• Florida to issue stay-at-home order; New York state death toll near 2,000
  • The Gates Foundation, that estimated 93,000 U.S. deaths, including 16,000 in New York state

New York (ANN)-Almost 2,000 have already died in New York state alone, prompting New York City to close its parks and open temporary hospitals in a convention center and iconic Central Park.

Florida announced Wednesday that it will issue a stay-at-home order, the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 4,400 as more than 200,000 cases have been reported, and public health officials were considering recommending that more Americans wear face masks to combat the pandemic that has brought the global economy to its knees.

“Even if you do wear a mask, it can’t be at the expense of social distancing,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. He added that high-tech, N95 masks would not be necessary – and could come at the expense of health care workers who need them. 

The current U.S. death toll appears to be a tiny fraction of what the nation faces over the next few weeks, public health officials say. Almost 2,000 have already died in New York state alone, prompting New York City to close its parks and open temporary hospitals in a convention center and iconic Central Park.

Worldwide, there are more than 45,400 deaths and more than 911,000 confirmed cases. The U.S., which has now surpassed China’s death toll, has surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.

New study finds presymptomatic transmission of COVID-19

A study published by the CDC on Wednesday provided more evidence that the coronavirus can spread between people before the infected person knows they’re sick.

Researchers reviewed data for 243 reported COVID-19 cases in Singapore from January 23 to March 16 and found that presymptomatic transmission accounted for about 6.4% of locally acquired cases.

The transmission occurred one to three days before patients began experiencing symptoms. 

“The possibility of presymptomatic transmission increases the challenges of containment measures,” the study said. “The potential for presymptomatic transmission underscores the importance of social distancing, including the avoidance of congregate settings, to reduce COVID-19 spread.”

Florida joins list of stay-at-home states

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would be issuing an order for residents to stay at home for the next 30 days and only leave for essential services. DeSantis  said the order will go into effect Friday at 12:01 a.m.

DeSantis had previously resisted issuing a stay-at-home order but said on Wednesday he decided to issue the order when President Donald Trump extended the national social distancing guidelines for an additional 30 days. Pensacola News Journal has reported.

Cuomo: NY state to hit ‘apex’ at end of April

New York state’s death toll from the coronavirus continued its sharp ascent with 391 people dying the in latest 24-hour period, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The virus has killed almost 2,000 in the state, almost half the U.S. total.

“That number will continue to go up,” Cuomo said. “That is people who have been on ventilators for a period of time. If you go on a ventilator, there’s roughly only a 20% chance that you will come off the ventilator. The longer you’re on the ventilator, the lower the chance you’ll come off.”

Cuomo also said that there were 83,712 confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon, an increase of 7,917. Models indicate the apex of the coronavirus outbreak in the state will hit “roughly at the end of April, which means another month of this,” Cuomo said. Cuomo did add that “the model changes the more data you add in” and could change over time.

Cuomo showed one projection, from the Gates Foundation, that estimated 93,000 U.S. deaths, including 16,000 in New York state. “What that does say to the rest of the nation is that this is not just New York,” Cuomo said.

CDC to review whether more people should wear face masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will review its guidance discouraging the general public from wearing masks, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America. 

“We’ve learned there’s a fair amount of asymptomatic spread, and so we’ve asked the CDC to take another look at whether or not having more people wear masks will prevent transmission of the disease to other people,” Adams said. The CDC’s current guidance is that sick people should wear masks, but healthy people should not unless they are in contact with COVID-19 patients.

Health officials have said that masks don’t necessarily protect the user from getting the virus, but they provent the spread to other people.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” podcast that he supports the public donning masks as long as health care workers are the first priority: “I would lean toward it because I mean what harm can it do if you have enough masks?”

Pence hopes to put virus ‘largely behind us’ by early June

Estimates from public health experts that more than 100,000 Americans could die from the pandemic were brought to President Donald Trump, and he “made the decision on the spot” to extend social distancing guidelines another 30 days, Vice President Mike Pence said. Pence, interviewed on CNN, said experts believe Italy provides the closes model of what the U.S. might expect. Italy, with about one-fifth the U.S. population, already has seen more than 12,000 deaths, including more than 800 Tuesday alone. But Italian health officials say they believe the death curve may have peaked.

“By sometime in early June, we could well have the coronavirus largely behind us as a nation,” Pence said. “And put American back to work.”

US stocks continue slide

U.S. stocks, fresh off one of the worst quarters in history, fell sharply when the markets opened Wednesday as the Dow dropped more than 800 points. The decline comes a day after the blue-chip index posted its worst first quarter ever.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 also sank Wednesday: 10 of the 11 sectors were lower, led by declines in financial, real estate and utility shares. The losses come as President Donald Trump warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. 

Said Anwiti Bahuguna, head of multi-asset strategy at Columbia Threadneedle Investments: “What we are experiencing now is the equivalent of putting a patient in a medically induced coma – a calculated, temporary risk with the goal of establishing greater longer-term health.”

Wimbledon canceled for first time since World War II

In a move that had been signaled strongly over the last week, the All England Club officially canceled Wimbledon for 2020, citing the “likely trajectory” of the coronavirus outbreak in the United Kingdom and the logistical impossibility of setting up the event at a point later in the summer. 

It will be the first time Wimbledon hasn’t crowned a champion since the tennis tournament paused from 1940 to 1945 because of World War II. 

Prince Charles is ‘on the other side’ of his coronavirus diagnosis

Prince Charles, who tested positive last week for COVID-19 after “displaying mild symptoms,” said in a video announcement shared by Clarence House that he is feeling better but will stay in isolation. 

“Having recently gone through the process of contracting this coronavirus, luckily with relatively mild symptoms, I now find myself on the other side of the illness but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation,” Charles said. 

The 71-year-old son of Queen Elizabeth II expressed condolences to the sick and the families of those who have died. His wife, Camilla, 72, tested negative for the virus.

For many, rent is due today – and won’t be easy to make

Rent was due Wednesday, the first day of April, for millions of Americans. Rent day comes as a record 3.3 million Americans have filed for unemployment in a crisis that could lead to nearly 50 million people losing their jobs. The federal government took a big step toward protecting renters by issuing a 120-day moratorium on evictions from federally subsidized housing or from a property with a federally backed mortgage loan. And a USA TODAY analysis shows that at least 34 states have issued broader moratoriums on evictions.

“I will be able to pay my April rent, but I don’t know about May or June,” said Phoenix resident Ada Obinway.

Navy working with Guam governor to isolate sick US sailors

Sailors who have tested negative for the coronavirus from the virus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt will be quarantined, many off-base in Guam hotels, as soon as possible, authorities said. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said Wednesday that military personnel already stationed on Guam would act as a buffer between the quarantined sailors and civilians. Dozens of the ship’s 5,000 sailors have tested positive, and the close quarters make social distancing impossible.

“We can protect Guam while being humane to them,” she said. “That is the Guam I know, and we will not abandon who we are out of fear. Pacific Daily News has reported.

Trump to lobby Florida governor about stranded cruise ships

President Donald Trump says he is going to speak with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis about whether to allow two Holland America cruise ships to dock in his state. One of the ships has four dead passengers and 200 other passengers and crew suffering from flu-like symptoms. Trump never explicitly said what he plans to tell DeSantis, who has raised concerns about hospital beds that might be needed for Floridians.

Holland America’s MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam cruise ships have crossed the Panama Canal and are headed to Florida. William Burke, chief maritime officer of Carnival Corp., which owns Holland America Line, said Port Everglades has become the ships’ “port of last resort.”

“I am going to do what is right, not only for us but for humanity,” Trump said by the report USA TODAY.