Coronavirus live updates: British PM Boris Johnson in ICU; US deaths surpass 10K as NY offers glimmer of hope; hydroxychloroquine questions

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit of a London hospital, White House officials clashed over the value of an antimalarial drug for COVID-19 patients while the coronavirus hot spot of New York offered a glimmer of hope Monday as the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 10,000.

President Donald Trump has warned of reaching a “horrific point in terms of death” at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic in coming days. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Americans were facing “our hardest and saddest week.”

But Trump and federal health officials also said there were signs the outbreak might be reaching its apex in some hard-hit areas such as New York City and Washington state. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said deaths and hospitalizations showed signs of “plateauing.” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced his state would return 400 ventilators to the federal government after state health officials there said they were seeing fewer infections than anticipated. 

There are more than 347,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and more than 10,000 people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. About 1.3 million cases have been confirmed worldwide.

British Prime Minister Johnson moved to intensive care

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized Sunday as he continued to experience coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive, was moved to the intensive care unit Monday when the symptoms worsened.

A post on Johnson’s twitter feed Monday read: “Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC that Johnson is “still very much in charge of the government.”

Johnson was awaiting results of “routine” tests in a London hospital Monday, suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms that included a fever, his office said. 10 Downing Street described the hospitalization as a “precautionary step.” Johnson, 55, tested positive for the virus March 26.

A post on Johnson’s twitter feed Monday read: “Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC that Johnson is “still very much in charge of the government.” 

Fauci, Navarro at odds over value of hydroxychloroquine

Controversy intensified Monday over the value of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug frequently touted by President Donald Trump as a crucial tool in the battle to save the lives of COVID-19 patients.

Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, vigorously defended the drug in a CNN interview, one day after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had suggested the data on the drug was “at best suggestive.”

 “I would have two words for you,” Navarro said when told of Fauci’s reticence. “Second opinion.”

Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says more testing and analysis are needed: “The reality is that we will likely need multi-drug regimens, similar to the way we have approached HIV or cancer. One drug will likely not be enough.”

US stocks race higher

U.S. stocks rose sharply Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up more than 5% in early afternoon trading on signs of a slowdown in coronavirus deaths and new cases in some of the hardest-hit areas around the globe.

Global shares also rose Monday as investors saw hopeful signs the coronavirus pandemic may be leveling off in hard-hit places such as Italy, Spain – and even New York. Benchmarks were up about 3% in Paris and Frankfurt and Tokyo jumped more than 4%.

“In the near term, we believe market performance primarily depends on how quickly economic activity can normalize following measures to contain the virus,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note.

– Jessica Menton

Cuomo: Deaths, hospitalizations may be leveling off in New York

The number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York state declined again and deaths may be leveling off, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. Cuomo also said he would ask President Donald Trump for permission to use the 1,000-bed USNS Comfort for COVID-19 patients since there is little demand for beds for other illnesses. The Comfort anchored in New York’s harbor with a mission to treat non-virus patients so hospitals could concentrate on COVID patients.

Cuomo also said demand for hospital beds and ventilators may not reach numbers previously projected if residents continue to follow social distancing and other guidelines. But he also announced an increase in the fine, to $1,000 from $500, for failing to follow the rules.

“There is a real danger in getting overconfident,” Cuomo said at his daily news conference. “This is an enemy that we have underestimated from day one and we have paid the price dearly.”

New York City could temporarily bury victims in parks

New York City is looking into temporarily burying the dead on public lands because of the mounting death toll from the pandemic. Mark D. Levine, chairman of the health committee for New York City Council, said coroner freezers were filling fast.

“Soon we’ll start ‘temporary interment’. This likely will be done by using a NYC park for burials (yes you read that right),” Mark D. Levine tweeted. “Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line. It will be done in a dignified – orderly and temporary – manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take.”

A spokesperson for the city Office of Chief Medical Examiner told the USA TODAY Network that burials are being conducted at Hart Island, an area that has a history of being used for burials of the indigent and unclaimed dead. Aja Worthy-Davis said planning was underway “for all possibilities, however no decision has been made, and there is still adequate capacity at this time.”

– David Robinson

Navy secretary blasts ousted commander of USS Roosevelt

The Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, told the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt their ousted commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in command. Modly said Crozier may have intentionally leaked to the media a memo in which he warned about the coronavirus spreading aboard the aircraft carrier and urged action to save his sailors, according to a transcript of the remarks obtained by CNN.

“It was a betrayal,” Modly said. “And I can tell you one other thing: Because he did that, he put it in the public’s forum and it is now a big controversy in Washington, D.C.” The ship is anchored in Guam and most of it’s 2,700 sailors have been removed. 

Bronx Zoo tiger has COVID-19

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19 after multiple animals developed virus symptoms, federal officials confirmed. Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, was tested after her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions developed a dry cough. The animals are all expected to recover.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the tests Sunday and is working with the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) along with state animal and public health leaders to determine whether animals, at the zoo or in other areas, should be tested for the cornavirus.

“This is the first case of its kind,” the USDA said in a statement. Public health officials believe the animals became sick after being exposed to an infected employee “who was actively shedding virus.”

– Jessie Gomez, Bergen Record

Trump: US will likely reach ‘horrific point in terms of death’

While President Donald Trump expressed hope on Sunday that the U.S. was “starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” he also acknowledged that the next two weeks will be “very difficult.”

“We all have to reach a certain point and that point is going to be a horrific point in terms of death,” Trump said. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says this week could be the nation’s “hardest and saddest” thus far.

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized,” Adams said on Fox News Sunday.

– Jordan Culver

Washington state returns 400 ventilators to feds

The state of Washington will return more than 400 ventilators received from the Strategic National Stockpile for use by states facing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Jay Inslee said. Still, the state was preparing for increased hospitalizations and recently purchased more than 750 ventilators expected to arrive over the next several weeks, Inslee said.

Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, director of the state COVID-19 Health System Response Management, said mitigation efforts resulted in “fewer infections in our communities than anticipated.” The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecast indicates the state hit peak hospital resource demand Thursday. Daily deaths were forecast to peak Monday at 19 before slowly declining. 

Washington state was the first U.S. epicenter for the virus when it swept through a nursing home in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, ultimately killing more than 30 people there.

New Yorkers could start getting stimulus payments Thursday 

New York City residents could start seeing federal stimulus payments of up to $1,200 as soon as Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. The mayor also said the city has set up 450 “grab and go” locations for families to obtain breakfast, lunch and dinner as they struggle under a restrictive stay-at-home order that has forced many residents out of work. The city also has banned evictions to help people struggling to make rent, de Blasio said.

“Some of (the payments) will be soon,” de Blasio said. “But others are going to take a long time. … If it takes too long, it doesn’t help enough.”