(NEW YORK) — While many countries around the world and cities in the U.S. are pointing toward positive signs that social distancing might be finally flattening the curve, the novel coronavirus death toll continues to be staggering with at least 109,000 deceased.
The U.S. is the global leader in the number of cases and deaths. More than 20,602 people in the U.S. have died as a result 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. At least 530,000 people in the U.S. have tested positive.
Worldwide, more than 1.78 million people have been diagnosed since the virus emerged in China in December. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
Here are today’s biggest developments:
– U.S. close to its peak of disease, FDA commissioner says
– US death toll highest in world, cases now over half a million
– Global death toll tops 100,000
– Kansas Supreme Court strikes down measure allowing in-person Easter church services
Ronald Reynolds, 47, walks out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary on Jan. 29, 2020, after serving 29 years in prison.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, April 9, 2020, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia listen.
Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times Eastern.
9 a.m.: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson discharged from hospital
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was discharged from a London hospital on Sunday after spending the last week undergoing treatment for the coronavirus.
Johnson, 55, was released from St. Thomas’ Hospital and was planning to travel to his country home, Chequers, in the London suburb of Buckinghamshire, to continue his recovery, a spokesperson said.
“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work,” the prime minister’s spokesperson said. “He wishes to thank everybody at St. Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received. All of his thoughts are with those affected by this illness.”
Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, took to Twitter to thank well-wishers.
“There were times last week that were very dark indeed,” Symonds tweeted. “My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.”
8:45 a.m.: Trump tweets Easter video calling coronavirus the ‘plague’
Calling the coronavirus “the plague,” President Donald Trump wished Christians across the America a happy Easter in a 48-second video posted on Twitter and told them to stay separated and out of churches to help in the battle against the virus.
“This Easter will be much different than others because in many cases we’ll be separated physically only from our churches,” Trump said. “We won’t be sitting there next to each other which we’d like to be and soon will be again, but right now we’re keeping separation, we’re getting rid of the plague.”
He ended the message by telling Americans we’re “winning the war” and we will soon be “back together in churches right next to each other.”
The message is a significant departure from Trump’s prediction back on March 24 that parishioners would “pack churches” by Easter Sunday. Trump later said it was an aspiration, longing to see churches filled by Easter.
The United States is close to its peak of the novel coronavirus disease, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said on ABC’s This Week.
“The models do show that we are very close to the peak. So I think that information is accurate,” Hahn said. “This has been a really fast-moving outbreak, so we really have to take this day by day.”
President Donald Trump has pushed to reopen the country as soon as possible — at one point even suggesting Easter as a target — but medical professionals have cautioned against reopening before even the start of May, cautioning that there could be a spike in infections if restrictions are lifted too soon.
While he said it’s still too early to name a date, Hahn told This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz, “We see light at the end of the tunnel.”
On Saturday, April 11, 6,743 uniformed members of the NYPD were on sick report which accounts for 18.6% of the department’s uniformed workforce. Currently, 2,318 uniformed members and 471 civilian members tested positive for the coronavirus.
This is a decrease of 1% from Friday evening when the NYPD said 7,096 uniformed members were out sick, which was 19.6% of the force.
The Kansas Supreme Court said late Saturday night that Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order that banned religious services of more than 10 people while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing will remain in place.
The Democratic governor filed the lawsuit on Thursday after a Republican-dominated legislative panel overturned her order. Kelly sued and then immediately appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court to decide quickly with Easter Sunday services just hours away.
The court held unprecedented electronic oral arguments on Saturday morning, and after listening to arguments, it said the Legislative Coordinating Council lacked the authority to overturn the governor’s executive order.
“My top priority has always been the safety and well-being of all Kansans,” Kelly said in a statement. “I know this pandemic is extremely hard for everyone. Each unprecedented action I’ve been forced to make in recent weeks has been taken in close consultation with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, the Attorney General, legislators and key stakeholders. That process will continue. Most other states, at the urging of the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have taken similar steps to protect Americans to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Puerto Rico’s governor has extended an island-wide curfew until May in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 on the island.
While wearing a face mask and gloves, Gov. Wanda Vazquez announced the lockdown continuation that started on March 15 would be extended until at least May 3.
The curfew orders people to stay home from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and remain there even outside those hours unless they have to buy food or medicine, go to the bank or have an emergency/health-related situation. Violators face a $5,000 fine or a six-month jail term, and police have cited and arrested hundreds. Nonessential business were closed in March.
According to Puerto Rico’s health secretary, the peak in cases for the island is not expected until early May. There have been about 7,700 people tested so far with more than 780 confirmed cases. Forty-two people have died on the island from COVID-19. There is a backlog of over 1,300 tests that are pending results.
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