ABC - National News
Subscribe To This Feed

jarun011/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has infected more than 823,000 people around the world.

Over 174,000 of those patients have recovered from the the new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19.

More than 40,000 people across the globe have died, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 175,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the United States has by far the highest national tally in the world

At least 3,415 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

Here's how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:


5:02 p.m.: Florida governor asks Trump to bar cruise ships from docking

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he has requested that the president stop cruise ships from docking in the state.

Holland America's MS Zaandam -- which has nearly 200 passengers on board with "flu-like symptoms," four deaths of elderly passengers and multiple people who tested positive for COVID-19 -- as well as sister ship MS Rotterdam were planning to return to Florida. Carnival's Coral Princess was also planning to return, and it has multiple passengers with "flu-like symptoms."

The governor said only medical supply ships should be allowed to use those ports. As of Tuesday afternoon, Florida had 6,338 confirmed cases and 77 deaths, according to the state's health department.

DeSantis said he isn’t considering a statewide stay-at-home order and would defer the call to local counties. He has ordered a self-quarantine mandate for visitors coming from the New York tristate area.

The governor said 8,600 people who have come into the state by car or plane have been screened so far.

4:40 p.m.: LA County classifies grocery store, delivery workers as 'front-line responders'

In Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors has passed a motion to protect grocery store, delivery and pharmacy workers, now classifying them as "front-line responders."

"In these difficult times, a visit to the grocery store makes extraordinarily clear that food and grocery delivery drivers are essential workers and we must do all that we can to protect them," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement.

Employers now must sanitize and stock all bathrooms, put sanitizers at the front of stores, clean stores, clean carts between use, require employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes, provide access to testing and support employees so they can address family needs.


3:44 p.m.: Louisiana's death toll reaches 239

In Louisiana, one of the hardest-hit states, 239 people have now died from coronavirus -- a 29.1% increase from Monday.

At least 5,237 in the state have tested positive. Of those, 1,355 people are in the hospital, including 438 people who are on ventilators.

Since Thursday, the number of hospital patients has doubled and the number of people on ventilators has doubled, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday.

The New Orleans area is expected to exceed ventilator capacity as early as April 4, and run out of hospital beds by April 7, the governor said.

Louisiana has ordered about 14,000 ventilators, including 150 from the national stockpile, the governor said.

"We have received 292 [ventilators] to date from private vendors and that includes an additional 100 that came in yesterday, and the 150 from the national strategic stockpile which has not yet been delivered here to Louisiana but we expect to receive those very soon," he said.

The governor said there's no evidence the state has started to flatten the curve and the stay-at-home order will be extended until at least April 30.

3:27 p.m.: France reports highest single-day death toll


France reached its highest single-day death toll Tuesday, reporting 499 deaths in the last 24 hours.

France's total number of fatalities has now reached 3,523, said Jerome Salomon, director-general of health.

The nation's total number of confirmed cases has climbed to 55,128. Of those, over 22,000 are hospitalized, including 5,565 people in intensive care, Salomon said. He said 68 patients in intensive care are under the age of 30.

The death toll is likely to spike further as the number of fatalities and diagnosed cases does not yet include data from nursing homes, according to Salomon.

3:06 p.m.: New York City crime drops off the map


"Crime has dropped off the face of the map" in the nation's most populated city since social distancing began, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

"The foot traffic is almost nil at this point in time," Shea said Tuesday.

Police calls are down, which is a benefit to the NYPD as 15% of its uniformed officers -- about 5,600 cops -- are out sick.

The NYPD has had 17 people come back to work after testing positive since Friday, Shea said.

"They are back, they are better and they are jumping in to fill the place when people go down," he said.

At least 914 people have died from coronavirus in New York City, the city health department reported Monday night.

Over 38,000 New York City residents have tested positive.

While crime is down, calls to 911 and first responders are up.

Thanks to FEMA, 250 ambulances are being sent from across the country to New York City to help alleviate the strain on the EMS system, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. At least 135 of those ambulances have already arrived.

The FDNY says more than 20% of the EMS workforce is out sick.   De Blasio added that FEMA is sending 500 more EMTs to New York City, 270 of whom have already arrived.

1:41 p.m.: Louisiana's death toll reaches 239

In Louisiana, one of the hardest-hit states, 239 people have now died from coronavirus -- a 29.1% increase from Monday.

At least 5,237 in the state have tested positive. Of those, 1,355 people are in the hospital, including 438 people who are on ventilators.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said New Orleans is expected to run out of ventilators on Sunday and hospital beds by Monday.

The governor said Monday that Louisiana has ordered 14,000 ventilators, including 5,000 from the national stockpile.

12:45 p.m.: United Kingdom deaths double in 24 hours

The United Kingdom has recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus deaths with 381 people losing their lives in the last 24 hours.

That doubles the number of deaths reported Monday.

The U.K.'s death toll now stands at 1,789.

The largest number of confirmed cases are in London, where officials say the number of those infected is spreading quickly.

12:29 p.m.: New York City crime drops off the map

"Crime has dropped off the face of the map" in the nation's most populated city since social distancing began, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

"The foot traffic is almost nil at this point in time," Shea said Tuesday,

Police calls are down, which is a benefit to the NYPD as 15% of its uniformed officers -- about 5,600 cops -- are out sick.

The NYPD has had 17 people come back to work after testing positive since Friday, Shea said.

"They are back, they are better and they are jumping in to fill the place when people go down," he said.

At least 914 people have died from coronavirus in New York City, the city health department reported Monday night.

Over 38,000 New York City residents have tested positive.

12:10 p.m.: Need to prepare for 'battle' at the apex, Cuomo says


In hard-hit New York state, 1,550 people have died from COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

Over 75,000 have tested positive in the state, and of those, 2,710 people are in intensive care units as of Tuesday, the governor said.

"I am tired of being behind this virus. We've been behind this virus from day one," Cuomo said, stressing that the main battle will be at the "apex" of the curve -- which has not yet been reached.

"We are planning now for the battle at the top of the mountain," Cuomo said, including stockpiling equipment.

The governor said it's important that there's a social acceptance of the time expectations

"Everybody wants to know one thing: when is it over. Nobody knows," Cuomo said. "It is not gonna be soon ... calibrate your expectations."

To the public, the governor stressed, "everyone is subject to this virus. It is the great equalizer. I don't care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are."

Gov. Cuomo said his younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for coronavirus. The governor said he spoke to his brother Tuesday morning and that he "will be fine."

But the governor also chastised the younger Cuomo for letting their mother go to his house several weeks ago.

"I said, 'That is a mistake. You expose her to a lot of things,'" the governor said. "She's older and she's healthy but I said, 'you can't have mom at the house.'"

"If my brother still had my mother at his house ... now we’d have a much different situation," he said.

Chris Cuomo tweeted Tuesday, "I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath."

Chris Cuomo said he's quarantined in his basement and will anchor his CNN show from there.

11:30 a.m.: Walmart will check employee temperatures

Walmart says it will start taking employees' temperatures when they arrive at work and will ask them "some basic health screening questions."
Coronavirus map: Tracking the spread in the US and around the world

Any employee with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be asked to go home and will be paid for reporting to work, Walmart said in a statement.

