Coronavirus updates: US death toll tops 40,000 as stay-at-home protests continue – ABC News

April 20, 2020

A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 166,000 people worldwide.

Over 2.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected nation, with more than 760,000 diagnosed cases and at least 40,690 deaths.

Many cities and states have begun counting probable deaths caused by COVID-19, including New York City, the U.S. epicenter of the disease. The number of cases in New York state alone is higher than in any single country outside the U.S.

Today’s biggest developments:

  • New York state begins coronavirus antibody testing survey
  • Fauci warns reopening US too soon could ‘backfire’
  • Over 1,800 inmates test positive at Ohio prison
  • Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

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    10:05 a.m.: NYC cancels June events including Pride March

    In hard-hit New York City, all nonessential permitted events for June — like parades and concerts — have been canceled, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

    A lot of these events will be postponed, de Blasio stressed.

    Among the annual June events in New York are the Puerto Rican Day parade and the Pride March.

    This would have been the 50th anniversary of the LGBTQ Pride March, which the mayor called a “very very big deal.”

    “Pride is a staple in New York City, and is oftentimes a safe space for many,” David Correa, NYC Pride’s interim executive director, said in a statement. “This weighed on our members, board, and staff, knowing that we serve as a haven for vulnerable communities.”

    “It was not easy to arrive at the decision to cancel pride as we have come to know it over the years, especially given the financial impact this could have on LGBTQIA+ people and businesses, but our top priority remains the health and well-being of all those that participate with us,” Correa said.

    Data out of New York City appears to be improving, which the mayor called “damn close to what we’re looking for.”

    The number of people admitted to hospitals on Friday was 317, and that fell to 212 on Saturday.

    The number of people in intensive care units stayed nearly flat, from 849 Friday to 853 on Saturday.

    The percentage of people who tested positive for the coronavirus citywide fell from 38% on Friday to 34% on Saturday.

    Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

    8:05 a.m.: Fauci warns reopening US too soon could ‘backfire’

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s top medical experts on the coronavirus pandemic, warned Monday that reopening the U.S. economy too soon could “backfire.”

    “Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen,” Fauci told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “Good Morning America.”

    “If you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back,” he explained. “That’s the problem.”

    Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the United States is currently conducting about 1.5 to 2 million COVID-19 tests per week and is “certainly going to need more.”

    “We need to get up to at least maybe two times that, three times that,” he said. “But we will as we go into the coming weeks.”

    Fauci noted that tapping into “unused capacity” is equally important, so that states can identify and isolate cases as well as trace contacts.

    “What we need to do is make a better connectivity with the tests that are available as well as the capacity that in some cases is not used, through no fault of the governor or the local people,” he said. “There’s got to be a meeting of the two.”

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
  • 7:21 a.m.: New York state begins coronavirus antibody testing survey

    New York state on Monday began conducting antibody tests to help determine how many residents were previously infected with the novel coronavirus.

    The testing survey will sample 3,000 people across the state to help determine the percentage of the state’s population that has developed the antibodies to fight the virus, potentially allowing more individuals to safely return to work, according to a press release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

    Shoppers at grocery stores in different regions of the state will be recruited to participate in the survey, and those who agree will provide a fingerstick blood sample that will be tested at the state-run Wadsworth Center in Albany using its FDA-approved IgG immunologic test.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the antibody tests cannot detect whether an individual is currently infected with the virus and the immunity aspect is still unclear.

    “There’s an assumption — a reasonable assumption — that when you have an antibody that you are protected against reinfection, but that has not been proven for this particular virus,” he told ABC News in an interview Monday on “Good Morning America.”

    “We don’t know how long that protection — if it exists — lasts,” he added. “Is it one month, three months, six months, a year?”

    Fauci also warned that many of the antibody tests on the market still “need to be validated and calibrated.”

    “We still have a way to go with them,” he said.

    6:54 a.m.: Over 1,800 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Ohio prison

    More than 1,800 inmates housed at a single Ohio prison have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to state officials.

    At least 1,828 inmates and 109 staff members at the Marion Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

    Earlier this month, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed that a 55-year-old corrections officer at the same facility had died from the disease.

    Overall, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections has reported 2,400 positive cases of COVID-19 inside its prisons, according to Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX.

    5:38 a.m.: UN confirms death of Nigerian aid worker from COVID-19

    An aid worker on the front lines of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria has died after contracting the virus, a United Nations official confirmed Monday.

    Edward Kallon, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said a Nigerian man working as a nurse in the country’s war-torn Borno state had died over the weekend. It’s believed to be the first COVID-19 death in the northeastern state.

    “Despite the risks, this Nigerian health worker was devoting his life to treating vulnerable internally displaced persons who have lost everything during the conflict raging in the northeast,” Kallon said in a statement. “He had no travel history outside of Borno state and made the ultimate sacrifice.”

    Kallon noted that officials are working to trace anyone whom the nurse may have been in contact with in Borno state, where nearly 1.5 million of people have been displaced from their homes in recent years due to violence from the Boko Haram insurgency and other conflicts.

    “The humanitarian community reaffirms it is working closely with Nigerian authorities. Together, all actors are doing their utmost to reinforce protection and prevention measures against COVID-19,” he said. “With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting many areas in Nigeria, it is essential for the most vulnerable to continue receiving humanitarian aid, including water and soap or substitute solutions.”

    So far, 627 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Nigeria and 21 of them have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    3:45 a.m.: US death toll tops 40,000 as stay-at-home protests continue

    The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 40,000 people in the United States, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    Nearly half of all deaths — over 18,000 — occurred in New York state.

    Meanwhile, opposition to stay-at-home orders has continued to build from coast to coast amid growing resentment against the crippling economic cost of confinement. Protests took place over the weekend in at least five states — Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee and Washington. Last week, other stay-at-home protests took place in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Virginia.

    Many of the demonstrations flout the social distancing guidelines put in place by the White House to stem the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, President Donald Trump has spoken out in support of the protesters, describing them as “great people” who “love our country” and “have got cabin fever.”

    “Their life was taken away from them,” Trump said at a press briefing Sunday. “They want to get back to work.”

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