Trump ponders return to normal life by Easter as death toll climbs

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Image: New York City Hospital Adds New Protocols And Triage To Address Coronavirus
Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) in set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx on March 24, 2020 in New York.Misha Friedman / Getty Images

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The number of coronavirus cases continued to accelerate in the United States on Tuesday, and early Wednesday Senate leaders announced they had reached a deal on a massive $2 trillion spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak.

The White House coronavirus coordinator asked people who have recently been in New York, where the death toll continues to climb, to quarantine themselves for 14 days, because they may have been exposed before leaving.

President Donald Trump is pushing for the country to get back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, when he said he would like to see churches full of people.

And after growing international pressure, Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo games until next year but said they would happen no later than summer 2021.

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France enters two-month state of emergency

A message reading "I love you but from far" is posted in the windows of an apartment building in Rennes on Tuesday.Damien Meyer / AFP - Getty Images

France will be under a state of health emergency for two months, the French government announced Tuesday. 

The new emergency law, passed by the Senate and the Parliament last week, gives the government special powers to enforce the lockdown, which first began two weeks ago. 

Local officials will determine in each city if a curfew is necessary, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. Health officials said France has confirmed 19,856 cases of coronavirus, more than 2,000 of which are in intensive care, and 860 have died.

The tighter measures rolled out Monday night by Philippe allow residents to leave their homes for only one hour to do only essential tasks, and for physical exercise within 0.6 miles of their residence. They will also need to mark the time they leave home on a special form they need to carry when venturing outside.  

Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.

Abe said Japan and the International Olympic Committee came to an agreement during a phone call with the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, following growing calls for the games to be delayed or canceled because of the concerns around coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese leader said they have agreed that the games would not be canceled and will be held by the summer of 2021, his office said on Twitter.

The Olympics was set to run from July 24 through Aug. 9, and the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.

Read the full story here.

Spanish doctor warns situation in hospitals likely to become 'unsustainable'

A doctor in Spain has warned that unless the number of new coronavirus infections decreases, the situation in Madrid's hospitals will be "almost unsustainable" in a few days. 

"One of the worst shifts I can remember," Miguel Guirao, 27, a Spanish anesthesiologist, wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of his face marked with red lines from his protective mask after a 19-hour shift. "And they said it was like the flu."

Guirao told NBC News that staff at the Hospital Universitario La Paz where he works have "literally just enough" personal protective equipment, but not enough ventilators for patients.

Doctors need to decide which patients can be admitted to their critical care units, taking into account medical history and prognosis. "There is even an age limit: Above it, you do not enter, because there isn't a bed for everyone," explained Guirao. 

Madrid has been the city worst affected by the pandemic in Spain, with a total of 10,575 cases and 1,263 deaths reported in the capital so far, according to officials on Tuesday.  

FEMA to use Defense Production Act for test kits, chief says

FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said Tuesday that his agency planned to use its authorities under the Defense Production Act “to get our hands on” coronavirus test kits. 

“We're going to use it for about 60,000 test kits, and so we're really going to use the allocation portion of the DPA, and again many different levers and options in that,” he said in an interview on CNN. 

Gaynor said that they were also going to insert “DPA language” into contracts for 500 million masks. 

President Donald Trump has come under fire in recent days for not using the powers of the DPA to authorize the mass production of critical supplies.

'Fine line' to balance economy, public health, White House official says

The White House coronavirus response coordinator on Tuesday suggested that "there's a fine line" between balancing the economic needs of Americans and the fight against the pandemic.

Dr. Deborah Birx in an interview on "TODAY" on Tuesday responded to questions about President Donald Trump's assertion at a press conference Monday that the shutdown of many businesses around the country would last weeks, not months. "America will again and soon be open for business," he said.

Birx said officials are carefully evaluating data, including from Italy where after two weeks of a national lockdown the number of deaths has begun to decline.

The question is, Birx said, "Can we be laser-focused rather than generic across the country" in the fight against the spread of virus?

Read the full story here. 

'This is only the beginning,' says New York City mayor

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that "April will be much worse than March" as coronavirus spreads through the city. New York now accounts for 35 percent of all cases across the United States, he said in an appearance on NY1.

"This is only the beginning of a much bigger crisis. I take no joy in saying that, but April will be much worse than March, and I fear that May will be worse than April. We are just beginning on a very difficult road," he said, according to the remarks released by his office.

There are more than 13,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City and 125 people have died, according to city statistics. A state-wide lockdown took effect Monday as authorities rushed to set up thousands of hospital beds.

De Blasio, who has criticized President Donald Trump's response to the outbreak, said on Monday that he had "hopeful" conversations with the White House and had seen some "movement" on getting protective gear and medical support. 

Most of India under lockdown as prime minister set to address nation

People wait for transportation on Monday along the Delhi-Meerut Expressway following a lockdown order by Delhi's government and some districts of Uttar Pradesh.Prakash Singh / AFP - Getty Images

Police enforced lockdowns across large parts of India on Tuesday, with curfews in place in some areas, as domestic air travel was set to end at midnight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepared to address the nation on Tuesday for a second time in a week on the risks that coronavirus poses to the country of 1.3 billion people.

India has already severed international flight links and Indian states have imposed their own lockdowns, suspending train and bus services and ordering traffic off the roads. Health officials have warned that the coronavirus is spreading out of big cities where it first appeared and into smaller towns.

Egypt announces 2-week, night-time curfew

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Egypt has announced a two-week, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for its over 100 million people to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly told a news conference on Tuesday that the 11-hour curfew would go into effect Wednesday across the country and last for two weeks. He says all kinds of transportation will be halted during the curfew.

Egypt, the Arab World most populous country, has 366 confirmed cases and 21 fatalities, including two senior military officers.

Mnuchin, Schumer optimistic on coronavirus stimulus package, say deal is close

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said late Monday that they were nearing a deal on a roughly $2 trillion stimulus package to help American workers and businesses survive the coronavirus outbreak.

"I think we've made a lot of progress," Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill just before midnight after emerging from negotiations. "There's still a couple of open issues, but I think we're very hopeful that this can be closed out (Tuesday)."

Mnuchin said that he and Schumer had consulted with both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Monday about the progress made on the legislation. Though no deal was reached, staff was expected to continue drafting the massive package overnight.

Read the fully story here.