Global coronavirus cases top 500,000 as U.S. passes China
The United States is leading the world in the number of coronavirus cases as of Friday with 85,707 people sick, according to tracking by NBC News — a toll that surpasses the caseload in China where the pandemic ignited in December.
The number of deaths has also risen to 1,268, with New York being the worst hit, accounting for 433 of those killed by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has soared to 533,416 with the death toll reaching 24,082 as of 4:15 am ET, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
France's Macron says he and Trump are preparing coronavirus initiative
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted late Thursday that he had a "very good discussion" with President Donald Trump, and that they "are preparing with other countries a new strong initiative in the coming days."
The tweet didn't give further details on the initiative.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned residents Friday that "we are settling in a crisis that will hold." He added that the epidemic will soon hit Paris and the surrounding region.
France's initial 15-day lockdown period is set to end Saturday. Philippe said he would hold a press conference Saturday to announce the country's strategy and plans going forward. The president of the French Hospital Federation warned that some Paris hospitals would soon reach capacity, and called for the transfer of patients to less affected regions.
Very good discussion with @realDonaldTrump. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are preparing with other countries a new strong initiative in the coming days.
At least 44 health workers in Italy have died from coronavirus
At least 44 health workers in Italy have died of the coronavirus as of Friday and the number is rising rapidly, according to the Italian Federation of Doctors.
The huge number of infections — now over 80,000 across the country — has overwhelmed hospitals particularly in the region of Lombardy. More than 8,000 people have died in Italy.
Health workers across the country have taken selfies of their faces, bruised from constantly wearing the personal protective equipment they need to protect themselves.
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Reuters and Isobel van Hagen
1d ago / 10:13 AM UTC
Britons coughing at emergency workers could face jail
Anyone claiming to have coronavirus who deliberately coughs at emergency workers faces being jailed for two years, Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill said on Thursday.
Hill said he was “appalled” there had been reports in recent days of people deliberately coughing in the faces of police, other emergency workers and shop staff by people claiming to have COVID-19 infections. Those responsible could face charges of common assault he said.
On Friday, the London Metropolitan Police Service called on retired officers — as well as those nearing retirement — to consider returning to or staying on the force, as the city tries to cope with the virus outbreak.
The British government announced a three-week lockdown on Monday, as the virus infected more than 11,000 people in the country as of Friday.
Along with the applause, buildings across the country were lit up with blue lights in tribute to those working within the NHS and emergency services. One paramedic team was driving their ambulance down a residential street at the time of the applause, and flashed their lights in appreciation, while in Yeovil Hospital ICU doctors took time to applaud their colleagues.
The British government announced a three-week lockdown on Monday intended to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 11,000 people and killed 578.
— London Ambulance Service #StayHomeSaveLives (@Ldn_Ambulance) March 26, 2020
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1d ago / 8:43 AM UTC
Mexican zoo names new baby tiger 'Covid'
The birth of a baby tiger called "Covid" has brought a glimmer of hope to a private zoo in eastern Mexico, even as normal life slows down to contain the deadly coronavirus that inspired his name.
Named by the family that owns the zoo, Bengal tiger Covid was born on March 14 in the city of Cordoba in a small zoo that specializes in rescuing animals from circuses and exotic private collections.
"He's going to have a big impact because the situation right now is difficult for everyone, even for us," Kitzia Rodriguez, daughter of the zoo owner and a vet there, told Reuters. "But I think the birth, in spite of the situation, will help us and gives us hope to carry on, so we can have visitors. Covid was a gift."
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1d ago / 8:29 AM UTC
In Tokyo, face masks are a must-wear for commuters
President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that he had a "very good conversation" with China's President Xi Jinping, and that the two leaders discussed the coronavirus pandemic and are working closely together.
Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!
State-run Xinhua reported that the two leaders had spoken.
Trump has repeatedly called the coronavirus the "Chinese virus," even though the World Health Organization in 2015 said that diseases should not be named based on geographic locations. The outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Trump this week seemed to back off from the term. Trump was asked about the change in language Thursday and said that the virus did come from China but "I think it was time" and that "I don't have to say it, if they feel so strongly about it."
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1d ago / 7:16 AM UTC
Montana governor latest to tell residents to stay home to slow spread of virus
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home directive Thursday, which his office says requires residents to remain in their homes as much as possible and for nonessential businesses to temporarily close in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Montana has 90 cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19, many of them in Gallatin and Yellowstone counties, which is where Bozeman and Billings are located, respectively. The order goes into effect Saturday.
Bullock also announced Thursday that the state has seen its first death related to the illness.
Like other orders around the country, essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open and residents are allowed to leave to go shopping, take walks or other outdoor exercise or to walk dogs, and to care for loved ones, among other activities.
I’m heartbroken to learn of Montana’s first death due to COVID-19. Montana truly is one big small town – this news hits us hard, but we’re in this together. My family and I send our love and support to the family, friends, and community of our fellow Montanan.