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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized

The death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to skyrocket as more than 9,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 as of Sunday afternoon, a day after the U.S. recorded its largest number of deaths in a 24-hour span.

There are now more than 325,000 diagnosed cases in the U.S. and more than 1.2 million around the world. The actual number is believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases, and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Over 68,000 have died across the globe and more than 258,000 people have recovered, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Today’s biggest developments:

US death toll crosses 9,000 as cases exceed 300,000 NYC hospitals may reach total capacity by this week: FEMA report Spain records lowest daily death toll in 8 days Italy reports decrease in ICU patients for 1st time UK prime minister hospitalized for testing

Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

6:50 p.m.: NYC cases near 65,000, deaths approach 2,500

New York City’s Health Department reported Sunday that the city has 64,955 confirmed coronavirus cases, an increase of 4,105 over the last 24 hours, as New York remains the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.

As of Sunday evening the city had 2,472 COVID-19 related fatalities and 14,205 hospitalizations, the Health Department said. The majority of the cases, 21,781, were in Queens, while Manhattan had the fewest number, 9,251, according to the data.

6:21 p.m.: NYPD announces another coronavirus death

The NYPD said that one more of its members has passed away from the coronavirus.

Auxiliary Police Sergeant Angel Leon, who had been with the force for more than 38 years, died on Saturday, the department said. A total of 1,843 uniformed members and 274 civilian members have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the NYPD.

On Saturday, NYPD Detective Cedric Dixon, who also died of the coronavirus, was laid to rest by members of his family. Unlike standard police funerals, which are heavily attended by uniformed personnel, Dixon had only a few members of the force as pall bearers, according to the Detectives Endowment Association.

“Although our beloved Detective Cedric Dixon was laid to rest today solely by his loved ones … we’ll forever be here for Cedric’s family. Thousands will gather after we overcome this pandemic,” the union said in a tweet.

4:38 p.m.: Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for virus

Administrators at New York City’s Bronx Zoo said one of its tigers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, was infected by a zoo employee who was caring for her and other tigers. She was “asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms,” according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the zoo.

The tiger’s sister, Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions all developed a dry cough but were expected to recover, according to administrators.

PHOTO: Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for COVID-19 according to a press release dated April 5, 2020. (WCS)

“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” the WCS said in a statement.

The other tigers living in the zoo’s Tiger Mountain exhibit and the feline animals residing in other sections of the zoo haven’t shown any signs of symptoms, administrators said.

“Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats,” the WCS said.

4:27 p.m.: Boris Johnson hospitalized as COVID-19 symptoms persist

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized as his symptoms from the coronavirus persisted, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus,” the spokesman said in a statement.

PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Thursday, April 2, 2020. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)
PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday’s nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Thursday, April 2, 2020. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)

The office said that Johnson, 55, had a high fever and was admitted to the hospital on the advice of his doctor, not in an emergency. He will remain in contact with other British leaders while he awaits the results of his tests, the spokesman said.

4:06 p.m.: Boston institutes curfew

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced he will be enforcing a curfew for all residents who aren’t nonessential workers starting Monday morning.

The order, which will stay in effect until May 4, recommends that people stay inside between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. in order to prevent the spread of the virus and crowding.

“We have been seeing too many unnecessary trips in the evenings and social distancing problems as people order and wait for their take-out at restaurants,” Walsh said at a news conference.

PHOTO: A block of closed restaurants on a deserted street, April 4, 2020, in Boston.The area is usually busy with tourists, but tourism is nearly non-existent during the coronavirus outbreak (Michael Dwyer/AP)
PHOTO: A block of closed restaurants on a deserted street, April 4, 2020, in Boston.The area is usually busy with tourists, but tourism is nearly non-existent during the coronavirus outbreak (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Several municipalities have issued coronavirus-related curfews including Mobile, Alabama. Walsh said that anyone leaving their home should wear a mask or face-covering.

“If you don’t pay attention to these guidelines, we are not going to have a summer,” he said.

3:54 p.m.: NYC ventilator supply to last until Wednesday at the latest: Mayor

Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City bought some more days with its ventilator supply.

Originally it was projected that the ventilators would be depleted by Sunday night, however the city has 135 ventilators in its stockpile, which would last until “Tuesday or Wednesday,” according to the mayor.

De Blasio pleaded with the federal government to send more ventilators and other resources to New York’s hospitals as soon as possible.

3:05 p.m.: Washington state to send ventilators back to national stockpile

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced he would return 400 ventilators back to the national stockpile to help other states that need them.

