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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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Judge revives Texas abortion ban ordered in response to coronavirus

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton holds a joint press conference on February 18, 2015 with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc / Corbis via Getty Images file

A  Texas ban on abortions during the coronavirus pandemic is back on,  at least for now. 

By a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday granted a request from Texas to put the ban back in place while an appeal moves forward.

The ban was halted by federal Judge Lee Yeakel on Monday, who said the order was too broad and violated the constitutional guarantee of a woman's right to choose.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week ordered doctors to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary. Attorney General Ken Paxton then said that would include "any type of abortion."

3 employees at same Massachusetts UPS facility test positive

A UPS driver unloads packages from a truck in Chicago in 2019.Christopher Dilts / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Three employees at a large UPS facility in the greater Boston area have tested positive for the coronavirus and two dozen more have been quarantined on a doctor’s orders, according to their union, Teamsters Local 25.

A UPS spokesperson would not confirm or deny the assertion, or answer questions about infected employees at any UPS location. The spokesperson told NBC News that the company is “not confirming employee cases for employee privacy reasons,” and that information about any cases that need to be disclosed for public health reasons will come from government authorities.

Read the full story here.

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'Schitt's Creek' cast uses lead up to series finale for coronavirus fundraiser on Instagram

The cast of "Schitt's Creek" will be hosting a series of Instagram Live events in the week leading up to the show's series finale to raise money for Feeding America and Food Banks Canada. 

Actor and "Schitt's Creek" co-creator Dan Levy announced on Tuesday that the cast wanted to share the love they've been shown over the years in an effort to help those who might need help feeding their families during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Beginning Tuesday night, the cast will be livestreaming every night until the show's series finale on April 7.

"And all we ask is that if you join the Instagram Live, that maybe you consider donating small or big," Levy said. "I know this is a tough time financially for a lot of people, so if you can't donate that's OK too." The cast's GoFundMe campaign raised more than $2,000 in the first 20 minutes after Levy's post. 

Pennsylvania food bank sees spike in those needing assistance during pandemic

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank told NBC News it's filling a growing demand for food assistance for Americans with drive-up distributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are responding now during the crisis and since it’s an ever-changing and ongoing situation, we’re adjusting to this crisis on the fly,” said Brian Gulish, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne.

Over 5,109 cars were served two boxes of food, including canned goods like soup and vegetables along with rice and pasta and frozen meat through four distribution sites in the last two weeks. 

“We have staff that are packing food at double shifts every day,” he said.

ANALYSIS: Trump's war between the states creates eBay-like fight for supplies

President Trump says he's a "wartime president" in the coronavirus era. In fighting that battle, he has spurred wars between and with the states over lifesaving medical equipment.

The brutal competition for everything from ventilators to masks to personal protective equipment comes at a time when scarcity provides lucrative business opportunities in the private sector and power to the deep-pocketed federal government, but puts states and cities at risk of helplessly watching their health systems become overwhelmed and their citizens die.

"It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator," a frustrated New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, adding that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's bids are pushing the cost of medical supplies higher.

Read more about the fight for supplies here

Air travel in the U.S. has cratered because of coronavirus

A woman wears protective equipment (PPE) at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on March 20, 2020.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

The TSA processed just 154,080 air travelers Monday at U.S. airports, which it says is the lowest total in the 10 years it has been keeping records.

The number has fallen nearly 90 percent from Monday, March 16, when it was 1,257,823, and is less than half the Monday, March 23 total of 331,431.

On the same day one year ago, March 30,  2019, TSA screened 2,360,053 passengers.  

The TSA also says that 57 screening officers have tested positive for COVID-19.

28 University of Texas spring breakers test positive for coronavirus

A woman runs up a hill in Austin, Texas on March 25, 2020.Eric Gay / AP

28 University of Texas Austin spring breakers tested positive for coronavirus following a spring break trip to Mexico, Austin public health officials said on Tuesday.

A group of 70 young adults traveled together on a chartered plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, about a week and a half ago, the Austin Public Health Department said in a statement. Now, many have COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, and "dozens more are under public health investigation.”

City officials said that four of the confirmed cases showed no symptoms and that they have launched an investigation into the the entire cluster.

Read the full story here.

‘I hate COVID-19’: Kids with disabilities struggle to adjust as schools close

JoAnna Van Brusselen with her 11-year-old daughter, Iolani.JoAnna Van Brusselen

Children who receive special education services because of their disabilities are particularly vulnerable as schools shut down and turn to remote learning, experts say. 

In San Francisco,  JoAnna Van Brusselen is concerned about her 11-year-old daughter, Iolani, who usually works with two teachers, three instructional aides and seven therapists. Iolani quickly got frustrated about being cooped up at home and unable to go to school, and her mother is terrified that her daughter’s progress will evaporate.

“I’m not a therapist; I’m not a nurse,” Van Brusselen said. “I’m just a mom.”

Read the full story here. 

OPINION: What Trump and the media are getting wrong about coronavirus

A few days ago, a good friend of mine, the brilliant John Barry, called me giddy about his op-ed in the New York Times illustrating the historical bridges between the COVID-19 crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu. The op-ed was excellent, a singularly informative read. Too bad the people who need to read it never will.

My logic is simple: We are at war and in this war it does not matter how many informed people we can reach, it only matters how many uninformed Americans we can reach before it is too late.

The media is doing a great job, generally, offering insightful coverage. President Donald Trump, on the other end of the spectrum, is holding near-daily press conferences where he mixes fact, fiction and hyperbole. Increasingly, people are arguing that the media should stop carrying these press conferences live because they are so often filled with misinformation. This debate, while understandable, misses the forest for the trees. How many Americans do you know — who aren’t journalists — tune in to White House briefings in the middle of the day?

Read the full THINK piece here.

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