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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

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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977d ago / 5:44 PM UTC

California to loan 500 ventilators to hard-hit New York

California is loaning 500 ventilators to the national stockpile to help hard-hit states like New York treat critically ill coronavirus patients, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday.

“We still have a long road ahead of us in the Golden State — and we’re aggressively preparing for a surge — but we can’t turn our back on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now," Newsom said in a statement. "I know that if the tables were turned and we were experiencing a hospital surge, other states would come to our aid and provide ventilators just as we are today.”

New York has the most coronavirus cases of any state, with more than 130,000 confirmed as of Monday. While the total number of daily patients admitted to intensive care units has dipped in recent days, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned the state could run out of ventilators to treat patients whose respiratory symptoms have advanced past the point of being able to breathe on their own.

977d ago / 5:18 PM UTC

Photo: Sanitizing shoppers in Albania

Image: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tirana
A woman passes through a disinfection tunnel before entering a market, as authorities take measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, in Tirana on Monday.Florion Goga / Reuters
977d ago / 5:16 PM UTC

Billie Eilish, Lizzo and other stars to perform in globally televised concert to support health care workers

Broadcast TV networks are collaborating to air an unprecedented, globally televised fundraiser to celebrate and support health care workers on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus, the World Health Organization and Global Citizen announced on Monday. 

The special, “One World: Together at Home,” will air on April 18 at 8 p.m. ET and will feature musicians alongside health care workers from around the globe discussing their experiences.

"Through music, entertainment and impact, the global live-cast will celebrate those who risk their own health to safeguard everyone else’s,” Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen, said in a statement Monday.

Three late-night comics — Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert — will helm the event, along with characters from "Sesame Street."

The star-studded event will feature a long list of musical artists, including Elton John, Keith Urban, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Paul McCartney.

The show will be broadcast by ABC, NBC, CBS and radio operator iHeart Media. It will be streamed on various platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Instagram, and YouTube.

977d ago / 4:58 PM UTC

Trump, Biden trade barbs over possible virtual Democratic convention

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden traded shots Monday over the possibility that Democrats could hold a virtual convention this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a ‘Virtual’ Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?” Trump tweeted Monday afternoon.

Biden hit back moments later.

“Mr. President, I hope we can gather in Milwaukee, but that is going to depend on you stepping up and doing what needs to be done to handle this pandemic,” he tweeted. "I have laid out how you can do that.”

Read the full story here.

977d ago / 4:32 PM UTC

Fact check: Trump doubles down on unproven hydroxychloroquine claims

Trump spent much of his Sunday night coronavirus briefing boasting about the potential use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, as a COVID-19 treatment.

When the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was asked about the drug, which has not been proven as an effective treatment for COVID-19, on Sunday night, Trump intervened: “I’ve answered that question — maybe 15 times. You don’t have to answer."

“There’s signs it works on this — very strong signs,” the president said. “I’ve seen things that I sort of like. What do I know, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a doctor, but I have common sense. The FDA feels good about it. As you know they’ve approved it — they gave it rapid approval.”

This isn’t true: The FDA has not approved a proven treatment for COVID-19. Read our fact check here.

977d ago / 4:30 PM UTC

Cuomo says New York state may be seeing 'possible flattening of the curve'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said the curve of the coronavirus outbreak in New York state may be flattening.

Cuomo said that 599 more people had died in the state, a number similar with that of the previous day. The total number of deaths is 4,758.

"The possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases we have seen," Cuomo said. "New York is still far and away the most impacted state."

The total number of hospitalizations, patients who were admitted to intensive care units and daily intubations are all down, Cuomo said. 

"The big question that we're looking at now is what is the curve?" Cuomo said. 

977d ago / 3:40 PM UTC
977d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

The Masters eyes November for rescheduled tournament

977d ago / 3:37 PM UTC

Claim that bodies would end up in NYC parks gets swift pushback from officials

Mark D. Levine, the chair of the New York City Council health committee, received swift pushback on Monday when he said that city parks would likely "soon" be used as temporary burial sites for the dead when cemeteries got overwhelmed with bodies. 

Levine wrote on Twitter that trenches in parks "will be dug for 10 caskets in a line."

"It will be done in a dignified, orderly — and temporary — manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take," he further detailed. "The goal is to avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets."

