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jarun011/iStock(NEW YORK) --  A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has infected nearly a million people across the globe.

The new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19, has rapidly spread to 180 countries and regions since it was initially detected in China back in December. It's the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, a large family of viruses that can cause a variety of diseases in humans and other animals.

Worldwide, more than 951,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Over 195,000 of them have recovered from the disease while more than 48,000 have died, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 216,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the United States has by far the highest national tally in the world. At least 5,137 people have died from the disease in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University's count.

Here's how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:

9:07 a.m.: Florida reaches conditional approval on Carnival's entry plan for two cruise ships

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Department of Health have reached a conditional agreement with Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise line, on an entry plan for two ships carrying dozens of people with flu-like symptoms.

The commissioner of Florida's Broward County, Michael Udine, said via Twitter Thursday morning that Carnival's plan is still subject to approval from Broward County, where the ships would dock. Until then, the pair of vessels will remain outside U.S. waters.

It's unclear how many passengers would be allowed to disembark.

Both cruise ships -- the MS Zaandam and the MS Rotterdam -- are operated by Holland America Line, a subsidiary of Carnival.

Since March 22, a total of 97 guests and 136 crew on board have presented influenza-like symptoms, while at least nine people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Four people on board have died, according to Holland America Line.

8:59 a.m.: Record 6.6 million Americans file for unemployment

A record-smashing 6,648,000 people filed for unemployment in the United States in the week ending March 28 amid the coronavirus crisis, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday.

Thousands of businesses across the country have been forced to close due to government-mandated stay-at-home orders.

8:28 a.m.: Spain sees new record in coronavirus-related fatalities

Spain has again reported the highest single-day death toll from the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began.

The Spanish Ministry of Health on Thursday recorded 950 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 10,003 -- a nearly 10.5% jump. It's the largest one-day, in-country increase of fatalities so far, surpassing the record set by Spain last week.

The Spanish health ministry also recorded 8,100 newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nationwide tally to 110,238 -- a nearly 8% increase.

Spain has one of the highest nationwide death tolls from COVID-19 in the world, second only to Italy. Spain also has the third-highest national tally of diagnosed cases, behind Italy and the United States.

7:53 a.m.: New England Patriots plane carrying N95 masks from China to arrive in Boston

A private jet owned by the New England Patriots professional football team carrying much-needed medical supplies from China will land in Boston on Thursday, according to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

Patriots CEO Robert Kraft coordinated with officials to send the National Football League team's plane to pick up personal protective equipment that Massachusetts had bought from China. The U.S. state has purchased over a million N95 masks, and the ones arriving Thursday at Boston's Logan International Airport represent a partial shipment, according to the governor.

“As I said before, ordering vital equipment like this is only one part of the challenge and I am incredibly grateful that the Krafts worked this issue relentlessly alongside our Command Center staff to get these critical supplies to Massachusetts," Baker said in a statement Thursday. "The Krafts, our partners Ambassador Huang Ping, Dr. Jason Li, Gene Hartigan and our COVID-19 Command Center personnel teamed up to get this job done and we eagerly await the plane landing at Logan Airport soon. Our administration will keep pursuing the PPE necessary to support our brave front-line workers who are working tirelessly to save lives during this pandemic."

7:25 a.m.: FEMA cargo plane with medical supplies from China lands in Ohio

A planeload of medical supplies from China has landed in the United States.

The cargo plane touched down early Thursday at Rickenbacker International Airport near Columbus, Ohio.

"The shipment includes supplies from Shanghai, connecting the global market with local medical distributors," airport officials told ABC News.

The relief shipment, coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, contains masks, gowns, ventilators and other supplies, all of which will go to medical distributors "in areas of greatest need," officials said.

6:46 a.m.: Over 95% of those who died in Europe were over 60, WHO says

The head of the World Health Organization's regional office in Europe said Thursday data shows that more than 95% of people who have died from the novel coronavirus on the continent were over the age of 60.

More than half of them were older than 80, Dr. Hans Kluge said.

Still, he warned that age is not the only risk factor. About 10% to 15% of people under 50 who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have moderate or severe symptoms, according to the WHO, the global health arm of the United Nations.

"The very notion that COVID-19 only affects older people is factually wrong," Kluge said during an online press conference Thursday in Copenhagen. "Young people are not invincible."

More than four in five of those who have died in Europe had at least one other chronic underlying conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or hypertension.

"On a positive note," Kluge added, "there are reports of people over the age of 100 who were admitted to hospital for COVID-19 and have now since made a complete recovery."

5:39 a.m. Cruise ships with sick passengers to arrive off Florida coast

A pair of cruise ships carrying dozens of people with flu-like symptoms, including at least nine who have tested positive for COVID-19, were expected to arrive off the coast of Florida early Thursday.

It's still unclear whether passengers will be allowed to disembark.

The illnesses began aboard the MS Zaandam, which set out from Buenos Aires for a South America cruise on March 7, with 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board. The voyage was supposed to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21 but the vessel has remained at sea since the Chilean government refused it permission to dock and disembark. At least four people on board the ship have died and several have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Holland America Line, which operates the cruise.

Last week, the cruise line announced plans to move "healthy" people from the MS Zaandam to another one of its ships, the MS Rotterdam. Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford said in a video message that he wanted to dispel the myth of a healthy ship versus a sick one, explaining that the intention is for the two cruises to work in tandem so that they can reduce the workload on each vessel, "create maximum flexibility" and move passengers that have been stuck self-isolating in inside cabins for a week to cabins that have access to light and fresh air.

There are now 442 guests and 603 crew aboard the MS Zaandam, and 808 guests and 583 crew on the MS Rotterdam, including a total of 311 U.S. citizens. Since March 22, at least 97 guests -- 83 on Zaandam and 14 on Rotterdam -- and 136 crew -- all on Zaandam -- have presented with influenza-like symptoms, according to Holland America Line.

"We have seen a significant decline in the presentation of new cases on Zaandam, with only one new case reporting in the past 24 hours," the cruise line said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

Both ships are heading to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after passing through the Panama Canal. The government of Panama also denied approval to disembark guests.

Holland America Line said it hopes to disembark the nearly 1,200 guests on the two ships who are "well" and fit to travel per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guests fit for travel will be transferred straight from the vessels to flights for onward travel home, the majority on charter flights.

"Out of an abundance of caution, these guests will be transported in coaches that will be sanitized, with limited person-to-person contact and while wearing masks," the cruise line said in its statement Wednesday. "These provisions well exceed what the CDC have advised is necessary for their travel. Guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have self-isolated in their staterooms since March 22."

The approximately 45 guests who still have "mild illness" and are unfit to travel at this time will continue to isolate on board until recovered, according to Holland America Line. For the estimated less than 10 people who need immediate critical care shoreside, the cruise line has secured approval from a local health hospital in Florida's Broward County that has agreed to accept the patients for treatment.

"This small number is the only group that will require any support from medical resources in Broward County," the cruise line said, "and is necessary to prevent further harm to their health."

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said it would be a mistake to bring the passengers ashore because the state's hospitals need to be saved for residents and not "foreign nationals."

As of Wednesday afternoon, Holland America Line was still awaiting confirmation from Florida authorities to disembark the guests in Fort Lauderdale. Both ships will remain outside U.S. waters while awaiting clearance to enter.

"Holland America Line calls for compassion and reason in the review and approval of our disembarkation plan by Florida officials," the cruise line said, "and we are grateful for those that have supported our efforts."

4:11 a.m.: Dr. Fauci forced to ramp up personal security due to threats

The U.S. government has ramped up security for Dr. Anthony Fauci, as the nation’s top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic faces threats to his personal safety.

Upon recommendation of the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Justice in recent days approved a special deputization request from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for more than half a dozen special agents to provide protective services to Fauci, a Justice Department official told ABC News.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force and has become the face of the nation's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Washington Post first reported the threats to Fauci and the increased security.

When asked during Wednesday's White House press briefing whether he or the task force coordinator had received any threats or if they had been given a security detail, Fauci said he was not able to answer and referred the reporter's question to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump quickly chimed in, saying, "He doesn't need security, everybody loves him."

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katifcam/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Public and private EMS services in New York City and Long Island have been stretched to the brink, according to an internal memo obtained by ABC News.

The memo, distributed late Wednesday to New York officials and first responders, said certain near-death patients will likely not be able to be saved while city hospitals are overrun with COVID-19 patients.

