Coronavirus: 11 veterans die after coronavirus outbreak at state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts

At least 722,000 people worldwide – including more than 142,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

>> Coronavirus: Know the facts directly from the CDC

Live updates for Monday, March 30, continue below:

11 veterans die after coronavirus outbreak at state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts

Update 10:40 p.m. EDT March 30: Eleven veterans are dead after a coronavirus outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, a state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts.

Five of the victims had COVID-19 and health experts are still waiting for test results on the others.

Eleven additional veterans have tested positive for coronavirus.

Five staff members have also tested positive, and another 25 are awaiting results.

The National Guard has been requested to support on-site testing for the residents and expedite the results.

The Soldiers Home superintendent has been placed on administrative leave.

Utah medical group retracts on malaria drugs for coronavirus

Update 10:40 p.m. EDT March 30: A Utah medical association has rescinded a recommendation it made last week on behalf of state health officials for doctors to treat coronavirus patients using malaria drugs that medical professionals across the country have cautioned against using until more testing is done.

The about-face by the Utah Medical Association came after a group of infectious disease doctors pushed back over the weekend against the Friday guidance.

The association said in the first email sent Friday that chloroquine and a similar drug, hydroxychloroquine, had shown “promising data for affecting the course of COVID-19” and that their recommended use was being made at the suggestion of the Utah Department of Health. The association also recommended combining them with zinc.

The association reversed positions in a follow-up email Sunday in which it said the Utah Department of Health had withdrawn the previous guidance after “much collaborative discussion” and based on “a lack of convincing evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of off-label use of hydroxycholorquine.”

Michelle McOmber, CEO of the Utah Medical Association, declined to answer any questions about what led to the change and instead sent only a statement Monday.

“Things are rapidly changing on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. We are doing all that we can to help share the latest information and recommendations to help providers do their jobs and take care of patients,” McOmber said. “We are working to get information out as quickly as possible to help in this crisis and will continue to update and give information that we receive as soon as practicable to help providers on the front lines.”

Pentagon confirms first US service member death

Update 8:50 p.m. EDT March 30: A New Jersey Army National Guardsman that tested positive for COVID-19 passed away Saturday, according to the Pentagon. Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, a physician assistant, had been hospitalized since March 21.

“This is a stinging loss for our military community,” Esper says in a release, “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.”

US death toll surpasses 3,000

Update 7:50 p.m. EDT March 30: The death toll due to COVID-19 has risen to over 3,000 Monday evening according to John Hopkins University.

Arizona governor issues stay-at-home order

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT March 30: Arizona Doug Ducey on Monday imposed a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus that will take effect at the close of business on Tuesday.

But he said grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services will remain open, restaurants will continue takeout service and the order doesn’t prevent people from going to work, medical appointments or seeking other essential services. He also discouraged hoarding.

Judges slow abortion bans in Texas, Ohio

Update 7 p.m. EDT March 30: A federal judge Monday temporarily blocked Texas’ efforts to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic, handing Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers a victory as clinics across the U.S. filed a wave of lawsuits to stop states from trying to shutter them during the outbreak.

A new Ohio order is also unconstitutional if it prevents abortions from being carried out, a separate judge ruled Monday. The ruling instructed clinics to determine on a case-by-case basis if an abortion can be delayed to maximize resources — such as preserving personal protective equipment — needed to fight the coronavirus. If the abortion is deemed necessary and can’t be delayed, it’s declared legally essential.

Taken together, the rulings were signs of judges pushing back on Republican-controlled states including abortion in sweeping orders as the outbreak grows in the U.S. In Texas, the ruling came down after state Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said abortion was included in a statewide ban on nonessential surgeries.

But U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the “Supreme Court has spoken clearly” on a woman’s right to abortion. One abortion provider in Texas, Whole Woman’s Health, said it had canceled more than 150 appointments in the days after the Texas order went into effect.

Trump defends extending virus guidelines

Update 6 p.m. EDT March 30: Siding with public health experts’ dire projections, President Donald Trump on Monday defended his decision to extend restrictive social distancing guidelines through the end of April, while bracing the nation for a coronavirus death toll that could exceed 100,000 people.

“Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days,” Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference. He called refraining from public outings “our shared patriotic duty” during the outbreak.

The comments came a day after Trump made a dramatic course reversal and announced that he would not be moving to ease the guidelines and get the economy back up and running by Easter, as he said last week he hoped to do.

New York virus death toll rises above 1,200

Update 5 p.m. EDT March 30: As the Navy hospital ship docked in New York City on Monday as the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the state soared to a “beyond staggering” 1,218.