“These ventilators are going to New York and others states hardest hit by this virus,” Inslee said in a statement. “I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together.”

The governor said the state recently purchased 750 ventilators, which will arrive in the next few weeks.

3:00 p.m.: Queen Elizabeth makes rare TV address to nation

For the fifth time in her reign, Queen Elizabeth delivered a televised message, reassuring Britons they will get through the pandemic.

In her four and a half minute taped address to the nation, the queen acknowledged the stress and difficulties that the country and the world has faced since the coronavirus pandemic began. However, she said that if they remained “united and resolute,” Britons will overcome the hardships.

“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal,” she said.

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth II addresses the nation and the Commonwealth from Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, April 5, 2020. (Buckingham Palace via AP)
PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth II addresses the nation and the Commonwealth from Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, April 5, 2020. (Buckingham Palace via AP)

Outside of her annual Christmas address, Queen Elizabeth has talked to the nation four other times during her 68 years on the throne: the beginning of the Gulf War, Princess Diana’s death, the death of her mother and her Diamond Jubilee.

The speech included clips of British health workers, first responders and other essential workers who are keeping the country safe. The queen thanked those essential workers for their hard work and emphasized their efforts won’t be forgotten.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” she said.

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

1:32 p.m.: NJ to receive refrigerated trailers as temporary morgues: Report

New Jersey has ordered 20 refrigerator trailers that will act as temporary morgues, according to a report issued by the state, which was reviewed by ABC News.

The order is “to support a strategy to address the surge in bodies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the report.

MORE: Funeral homes face ‘heart-wrenching’ new normal under coronavirus

The trailers will provide space for 1,600 bodies, the report said and five trailers will be delivered on Friday, the report said.

12:54 p.m.: NYC hospitals may reach total capacity by this week: FEMA report

A FEMA report reviewed by ABC News says New York City’s hospitals are expected to be at or near total capacity during the coming week.

As of Saturday afternoon, 30 of the hospitals in the city were at or near ICU bed capacity, according to the report. Officials caution the number has fluctuated from hour-to-hour as patients are admitted, discharged and transferred to other hospitals.

PHOTO: Bodies are moved to a refrigerator truck serving as a temporary morgue outside of Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn, April 4, 2020, in New York. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Bodies are moved to a refrigerator truck serving as a temporary morgue outside of Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn, April 4, 2020, in New York. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)

The temporary hospitals at Javits and USNS Comfort will have substantial beds available, the report said.

12:31 p.m.: UK death toll near 5,000

Health officials in the United Kingdom said 621 people died of coronavirus-related complications over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 4,934.

Matt Hancock, the health minister, said the country’s National Health Service currently has 9,000 ventilators and its target is double that amount. He urged residents to obey social distancing precautions.

“Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,” he said

11:54 a.m.: Italian COVID-19 cases near 129,000

Italian health ministers released updated data on the country’s coronavirus cases, and while there are 128,948 confirmed contractions, they said the numbers show hopeful signs.

The new cases since yesterday were 4,316, which represented a 3.5% growth, the lowest percentage since the pandemic hit Italy. There were 525 new deaths reported in the country, bringing the overall death count to 15,887, according to health officials.

The daily death toll continues to decline each day, health officials said.

11:54 a.m.: Louisiana may run out of ventilators by Thursday: Governor

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned that his state could run out of working ventilators by Thursday and ICU beds by next weekend.

Edwards told CNN’s Jake Tapper that his recent projections are better than last week’s model that showed the ventilators would be used up by Tuesday, because the rate of COVID-19 contractions was declining as more people practice social distancing.

“We hope we can continue a downward trend on the rate of transmission of new cases. That buys us a little more time,” he said.

Edwards reiterated that if more people stay at home, the date for the ventilator shortage would continue to be pushed back, however he said the situation in the state is still serious.

11:30 a.m.: Cuomo says New York state could be ‘near apex’

While the number of deaths in the state of New York rose to 4,100 on Sunday morning, up 594 from the previous day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the numbers suggest the state could be “near the apex” of the crisis.

The majority of the deaths have occurred in New York City, where the number of COVID-19 fatalities surpassed 2,600.

He said the number of daily deaths statewide was down from 630 on Friday.

Cuomo said the total number of hospitalizations in the past 24 hours was also down to 574 from a high just five days ago of 1,412. He said the downward trend was “partially a function of more people being discharged.” He said 75% of the people who have gone into the hospital system have recovered and have been discharged.