Masks are expected to arrive in one to two weeks and will be available for any employees who want them, Walmart added.

10:26 a.m.: Masks for everyone 'under very active consideration,' Fauci says


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN Tuesday that masks for everyone is "under very active consideration."

The possibility of recommending that all Americans wear masks will be discussed at Tuesday's coronavirus task force meeting and officials will come "close to coming to some determination" when there are enough for health care workers, Fauci said.

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Emergencies Program, said Monday, "we don't generally recommend the wearing of masks in public by otherwise well individuals because it has not been, up to now, associated with any particular benefit."

Ryan added that they do not criticize the practice and it may offer psychological benefits but there's some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of masks and there's also a massive global shortage to consider.

"Right now the people most at risk for this virus are frontline health workers who are exposed to the virus every second of every day," Ryan said. "The thought of them not having masks is horrific," he said.

WHO officials reiterated that symptomatic and diagnosed patients should wear masks to prevent the transmission to others.

9:30 a.m.: TSA screenings reach another record low
 
As the pandemic intensifies, airline travel is continuing to plunge in the U.S. and TSA screening numbers have fallen to the lowest in over a decade.

The TSA said it screened 154,080 travelers nationwide on Monday, compared to the 2,360,053 passengers screened on the same day last year. 

8:56 a.m.: 12-year-old girl becomes youngest known coronavirus victim in Europe

A 12-year-old Belgian girl has become the youngest known person in Europe to die after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Emmanuel Andre, a spokesman for Belgium's national crisis center, announced the untimely death of the unnamed girl at a press conference Tuesday, saying it was "an emotionally difficult moment, because it involves a child, and it has also upset the medical and scientific community."

"We are thinking of her family and friends," Andre added. "It is an event that is very rare, but one which upsets us greatly.”

A spokesperson for Belgium's health ministry told ABC News the girl succumbed to the disease over the weekend. Further information was not immediately available due to privacy concerns for her family.

There are at least 12,775 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Belgium, and at least 705 of those patients have died, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.

Belgium's health ministry has recorded 98 deaths within the past 24 hours.

8:13 a.m.: Spain reports highest single-day death toll from COVID-19

Spain has recorded an additional 849 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest single day in-country increase since the pandemic began.

The 11.5% increase brings the country's national death toll from COVID-19 to 8,189. About 85 percent of the newly reported fatalities were patients over the age of 70, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.

The health ministry also recorded 9,222 newly diagnosed cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 94,417 -- a 10.8% increase.

Spain has the third-highest national tally of diagnosed cases in the world and the second-highest national death toll from the novel coronavirus, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.

7:15 a.m.: US Army Corps of Engineers assessing 341 facilities for potential makeshift hospitals

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, who is spearheading an effort to build makeshift hospitals across the country in response to the coronavirus crisis, said the scope of the initiative is "immense."

"We're looking right now at around 341 different facilities across all of the United States, very similar to the Javits Center," Semonite told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday on Good Morning America.

Over the past week, the Army Corps of Engineers has been busy transforming the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City into an overflow medical facility designed to make it easier for hospitals to focus on treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The temporary field hospital could be able to house 2,910 beds, making it one of the largest hospitals in America. On Monday, the convention center began treating non-coronavirus patients.

The U.S. government is calling it "hospitals without walls," and it’s requiring an unprecedented rollback of federal regulations so health care providers can act without fearing they might be penalized later. That means if a city like New Orleans or Denver wants to build its own makeshift hospital like the one at New York City's Javits Center, they can. Hospitals also can now provide benefits to its staff like meals, laundry or child care.

Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, said they're looking at various buildings across the nation, such as hotels and dormitories as well as big open spaces like convention centers, as potential sites to convert into more makeshift hospitals. There will be two types of temporary facilities: ones that will house COVID-19 patients and ones that will treat all other patients, according to Semonite.

"We've got eight contracts under gear right now, people in centers constructing facilities, probably about 8,500 beds," Semonite said. "And then by the end of the day, we should have another five contracts awarded with somewhere around another 4,000 beds."

"Our thought was make it extremely simple," he added. "Find an existing facility that already has all the codes, has heat, has water, has IT, has parking lots, and then just put in whatever we can like a hospital inside of that."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working side by side with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as local governments.

"We don't know where this is going to go," Semonite said. "This is a state and local decision, but what the Corps wanted to do is come up with an option so if we could be able to mitigate this delta in some way, we're able to find a solution that states could employ."

6:13 a.m.: Italy observes minute of silence to mourn coronavirus victims

Italy flew its flags at half-staff and observed a nationwide minute of silence on Tuesday to mourn the victims of the coronavirus pandemic, honor their families and show solidarity with health workers amid the crisis.

With more than 101,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, Italy has the highest national tally in Europe and the second-highest in the world, behind the United States. More than 11,500 people have died from the disease in Italy, according to the latest county from Johns Hopkins Unversity.

3:30 a.m.: US Open tennis complex to transform into temporary hospital

The site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City will be converted into a temporary medical facility as the coronavirus pandemic strains the city's resources, according to the U.S. Tennis Association, which owns the venue.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the plans.

The USTA, the national governing body for tennis, originally had said it was going to keep the center open for people to take lessons, practice or play tennis. But then the organization said it was closing the site to the public.

With more than 38,000 diagnosed cases and nearly 1,000 deaths, New York City is the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States. State and city officials are trying to increase hospital capacity in order to handle the health crisis. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said up to one million more healthcare workers were needed.

"As governor of New York, I am asking health care professionals across the country: If you don't have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York now," he said at a press conference Monday.

The rising death toll from the outbreak in the United States was poised Tuesday to overtake China's tally of more than 3,300 deaths.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/f11photo(LAS VEGAS) -- As many Americans are told to shelter at home during the coronavirus pandemic, a striking image showing Las Vegas’ homeless lying on the ground of an outdoor parking lot designated as a "temporary shelter" has drawn swift criticism online.

The photo shows several homeless people outside the city's multi-use Cashman Center, positioned inside marked white boxes and covered in blankets as they lie on the concrete.

The temporary shelter, managed by the city of Las Vegas and Clark County, opened this past weekend after an overnight homeless shelter, run by Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, was forced to close its doors after a man tested positive for COVID-19. The move sent about 500 people back onto the streets as temperatures in the area dipped into the 40s.

The image created a backlash on social media, with some wondering why the city didn’t place the homeless inside the Cashman Center or even in some of Las Vegas’ now mostly-vacant hotel rooms.

David Riggleman, Communications Director for the City of Las Vegas, told ABC News that a previous decision had been made to reserve the space inside the Cashman Center for overflow from area hospitals in case they became overwhelmed.

"The estimate was we could house about 1,000 hospital patients in there if need be," Riggleman said. "So certainly if there were homeless people who needed to go to the hospital they could use the facility, but that's why we didn't move all the homeless into the interior portions of Cashman because we’re holding that in reserve in case we need it as hospital space."

Former HUD Secretary and 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro tweeted the image Monday afternoon and pointed out the number of available hotel rooms where the homeless could be housed. Riggleman said that although the city isn't working on that, county officials are discussing such a solution. However, he said he’s unaware of how those talks are going or what stage those discussions are in.