Effective immediately, patients in cardiac arrest will not be transported to a hospital if first responders cannot get a pulse on their own while administering CPR, the memo states.

“These orders are binding and the FDNY will devise a plan for implementation,” Deputy Fire Commissioner Frank Dwyer told ABC News.

In a blunt advisory on March 29, the Nassau County Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee on Long Island stated, “There is no medical benefit to transporting patients in cardiac arrest with CPR in progress.” The statement goes on to justify the new protocol with a statistic saying successful resuscitation rates increase when patients are not moved during CPR.

There is an exception to the new overarching rule. Patients in cardiac emergencies may be transported to a new location if there is “imminent physical danger” in the area to the responder.

The new approach shows how stretched thin EMS and hospitals are and how emergency rooms are trying to minimize the number of difficult arrivals.

“We always have to balance benefit versus risk in health care and right now the risk is that we use up resources on a population where intervention may be both futile or even worse,” said Dr. Vinayak Kumar of the ABC News Medical Unit.

Patients who go into cardiac arrest outside a hospital have a slim chance of survival and CPR risks "wide dissemination" of coronavirus particles, according to American College of Cardiology guidance issued last month.

“In the event of a cardiac arrest, efforts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation causing aerosolized pathogens could result in the wide dissemination of virus particles to clinicians, health care workers, and other patients,” the American College of Cardiology said.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A storm system and a cold front are moving out of the Rockies as heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain are now headed for the Upper Midwest and the Plains.

Already, up to 17 inches of April snow fell in Wyoming and 11 inches in South Dakota, just west of Rapid City. There is more to come as this storm system moves east.

Nine states from Montana to Iowa are under a winter storm warning or winter weather advisory for snow and ice Thursday.

This winter storm will bring heavy snow from Wyoming to the Dakotas and western Minnesota. Further east, from Nebraska, to western Iowa and into central Minnesota, ice and sleet are expected Thursday. This storm could cause very dangerous conditions on the roads.

By Friday, the storm system will move east with a cold front reaching southern Texas, where it will trigger severe storms with damaging winds, large hail and even a chance for an isolated tornado.

In addition to severe storms, heavy rain is forecast for the southern Plains, where locally 2 to 4 inches of rain is possible. This could lead to flash flooding.

Here is how much more snow and ice is forecast for the Upper Midwest and the northern Plains. Locally, more than a foot of April snow is possible for North Dakota and northern Minnesota.

ABC News

Ice accumulation could reach up to half an inch in South Dakota and western Minnesota, which could bring down trees and power lines.
 
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felixmizioznikov/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly, with 100,000 additional confirmed cases in the U.S. this past week alone, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Part of the U.S. and the global community have been trying to combat this spread of the novel coronavirus is by instituting measures such as social distancing, travel restrictions, school closures, closure of nonessential businesses, and in the most extreme cases, statewide stay-at-home orders.

China and South Korea instituted similar policies and were able to control the disease spread in their countries. But the U.S. has noticeable state-to-state differences in how the pandemic is being handled. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a sweeping statewide stay-at-home order on March 19. On the other hand, Texas took a much slower approach, instituting an order to close all non-essential businesses on March 31.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in particular has received criticism for his sluggish promotion of social distancing, such as not closing down beaches despite crowds gathering, delays in closing down businesses and resisting issuing a stay-at-home order. He ultimately reversed his position on April 1, issuing a stay-at-home order after discussion with the president.

Now, experts are saying that these scattered state-by-state policies may result in new coronavirus hot spots, warning the uptick in infections may soon overrun local health care systems.

"I think Texas is going to be the next hot spot. We can already see the cases starting to increase, it is start of an exponential rise," Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, told ABC News. "Any intervention we do now will take weeks to see the impact."

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, predicts that Florida is also at risk, tweeting, "Florida continues to show an acceleration in new #COVID19 cases, with Miami as one of a number of epicenters of spread."

Experts agree that states that have not done so yet should impose stricter social distancing and policies to reduce mobility. Their stance, they say, is backed up by new data that finds social distancing measures work.

A recent set of studies in King County, Washington, used Facebook data to monitor the movement of the population. They found that having a population limit their movement to public places resulted in much slower disease spread.

But it is not yet time to celebrate. Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer with Public Health Seattle and King County, notes that "No one should take these findings as an indication to relax our social distancing strategy. The threat of a rebound that could overwhelm the healthcare system remains."

But strict social distancing measures simply might not work in every city and every state.

In Cumming, Georgia, the mayor posted on Facebook, "Effective immediately I have rescinded the social distancing order that took effect on the morning of April 1, 2020…. [because] it is obvious that a large portion of our public doesn't want government mandating the recommendations of public health officials."

Experts warn this kind of public response is dangerous, as it may allow the disease to spread.

Brownstein notes, "It’s all about trying to reduce community and individual mobility early. That’s where you have the greatest amount of impact on an epidemic."

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Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 47,000 people around the world, including at least 5,116 people in the United States.

Globally, more than 935,000 people have been diagnosed with the new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19. Over 193,700 of those patients have recovered, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. has by far the highest national tally in the world with over 216,000 confirmed cases.

Here's how the news developed Wednesday. All times Eastern:

12:50 a.m.: Biden tells Fallon he thinks Democratic convention should move to August

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared remotely on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday, and cast further doubt on whether the Democratic National Convention will be held as scheduled this summer, suggesting that the convention needs to be pushed back to August due to fears over the coronavirus.

“I doubt whether the Democratic Convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July, early July," Biden told Fallon. "I think it's going to have to move into August. And then, even then, the Republican and Democratic Convention, we're going to have to -- we just have to be prepared for the alternative, and the alternative we don't know when it's going to be."

The comments Wednesday come after Biden told MSNBC Tuesday that it is “hard to envision” the convention, which was originally scheduled to take place from July 13 to 16, moving forward as scheduled.

Biden also continued to praise both Democratic and Republican governors that are on the front lines of the crisis, calling New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the “gold standard,” and pointing out that some of those GOP state leaders have disagreed with President Donald Trump’s assessment of the crisis.

10:22 p.m: US death toll crosses 5,000

The death toll in the United States crossed 5,000 tonight.

The number has exploded in recent days with it crossing 1,000 exactly one week prior and then 2,000 on Sunday. As of tonight, it was at least 5,116, including about 1 in 5 in New York City.

The number of cases in the U.S. crossed 200,000 today as well.

Worldwide, the number of deaths is now over 47,000.

7:02 p.m.: Social distancing would be relaxed when no new cases

During the daily White House coronavirus briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave some predictions about when social distancing guidelines could be scaled back.

Fauci cited the curve shown at Tuesday's briefing and said people could go back to normal when there are essentially no cases or deaths.

"The one thing we hopefully would have in place, and I believe we will have in place, is a much more robust system to identify someone who was infected," he said. "If you have a really good program of containment that prevents you from ever having to get into mitigation."

6:33 p.m.: Fountains of Wayne co-founder dies


Adam Schlesinger, the co-founder of the band Fountains of Wayne, as well as a celebrated songwriter for films and theater, has died of coronavirus, his attorney confirmed to ABC News.

The 52-year-old bass player and singer founded Fountains of Wayne with Chris Collingwood in the mid-'90s and had a massive radio hit with "Stacy's Mom" in May 2003.

Schlesinger was also nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for writing the title track for the Tom Hanks film "That Thing You Do" in 1997.

He won three Emmys and a Grammy in his music career.

6:18 p.m.: Grand Canyon closes to visitors


One of the country's most recognizable geographic landscapes has closed due to coronavirus.

Grand Canyon National Park will be closed to all visitors on the recommendation of the Health and Human Services director and chief health officer of Coconino County, Arizona, according to a press release. The park is closed indefinitely.

"The Department of the Interior and the National Park Service will continue to follow the guidance of state and local health officials in making determinations about our operations," Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement. "As soon as we received the letter from the Health and Human Services Director and Chief Health Officer for Coconino County recommending the closure of Grand Canyon National Park, we closed the park."

5:25 p.m.: Connecticut governor says newborn dies from virus


Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said a newborn in his state died last week from the coronavirus.

The 6-week-old baby from the Hartford area was brought to a hospital in an unresponsive state last week and couldn't be revived, the governor tweeted. A test came back this week and showed the newborn tested positive for COVID-19, according to Lamont.

