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President Trump, coronavirus task force to provide update at White House

The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours.

Key updates:

  • National Guardsman dies from COVID-19
  • Washington, D.C. mayor extends stay-at-home order and says that residents could be charged with a misdemeanor for breaking social distancing rules
  • The White House Coronavirus Task Force updates the public at the White House along with President Trump
  • The US Navy ship Comfort has arrived in New York City to help treat non-coronavirus patients and relieve area hospitals. 
  • New York City records first death of a child to COVID-19.
  • The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games.
  • Japan is urging the head of WHO to help speed development of coronavirus vaccines 
  • President Donald Trump on Sunday announced that federal social distancing guidelines would be extended to April 30. Trump also braced the U.S. for a death toll that may exceed 100,000.
  • There are now more than 143,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 2,500 deaths.
  • The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for two anti-malarial drugs, although neither is yet formally approved to treat COVID-19.
  • There has been a notable uptick in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan since the announcement that the Olympics would be postponed to next year.
  • Nearly 1,300 U.S. counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

There are 143,055 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 4:30 a.m. EDT Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 2,500 people in the U.S. have died and 4,865 have recovered.

Worldwide, 724,201 have been infected with more than 34,000 deaths and more than 152,000 recovered.

A veteran's home in Holyoke, Massachusetts has seen multiple COVID-19 deaths

Anthony Preston, a representative of the Department of Veteran’s Services told local media that the Soldier's Home in Holyoke has seen 11 veteran residents test positive for COVID-19. There have also been 11 veteran residents who have died in that time, but only 5 of those tested for COVID-19 have been confirmed to have the disease. 5 other patient's test results are pending. 

As for 1 of the veterans who died, their COVID-19 status is unknown.

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking Americans to stop flushing disinfecting wipes

The Environmental Protection Agency has a message for Americans — watch what you flush.

“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging all Americans to only flush toilet paper," the agency says in a statement.

Americans are using far more disinfecting wipes in the coronavirus outbreak, the EPA noted, but disposing of them improperly threatens plumbing, sewer and septic systems.

EPA news statements on aspects of the pandemic shutting down economies and societies around the globe have been limited and include addressing the effectiveness of disinfectants.

The EPA says it’s critical that the nation have “fully operational wastewater services” to contain the virus and protect against other health risks.

DOD announces death of National Guardsman from COVID-19

The Department of Defense has announced that a New Jersey Army National Guardsman has died from COVID-19 complications Saturday. The person had been hospitalized since March 21 after testing positive. 

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said, "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. The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Pelosi wants House ready to act on bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants the House to be ready as soon as it returns to approve a fourth bill boosting the economy and strengthening the response to the virus.

Pelosi, D-Calif., and two House committee chairmen told reporters they want the package to improve broadband and water infrastructure, bolster hospitals and state and local governments and extend direct payments to Americans. They said it should also strengthen safety requirements for first responders and medical workers and broaden workers' leave for caring for relatives.

The House left Washington on Friday after approving the $2.2 trillion economic relief bill that President Donald Trump has signed, and plans to return as soon as April 20.

RELATED: Formula One racing team helps develop breathing aid for COVID-19 patients

White House updates public on coronavirus testing and economy

President Trump addressed the media Monday outside at the White House where he began by touting the amount of testing the U.S. is doing. On a table next to the podium was a table put out with an Abbott Laboratories test. This is the new test that is said to provide a fast and reliable test meant to deliver results in 5 minutes. 

President Trump says that over 1 million Americans have been tested for COVID-19.

The president mentioned that the U.S. Navy hospital ship "Comfort" arrived to New York harbor Monday. The ship has 1,000 rooms and will be there to help patients who do not have COVID-19 so that hospitals on land can deal with COVID-19 patients. 

The CEO of My Pillow made an announcement saying his company will be using his company for manufacturing efforts to create materials needed to battle the coronavirus outbreak. As NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reported, Lindell "is a fixture at Trump rallies and brought that sentiment to this White House event."  

When asked by a reporter, as the U.S. approaches the expected peak of deaths on the curve will we have enough ventilators for patients, the president said yes he thinks so. 

President Trump said, "we're going to be in very good shape." 

Dr. Fauci said that we should be able to use a vaccine to help with this in a year or more from now. 

