live updates Coronavirus updates: Deadliest day yet puts U.S. COVID-19 toll over 4,000 Download the free app

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The U.S. has seen a new record number of coronavirus deaths in a single day: At least 865 people lost their battles with the COVID-19 disease on Tuesday. Those fatalities put America's death toll over 4,080, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Italy, Spain, Britain and France also suffered their deadliest days as the pandemic continues to spread. In the United States, where almost 190,000 people have been diagnosed — more than any other nation — the White House has confirmed that its own modelling shows between 100,000 and 240,000 are likely to die before the crisis is over, even if people heed social distancing guidelines.

America's top epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says authorities will do everything in their power to prevent the toll from getting that high. But with hospitals and first responders in some regions already struggling to cope, President Trump warned the nation on Tuesday to brace for "a very bad" two or three weeks.

Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.

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U.K. police arrest and fine 1st person for violating coronavirus travel restrictions

The British Transport Police have arrested someone for violating travel restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the new coronavirus for the first time. The force confirmed in a statement Wednesday that a woman wasa fined £850 (about $1,000) "after pleading guilty to railway offences and breaching the new Coronavirus restrictions, following the first arrest of its kind on the railway network."

The police said the fine included £165 for ticket fraud and to cover administrative costs.

Police were called to Newcastle's train station after officers "received a report from rail staff of a woman loitering between platforms" on March 28. When they approached the woman "and engaged with her in an attempt to understand her reasons for essential travel," she allegedly "refused to speak to officers."

Britain has been under nationwide lockdown for a week and a half, forbidding all non-essential travel, but police have largely declined to use their powers to arrest and fine violators, opting instead to issue warnings and urge people to go home.

"Enforcement of any sort under the new regulations really is a last resort, especially arrest," Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan said in the police statement.

By Tucker Reals

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Putin joins the stay-at-home workforce after close contact with COVID-19-positive doctor

The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin will work remotely as much as possible after close contact with a doctor last week who has since tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Putin was to hold his scheduled government meetings by video conference from his residence outside Moscow on Wednesday, his spokesman told reporters. Last week the president visited Moscow's main hospital treating COVID-19 patients, where shook hands and toured the facility with its chief physician Dr. Denis Protsenko.

Protsenko's diagnosis was confirmed Tuesday, but he was said to be in good condition.

Russian President Putin visits a hospital for patients infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Denis Protsenko, chief physician of a hospital for patients infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as they walk at the hospital on the outskirts of Moscow, March 24, 2020. Sputnik/Alexey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that the president was also feeling well, and that he, along with everyone else who had accompanied him on the hospital visit, was being tested daily for the new virus.

Russia reported 440 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total number in the country to 2,777.

Alexandra Odynova

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Russian military plane carrying coronavirus supplies heads for U.S.

A Russian military plane carrying medical equipment has departed for the United States, the defense ministry in Moscow said Wednesday, as the Kremlin flexes its soft power amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Antonov-124, "with medical masks and medical equipment on board", left for the U.S. overnight, a statement said, without providing further details. Video released by the ministry showed the cargo plane loaded with boxes preparing to take off from a military airbase near Moscow early Wednesday morning.

Contacted by AFP, the defense ministry refused to provide any further information on the delivery, which came after Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Monday.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that Putin expected the U.S. to return the gesture if Russia faces a similar crisis and U.S. producers have increased their capacity to produce medical supplies.

Trump said earlier this week that "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice."


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China reports 1,300 asymptomatic virus cases amid public concern

China on Wednesday said it has more than 1,300 asymptomatic coronavirus cases, the first time it has released such data following public concern over people who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms.

Health officials also reported the first imported case from abroad in Wuhan — the epicentre where the virus first emerged late last year — heightening fears of infections being brought into China from other countries. Of 36 new cases reported Wednesday, 35 were imported from abroad.

A woman wearing a hazmat suit uses her mobile phone along a street in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on April 1, 2020. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty

The National Health Commission (NHC) said 1,367 asymptomatic patients were under medical observation, with 130 new cases added in the last day.

The NHC announced Tuesday that it would respond "to public concerns" by starting to publish daily data on asymptomatic cases, which it said were infectious.


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Louisiana church packed again despite charges against pastor amid virus crisis

Buses and cars filled a Louisiana church parking lot for another service Tuesday evening as worshippers flocked to hear a Louisiana pastor who is facing misdemeanor charges for holding services despite a ban on gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A few protesters turned out, too, including a man shouting through a bullhorn against those gathering at the Life Tabernacle Church in the city of Central, where pastor Tony Spell has been holding services. Another demonstrator held up a sign reading: "God don't like stupid."

CBS Baton Rouge affiliate WAFB-TV reported the service was jammed with hundreds of parishioners. The station said there were also dozens of cars on hand to see if anyone stopped Spell from holding the service.


APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Louisiana
Congregants arrive for an evening service at the Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana on March 31, 2020. Gerald Herbert / AP
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U.K. developing coronavirus-tracking app to ease lockdown restrictions

The U.K. is reportedly mulling the introduction of a contact-tracking app that'll alert people if they've been near someone with the coronavirus and should therefore self-isolate.

A report by Sky News on Tuesday described how NHSX, the innovation arm of the U.K.'s National Health Service, has teamed with U.S. company Pivotal to develop the app, which could be released when the British government eases the current lockdown restrictions. According to Sky, people will have to opt in to use the app, though the NHS hopes at least 50% of the population will choose to do so.

"NHSX is looking at whether app-based solutions might be helpful in tracking and managing coronavirus, and we have assembled expertise from inside and outside the organization to do this as rapidly as possible," said an NHSX spokesman.

Click here to read the full story by CNET's Katie Collins.

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Austin, Texas investigating COVID-19 cluster among group who visited Mexico for spring break

Health officials in Austin, Texas say dozens of young adults from a group that chartered a plane for a spring break trip to Mexico have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease. A statement released by the City of Austin on Tuesday said the Public Health Department was investigating the "cluster of positive COVID-19 cases," and that some members of the group had been quarantined.

"About a week and a half ago, approximately 70 people in their 20's departed in a chartered plane for a spring break trip. Some of the group returned on separate commercial flights. Currently, 28 young adults on this trip have tested positive for COVID-19 and dozens more are under public health investigation. Four of the confirmed cases did not present any symptoms," the statement said.

Every member of the group has been contacted by authorities and the 28 confirmed cases were self-isolating, according to the statement.

"Others are under quarantine while being monitored and tested," the statement said, adding that while there was no U.S. travel advisory against visiting Mexico when the trip occurred, it was vital for everyone to follow CDC guidance to avoid all non-essential travel.

By Tucker Reals

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Florida officials trying to figure out how to disembark hundreds from virus-stricken cruise

Passengers from an ill-fated South American cruise are eager to disembark once they reach Florida, but Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state's health care resources are already stretched too thin to take on the ships' coronavirus caseload. The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday the decision would be punted to Washington if authorities can't agree.

With the Zaandam and Rotterdam ships set to arrive later this week and at least two people on board needing emergency attention, a "unified command" of state, local and federal officials will be asked to approve a detailed docking plan requiring the cruise line, Holland America, to handle all medical issues without impacting South Florida's already-stressed hospitals.

Two of the four deaths on board the Zaandam have been blamed on COVID-19 and nine people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the company said.

Passangers of Holland America's cruise ship Zaandam are seen as the ship navigates through the Panama Canal in Panama City, on March 29, 2020. LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty

Holland America said the Rotterdam took on nearly 1,400 people who appear to be healthy from its sister ship, leaving 450 guests and 602 crew members on the Zaandam, including more than 190 who said they are sick. More than 300 U.S. citizens are on both ships combined.

Associated Press

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Federal prisons will confine inmates to cells for 14 days

The Bureau of Prisons on Tuesday announced it will begin confining federal inmates to their cells for 14 days in an attempt to prevent further exposure to coronavirus. The order is part of what the bureau is calling "Phase 5" of its plan to combat the spread of COVID-19.

There will be some exceptions to the quasi-lockdown. The bureau is permitting smaller groups for things like phone calls, laundry and showering. Educational programs and mental health treatment will continue, "to the extent practicable."

Read more here.

By Clare Hymes

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Trump: "This is gonna be a very very painful two weeks"

President Trump on Tuesday said the next two weeks will be "very tough" for the country and said the fight against the pandemic is "a matter of life and death."

"This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is gonna be a very bad two or maybe even three weeks," Mr. Trump said. "This is going to be three weeks like we haven't seen before."

The White House said, meanwhile, that even with social distancing measures 100,000 to 240,000 people are predicted to die of coronavirus in the U.S. Officials stressed that stringent adherence to social distancing measures could bring those numbers down.

"We don't accept that number. We're going to do everything we can to get that number even below that," Dr. Anthony Fauci said at the White House's daily coronavirus briefing.

When asked if Americans should prepare for casualties in that range, Dr. Fauci said; "the answer is yes."

By Victoria Albert

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Stocks suffer their worst quarter since 2008

Wall Street suffered its worst quarterly performance since the financial crisis. Investors are fearful of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as it wreaks havoc on U.S. businesses, causing sales to plummet and big and small companies alike to lay off millions of workers.

The S&P 500-stock index lost 19.7% of its value in the first three months of this year, compared with its plunge of 22.6% in the fourth quarter of 2008, which marked the start of the Great Recession, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The Dow's plunge during the first quarter – a fall of more than 6,900 points, or a decline of 24% – is the worst since the fourth quarter of 1987, when the market suffered the "Black Monday" crash and the blue-chip index of 30 large-company stocks declined 25% in that quarter, Silverblatt added.

Read more here.

By Aimee Picchi

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