Coronavirus live updates: New York City morgues almost full as death toll mounts

FAN Editor

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed at least 6,921 people in the United States.

With more than 266,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the U.S. has by far the highest national tally in the world, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

More than 1 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with the disease. 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 58,000 have died across the globe and more than 225,000 people have recovered.

  • 2,935 dead in New York state
  • Anyone close to Trump will get rapid COVID-19 test
  • New York City morgues are running out of space
  • US cuts 701K jobs in March, unemployment rate jumps to 4.4%
  • Here’s how the story is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

    4:15 p.m.: NYC needs minimum of 2,500 ventilators for next week

    As the “epicenter” of the coronavirus crisis with about 25% of the nation’s cases, New York City is in desperate need for more supplies, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

    “People are dying. And they need to be saved,” he said.

    “We are about to hit a huge surge in the coming days,” the mayor warned.

    De Blasio said President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, told him Thursday they would send 200,000 N95 masks to New York City’s public hospitals, and those masks have since been delivered.

    But to get through April and May, New York City needs more resources including 85,000 hospital beds, 45,000 medical staff and a total of 15,000 ventilators, he said.

    For next week specifically, New York City needs a minimum of 2,500 to 3,000 ventilators. He said there are about 2,000 ventilators left in the state stockpile and called the federal government “the single most important source.”

    De Blasio commended the governors of New York and New Jersey who he said “took a crucial step” on Friday by ordering private companies to release any stockpiles they have of “crucially needed supplies” including ventilators and personal protective equipment.

    “I would urge every state in the union to exercise the same approach,” de Blasio said.

    If any company or individual tries to resist this new order from the state, de Blasio threatened, “I am authorizing the NYDP, the sheriff’s office, the FDNY to use their law enforcement capacity to make sure those items are turned over immediately and brought immediately to where the need is greatest in our hospital system.”

    De Blasio said the city is bringing in medical personnel from across the country under contract and asking for volunteers, as a part of an “unprecedented “national enlistment effort.”

    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.

    3:10 p.m.: Anyone close to Trump will get rapid COVID-19 test

    A new procedure is in place at the White House as of Friday so that anyone who comes into close proximity with the president or vice president will receive a rapid COVID-19 test, deputy press secretary Judd Deere said.

    The White House declined to elaborate on why this policy is being implemented now, other than to say that decisions are made in consultation with the White House physician.

    This development comes one day after President Trump received his second negative coronavirus test.

    2:55 p.m.: UK Prime Minister to extend his self-isolation

    United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has tested positive for coronavirus, says he will extend his self-isolation.

    The prime minister is one of 38,688 people in the U.K. who have tested positive for COVID-19. Also among those diagnosed with the virus is Charles Prince of Wales — first in line to the British throne.

    The death toll in the U.K. has climbed to 3,605 — an increase of 684 since Thursday.

    Johnson said in a video message, “Everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy, and there may be just a temptation to get out there, hang out and start to break the regulations. And I just urge you not to do that. Please, please stick with the guidance now. This country has made a huge effort, a huge sacrifice, done absolutely brilliantly well in delaying the spread of the virus. Let’s stick with it.”

    2:35 p.m.: Massachusetts announces nation’s 1st test-and-trace initiative

    Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday announced the creation of a “robust” tracing effort, in collaboration with Partners in Health, to identify individuals who may have come in close contact with coronavirus-positive people.

    “Staff will contact recent COVID-19 patients and ensure they’re healthy and taking appropriate steps to not spread the virus further,” Baker said.

    Once an individual has tested positive, the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative will work to gather information about who may have been exposed to the person, and subsequently contact them.

    A group of 1,000 people will be asked to provide information on the timing and location of their respective infections.

    Baker said the program is the first of its kind in the nation, and he added that he hopes to have the initiative up and running by the end of the month.

    Baker also announced that the parking lot at the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium will be converted to a testing site for first responders. Up to 200 first responders are expected to be tested per day.

    1:20 p.m.: New Jersey’s death toll climbs to 646

    In the last 24 hours, another 113 people died from coronavirus in New Jersey, bringing the state’s death toll to 646, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

    With 4,372 new diagnosed cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the Garden State now has over 29,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19.

    “There is no silver bullet we can load to make this go away overnight,” the governor said, as he urged New Jersey residents to honor those who have died by staying home.

    Murphy said he is signing an executive order directing all flags to be lowered to half-staff effective immediately, and lasting indefinitely, to honor those who have died and those who will die.

    “This is one of the greatest tragedies to ever hit our state,” Murphy tweeted.