The 1,000-bed USNS Comfort will be used as a “relief valve,” treating non-coronavirus patients while the city’s increasingly stressed hospitals handle people with COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

New York is bracing for an escalation in hospitalizations and deaths in April as the outbreak’s projected “apex” closes in. Cuomo noted the statewide death toll has already shot up by 253 in a single day to just over 1,200.

UN official concerned about COVID-19 in Syria

Update 4:35 p.m. EDT March 30: The U.N. humanitarian chief is warning that the 10 cases of COVID-19 and one death confirmed in Syria are just “the tip of the iceberg” and judging from other countries “a devastating impact” can be expected on vulnerable communities.

Mark Lowcock told the U.N. Security Council that “all efforts to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 are impeded by Syria’s fragile health system,” noting only around half of the country’s hospitals and primary health care facilities were fully functional at the end of 2019.

He said efforts to prevent and combat the virus are also are impeded by high levels of population movement, challenges to obtaining critical supplies including protective equipment and ventilators, and difficulties of isolating in crowded camps for the displaced with “low levels of sanitation services.”

Pentagon orders additional 8,000 ventilators

Update 4:15 p.m. EDT March 30: 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.

Cardinal close to Pope tests positive for virus

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT March 30: Pope Francis’ vicar for Rome has tested positive for the coronavirus in the first case of a cardinal close to the pope known to be infected.

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis had been in touch with Francis in recent weeks over the cardinal’s initial decision to close all Rome churches in line with an Italian government shutdown decree. De Donatis reversed himself after Francis intervened and allowed diocesan churches to remain open for individuals to pray.

The pope is technically bishop of Rome, but he delegates the day-to-day running of the diocese to his vicar, De Donatis, 66. The Rome church said De Donatis was in good condition at Rome's Gemelli hospital and was receiving antiviral treatment.

The Holy See has said six people have tested positive for the virus in the Vatican, none of them the pope or his closest advisers.

San Francisco to order residents indoors until May

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT March 30: Mayor London Breed of San Francisco said Monday that an order barring residents from leaving their homes for less-than-essential reasons will be extended until at least May 1.

The order, which went into effect March 17, had originally been scheduled to end on April 7.

“We’re working to slow the spread of coronavirus in San Francisco, but we know that the challenges we face are going to get tougher," Breed said Monday in a statement posted on Twitter.

Kohl’s extends store closures, furloughs employees

Update 3:40 p.m. EDT March 30: Officials with the department store chain Kohl’s on Monday announced an indefinite extension of the company’s store closures due to the continued threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Company officials also announced a temporary furlough of store associates, store distribution center associates and some corporate office associates “whose work has been significantly reduced by the store closures.” Kohl’s will continue to provide health benefits to affected employees.

“It is an incredibly difficult decision to extend our store closures and temporarily furlough some of our associates,” Kohl’s chief executive officer, Michelle Gass, said Monday in a statement. “We look forward to the day that we can reopen our stores to welcome our associates back and serve the millions of families across the country that shop Kohl’s.”

Italy to remain under lockdown until at least mid-April

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT March 30: Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Italy will follow the recommendation of scientists and extend a nationwide lockdown at least until April 12.

The lockdown decree currently runs until April 3, and doctors and other health experts have been cautioning that Italy’s cases of COVID-19 haven’t reached their peak yet, despite some encouraging numbers.

Speranza says the national scientific technical committee recommended “extending the containment measures at least until Easter,” April 12. He added: “The government will move in this direction.”

Italy has more than 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and nearly 11,600 deaths of infected persons.

First coronavirus cases reported in Botswana

Update 3 p.m. EDT March 30: Lemogang Kwape, the health minister for Botswana, said on state television Monday that health officials have recorded the country’s first three COVID-19 cases, according to Reuters.

Kwape said the patients were in quarantine Monday. They had recently traveled to Britain and Thailand, Reuters reported.

3,347 new COVID-19 cases reported in New Jersey

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in New Jersey said the number of novel coronavirus cases detected in the state rose Monday by 3,347.

The numbers announced Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey to 16,636, the second-highest number in the United States. The only state with more cases of COVID-19 is New York, where 66,497 people have tested positive for the viral infection.

In addition, Murphy said 37 people have died in New Jersey of COVID-19, bringing the state’s coronavirus death toll to 198. Among the victims was New Jersey National Guard Capt. Douglass Linn Hickok, a drilling guardsman and physician’s assistant.

