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US Coronavirus Updates: Cases Spike Above 550K

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.

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The coronavirus death toll in the United States has surpassed 21,500 while the total number of cases was over 550,000 Sunday, according to a tally from John's Hopkins University.

The country now has the most deaths related to the virus in the world after it surpassed Italy's nearly 19,500 deaths Saturday.

New York state leads the world in coronavirus infections with more than 188,690 confirmed cases, a number that only counts infected people who have been tested. The death toll in the state has climbed to 9,385, with the majority of the cases and fatalities concentrated in New York City.

Worldwide, more than 1.78 million have been diagnosed since the virus emerged in China in December. The death toll reached a grim milestone on Friday, topping 100,000 fatalities globally. As of Sunday, the number of global deaths surpassed 113,000.

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart

New York has quickly become the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak. This chart shows the cumulative number of cases per state by number of days since the 10th case.

Source: Johns Hopkins University
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.:

Fauci Says ‘Rolling Reentry’ of US Economy Possible in May

The United States’ top infectious disease expert says the economy in parts of the country could be allowed to reopen as early as next month.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says there’s no light switch that will be clicked to turn everything back on. He says a “rolling re-entry” will be required based on the status of the new coronavirus pandemic in various parts of the country.

Fauci says those factors include the region of the country, the nature of the outbreak it already has experienced and the possible threat of an outbreak to come.

Social distancing guidelines imposed by President Donald Trump are set to expire April 30.

Trump is eager to restart the economy, which has stalled because most Americans are under orders to “stay at home” to help slow the virus’ spread.

Fauci spoke Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

President Donald Trump said on Friday he will listen to the advice of doctors when deciding if it is an appropriate time to reopen the country. The comments came after The New York Times reported on federal projections that indicated there could be a spike in coronavirus infections in the summer if 30-day social distancing restrictions are eased.

Virtual Easter Mass Held at St. Louis Cathedral

Archbishop Gregory Aymond led a live streamed Easter Mass in St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans On Sunday.

The pews were empty. Other than the concelebrants, the only other people in the Cathedral were those with official roles in the Mass, a sign language interpreter, a Cathedral maintenance employee, and seven photographers and reporters.

Aymond started the Mass noting “We are not in isolation. We are still one family coming together,” Aymond said.

He said the coronavirus pandemic “has brought great darkness over the earth. Our way of life has changed,” and he later acknowledged fear, grief and uncertainty.

Older States, Like Maine, Grapple With Isolation and Medical Care

In Maine, behind the idyllic scenes of lighthouses and lobster boats, all of those problems are intensified with the nation’s oldest and most rural population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Even before the pandemic, Maine's challenging demographics were exacerbated by a nursing shortage and health care consolidation, which left fewer medical services in New England’s poorest and whitest state. The same backdrop crosses economic and racial lines in large cities such as Chicago, New York, New Orleans and Milwaukee whose black populations disproportionately suffer from poverty and reduced health care access, making them vulnerable to the virus.

All told, Maine has only 300 intensive care unit beds and about 330 conventional hospital ventilators for a population that includes about 276,000 residents 65 or older. So far, Maine’s hospitalization rate for the coronavirus is a third higher than the national average, said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer at MaineHealth.

Around the world, seniors have been hard-hit by COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. For most people, the new virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

DC Mayor Says No 'Artificial Deadline' on Lifting Restrictions

Washington health officials announced Sunday morning that 97 positive new COVID-19 infections had been identified, bringing the total up to 1,875, with three new deaths for a total of 50.

Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on March 11 and issued a stay-home order on March 30 for Washington’s approximately 700,000 residents

Every U.S. State Is Now Under Disaster Declaration

The entire country is now under a major disaster declaration for the coronavirus pandemic.

Wyoming on Saturday became the final state to receive such a declaration, which comes 22 days after the first one was approved, for New York, on March 20.

In addition to the 50 states, disaster declarations are also in place for Washington, D.C., as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Only one U.S. territory isn't under a major disaster declaration — American Samoa.

Coronavirus Infects Navajo Nation as Cases Rise 17%

The number of coronavirus cases on the nation's largest Native American reservation jumped by 17% Saturday as the Navajo Nation prepared to get new rapid-test kits.

The Navajo Nation said in a statement that the number of cases on the 27,000-square-mile (70,000-square-kilometer) reservation that sprawls across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah rose to 698 Saturday, up 101 from the day before. So far, a total of 24 people have died from complications of COVID-19.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer said they have been told that Abbott ID rapid test kits will become available at Navajo Area IHS facilities and tribal health care centers in the next few days. The tests come out with results within several minutes, they said.

Hundreds of cars lined up at a food drive in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as organizations try to help people through the coronavirus pandemic. In Oklahoma City, the lines of cars even caused traffic delays.

Federal Judge OKs Drive-In Easter Service

The city of Louisville, Kentucky cannot halt a drive-in church service planned for Easter, a federal judge ruled.

On Fire Christian Church had sued Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the city after Fischer announced drive-in style religious gatherings were not allowed on Easter.

U.S. District Judge Justin Walker sided with the church.

“On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter,” Walker wrote in his sternly worded 20-page opinion. “That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion.”

Walker added that “The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”

Fischer had argued that drive-in church services weren’t “practical or safe” for the community. However, Walker noted that drive-thru restaurants and liquor stores were still allowed to operate.

The Associated Press/NBC
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