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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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Third passenger from Coral Princess cruise dies

Wilson Maa, left, and his wife Toyling were on the Coral Princess and got sick.Courtesy Maa family

A Northern California man died of complications from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, shortly after being taken off the Coral Princess — leading loved ones and a Florida lawmaker to wonder if the ill passenger was treated fast enough.

Wilson Maa, a 71-year-old South San Francisco resident, died late Saturday night at Larkin Community Hospital in Hialeah, Florida, after the ship docked in Miami in the morning.

"The family had to call 911 from out of state to get help for a family member," niece Kellie Yuh told NBC News. "They had to wait over four hours for an ambulance and he died two hours later at the hospital."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., asked if the California man received timely medical care, tweeting: "It’s devastating and exasperating that we will never know if Mr. Maa’s death could have been prevented with a swift and urgent medical response that this situation deserved." 

Before Maa's death, two others had passed away from COVID-19 complications aboard the ship. Operator Princess Cruises said it too wants to know the timeline leading to the man's death, issuing a statement: "All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Maa. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and those impacted by this loss." 

Civil rights group, medical professionals demand federal racial data on coronavirus victims

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter signed by 400 medical professionals to the Trump administration on Monday demanding the release of racial data related to coronavirus cases and deaths. 

The group sent the letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling for the release of data related to testing, cases and outcomes related to race and ethnicity because of growing concerns of the infection rate in black communities. 

“We are deeply concerned that African American communities are being hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that racial bias may be impacting the access they receive to testing and health care,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the civil rights group. "To fully confront this pandemic, we must ensure that communities of color receive equitable health care and treatment during this crisis."

The CDC is not currently publicly reporting racial data for coronavirus cases or tests performed across the country, but some state and local governments have released data. 

In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, as of April 6, African Americans made up 46 percent of the country's 1,270 coronavirus cases, while only 27 percent of the population. Black residents are also among the hardest hit in areas such as Washington, D.C, and Illinois.

Tyson Foods suspends operations at Iowa plant

Tyson Foods has suspended operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after more than two dozen workers tested positive for COVID-19, the company announced Monday.

This suspension, along with worker absenteeism and other worker safety precautions such as social distancing, have slowed production across the company’s meat and poultry plants, the company's chief executive Noel White said in a statement.

“We’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country,” White said. The company has been taking workers’ temperatures before their shifts and deep cleaning and sanitizing parts of the plant including employee break and locker rooms, he added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson transferred to intensive care unit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is battling the coronavirus, has been transferred to the intensive care unit at a London hospital after his symptoms worsened, his office said in a statement Monday.

"The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary," Johnson's office said. "The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication."

Trump approves Cuomo request to have Navy hospital ship take coronavirus patients

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday asked President Donald Trump if the Comfort, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship now docked in New York City, could be shifted to take patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

The ship, brought to New York City to free up much-needed hospital space for infected patients, had previously been reserved for non-virus patients. The Comfort had only 20 patients as of Thursday night. 

"As it turned out, there's not a lot of non-COVID people in the hospital system, which is a separate story," Cuomo said. "A byproduct of shutting everything down is you have fewer car accidents, crime rate is way down, fewer trauma cases, so there is not a large non-COVID population in the hospitals." 

Cuomo said later Monday on MSNBC that Trump agreed to the request. The governor said the move adds 1,000 beds to the fight against the disease, which will hopefully alleviate some of the stress on the state's healthcare system.

Cuomo also said schools and non-essential businesses would remain closed through at least April 29 and that the fine for those who violated restrictions on social distancing would increase, from $500 to $1,000.

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U.S. Army places temporary hold on sending new recruits to basic training

The U.S. Army has paused the movement of future U.S. soldiers to basic combat training, the department announced Monday.

"This tactical pause will allow commands to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place and are operating effectively at training installations," the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, which oversees training of Army recruits, said in a statement.

The pause does not affect recruits currently in basic training. They will continue under screening and monitoring guidelines established in March, and proceed to their next assignment upon graduation. Current protocols include "social-distanced-enabled training" and reduced movement of trainees.

"The decision to pause the shipment of trainees to [Basic Combat Training] for two weeks will allow leaders to focus on setting conditions so movement can be conducted in a safer manner in the future,” said Gen. Paul Funk, II, head of the Command.

Wisconsin Gov. Evers suspends in-person voting for Tuesday primary amid coronavirus concerns

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday signed an executive order suspending all in-person voting for Tuesday's primary and moved the date of the election to June 9 amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The order also convenes the state legislature for a special session on Tuesday to deal with the issue.

“Today, I signed an executive order suspending in-person voting for tomorrow’s election,” Evers said in a statement. “Frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem — I wish it were easy.”

“As municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today,” he added.

Read the full story here.

More than 16,000 dead in Italy

Doctors treat a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Rome on March 26, 2020.Antonio Masiello / Getty Images file

Italy reached another grim milestone in the pandemic as more than 16,000 people there have now died from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

The official death toll was listed at 16,523, officials said Monday, a spike of 636 fatalities from Sunday night's reported total of 15,887. No nation has been hit harder by COVID-19 deaths than Italy. 

There have been at least 132,547 positive coronavirus cases, Italian officials said Monday, an increase from 128,848 a day earlier.


New York rabbi: 'We can be many faiths during this week, but we are one family'

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, the executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, spoke about the challenges of safely continuing religious practice amid the coronavirus outbreak in a Monday interview with Craig Melvin on MSNBC.

"It's really a time of contradiction," Rabbi Potasnik said. "We say let everyone enter, when it comes to our house of worship, and the doors are locked."

In the days leading up to Passover and Easter, Rabbi Potasnik encouraged people to practice in ways that are safe, such as turning to online services, and encouraged unity during tough times. 

"We can be many faiths during this week but we are one family and I think when this is over there's going to be a recognition that we need each other, face to face," he said.