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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Six-year-old 'cystic fibrosis warrior' celebrates recovering from COVID-19

A 6-year-old Tennessee boy who lives with cystic fibrosis survived his battle against COVID-19 after being diagnosed with the disease last month.

“I’m a cystic fibrosis warrior and I beat COVID-19!” Joseph Bostain said in a viral video posted on his mother’s Facebook this week.

Joseph is one of more than 3,000 people in the state of Tennessee who have tested positive for coronavirus.

People with underlying medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, which causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time, are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Sabrina Bostain, Joseph's mother, documented her son's recovery in a series of Facebook posts as Joseph spent weeks quarantined at home after coming down with a fever and cough. He also spent time in a hospital.

In the video announcing his recovery, Joseph thanked everyone who prayed for him and sent him cards and gifts as he was battling the coronavirus. 

Puerto Rico discovers protective supply cache amid COVID-19

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The suspected mismanagement of essential supplies during Hurricane Maria turned out to be a boon for Puerto Rico as it fights a rise in coronavirus cases.

Health Secretary Lorenzo González said Saturday that officials discovered a cache of urgently needed personal protective equipment at a hospital in the nearby island of Vieques that remains closed since the Category 4 storm hit the U.S. territory in September 2017.

He said the equipment includes face masks, gloves, gowns and face shields that were in good condition and would be distributed to health institutions.

Puerto Rico has reported 18 deaths related to COVID-19, including that of a nurse, and more than 450 confirmed cases, including several police officers who join health workers in demanding more personal protective equipment.

The discovery in Vieques outraged many on an island still struggling to recover from Maria and from a series of strong earthquakes that hit Puerto Rico’s southern region in recent months. González said he has ordered an investigation into why those supplies were abandoned in Vieques.

New Jersey has nearly 850 deaths, a hundred more than from the 9/11 attacks

New Jersey has lost nearly 100 more residents to the coronavirus pandemic than it did in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the governor said Saturday at a news conference. 

Over the last 24 hours, 200 people in the state have died from the virus, bringing the total number of deaths to 846. In the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, New Jersey lost 750 of its residents. 

"We have now lost nearly 100 more of our fellow New Jerseyans to COVID-19 than we did on the September 11th attacks," Gov. Phil Murphy said. "This pandemic is writing one of the greatest tragedies in our state's history and just as we have committed to never forgetting those lost on 9/11, we must commit to never forgetting those we are losing to this pandemic." 

The governor then held a brief moment of silence. 

New Jersey, the second worst-hit state in the pandemic, now has 34,124 confirmed cases of coronavirus. 

Murphy also announced that he and State Police Col. Patrick Callahan are giving towns and counties the ability to ban rentals to seasonal tenants and transient guests flocking to the state to escape the pandemic. 

"Social distancing does not work by relocating to the Shore," the governor tweeted

Nearly 3,000 firefighters and EMTs out sick in NYC, but over 100 have returned to work

Nearly 3,000 of New York City's firefighters and Emergency Medical Services workers are still out sick.

But a senior fire department official told NBC News that well over 100 employees who were ill with coronavirus or related symptoms have returned to working on the front lines. That includes EMTs, firefighters and civilians, who are helping to replenish the ranks.

Among those on sick leave are nearly one in four of the city's EMS members.

As of Saturday, 426 members of the city's fire department have tested positive for coronavirus, a department official said. 

Stranded Coral Princess cruise ship with coronavirus patients docks in Florida

The Coral Princess cruise ship, which has at least 12 people with coronavirus on board, arrived at Port Miami on Saturday morning after initially being blocked from docking after the U.S. Coast Guard determined the ship lacked a plan for disembarking.

The ship has 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members.

Negin Kamali, public relations director of Princess Cruises, said in a statement to NBC News that "disembarkation for guests who are fit to fly is anticipated to begin on Sunday, April 5. These guests will transfer direct from the ship to Miami International Airport for flights home."

Patricia Abril, press secretary for the Miami-Dade mayor, told NBC News in a statement that two patients in critical condition were taken to a hospital in Hialeah while at least nine others were expected to go to a hospital in Orlando.

Sixty Florida residents will be taken to their homes, and 336 other passengers will be transported home on domestic flights. The remaining passengers, who are British and Australian, will be put on charter flights to London and Los Angeles.

"Timing for all this is being managed by the cruise line," said Abril.

NYC landlord waives April rent for 200 tenants

Mario Salerno, a landlord in New York, has forgiven the rent of all 200 tenants in his building for the month of April.NBC New York

Mario Salerno, a New York City landlord who owns roughly 80 apartments in Brooklyn, told his 200 tenants that they would not have to pay rent for the month of April. 

He told NBC New York that he waived the rent after some of his tenants told him that they were worried about making their payment because they lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I want everybody to be healthy. That's the whole thing," Salerno, 59, said. 

Read the full story here.

Queen Elizabeth to give rare televised address about the coronavirus

Queen Elizabeth after recording her annual Christmas Day message at Windsor Castle in England on Dec. 23, 2019.Steve Parsons / AFP - Getty Images file

Queen Elizabeth II will give a rare televised address on Sunday night to address the coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

It will be the fourth time the Queen has made a special broadcast. The Palace said the speech was recorded at Windsor Castle and will broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. 

The only other times the Queen has made a televised address were following the 2002 death of the Queen Mother, ahead of Princess Diana's funeral in 1997, and one about the First Gulf War in 1991.

Read the full story here.

N.Y. getting 1,000 ventilators from China as state gears up for peak cases in 4 to 8 days

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is getting a donation of 1,000 ventilators from China and another 140 from the state of Oregon.

The news comes as the state gears up for its peak in coronavirus cases, which the governor said is expected in four to eight days.

"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."

Cuomo said New York has been stymied in its effort to get an order of 17,000 ventilators.

He also said that the Jacob Javits Convention Center, which has been converted into a 2,500-bed hospital, has begun to receive COVID-19 patients. 

Trump says he will ask Congress for more money for small businesses

President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that he would ask Congress for more money for small business loans if the money already allocated runs out. 

 

The rollout of the small business coronavirus relief funds has been off to a shaky start since it opened on Friday. Many small business owners reported the website crashing and banks were unclear of the guidelines and reported being overwhelmed with demand. 

Any additional funds would likely have to wait. Congress is currently on recess and is not expected to return until April 20. Lawmakers have indicated that they will not be considering any new legislation before then.  

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.