“We’re looking at this seriously now because by the data we could be very near the apex or the apex could be a plateau and we could be beyond that plateau right now,” Cuomo said at a news conference Sunday morning. “We won’t know until we see the next few days, does it go up or does go down, that’s what the statisticians will tell you today.”

But he said the state’s health care system is at “overcapacity across the board” and hospital’s risk running out of much-needed supplies in “two, three or four days.”

“That is putting a tremendous amount of stress on the health care system,” Cuomo said. “You’re asking a system to do more than it has ever done before, more than it was designed to do, with less.”

10:45 a.m.: Spain records lowest daily death toll in 8 days

While the death toll in Spain from the coronavirus rose by 674 in a 24-hour span to 12,418 on Sunday, health officials said it was the lowest daily count of virus-linked fatalities the country has seen in eight days.

Spain is second only to Italy in the number of COVID-19 deaths, but the lower number of people who have perished in a single day could suggest the country has reached it apex point. On Thursday, Spanish authorities reported 950 deaths, the highest number of deaths in a single day.

10 a.m.: Pope leads Palm Sunday service in near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica

With a choir practicing social distancing and his aides, a few nuns and prelates spaced out in cavernous St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis led Palm Sunday service, telling young people specifically to “feel called yourselves to put your lives on the line.”

“The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others.  For life is measured by love,” the pontiff said in his homily to kick off the holy week of Easter.

PHOTO: Pope Francis holds a palm branch as he celebrates Palm Sunday Mass behind closed doors in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, April 5, 2020, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection. (Alberto Pizzoli/AP)
PHOTO: Pope Francis holds a palm branch as he celebrates Palm Sunday Mass behind closed doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, April 5, 2020, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection. (Alberto Pizzoli/AP)

Normally, Francis would have addressed his Palm Sunday remarks to the masses clutching olive branches and palm fronds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. But due to Italy’s stringent social distancing rules to blunt the virus that has ravaged the country, a more subdued service was held inside the basilica.

The pope specifically aimed his homily at young people.

“Dear friends, look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others,” Francis said. “Feel called yourselves to put your lives on the line. Do not be afraid to devote your life to God and to others; it pays!”

9 a.m.: First responders get fast-lane service at some grocery stores

In an effort to support those on the front lines in the battle against the pandemic, some grocery stores in New York are creating “express lanes” for first responders.

PSK Market, Foodtown and Pathmark stores have already established the special first-responder lanes and announced they will hand out $100,000 in gift cards to people who work in hospitals.

“After a 12-hour shift, we should get them through the aisles, and let them get what they need,” said Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president who is a former police officer, told ABC station WABC in New York City.

Adams said he hopes the first-responder supermarket “express lanes” will catch on across the state and nation.

“All first responders should simply be brought to the front of the line,” says Adams.

8:30 a.m.: Joe Biden offers again to speak with President Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nominee, said on Sunday that President Donald Trump has yet to take him up on his offer to have a phone conversation about the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at an event in Wilmington, Del., March 12, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters, FILE)
PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at an event in Wilmington, Del., March 12, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters, FILE)

“Well, it hasn’t happened. I’m happy to talk to him and I’d just tell him what we found is important to do … and that is to move swiftly and … we have to move more rapidly,” Biden told ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning on “This Week.”

Biden currently leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by more than 300 delegates in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — a lead that is expected to grow as Wisconsin voters cast their ballots in the primary on Tuesday.

4:38 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweets thanks to the British public for staying home

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, tweeted his thanks to the British public for staying home and saving lives.

Johnson himself is still in isolation after testing positive for the novel coronavirus on March 26. Yesterday it was announced that his pregnant fiancee, 32-year-old Carrie Symonds, has been self-isolating after suffering from symptoms of coronavirus and has been in bed for the past week.

PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Thursday, April 2, 2020. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)
PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday’s nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Thursday, April 2, 2020. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)

2:01 a.m.: City in New Jersey now requiring all employees of essential businesses to wear face covers

Ravinder Bhalla, the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, announced in a statement that all employees of essential businesses still operating in the city are now required to wear face covers or masks while working.

The directive, issued by the Hoboken Office of Emergency Management, came on the same day that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey had suffered its worst day since the coronavirus outbreak began. The death toll in the Garden State has so far reached 846 with 34,124 positive cases reported.