"This is absolutely heartbreaking. We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19," he tweeted.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced a shelter-in-place order for the entire state starting Friday.

The state currently has more than 4,600 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 139 deaths and Kemp noted 1 in 4 residents are likely asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. The order will be in effect until April 13 and includes exemptions for buying groceries, getting medical supplies and essential services.

Kemp also said the state's kindergarten to 12th grade schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year.

4:50 p.m.: NYC needs 15,000 ventilators by end of April: Mayor

New York City -- the U.S. city hit hardest by the pandemic -- needs 15,000 ventilators, 65,000 medical beds and 20,000 ICU beds by the end of April, the mayor said.

"What I want to see now is absolute seamlessness in terms of how supplies and equipment go into our hospitals and immediately get distributed where they're needed," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"There's also ongoing efforts to get personnel. This is a growing concern as we go forward, but again, one where we see a tremendous response," the mayor said. "So many New Yorkers have volunteered, folks with medical training of all kinds."

As of Tuesday night, 1,096 people had died in New York City due to COVID-19, according to the city's health department.

As the number of cases rise, the city is setting up new hospital facilities from the USNS Comfort hospital ship to the Javits Center in Manhattan to 65 beds in Central Park to up to 350 beds at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.

Meanwhile, the city's public hospitals are being transformed into all-ICU facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the city health system.

"This virus is no match for the people of New York City," de Blasio said.

Former New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill is returning to the city to serve as a COVID-19 senior adviser, the mayor announced Wednesday.

O’Neill will oversee the supply and distribution of personal protective and medical equipment within city hospitals.

3:40 p.m.: California schools closed for rest of the year


California's school campuses will remain closed for the rest of the academic year and the state will now turn to "distance learning," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The governor announced a new partnership with Google to provide students with Chromebooks and internet.

"Schools are closed but classes are in," he said.

Nearly every school district in the state has been surveyed to determine technology needs, officials said.

"It's a challenge that we must meet" for the state's six million students, said Tony Thurmond, the California state superintendent of public instruction.

The governor, a father of four, also acknowledged the extra stress the transition to home learning puts on parents, particularly mothers.

"Deep respect and admiration to all the mothers out there, all the parents ... I know how difficult it is," Newsom said.

3 p.m.: West Virginia becomes 15th state to postpone primary

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said the state's May 12 primary will now be pushed back to June 9 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We’re still going to proceed ahead on our absentee ballots. At the end of the day, I want this to be the biggest turnout of all time," Justice said.

West Virginia is now the 15th state to postpone its primary, joining Alaska, Wyoming, Ohio, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Connecticut, Indiana, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kentucky and New York, as well as Puerto Rico.

Global coronavirus cases climbed over 900,000 on Wednesday, just one day after the number of diagnosed cases topped 800,000.

2:30 p.m.: Global coronavirus cases top 900,000

World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday he's "deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection."

"Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new COVID-19 cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area," he said.

He noted that the death toll has more than doubled in the past week and projected that in the next few days "we will reach 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 50,000 deaths."

WHO officials are also still gathering all available evidence about masks and continue to evaluate the potential use of masks more broadly to control COVID-19 transmission at the community level.

"WHO recommends the use of medical masks for people who are sick and those caring for them," the director-general said, "however, in these circumstances, masks are only effective when combined with other protective measures."

"This is still a very new virus, and we are learning all the time," Dr. Tedros said.

He added that the WHO is continuing to work with governments and manufacturers to step up the production and distribution of personal protective equipment, including masks.

1:35 p.m.: 5 who tested positive die at NJ nursing home

Those in nursing homes are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Among the nursing homes facing COVID-19 outbreaks is CareOne at New Milford in New Jersey, where five residents who tested positive have died, the center said.

As of Tuesday, 16 residents and six staff members had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, CareOne said.

"We are actively testing patients and awaiting results, and screening at higher levels than CDC guidelines," CareOne said.

Other deaths at the nursing home are being investigated beyond the five who have already tested positive, CareOne added, but did not specify how many other deaths are being examined.

In New Jersey, 93 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one COVID-19 case, officials said Wednesday.

12:45 p.m.: 1,941 dead in New York state

In New York state -- the hardest hit by the pandemic -- the death toll has climbed to 1,941, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The second hardest-hit state is neighboring New Jersey, where 267 have died, said Cuomo.

The governor warned that the apex -- or top of the curve -- is projected to be roughly at the end of April. Cuomo referred to the apex as the top of a mountain where the "next battle" will be.

Over 83,000 people have tested positive in New York state. Of those, 12,000 patients are in hospital, including 3,000 in intensive care units, Cuomo said.

Six-thousand have been discharged from hospitals, Cuomo said.

"Anyone can get this disease. Relatively young people, strong people, people who take a lot of vitamin pills, people who go to the gym a lot," Cuomo said. "There is no superhero who is immune."

The governor said rapid testing at home would be the best solution going forward.

"Not only do you get up and get the economy running, you end the anxiety," he said.

Gov. Cuomo said his younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, is "doing fine enough" after testing positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday morning.

"He has a fever, he has chills, symptoms of basically a very bad flu," the governor said.

The governor admitted that the diagnoses scared him, calling his younger brother his best friend.

"I couldn't protect my own brother ... he couldn't protect himself," he said.

But the governor commended the younger Cuomo, calling him "gutsy" for continuing to anchor his CNN show while quarantined in the basement, even on the same day as his diagnosis.

"In some ways this can be very instructive," the governor said, to "show the country what it means to have coronavirus"

"My pop would be proud. I love you little brother," Gov. Cuomo said.
'Draft Cuomo 2020' groundswell emerges amid the New York governor's coronavirus response

The governor also announced Wednesday that he's closing down New York City playgrounds after residents failed to comply with social distancing rules.

"No density, no basketball games ... no violations of social distancing," he said.

Open spaces in New York City parks will remain available, he said.

12:21 p.m.: 10 charged for holding engagement party in violation of distancing orders


Ten Lakewood, New Jersey, residents have been charged for holding an engagement party Tuesday, disobeying the governor's executive order which bans social gatherings.

The couple who hosted the party at their home, along with eight guests, were charged with violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor during a state of emergency, said Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer and Lakewood Township Police Chief Gregory Meyer.

The couple who hosted the gathering were also charged with six counts of child engagement because six children were in attendance.

The engagement party marked the third day in a row for charges in Lakewood in connection to disobeying the executive order.

On Monday, two men were charged with maintaining a nuisance after they hosted a gathering of about 35 people, said police.

On Sunday, a couple was charged with five counts of child endangerment after their five children were at a gathering of about 40 to 50 people at their home.

11:10 a.m.: Wimbledon canceled due to pandemic

The 2020 Wimbledon championships has been canceled due to the escalating worldwide coronavirus pandemic and will next be held from June 28 to July 11, 2021.

Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, said in a statement, "This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen."

"It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships," Hewitt said.

10:22 a.m.: United Kingdom death toll jumps by over 500 in 24 hours

The United Kingdom's death toll has climbed to a total of 2,352 -- an increase of 563 in the past 24 hours, the country's highest single-day rise in fatalities since the pandemic began.

This comes after the U.K.'s death toll jumped by 381 on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Charles, Prince of Wales (who is first in line to the British throne) are both among the 29,474 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the U.K.

9:45 a.m.: 1,400 NYPD members test positive for coronavirus

In hard-hit New York City, 1,400 members of the police department have tested positive for the coronavirus, says New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

About 17% of the department -- 6,172 employees -- are now out sick, Shea said.

"We are scrambling but that shouldn’t have a negative connotation," Shea told CNN. "We’ve added a lot to our repertoire: reaching out to New Yorkers who need help, delivering food."

Despite the large percentage of sick calls, Shea said there are still plenty of cops on corners and in cars. He did concede the department is "planning for all eventualities" should the number of infections within the NYPD climb.

As of Tuesday night, 1,096 people had died in New York City due to COVID-19, according to the city's health department.

9:27 a.m.: FBI Academy suspends classes

While the FBI and other law enforcement agencies continue to insist their security posture has not been hindered by the spread of the coronavirus, the crisis has now led to a temporary pause in training classes for the bureau’s next generation of leaders at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The FBI said training classes will resume "when safe and appropriate as recommended by our chief medical officer."

8:02 a.m.: Spain's diagnosed cases top 100,000

The number of diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in Spain surpassed 100,000 on Wednesday.

