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Americans warned that as many as 240,000 may die

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
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Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns stand outside Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York on March 31, 2020.John Minchillo / AP

As many as 240,000 people in the U.S. could die from COVID-19 — and that’s only with strict social distancing measures in place, one of the government’s top doctors warned Tuesday.

Dr. Deborah Birx, Vice President Mike Pence’s coronavirus response coordinator, said that between 1.5 and 2.2 million could die without the intervention.

Already, the death toll in the United States has surpassed the number of people killed on Sept. 11, 2001. According to NBC News’ tally, the disease has killed 3,768 people and infected more than 185,000.

The numbers continued to rise as Wall Street ended one of its worst quarters in history. The Dow Jones was down by 400 points — a quarterly loss of 22 percent — while the S&P 500 recorded its worst three months since 1938. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, closed down at just under 1 percent.

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910d ago / 12:10 PM UTC
910d ago / 12:05 PM UTC

African health care systems could collapse under added weight of pandemic, ICRC warns

Health care systems across Africa could collapse under the added weight of the new coronavirus pandemic, the International Committee of the Red Cross has warned.  

So far, Africa has been the continent least affected by the contagious virus. However, if measures to contain the virus are not taken immediately it could be devastating for the continent’s people, Patrick Youssef, the ICRC’s incoming regional director for Africa, has warned. 

Many African countries have closed their borders and introduced curfews and confinement rules, but some conflicts are continuing unabated, already straining nations’ health care systems with some even destroyed, the group added. 

910d ago / 11:41 AM UTC
910d ago / 11:32 AM UTC

Mayor Bill De Blasio on TODAY: Worst is yet to come in NYC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the worst is yet to come in his city and it could potentially continue into May. 

“We have to look at this pattern and conclude that the worst is certainly in the next few weeks, minimum. I could see it going into May," De Blasio said in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on the "TODAY" show.

De Blasio said that he has a very blunt projection for what will happen as the crisis worsens. 

"We have about 20,000 hospital beds in all of New York City — that's where we were, say, the beginning of this month, normal times. We project the potential that all of those beds, all 20,000, will have to be turned into intensive care beds to focus on COVID-19 patients who are really really sick," he said.

910d ago / 11:21 AM UTC

Pope Francis prays for the homeless amid coronavirus pandemic

Image: Pope Francis celebrates the morning mass at the Santa Marta Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday.
Pope Francis celebrates the morning mass at the Santa Marta Chapel in the Vatican on Tuesday.Vatican Media / AFP - Getty Images

Pope Francis on Tuesday asked during his morning mass for the faithful to pray for the homeless who don't have place to stay at a moment when people are being told to stay at home to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

"In this moment when everyone is supposed to be at home, may society help them and may the Church welcome them," he tweeted on Tuesday.

The death toll in Italy, which has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, reached 11,591 on Monday. 

910d ago / 11:09 AM UTC

Spanish cases soar by more than 9,000 in 24 hours

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The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Spain soared soared Tuesday, increasing by more than 9,000 in the last 24 hours, according to the country's Ministry of Health. The total number of cases now stands at more than 94,000.

Spain also recorded 849 new coronavirus deaths in the past day, the highest number since the pandemic hit the country, according to the Associated Press. The total death toll from coronavirus in the country now stands at 8,189 people, according to the Spanish health ministry. 

Italy and Spain account for more than half of the nearly 38,000 COVID-19 deaths worldwide, and the United States has the most confirmed cases in the world at more than 160,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. However, due to differences in testing strategies between countries, it can be difficult to compare the outbreak country-by-country.

Spanish authorities were quick to stress that there were positive trends too. The percentage increase in the number of cases has declined from 20 to 12 percent, said María José Sierra of Spain’s emergency coordination center. Sierra said the increase in new cases over the past 24 hours was due to an “accumulation of cases” over the weekend that weren’t reported on Monday night.

 

 

910d ago / 10:53 AM UTC

Robot helps German shoppers follow coronavirus guidance

910d ago / 10:47 AM UTC

Gov. Pritzker: White House sent 300,000 of the wrong masks to Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that the federal government sent the wrong kind of medical masks to his state in the latest shipment of personal protective equipment. 

Pritzker, a Democrat, said at a press conference that the White House had personally told him that the Trump administration would send 300,000 N95 masks to his state. 

"While we do not have a final count on this yet, I can say with certainty that what they sent were not the N95 masks that were promised, but instead were surgical masks, which is not what we asked for," he said. 