Riggleman said the city initially laid down 24,000 square feet of padded carpet across the parking lot and had everything spaced six feet apart for social distancing. He said it was working well, until officials determined that they couldn’t properly sanitize the carpet.

"It creates a problem because we don't have enough sleeping mats to provide for everyone at the temporary shelter -- we just don't have enough," Rigggleman said. "And so some people were just putting their bed rolls down on the pavement and staying on that."

The city expects to keep the outdoor shelter area open until at least Friday, when the Catholic Charities shelter is expected to reopen.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/demaerre(NEW YORK) -- With countless American families cooped up together amid stay-at-home orders for the coronavirus pandemic, some law enforcement officials said they fear an unintended consequence of long-term, close-quarters living: a potential rise in domestic violence incidents.

So far there has been only a slight uptick in domestic violence calls to police, according to Steve Casstevens, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, but he said he's preparing for things to get worse.

"I fully believe that the longer these stay-at-home orders [are] in place, the more of these calls we're going to get," said Casstevens, who is also the current chief of police in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

Casstevens said he'd heard from other law enforcement leaders who shared his concern.

“This is the beginning period of this epidemic where people have been sheltering in place. As this gets longer and as this grows longer. I think we could anticipate an increase in domestic violence cases, both reported and not reported,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told ABC News.

Brad Garret, a former FBI agent, described a perfect storm of domestic violence hazards.

"The shelter in place forces couples to remain home and the abuser will then have more power to control and abuse the victim, stating they cannot leave for fear of catching the virus," said Garrett, now an ABC News contributor. "It also may make it more difficult for the abused to report domestic violence, since they are constantly with the abusers. If they can escape, the shelters then have issues because they are typically set up in dormitory settings, obviously a problem with spreading the virus.

"With typically 10 million domestic violence reports a year, the longevity of the virus will certainly drive up domestic violence reporting," he said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a recent rush on gun-buying in his city only added to the danger of domestic violence, suicide and accidental shootings. He said he worries that the potential rise in domestic violence incidents, combined with new gun owners unfamiliar with their weapons, could make for a deadly combination.

Overall most local law enforcement departments are reporting dramatically lower calls for service as people shelter at home, but there are hints domestic violence could be an outlier in the weeks or months to come.

North Miami Police Chief Larry Juriga told ABC News that being so close together and the uncertain circumstances of the time could ratchet up the pressure.

“It happens oftentimes during hurricanes, you're on top of somebody for that long. And also, it's a combination of the stress of the unknown distress of the financial worry, the stress of the health concerns. It certainly builds up the tension not just within homes, but within businesses," he said.

That, of course, is no excuse, Juriga said.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Chief Ed Roessler told ABC News that they’ve seen an incremental uptick in domestic violence calls in the county. “It's not an alarming uptick. What we're seeing is two or three more than a day before,” Roessler said.

But after the calls, another problem presents itself, Roessler said: What's the safe way to respond to those calls, both for the people involved and for the police officers?

“We are trying our best to triage those calls, obviously, by separating people physically outside of the dwelling and if they both have cell phones, for instance, and take those calls, from a point of safety, to get interviews, collect evidence, and if we have to make an arrest, we try to get voluntary compliance for the person to go turn themselves in as we get the warrant separately,” he said.

Providence, Rhode Island, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré added that there will be a "challenge" as to whether to hold or release potentially violent offenders, since the situation can escalate later. Paré said he expects domestic violence calls to rise in his community.

Police departments in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, and San Francisco said they have not yet seen a rise in domestic violence calls.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline also told ABC News that they haven't seen a significant increase in the volume of calls to them.

But the calls the hotline is receiving are increasingly COVID-19-related. Anecdotally, the virus is repeatedly brought up as adding to the anxieties of people who are stuck in their homes and either getting abused or worried about reporting it, a hotline spokesperson told ABC News.

One woman in New York reported being physically thrown out of the house by her partner because he thought she had COVID-19. Another said she didn't want to go to the hospital after being strangulated by her partner because she was worried she'd contract COVID-19, the spokesperson said.

In New York City, which has become the epicenter of COVID-19 spread in the U.S., the New York Police Department has seen record numbers of police calling out sick, but the department says it is still focusing on domestic violence cases.

“Domestic violence is an extremely high priority for all members of the New York City Police Department, from the police officer level to the domestic violence offices that we still have on hand that can aid this issue,” Dermot Shea, the NYPD commissioner said at a press briefing over the weekend.

Chief Murphy Paul of Baton Rouge, Louisiana told ABC News that they have seen a slight increase in domestic violence calls. He says they are working with community leaders to publicize local, state and national hotlines.

The chief said his officers are generally not making misdemeanor arrests at this time, but they certainly would for domestic violence, which is a felony.

He urged members of the community to be patient with operators, “work with our law enforcement” and come together in these “unprecedented times.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(BEAUMONT, Texas) -- An elementary school principal who had to quickly pivot her school to remote learning amid the novel coronavirus pandemic has implemented an array of tools for students, parents and teachers. She's even created an encouraging acronym out of the word "CORONA."

Belinda George, the principal at Homer Drive Elementary school in Beaumont, Texas, told ABC News she worked with the Beaumont Independent School District to customize a plan of action for their school.

George said the school district partnered with T-Mobile to deliver a Wi-Fi hotspot device to every student.

"The district also sent out a survey so that those that need technology, they can have a better assessment of what their needs are and those who don't have technology. The district has offered paper packets for every grade level," George said, referring to printed handouts that lay out what the students have already learned.

Each of the teachers, who are teaching from home via the remote conferencing app Zoom, has one scheduled day to go to the school campus and pick up any supplies they need to teach.

George also created a "CORONA" acronym to help guide students and their families through this pandemic.

"'C' is to stay calm through all of this. The 'O' is for organize your thoughts, your thinking process. The 'R' is for rest. It's important to get lots of rest during this time because it can be a daunting task," she explained. "The other 'O' is organize your life. Right now, we have to rethink how we live. The 'N' is navigate your way through this. The 'A' is for accomplishment. If we do all of that, we'll accomplish this."

Her advice for any parents struggling to help with their children's schoolwork is to stay in touch as much as possible and continue to communicate.

"Lean on your schools," she said. "Relying on your school district and the resources that are put out, staying in touch with those teachers, asking for help, not being afraid to say you don't know will be crucial during this time."

"This is new territory for all of us," George said, adding that the school is working hard to remind everyone that it's about "getting through this together."

George also organized a unique way to bring classroom participation to the socially distanced students: A car parade in which the teachers drove past the students' homes.

"We did a parade through the neighborhood," she said, "so it was nice seeing all of the kids."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- New York City has launched an online portal that provides residents with information and updates if they or someone they know has contracted the coronavirus.

The website, which launched Friday at nyc.gov/cv19engagementportal, allows New Yorkers to self-report confidential information if they or someone they know has contracted the disease, shows symptoms, came into contact with someone who tested positive, or are in quarantine.

The city's chief information officer, Jessica Tisch, said officials will be in direct contact with those users and provide information on where to get help and updates.

"This portal will empower New Yorkers to build an unprecedented data set that will reveal the spread of this virus throughout New York City, and enable City agencies to swiftly and effectively respond to the outbreak and communicate with affected members of the public," Tisch said in a statement.

