Coronavirus live updates: Anthony Fauci says millions of Americans face infection, 200,000 could die

A hospital ship was racing for New York’s harbor Sunday as federal health officials issued a travel advisory for the region and the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed above 2,100.

The U.S. death total has doubled in two days, and a federal infectious disease expert says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die before the crisis is over.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing “extensive community transmission” of COVID-19 in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut late Saturday urged residents to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days effective immediately. The advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries such as trucking, public health professionals, financial services and food supply.

“Just a little bit of separation can stop a fire from spreading,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said, 

The U.S. counted more than 124,000 cases of coronavirus early Sunday, and there were almost 2,200 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. More confirmations are expected as the U.S. ramps up testing. 

More than 670,000 people are known to have been infected with COVID-19 globally, and over 31,000 have died. 

Our live blog is being updated throughout the day. Refresh for the latest news. More headlines:

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Fauci: Millions of Americans will be affected, many thousands will die

Millions of Americans will be infected by the coronavirus before the crisis is over and 100,000 to 200,000 could die, a leading infectious disease expert said Sunday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s State of the Union that computer models generally overestimate the final numbers, but that “we are going to have millions of cases.”

It’s been two weeks since President Trump announced his 15-day guidelines for social distancing and other measures aimed at containing the outbreak. Fauci said the White House task force will take up the issue soon, and that those guidelines probably will be extended.

“It’s going to be a matter of weeks, it’s not going to be tomorrow,” Fauci said. “It’s certainly not going to be next week.”

President Trump last week said he hopes the country can return to some semblance of normalcy by Easter, April 12.

3 NYPD members die in 48 hours

A detective has become the third New York Police Department worker to die as a result of COVID-19 in two days. Detective Cedric Dixon was a 23-year veteran stationed in Harlem, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. Dennis Dickson, a custodian at police headquarters, died Thursday, and Administrative Assistant Giacomina Barr-Brown died Friday.

“We’ve lost three members of the NYPD family, Shea said. “Today we are all mourning and hurting together, as a family. When we emerge from this crisis, let us never forget the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

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Italy marks 10,000 deaths; Spain faces deadliest day

Italy’s death toll rose above 10,000 after 889 Italians died Saturday from COVID-19, authorities said. The daily number was down from Friday’s record of 969 deaths. 

“History does not wait, we must live up to it,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. “The coronavirus emergency response must be strong, vigorous and cohesive. I will fight for Italian citizens until the last drop of sweat.”

Officials in Spain announced a daily record of 838, bringing that nation’s total to more than 6,500.

Trump backs off quarantine proposal

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped suggestions by President Donald Trump that he might institute a ban on New Yorkers’ travel to other states amid the coronavirus outbreak. “It would be a federal declaration of war on states,” Cuomo said. Late Saturday, Trump apparently backed off the idea. He tweeted that “a quarantine will not be necessary” and that he has was opting instead for the CDC’s travel advisory.

Governors in Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina have ordered people arriving from the New York area – including New Jersey and Connecticut – and other virus hot spots to self-quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival.

– Joseph Spector

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Chicago jail: 89 detainees, 12 officers test positive

Eighty-nine detainees at Chicago’s Cook County jail have tested positive for COVID 19, and tests are pending on 92 more, Sheriff Thomas Dart announced. Nine inmates tested negative. Twelve sheriff’s office employees also have tested positive, Dart said. The first two positive cases were revealed Monday. The jail currently houses about 5,000 inmates, down more than 400 from a week ago because of efforts to free non-violent offenders and those near completion of their sentences. The facility is the nation’s largest single-site jail.

50 TSA screening officers, 19 staffers test positive

Fifty TSA screening officers and 19 additional TSA employees across the nation have tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks, the agency announced. The  officers work at 18 airports in 14 states. The 19 additional employees were not involved in the passenger screening process and have relatively limited interaction with the traveling public, TSA said.

The announcement on the Department of Homeland Security website provides a map that show the airports where TSA officers have tested positive. New York and New Jersey continue to have the highest number of positive tests: New York with 21 and New Jersey with five. The first TSA case was confirmed at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in late February.

– Hannah Yasharoff

FDA approves five-minute coronavirus test from Abbott Labs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Illinois-based medical device maker Abbott Labs on Friday for a coronavirus test that delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes, the company said.

The company expects the tests to be available next week and expects to ramp up manufacturing to deliver 50,000 tests per day.

The new test comes in the form of a small cartridge that fits in the palm of your hand, said John Frels, Abbott’s vice president of research and development.

– Grace Hauck

Hospital ship bound for New York City

A Naval hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, left Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday for New York City to help combat the coronavirus. Speaking from a pier at Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday, President Donald Trump called the USNS Comfort “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York.”

Trump said the naval hospital ship is equipped with 12 operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, radiology, CAT-scan equipment, two oxygen-producing plants and a helicopter deck. “It’s stocked to the brim with equipment, medicines and everything you can think of,” he said.

Coronavirus patients won’t be treated on the ship, Trump said. Instead, it will be used to treat New Yorkers who don’t have the virus but still require urgent care.

The ship was not scheduled to leave for New York Harbor for another three weeks, but officials pushed up its departure date because of the rapid spread of the virus.

– Michael Collins

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