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

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
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

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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White House: Leaving New York? Quarantine for 14 days.

The White House asked people who have been in New York recently to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they leave the state, which has become an epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.

"To everyone who has left New York over the last few days,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator. “You may have been exposed before you left New York. Like Gov. DeSantis put out today, everyone who is in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered visitors from the tri-state area to self-isolate for two weeks. Birx said if people left a few days ago, they should start the quarantine clock from the point they left the city.

“It’s a very serious situation,” added Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.

Fauci said that 1 in 1000 New Yorkers are infected with the virus and that isolation was required to prevent seeding the rest of the country with outbreaks of the virus.

"What we’re seeing now is that understandably, people want to get out of New York. They’re going to Florida, they’re going to Long Island, they’re going to a different place," he said.

Los Angeles County sheriff urges social distancing at strip clubs

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday that, during the coronavirus pandemic, too many businesses are still not keeping customers and employees at a safe distance from each other — such as at strip clubs.

"From the law enforcement operation, we've received complaints from particular businesses who have not been adhering to the social distancing" orders from the state and county, Villanueva told reporters.

"Chief among them have been gun shops, nightclubs, bars and strip clubs. So we've fanned out. We're making sure that all these businesses are complying."

The sheriff has ordered gun shops to be closed because they're not an essential service.

Photo: Serbian field hospital in fair hall

A Serbian soldier walks through beds set up in one of the halls at the Belgrade Fair to accommodate people suffering from mild symptoms from the coronavirus on Tuesday. Vladimir Zivojinovic / AFP via Getty Images

VA nearly doubles number of tests administered in a day, invites retired medical workers to return

The Department of Veterans Affairs has administered over 2,726 tests for coronavirus nationwide, a jump of 1,202 tests from the number reported just the day before, the VA announced Tuesday.

Of the tests administered, 296 have been positive. The highest concentration of positive cases is in the New Orleans region of Louisiana, where the Louisiana Veterans Health Care System has seen 63 positive cases.

The agency is also now waiving a section of federal law about retired VA workers to make it easier to rehire retired VA health care workers as facilities work to increase staffing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Americans stock up on Campbell's pantry staples

Campbell Soup Company said that demand for its products increased dramatically this month, as Americans stocked up on staples during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company reported soup sales rose 59.3 percent in the last four weeks, ending March 15, compared to a year ago. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers increased 22.7 percent while Prego pasta sauce sales rose by 52.9 percent.

The New Jersey-based company also said that its "meals and beverages" segment saw more sales in a week than for the entire month of March last year. Weekly case orders rose by 366 percent for the week ending March 21. The company said its plant in Richmond, Utah, made more than two million pounds of Goldfish and cookies in the week through March 21. 

Fact checker Snopes says it's overwhelmed by coronavirus misinformation

Fact-checking website Snopes told readers that the “magnitude of misinformation spreading in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming our small team,” and is demanding social media companies Facebook and Google “do more right now to shut down misinformation on their platforms.”

The site said it is scaling back routine content production to focus on coronavirus stories that can provide a “significant impact.” The shift comes weeks after the World Health Organization said that unreliable information circulating on the web is contributing to an “infodemic” worldwide.

“Facebook and Google are absolutely failing their users and the fact checking industry isn't really doing anything about it despite having so much leverage,” Snopes vice president of operations Vinny Green said.

Over 1,000 claims about coronavirus on Google have received fact checks from the company’s verified fact checking network since January.

D.C. mayor announces the district will close all nonessential businesses

ICE detainee tests positive for coronavirus

An immigrant detained at a New Jersey facility operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has tested positive for COVID-19, the agency said Tuesday, marking the first coronavirus case of an ICE detainee.  

The agency said in a statement the individual has been “quarantined and is receiving care" and intake at the Bergen County facility is temporarily suspended

NBC News has previously reported extensive problems with the quality of health care in ICE detention facilities, including the deaths of 24 detainees since the start of the Trump administration.

Earlier Tuesday, the ACLU filed three lawsuits against ICE demanding that vulnerable inmates be released from three different detention centers.  


Biden on Trump's Easter timeline: 'Let's be realistic'

Joe Biden on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s desire to have the country back to business by Easter Sunday — even as the coronavirus pandemic worsens — as unrealistic and “bizarre.”

“I would like to open up the government tomorrow if it were possible,” Biden told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace on “Deadline: White House." “Let’s be realistic.”

“This curve is going up and up and up because we did not act when we should have acted," Biden said. “It just seems, to me, bizarre.”

Public health experts and local and state leaders have cautioned against easing coronavirus restrictions too early, saying it could put an enormous strain on hospitals and lead to even more deaths and economic damage.

Minor, under the age of 18, dies of coronavirus in Los Angeles County

Another four people have died in Los Angeles County from coronavirus, including a minor, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.  

“Tragically, one the people who died was a person under the age of 18," Ferrer said. "A devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages."

Ferrer did not expand on the patient's age or whether they had any underlying conditions, but a press release from the department said the minor was a resident of the city of Lancaster.

Los Angeles County has seen a total of 11 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus. The county has a total of 662 positive cases, including more than 250 that were confirmed in the last two days.

Why science matters in finding coronavirus treatments

In Nebraska, researchers are studying whether an experimental drug, remdesivir, can treat COVID-19, the illness that results from coronavirus infection. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state would begin trials looking at the drug combination hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax.

All told, more than 100 clinical trials of dozens of potential treatments have already begun in multiple countries.

Read more.