Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed over 26,900 people around the world.
Globally there are more than 586,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has over 100,000 cases of COVID-19, the highest of any country.
There have been at least 1,544 deaths in the U.S. More than 1,000 people have died in the past week alone.
At least 862 people in the U.S. have recovered.
Here are the latest developments. All times are in Eastern.
7:59 p.m.: Pence says over 685,000 tests done
Vice President Mike Pence said more than 685,000 tests for coronavirus have been done in the U.S. as of Friday morning.
“As a great credit to our partnership with commercial laboratories across the country, this morning it was reported that more than 685,000 tests have already been performed, and we are particularly grateful to the American Hospital Association whose members are now reporting in to the CDC and FEMA in real time, giving our experts more visibility on those that have contracted the disease around the country,” Pence said.
The number is an increase of 133,000 from Thursday, and includes private testing.
6 p.m.: US cases top 100,000
The number of diagnosed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has now topped 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins.
There are now 100,717 cases, most in the world by over 14,000, and 1,544 deaths.
Meanwhile, the number of cases worldwide is creeping closer to 600,000, now standing at 590,594.
4:48 p.m.: 2 more congressmen test positive
Two more congressmen, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., have tested positive for coronavirus.
Neither was there for today’s stimulus package vote.
There are now four members who have announced they’ve received positive tests, including Ben McAdams, D-Utah, and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.
4:45 p.m.: 25-year-old with no underlying conditions dies
A 25-year-old pharmacy technician with no underlying health issues has died from COVID-19, said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the Riverside County, California, public health officer.
The 25-year-old had been self-quarantining. The victim’s body was found Wednesday in a home in La Quinta, officials said.
“This is a deeply saddening reminder that COVID-19 kills the young and healthy too,” Kaiser said in a statement. “Stay safe. Keep travel and errands to essentials, and observe social distance no matter how young or well you are. Our condolences and thoughts are with everyone this pandemic has touched.”
4:20 p.m.: Trump uses Defense Production Act for 1st time, compelling GM to make ventilators
President Donald Trump for the first time on Friday used the authorities granted by the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to produce ventilators.
“Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” Trump said in a written statement. “GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.”
Trump said in the memo that the Secretary of Health and Human Services “shall use any and all authority available under the Act to require General Motors Company to accept, perform, and prioritize contracts or orders for the number of ventilators that the secretary determines to be appropriate.”
A GM spokesperson said, “Ventec, GM and our supply base have been working around the clock for over a week to meet this urgent need. Our commitment to build Ventec’s high-quality critical care ventilator, VOCSN, has never wavered. The partnership between Ventec and GM combines global expertise in manufacturing quality and a joint commitment to safety to give medical professionals and patients access to life-saving technology as rapidly as possible.”
Trump signed the COVID-19 relief package in the Oval Office Friday afternoon.
The historic measure was passed by the House of Representatives earlier Friday.
The $2 trillion package, which the Senate approved on Wednesday, is the largest emergency aid package in U.S. history.
3:50 p.m.: Disney World, Disneyland closed until further notice
Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort will stay closed until further notice.
The company said it’s been paying its cast members since the parks closed and will now extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.
(Disney is the parent company of ABC News.)
3:32 p.m.: New Jersey offering exclusive testing to health care workers, first responders
New Jersey will offer exclusive COVID-19 testing to health care workers and first responders this weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday.
Beginning Saturday, the Bergen County College and PNC Bank Arts Center drive-through sites will be reserved for health workers and first responders only. On Monday, the two sites will reopen again to anyone in need of a test.
The state has at least 8,825 confirmed cases. The virus has killed 108 people in New Jersey, including 27 people in the last 24 hours.
Although the state is working hard to expand testing to more people, officials can only commit to testing those who are symptomatic, Murphy said.
3:15 p.m.: LA County beaches to close
Los Angeles County beaches are all closing to the public immediately because the crowds there last weekend “were unacceptable,” said LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn.
“We cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus,” Hahn said.
The county is also closing public trails and beach bike paths.
LA County has at least 1,465 diagnosed cases and five deaths.
2:18 p.m.: Italy’s death toll climbs over 9,000
Italy — by far the hardest-hit nation for coronavirus fatalities — recorded over 900 deaths in one day, a daily record, said Domenico Arcuri, the national commissioner for the emergency.