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner quickly clarified that sending bodies to parks is a scenario in a prepared disaster plan, but not currently being considered as the city grapples with a massive wave of coronavirus cases. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo answered a question about the supposed plan by telling reporters during his Monday news conference that he had heard nothing about it, though he said he had "heard a lot of wild rumors."

Spokespeople for Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said the city was nowhere near the point where burials in parks would occur. De Blasio said earlier in the day that the place that would be relied on for mass burials would be Hart Island in the Bronx.

The city has the ability to accommodate 19,000 dead people at Hart Island. That capacity would have to be exceeded before parks would be considered for caskets. 

This plan was finalized in 2008 and is part of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's plan for pandemic influenza outbreaks. Currently, New York City's daily death rate is far below the “maximum scenario” the plan was designed to handle. 

The plan assumes no federal assistance when it comes to handling the dead, predicting that a pandemic "is likely to affect the entire country and limited federal assets may be allocated to other areas.” 

Levine later clarified that using parks for burials "is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary." 

977d ago / 3:36 PM UTC

NYC mayor says surgical gowns urgently needed, thanks feds for masks

US-HEALTH-VIRUS
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has his temperature taken before he tours local companies that have teamed up to make thousands of protective hospital gowns at their Brooklyn Navy Yard facilities on April 6, 2020.Bryan R. Smith / AFP via Getty Images

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the city "urgently" needed to find more surgical gowns. 

New York City hospitals and nursing homes used 1.8 million gowns last week, and are expected to use 2.5 million this week as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Crye Precision, a combat apparel company, and Lafayette 148, a fashion company, will create about 9,200 reusable surgical gowns at the Brooklyn Navy Yard this week, de Blasio said following a tour of the facility, where the two firms are hard at work.

He said he was coordinating with the federal government to get more. He thanked President Donald Trump for sending 600,000 N95 masks for New York City's independent hospitals. He said 200,000 masks arrived for public hospitals on Friday.

977d ago / 2:13 PM UTC
977d ago / 1:59 PM UTC

A doodled look at some feel-good Google trends

977d ago / 1:58 PM UTC

RNC chairwoman says nationwide voting by mail would undermine democracy

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday that the push by some Democrats for a nationwide vote-by-mail option amid the pandemic would undermine American democracy. 

McDaniel wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News that the GOP “will always defend free and fair elections” and that the party will “continue to fight and win against attempts by Democrats to use the pandemic as an excuse to circumvent election integrity.”

A number of Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden have suggested in recent days that voting by mail may need to be expanded for the 2020 elections amid the coronavirus outbreak. Congressional Democrats have been calling for increasing funding to states that would allow for such a scenario.

McDaniel argued that voting by mail would lead to an increase in fraud and weaken confidence in elections.

In a coronavirus contingency plan released in late March by the Brennan Center, one of the recommendations is extending mail-in ballots to all voters. According to MIT’s election data and science lab, there are very few documented instances of fraud related to voting by mail, though it says that some scholars argue voting by mail could lead to more fraud than in-person voting. 

977d ago / 12:34 PM UTC

U.K. Prime Minister tweets he is in 'good spirits' after hospitalization

977d ago / 12:32 PM UTC

Global Update: Early signs of a slowing death rate in Europe’s worst-hit countries

977d ago / 12:22 PM UTC

Austria plans to start easing coronavirus restrictions

Image: A man wearing a protective mask walks a dog on a shopping street during the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna
A man walks a dog in Vienna on Monday. Lisi Niesner / Reuters

The Austrian government is planning to slowly re-open shops, hotels and restaurants as the country hopes to start returning to normal life amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At a press conference on Monday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the re-opening is being "cautiously planned" for after Easter, but the dates could still be moved depending on the spread of the virus. The country went into lockdown three weeks ago. 

Kurz said smaller shops will be allowed to resume their business after Easter, followed by larger shops, shopping malls and hairdressers, which are expected to re-open by May 1. At the end of this month, the government will decide if restaurants and hotels can reopen in mid-May, he added. 

At the same time, officials have extended a requirement to wear face masks in supermarkets to include public transport and shops that re-open. More than 12,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Austria, with 204 deaths. 

977d ago / 12:11 PM UTC

Signs of hope in Italy as daily death toll falls again

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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."

977d ago / 12:07 PM UTC

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.