RELATED: Girls Scouts move cookie sales online amid coronavirus social distancing

Delta restarts regularly scheduled operations from China to US to boost medical supplies 

In a statement sent out later Monday, Delta said the demand for medical supplies "continues to grow in the U.S.," and "vital supply lines are getting a boost" as the as the airline restarts regularly scheduled operation of cargo-only flights between Shanghai and Detroit. 

Delta says the flights will operate three times a week and will use a "fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900 aircraft, a widebody jet that can carry 49 tons of cargo in its hold." Delta says that in Detroit supplies will be transferred to domestic passenger flights "to be shipped to destinations around the U.S."

Shawn Cole, Vice President of Delta Cargo said, “we know getting surgical masks, gloves, gowns and other protective equipment expeditiously to facilities across the country is imperative to protecting medical professionals and helping address the COVID-19 situation." Cole said, “Operating regularly scheduled cargo flights means suppliers in China can get these supplies to hospitals and healthcare facilities across the U.S. within hours, not the days or weeks it would take via cargo ship.”

The District of Columbia has issued a stay-home order for all residents 

The move comes as the number of positive infections from the new coronavirus continue to rise.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government ordered Washington’s approximately 7,000,000 residents to only leave home for essential shopping or medical care or work at businesses classified as essential. The order permits “allowable recreational activities” — essentially walking or bike riding alone or with your family while maintaining social distancing with others.

Any violators may be charged with a misdemeanor.

Although Washington, D.C., is not a state, Mayor Muriel Bowser essentially functions as a governor and issued the order in coordination with identical moves from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

Washington’s infection numbers have climbed steadily for the past week to 401. Nine people have died, including a senior member of Bowser’s staff.

Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 15,000 unionized workers

Beginning this week, the airline will make the move as it struggles with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs will continue through April and May amid drastically reduced flight capacity from the Montreal-based airline. Canada's largest airline says the two-month furloughs will affect about one-third of management and administrative and support staff, including head office employees, in addition to the front-line workers.

The carrier is also cutting between 85% and 90% of its flights, canceling most of its international and U.S. routes in response to the global shutdown. Earlier this month Air Canada's flight attendant union said 5,149 cabin crew would be temporarily laid off.

Pentagon orders more ventilators 

The Pentagon has ordered an additional 8,000 ventilators, with delivery of the first 1,400 by early May. The $84.4 million order was placed with several suppliers under existing Defense Logistics Agency contracts.

A Pentagon spokesman, Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Andrews, identified the four suppliers as Zoll, Combat Medical, Hamilton Medical, and VyAire. 

Andrews said delivery locations will be prioritized by FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services. These are in addition to the 2,000 ventilators that the Pentagon previously said it would make available to FEMA from Defense Department stockpiles.

US Rep says she has presumed virus infection

New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez, a Democrat who attended Friday’s House session to pass a $2 trillion rescue package, says Monday in a statement that she has a presumed coronavirus infection.

Velázquez, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, stood within feet of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic and Republican leaders at a signing ceremony after the bill was passed.

Velázquez, 67, says in the statement that she began to feel ill Sunday morning and spoke to the Capitol’s attending physician by phone. She says she was diagnosed with a presumed infection but has mild symptoms and is isolating at home, as the doctor recommended.

'Staggering': New York virus death toll rises above 1,200

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of reported coronavirus deaths in New York shot up by 253 in a single day to just over 1,200.

A Navy hospital ship has arrived in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping New York City's hospitals. The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours of its arrival Monday morning. It's expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and others are criticizing President Donald Trump for suggesting with no clear evidence that thousands of medical masks are disappearing from New York City hospitals.

NYC reports its first death of a child to COVID-19

New York City officials announced Monday morning that a child was one of 14 new COVID-19 fatalities from overnight in the city.  

The age of the minor wasn't immediately released, but records show they had an "underlying condition." 

As of Monday morning, 790 people have died in New York City from COVID-19. 

Hospital ship arrives in NYC

A Navy hospital ship has arrived in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping New York City's hospitals.

The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours. It's expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19.

New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported Sunday that its toll had risen to 776.

Japan urges head of WHO to help speed vaccines 

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the head of the World Health Organization to help accelerate development of medicine and vaccines for the coronavirus by promoting information sharing and cooperation among countries.