PHOTO: A man is tested by a doctor in protective gear at The Covid-19 testing site on Marin Boulevard in Jersey City, New Jersey, April 2, 2020. (Kostas Lymperopoulos/CSM/REX via Shutterstock)
PHOTO: A man is tested by a doctor in protective gear at The Covid-19 testing site on Marin Boulevard in Jersey City, New Jersey, April 2, 2020. (Kostas Lymperopoulos/CSM/REX via Shutterstock)

“Today, the Hoboken Office of Emergency Management issued a directive requiring that all employees of essential businesses, including but not limited to supermarkets, pharmacies and all restaurants and food establishments, wear a face cover and gloves while at work and serving customers,” read the statement from Mayor Bhalla. “Face covers can include a bandana or scarf, or similar material. Face masks are also permitted, however, N95 masks and other PPE are urged to be left for medical professionals and first responders.”

What to know about coronavirus:

ABC News’ Josh Margolin, Clark Bentson, Mike Trew and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Coronavirus live updates: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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Jennifer Aniston Visits Nurse With Jimmy Kimmel

Healthcare workers deserve a lot of gratitude for their tireless efforts on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

To express her appreciation, actor Jennifer Aniston joined Jimmy Kimmel on his late night TV show to thank a nurse who has tested positive for COVID-19.

On Thursday night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the late night host set up a video chat with cardiovascular nurse Kimball Fairbanks, a mother of two currently recuperating in isolation in Utah to protect her two small children.

“We wanted to cheer you up a little bit, so I’d like you to meet somebody. Her name is Jennifer,” Kimmel said before surprising the nurse with The Morning Show star.

Keep up to date with our daily coronavirus newsletter by clicking here.

“Hi, honey, it’s so good to meet you,” Aniston told Fairbanks. “I just have to say, God bless you and all of you that are out there doing what you’re doing. I just, I don’t even know how to express my gratitude to everything that you guys are doing, putting your health at risk and all of that. You’re just phenomenal.”

“Well, thank you,” said a clearly shocked Fairbanks. “I really appreciate that.”

Aniston’s presence wasn’t her only present for the nurse, though. After Kimmel asked Fairbanks how she has been feeding herself during her illness, the nurse said she’s been mainly ordering delivery. That’s when Kimmel and the Friends actress told the nurse she was receiving a $10,000 gift card from the delivery company Postmates. “But you have to use it all in one shot,” joked Kimmel, before adding that each of the nurses on Fairbanks’ floor will also receive Postmates gift cards.

Watch Jennifer Aniston on Jimmy Kimmel Live! below.

Please send any tips, leads, and stories to virus@time.com

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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India curbs diagnostic testing kit exports as virus spreads

NEW DELHI/DHAKA (Reuters) – India is restricting the export of most diagnostic testing kits, as coronavirus cases in the South Asian nation topped 3,350 on Sunday despite a three-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the respiratory disease.

FILE PHOTO: Medical staff with protective clothing are seen inside a ward specialised in receiving any person who may have been infected with coronavirus, at the Rajiv Ghandhi Government General hospital in Chennai, India, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/P. Ravikumar/File Photo

India, which in recent weeks already banned the export of certain drugs, along with ventilators, masks and other protective gear needed by both patients and medical staff, issued the latest directive on Saturday.

The move comes even as U.S. President Donald Trump urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a phone call on Saturday, to release supplies of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which is being tested as a possible treatment for patients with COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“The two leaders agreed to remain in touch on the issue of global supply chains for critical pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and to ensure they continue to function as smoothly as possible during the global health crisis,” White House spokesman Judd Deere, said in a tweet on Saturday.

In a briefing note on the conversation, India said the two leaders “agreed to deploy the full strength of the India – U.S. partnership to resolutely and effectively combat COVID-19.”

BANGLADESH STIMULUS PLAN

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Asia, home to roughly 1.9 billion people, climbed close to 7,000 on Sunday, even as the death toll from the respiratory disease in the Indian subcontinent rose to 143.

While the figures are relatively low in comparison with the United States, China, Italy and Spain, health experts fear that the spread of the pandemic in South Asia would overwhelm already weak public health systems in the region.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday unveiled a 727.50 billion taka ($8.56 billion) stimulus package to help the economy overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The amount is equivalent to 2.52 percent of gross domestic product,” Hasina said in a televised address.

Reuters earlier this month reported that Bangladesh, the second-largest apparel producer after China, is set to lose roughly $6 billion in export revenue this financial year amid order cancellations from some of the world’s largest brands and retailers.

Bangladesh has so far recorded 88 cases of the disease that has so far claimed nine lives.

