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

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

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.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 31 Coronavirus news.

NCAA to give spring sport athletes extra year of eligibility

The NCAA will permit Division I spring-sport athletes — such as baseball, softball and lacrosse players — who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus pandemic to have an additional year of eligibility.

The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to give spring-sport athletes regardless of their year in school a way to get back the season they lost, but it did not guarantee financial aid to the current crop of seniors if they return to play next year.

Winter sports, such as basketball and hockey, were not included in the decision because many athletes in those sports had completed all or most of their regular seasons, the council decided.

Trump approves disaster declaration for Rhode Island

President Donald Trump on Monday approved a disaster declaration for Rhode Island amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

More than 400 people in the state have been infected and at least four people have died, according to the state's department of health

The president previously declared disasters in a number of other states, including New York, California, Washington, Louisiana and Florida. 

FDA authorizes use of antimalarial drugs for coronavirus treatment

According to the FDA, anecdotal reports suggest that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine may offer some benefit for patients in serious condition. 

More than 138 more deaths in New York City in 24 hours

Medical workers outside at Elmhurst Hospital Center in the Queens borough of New York on March 26, 2020.Angela Weiss / AFP - Getty Images

Since Sunday evening, 138 more people have died in New York City as a result of coronavirus, for a total of 914 deaths as a result of the outbreak in the city, according to the NYC Department of Health.

There are now 38,807 New Yorkers who have tested positive for the virus. To date, 20 percent of all cases have resulted in some type of hospitalization, a total of 7,741. Half have been of people age 75 or older.


Judges block abortion bans, ordered as part of coronavirus response, in Texas and Ohio

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, on March 29, 2020.Tom Fox / The Dallas Morning News/Pool via AP

Judges in Texas and Ohio have temporarily blocked abortion bans that were included as part of those states' response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week ordered doctors to postpone procedures that were not medically necessary, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton added that the order includes "any type of abortion." Abbott's order came just two days after the Ohio Attorney General David Yost ordered clinics to stop abortions in order to preserve personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. 

Federal Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin said in his decision Monday that the Texas order was too broad and violated the constitutional guarantee of a woman's right to choose.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the legal challenge to halt the ban, celebrated the Ohio decision by a federal court on Monday.

"Abortion is essential, time-sensitive health care — and it will continue in Ohio," the organization said.

Brooklyn man arrested for allegedly coughing on FBI agents, selling marked-up medical gear

A Brooklyn man has been busted for allegedly assaulting FBI agents with a potentially deadly weapon — a cough.

Baruch Feldheim claimed he had the coronavirus and “allegedly coughed in their direction” when FBI agents busted him Sunday in the New York City borough on suspicion of peddling surgical masks, respirators and other badly-needed medical supplies at “an approximately 700 percent markup,” according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey.

Feldheim, 43, was charged with assaulting a federal officer and making false statements to law enforcement.


Pentagon announces first coronavirus death of U.S. service member

The Pentagon announced on Monday the death of a New Jersey National Guardsman from COVID-19 complications, marking the first coronavirus fatality of a U.S. service member.

In a statement, the Department of Defense said the guardsman, who died Saturday, tested positive for the virus and had been hospitalized since March 21.

The guardsman was identified as Douglas Linn Hickok by his daughter, Shandrea Hickok. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Hickok was a drilling guardsman and physician’s assistant.

Number of long-term care facilities with cases tops 400 nationwide

Medical officials aid a resident from St. Joseph's nursing home to evacuate and board a bus, after a number of residents tested positive for coronavirus disease in Woodbridge, New Jersey on March 25, 2020.Stefan Jeremiah / Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control said Monday that more than 400 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the U.S. have coronavirus cases, a 172 percent rise since Monday, March 23.

Signs from multiple states point to a rapid increase in cases in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. 

In fact, NBC News counted nearly 300 in just 3 states and 1 county that reported their own totals.

Read the full story here. 

Prisoners in New York City jails sound alarm as coronavirus spreads

Jorge Colombo / for NBC News

Inmates in New York City's jails say they feel a growing dread as the coronavirus spreads among both prisoners and guards. So far, 167 inmates and 114 Department of Correction staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I fear for my life,” said Tyrell, 30, who is being held at Rikers Island on a parole violation. “I don’t want to catch coronavirus. I came here healthy and I don’t want to leave here with it.”

The COVID-19 outbreak at Rikers Island and other New York jails shows how quickly the disease may spread in lockups around the country, experts and advocates said. 

Read the full story here. 

Are masks 'going out the back door' of NYC hospitals, as Trump suggests?

President Trump has repeatedly questioned the rate at which a hospital in New York is using medical supplies, suggesting that theft was why the unnamed facility needs 300,000 masks a week.

“There’s only a couple of things that could happen — is it going out the back door? And I’ve reported it to the city and let the city take a look at it. But when you go to 10,000 masks to 300,000 masks... there’s something going on," Trump said.

But there's no evidence for this — and New York officials say they don't know what the president is talking about, either.

Read the full story here.