Pennsylvania governor orders schools closed indefinitely

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced schools across the state would be closed indefinitely amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, WPXI reported.

The governor also expanded his previously issued stay at home order to include more counties. The order, which bars people from leaving their homes except for essential activities, will be in effect until April 30, according to WPXI.

Virginia governor issues ‘stay at home’ order

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia issued an order Monday instructing residents to stay home as officials work to curb the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, WTVR-TV reported.

Like similar orders issued in recent days across the country, the order will allow for people to leave their homes only for essential activities, such as grocery shopping.

“Please stay home as much as possible,” Northam said Monday, according to WTVR-TV. “This is a community-wide effort and I thank you for complying. This is a time of sacrifice. We need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly.”

US State Department continuing with repatriation

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT March 30: State Department officials said they have successfully arranged the repatriation of some 25,000 American citizens stranded abroad in more than 50 countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Department officials said they are continuing to ramp up evacuation efforts and that more than 100 flights for U.S. citizens have been scheduled for the coming weeks. About 9,000 Americans have registered for those upcoming flights and there is still space available on many.

Many of those stranded are in Latin American countries, notably Peru, where some Americans have been quarantined by authorities.

Meanwhile, department health officials said there are 75 confirmed coronavirus cases among employees at the 220 U.S. embassies. Inside the United States, the officials said there are 30 confirmed cases of the virus at State Department offices in nine cities.

Rhode Island schools to be closed through April

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island on Monday announced the state’s public schools will remain closed through the end of April in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus, WPRI-TV reported.

The governor also announced the state’s fourth death connected to COVID-19. She said 114 new coronavirus cases were identified, bringing the state’s total to 408, according to WPRI-TV.

“We believe we’re in a fast spread of the virus at this point in Rhode Island,” Raimondo said Monday, according to the news network.

‘What is happening in New York is not an anomaly,’ governor says

Update 1:35 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York cautioned Americans on Monday against believing the disproportionate amount of COVID-19 cases reported in the state will be confined to the area.

“No American is immune,” Cuomo said Monday at a news conference. “What is happening in New York is not an anomaly.”

As of Monday afternoon, 66,497 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, by far the highest number of recorded cases in the U.S. The second highest number of cases have been reported in New Jersey, where 13,386 people had tested positive for the viral infection as of Monday.

Cuomo said the numbers released Monday include 9,517 people who are currently hospitalized because of COVID-19 in New York state. Cuomo said 2,352 patients were in intensive care units.

Officials have discharged 4,204 patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus, according to authorities.

34 new COVID-19 deaths reported in Louisiana

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in Louisiana reported 34 new deaths connected to the 2019 novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 185.

Officials said 4,025 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state as of noon local time Monday.

Minor dies of COVID-19 in New York City

Update 12:55 p.m. EDT March 30: Officials with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Monday announced the death of a minor due to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Officials did not provide the minor’s exact age, although they said in a data report that he or she had underlying medical conditions. The minor is the first believed to have died in New York City of the coronavirus.

Globally, few minors have died due to COVID-19, which health officials say tends to disproportionately affect older generations. On Saturday, officials in Illinois said an infant died of COVID-19. Earlier in the month, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a 10-month-old infant died in China from the viral infection.

4 more deaths, 126 more COVID-19 cases reported in Georgia

Update 12:50 p.m. EDT March 30: Officials in Georgia said that as of noon Monday, 2,809 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, up 126 from the number of cases reported Sunday night, WSB-TV reported.

Officials said four more deaths have also been reported, bringing Georgia’s total death toll connected to the novel coronavirus to 87, according to WSB-TV.

The youngest person to die of the illness in Georgia was 29 years old. Dougherty County has reported the most deaths at 17 victims. The median age of people who have died from the virus is 68.

More than 100,000 COVID-19 cases reported in Italy

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 30: Reports of the 2019 novel coronavirus have topped 100,000 in Italy, making the nation the second to have case numbers in the six-digit range.

Officials with the Italian Ministry of Health said Monday that 101,739 coronavirus cases have been reported in the country. Authorities said 11,597 people have died in the country of the viral infection while 14,620 people have recovered.

The numbers put Italy second only to the United States in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In the U.S., more than 144,000 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed as of Monday afternoon, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

693 new coronavirus cases reported in Pennsylvania

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in Pennsylvania announced 693 new novel coronavirus cases in the state Monday, according to WPXI-TV.

The new cases bring the total number of viral infections to 4,087 in the state, WPXI-TV reported. In addition to the new cases, 11 more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 49.

