Trump warns of 'a lot of death' in coming week as U.S. cases top 300,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Cleaners disinfect surfaces in Largs, Scotland, on April 4, 2020.
Cleaners disinfect surfaces in Largs, Scotland, on April 4, 2020.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

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President Donald Trump said at the daily White House coronavirus press briefing on Saturday, “This will be the toughest week” in the U.S. fight against the pandemic.

“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately," he said.

The president's comments came as the total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to over 300,000, with the number of deaths at more than 8,000, according to NBC News' tally.

Globally, the death toll is more than 59,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC is recommending now that Americans wear cloth masks when out in public. And, New York, by far the hardest-hit state, is gearing up for the pandemic to peak there in an expected in four to 10 days. China is donating 1,000 ventilators to the state, and another 140 are coming from Oregon.

Support on Capitol Hill among both Republicans and Democrats for an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the country’s response to the outbreak appears to be growing.

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Faced with their own virus fears, crisis hotline counselors answer surge in calls

The Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Crisis Lines typically average about 10,800 calls per month. Calls to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline have dipped slightly since the virus crisis began, but calls to the Disaster Distress Helpline have tripled.Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

At first, coronavirus-related calls to the crisis hotlines at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services came in a trickle: In February, just 22 callers mentioned the virus. By the end of March, that number had skyrocketed to more than 1,800.

With an average of 10,800 calls in any given month, Didi Hirsch’s hotlines are constantly ringing. Based in California, it is one of three crisis centers nationwide that takes calls through the Disaster Distress Helpline, a 24-hour hotline that helps people cope with anything from natural disasters to public health emergencies.

But the coronavirus crisis has felt different than past events that prompted a spike in calls, such as wildfires, mass shootings or celebrity suicides, say those who answer the phones. Unlike the pandemic, which seems to worsen by the day, those tragedies had a clear end to them, and did not necessarily have a direct effect on crisis counselors who take calls or answer online chats.

Read the full story here.

UK has more than 700 deaths in 24 hours

The United Kingdom has 41,903 people confirmed positive for the virus as of Saturday, out of a total of 183,190 people who have been tested, the Department of Health and Social Care announced. This is up by nearly 4,000 cases since Friday.

The death toll is now at 4,313, an increase of 708 deaths over the day before. 

The British government is working to meet a target of conducting 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April, after being criticized for low numbers of testing.

Photo: Social distancing in London

Police officers speak with people at Greenwich Park in London on Saturday. Hannah McKay / Reuters
Markings to help people maintain social distancing on the pavement at Greenwich Park. Hannah McKay / Reuters

New York has 10,841 new cases in one day, a record high

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday the state has 10,841 new coronavirus cases since Friday, a record, bringing the total to 113,704.

The number of deaths since Friday is 640, which puts the total deaths from the virus in New York at 3,565.

The total number of people hospitalized is 15,905. But, Cuomo said, two-thirds of all people who have been hospitalized have been discharged.

The governor said the state is probably four to eight days from a peak in coronavirus cases and is doing as much as it can to prepare.

"In some ways, I want to get to that apex, get to the other side of that apex and slide down that mountain," the governor said. "On the other hand, we have to be ready for that fight and we have to handle that fight."

Police get creative to stay safe and keep order as virus spreads

A police officer stands outside of Mount Sinai Hospital on April 1, 2020 in New York.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Late last month, as officials in Cambridge, Massachusetts, scrambled to defend the city against the coronavirus, Patrol Officer Bob Reardon got an assignment that signaled how suddenly his job had changed. Someone complained about a football game.

There was no violence, no loud noise, no threats — just a group of men playing pickup in violation of a recently enacted prohibition against large gatherings. Reardon pulled up in his cruiser and without getting too close told the men to scatter. They were respectful, and left without a fuss, he said. But the confrontation left an impression on the 30-year-old officer.

“I never thought that on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I’d be sent to a public park to tell people to stop playing a sport,” Reardon recalled thinking. “It’s a new world.”

Enforcing social distancing is one of the many ways the coronavirus pandemic has unexpectedly transformed American policing over the past few weeks, compelling officers to drop their routines and find new ways to protect the public and themselves.

