iStock(NEW YORK) — The amount of novel coronavirus cases around the world and in the U.S. continues to skyrocket. By Saturday morning, the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases around the world surpassed 649,000.
It was just Thursday that the globe reached 500,000 cases, which was double the number of coronavirus cases from the week before.
The U.S. surpassed 115,000 diagnosed coronavirus cases Saturday, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 1,891 deaths in the country.
At least 137,000 people have recovered from the virus during this pandemic.
Today’s biggest developments:
-Global cases top 600,000
-US cases cross 100,000
-Italy deaths reach 10,000
-Trump considering enforceable quarantine in NY
-Rhode Island targets New York
Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.
3:00 p.m.: Global death toll surpasses 30,000
The global death toll has reached at least 30,249, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Italy has the highest number of reported deaths, at more than 10,000, followed by Spain at more than 5,800.
2:14 p.m.: Trump strikes more assertive tone on GM manufacturing ventilators
President Donald Trump said he had compelled General Motors to manufacture ventilators, after saying the day before that “maybe we won’t even need the full activation,” referring to using the Defense Protection Act.
“This week, I invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to carry out federal contracts for ventilators and I think they’re going to do a great job. I have to say that,” Trump said in his speech at Norfolk Naval Base.
The president also said that FEMA has “shipped or delivered” 11.6 million N-95 respirators, 26 million surgical masks and 5.2 million face shields.
2:08 p.m.: New cases in Italy continue to slow, but deaths top 10,000
The number of confirmed cases in Italy continue to slow, with 5,933 new cases reported Saturday — a 6.8% increase in total new cases, down from Friday’s 7.3%.
It was the lowest percentage increase to date in the country. The total number of cases in Italy is now at least 92,472, health officials said.
In the province of Bergamo, the hardest-hit province, there was a nearly 50% drop in new reported cases, from Friday’s 602 to Saturday’s 289.
However, the number of new deaths in the last 24 hours hit 889, bringing the total death toll to 10,023.
1:44 p.m.: UN to donate 250,000 masks to NYC
The United Nations will donate 250,000 protective face masks to New York City, an area now considered the epicenter of the pandemic.
UN Secretary General António Guterres said the masks would go to medical professionals in the city who have been “working courageously, selflessly, and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the boroughs in the hope that they play some small role in saving lives.”
The UN and US Mission personnel are working with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office to quickly get the masks to medical facilities in New York City.
1:26 p.m.: Pope, others in Vatican tested for coronavirus
The Vatican press office confirmed Saturday that the Pope has been tested and neither he nor his closest aides have resulted positive.
12:46 p.m.: Trump considering enforceable quarantine in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
President Donald Trump said he may announce an enforceable quarantine in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas.
Trump noted that he “doesn’t want to do it, but may have to.”
“There’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine, short-term two weeks, on New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn.
The president said that he would restrict travel from those areas because “they’re having problems down in Florida, a lot of New Yorkers going down, we don’t want that.” He later said such a quarantine would not apply to truckers from outside of New York who are making deliveries or traveling through the state.
“It won’t affect trade in anyway,” Trump said.
Trump said he may do so while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was holding a separate conference. Cuomo said he had not spoken to the president about such a measure and did not know what it would entail.
12:30 p.m.: More than 7,600 new cases reported in New York
There are now 52,318 confirmed cases in New York, after 7,681 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference.
The deaths in the state were up to 728 from 519.
Cuomo did say there was a bit of good news: new hospitalizations and new ICU admissions went down in the last 24-hour period. He cautioned that one day does not prove a trend and the situation certainly could go the other way.
There were 372 people admitted in to an ICU Friday and 172 admitted Saturday. For new hospitalizations, the number Friday was 1,154 and 847 for Saturday.
“The overall line is still up,” Cuomo said. “This is good news on a one day number.”
The governor also announced he was postponing the presidential primary in the state from April 28 to June 23, the date of the states down ballot primary elections.
12:16 p.m.: Trump approves disaster declaration for Massachusetts, Michigan
President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Massachusetts and Michigan, ordering federal assistance to the states.
Federal funding will now be available for crisis counseling for those affected in both states.
12:09 p.m.: 1st uniformed NYPD death
A New York Police Department detective has become the department’s first uniformed officer to die after contracting coronavirus, police sources told ABC News.
Detective Cedric Dixon, is the NYPD’s first uniformed officer to die of coronavirus and the third member of the department, after a janitor and an administrative aid.