"I can't emphasize enough how much we need the federal government to step up and amplify the size of their PPE (personal protective equipment) deliveries to Illinois," said Pritzker.

910d ago / 10:39 AM UTC

How do I get my coronavirus stimulus check ASAP from the IRS?

New information from the IRS on Monday shines more light on what people can do to get the checks from the government as quickly as possible while many families worry about paying the bills and buying food during the coronavirus crisis that has cost millions of people their jobs.

For Americans eligible for stimulus cash under the new relief law, the fastest way to receive it is to make sure they've filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018 with bank information so the government can directly deposit the money.

The IRS says it will use a person's 2019 return to calculate eligibility and automatically send the money to those who qualify. If they haven't filed a 2019 return, it'll be based on the 2018 return.

The agency said it would publish additional information about the new forms soon on irs.gov/coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

910d ago / 10:18 AM UTC

WHO warns COVID-19 epidemic in Asia, Pacific 'far from over'

The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that the COVID-19 epidemic in Asia and the Pacific is “far from over.”

“This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard. We need every country to keep responding according to their local situation,” said WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai.

Takeshi also cautioned that countries still need to prepare for large-scale community transmission.

“We need to be clear that even with all of these measures, the risk will not go away as long as the pandemic continues. Rather, these measures can buy us valuable time to prepare,” he said.

910d ago / 10:08 AM UTC

910d ago / 10:06 AM UTC

Animals roaming deserted towns and cities provide some light relief

Wild animals roaming around deserted towns and cities have provided some distraction from the onslaught of coronavirus updates.

Video clips of goats wandering around the seaside town of Llandudno in north Wales, U.K., have been seen more than a million times in total after they were uploaded by Andrew Stuart, a journalist with the regional newspaper Manchester Evening News.

Elsewhere, a wild boar was apparently spotted in Barcelona, Spain; a town in Poland saw a herd of deer walking around a normally busy town, according to the Krakow Gazette, while a pod of killer whales was spotted near Metro Vancouver's North Shore, CBC reported.

910d ago / 9:27 AM UTC

Barcelona soccer stars take 70% pay cut to guarantee staff wages

Image: A picture of soccer star Lionel Messi is reflected in the Barcelona soccer team's emblem outside the club's Camp Nou stadium before a match on March 7.
A picture of soccer star Lionel Messi is reflected in the Barcelona soccer team's emblem outside the club's Camp Nou stadium before a match on March 7.Albert Gea / Reuters file

Players on Barcelona's famed soccer team said they would take a 70% pay cut to ensure the wages of non-sport staff amid economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The club, which counts mega stars like Lionel Messi in its ranks, said in a statement on Monday that its top players agreed to the reduction in their salaries for the entire duration of the lockdown imposed earlier this month. 

The club said the help from the players will allow them "to guarantee 100% of the wages" of the non-sport related jobs with the club. 

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down much of the sport industry, leaving athletes and teams around the world unable to perform in front of the crowds and cutting into their profits.

910d ago / 9:12 AM UTC

Belarusian leader bucks coronavirus 'psychosis,' plays hockey

While officials from Montreal to Moscow have placed populations under some form of lockdown designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, one man continues to hold firm to the notion that the rest of the world has lost its mind: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

For weeks now, he has downplayed the threat of COVID-19. Instead of preparing his nation for the worst, he has routinely and openly questioned the world’s response to the virus, using the word “psychosis” to describe the global response several times since early March.

Meanwhile, he has made a point of keeping factories, stores, cultural and sporting events open. The Belarusian Health Ministry has reported just 152 cases of the coronavirus. Neighboring Russia reported 1,836 as of Monday.

Read the full story here.

Image: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko plays in an amateur hockey game in Minsk on Saturday.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko plays in an amateur hockey game in Minsk on Saturday.Andrey Pokumeiko / BelTA / via Reuters
910d ago / 8:54 AM UTC

Italy to extend lockdown until Easter, honor victims with moment of silence

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Image: A man reaches into a basket where people can donate or take food in Naples on Monday as Italy struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
A man reaches into a basket where people can donate or take food in Naples on Monday as Italy struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus.Ciro De Luca / Reuters

Italy’s government on Monday said it would extend its nationwide lockdown, due to end on Friday, until at least the Easter season in April.

The death toll has risen by 812 in the last 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said, reversing two days of declines, bringing the total death tally to 11,591.