Italy’s death toll is now over 9,000, according to the Johns Hopkins data.
Despite the grim numbers, officials with the Italian Higher Health Institute said Friday that the nationwide lockdown continues to show a reduction in the rate of new cases each day.
Overall there was a 7.3% growth in the spread of the virus from Thursday nationwide. This is the fifth day in a row of single-digit percentage growth in the overall number of new cases, according to Italy’s Civil Protection Agency.
The total number of cases in Italy is now over 86,000, according to the civil protection agency.
12:29 p.m.: Pennsylvania becomes 13th state to delay primary
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation Friday to move the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 2.
Pennsylvania marks the 13th state to delay its nominating contest over coronavirus concerns. Pennsylvania joins Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wyoming, as well as Puerto Rico.
12:06 p.m.: 519 deaths in New York
Diagnosed coronavirus cases have jumped to 44,685 in New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
Of those diagnosed, 6,481 are hospitalized, including 1,583 people in the ICU, Cuomo said.
New York has by far the most cases of any state in the nation. In second is New Jersey with 6,800, according to Cuomo.
At least 519 have died in the state. Cuomo warned, “That is going to continue to go up.”
“The reason why the number is going up is because some people came into the hospital 20 days, 25 days ago and had been on a ventilator for that long a period of time,” Cuomo said. “When somebody is on that ventilator for a prolonged period of time, the outcome is usually not good.”
As the pandemic escalates, New York state schools will remain closed until April 15, and Cuomo said he will re-assess from that point. New York City schools are closed until at least April 20.
Hospitals in the state have 53,000 beds but need 140,000 beds, the governor said. Hospitals have to increase capacity by 50%, Cuomo said, adding that he hopes hospitals can increase capacity by 100%.
The state is also looking to build temporary emergency hospitals and is scouting sites, he said.
11:28 a.m.: Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy arrives in Los Angeles
The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy arrived in the port of Los Angeles Friday morning where it’ll help ease the burden on the city’s hospitals.
With 1,128 active duty medical personnel on board, the USNS Mercy will treat non-COVID-19 patients.
Another Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, will depart Virginia on Saturday to head to New York City’s harbor.
11:09 a.m.: Mark Zuckerberg commits $25 million to accelerate coronavirus treatments
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he and his wife are giving $25 million to accelerate the development of coronavirus treatments.
“We’re partnering with the Gates Foundation and others to quickly evaluate the most promising existing drugs to see which ones might be effective at preventing and treating the coronavirus,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post Friday morning. “Since these drugs have already gone through clinical safety trials, if they’re effective, it will be much faster to make them available than it will be to develop and test a new vaccine — hopefully months rather than a year or more.”
10:12 a.m.: Man arrested for making threats toward Dems, Speaker Pelosi
A 27-year-old Texas man has been arrested for allegedly making death threats against Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, related to their work on Congress’ coronavirus stimulus bill, according to the FBI.
Gavin Perry was charged with making threats over Facebook in which he allegedly described Pelosi as part of a “satanic cult” and said that “Dems of the establishment will be removed at any cost necessary and yes that means by death.”
In a separate post that featured a photo of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Perry allegedly wrote, “If youre a dem or apart of the establishment in the democrats side I view you as a criminal and a terrorist and I advise everyone to Go SOS [shoot on sight] and use live rounds… Shoot to kill. This is a revolution.”
Perry appeared in court Thursday but has not entered a plea.
9:52 a.m.: 911 calls reach record high in NYC
In New York City — the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic — the fire department handled more than 6,000 911 calls on Thursday, the busiest day ever in terms of individual medical incidents.
That number is nearly double the normal amount of 911 calls for the department.
The record-high call volume is largely being driven by calls from people who are scared or concerned they have coronavirus, officials said.
The FDNY is imploring people not to call 911 if they feel sick. Instead, they should ring a doctor and call for an ambulance only in a true emergency.
There are 2,000 New York City firefighters and paramedics out sick, or about 17% of the department, officials said.
At least 170 members of the FDNY have tested positive for COVID-19.
9:18 a.m.: UK Prime Minister, UK Health Secretary test positive for COVID-19
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday morning that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” Johnson said in a tweet. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this.”
