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Trump extends social distancing guidelines as governors warn of shortages

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A stamp seller shows off special postcards with anti-coronavirus images in Hanoi, Vietnam March 31, 2020.
A stamp seller shows off special postcards with anti-coronavirus images in Hanoi, Vietnam March 31, 2020.Kham / Reuters

President Donald Trump announced Sunday that he's extending his administration's guidelines on social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak until April 30. The move marks a significant change for the president, who said last week that he wanted to see much of the country return to normal by Easter, April 12, despite warnings from top health experts that easing guidelines could cause widespread death and economic damage.

Meanwhile, in an interview with "TODAY" on Monday morning, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said she's "very worried" about every city in the U.S., saying 100,000 to 200,000 American deaths would be the outcome of a response that works "almost perfectly," according to projections.

Birx's stark message comes after a weekend where the governors of Michigan and Louisiana warned of a lack of resources to respond to the crisis and said that shortages of ventilators and protective equipment could overwhelm hospitals as soon as this week.

The global death toll is now nearly 35,000, and there are more than 140,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

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FBI warns video conference users to watch out for 'Zoom-bombing'

A sign for Zoom Video Communications ahead of its Nasdaq IPO in New York on April 18, 2019.Mark Lennihan / AP file

Use of Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms has soared during the coronavirus outbreak, and now the FBI in Boston is warning users to watch out for “Zoom-bombing,” in which hijackers disrupt Zoom sessions with pornography, profanity and hate.

The FBI says two schools in Massachusetts were “Zoom bombed,” with one hijacker yelling profanity and another displaying swastika tattoos.

To avoid such incidents, the bureau recommends requiring a password or using Zoom’s waiting room feature to screen guests, and never making teleconference links available on public social media posts.  Users can also set the screensharing option to “Host Only.”

Wall Street rallies on hopes vaccine and shutdown extension will limit economic damage

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Monday 690 points higher, while the S&P gained around 3.3 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ticked up by around 3.6 percent, after Amazon, Microsoft, and other sector leaders performed well throughout the day. 

Pharmaceutical companies saw some of the day's largest stock gains, on news that there could be a vaccine for coronavirus.

However, all three major averages are likely facing a volatile week, with a raft of economic data set to be released, including the consumer confidence index on Tuesday, weekly jobless claims on Thursday, and the monthly unemployment numbers on Friday.

The first three months of 2020 are still on track be the worst performing quarter since 2008.

Abortion rights groups sue over states suspending procedure

A coalition of reproductive rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights, are taking legal action in four states over abortion access during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that now is the time to make abortion more accessible, not less. 

“Abortion is essential, reproductive health is essential and this is time sensitive care,” Johnson said. “Right now people are just trying to survive this crisis. Women are just trying to survive this crises and politicians are trying to take away their health care.”

The lawsuits were filed in Alabama, Iowa, Ohio and Oklahoma after officials suspended abortions, saying they were nonessential medical procedures.

Rep. Velazquez presumed positive, was near Pelosi and on House floor

Rep. Nydia Velazquez said Monday she's been "diagnosed with presumed coronavirus infection," three days after she spoke on the House floor and stood near 80-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the signing of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.

In a statement, the Democrat from New York said she first started feeling sick "in the wee hours of Sunday morning."

Read the full story here. 

Florida pastor arrested after holding church services despite coronavirus orders

Sheriff's deputies on Monday arrested the head of a Florida church, accusing him of ignoring local orders against mass gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic and showing "reckless disregard for human life," authorities said.

The River at Tampa Bay church held services over the weekend, and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said he had no choice but to take action against the pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne.

Read the full story here.

San Francisco staying at home until at least May 1

San Francisco's mayor said the city's stay-at-home order would be extended until at least May 1.

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Photo: Protesters block traffic to call for prisoner release in Philadelphia

A protester calls for officials to release people from jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers in response to the coronavirus, as he and others block traffic Monday outside City Hall in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke / AP

Virginia issues stay at home order as cases top 1,000

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday issued a stay at home order for the state's 8.5 million residents as the state's coronavirus case count topped 1,000

Residents must stay where they live unless they are going out for food, supplies, work, medical care or to get fresh air or exercise, Northam said during a news conference. 

Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, the governor said.

"If you can work remotely, you need to do so, and companies need to allow that," he added. 

Biden defends visibility amid coronavirus pandemic

Joe Biden, in an interview with MSNBC Monday, defended himself from criticism that he’s not been sufficiently visible as the 2020 Democratic front-runner amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.

“The best I can do from my position is to lay out what I think should be done, how to do it,” Biden said, in response to a question about whether he was making himself “visible enough.” “When it is not being done, say why.”

Before launching a more robust virtual campaign, Biden had faced growing questions about his lack of a national presence during the ongoing outbreak.

The former vice president, asked during his interview whether Trump was doing anything right during this emergency, praised the president for resuming the frequent appearances of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Biden, however, ended the interview by making a joke that addressed the criticism of his whereabouts.

“Thanks for giving me the time. So they don’t wonder where I am,” he said.

Gannett, publisher of USA Today and other newspapers, is temporarily slashing salaries

Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper publisher by print circulation, is cutting editorial salaries, the company announced Monday.

"We expect our revenue to decline considerably during this period and we need to address this situation head on. By choosing a collective sacrifice, we can keep our staff intact, reduce our cost structure, deliver for our readers and clients and be ready to emerge strong and with opportunity to grow when this crisis passes," Paul Bascobert, CEO and president of Gannett Media, wrote in a memo to staff.

According to the memo, executives will be taking a 25 percent pay cut, and some journalists will be asked to give up one week of salary per month. Bascobert said he will not draw any salary until the pay reductions are reversed. 

Gannett, whose titles include USA Today and The Des Moines Register, recently merged with New Media Investment Group and promised cutbacks even before the devastating effects of coronavirus on the advertising economy. It had previously targeted $300 million in cost cuts in 2020.