The number of new cases rose by just 4,050, the lowest increase since March 17, reaching a total of 101,739. However, the decline in the rise of new infections may be partly explained by a reduction in the number of tests, which were the fewest for six days.

On Tuesday, flags will be flown at half mast across Italy and a minute of silence will be observed to commemorate the victims of the coronavirus.

910d ago / 8:37 AM UTC

What steps can help a small business?

910d ago / 8:32 AM UTC

Egypt lights up pyramid and encourages people to stay home

Image: The pyramid of Khufu, the largest of Egypt's Giza pyramid complex, is illuminated with text encouraging people to stay home on Monday.
The pyramid of Khufu, the largest in the Giza pyramid complex, is illuminated on Monday with text encouraging people to stay home as Egypt ramps up its efforts to slow down the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters
910d ago / 8:23 AM UTC

Supermarkets boom in U.K. as shoppers fill their carts

The United Kingdom is in the midst of a supermarket boom as Britons stock up on groceries during the country-wide lockdown. Retail analysis firm Kantar said in a report Tuesday that supermarket sales had grown by more than 20 percent in March to 10.8 billion pounds ($13.3 billion), making it biggest month for sales on record, eclipsing any pre-Christmas period.

In the 12-week period to date, which gives a more reliable snapshot, overall sales were up 7.6 percent — still the fastest growth in a decade. An extra 200 million pounds ($246 million) was spent on alcohol compared to the previous month, Kantar said.

Separate data from market research firm Nielsen said the U.K. spent at extra 1.9 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) on groceries in the four weeks to March 21.

The U.K. has the 8th most cases of Covid-19 in the world with almost 22,500 and more than 1,400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

910d ago / 8:14 AM UTC

France records its highest death toll in a single day

Image: Employees of a funeral company install 15 new burial vaults in a cemetery near Bethune, France on Monday.
Employees of a funeral company install 15 new burial vaults in a cemetery near Bethune, France on Monday. DENIS CHARLET / AFP - Getty Images

France reported 418 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, marking the highest number of deaths in a single day. 

The country’s Director General of Health Jerome Salomon said the total death toll stood at 3,024, making France the fourth country to top 3,000 fatalities after China, Italy and Spain.

The overall number of confirmed cases has risen to 44,550, with 4,276 new cases reported. Salomon said more than 5,000 patients are in critical condition in intensive care. 

He added that France is on course to be performing 20,000 daily tests by the end of the week. 

910d ago / 7:37 AM UTC

Empire State Building celebrates 'heroic emergency workers'

910d ago / 7:29 AM UTC

910d ago / 6:19 AM UTC

China's manufacturing rebounds as virus controls ease

BEIJING — China’s manufacturing rebounded in March as authorities relaxed anti-disease controls and allowed factories to reopen, an official survey showed Tuesday, but an industry group warned the economy has yet to fully recover.

The ruling Communist Party is trying to revive the world’s second-largest economy after declaring victory over the coronavirus even as the United States and other governments shut down businesses.

The purchasing managers’ index issued by the Chinese statistics bureau and the official China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing rose to 52 from February’s record low of 35.7 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing.

The federation and private sector economists cautioned the economy still faces challenges as manufacturers rebuild supply chains and authorities try to prevent a spike in infections as employees stream back to work.

910d ago / 5:30 AM UTC

NYC doctor: Feels like a tsunami is about to hit us

910d ago / 5:27 AM UTC

11 vets die at Massachusetts Soldiers' Home

The superintendent of a veterans facility in Massachusetts was placed on leave Monday, the same day it was reported that 11 residents had died, including at least five who had tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

A state official said that test results are pending for five others who died at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. The status of the 11th person who died was unknown.

Eleven other residents have tested positive as well as five staff members, and an additional 25 veteran residents are awaiting test results. NBC affiliate WWLP of Springfield reported the deaths at the Soldiers' Home earlier Monday.

Read the full story here

910d ago / 4:52 AM UTC

Los Angeles County sheriff reverses decision on closing gun stores

Los Angeles County's sheriff said Monday night that he will no longer seek to have gun stores closed under government orders requiring "non-essential" businesses to be shuttered.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement that the change is due in part to federal guidelines about what are essential critical infrastructure workers. But the move also comes after the National Rifle Association and others sued.

The orders are designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19. Villanueva said his office will investigate reports of any business that is not observing social distancing rules.