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

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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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Photo: Public shaming for lockdown violators in Nepal

People defying the lockdown in Kathmandu are punished by confinement in a cage on the street Tuesday, the eighth day of the lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

State trooper gives speeding doctor his masks instead of a ticket

When Minnesota State Trooper Brian Schwartz pulled over Sarosh Ashraf Janjua for speeding and saw her license, he asked her what she was doing so far from her home state of Massachusetts. 

She told him she was working as a fill-in cardiologist at a quarantine unit in Duluth, according to a post on Facebook from Janjua and a statement from the Minnesota State Patrol. 

Schwartz scolded Janjua for speeding, she wrote, but instead of a ticket, he gave her a warning and his own supply of five N95 masks.

"This complete stranger, who owed me nothing and is more on the front lines than I am, shared his precious masks with me, without my even asking," the doctor wrote. "We are going to be ok."

Fifteen percent of the NYPD is out sick

Approximately 15 percent of the New York Police Department’s 37,000-member uniformed workforce has called out sick, Commissioner Dermont Shea said in a Q&A on Periscope Tuesday. The number of sick officers continues to increase.

Seventeen members of the NYPD who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered from their illness, Shea said as he took questions from the public. Those officers have since tested negative and are back on the job.

Despite the roughly 5,500 officers out sick, the NYPD is not extending shifts. "Not yet," Shea told reporters. "We have the reserves, we have the contingency plans.”

Cuomo says state is preparing for 'battle' at apex of the curve

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday his state is working to get ahead of the coronavirus because "you don't win by playing catch up."

The state's number of cases has grown to 75,795, including 1,550 deaths — up from 1,218 deaths the previous day. Cuomo warned that these numbers will continue to climb and that the "main battle at the apex" is far from over. 

"We’re still going up the mountain," the governor said. "The main battle is at the top of the mountain, the apex of the curve."

Cuomo emphasized that it is unclear when life will return to normal, and that he did not feel comfortable laying out a timeline. He said the state is operating with five different models and that they say the distance from the apex is between seven and 21 days away. 

"It is not going to be soon," he said, adding that everyone should stay home as much as possible. "If our apex is 14 to 21 days, that’s our apex. You have to come down the other side of the mountain."

Walmart to begin checking temperatures of store employees

Walmart said it will begin taking the temperatures of employees at its U.S. stores and asking them "basic health screening questions" as the company ramps up efforts to keep workers and customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Any store associate who comes to work and has a temperature of at least 100 degrees will be asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. The employee will still be paid for reporting to work.

Walmart said it could take up to three weeks to ship out infrared thermometers to its stores and asked that employees continue to take their temperatures at home in the meantime and to not report to work if they feel ill.

The retail giant also said masks and gloves will be available to workers who want them. 

Biden calls for temporary eviction ban

Joe Biden on Tuesday called for a temporary ban on evictions, citing the growing coronavirus pandemic.

“We have to place a temporary ban on evictions nationwide. No one should be forced out of their home in the middle of a pandemic,” the former vice president tweeted.

While some states and cities have implemented temporary bans and suspensions of evictions due to the economic hardships that the pandemic has caused, the federal government has not. That, in turn, has created additional housing uncertainty for millions of Americans.

Kenyan police under fire for tactics in enforcing early curfew

Violence erupted in Mombasa, Kenya, on Friday after police dispersed large crowds in the city two hours before the country's early curfew time, which was set in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Social media footage verified by NBC News shows police throwing tear gas canisters into the crowd, causing a stampede. Men appearing to wear Kenyan Police uniforms are also seen in the videos beating people on the streets.

Amnesty International and 20 other advocacy groups condemned the violence, calling the incident an "unnecessary and excessive use of force."

The Kenyan Ministry of Health reported 59 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday.

Photo: Delivering oxygen in Italy

A Medigas employee delivers medical oxygen tanks Tuesday to coronavirus patients who are being treated at home in Bergamo, one of the hardest-hit areas in northern Italy. Claudio Furlan / LaPresse via AP

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo says he tested positive

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

He said he has experienced fever, chills and shortness of breath. He added that he plans to host his CNN primetime show from the basement of his home, where he is quarantined.

Gov. Cuomo addressed his brother's diagnosis at his daily briefing Tuesday, saying the broadcast journalist was "gonna be fine."

"He’s young, in good shape, strong — not as strong as he thinks. But he will be fine," the governor said.

911 calls in New York City hit a new record

The volume of 911 calls in New York City continues to hit new records, with 6,527 medical calls Monday, according to the New York Fire Department.

Calls to the FDNY’s Emergency Medical Services have been at record levels for nearly a week, 50 percent or more higher than the normal load each day.

At some points in recent days, the FDNY has had to put “hundreds” of ambulance requests on hold, meaning that lower priority sick calls — calls that are not about heart attacks or trouble breathing — have to wait for ambulances. The FDNY continues to urge New Yorkers to call 911 only in the case of true emergency.

FEMA is sending more than 100 ambulances to help the FDNY EMS respond to medical calls.

Fact check: Is the U.S. really testing more people than other countries?

President Trump has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. is doing more testing than anywhere else. But this claim needs more context.

"We have done more tests, by far, than any country in the world, by far," Trump said during a news conference Monday, in response to a question about the U.S. lagging behind in testing residents "per capita."

It is true that the U.S. has run more tests than any other country. But Trump does not acknowledge that the U.S. is not testing the same share of its population as other countries, a key measure. The White House said Sunday that about 894,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered. In a country of 327 million people, that’s about 1 in 366 people who are getting tested. On Monday, the White House said there had been more than a million tests; that's 1 in 327 people who are getting tested.

South Korea, for instance, has done 410,564 tests as of Tuesday. But South Korea has a population of 51 million people, which means they’re testing a much larger share of the population — one in every 124 people.

Trump argued Monday that the U.S. is a large country and there are areas that wouldn't need ramped-up testing. But even in the hardest hit areas — like New York City — many cannot get tested.