The Spanish Ministry of Health recorded 7,719 newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 102,136 -- an 8% increase.

The health ministry also reported 864 new fatalities from the disease, bringing the country's death toll to 9,053 -- a 10.5% increase.
 
Spain has the second-highest nationwide death toll from COVID-19 and the third-highest national tally of diagnosed cases, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.

7:18 a.m.: US Surgeon General says extended social distancing guidelines may not be enough

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams acknowledged Wednesday that the additional 30 days of nationwide social distancing guidelines may not be enough time for some states and cities to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, "depending on where they are on the curve."

"We're looking at this next 30 days as an opportunity for the entire country to really understand if we do the right things, then we can flatten our curve in our own different areas and actually get to the other side," Adams told ABC News in an interview on Good Morning America.

"The most important thing to know is that if you are aggressive about mitigation, you can get through to the other side and usually in about three weeks or so to hit your peak and start to see cases come down," he added. "I feel confident that we can get through to the other side if we all cooperate and do our part together."

Adams said they've asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to "take another look" at whether having more people wear masks will help prevent transmission of COVID-19. But he emphasized that "the most important thing right now to do is for people to stay at home."

"Initially, the CDC, the World Health Organization and my office recommended against the general public wearing masks based on the best available science at the time, in terms of whether or not it prevented the wearer from catching coronavirus," he said. "Now, we've learned about this disease -- and we've always said, we're going to learn more, we're going to adjust -- and we've learned that there is a fair amount of asymptomatic spread."

Adams noted that members of the general public do not need to wear N95 masks.

"If you take one of those N95 masks, you may be taking it out of the hands of a health care worker who desperately needs it to care for patients," he added.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a press briefing Tuesday that both CDC and White House officials are having a "very active discussion" about whether to recommend the broad use of masks in the United States.

6:35 a.m.: Congo's former president dies from COVID-19

The former president of the Republic of Congo, Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, has died in Paris from complications related to the novel coronavirus, officials said Wednesday. He was 81.

Yhombi-Opango's family reportedly said he had been ill before contracting the virus.

Yhombi-Opango was an army officer who rose to power as Congo-Brazzaville's head of state in 1977, following the assassination of the previous president. He was ousted in 1979 by the country's current leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso.

The former president later spent several years in prison after being accused of taking part in a plot to overthrow Sassou Nguesso.

Yhombi-Opango served as prime minister between 1994 and 1996 during Pascal Lissouba's presidency. And when the country spiraled into civil war in 1997, Yhombi-Opango fled into exile in France.

5:47 a.m.: Turkmenistan bans the word 'coronavirus'

The government of Turkmenistan, one of the world's most closed countries, has reportedly banned the word "coronavirus."

The word has been removed from health information brochures distributed in schools, hospitals and workplaces, and state-run media are no longer allowed to use the word, according to independent news website Turkmenistan Chronicle, which is blocked within the country.

Police in plainclothes are arresting people wearing face masks or talking about the coronavirus pandemic on the street, according to Radio Azatlyk, the Turkmen-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

So far, Turkmenistan has not reported any cases of the novel coronavirus. The country's president has ordered public spaces to be disinfected as a protective measure.

"The Turkmen authorities have lived up to their reputation by adopting this extreme method for eradicating all information about the coronavirus," Jeanne Cavelier, head of Reporters Without Borders' Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, said in a statement Tuesday. "This denial of information not only endangers the Turkmen citizens most at risk but also reinforces the authoritarianism imposed by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. We urge the international community to react and to take him to task for his systematic human rights violations."

3:30 a.m.: China reports 1,541 asymptomatic cases under observation

There are at least 1,541 people with asymptomatic infections of the novel coronavirus under medical observation in China, including 205 people from overseas, according to the Chinese National Health Commission.

China began publishing the number of asymptomatic cases on Wednesday. The infected individuals, who show no symptoms but are still believed to be contagious, were excluded from the official tally of confirmed cases.

"Monitoring data has shown that some asymptomatic people have caused second-generation transmission among their close contacts, and they have set off a small number of clusters of infections," Chang Jile, head of the National Health Commission's disease control bureau, said on Tuesday, as quoted by state-run newspaper China Daily.

Those with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 as well as their close contacts will be quarantined in centralized facilities for 14 days. The asymptomatic individuals won't be released until they test negative for the virus twice, according to Chang.

More research is needed to understand the length of the contagion period of asymptomatic individuals as well as the strength and pathway of their transmission, according to China's National Health Commission.

"Some experts believed that because asymptomatic people show no symptoms of coughing or sneezing, the chance of them spreading the virus is relatively small compared to confirmed patients," the commission said in a statement Tuesday, noting how difficult it is to detect these cases and prevent them from spreading. "It is infeasible to make the discovery and isolation of asymptomatic cases as the dominating virus-control measure, so we will continue to focus on confirmed cases and their close contacts."

Since the first cases emerged in the city of Wuhan in China's central Hubei province back in December, the country has reported 81,554 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, as of Tuesday. It's unclear whether that figure includes asymptomatic cases.

A total of 76,238 patients have recovered from the disease and have been released from hospitals, while another 3,312 patients have died. Seven new deaths were reported Tuesday, all but one in Hubei province, according to the National Health Commission.

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diomoyega/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- Investigators arrested a California train engineer Tuesday after he allegedly derailed a train in a bid to crash into the USNS Mercy, the hospital ship treating non-COVID-19 patients at the Port of Los Angeles to lessen the burden on area hospitals, prosecutors said.

Eduardo Moreno, 44, was expected to appear in court Wednesday for arraignment on train wrecking charges.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, Moreno allegedly ran the train at full speed off the end of the tracks near the Navy medical boat, smashing through several concrete and chain barriers, before sliding through a parking lot nearly 250 yards from the Mercy, according to the criminal complaint.

No one was injured and the boat wasn't damaged, however, the train leaked a substantial amount of fuel, the complaint said.

A California Highway Patrol officer caught Moreno as he allegedly tried to escape from the scene, according to the complaint. Moreno allegedly told officers and FBI investigators that he deliberately derailed the boat because he was suspicious of the Mercy's intentions and thought it was actually part of a government takeover, the complaint said.

"Moreno stated that he acted alone and had not pre-planned the attempted attack," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California. "While admitting to intentionally derailing and crashing the train, he said he knew it would bring media attention and 'people could see for themselves,' referring to the Mercy."

In an interview with FBI agents, Moreno stated that "he did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’" according to the complaint.

Investigators are still reviewing surveillance footage from the scene, including inside the locomotive.

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Courtesy Erin Dailey(TRENTON, N.J.) -- At a time when countless Americans are relying on local heroes to stay safe, Greg Dailey and his family are stepping up.

Dailey is a small business owner and newspaper delivery man in Mercer County, New Jersey. Virtually every day for the past 25 years, he's woken up at 4 a.m. to deliver newspapers to 800 homes in his community. But since the novel coronavirus shutdowns began, Dailey has been delivering more than newspapers -- he's delivering groceries, too.

"These are unprecedented times and people still have to eat," said Dailey. "We're a big family that believes in helping each other."

The idea struck Dailey a few days before the novel coronavirus shutdowns began. Phyllis Ross, an 88-year-old costumer on his paper route, asked if he could drop her newspaper closer to her garage to limit the amount of time she was outside. Then it hit him.

"I went to the store and I thought to myself, 'How in the world is she going to get groceries,'" said Dailey.

He called up Ross and asked if she needed any supplies from the store, which she took as a godsend.

"We were absolutely floored when he called," said Ross. "At my age, I'm afraid to go into a store."

Ross also asked on the call if he could pick up a few things for a neighbor across the street, which convinced Dailey there was a need in his community that someone had to fill.

"If those two people live 100 feet from each other, what about the other 800 people I deliver to?" Dailey asked.

The next day Dailey made the rounds as usual and added a personal note to each newspaper, offering to pick up groceries and household essentials free of charge for anyone who needed it. Before long, Dailey had more phone calls than he knew what to do with.

"Within a few hours, it became clear the need was overwhelming," Dailey said.

It was all-hands-on-deck at the Dailey household. Daughter, Erin, 24, began organizing the orders into an Excel sheet. Dailey's wife, Cherlyn, 48, ordered items ahead to save time. Sons, Sean, 21, and Brian, 16, were enlisted to carry groceries.