Nether the city's Department of Information and Technology, which runs the portal, or the city's Health Department, could immediately provide data on how many New Yorkers have used the portal.

The site is available in 11 languages, and New Yorkers who don't have internet access can call 311 to provide their information.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 40,900 coronavirus cases and 932 related deaths in New York City, according to the Health Department.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A 68-bed makeshift hospital is expected to open in Central Park on Tuesday in an effort to ease some of the strain on the city's hospitals that have been bombarded with COVID-19 patients.

The field hospital in New York City is comprised of 14 tents and will receive patients first from Mount Sinai Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Queens. Brooklyn and Queens have been the hardest-hit boroughs in the city's outbreak, according to data released by the city.

Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel will be on site, according to the evangelical Christian organization Samaritan's Purse, which helped construct the makeshift hospital.

Volunteers from local churches also helped to build the field hospital, according to the group.

“People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds and the medical staff are overwhelmed,” Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement. “We are deploying our Emergency Field Hospital to New York to help carry this burden."

Construction at the site began on Sunday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio applauded Samaritan's Purse for its help and said New Yorkers should expect to see similar efforts as the pandemic continues.

"We're going to be using every place we need to use to help people ... so this is the kind of thing that you will see now as this crisis develops and deepens. The partnership with Central Park Conservancy, our Parks Department and the mayor's office -- we all worked together to get this done with Mount Sinai and Samaritan's Purse," de Blasio told reporters Sunday.

Samaritan's Purse also offered help in Italy as hospitals there are overwhelmed with patients.

Twenty-four hours after a field hospital opened in the Italian city of Cremona, the intensive care unit was full, according to the organization.

Once a bed frees up, a new patient is immediately brought in.

The Central Park field hospital will not be a walk-in center but rather take patients that are already at a Mount Sinai hospital.

There are more than 66,000 cases of COVID-19 in New York, the most of any state in the country, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Other temporary medical sites have also been approved to ease the burden of local hospitals. There is at least one temporary hospital in each of the five New York City boroughs.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Courtesy Jhoanna Buendia(NEW YORK) -- Hospital workers across the globe who made an oath to save the lives of patients are finding themselves fighting for their own, with increasing numbers of doctors and nurses falling victim to the deadly COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus.

Jhoanna Buendia, an intensive-care unit nurse in England, said her aunt Araceli Buendia Ilagan, 63, had died of complications from the virus on Friday.

Buendia Ilagan had been a nurse manager in the surgical ICU at Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida for three decades, Buendia said.

Miami Jackson Memorial hospital called Buendia Ilagan a "hero."

Buendia said that Buendia Ilagan had called her just a few days earlier to check on her and also mentor her on how to care for patients with COVID-19 in the U.K.

"It's very shocking ... It's very terrifying. It's all mixed (emotions) ... I just can't find the right words to explain how I feel right now," Buendia told ABC News on Monday.

"She told me she's doing fine ... Never did I expect that that would happen to her," said Buendia, who also said her aunt had doted on her because she never had children.

Jhoanna Buendia told ABC News that she was afraid to return to work after her mentor/aunt died in Miami of COVID-19.

"To be honest, I'm terrified for my life," she said. "Especially (because of) what happened to my aunt. I mean, life is really unexpected. However, in my profession, we did a pledge that we have to stay strong, we have to take care of our patients no matter what and I'm sticking to that pledge ... It's our job."

Buendia said her aunt, the stalwart nurse, who never complained or showed frailty, had mentioned nothing about the illness or even that she had been feeling symptoms.

Her niece said she was shocked with the devastating speed with which the virus killed. By the time she arrived at the hospital, Buendia said, her aunt Buendia Ilagan was so sick that she died as soon as she got to Jackson Memorial.

"Her husband told us that he just saw her on the floor and she is not breathing properly anymore," Buendia told ABC News on Monday. "He just rushed her to the hospital. And then everything came so fast ... He's so shocked ... In her case, I'm very surprised because I didn't know that she's already feeling something."

Buendia told ABC News that although she was frightened to return to work, she would be returning Tuesday because her hospital was understaffed.

Buendia did say she felt safe at her place of work because her hospital followed strict protection protocol and had adequate PPE, personal protective equipment.

In New York, Dr. Russell Weg said that his 63-year-old father, gastroenterologist Dr. Arnold Weg, had likely contracted the virus, when a patient coughed on him. His father remains hospitalized.

"This was about four weeks ago. A longtime patient of his called with a worsening chronic cough. This was when there were just about a few hundred cases in New York City ... The patient called and as any doctor would, he had the patient come into the office ... During the exam the patient coughed on my father to no fault of his own, and we feel pretty confident that that was his exposure ... A few days later, about five days later, my father learned that the patient was admitted to the hospital. It was about a week after that exposure that my father started exhibiting signs of the coronavirus," Dr. Russell Weg said.

He said that his father developed a fever and leg cramps and that within a few days, he had to be rushed to the hospital and placed in the ICU.

Dr. Russell Weg told ABC News that Dr. Arnold Weg, a grandfather of six as well as a marathon runner, was "truly in the fight for his life."

"It is not easy to step into that ring when you know that the outcome can be fatal," Dr. Russell Weg said.

He said that his father, who had treated tens of thousands of patients and also trained health care workers, had spent a career running to the hospital in the middle of the night for emergencies.

"I know that my father, God willing he does get through this, he is going to jump back on the front lines and help as many patients as he can," Dr. Russell Weg said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- On Tuesday, we are watching the South for severe weather and the West for possible feet of snow.

Let’s start with the South where a storm system is moving across the Gulf Coast with severe storms. These storms could produce damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes.

Cities that will see severe weather Tuesday will be Montgomery, Alabama; Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina.

There are a couple of storm systems moving from the West Coast into the northern Plains with heavy snow for the area over the next 48 to 72 hours.

As of Tuesday morning, five states are under snow alerts from Washington to Wyoming and these alerts will be expanded into the northern Plains as we move through the morning and afternoon.

By Wednesday night into Thursday, cold air will mix with the storm system bringing heavy snow all the way into the Dakotas.

The heaviest snow over the next few days will be from the Cascades into the Rockies where locally 30 inches of snow is possible.

Half a foot to a foot of snow is possible by Thursday in the northern Plains.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

rustythedog/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After some of the nation's first arrests for violations of coronavirus-related distancing orders, police across the country are attempting to navigate the delicate task of enforcing the new rules -- preferably less with handcuffs than with help from the community, police leaders told ABC News.

In Charles County, Maryland over the weekend, the sheriff’s office arrested a man for holding a bonfire at his house with about 60 people. They said it was because he was in violation of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency coronavirus order, and it was the second time police had visited for the alleged violation.

A New York City bar operator was also arrested this weekend for a purported violation of a local executive order against nonessential gatherings there.

On Monday, the Henrico County Sheriff’s office arrested Tampa, Florida, Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for purportedly being in violation of the social distancing order put in place by neighboring Hillsborough County, where the pastor’s church is located. Howard-Browne held a service that was livestreamed, showing more than 10 people in the Evangelist church. A week before his arrest he vowed not to close the church and said that closings were for “pansies.”