U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Friday said he too has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating.
Hancock said his symptoms are “very mild” and he would continue to work from home.
8:20 a.m.: NYC mayor projects half of city will be infected
In New York City — the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic — Mayor Bill de Blasio projects “over half the people in this city will ultimately be infected.”
“For over 80% [there] will be very little impact,” de Blasio told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. “But 20% of the people infected, it’s going to be tough, and for some of them, it will be fatal.”
New York City has over 23,112 diagnosed cases — more than a quarter of the confirmed cases in the country.
At least 365 people have died in New York City, twice as many deaths as any state.
The mayor said the city has enough hospital supplies to get through this week and next week but “that’s all I can guarantee, and after that unfortunately, we think this crisis is going to grow through April into May. “
“We need help now. When the president says the state of New York doesn’t need 30,000 ventilators, with all due respect to him, he’s not looking at the facts of this astronomical growth of this crisis,” de Blasio said. “A ventilator means someone lives or dies … if they don’t get a ventilator, a lot of people won’t make it.”
The city needs 15,000 ventilators, he warned.
“We have some, and I’m thankful for that, but it has to keep coming,” de Blasio said. “The president has to make that contract happen with the companies that can create ventilators not just for New York City and New York state, but for the whole country. This is going to get worse before it gets better … all parts of this country are going to need them.”
De Blasio called the president’s goal to reopen the country for Easter “a false hope.”
“It would be better for the president to be blunt with people that we’ve got a really tough battle ahead,” the mayor said. “Throw in the military who are not yet being fully engaged, and they’re ready, but the president has to give the order. Build those ventilators, get the supplies all over this country. People are going to need it in April and in May.”
7:29 a.m.: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for COVID-19
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday morning that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” Johnson tweeted. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this.”
Johnson was tested on the advice of England’s chief medical officer, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
“We will get through it,” Johnson said in a video message Friday.
5:19 a.m.: Michigan health system develops contingency plan to deny ventilators and ICU treatment
A Michigan health system has come up with a contingency plan for doctors to make life-or-death decisions when treating patients in the coronavirus pandemic.
A draft letter from Henry Ford Health Systems outlining the plan to families was widely shared on Twitter late Thursday night. The plan, typed on what appeared to be hospital letterhead, said that coronavirus patients with the best chance of surviving will be “our first priority,” while those who are “extremely sick and very unlikely to survive” will receive “pain control and comfort measures” rather than ventilators and intensive care treatment.
“Treating these patients would take away resources for patients who might survive,” the letter stated. “This decision will be based on medical condition and likelihood of getting better.”
Responding to a flurry tweets about the letter, Henry Ford Health Systems confirmed its accuracy but clarified that the policy has not yet been implemented.
“With a pandemic, we must be prepared for worst case,” the company tweeted. “With collective wisdom from our industry, we crafted a policy to provide guidance for making difficult patient care decisions. We hope never to have to apply them. We will always utilize every resource to care for our patients.”
4:37 a.m.: South Africa cases top 1,000 as country begins three-week lockdown
The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in South Africa has topped 1,000, the country’s health minister said Friday.
Africa’s most industrialized economy has the highest national total of known cases on the continent.
South Africa also recorded its first two deaths from COVID-19, both of which occurred in the Western Cape province.
“This morning, we South Africans wake up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19,” South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhizethe said in a statement Friday.
Friday marked the start of a three-week nationwide lockdown in South Africa, aimed at curbing the rising number of cases.
3:30 a.m.: Trump and Xi discuss coronavirus crisis
U.S. President Donald Trump said he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump posted about the telephone conversation on Twitter early Thursday morning, saying they discussed the situation “in great detail.”
“Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China,” Trump tweeted. “Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much [and] has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!”
Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
Xi told Trump that “China and the United States should unite to fight the epidemic” and that he hoped “the United States will take substantive actions to improve Sino-U.S. relations,” according to Chinese state television network CCTV.
The Chinese president also emphasized that the relationship between their two countries is “at a critical juncture” and that “cooperation is the only right choice,” according to CCTV.
Trump has clashed with China over the global fight against the novel coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The U.S. president reportedly angered Beijing officials this month when he repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as “the Chinese virus.”
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