Read the whole story here.

Biden calls for Trump to appoint a 'supply commander' to coordinate critical material distribution

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, is calling for President Donald Trump to appoint a "supply commander" to "coordinate critical materials for all 50 states and U.S. territories" in need as they contend with the coronavirus.  

“This public health crisis is foremost a human crisis, but it is also a crisis of supply, logistics and distribution. States, hospitals, and health care providers should not have to bid against one another, or against the federal government to get the supplies that they desperately need," Biden said in a statement on Saturday. 

“It is clear that the current structure President Trump has put in place is not working — either because he hasn't fully empowered those in charge or because he hasn't made it clear that the mandate must be to take over the entire supply chain and determine the demand across all of our states, tribes and territories for these critical materials," he continued. 

Biden also released his own plan about coordinating and distributing personal protective equipment to all 50 states and territories. He has often publicly called for Trump and his administration to adopt his policy plans. 

Non-COVID medical emergencies take a back seat, putting patients at risk

"I would rather die than risk getting coronavirus right now.”

That’s what a patient told Dr. Comilla Sasson, an emergency medicine physician in Denver, after she advised the patient during a telemedicine visit that she was showing signs of a heart attack and should go to a hospital.

“I asked if I could talk to one of her family members and she said ‘no’ — that she had already made up her mind,” Sasson told NBC News. It’s unclear what the woman’s diagnosis turned out to be, because she did not reach out to Sasson again.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, medical emergencies unrelated to COVID-19 still occur. Sasson, who works at three hospitals in the Denver area, is among a number of doctors who worry that people experiencing warning signs of life-threatening conditions are delaying seeking emergency help out of fear of going to coronavirus-strained emergency rooms.

Read the rest here.

Pope Francis donates thousands to Italian city

Pope Francis donated 60,000 euros (about $65,000) on Friday to Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in the Italian city Bergamo. 

Some of the donation will be used to build a new hospital in the city in the northern Lombardy region, the epicentre of Italy’s virus outbreak.

Medical professionals have been hit particularly hard in the country and the death toll for doctors rose to 77 when another four died overnight from the virus, according to the Italy's National Federation of Medical Professionals.

Italy has reported almost 120,000 cases as of Saturday. However, it has started to see infections leveling off after weeks of nationwide shutdown.

Athletes Village for Olympics could house virus patients

The under-construction Athletes Village for the Tokyo Olympics could be used as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has been talking about the possibility of occupying the massive development on Tokyo Bay, which is to house up to 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes and staff during the games. The complex, which will eventually include 24 buildings, was expected to remain unoccupied with the Olympics delayed for 16 months.

Despite a rising number of cases in Japan — particularly in its capital city — the government has not declared a state of emergency, causing some unease at the “slow” reaction to the pandemic.

U.K.'s Johnson urges people to stay home despite 'fine weather'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to "stay at home... and save lives" this weekend, despite the impending “fine weather” on Saturday. 

“This country has made a huge effort, a huge sacrifice, and done absolutely brilliantly well in delaying the spread of the virus,” he tweeted Saturday.

Johnson also tweeted a letter addressed to the leaders of opposition parties in the government to “invite them to work together at this moment of national emergency.”

The prime minister himself was recently diagnosed with the virus, and is continuing self-isolation until further notice. In the midst of a three-week lockdown, the U.K. has reported more than 41,000 cases as of Saturday. 

Egyptians urged to stay at home until April 10

Municipal workers sanitize the areas surrounding the Giza pyramids complex in hopes of curbing the outbreak in Egypt last week.Nariman El-Mofty / AP

For the next week until April 10, Egyptians should not "leave the house for any reason...not even to buy bread," health officials in the country said Friday.

This is because "the worst stage will begin soon... and many positive cases will arise and can infect many people, so it is very important to stay home," said Dr. Mahmoud Al-Jaraihi, director of an Egyptian fever hospital.

The Middle East's most populous country has reported almost 1,000 confirmed cases and 66 fatalities.

The warning came after the World Heath Organization said on Thursday that governments in the Middle East need to act fast to limit the spread, after cases rose to nearly 60,000 in the region, almost double from a week earlier.