977d ago / 11:59 AM UTC

Spain sees daily death toll drop for fourth day

Image: A plane from China arrives at Madrid airport Sunday with medical supplies on board to fight the coronavirus epidemic in Spain.
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. 

977d ago / 11:15 AM UTC

977d ago / 11:07 AM UTC

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.

977d ago / 10:34 AM UTC

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.

977d ago / 10:28 AM UTC

Japan to declare a state of emergency as early as Tuesday

Image: 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.
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.

977d ago / 10:15 AM UTC

977d ago / 9:58 AM UTC

Iran's paramilitary women turn mosque into protective gear factory

Image: Iranian women, members of the Basij paramilitary organisation, make face masks and other protective items at a mosque in the capital Tehran on Sunday.
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
977d ago / 9:25 AM UTC

977d ago / 8:57 AM UTC

'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.

977d ago / 8:57 AM UTC

Irish PM returns to work as a doctor to help in coronavirus crisis

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Image: Ireland's Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a news conference on March 24.
Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at a coronavirus news conference on March 24.Steve Humphreys / Reuters file

It’s back to his scrubs for Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. The former doctor re-registered as a medical practitioner last month to help the country's healthcare system as it deals with the coronavirus epidemic, his office said Sunday.

Varadkar will work for the health service for one session a week “in areas that are within his scope of practice,” a statement from his office said. 

"He wanted to help out even in a small way," the statement added. According to a report in the Irish Times, Varadkar is helping out with phone assessments of coronavirus patients. 

977d ago / 8:08 AM UTC
977d ago / 4:40 AM UTC

Governors plead for food stamp flexibility

Yvonne Knight, who has respiratory problems that make her especially vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic, can't buy groceries online with her food stamps, even though each trip to the store is now a risky endeavor.

Going out to buy food terrifies the 38-year-old woman with cerebral palsy, but she is one of millions of people who receive food aid through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that can't be used in flexible ways. “Every time I go out, I put myself at risk — and other people,” said Knight, who lives in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Buying groceries online — which many Americans are doing to reduce how often they leave their homes — is only open to SNAP recipients in six U.S. states, and Pennsylvania is not one of them.

Now, state governments and food security activists across the country are imploring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the program more flexible and easier to access at a time when so many people are losing their jobs and turning to the government for support.

977d ago / 4:34 AM UTC

Duran Duran's John Taylor reveals coronavirus recovery

John Taylor
John Taylor of Duran Duran, shown last year, said Sunday he is recovering from COVID-19.Amy Harris / Amy Harris/Invision/AP

LOS ANGELES — Duran Duran bassist John Taylor took to Facebook on Sunday to reveal he had tested positive for coronavirus and is on the mend. Taylor was diagnosed with COVID-19 "three weeks ago" and has been self-quarantining.

"I am speaking out to answer to the enormous amount of fear being generated by the pandemic, some of it entirely justified, and my heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with real loss and pain," he wrote. "But I want to let you know that it isn't always a killer, and we can and will beat this thing."

The entertainment community has been rocked by the virus, having recently lost Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, country star Joe Diffie and jazz musician Ellis Marsalis Jr., among others.

977d ago / 3:19 AM UTC

Stocks appear set to jump, with Dow futures up more than 500 points

U.S. stock futures rose Sunday night as Wall Street tried to recover from another decline last week while investors shook off rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 531 points higher, implying a gain of about 565 points at the Monday open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to Monday opening gains for the two indexes.

Last week, the major averages posted their third weekly decline in four. The Dow slid 2.7% while the S&P 500 lost 2.1%. The Nasdaq Composite closed last week down 1.7%. Stocks are also deep in bear-market territory as concerns over the coronavirus outbreak have virtually shut down the global economy and have dampened sentiment around corporate profits. 

Read the full story here. 

977d ago / 2:42 AM UTC

California county orders people to wear face coverings outside

Public health officials in Riverside County, California, made it mandatory Sunday for people who go outside to wear face coverings to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county's public health officer, said people could use bandanas, scarves and other items without visible holes in them to shield their faces. He cautioned against using industrial and surgical masks, saying they should be reserved for first responders.

The order came after 30 patients and staff members at a local nursing home tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to NBC Los Angeles. Two deputies have also died from the disease, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans on Friday to wear face coverings to keep people who may not be showing symptoms of the disease from spreading it to others.