USNS Comfort arrives in New York

Update 12 p.m. EDT March 30: 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.

Macy’s to furlough most employees due to COVID-19 pandemic

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT March 30: Officials with Macy’s Inc. announced Monday that the company will furlough most of its 125,000 employees as the country reels from the economic impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

The company previously announced a closure of all of its stores, including Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, beginning March 17. Company officials said they would focus on supporting the company’s online retail.

“While the digital business remains open, we have lost the majority of our sales due to the store closures,” officials said Monday in a news release. “Across Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury brands, we will be moving to the absolute minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations. This means the majority of our colleagues will go on furlough beginning this week.”

Macy’s Inc. will continue to provide health care coverage for furloughed employees through at least May.

“We expect to bring colleagues back on a staggered bases as business resumes,” company officials said.

Mnuchin says small businesses could get directions for coronavirus relief Monday

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT March 30: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business News that owners of small businesses could see instructions for filing for federal aid beginning as soon as Monday.

“These loans will be available starting on Friday,” Mnuchin said in an interview Monday with Fox Business News. “We hope later today we’ll be releasing the documents and instructions."

Krispy Kreme giving free doughnuts to health care workers

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Company officials have announced that beginning Monday, Krispy Kreme will give away a dozen of its Original Glazed doughnuts for health care workers through May 11.

“Just go to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru, tell us what you need and show us your employer badge,” Krispy Kreme officials said in a news release. “That’s it. Pick up some free dozens on the way to work for you and your colleagues, or maybe a free dozen on your way home to family after a long shift.”

Maryland governor issues ‘stay at home’ order for state

Update 11:10 am. EDT March 30: Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland announced Monday that he signed a “stay at home” order for the state amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The governor announced the order, which bars residents from leaving their homes for less-than-essential reasons, as health personnel in the state deal with 1,413 confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus. Hogan said the cases include a month-old infant who has been diagnosed with the viral infection.

“No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it’s for an essential job or an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or other essential purposes,” Hogan said.

Fifteen people have died of COVID-19 in Maryland, according to officials.

Governor announces ‘safer at home’ order for southeast Florida

Update 11 a.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida announced Monday that he plans to sign a “safer at home” order for four counties in the southeast of the state which account for 60 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases, according to WPLG.

The order will ensure the area, including Palm Beach and Monroe counties, is 'operating under the same sheet of music," DeSantis said, WPLG reported.

DeSantis also announced Monday that he plans to sign an order allowing for retired law enforcement and medical professionals to return to join the fight against the novel coronavirus, WJAX-TV reported.

Trump presses need for extra month of social distancing

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT March 30: A day after changing course and moving to extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April to fight the coronavirus, President Donald Trump told Fox News that Americans must do their part to help hold down the number of deaths from the virus outbreak.

“It’s hard work to stay in place, to distance yourself,” the president said in a Monday morning phone call to “Fox and Friends.”

“And hopefully, we will keep the deaths down to a minimum,” Trump said. On Sunday, the president told Americans that if his administration can keep deaths from the virus to 100,000, that would be a “good job.”

USNS Mercy begins accepting patients in Los Angeles

Update 10:25 a.m. EDT March 30: A floating U.S. Navy hospital began accepting its first patients Sunday after docking in Los Angeles to help relieve the strain on hospitals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The men and women embarked on board Mercy are energized, eager, and ready to provide relief to those in need,” Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy’s Military Treatment Facility commanding officer, said Sunday in a news release.

The ship is one of two U.S. Navy hospital ships deployed to support hospitals grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak. Personnel on the ship and on the USNS Comfort, which docked Monday morning in New York City, will treat non-coronavirus patients to ease the strain on local hospitals.

Vincent van Gogh painting stolen from museum closed due to COVID-19 outbreak

Update 10:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Officials with the Singer Laren museum in Amsterdam said Monday that a painting by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh had been stolen in an overnight raid. The museum had been closed to help stymie the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reported Van Gogh’s “Spring Garden” was taken early Monday.

Spain surpasses China with more than 85,000 coronavirus cases

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT March 30: Numbers released Monday by Spanish health officials show the country has overtaken China in the number of reported COVID-19 cases.

According to authorities, 85,195 novel coronavirus cases have been reported in Spain, making it the country with the second-most cases in the world. Chinese health officials have reported 82,356 cases, according to the World Health Organization. In the country with the most number of COVID-19 cases, the United States, 143,055 coronavirus cases have been reported, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In Spain, 7,340 people have died of COVID-19. The number makes Spain the country with the second-highest number of reported deaths behind Italy, which has reported more than 10,000 fatal infections.