Abe told Director-General Tedros Adhanom in a phone call that Japan is pursuing clinical research on flu drug Favipiravir with several other countries.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry says Tedros pledged WHO’s leadership in the development of medicine, vaccines and diagnostics.

Abe asked Tedros to make use of Japan’s $46 million contribution to the WHO to effectively provide technical assistance for health workers in developing countries where COVID-19 cases are sharply on the rise.

Carnival Cruise Line extends suspension of cruises through May 11

Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will extend its pause in operation through May 11. Cruises were originally suspended through April 9. 

President Trump had announced earlier this month that Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC had all agreed to temporarily suspend service. 

Tokyo Olympics gets new dates

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games. 

Tokyo organizers say the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021. That is almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. The IOC and Japanese organizers last week postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will self-quarantine

Israel announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will enter self-quarantine after an aide tested positive for the virus. His office says he has undergone a test and will remain in quarantine until he receives results or is cleared by the Health Ministry and his personal doctor. His close advisors are also isolating.

More than 4,300 Israelis have been infected with the new virus and 15 have died

Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort set to arrive in NYC harbor

.A Navy hospital ship is set to arrive in New York Harbor Monday to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping New York City's hospitals.

The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours of its arrival on Monday morning. It's expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19.

The ship’s arrival comes as New York state's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed Sunday above 1,000, less than a month after the first known infection in the state. Most of those deaths have occurred in just the past few days. 

FDA authorizes emergency use of anti-malarial drugs 

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorizations (EUA) for two anti-malarial drugs on coronavirus patients which President Donald Trump has touted as potential game-changers. The drugs have yet to be approved by the FDA as treatments for COVID-19 and are undergoing clinical trials.

The EUA allows hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be given to hospitalized teen and adult patients if a clinical trial is not available to them, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Patients will be given the option whether to take the drugs.

HHS said it has accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate from Sandoz and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate from Bayer to add to the Strategic National Stockpile.

Alan Merrill, co-writer of 'I Love Rock and Roll,' dies

Alan Merrill — who co-wrote the song “I Love Rock and Roll" that became a signature hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett — died Sunday in New York of complications from the coronavirus, according to his daughter. He was 69.

Merrill wrote the song for his band The Arrows and recorded it in 1975, but it became the signature hit for Joan Jett in 1982.

Japan coronavirus cases spike after Olympics postponement

Before the Olympics were postponed, Japan looked like it had coronavirus infections contained, even as they spread in neighboring countries. Now that the games have been pushed to next year, Tokyo’s cases are spiking, and the city's governor is requesting that people stay home, even hinting at a possible lockdown. 

The sudden rise in the number of virus cases in Tokyo and the government's strong actions immediately after the Olympic postponement have raised questions in parliament and among citizens about whether Japan understated the extent of the outbreak and delayed enforcement of social distancing measures while clinging to hopes that the games would start on July 24 as scheduled.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee announced on March 24 that the Games would be postponed. In the five-day span between March 24-28, there have been 673 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Japan, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's one more than the number of confirmed cases reported between March 9-23 -- a span that was three times as long.

That number is also more than one-third of the total cases in Japan.

RELATED: Doctor who contracted COVID-19 shares story of recovery, struggle to get tested

Trump approves major disaster declaration for Oregon

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Oregon due to the coronavirus outbreak, the White House announced Sunday.

The declaration orders federal assistance to aid state, tribal and local recovery efforts. The order is back-dated to Jan. 20 and brings to 18 the number of states with disaster declarations due to the coronavirus.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on March 8. On March 23, she issued an executive order directing residents to stay home to the maximum extent possible and ordered the closure of retail businesses where close personal contact is difficult to avoid, such as hair salons, gyms and theaters.

Nearly 1,300 US counties have no cases

As the coronavirus rages through Europe, and major American cities like New York and Los Angeles, more than a third of counties across the U.S. still have not reported a positive test result for infection across what are predominantly rural areas.

A data analysis by The Associated Press shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 3,142 counties nationwide. Counties with zero positive tests for COVID-19 tend to have older, rural populations with lower incomes where rural health networks might be overwhelmed.

The demographics hold major implications as the Trump administration develops guidelines to rate counties by risk of virus spread, empowering local officials to revise social distancing orders  

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