COVID-19 Daily Update: April 6, 2020

Faint glimmers of hope as virus deaths appear to be holding in New York

The steep rise in coronavirus deaths in New York appears to leveling off in a faint glimmer of hope in the nation’s epicenter,the governor said Monday, warning residents they must continue to adhere to social distancing and lockdown measures that have likely slowed the virus in Italy, Spain and France. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of new people entering hospitals daily has dropped, as have the number of critically ill patients who require ventilators. Recent data suggests the state could be at or near the peak. 

That’s why it’s critical to keep to the restrictions, he said, ordering schools and non-essential businesses closed until the end of the month, and lambasted New Yorkers out in parks over the weekend.

Italy’s day-to-day increase in new COVID-19 cases has dipped again

The nearly 3,600 new cases that authorities announced on Monday were the lowest day-to-day increase in 20 days. Another number boosting hopes in Italy’s medical community was a small drop, for the third straight day, in the number of intensive care beds occupied by patients with coronavirus infections nationwide.

“Substantially, the data confirms the trend” of a slowing of new cases and “gives comfort that the measures of containment against the viral infection are effective,” said Dr. Luca Richeldi, a pneumologist with Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.

Italy now has at least 132,547 confirmed cases, putting it just behind Spain in total known cases. There were 636 deaths in Italy since Sunday, up from 525 a day earlier. But Richeldi said that overall, a downward trend in deaths was holding, showing a decrease of 20 percent compared to a week earlier.

On Monday, Italy marks a month under national lockdown aimed at slowing contagion with the virus.

World Health Organization urges caution in relaxation of lockdown strategies

The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said countries looking to exit their lockdown strategies need to use a “calibrated, step-wise approach” that does not release all the restrictions at once.

Dr. Mike Ryan said Monday that the lockdowns seen in many countries involve shutdowns of schools, workplaces, and social gatherings in venues such as public places and parks.

“It probably would be a bad idea to lift all the lockdown restrictions (at once),” Ryan said, noting that countries shouldn’t be looking to transition out of a shutdown without having a plan in place to keep the spread of COVID-19 to manageable levels.

“The lockdown is pushing the disease down. Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the infection,” Ryan said, explaining countries should have systems in place to detect cases, track contacts, quarantine suspect cases and test widely for the disease.

Wall Street starts the week on a positive note

Stocks are jumping after some of the world’s hardest-hit areas offered sparks of hope that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may be on the horizon. U.S. stocks were up more than 5.5% in afternoon trading Monday after gains accelerated through the day. 

European and Asian markets had gains nearly as big. In another sign that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy’s path, the 10-year Treasury yield was headed for its first gain in four days. Oil fell after a meeting between big producers about possibly cutting back on production was postponed a few days.

Wisconsin is moving ahead with plans to hold in-person voting for its presidential primary and spring election on Tuesday, despite the coronavirus pandemic

National Guard members plan to help staff the polls, even as the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday weighed whether to intervene. 

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had originally pushed for Tuesday’s election to proceed as planned. But on Friday he changed course and asked the Republican-controlled Legislature to extend absentee voting until May 19 and have it all be done by mail. Republicans have refused. Mayors are calling on Evers to take emergency action to stop the election, something he has declined to do.

Harry Potter Author beats Coronavirus

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, says she has “fully recovered” from what she believes to have been coronavirus.

Rowling said in a tweet that she had not been tested but that she had displayed “all symptoms” of the virus over the past two weeks.

He recovered from the coronavirus and now his plasma donation could save the lives of others

A California man who was diagnosed with the coronavirus and recovered has donated his plasma to help others fighting the potentially deadly virus.

The 36-year-old aerospace engineer from Escondido, California posted on social media to let his friends know he had been infected with coronavirus and was better.

Garcia said he wrote: “I claimed victory over this deadly virus. I won over Covid-19.”

Around the same time, health officials at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange County, California, also took to social media to say they were looking for someone who had been diagnosed with coronavirus and had recovered to help with an experimental treatment to potentially save the life of another coronavirus patient.

A friend who saw both social media posts reached out and the hospital called Garcia just a few days after his quarantine had ended, he said.

They asked him for a plasma donation to be given to a coronavirus patient who was in dire condition and unresponsive to other treatments, Garcia said.

He said yes. “This can be turned into a lifesaving opportunity for someone who can’t fight off this disease,” Garcia said.

The plasma donation will allow the current coronavirus patient to receive antibodies from Garcia, a recovered patient, to help fight the disease, Wendy Escobedo, director of nursing for renal services at St. Joseph’s Hospital said in a video provided by the hospital.

Although Garcia doesn’t know how he became infected with the virus, he’s glad he might contribute to a treatment until a vaccine is ready.

“If this works there’s going to be an awesome chance for people to save a lot of heartache for others and fight the fight for their lives.”

REPORT: NFL to hold Coronavirus fundraiser during Draft

The NFL is planning a telethon to aid coronavirus relief efforts during the draft from April 23-25, according to two people familiar with the league’s plans.

The people tell The Associated Press that the league hopes its massive reach will raise awareness and funds in battling the pandemic. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the telethon has not been announced publicly.