Prince Charles ends isolation period for virus

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT March 30: Prince Charles has ended his period of isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The prince’s Clarence House office says Charles is in good health after completing the seven-day quarantine recommended by U.K. health authorities for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Royal officials said last week the 71-year-old heir to the British throne was showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and self-isolating at the royal family’s Balmoral estate in Scotland. His wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative but will be in self-isolation until the end of the week.

Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth II, 93, is at her Windsor Castle home west of London with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip.

Saudi Arabian health officials report 154 new COVID-19 cases

Update 9:45 a.m. EDT March 30: Officials in Saudi Arabia announced 154 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,453.

According to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health, health personnel have linked 16 of the new cases to travel. Officials said 138 cases stemmed from direct contact with a person previously diagnosed with COVID-19.

Eight people have died of the 2019 novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia.

93 new coronavirus deaths reported in the Netherlands

Update 9:35 a.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in the Netherlands recorded 93 new deaths related to the 2019 novel coronavirus on Monday, raising the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 864.

Officials with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment also reported 884 new COVID-19 cases. Health authorities have reported 11,750 coronavirus cases in the country so far. Of those cases, 3,990 have prompted hospital admissions.

USNS Comfort to arrive in New York on Monday

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT March 30: The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy floating hospital, is set to arrive in New York on Monday to help relieve the pressure on hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The ship was scheduled to dock around 10 a.m., according to WNBC. Officials said they expected to begin taking patients 24 hours after the ship’s arrival.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said Sunday that the ship “will right away be making a difference.”

“We are so, so grateful to the Navy, to the military that this new help will be arriving in our city,” he said.

The ship, staffed with more than 1,100 Navy medical personnel and support staff along with over 70 civil service mariners, will be open to patients who are not infected with COVID-19.

Field hospital being built in New York’s Central Park

Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 30: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced Sunday that officials are building a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park to help respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re adding hospital beds,” de Blasio said Sunday. “You’ll see an unusual sight in Central Park. We’re working with Mount Sinai (Health System) to open a field hospital in Central Park’s East Meadow.”

Officials said the 68-bed hospital will begin to accept patients from Mount Sinai Hospital on Tuesday.

Trump weighs in on coronavirus response in new interview

Update 8:38 a.m. EDT March 30: President Donald Trump weighed in on the coronavirus pandemic in a Monday morning interview with “Fox and Friends.”

When asked whether the country has enough equipment to deal with the crisis, he pointed to efforts to build a 2,900-bed mobile hospital and medical centers in New York City, and said “massive planeloads” of deliveries and thousands of ventilators were on the way.

"We're delivering so much equipment, nobody's ever really seen anything like it," he said, touting his relationship with governors of states that have been hit hard by the virus.

Trump said he expected the pandemic to peak in the U.S. “around Easter,” and by June 1, “the deaths will be at a very low number.”

He said that he reassessed his initial “15 days to slow the spread” plan after listening to advice from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah L. Birx.

“We picked the end of April as the day where we can see some real progress,” he said of the new timeline to continue social distancing through April 30.

He added that if the government hadn't "shut [the economy] down," up to 2.2 million people here could have died from the virus.

Trump also said new, rapid coronavirus tests could be available as soon as this week.

Additionally, he slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticism of his response to the outbreak, calling her "a sick puppy."

“I think it’s a disgrace to her country, her family,” he said.

Israeli prime minister self-isolating after possible coronavirus exposure

Update 8:30 a.m. EDT March 30: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was self-isolating Monday after one of his aides tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

Officials told Reuters that Netanyahu was scheduled to take a coronavirus test Tuesday. He previously tested negative for COVID-19 on March 15, according to Reuters.

Officials said in a statement obtained by CNN that Netanyahu’s doctor would determine when to end the self-isolation.

Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for 2021

Update 8:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Organizers announced Monday that the Tokyo Olympics, which had been set to take place over the summer, have been rescheduled for 2021.

Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.

“The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games," Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.”

Adviser to British PM Boris Johnson experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolating

Update 7:26 a.m. EDT March 30: Just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he tested positive for coronavirus, one of his chief advisers is experiencing symptoms and has decided to self-isolate.

According to The Associated Press, Dominic Cummings said he started feeling sick over the weekend and has been staying at home.

Meanwhile, Johnson took to Twitter on Monday morning to say he’s “been working from home and continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus."