The Dailey clan began their task March 21 and, as of Wednesday, had delivered groceries to at least 52 homes in need. They normally spend seven hours each day compiling lists, shopping, disinfecting items and, most importantly, delivering.

"Everyone is so grateful," said Dailey. "It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life. You can just feel the energy from folks when they open the door."

The Daileys' hard work comes as a sign of the times as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spark fear in the hearts of many elderly Americans. People over the age of 65 are at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and should not leave their homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But at the same time, costumers on Dailey's route explain how difficult it can be to follow those guidelines without relying on help from others. Joanne Maddox, 76, said she and her husband tried to order groceries online, and had a five-day wait until their order could be processed. Five days turned into six, then seven, until the company canceled their order altogether.

"It's incredibly unreliable," Maddox said. "Greg has been a life saver."

Ross paints a similar picture. She explained that few stores in their community offer fresh fruits and vegetables online, and many have orders backlogged for weeks. Since her kids live in a different state, Ross and her husband have limited options to get what they need to survive.

"It's very scary and we really do need the help," said Ross. "Greg is a kind and thoughtful person, and we are all so appreciative of his good deeds."

The need is so great that Dailey now finds himself delivering groceries to homes outside of his usual newspaper route, going the extra mile for everyone that he can. It might seem like never-ending work, but Erin said the smiles on faces makes it all worth it.

"You can't have a better feeling knowing these people are really desperate for help and you're doing something so small, but it's huge in their lives," said Erin. "It's rewarding to be a part of the relief."

Dailey and his family plan to continue delivering groceries to their community as long as necessary.

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Courtesy Josh Anderson(MADISON, S.D.) -- A South Dakota teacher is getting praise for going above and beyond to help a student with her math homework after schools switched to virtual learning because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Waba, a sixth grade math teacher in Madison, South Dakota, said he had been emailing back and forth with a student to help her figure out a problem after a lesson he taught by Zoom earlier that day.

When the student, Rylee Anderson, 12, told him in an email that she was still struggling with the problem, Waba, a 27-year teaching veteran, grabbed a whiteboard he'd taken home with him from his classroom and walked to her front door.

"We had really tried to work through it digitally, but you can just tell when you need to do something else," Waba told "Good Morning America." I had the whiteboard that I brought home, and I just said, 'I’ll be over in a couple of minutes.'"

Waba is a neighbor and very close friend of Rylee's family, so he only had to walk a few doors down to reach her. He spent about 15 minutes kneeling outside the front door and drawing on the whiteboard while Rylee stood safely inside.

The moment was captured on camera by Rylee's parents. Rylee's dad, Josh Anderson, the head football coach at Dakota State University, posted the photo on Twitter, where it quickly went viral.

"He’s just a really good teacher and really good person," Anderson said. "[Rylee] was shocked he came over, but she was happy to get it done and over with because she was very frustrated to not have the answers or the help that she needed."

Schools in Madison switched to virtual learning nearly three weeks ago, according to Waba. He said the move has been an adjustment for teachers like himself as well as for students.

"When teachers go into the business, it’s because they like to teach and be around the kids," he said. "For us now to turn into a virtual classroom, probably the biggest love of what our job is about isn’t our job anymore. It’s not the same as being in the classroom and interacting with class."

Waba also stressed that there are teachers around the country going above and beyond for their students in this unprecedented time.

"I’m not one on an island," he said. "There are thousands and thousands of teachers going the extra mile for their kids."

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iStock/chapin31(SANTA FE, N.M.) -- Just days after New Mexico’s governor warned President Trump that she feared the coronavirus could “wipe out” tribal nations, the president of the Navajo Nation told ABC News he believes aggressive measures being taken now will help contain the disease.

“We have a shelter-in-place here in Navajo Nation and have a curfew, and we are doing our best to slow down the spread or even stop the spread of coronavirus,” said Jonathan Nez, who was elected president of the tribal nation in 2018. “People are already in their houses and hunkered down.”

Nez said the shelter-in-place order is similar to those in a number of states now, advising residents to stay at home but allowing them out for necessities. “Curfew is a pretty much a lock-down from 8 p.m. on,” he said, noting officials are monitoring it with roadblocks.

The latest figures show 174 people have tested positive and seven have died in the tribal territory that spans portions of three western states and has a population of more than 250,000. Officials in New Mexico and Arizona have both expressed concerns about the ability of the Navajo Nation to contain an outbreak. This week the Arizona National Guard reportedly flew in doctors and supplies and helped set up a make-shift hospital with 50 beds.

On a call with President Trump and other governors, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was seeing "incredible spikes" of coronavirus cases in Navajo Nation.

"I'm very worried, Mr. President," Grisham said Monday, according to a recording of the call obtained by ABC News. "The rate of infection, at least on the New Mexico side — although we've got several Arizona residents in our hospitals — we're seeing a much higher hospital rate, a much younger hospital rate, a much quicker go-right-to-the-vent[ilator] rate for this population. And we're seeing doubling in every day-and-a-half," she said.

There is reason for concern, according to Hilary Tompkins, the former solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, which serves the federal trustee for Native American tribes.

“The Native American population is particularly vulnerable not only due to underlying health disparities and high poverty rates, but also because many Indian reservations lack basic, modern day amenities such as running water, access to the internet, and connection with the electrical grid, which are vital during a pandemic,” Tompkins told ABC News.

Tompkins, a member of the Navajo Nation, said access to full-service healthcare is lacking during optimal conditions.

“These factors create a perfect storm for the virus to devastate tribal communities, which we are witnessing right now with my tribe, the Navajo Nation,” she said. “Our federal trustee must act quickly to support tribal leaders in their fight against the coronavirus in order to save the lives of First Americans.”

The outbreak of the virus in the reservation is believed to have spread at an evangelical church rally in Chilchinbeto, Arizona, on March 7, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The Navajo Nation government declared a state of emergency on March 13, one week later, before ultimately issuing a reservation-wide shelter-in-place order for all residents on March 20.

"In a short period of time, COVID-19 has arrived on the Navajo Nation and the number of cases are increasing at a high rate across the Nation," the order said. "The purpose of the closure is to allow the Navajo Nation as a whole to isolate and quarantine."

President Nez told ABC News he believes the tribal response is working.

“We're really getting out the information, letting people know to take care of themselves so that we don't have a large spike here at Navajo Nation,” Nez said. “We’re doing our best to educate people. We have our healthcare professionals going door to door.”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Navy plans to move 2,700 sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to quarters in Guam as the number of sailors testing positive for the novel coronavirus has increased to 93, said acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.

The Navy secretary also said that the ship's captain would not face retaliation for a blunt letter he sent asking that the process of removing sailors from the ship be sped up for their safety.

In a letter to top Navy officials from Capt. Brett Crozier, he asked that most of his ship's crew be taken off the carrier to stem the spread of the virus to the nearly 5,000 sailors on the Roosevelt. Crozier also asked that the sailors be moved from communal facilities on Guam to individual housing to conform with coronavirus safety guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Crozier's letter created a firestorm of controversy after it was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We're providing the commanding officer what he has requested and we are doing our best to accelerate the pace wherever we can," Modly said at a Pentagon news conference on Wednesday. "We're in agreement with the CO that we need to do all we can to get as many people off the ship, while still maintaining the safe operation of the ship."

So far, 1,000 of the ship's sailors are already ashore and that number will increase to 2,700 in the coming days, Modly said.

Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said that about 1,000 members of the ship's crew would remain aboard to run the ship's nuclear reactor and maintain operations needed to ensure the safety of the weapons stored aboard.

Modly emphasized that if the ship needs to head to sea for an emergency it still can do so, another reason why not all of the ship's crew will be moved to land.

Testing of the ship's crew continues as the carrier is berthed in Guam with 1,273 sailors having been tested for the coronavirus. So far, 593 tests have come back negative while the remainder are still being processed.

 The Navy is working with the government of Guam to possibly use empty hotel rooms as suitable housing space that meets the CDC's guidelines.

"Hotels are actually a pretty good, pretty good place to put people, particularly if they stay where they're supposed to be for the for the quarantine period. And for the isolation period," said Modly.

Modly and Gilday each said Crozier was doing what he was supposed to be doing in sending the letter to his chain of command.

"The fact that he wrote the letter of this to a chain of command to express his concerns would absolutely not result in any type of retaliation," said Modly. "What we want our commanding officers to be able to do."

Modly said that the medical team aboard the ship had also expressed concerns that there was not enough space aboard the ship to ensure proper social distancing.

