000 as of Sunday, the highest in Europe and second only to the U.S. 

U.N. chief warns of 'horrifying' surge in domestic violence amid lockdowns

The U.N. chief appealed to all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic amid a "horrifying global surge" in domestic violence. 

"For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes," Antonio Guterres said in a tweeted video Monday, asking for increased investment in online services for victims, declaring shelters as essential services and ensuring judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers. 

Reports of domestic violence increased in March in many cities across the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic spread, according to law enforcement officials. In Europe, where a number countries are in strict lockdowns, women's rights groups have raised the alarm about the hardship that domestic violence victims can experience in lockdown conditions.

Government watchdog: Hospitals face severe shortages of medical gear, confusing guidance from government

Hospitals across the country face dire shortages of vital medical equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak — including testing kits and thermometers — and fear they can't ensure the safety of health care workers needed to treat patients with COVID-19, according to an internal government watchdog report released Monday.

The alarming findings, based on interviews conducted from March 23 to March 27, represent the first government assessment of how the country's hospitals are coping with the outbreak and confirm previous media reports and warnings from health workers that the medical system is under unprecedented strain.

Hospital administrators also said conflicting guidance from federal, state and local governments on how to use personal protective gear and other issues has led to "a greater sense of confusion, fear and distrust among staff that they can rely on hospital procedures to protect them," according to the report from the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS.

Read the full story here.

Japan to declare a state of emergency as early as Tuesday

A man walks past a screen in Tokyo showing a news report that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to soon declare state of emergency on Monday.Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Japan’s prime minister said Monday he could declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday, but not on the scale seen overseas, as the number or coronavirus cases continues to rise. 

Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will not close cities “as we have seen overseas,” citing experts saying Japan will not have to adopt such measures. Public transportation will continue to operate and supermarkets will stay open, but the public will be asked to avoid crowded areas and close contact, he said. 

On Monday, the chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association, an independent body representing the city's doctors, said the capital, which has more than 1,000 cases, is in a “critical situation,” prompting them to declare their own medical state of emergency.

Iran's paramilitary women turn mosque into protective gear factory

Iranian women, members of the Basij paramilitary organisation, make face masks and other protective items at a mosque in the capital Tehran on Sunday.Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty Images

'His Achilles' heel': Coronavirus crisis highlights Trump's lack of health care plan

Health care was already a vulnerability for President Donald Trump before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now his lack of a plan to fix the system is coming under a new microscope as the crisis costs many Americans their coverage and overwhelms providers.

The clarity in Trump's health care vision begins and ends with repealing the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, also known as Obamacare. His budget proposals would strip away funding for the law, and he has endorsed a lawsuit to wipe it off the books. But the president hasn't thrown his weight behind a replacement bill or even an outline, and he has rejected calls to reopen Obamacare for enrollment during the current crisis.

Trump's focus on mitigating the economic damage has kept health care on the back burner. Some allies worry that with millions of newly unemployed Americans poised to lose coverage during a public health crisis, Trump's lack of a plan for the needy will be a political liability in his re-election bid.

Read the full story.