    Murphy said UBS is donating 10,000 N95 masks to the state while Tito’s Handmade Vodka is sending 432 gallons of hand sanitizer, 3,000 masks and 2,000 gloves.

    12:50 p.m.: WHO warns lifting lockdowns early could end up being even worse for economies 

    World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — who called the coronavirus pandemic an “unprecedented crisis” — issued a warning to countries that are considering easing lockdowns given the considerable economic suffering.

    “If countries rush to lift restrictions quickly, the coronavirus could resurge and the economic impact could be more severe and prolonged,” he said Friday. “Financing the health response is an essential investment not just in saving lives, but in the longer-term social and economic recovery.”

    He went on, “The best way for countries to end restrictions and ease their economic effects is to attack the coronavirus, with the aggressive and comprehensive package of measures that we’ve spoken about many times before: find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact.”

    “We still have a long way to go in this fight,” he noted.

    Dr. Tedros also acknowledged the rise of domestic violence as victims are stuck indoors with abusers and he urged countries to increase resources for victims.

    New York state — the hardest-hit spot in the U.S. — has seen an uptick in domestic violence incidents, the governor said Friday.

    12:20 p.m.: Mayor predicts DC will reach peak cases by the end of June, early July

    The District of Columbia is forecast to reach peak COVID-19 infections at the end of June or beginning of July, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday, citing local officials.

    Bowser said the projection — based on the CHIME model — estimates more than 93,000 residents could be infected with coronavirus over the course of the pandemic. She said the modeling predicts between 220 and 1,000 deaths in D.C., calling it a “tough number to report.”

    If the forecast holds true, the mayor said the nation’s capital will need 5,000 more hospital beds and 1,000 more ventilators.

    11:45 a.m.: 2,935 dead in New York state

    In New York — the state hit hardest by the pandemic — 102,863 have tested positive for coronavirus and 2,935 people have died, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

    The number of deaths in New York increased by nearly 600 from Thursday to Friday, the biggest daily increase.

    New York state has by far the most cases and fatalities.

    “New York is in crisis,” Cuomo said.

    More ventilators are still needed, the governor said, stressing that the machines are the difference between life and death for coronavirus patients in intensive care units.

    Cuomo said he is signing an executive order allowing the National Guard to take ventilators and personal protection equipment from hospitals in the state that don’t need them now and redeploy the devices to other parts of the state.

    Those hospitals will be reimbursed or the ventilators will be returned, Cuomo said.

    “I’m not going to let people die because we didn’t redistribute ventilators,” he said.

    Cuomo also implored manufacturers in the state to begin making personal protection equipment.

    On a more positive note, the governor said 20,000 health professionals volunteered “in a matter of days” to come help New York.

    “When our curve is over,” Cuomo vowed, “New Yorkers are going to take what we’ve amassed, we’re going to take our equipment, we’re going to take our personnel, we’re going to take our knowledge and we will go to any community that needs help.”

    11:12 a.m. Temporary hospitals at US convention centers will now treat COVID-19 patients

    The U.S. Department of Defense announced Friday that three temporary medical facilities at convention centers in Dallas, New Orleans and New York, which were originally intended to treat non-coronavirus patients, will now also take those diagnosed with the disease.

    “At the request of FEMA, the Department of Defense will expand its medical support to include COVID-19 positive patients at the Javits Federal Medical Station (FMS) in New York City, the Morial FMS in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Kay Bailey Hutchinson FMS in Dallas, Texas,” the Pentagon said in a statement Friday. “These three DoD-supported locations will now provide support to COVID-19 positive patients in convalescent care, as well as low-acuity patients. These patients, who require a lower level of medical care, must first be screened at a local hospital.”

    The facilities were initially set up to ease the strain on overloaded hospitals and expand overall capacity.

    “As it turns out, we don’t have non-COVID people to any great extent in the hospitals,” Cuomo said Friday. “So we wanted to turn Javits from non-COVID to COVID.”

    The Department of Defense said it is also making changes to the USNS Comfort’s process for taking in patients. Screening for care on the U.S. Navy hospital ship docked in New York City will now occur pier-side “in an effort to reduce the backlog at some of the nearby New York hospitals.” A patient will no longer require a negative COVID-19 test in order to be admitted, but rather each individual will be screened by temperature and a short questionnaire.

    Previously, a patient had to go to a local hospital, be referred to the USNS Comfort and receive COVID-19 screening prior to being transferred there.

    “This assistance will further unburden the local hospital and ambulance systems in these areas, allowing them to focus on the more serious COVID-19 cases,” the Pentagon said. “We will immediately implement this action and work with local officials in each area on the details of patient arrival.”