"We need a lot of transparency in this process and we want the information to flow up through the chain of command," said Modly. "And that's, that's what they did. And we appreciate their ability to let us know."

However, Modly held out the possibility that Crozier might face disciplinary action if it turns out he was the one who leaked the letter.

"I don't know who leaked the letter to the media. That would be something that would violate the principles of good order and discipline, if he were responsible for that. But I don't know that," said Modly.

Gilday said it appeared there was "a communications breakdown" between the ship's commanders and higher commands that could explain why Crozier felt he had to write his letter to request what was already planned to be sped up.

The Roosevelt is the only one of the Navy’s 94 ships currently at sea that has COVID-19 infections. All other cases among Navy ships involve vessels that are homeported and not deployed.

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New York City Health Department(NEW YORK) -- New York City's Health Department has released a detailed map of the city's coronavirus cases, broken down by zip code.

The map uses data from up until March 31, when there were 38,396 confirmed cases in the city. Johns Hopkins University Medical Center says that as of April 1, New York City has 43,119 cases and 1,096 deaths.

The map shows that several locations in the boroughs outside Manhattan have the highest concentrations of COVID-19 cases, between 306 and 947.

Some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods include Elmhurst and Kew Gardens Hills in Queens, the South Bronx, and East New York in Brooklyn.

The map breaks down each zip code into one of four categories: 6-112 cases, 112-182 cases, 182-306 cases, and 306-947 cases.

Thirty-two of the city's coronavirus patients have no known zip code, according to the data.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- There were 10 reported tornadoes Tuesday across four states -- Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Some of the worst damage was in southern Alabama and in northern Georgia, where several homes were destroyed.

Overall, there were 88 damaging storm reports in five states from Mississippi to South Carolina as the southern storm moved through.

The Southern storm is now moving off the North Carolina coast with lingering rain along the East Coast Wednesday morning.

Our attention now turns to the West where a storm system and a cold front will be moving from the Pacific Northwest into the Upper Midwest with heavy April snow.

Already, eight states from Washington to Minnesota are under Winter Storm Watches and Warnings.

By Wednesday night and into Thursday, a cold front will move into the Plains with a low pressure system developing ahead. This combination will bring cold air, snow and wind to the Plains and Upper Midwest.

Some of the heaviest snow will fall from Wyoming to South Dakota and into western Minnesota, where some areas could see up to a foot of April Snow. This heavy wet snow could cause trees and power lines to come down.

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Kuzma/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly every month for the last several years, Darlene has made a 500-mile trek from her home in the Bronx, New York to visit her 4-year-old grandson, Nathaniel, who lives in Detroit.

Nathaniel has been in foster care in Michigan since he was an infant. His mother took him there on vacation and left him with a friend. It was later reported to police that he had been abandoned. Darlene has been seeking custody since 2016, trying to become Nathaniel's foster parent while his mother completes requirements in the hopes of regaining permanent custody.

It was a sluggish, bureaucratic process, spanning courts in two states. More than a year passed before she was initially approved for placement. The battle led her to the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan, where a hearing was set for April 17, the first step toward a final ruling on Nathaniel’s permanent placement. And then the coronavirus outbreak struck, bringing the country’s judicial system -- and Darlene’s custody battle -- to a screeching halt.

“It’s going to take more time now,” Darlene said. “I’m frustrated. I’m sad. He was living with me. I was always part of his life until that incident happened three years ago.”

Darlene is not alone. The coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent shutdown has put family reunification hearings across the country on hold as courts are either closed or operating on a limited basis, threatening to create a backlog of custody cases that could delay family reunifications for thousands of children.

There are currently 437,000 children in the foster care system with more than 69,000 of those living in institutions, group homes and other placements instead of with a family member, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are no national statistics on pending reunification cases, but in 2018, the agency tallied 139,004 children who left foster care and were reunited with their families or placed with a relative.

Federal law requires individual states to establish a permanency plan for every child in foster care, which is used to not only determine where the child will live but also ensure that those fighting for custody of a child are prepared to take it on and can meet the child’s needs. In many states, that means would-be parents are required to take certain classes, but many of the offices and agencies offering such services are now closed indefinitely.

If a child remains in foster care for 15 out of 22 months, federal law requires the child welfare agency to ask the court to terminate parental rights, according to the Federal Children’s Bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If parental rights are terminated, the child is then eligible for adoption. This requirement does not apply if the child is cared for by a relative, if it is decided that termination is not in the best interest of the child, or if the State has not provided adequate services for the family.

Vivek Sankaran, director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, told ABC News that as families, attorneys and judges scramble to find alternative ways to move cases forward, there is great concern for what happens when the courtrooms finally open again.

Judges and child welfare agencies, Sankaran said, should take the difficulties caused by the pandemic into account when making placement decisions.

“We’re a time driven system,” said Sankaran. “When we remove our thumb from the pause button and move on, what happens then? The last months of inactivity should not be counted against a family when they haven’t progressed because nothing is being offered to them and they’re not being allowed to see their children due to no fault of their own.”

Raquel Mehring, CEO of the Milwaukee-based Parents Place, which offers services that include parent education, parent support groups, supervised visitations and safety services for biological parents who are fighting for reunification with their children, told ABC News they are following all state and federal guidelines to ensure they can remain open to serve the more than 1,500 parents they assist each year, using video conferencing services to connect biological parents with their children in foster care.

“We are working hard to make sure that families continue to progress through their parenting and reunification goals,” Mehring said. “We are hanging in there, remaining optimistic and carrying on with business with the new normal.”

Mehring adds that with the loss of jobs across the country, there will inevitably be parents currently with pending reunification cases who now don’t have the means to visit their children or continue a costly legal battle.

Tara Perry, CEO of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates and Guardians ad Litem Association for Children, which supports volunteers who are appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests, told ABC News those jobs are so vital during the current crisis that the group is providing emergency grants to local offices.

“Our volunteers are needed to advocate for children and families now more than ever, not only to help judges make the most well-informed decisions for children and their families, but to build a system of support around children at this difficult and unprecedented time,” Perry said.

And for foster parents who are providing homes for children as the coronavirus crisis prevents them from seeing biological family members, they are also adapting, using technology to connect them.

Elizabeth Hope, a foster parent for SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, currently has six children in her care, from ages 2 to 13.

“They know they can FaceTime and they make it fun,” Hope said. “We did a FaceTime for three of my kids and they had created a whole show for us, they wrote poems and songs and we let the dad see it on FaceTime. So it was fun for the dad and he could see they’re having fun too.”

For children in foster care, she said, there is a sad silver lining when it comes to social distancing.

“Our kids have already gone through the trauma of separation,” Hope said. “They are already more prepared for it probably than the average kid.”

Despite the uncertainty and threat of continuing delays, Darlene says, knowing she’s closer to having Nathaniel back gives her hope. The last three years have been a long, hard fight, she said, but she’s willing to continue for as long as it takes.

“I’ve redone his room here three times already. Because he was a baby, you know, first I had to get him a crib, then a toddler bed and now he has bunk beds,” she said. “I’m never gonna quit. That’s the thing, you can never give up.”

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jarun011/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has infected more than 859,000 people around the world.

Over 178,000 of those patients have recovered from the new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19.

More than 42,000 people across the globe have died, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 189,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the United States has by far the highest national tally in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins data. At least 4,076 have died from the virus in the United States, surpassing the death toll in China where the virus first emerged in December.

Here's how the news developed Tuesday. All times Eastern:

9:30 p.m.: LA continues to see sharp rise in cases

Los Angeles County saw another increase in cases on Tuesday, with Mayor Eric Garcetti saying they've had 548 new cases in the past 24 hours.

The county announced 342 new cases on Monday.

Garcetti stressed the need for more ventilators, but said the county does have 1,383 beds available.

He also said testing began yesterday on Skid Row, LA's infamous collective area for the homeless. He said about 1,000 tests would be administered to homeless in the county daily.

9:17 p.m.: Russia sending supplies to US

A Russian plane carrying personal protection equipment and other supplies is expected to land in the U.S. on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to help with the U.S. response to COVID-19, a senior administration official said Tuesday evening.

On Monday, Trump said at his White House press conference: "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice."

Russian news agency Interfax reported Tuesday that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Trump and Putin had discussed Russia sending a plane during a phone call Monday; the White House did not mention the plane in its own readout of the call.