Details on conducting the telethon and charities that will benefit will be released soon.

Since the NFL’s business year began on March 18, the league has conducted free agency even as team facilities have been shut down and travel has been barred. Its biggest offseason event is the draft, which was scheduled for Las Vegas but now will be done remotely, with ESPN and NFL Network televising the proceedings.

British canceled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

Golf will only have three major championships at the most this year. The R&A announced it is canceling the British Open in July because of the spread of COVID-19. 

It is pushing the British Open back one year and staying at Royal St. George’s. The Masters is moving to Nov. 12-15, just two weeks before Thanksgiving. 

The PGA Championship returns to August, while the U.S. Open plans to stay at Winged Foot and play on Sept. 17-20 for now. That depends on whether health officials say it’s safe to resume given the new coronavirus. 

The Tour Championship would end on Labor Day.

Americans brace for ‘hardest, saddest’ week of their lives

Americans are bracing for what the nation’s top doctor warns would be “the hardest and saddest week” of their lives due to an expected wave of coronavirus deaths to come. Britain assumed the unwelcome mantle of deadliest coronavirus hot spot in Europe after a record 24-hour jump in deaths that surpassed even hard-hit Italy’s. Its own prime minister, Boris Johnson, was hospitalized, 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19 in what his office described as a “precautionary step.” There were glimmers of hope, though, for some hard-hit areas as the number of people dying appeared to be slowing in New York City, Spain and Italy. Leaders still cautioned that those gains could be reversed if strict lockdowns weren’t followed.

Shares rebound on glimmers of progress in battling virus

Asian shares and U.S. futures have rebounded as investors grasped at threads of hope that the battle against the coronavirus pandemic may be making some progress in some hard-hit areas. Markets in Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney gained more than 2% in early trading and Hong Kong was up nearly 1%. New York futures were about 3% higher. The gains followed another Friday session of losses after the U.S. said employers cut 701,000 more jobs than they added last month, the first drop in nearly a decade. Investors fled the market ahead of the weekend. Oil prices were lower.

Washington State returns ventilators for use in New York

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state will return more than 400 ventilators of the 500 it has received from the federal government so they can go to New York and other states hit harder by the coronavirus. The Democratic governor said Sunday that his statewide stay-at-home order and weeks of social distancing have led to slower rates of infections and deaths in Washington. Washington has 7,666 confirmed cases of the virus and 322 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally on Sunday afternoon. New York has more than 122,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,000 deaths

Boeing to continue production shutdown due to coronavirus

Boeing says it will continue its shutdown of production indefinitely at its Seattle area facilities due to the spread of the coronavirus. The company in an email to Washington employees on Sunday says it is extending the planned two-week shutdown rather than reopening Wednesday. The decision affects about 30,000 of Boeing’s 70,000 employees in the state. The company says the decision is based on the health and safety of its employees, assessment of the coronavirus spread, supply chain concerns and recommendations from government health officials. Employees are receiving their regular salaries during the two-week shutdown, but will have to transition to vacation or sick leave after that.

Patients rush to join studies testing drug for coronavirus

Coronavirus patients around the world are rushing to join studies of an experimental drug that showed promise against some similar viruses in the past. Interest in the drug Remdesivir has been so great that the National Institutes of Health is boosting the size of its study, which has nearly reached its initial goal just a few weeks after starting. Drugmaker Gilead Sciences is quickly enrolling patients in its own studies, too. The drug is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. Results from the first tests of it in China are expected later this month.

Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for COVID-19 

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said Sunday.

The 4-year-old Malayan tiger, and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill, are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The first animal started showing symptoms March 27, and all are expected to recover, said the zoo, which has been closed to the public since March 16.

The finding raises new questions about transmission of the virus in animals. The USDA says there are no known cases of the virus in U.S. pets or livestock.

There have been reports of a small number of pets outside the United States becoming infected after close contact with contagious people, including a Hong Kong dog that tested positive for a low level of the pathogen in February and early March. 

At home with kids, pets and spouses, country stars play on

In the middle of a pandemic, country music’s biggest stars still play on. Showing unscripted parts of their lives, artists performed from home for “ACM Presents: Our Country,” on CBS on Sunday, in lieu of the delayed Academy of Country Music Awards. Children, spouses and even a horse made cameos in the homemade videos from stars like Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and Shania Twain. Keith Urban gave thanks to the medical workers on the front lines and Carrie Underwood raised a glass of wine from her couch. The country stars also paid tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, who died at age 81 last month.

Ex-NFL kicker, Saints hero Tom Dempsey dies at 73

Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey has died at 73 from what his family described as complications from the new coronavirus. Dempsey was known for being the first to hit a field goal from 63 yards and for succeeding in pro sports despite being born without toes on the right foot with which he kicked. The 63-yard field goal stood as the longest in NFL history for 43 years until 2013. Dempsey kicked 11 seasons in the NFL with New Orleans, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo. He had been diagnosed with dementia and was living in a New Orleans nursing home that was hard hit by the virus.

What You Can Do to Keep Yourself and Your Family Healthy

  • Take everyday preventive actions to stay healthy.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.


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