Howard-Browne and an attorney for Shawn Myers, the Maryland man, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening. Myers was held without bond, according to ABC affiliate WJLA-TV.

It is not immediately clear if the New York man, Vasil Pando, had obtained an attorney.

But as much of the country faces some version of social distancing government mandates, arrests are not the way police would prefer to enforce the new rules and should be a last resort, according to Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

“Police are going to use a great deal of discretion in these situations. Police are going to be very careful about stopping people. This is going to be advisory rather than, you know locking people up," he said. "I can't imagine a police chief wanting to use... their finite resources to cite people."

International Association of Chiefs of Police President and Buffalo Grove, Illinois Chief Steve Casstevens said arresting people in violation of the new orders is "the last thing we want to do."

“I’ve been getting messages from many other law enforcement agencies that say rather than making a physical arrest, they're giving a summons or essentially a non-traffic ticket for a violation to give to people for a future time," he said.

Police Chief Edwin Roessler of Fairfax County, Virginia, told ABC News that if a business was found in violation of the social distancing order, they would first try to just offer a warning, before taking more drastic legal action.

"We will throw a call into the restaurant and at the same time, visually try to observe the violation and get voluntary compliance and give them a warning. And we make a report of that and the health department will get that warning and they could follow up that call for service for the code violation with the code compliance team,” he explained. “If for some reason, we are not getting compliance, it's my understanding from being legally briefed that we would then use the health department and code compliance to then call an emergency on call circuit court judge to then issue an injunction that's immediate against the business. Then they would be electronically and verbally served with an order to shut down the business.”

In Bowie, Maryland, where Gov. Hogan has re-instituted the stay-at-home order, Police Chief John Nesky told ABC News that they have had a few instances of reminding people to socially distance themselves from others.

“We have not had to charge anybody. It's all been we get there [and] explain why,” he said. “One of the things you want to careful of, that we don't want to do is ramp up tensions even higher. And if you start to... take this really hard crackdown on things, that may not be within the realm of what's necessary at the moment. You're just going to kind of amplify your issues.”

Providence, Rhode Island Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said that it is “impossible” for law enforcement to stop everyone from these orders. Rather, he said police needed to take a community approach to the problem.

“It's akin to your taxes, right? We need compliance and to pay your taxes and to be honest and fair about [paying them]. Because it's impossible for the government to audit every single tax submission and returns," he said. "We're asking and we're pleading with people to obey the guidelines in the executive orders, whether it's the governor or the mayor. ... So the majority of the people will, but what do you do with those that thumbing their nose at it, continue to violate it? That's the challenge for law enforcement.”

Paré added that they aren’t looking to arrest or fine people, but that police will do what they can to break up large groups. Multiple police departments with which ABC News spoke said that they have taken measures at local outdoor parks to discourage people gathering, such as removing or boarding up basketball hoops and locking gates.

North Miami, Florida Police Chief Larry Juriga told ABC News that he, too, is emphasizing a community based approach -- neighbors relying on their neighbors to keep everyone safe.

“If we can have our communities comply, we will save lives. As simple as that. It's very rare that you can say something like that you comply with these ordinances you comply with these orders? will save lives,” Juriga said. “Our men and women are going out. And what we're encouraging is education, about the about the requirements, and then what we're pushing for is we're pushing for participatory compliance."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

DougSchneiderPhoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Two men involved in the death of a New York City police detective were among the violent offenders on the list of inmates slated to be released from the infamous Rikers Island jail complex due to the coronavirus pendemic, until prosecutors intervened, multiple sources told ABC News.

Christopher Ransom, 28, and Jagger Freeman, 26, were charged with armed robbery in connection with the February 2019 shooting death of New York Police Department Detective Brian Simonsen. They appeared on a list of names obtained by ABC News that also included Viktoriya Nasyrova, 45, who was accused of trying to kill a woman in 2016 with a poisoned cheesecake.

The only thing that kept alleged violent offenders from being released was the intervention of the city’s five district attorneys, who said in a joint letter issued Monday that “we want to make clear that the categories of those proposed for release have, in some instances, included individuals who pose a high risk to public safety.”

As the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, began its stranglehold on New York State, it crept into Rikers Island, a sweeping complex near LaGuardia Airport that is one of the largest jail compounds in the world. The virus infected the first correction staff member on March 15 and an inmate three days later.

The arrival of the virus prompted city officials, defense attorneys and advocates to call for the release of inmates, since jails are notorious breeding grounds for germs.

New York City's Board of Correction (NYCBOC), which oversees the Department of Correction (DOC), instructed the city and criminal justice agencies to work together to "immediately remove" inmates at higher risk from COVID-19 and to rapidly decrease the jail population.

"The City’s jails have particular challenges to preventing disease transmission on a normal day and even more so during a public health crisis," according to a March 17 statement issued by the NYCBOC.

Rikers Island at the time of the first diagnosis housed more than 5,000 inmates in separate facilities on an island along the East River between the Bronx and Queens.

'High risk to public safety'

In a joint letter sent to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann, the city's five district attorneys and its special narcotics prosecutor said that they supported reducing the number of those incarcerated -- but not without a plan.

"We fully appreciate the unique risks that the COVID-19 virus poses in our jails, and we agree that the number of those incarcerated must decrease to limit the spread of the virus on Rikers Island and in other facilities," the district attorneys wrote. "At the same time, we want to make clear that the categories of those proposed for release have, in some instances, included individuals who pose a high risk to public safety. In such instances, we have communicated our concerns, but these concerns have not always been heeded."

Defense attorneys and the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) collected hundreds of names to propose to the district attorney offices in the jurisdiction of their clients' pending or closed cases.

MOCJ created a list of 84 inmates with underlying health conditions that would put them at higher risk if they came into contact with the coronavirus, according to two separate sources.

Representatives from each prosecutors' office had the option of agreeing or objecting to the inmates' release.

But prosecutors claimed in the letter sent on Monday that their "concerns have not always been heeded."

"As an example, when we learned last week that the Commissioner of Corrections was about to use her authority to order an across-the-board release of hundreds of inmates serving city sentences, we were assured that the release would not include those serving time for domestic violence or sex offenses, given the risks to victims. Unfortunately, we later learned that such individuals were indeed included in the ranks of those to be released," the letter read.

In other situations when an objection was made, MOCJ or defense attorneys would file a writ of habeas corpus -- an order to physically bring the client to court to argue if their imprisonment is lawful -- and argue for the client's release before a judge, another source said.

A Manhattan supreme court judge released accused murderer Pedro Vinent-Barcia from Rikers Island after Legal Aid Society lawyers successfully argued on Thursday that because of the 63-year-old's cardiovascular disease, he is at high risk if exposed to COVID-19, The New York Post first reported. The public defender organization was also able to argue for the release of 15 others, over prosecutors' objections, according to the Post.

The Legal Aid Society declined a request to comment for this story.

More lists of prisoners

After the first list was reviewed by the district attorneys' offices, MOCJ then submitted two other lists, according to another source.

A portion of one of the lists obtained by ABC News revealed that MOCJ requested that high-profile defendants Ransom, Freeman and Nasyrova be released.