7:22 p.m.: NYC death toll surpasses 1,000

The coronavirus death toll in New York City surpassed 1,000 Tuesday evening, according to the city's health department.

The 1,096 fatality count was a 164 jump from the morning's tally of 932.

The total number of cases in the city is now at 41,771, according to the health department.

No state -- besides New York, where the total stands at over 1,550 -- has had more than 267 deaths.

6:15 p.m.: Trump warns Americans next 2 weeks will be 'very painful'

President Donald Trump warned Americans during his daily briefing that there will be hard days ahead as the pandemic spreads across the country.

"We're going to go through a very tough two weeks," he said. "We’re going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel, but this is going to be a very painful, very very painful, two weeks.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Americans should be prepared for deaths as high as 100,000.

"I think the more we push on the mitigation, the less likelihood it would be that number," he said. "But as being realistic we need to prepare ourselves that that is a possibility that that is what we will see."

Vice President Mike Pence said so far, 1.1 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted across the country.

5:02 p.m.: Florida governor asks Trump to bar cruise ships from docking

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he has requested that the president stop cruise ships from docking in the state.

Holland America's MS Zaandam -- which has nearly 200 passengers on board with "flu-like symptoms," four deaths of elderly passengers and multiple people who tested positive for COVID-19 -- as well as sister ship MS Rotterdam were planning to return to Florida. Carnival's Coral Princess was also planning to return, and it has multiple passengers with "flu-like symptoms."

The governor said only medical supply ships should be allowed to use those ports. As of Tuesday afternoon, Florida had 6,338 confirmed cases and 77 deaths, according to the state's health department.

DeSantis said he isn’t considering a statewide stay-at-home order and would defer the call to local counties. He has ordered a self-quarantine mandate for visitors coming from the New York tristate area.

The governor said 8,600 people who have come into the state by car or plane have been screened so far.

4:40 p.m.: LA County classifies grocery store, delivery workers as 'front-line responders'

In Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors has passed a motion to protect grocery store, delivery and pharmacy workers, now classifying them as "front-line responders."

"In these difficult times, a visit to the grocery store makes extraordinarily clear that food and grocery delivery drivers are essential workers and we must do all that we can to protect them," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement.

Employers now must sanitize and stock all bathrooms, put sanitizers at the front of stores, clean stores, clean carts between use, require employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes, provide access to testing and support employees so they can address family needs.


3:44 p.m.: Louisiana's death toll reaches 239

In Louisiana, one of the hardest-hit states, 239 people have now died from coronavirus -- a 29.1% increase from Monday.

At least 5,237 in the state have tested positive. Of those, 1,355 people are in the hospital, including 438 people who are on ventilators.

Since Thursday, the number of hospital patients has doubled and the number of people on ventilators has doubled, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday.

The New Orleans area is expected to exceed ventilator capacity as early as April 4, and run out of hospital beds by April 7, the governor said.

Louisiana has ordered about 14,000 ventilators, including 150 from the national stockpile, the governor said.

"We have received 292 [ventilators] to date from private vendors and that includes an additional 100 that came in yesterday, and the 150 from the national strategic stockpile which has not yet been delivered here to Louisiana but we expect to receive those very soon," he said.

The governor said there's no evidence the state has started to flatten the curve and the stay-at-home order will be extended until at least April 30.

3:27 p.m.: France reports highest single-day death toll


France reached its highest single-day death toll Tuesday, reporting 499 deaths in the last 24 hours.

France's total number of fatalities has now reached 3,523, said Jerome Salomon, director-general of health.

The nation's total number of confirmed cases has climbed to 55,128. Of those, over 22,000 are hospitalized, including 5,565 people in intensive care, Salomon said. He said 68 patients in intensive care are under the age of 30.

The death toll is likely to spike further as the number of fatalities and diagnosed cases does not yet include data from nursing homes, according to Salomon.

3:06 p.m.: New York City crime drops off the map


"Crime has dropped off the face of the map" in the nation's most populated city since social distancing began, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

"The foot traffic is almost nil at this point in time," Shea said Tuesday.

Police calls are down, which is a benefit to the NYPD as 15% of its uniformed officers -- about 5,600 cops -- are out sick.

The NYPD has had 17 people come back to work after testing positive since Friday, Shea said.

"They are back, they are better and they are jumping in to fill the place when people go down," he said.

At least 914 people have died from coronavirus in New York City, the city health department reported Monday night.

Over 38,000 New York City residents have tested positive.

While crime is down, calls to 911 and first responders are up.

Thanks to FEMA, 250 ambulances are being sent from across the country to New York City to help alleviate the strain on the EMS system, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. At least 135 of those ambulances have already arrived.

The FDNY says more than 20% of the EMS workforce is out sick.   De Blasio added that FEMA is sending 500 more EMTs to New York City, 270 of whom have already arrived.

1:41 p.m.: Louisiana's death toll reaches 239

In Louisiana, one of the hardest-hit states, 239 people have now died from coronavirus -- a 29.1% increase from Monday.

At least 5,237 in the state have tested positive. Of those, 1,355 people are in the hospital, including 438 people who are on ventilators.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said New Orleans is expected to run out of ventilators on Sunday and hospital beds by Monday.

The governor said Monday that Louisiana has ordered 14,000 ventilators, including 5,000 from the national stockpile.

12:45 p.m.: United Kingdom deaths double in 24 hours

The United Kingdom has recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus deaths with 381 people losing their lives in the last 24 hours.

That doubles the number of deaths reported Monday.

The U.K.'s death toll now stands at 1,789.

The largest number of confirmed cases are in London, where officials say the number of those infected is spreading quickly.

12:29 p.m.: New York City crime drops off the map

"Crime has dropped off the face of the map" in the nation's most populated city since social distancing began, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

"The foot traffic is almost nil at this point in time," Shea said Tuesday,

Police calls are down, which is a benefit to the NYPD as 15% of its uniformed officers -- about 5,600 cops -- are out sick.

The NYPD has had 17 people come back to work after testing positive since Friday, Shea said.

"They are back, they are better and they are jumping in to fill the place when people go down," he said.

At least 914 people have died from coronavirus in New York City, the city health department reported Monday night.

Over 38,000 New York City residents have tested positive.

12:10 p.m.: Need to prepare for 'battle' at the apex, Cuomo says


In hard-hit New York state, 1,550 people have died from COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

Over 75,000 have tested positive in the state, and of those, 2,710 people are in intensive care units as of Tuesday, the governor said.

"I am tired of being behind this virus. We've been behind this virus from day one," Cuomo said, stressing that the main battle will be at the "apex" of the curve -- which has not yet been reached.

"We are planning now for the battle at the top of the mountain," Cuomo said, including stockpiling equipment.

The governor said it's important that there's a social acceptance of the time expectations

"Everybody wants to know one thing: when is it over. Nobody knows," Cuomo said. "It is not gonna be soon ... calibrate your expectations."

To the public, the governor stressed, "everyone is subject to this virus. It is the great equalizer. I don't care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are."

Gov. Cuomo said his younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for coronavirus. The governor said he spoke to his brother Tuesday morning and that he "will be fine."

But the governor also chastised the younger Cuomo for letting their mother go to his house several weeks ago.

"I said, 'That is a mistake. You expose her to a lot of things,'" the governor said. "She's older and she's healthy but I said, 'you can't have mom at the house.'"

"If my brother still had my mother at his house ... now we’d have a much different situation," he said.

Chris Cuomo tweeted Tuesday, "I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath."

Chris Cuomo said he's quarantined in his basement and will anchor his CNN show from there.

11:30 a.m.: Walmart will check employee temperatures

Walmart says it will start taking employees' temperatures when they arrive at work and will ask them "some basic health screening questions."
Coronavirus map: Tracking the spread in the US and around the world

Any employee with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be asked to go home and will be paid for reporting to work, Walmart said in a statement.

Masks are expected to arrive in one to two weeks and will be available for any employees who want them, Walmart added.

10:26 a.m.: Masks for everyone 'under very active consideration,' Fauci says


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN Tuesday that masks for everyone is "under very active consideration."

The possibility of recommending that all Americans wear masks will be discussed at Tuesday's coronavirus task force meeting and officials will come "close to coming to some determination" when there are enough for health care workers, Fauci said.

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Emergencies Program, said Monday, "we don't generally recommend the wearing of masks in public by otherwise well individuals because it has not been, up to now, associated with any particular benefit."