>> See the tweet here

FDA issues ‘emergency use authorization’ of anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment

Update 6:45 a.m. EDT March 30: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an “emergency use authorization" to allow two anti-malaria drugs donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to possibly be used to treat coronavirus patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in a news release Sunday.

HHS said it “accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals" on Sunday.

The authorization allows the donated drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” the release said.

In addition, the authorization “requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including the known risks and drug interactions,” according to the FDA’s website.

Read more here or here.

New York City to fine people who violate social-distancing rules

Update 5:20 a.m. EDT March 30: New York City will fine those who fail to follow social-distancing guidelines, officials said.

According to WPIX-TV, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the news in a Sunday news conference.

“We’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” he said, adding that people could face fines of $250 to $500 if they continue to violate the rules after receiving a warning from police.

The city has already shut down nonessential businesses and instructed to residents to stay inside when possible, WPIX reported.

Budget airline EasyJet grounds entire fleet

Update 4:32 a.m. EDT March 30: British airline EasyJet announced that it is grounding all of its 344 planes amid the coronavirus pandemic, ITV is reporting.

According to CNN, the budget carrier’s decision takes effect Monday.

“At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights,” the Luton-based airline said in a statement.

The carrier tweeted Monday that entitlements for customers whose flights were canceled “are available for up to a year after your flight was originally due to depart.”

>> See the tweets here

'I Love Rock 'n' Roll’ songwriter Alan Merrill dies of complications from virus

Update 3:23 a.m. EDT March 30: Alan Merrill, best known for writing the hit song “I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” died Sunday morning after experiencing coronavirus complications. He was 69.

According to USA Today, Merrill’s daughter, Laura, said in a Facebook post that her father died at a New York City hospital.

“I was given two minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out,” she wrote of Merrill, who also was a guitarist and vocalist. “He seemed peaceful, and as I left, there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn’t be a ticker on the right-hand side of the CNN/Fox News screen.”

She said she walked home and received the news of his death by the time she reached her apartment.

“I’ve made a million jokes about the ‘Rona’ and how it’ll ‘getcha’ ... boy, do I feel stupid,” she continued. “If anything can come of this, I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying. You don’t think it’ll happen to you or your strong family. It has.”

>> See the post here

I’ve been trying to sleep but I can’t. I woke up normally yesterday with the world at my feet and now today I lay here...

Posted by Laura Merrill on Sunday, March 29, 2020

″I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was originally released by the Arrows, a band Merrill was part of, in 1975, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” Seven years later, rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released a version of the song, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the outlet reported.

Jett took to Twitter to pay tribute to Merrill on Sunday, sending “thoughts and love” to his loved ones and the music community.

“I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,” Jett wrote. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.”

>> See the tweet here

News of Merrill’s death came the same day that country music star Joe Diffie died from the virus, “ET” reported.

Costco to temporarily change store hours

Update 1:31 a.m. EDT March 30: In an effort to help protect its customers, Costco announced it will temporarily implement new weekday closing hours for its locations nationwide.

Beginning Monday, all its warehouses will close at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and its gas stations will close at 7 p.m.

However, it said some specific locations’ hours would be different.

The wholesale giant said its weekend hours would remain the same.

For its members ages 60 and older and those with physical impairments, Costco has special operating hours from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Costco said it has made some temporary department changes to create more space for social distancing and is following CDC recommendations to minimize risk to its members and employees.

Beginning Monday, March 30, U.S. Costco locations will temporarily implement new weekday closing hours. We will close at...

Posted by Costco on Thursday, March 26, 2020

U.S. cases soar past 142,000, including more than 2,500 deaths

Update 12:39 a.m. EDT March 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 142,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Sunday.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 142,502 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 2,506 deaths. Worldwide, there are 722,435 confirmed cases and 33,997 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 97,689 reported in Italy and the 82,149 confirmed in China.

Of the confirmed deaths, 966 have occurred in New York, 200 in Washington state, 161 in New Jersey and 151 in Louisiana.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 59,746 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 13,386, California with 6,284 and Michigan with 5,488.

Four other states have each confirmed at least 4,000 novel coronavirus cases, including:

Massachusetts: 4,955, including 48 deaths

Florida: 4,950, including 60 deaths

Illinois: 4,596, including 66 deaths

Washington: 4,493, including 200 deaths

Meanwhile, Louisiana and Pennsylvania have confirmed at least 3,000 novel coronavirus infections each, while Texas, Georgia and Colorado have confirmed at least 2,000 cases each.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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