Freeman, 26, and Ransom, 28, are alleged armed robbers charged in connection with the February 2019 death of NYPD Officer Brian Simonsen, who was killed by friendly fire. Nasyrova, 45, is accused of attempting to kill a woman in 2016 with poisoned cheesecake in order to steal her identity and remain on the run for a murder she allegedly committed in Russia.

Also included in the same list obtained by ABC News were almost two dozen others awaiting trial for violent felony offenses.

Another source said MOCJ also suggested that rapists and a man awaiting trial for a double homicide case be released.

The DOC referred requests for comment about the release of inmates to MOCJ, which did not respond as of Monday evening.

No plan in place

The prosecutors' two-page letter also raised concerns about the lack of a plan for how the inmates will be handled following their release, including their housing, supervision and support-service needs.

Prosecutors offered a list of recommendations for the city to follow in order to give the public and courts the reassurance that releasing the inmates will "keep our communities both healthy and safe."

For instance, they suggested that additional resources be allocated to protect victims and survivors who may be vulnerable due to the unexpected return of these individuals. They also said additional resources should be allocated to provide adequate supervision and address critical needs, including testing for COVID-19 prior to release. They also said that those who remain detained should receive the resources necessary to live in sanitary conditions with quality medical care.

As of Friday, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance had consented to the release of 259 inmates. Vance's office also completely vacated the convictions of nine inmates who had less than 90 days remaining on their sentence for low-level misdemeanors -- seven for petty larceny, one for fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, another for second-degree menacing -- and were over the age of 35.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has consented to the release of about 120 inmates, and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has agreed to the release 30.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a separate statement that her office has agreed to the release of "number of inmates" and are evaluating others.

"However, we cannot ignore in our assessment the seriousness of the crime for which an inmate is incarcerated, as well the impact that their release might have on public safety," Clark said. "Those who currently remain incarcerated are accused of the most serious violent offenses including murder, and their release will affect public safety. My duty is to protect the public, and the victims and survivors who remain vulnerable knowing that many of the individuals who were incarcerated are returning to the community."

The prosecutors also believe that the city's jails are capable of providing sufficient health care for the remaining population of inmates given the recent reduction in the city jail population and the increased housing options in city jail facilities. The Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island has been reopened for those in custody who have tested positive for COVID-19 and new intakes who are showing symptoms.

Last week, Mayor de Blasio announced the release of 375 inmates as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the release of 1,100 inmates statewide who are in jail for low-level parole violations.

On Friday, Legal Aid Society announced that they were also able to secure the release of 106 inmates.

The resulting jail population -- Rikers Island's lowest since the 1940s -- means that DOC is now ensuring social distancing by making sure there is an empty bed in between people in custody to increase space while sleeping.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Cook County Sheriff's Office/Facebook(CHICAGO) -- The number of detainees testing positive for coronavirus at the Cook County Jail in Chicago skyrocketed over the weekend, leaving Sheriff Tom Dart grappling with a dilemma that runs against the very grain of a veteran lawman and former prosecutor: whether to free alleged criminals instead of keeping them locked up.

As of Monday afternoon, one of America's largest single-site jails had 134 inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, up from just 38 on Friday, Dart told ABC News. Of all the inmates tested so far, only nine were negative, he said.

“This is beyond complicated," Dart said. "There was zero playbook for this stuff."

With roughly 75% of his jail's inmates there on suspicion of violent crimes, Dart said he's been working around the clock with Cook County officials, judges, probation officers and the State's Attorney's office to devise a plan from scratch on how to keep dangerous people locked up and still create space in the jail without jeopardizing the community.

Since crime hasn't been put on quarantine with the bulk of the population, Dart has also had to juggle the daily intake of more inmates while thinking of ways to secure the health of those already under his watch.

"It's like I'm running this cruise ship, but we can't disembark people. It's quite the contrary because we know we have the coronavirus, but we keep embarking more people. And I've told people you don't have the option of just shutting the door and saying, 'We're not taking any people in.' That's where the juggling part of this is so incredible. I can't tell you how many configurations and different iterations I've come up with in just the last week, let alone the last month," he said.

In the past week, Dart has been forced to be more creative than he's even been. He's opened a former boot camp building on the grounds of the jail and turned it into a 500-bed hospital, where infected inmates began receiving treatment on Monday night.

"That's going to give me breathing room on the other side of the compound where the cells are at, so I can fully single-cell everybody," Dart said. "Right now it's about a little less than half of the population that are in single-man cells, which is not our norm. Our norm is double cells for the majority of people and then we have dormitories for other people."

He's also instituted a plan to keep new inmates who come in -- to 70 a day -- in groups.

"I keep them together for seven days. For instance, Tuesday's group will stay in a separate location for seven days and so on," Dart explained. "I keep cycling through that and by doing that I'm trying to make sure I'm not importing a sick person in. These cohorts are waiting for seven days before they go into the general population. I did that by opening up some of the empty buildings I have here."

On top of everything, 20 members of Dart's staff have also tested positive for the virus, up from six on Friday.

"The difficulty, and I knew it coming in, my employees don't live in the place. They go home at the end of their shift," Dart said. "We strongly believe that a good percentage of the positives we're getting come in from the outside, from staff. And we knew that, so it wasn't a shock to us. So I felt good that I was isolating the detainees that were coming in, but there was nothing I could do about the staff part of it. That is still a tricky component that I don't have a good answer on."

Dart said he's been working with Cook County State's Attorney Kim Fox's office to identify non-violent inmates to release from the jail, including those awaiting trail, pregnant inmates in the women's wing, and poor non-violent inmates unable to raise $1,000 bail or less. That's helped drive down the jail population from 5,550 last week to 4,800, he said.

"It's been tricky, but we're getting through it," said Dart. "The big question is how much longer is this going to go on because between the equipment and the testing, we really need some help in those areas and I don't know how much longer all this stuff is going to take to get to us."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

narvikk/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 36,900 people across the globe.

The new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19, has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica since first emerging in China in December. There are now more than 775,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Over 164,000 of those patients have recovered from the disease.

With more than 159,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the United States has by far the highest national tally in the world. At least 2,945 people have died in the U.S.

Here's how the news developed Monday. All times Eastern:

11:21 p.m.: At least five dead from coronavirus in Massachusetts veterans' home

The mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, said the city is grief-stricken following the death of 11 residents of a local veterans' home.

Officials said that at least five residents of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke had died from COVID-19 and that authorities were still waiting for test results from five more of the deceased.

Eleven other residents of the Western Massachusetts facility have also been diagnosed with the virus.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced it had placed the home's superintendent on administrative leave following the deaths.

"To the families who have lost a loved one, know that all of Holyoke shares your grief," said Mayor Alex Morse, who ordered that flags in the city be lowered to half mast in honor of those who died.

9:38 p.m.: Cuomo calls for "rolling" approach to fighting pandemic

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on health care workers from beyond New York to help his state through its fight against the coronavirus, so New York will be able to reciprocate.

"[The virus] will happen at different times across the country, and if we’re really smart, we address it in a rolling apex as I call it," Cuomo told ABC News' World News Tonight anchor David Muir during the 20/20 special, “America Rising: Fighting the Pandemic.” "When a community really has an intense need, let’s all go help that community. They get past it, and then we move on to the next."