Ryan added that they do not criticize the practice and it may offer psychological benefits but there's some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of masks and there's also a massive global shortage to consider.

"Right now the people most at risk for this virus are frontline health workers who are exposed to the virus every second of every day," Ryan said. "The thought of them not having masks is horrific," he said.

WHO officials reiterated that symptomatic and diagnosed patients should wear masks to prevent the transmission to others.

9:30 a.m.: TSA screenings reach another record low
 
As the pandemic intensifies, airline travel is continuing to plunge in the U.S. and TSA screening numbers have fallen to the lowest in over a decade.

The TSA said it screened 154,080 travelers nationwide on Monday, compared to the 2,360,053 passengers screened on the same day last year. 

8:56 a.m.: 12-year-old girl becomes youngest known coronavirus victim in Europe

A 12-year-old Belgian girl has become the youngest known person in Europe to die after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Emmanuel Andre, a spokesman for Belgium's national crisis center, announced the untimely death of the unnamed girl at a press conference Tuesday, saying it was "an emotionally difficult moment, because it involves a child, and it has also upset the medical and scientific community."

"We are thinking of her family and friends," Andre added. "It is an event that is very rare, but one which upsets us greatly.”

A spokesperson for Belgium's health ministry told ABC News the girl succumbed to the disease over the weekend. Further information was not immediately available due to privacy concerns for her family.

There are at least 12,775 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Belgium, and at least 705 of those patients have died, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.

Belgium's health ministry has recorded 98 deaths within the past 24 hours.

8:13 a.m.: Spain reports highest single-day death toll from COVID-19

Spain has recorded an additional 849 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest single day in-country increase since the pandemic began.

The 11.5% increase brings the country's national death toll from COVID-19 to 8,189. About 85 percent of the newly reported fatalities were patients over the age of 70, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.

The health ministry also recorded 9,222 newly diagnosed cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 94,417 -- a 10.8% increase.

Spain has the third-highest national tally of diagnosed cases in the world and the second-highest national death toll from the novel coronavirus, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.

7:15 a.m.: US Army Corps of Engineers assessing 341 facilities for potential makeshift hospitals

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, who is spearheading an effort to build makeshift hospitals across the country in response to the coronavirus crisis, said the scope of the initiative is "immense."

"We're looking right now at around 341 different facilities across all of the United States, very similar to the Javits Center," Semonite told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday on Good Morning America.

Over the past week, the Army Corps of Engineers has been busy transforming the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City into an overflow medical facility designed to make it easier for hospitals to focus on treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The temporary field hospital could be able to house 2,910 beds, making it one of the largest hospitals in America. On Monday, the convention center began treating non-coronavirus patients.

The U.S. government is calling it "hospitals without walls," and it’s requiring an unprecedented rollback of federal regulations so health care providers can act without fearing they might be penalized later. That means if a city like New Orleans or Denver wants to build its own makeshift hospital like the one at New York City's Javits Center, they can. Hospitals also can now provide benefits to its staff like meals, laundry or child care.

Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, said they're looking at various buildings across the nation, such as hotels and dormitories as well as big open spaces like convention centers, as potential sites to convert into more makeshift hospitals. There will be two types of temporary facilities: ones that will house COVID-19 patients and ones that will treat all other patients, according to Semonite.

"We've got eight contracts under gear right now, people in centers constructing facilities, probably about 8,500 beds," Semonite said. "And then by the end of the day, we should have another five contracts awarded with somewhere around another 4,000 beds."

"Our thought was make it extremely simple," he added. "Find an existing facility that already has all the codes, has heat, has water, has IT, has parking lots, and then just put in whatever we can like a hospital inside of that."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working side by side with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as local governments.

"We don't know where this is going to go," Semonite said. "This is a state and local decision, but what the Corps wanted to do is come up with an option so if we could be able to mitigate this delta in some way, we're able to find a solution that states could employ."

6:13 a.m.: Italy observes minute of silence to mourn coronavirus victims

Italy flew its flags at half-staff and observed a nationwide minute of silence on Tuesday to mourn the victims of the coronavirus pandemic, honor their families and show solidarity with health workers amid the crisis.

With more than 101,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, Italy has the highest national tally in Europe and the second-highest in the world, behind the United States. More than 11,500 people have died from the disease in Italy, according to the latest county from Johns Hopkins Unversity.

3:30 a.m.: US Open tennis complex to transform into temporary hospital

The site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City will be converted into a temporary medical facility as the coronavirus pandemic strains the city's resources, according to the U.S. Tennis Association, which owns the venue.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the plans.

The USTA, the national governing body for tennis, originally had said it was going to keep the center open for people to take lessons, practice or play tennis. But then the organization said it was closing the site to the public.

With more than 38,000 diagnosed cases and nearly 1,000 deaths, New York City is the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States. State and city officials are trying to increase hospital capacity in order to handle the health crisis. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said up to one million more healthcare workers were needed.

"As governor of New York, I am asking health care professionals across the country: If you don't have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York now," he said at a press conference Monday.

The rising death toll from the outbreak in the United States was poised Tuesday to overtake China's tally of more than 3,300 deaths.

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Marco_Piunti/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Emergency medical service workers in Queens, New York, described living and working in what amounts to a "war zone" as they seek to help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have thousands of people that are sick. Thousands that are dying," Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY-EMS Local 2507, told ABC News on Tuesday. "It's all over our city. It's not just an isolated case. It's all around us."

Barzilay said that the station had even broken a record for 911 calls Monday -- 7,200 calls -- passing Friday's record of 7,100.

He said that while his workers were "still holding the line" and doing what was necessary to save lives, they were short on personal protective equipment and needed a lot of supplies.

"We want people to be mindful when they call 911. ... We're dealing with severely ill people at the moment that need our attention," he said. "The hospitals are overwhelmed as we are overwhelmed."

ABC News followed EMS at a safe distance in Queens on four calls on Tuesday, including two reports of fever and cough, a COVID-19 patient and a person who had died. As they arrived for each call, EMS workers wore thin, blue gowns, gloves and masks.

During one call that ABC News witnessed, Tracy Sims stood outside as EMS workers entered the home of her aunt who'd been diagnosed with COVID-19 the previous week.

Sims told ABC News that her aunt's doctor had sent her home so she could self-quarantine but that the aunt, who's in her 60s, also had a touch of pneumonia and was feeling winded and short of energy.

"If you're having trouble breathing and, you know, you're an older person, you're by yourself, who's going to go inside to help her?" Sims said to ABC News. "Nobody can go inside to help her."

Barzilay said that Local 2507 had roughly 4,500 EMTs/paramedics with the New York Fire Department, including officers. Of those, he said more than 500 were showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and more than 50 members had tested positive for the virus.

The FDNY confirmed to ABC News that more than 20% of the EMS workforce was out sick. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was sending a contingent of paramedics and ambulances to help backfill.

John Rugen, a 16-year veteran with the fire department, described the situation for EMS workers as "madness."

"There's no other way to put it," he said.

Rugen said that when EMS workers arrived at a call, they went in suspecting that everyone in the home or at the scene had COVID-19 in order to protect themselves.

He said that while his station had gloves and N95 masks, it was running short. He told ABC News that he'd even called some stations last week and learned that they didn't have any masks left.

For Rugen, going out every shift puts him at risk. He said he had stage 4 lung cancer from Sept. 11 and that even cigarette smoke could close his lungs.

"This could attack me and kill me because I have shortage [of] lung capacity," he said of COVID-19.

Yet, he said, he worked because he liked taking care of people and had been working with the department since he was 16 years old.

Rugen said he'd even decided to stop seeing his son, who has an underlying medical condition, to prevent him from possibly catching the virus. Rugen said he still Skyped with his young son whom he had not seen for a week.

"It's hard," he said. "Very hard."

Barzilay said that Rugen's decision was a common one in the station. Barzilay said that other members in the station were afraid to go home and chance putting their family members at risk.

"They're sleeping in their cars. We have dozens and dozens and dozens of members who are sleeping in their cars. ... They rather stay here, sleep in the car, wash up and go do it again," he said about working their shifts, which ranged from 16 hours to 20 hours long.

Sims, whose aunt had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and got assistance from EMS Tuesday, told ABC News that she was terrified.

"I'm scared for her. ... I'm scared for me. For everybody. ... It's emotionally taxing," Sims said. "I want this thing to be over."

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