Surgeon General, Trump sound alarm as U.S. cases top 300,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Palm Sunday during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Turin
A woman wearing a protective face mask prays in Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Turin, Italy, on Sunday.Massimo Pinca / Reuters

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On Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on U.S. governors who haven't issued statewide stay-at-home orders to at least "give us a week" of restrictions, as health officials warn of an accelerating rate of coronavirus cases and deaths. This week is going to be "our Pearl Harbor moment," Adams said.

The warning comes after President Donald Trump said "there will be a lot of death" as the U.S. faces its "toughest week" in the fight against the pandemic.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 333,000 on Sunday, with the number of deaths at more than 9,000, according to NBC News' tally. Globally, the death toll is more than 65,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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A thanks to those on the front lines

A handmade sign hangs outside a home in Oakland, California, on Sunday.Cyrus Farivar / NBC News

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.

American Airlines suspends more flights to NYC

American Airlines said Sunday that it is suspending more flights to three New York City-area airports in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the company said that while it had already "significantly" reduced travel to John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, demand for flights to the region is "evaporating."

Beginning Tuesday, American will operate a handful of flights between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Boston, Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth and other cities, the company said, adding it will try to protect its 9,000 employees by operating these limited flights with crews based outside New York.

American is one of nine United States-based airlines that have suspended flights in response to the outbreak, according to an ongoing tally by TODAY.

After Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive, veterinary group says stay away from animals if you're sick

Nadia, a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York, has tested positive for the coronavirus.JULIE LARSEN MAHER / AP

A veterinary association said Sunday that a tiger’s positive COVID-19 test reinforced its guidelines that call for people infected with the disease to cut contact with animals.

The American Veterinary Medical Association said in a statement that until more is known about how the virus affects animals, ill pet owners should have others care for their dogs and cats.

The group added that there had been no reports of pets or livestock developing the disease in the United States. In other countries, four cats and dogs have tested positive for COVID-19, the association said.

Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, is believed to have contracted the virus from a person who had cared for her, officials at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory said Sunday. Six other big cats at the zoo are also showing symptoms, the lab said.

Texas to screen drivers from Louisiana to enforce two-week quarantine

Authorities in Texas will begin screening drivers traveling across state lines from hard-hit Louisiana to enforce a mandatory two-week quarantine, officials said Sunday.

The screening stations will be set up on high-volume, interstate roads and highways, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement. Drivers will be asked to fill out a form that includes personal information, as well as a “designated quarantine location.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order March 29 mandating the quarantine. Louisiana has recorded 477 coronavirus-related deaths and more than 13,000 confirmed cases. Texas has documented 127 deaths and roughly 6,800 cases.

Death toll in New York City approaching 2,500

About 2,500 New Yorkers have died from complications connected to COVID-19, City Hall reported on Sunday. 

The virus-related death toll stood at 2,472 as of 5 p.m., according to the Health Department's nightly report.

That newest figure marks 218 more fatalities from the death toll of 2,254 reported 24 hours earlier.

California pastor resigns from city council as church's communion plan draws criticism

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A church pastor resigned from the local city council Sunday after coming under criticism for holding communion on Palm Sunday despite coronavirus stay-at-home rules.

Rob McCoy, senior pastor at Godspeak Cavalry Church in Thousand Oaks, California, said in a video posted to the church's website that he would hold the communion even though it's not listed as an essential service.

"We want to respect social distancing. We want to respect everything that’s requested of us, but we still want to have access to what is a sacrament," McCoy said in the video. "We will not violate a single CDC ordinance. No one is going to touch anything. No one is going to handshake, no one is going to hug."

He was elected to the Thousand Oaks City Council in 2015.

Philadelphia economy hit hard, over 1 million file for unemployment in Pennsylvania

With 25 hotels closed, nine major conventions cancelled, and dozens of restaurants closed or scaling back due to the spread of coronavirus, Philadelphia — which leans heavily on the tourism and hospitality industries — is seeing a loss of $163 million.

While some of the hotels are being used to house medical staff and the Liacouras Center is switching out its sporting events and concerts for temporary hospital beds, the workers typically employed in the hospitality industry — nearly 200,000 people in the region — are unable to work from home, instead faced with sudden lay-offs and some losing their health insurance. 

“Basically I’m on hold until all of this is over,” former bartender Tina Bolger told NBC News. She worked at the Philadelphia airport until last week, when she was laid off and told her health insurance expired as of April 1. She’s since had to file for unemployment, the check only amounting to half of what she’d normally make.

Pennsylvania is ranked second in the nation when it comes to unemployment claims, with more than one million in the state filing.