    9:45 a.m.: Queen Elizabeth to address pandemic in rare special broadcast this weekend

    Queen Elizabeth II has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the televised address, which was recorded at Windsor Castle, will be broadcast Sunday at 8 p.m. local time, according to the statement from the royal household.

    It will be just the fourth time in the queen’s 68-year reign that she has delivered a special address to the nation.

    The queen’s oldest child and heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March.

    9:15 a.m.: US cuts 701K jobs in March, unemployment rate jumps to 4.4%

    U.S. employers slashed 701,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate climbed to 4.4% from 3.5%, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Friday’s report offered more details on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the U.S. labor market.

    About 90% of the U.S. population is under stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic and many businesses are closed. At least 45 U.S. states have issued or announced statewide closures of all non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    8:43 a.m.: Florida-bound cruise ship confirms 12 positive cases

    At least 12 people aboard the Florida-bound cruise ship Coral Princess have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

    Those infected include seven guests and five crew, according to Princess Cruises, the California-based cruise line that operates the ship.

    Princess Cruises said it “proactively” collected 13 test samples from the ship and sent them to a lab in Barbados on March 31 “in response to a reported small cluster of cases of respiratory illness and in an abundance of caution.”

    The Coral Princess is scheduled to arrive in Florida’s Port Everglades on Saturday.

    7:59 a.m.: New York City morgues are running out of space

    New York City morgues are almost full amid a mounting death toll from the coronavirus pandemic, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency records reviewed by ABC News.

    The city has ordered 85 refrigerated trucks from the U.S. military to use as makeshift morgues hold the dead. The trucks are expected to arrive by mid-April.

    ABC News has reached out to the U.S. Department of Defense as well as New York City’s office of chief medical examiner for comment.

    So far, at least 1,562 people in New York City have died from COVID-19, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    What to know about the novel coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and worldwide: coronavirus map
  • 6:32 a.m.: New poll shows less than half of Americans believe their daily routine will return to normal by June

    Fewer than half of Americans believe their regular daily routine will return to normal by June 1 amid sharply rising concerns over contracting the novel coronavirus, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday.

    In the new poll, just over nine in 10 Americans now say that the outbreak has disrupted their daily routine, showing the reach of the pandemic’s impact. Among those, 44% say they think they will be able to resume their regular routine by June 1 — including 13% who say by May 1 — while a combined 84% believe that will happen by the end of the summer.

    Still, concern over the pandemic continues on an upward trajectory, with 89% of Americans now saying they are concerned that they or someone they know will be infected with the virus, compared to 79% in a poll conducted from March 18-19 and 66% in a poll in the field from March 11-12. The steady increase in anxiety includes nearly twice as many Americans who are now very concerned (now at 50%) in the new poll, compared to the earliest poll in March when it was only 26%.

    The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in partnership with ABC News, using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, on April 1-2, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 559 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.8 points, including the design effect. Read more about the poll’s topline results here.

    5:48 a.m.: Google launches ‘community mobility reports’ during pandemic

    Google is launching a tool that will publicly track people’s movements amid the coronavirus pandemic, allowing health officials to check whether their communities are abiding by social-distancing measures.

    The California-based tech giant says it will publish and regularly update the “community mobility reports,” which are broken down by location and display the change in visits to public places such as grocery stores and parks. The tool, announced by the company late Thursday, uses “aggregated, anonymized sets of data” that Google has collected on users, including through Google Maps.

    Google says the reports “were developed to be helpful while adhering to our stringent privacy protocols and protecting people’s privacy.”

    “No personally identifiable information, such as an individual’s location, contacts or movement, will be made available at any point,” the company says.

    3 a.m.: US death toll tops 6,000

    The mounting death toll from the novel coronavirus in the United States surpassed 6,000 early Friday morning, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    A vast majority of those deaths have occurred in New York state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. The virus has claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people in New York City alone.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked the U.S. Department of Defense for 100,000 body bags due to the possibility that funeral homes across the country will become overwhelmed, a Pentagon spokesman told ABC News on Thursday.

    About 90% of the U.S. population is under stay-at-home orders, and many businesses are closed.

    ABC News’ Dee Carden, Katherine Faulders, Kendall Karson, Zoe Magee, Josh Margolin, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Arielle Mitropoulos, Kirit Radia, John Santucci and Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.

    Free America Network Articles

    Leave a Reply

    Next Post

    Trump resists a nationwide stay-at-home order. Fauci says 'I don't understand why'

    President Donald Trump on Friday was facing new pressure from the nation’s top infectious disease expert to call for a nationwide stay-at home order to keep the coronavirus from spreading and making the projected death toll even worse. In his strongest comments yet, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become a […]