Following are government figures on the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia:

* India has 3,374 cases, including 77 deaths

* Pakistan has 2,880 cases, including 45 deaths

* Afghanistan has 337 cases, including 7 deaths

* Sri Lanka has 166 cases, including 5 deaths

* Bangladesh has 88 cases, including 9 deaths

* Maldives has 19 cases and no deaths

* Nepal has nine cases and no deaths

* Bhutan has five cases and no deaths

(The story corrects number of cases for the Maldives in third to last bullet point to 19 from 32).

Additional reporting by Rupam Jain and Steve Holland; Writing by Euan Rocha; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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U.S. braces for ‘hardest, saddest’ week as coronavirus deaths surpass 9,300

(Reuters) – The United States enters one of the most critical weeks so far in the coronavirus crisis with the death toll exploding in New York, Michigan and Louisiana and some governors calling for a national stay-at-home order.

A man walks along an empty street as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in New Orleans, Louisiana U.S., April 4, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

New York, the hardest-hit state, reported on Sunday that, for the first time in a week, deaths had fallen slightly from the day before, but there were still nearly 600 new fatalities and more than 7,300 new cases. Places such as Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C. are starting to see rising deaths.

Bodies of victims of COVID-19, the flu-like respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, were stacked in bright orange bags inside a makeshift morgue outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, according to photos provided to Reuters.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that new hospitalizations had fallen by 50% over the previous 24 hours, but he cautioned that it was not yet clear whether the crisis was reaching a plateau in the state, which has a total of 4,159 deaths and more than 122,000 cases. (Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T)

“The coronavirus is truly vicious and effective at what the virus does,” Cuomo told a daily briefing. “It’s an effective killer.”

Once the peak of the epidemic passes, Cuomo said a mass rollout of rapid testing will be critical to help the nation “return to normalcy.”

For now, some New York hospitals are scrambling to care for the flood of coronavirus patients. An email to staff by Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan, seen by Reuters, said they must all be ready to redeploy to handle such patients regardless of an employee’s specialty. Those without approved exemptions for health or other reasons may be placed on unpaid leave or could be fired.

The hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its message to staff.

‘OUR PEARL HARBOR’

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned on Fox News Sunday that hard times were ahead but “there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days.”

“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized,” he said. “It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”

Most states have ordered residents to stay home except for essential trips to slow the spread of the virus in the United States where over 327,000 people have tested positive and more than 9,300 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

However, a few churches were holding large gatherings on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week in Christian churches.

“We’re defying the rules because the commandment of God is to spread the Gospel,” said Tony Spell, pastor at the Life Tabernacle megachurch in a suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has defied state orders against assembling in large groups and has already been hit with six misdemeanors.

Louisiana has become a hot spot for the virus, on Saturday reporting a jump in deaths to 409 and more than 12,000 cases.

Governor John Bel Edwards told CNN on Sunday that the state could run out of ventilators by Thursday. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Fox News Sunday that a number of hospitals there were already at capacity and the state needed more ventilators, tests and personal protective equipment. She said the pandemic is “growing exponentially” in Michigan.

‘IT COULD COME BACK’

White House medical experts have forecast that between 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could be killed in the pandemic, even if sweeping orders to stay home are followed.

President Donald Trump warned on Saturday that there were “very horrendous” days ahead.

Still, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature decided to hold in-person voting for its presidential primary on Tuesday, when Democratic-led Colorado will also go ahead with local elections.

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, whose state recorded the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 infection but has since seen cases flatten after early action to shutter activity, said if other states do not also impose strict measures, the virus will simply circulate.

“It would be good to have a national stay-at-home order,” he told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” program. “Even if Washington gets on top of this fully, if another state doesn’t, it could come back and come across our borders two months from now.”

Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, however, defended his refusal to order statewide restrictions, saying the situation was being watched closely and that his more “targeted approach” was still slowing the spread of the virus.

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Bodies are seen inside the Wyckoff Hospital amid an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., April 4, 2020. Handout/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Adams, the surgeon general, said governors who have not issued month-long stay-at-home orders should at least consider one for the upcoming week.

Kate Lynn Blatt, 38, a property manager from rural Pottsville, Pennsylvania, said she was astounded that her state’s governor, Tom Wolf, waited until April 1 to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

“We were shocked. I can’t believe Trump hasn’t issued a nationwide order and I still can’t believe there are states that are still open,” Blatt said.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Amanda Becker in Washington, Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Daniel Trotta; Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

Pope Francis prays as he celebrates Palm Sunday Mass behind closed doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Alberto Pizzoli/AP


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Alberto Pizzoli/AP

Pope Francis prays as he celebrates Palm Sunday Mass behind closed doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Alberto Pizzoli/AP

St. Peter’s Basicalla was virtually empty for Palm Sunday Mass, where usually tens of thousands would gather. Just a few nuns, prelates and laypeople gathered, abiding by social distancing guidelines, while Pope Francis livestreamed the mass in his homily.