"New York happens to be the first one -- we are the tip of the spear, and I hope people help us," the governor said. "I'm asking other health care professionals from across the country: Come help New York, and we will reciprocate and will be there to help you when you need help."

Cuomo said that based on data from "four or five modelers," the apex of the virus in New York is expected to arrive "anywhere from about one week for the apex, some people saying another 21 days."

"Every model however, shows it well over the capacity of the health care system," he added.

8:13 p.m.: More than 100 detainees test positive in Cook County Jail

Administrators at Cook County Jail in Illinois said that 134 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19.

The number is more than triple the 38 detainees who tested positive on Friday. So far, only nine detainees have tested negative, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office.

Twenty sheriff’s office staff members have also tested positive, according to administrators.

7:07 p.m.: New York City deaths near 1,000

New York City's Health Department released new figures about its growing COVID-19 cases showing that 914 have died from the virus.

This was a jump of 124 coronavirus fatalities from a Health Department report issued earlier in the day.

Overall, the city has 38,087 confirmed cases, the Health Department said.

6:40 p.m.: First U.S. military member dies from disease

The Pentagon announced that a New Jersey Army National Guardsman passed away from COVID-19 complications, marking the first death of an active U.S. military member.

The unidentified guardsman was diagnosed with the virus on March 19 and had been hospitalized since March 21, according to the Pentagon.

“This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a statement.

6:13 p.m.: NYPD loses fourth officer to COVID-19

The New York Police Department announced that it has lost its fourth member to the coronavirus.

School Safety Agent Sabrina Jefferson was a 26-year veteran who was stationed in Queens, according to the NYPD. There are 824 uniformed members and 106 civilian members who tested positive for COVID-19, the department said.

The police are awaiting the test results from Senior Police Administrative Aide Gwendolyn King, who died on Monday.

6:04 p.m.: President says national stay-at-home order ‘pretty unlikely’

President Trump said his administration has mulled a national stay-at-home order, but added, “it's pretty unlikely I would think at this time,” during his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House.

The president said he would defer such decisions to individual governors.

“Staying at home with respect to what we're talking about doesn't bother me at all,” he said. “People should be staying at home. That’s what we want.”

Also at the briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would anticipate the virus coming back in the fall, but noted that the world may be better equipped to handle it.

He cited the ongoing lab work to develop a treatment, and the search for a vaccine to give the public better protection against the virus.

"If you come back in the fall, it will be a totally different ball game of what happened when we first got hit with it in the beginning of this year," he said.

5:45 p.m.: Dozens of Marines test positive at boot camp

Between 35 to 40 Marine recruits and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at its Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, a defense official told ABC News.

The Marine Corps said it would suspend sending recruits to that boot camp, which is the service’s largest camp in the East Coast.

"Recruit training for individuals already at the Depot will continue as planned, with continued emphasis on personal and environmental cleanliness and social distancing," the Marine Corps said in a statement

The Marine Corps will continue to send recruits to its West Coast boot camp, but they are receiving a decreased number "to ensure that there is enough space to provide social distancing and adequate staff to safely screen and evaluate incoming recruits," according to a Marine representative.

4:48 p.m.: GAP to furlough most of its staff

The GAP is the latest retail giant to announce it will furlough most of its North American employees.

Company officials said the move comes as sales from its clothing stores have dropped due to the pandemic.

The chain said it would continue provide its employees with their benefits during the furlough period, which will last until stores reopen. Sonia Syngal, the president and CEO of Gap Inc., said that corporate leaders will be taking a pay cut as well.

"We are doing everything we can to provide support during this time, and we are intensely focused on welcoming back our store teams and customers as soon as we are able," she said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Macy's announced it would furlough the majority of its workforce starting this week.

Nordstrom said last week it was furloughing a portion of its corporate staff, and the company that operates DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse said it was furloughing 80% of its workers, according to the Associated Press.

3:45 p.m.: Renowned doctor dies from coronavirus

Dr. James Goodrich, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at New York City's Montefiore Medical Center, died of COVID-19 complications on Monday, according to the medical center.

Goodrich specialized in children with complex neurological conditions and created an approach for separating twins who are fused at the brain and skull, according to the medical center, where he worked for three decades.

In 2016, he famously led a team of doctors in a 27-hour-long procedure to separate 13-month-old twin boys.

Goodrich was not only a "pioneer" in his field, but also "a humble and truly caring man" remembered for baking holiday cookies and delivering them to the Children's Hospital nurses each year, Montefiore Medical Center officials said in a statement.

"Dr. Goodrich was a beacon of our institution and he will be truly missed," Montefiore Medicine CEO Dr. Philip Ozuah said in a statement. "His expertise and ability were second only to his kind heart and manner."

"Dr. Goodrich was admired by his Montefiore Einstein colleagues and adored by his patients and Montefiore Einstein will not be the same without his presence," Ozuah said.

3:25 p.m.: Pastor arrested for holding services despite safer at home order

A Florida pastor has been arrested after he allegedly held two large services on Sunday despite a safer at home order issued in the state.

Tampa-area pastor Rodney Howard-Browne "intentionally and repeatedly chose to disregard the order set in place by our president, our governor, the CDC, and the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a news conference Monday.

He was arrested on a charge of unlawful assembly in violation of a public health emergency order.

Chronister said the pastor's "reckless disregard for human life put hundreds" of congregants and thousands of residents at risk.

Since Friday, the sheriff's office was in contact with The River at Tampa Bay Church and received an anonymous tip that Howard-Browne refused the request to stop large gatherings, the sheriff said.

Officers went to the church to speak with Howard-Browne, but according to the sheriff, the pastor would not speak with them. Attorneys for the church told the sheriff's office that they refused to cancel services, according to Chronister.

The church could have opted for livestream services, but instead disobeyed the safer at home order and even provided bus transportation for parishioners, the sheriff said.

Howard-Browne told congregants Sunday, "I know they’re trying to beat me up about having the church operational, but we are not a nonessential service."

2 p.m.: Maryland governor worried pandemic will soon escalate in DC area


Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is warning that medical experts say the coronavirus pandemic could escalate within two weeks in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland region, where it could resemble the current level of cases in New York City.

Hogan issued a "stay-at-home" executive order on Monday that directs state residents to stay at home unless they have an essential job, need to leave buy food or medicine, or get medical attention.

The governor warned that violators would be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

He also said that residents should not travel out of state unless absolutely necessary.

Maryland has now surpassed 1,400 cases of COVID-19.

A stay-at-home order was also issued Monday in Virginia where at least 25 people have died.

1:30 p.m.: Over 1,000 dead in New York State


At least 1,218 have died from coronavirus in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

"We've lost over 1,000 New Yorkers. To me we're beyond staggering already," Cuomo said. "The only point now is do everything you can to save every life possible."

Only one county in New York State has no diagnosed COVID-19 cases, Cuomo said.

Over 66,000 people have tested positive in the state, including 9,500 patients in hospitals, Cuomo said. Of those in hospitals, 2,300 people are in intensive care units.

Over 4,200 people have been hospitalized and discharged, he said.

New York City still has too much density, Cuomo said, threatening to close down playgrounds if people do not stay inside or maintain effective social distancing while going outside for fresh air.