“We are hurting, we are crying and we continue to fight,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Saturday afternoon.
Dixon was 48. According to police sources he had underlying conditions.
11:46 a.m.: SeaWorld to remain closed
The SeaWorld theme parks will remain temporarily closed, according to a statement from the company. The park had originally planned to open at the end of March.
Animal care experts will still be onsite to care for the animals. “During this time, our animal care experts will continue to look after the health and welfare needs of the animals in our care,” a statement from SeaWord read.
“We look forward to welcoming our valued guests back to our parks soon,” the statement continued.
10:01 a.m.: Nearly 200 US cities lack emergency equipment: Report
Nearly 200 cities in the United States do not have an adequate supply of tests kits or face masks for medical personnel and first responders, including police, fire, and EMTs, according to a report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
About 88% of cities of the cities surveyed, or 186 cities, don’t have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) other than face masks to protect the front-line workers, according to the report.
The staggering statistics “illustrates the scope and severity of the need for COVID-19 emergency equipment in this nation’s cities,” according to a letter from the conference’s executive director, Tom Cochran.
One-hundred and thirty-one states have reported receiving no emergency equipment from their states, while 84% of those who are receiving help say it is not adequate for their needs.
The report estimates that across the cities surveyed there is a need for 28.5 million face masks, 24.4 million PPE items, 7.9 million test kits, and 139,000 ventilators.
There were 213 cities in 40 states that participated in the survey.
“It is abundantly clear that the shortage of essential items such as face masks, test kits, personal protective equipment, ventilators and other items needed by health and safety personnel has reached crisis proportions in cities across the country,” Cochran said in his letter.
9:53 a.m.: More than 8,000 new cases, 832 new deaths in Spain
Spain reported 8,189 new cases of novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, putting the total number of cases at 72,248, according to the Health Ministry.
There have now been 5,690 deaths after 832 new deaths occurred. More than 4,500 still remain in intensive care.
8:55 a.m.: German Aerospace Center to make masks
The German Aerospace Center will make medical equipment using its 3D printers, according to a statement from the agency.
The printers were tested and can successfully produce protective masks and valves for respirators, the statement read.
The German Aerospace Center had been asked by the European Commission to help in producing much needed medical equipment as the world scrambles to combat the pandemic.
The most powerful printer can produce up to 10 protective masks or 15 valves for ventilators per day, according to the agency. However, it’s possible to increase the quantity through networking with other institutes and facilities.
6:00 a.m.: Lockdown leads to drop in pollution in Europe
Air pollution has dropped significantly across Europe as lockdowns have been adopted and residents are told to stay home, according to the European Space Agency.
Satellite images from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P show the drop in nitrogen dioxide concentrations, which coincides with the quarantine measures, according to the agency.
The most significant drops were in Milan, Paris and Madrid.
Scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) have been using data from the satellite to monitor both weather and pollution over Europe. The images show the nitrogen dioxide concentrations from March 14 to March 25, comparing it to the averages from last year.
“By combining data for a specific period of time, 10 days in this case, the meteorological variability partly averages out and we begin to see the impact of changes due to human activity,” Henk Eskes, from KNMI, said in a statement.
Other countries are also being monitored, including the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Scientists have said that right now there is a larger variability because of changing weather conditions, making it more difficult to observe any changes.
4:43 a.m.: Rhode Island targeting New York travelers
A day after announcing all vehicles with New York license plates will be pulled over by state police and travelers informed they must quarantine if they are staying in the state, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that the National Guard would go door-to-door to make sure New Yorkers are following orders.
“We have a pinpointed a risk that we need to address, and that risk is New York City,” Raimondo said Friday during her daily coronavirus media briefing. She said the 14-day quarantine for New York travelers is a law and will be enforced, “it’s not a suggestion.”
Members of the National Guard will be stationed at bus and train stops, as well as airports to collect personal information form travelers when they arrive. State police officers are doing the same for vehicles they pull over. With that information, Raimondo said authorities would go hotels, vacation homes and any type of residence to keep track of New York travelers.
All these measures, she said, are designed to let the state have time to get ready for the spread of COVID-19. If Rhode Island were to have an outbreak right now, she said the state and its healthcare system would be overwhelmed.
“We are not ready for a surge of cases,” Raimondo said.
New York City currently has at least 26,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, with 450 deaths. There are more than 44,000 cases in New York State. As of Friday, only 28 of the 203 diagnosed coronavirus cases in Rhode Island have required hospitalization. The state has no reported COVID-19 deaths.
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