Francis asked worshipers to think of others suffering from coronavirus.

“The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious,” Francis said, “And not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others.”

The virtual Mass affected traditional Palm Sunday rites around the globe; in Argentina worshipers used plants already in their homes for traditional blessings, rather than buying palm branches.

In the U.S. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo urged church-goers to stay home and stream mass services.

“May we reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need,” Francis said in his virtual address. “May we not be concerned with what we lack, but what good we can do for others.”

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Venus inviting others to join her virtual workouts

Venus Williams continues to welcome all interested parties to join her for workouts.

Let’s be clear; Williams is not asking fans to deviate from social distancing as the world battles the coronavirus. Rather, the seven-time Grand Slam champion is asking for others to join her live on Instagram by using the hashtag #CoachVenus for virtual workouts. She started the online program late last month to encourage others to work out.

“I’ve been doing workouts, Monday through Friday, kind of like a lunchtime break — 12 noon on my Instagram live,” the 39-year-old Williams said on “Access Hollywood.”

“It’s been an incredible experience. The feedback has been great — keeping people motivated is a part of being able to be healthy and build those healthy endorphins; getting people up and moving during the middle of the day; and helping people still have hope and still be active, stay healthy and that we’ll get through this together. I’ll be doing this until further notice!”

Williams uses common household items, such as water bottles, during her routines, meaning participants don’t need any special workout equipment. She is occasionally joined virtually by sister Serena Williams and actress/comedian Amy Schumer.

–Field Level Media

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Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

A ventilator alongside medical supplies and a stretcher is displayed before a news conference at the Javits Center in New York City on March 23.

John Minchillo/AP


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John Minchillo/AP

A ventilator alongside medical supplies and a stretcher is displayed before a news conference at the Javits Center in New York City on March 23.

John Minchillo/AP

An association representing thousands of hospitals across the country is pushing back after President Trump claimed that hospital administrators are “really thrilled to be where they are.”

The American Hospital Association said hospital officials are worried about shortages of critical medical supplies, including medication for patients and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for healthcare workers.

“Not a day goes by where we don’t hear from hospitals and health systems across the country that are concerned about shortages of PPE for their heroic front line caregivers,” Alicia Mitchell, the group’s senior vice president of communications, said in a statement to NPR.

She said that in addition to concerns about shortages of ventilators and other critical equipment and supplies, the association increasingly hears complaints about a lack of drugs needed for patient care.

“The AHA continues to urge that all levers be used by both the government and private sector to ensure those on the front lines have the resources and support they need to care for their patients and communities,” Mitchell said.

During the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Saturday, Trump said that hospital administrators “even in the really hot spots – you know what they are – are communicating directly with us that their level of supplies are meeting essential needs. And at the current time, they’re really thrilled to be where they are.”

The American Hospital Association and other medical groups have raised repeated alarms about a shortage of supplies like surgical masks needed to protect workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic as the nation’s death toll from the virus climbs above 8,000. Governors of hard-hit states including New York and Louisiana also have warned about shortfalls of supplies including ventilators.

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Woman Flying to See Her Dying Mother Gets Upgrade to First Class, Is Only Passenger on Flight

Sheryl Pardo had received bad news: her 83-year-old mother’s health was deteriorating.

Pardo planned a trip to Boston knowing it would likely be the last time she would see her mom.

What she didn’t expect was the warm reception she received from the attendants, Jessica and Dion, or the fact that she was the sole passenger aboard American Airlines flight 9389, departing from Washington D.C. on March 27.

Pardo had been anxious about flying during the pandemic, AZfamily.com reported. This nervousness quickly dissipated when she arrived at the airport, telling CNN she realized it was safer than going to a grocery store.

“I think we all have this attitude of airplanes are really dangerous, and there would be exposure, but there was nobody there,” she said.

There was nobody on the plane either, except for the crew. Jessica and Dion upgraded Pardo’s seat to first class and spent the flight lifting her mood by swapping life stories, talking about her mom, taking selfies, and laughing about the fact that Pardo was the only passenger on the plane.

Jessica gave Sheryl, “the only passenger on the flight,” a personal shout-out on the airplane loudspeaker.