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Americans warned that as many as 240,000 may die

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
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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Louisiana pastor charged with defying coronavirus order against large gatherings

A Louisiana pastor who continues to flout a ban on large gatherings was issued a summons from police for violating the governor's executive order.

The pastor, Mark Anthony Spell, who goes by Tony Spell, of Life Tabernacle Church, told NBC News in a brief phone interview Tuesday afternoon that police had visited his home and gave him a summons for the six services he has held since March 16 when Gov. John Bel Edwards announced an order against gatherings of more than 50 people.

"Mr. Spell made his intentions to continue to violate the law clear," Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran said. "Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion."

Read the full story here.

25,000 healthcare professionals volunteer to help California combat coronavirus

More than 25,000 retired doctors, medical and nursing students and more signed up within 24 hours for a California effort to boost ranks of healthcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

The state is working frantically to confirm the licenses and qualifications for those who signed up for the California Health Corps program.

"I've never been more damn inspired in my life," Newsom told reporters. "To see that number, just 25,000 yesterday alone, of professionals that are willing to come out of retirement to put their lives back on the line knowing the PPE (personal protective equipment) may not be there when they go back out in the field?" 


Wall Street just ended one of the worst quarters in stock market history

Wall Street just ended one of the worst quarters in stock market history, with all three major averages reflecting the devastating economic impact of the pandemic that has ground global activity almost to a halt.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by just over 400 points by the closing bell on Tuesday, a quarterly loss of 22 percent for the blue-chip index and its worst Q1 performance ever.

The S&P 500 ended the day lower by around 1.85 percent, its worst first quarter since 1938, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed down by just under 1 percent.

Investor sentiment was further dampened Tuesday by newly released consumer confidence data that reflected a nosedive in spending, but economists said the worst was yet to come.

Read the full story here.

Captain of U.S. aircraft carrier begs Navy for help with coronavirus outbreak on ship

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the Philippine Sea on March 18, 2020.Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas V. Huynh / U.S. Navy

The commanding officer of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sent a letter to the Navy on Monday begging for help addressing the coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship, which has nearly 5,000 people on board and was forced to dock in Guam last week.

As first reported in The San Francisco Chronicle, Capt. Brett Crozier said his crew members need to be placed in isolation to prevent further spread of COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

In a statement, the Navy said Crozier wanted help with “continuing challenges in isolating the virus."

"The ship’s commanding officer advocated for housing more members of the crew in facilities that allow for better isolation. Navy leadership is moving quickly to take all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt, and is pursuing options to address the concerns raised by the commanding officer.”

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.