12:40 p.m.: Cruise lines extend suspensions

After the coronavirus outbreak quarantined thousands of passengers on massive cruise liners, Carnival Cruise Line said Monday it will continue to suspend operations in North America through May 11.

Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival, said it will extend its suspension of global ship operations through May 14.

Royal Caribbean has currently suspended global operations through May 11 and Princess Cruise Line has suspended trips until at least May 10.

Norwegian Cruise Line currently plans to lift its suspension on April 12.

12:26 p.m.: Italy now has over 100,000 reported cases


Italy -- by far the hardest-hit when it comes to fatalities -- has now reached 101,739 total coronavirus cases, according to the country's Civil Protection Agency.

As of Monday, 11,591 people in Italy have died, officials said

But Italy -- which went on a country-wide lockdown on March 9 -- is seeing some positive news as the total number of active infected patients rose by only 2.2% over the last 24 hours. There were 1,648 new cases in the last day, as opposed to 3,815 from the day before.

Also, the number of patients reported as having recovered from the illness as of Monday is the highest daily total reported so far with 1,590 no longer infected.

11:50 a.m.: USNS Comfort arrives in New York

The USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in the harbor of hard-hit New York City Monday morning.

The ship will treat non-coronavirus patients on board to try to lighten the burden on the city's hospitals where doctors are focusing on combating the pandemic.

At least 776 people have died in New York City.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the ship's arrival a "major moment in this long battle."

"Our nation has heard our plea for help," he said. "There could not be a better example of all of America pulling for New York City than the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

The mayor called the ship a "big boost" in the city's need to triple hospital bed capacity by May.

To all New Yorkers, the mayor said, "We are not alone. Our nation is helping us in our hour of need."

As the death toll climbs in New York, the mayor warned, "the toughest weeks are still ahead."

Another hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, has opened for business in the port of Los Angeles, where it'll be treating non-coronavirus patients on board.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/MattGush(NEW YORK) -- A Brooklyn man who allegedly coughed on FBI agents and told them he had novel coronavirus, after the agents said they had confronted him about hoarding and selling medical equipment, has been arrested, according to the Justice Department.

Prosecutors said 43-year-old Baruch Feldheim sought to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis and equipment shortages at New York's hospitals to make medical workers pay inflated prices for surgical masks, medical gowns and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

On Sunday, FBI agents said they approached Feldheim at his home after observing several individuals walking away from his door with boxes that they believed contained medical equipment.

"After identifying themselves as FBI agents, they told Feldheim that they wanted to stay a distance away from him given concerns over the spread of Coronavirus," the DOJ said in a statement. "When the agents were within four to five feet of him, Feldheim allegedly coughed in their direction without covering his mouth."

Feldheim then told the agents he was infected with COVID-19, according to DOJ.

As a result, Feldheim was arrested and charged with assaulting a federal officer, as well as making false statements after prosecutors said he repeatedly lied about his possession and sale of the equipment. He has not yet made his initial appearance before a judge or entered a plea to the charges, and as of Monday evening did not have a lawyer listed on the district court's docket.

The arrest follows a nationwide campaign encouraged by the DOJ and FBI to crack down on those who may seek to use the current national emergency to hoard much-needed medical supplies and sell them at prices far above market value.

Agents accused Feldheim of doing so on multiple occasions.

According to the criminal complaint against him, Feldheim agreed to sell a New Jersey doctor "approximately 1,000 N95 masks" and other materials for $12,000, "an approximately 700 percent markup from the normal price," prosecutors said. When Feldheim told the doctor the location of the materials, the man went to a repair shop that held enough medical supplies "to outfit an entire hospital," the Justice Department said.

Agents also alleged in a separate instance that Feldheim offered to sell a nurse "a quantity of surgical gowns," and days later received a shipment from Canada containing "eight pallets of medical facemasks."

The Justice Department urges Americans who suspect coronavirus fraud, hoarding or price-gouging to contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s National Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or e-mail disaster@leo.gov.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

KRDO(MANITOU SPRINGS, Colorado) -- At a time of national crisis, heroes come in all shapes and sizes—furry friends included.

Sundance, Karen Evelth’s dog, is helping neighbor Renee Hellman stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic by dropping off groceries at the door of her home in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Hellmen is over 65 and suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which puts her at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So Evelth thought of a clever way to help her friend stay safe at home.

“I told her, ‘I don't want you going anywhere,'” said Evelth. “When I get groceries, I'll get yours too.”

Each day, Evelth sends her 7-year-old golden retriever, nicknamed Sunny, to pick up Hellmen’s grocery list. Sunny returns a few hours later with bags full of flour, chickens and eggs -- all secured by Sunny’s mouth as he trots across the yard.

“She is so happy and grateful to see him every day at her porch,” said Evelth. “Smiling ear to ear every time.”

Evelth explained it took just one day to train Sunny to execute the routine, although he’s been learning to pick things up around her home for years.

“I have some back and feet issues so he’s learned to pick up my purse and shoes and bring them to me,” said Evelth. “He’s a humble hero, I’m so proud of him.”

Evelth added her dog has been doing the grocery runs for weeks and will continue to do so until Hellmen feels it’s safe again to venture out herself.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

FILE photo - jpgfactory/iStock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) --  A 14-day trip from Argentina to Chile has turned into a nightmarish, seemingly never-ending cruise for passengers aboard Holland America's Zaandam ship.

After nearly three weeks since passengers departed from Buenos Aires, "73 guests and 116 crew members on Zaandam have reported influenza-like illness symptoms," according to a press release from Holland America dated March 29. "There are 797 guests and 645 crew on Rotterdam. On Zaandam there are 446 guests and 602 crew." Two people have been reported as testing positive for COVID-19.

Among the guests are 138 Americans on the Zaandam, 166 on the Rotterdam.

Four older guests have passed away on Zaandam, according to the cruise line, one of whom was an American citizen.

Sister ship Rotterdam is now traveling with Zaandam, and passengers were transferred from Zaandam to Rotterdam to help distribute the workload among crews. Zaandam has four doctors and four nurses; Rotterdam, two doctors and four nurses.

On Friday, the cruise line started the process to move some passengers, including Laura Gabroni and her husband, Juan Huergo, to its sister ship the Rotterdam, which was sent to deliver supplies and COVID-19 test kits, according to Holland America. The transfers were completed on Sunday.

"We have been quarantined since the 22nd without being able to go outside," Gabroni told ABC News.

On Sunday night the ships finally made their way through the Panama Canal, which had previously blocked ships from entering, and both are bound for Fort Lauderdale awaiting permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to dock, the company said.

Jan Black, another American passenger who was moved with husband Chuck to the Rotterdam, said, "They're trying to limit how much they interact with the passengers."

But others who are still quarantined aboard the Zaandam said they were unable to board the new ship because they showed symptoms of being sick.

"We've just been told we will not be allowed off the ship because we were honest and said we had been coughing," Andrea Anderson explained.

Orlando Ashford, the president of Holland America, delivered a message to passengers on both ships overnight saying that their "intention is for each of these ships to work in tandem, to try to protect the health of those that are healthy, and so that we can create room and space so that we can care for the ones that are sick."

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the ships need to submit a plan and it needs to be approved before these ships enter U.S. waters. Holland America has suspended all its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises as quickly as possible, according to a press release dated March 29.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments