Agreement on more coronavirus financial relief is 'close,' Trump says

iStock(NEW YORK) — More than 2.3 million people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus worldwide as the spread of the virus continues.

The global coronavirus death toll stands at more than 165,000, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers, however, are believed to be much higher.

Many cities and states have begun counting probable deaths caused by COVID-19, including New York City, the epicenter of the disease in the United States.

The U.S. has more cases than any other country in the world, with at least 755,000.

Here’s how the news developed Sunday. All times Eastern:

11:57 p.m.: Cases jump in Iowa as testing increases at meat plants

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa jumped by 389, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 2,902.

The 14% jump was due mostly to increased surveillance testing of meat processing facilities, said officials with the state’s Department of Public Health.

More than 1,000 surveillance tests were performed on employees of Tyson and National Beef, which yielded 84 and 177 positive results, respectively.

Three state lawmakers have filed a complaint with Iowa’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging that Tyson has failed to protect its employees and has not acted on the CDC’s mitigation methods.

“This is an ever-changing situation and we are committed to exploring every way possible for keeping our team members safe,” a Tyson executive said earlier this week.

9:48 p.m.: Feds increase regulation of nursing homes

Responding to ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation’s nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new regulatory requirements for nursing home facilities.

The new regulations will require nursing homes to inform residents and their families of COVID-19 cases in their facilities.

Nursing homes will also be required to report cases of COVID-19 directly to the CDC in accordance with existing privacy regulations and statutes.

The agencies plan to make the data publicly available.

In New York state alone, at least 3,425 residents of nursing homes or adult care facilities have died due to COVID-19, according to information released Sunday by the state health department. The figure represents nearly a quarter of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

At the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts, 60 veteran residents have died, up by three from Saturday. Fifty of the deceased residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

7:56 p.m.: Trump says deal on phase 4 of financial relief is “close”

President Donald Trump said ongoing negotiations with Democrats for the next phase of coronavirus financial relief are “getting close to a deal.”

Speaking at the daily coronavirus task force briefing on Sunday, Trump said a deal “could happen” by Monday.

“We’re continuing to negotiate with the Democrats to get our great workers and small businesses all over the country taken care of,” he said. “A lot of good work has been going on and we could have an answer tomorrow.”

The president also said the task force will support states in the effort to boost COVID-19 testing capacity by helping them take better advantage of existing facilities.

The White House will provide governors with information on how to more fully utilize the large laboratory machines in their states, Trump said.

“They have a lot of machinery in the states that some aren’t aware of, but they’re there,” Trump said. “A couple of them didn’t know they could be utilized in a different manner. They are only up to 10% and they can go 90% more. Many governors are still relying on their state laboratories rather than the full and much larger capacity that is available to them.”

Trump said Vice President Mike Pence will provide the details ahead of a Monday call with governors on local testing strategies.

Trump also announced that his administration would soon invoke the Defense Production Act to increase swap production by 20 million per month.

The U.S. has conducted more than 3.8 million tests, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Trump said the U.S continues to see the declining trajectory of cases in the Seattle, Detroit, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Houston metro areas.

“It’s more evidence our aggressive strategy is working and I thank the American people for their selfless devotion,” he said. “The American people have done a hell of a job.”

4:30 p.m.: Total cases in Europe reach one million

The number of COVID-19 cases in Europe has surpassed one million, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker says Spain leads the continent with 195,944 cases, followed by Italy with 178,972 confirmed contractions, France with 152,996 cases, Germany with 144,387 cases and the United Kingdom with 121,168 cases.

1:15 p.m.: NY hospitalizations numbers on the descent, Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said recent data on coronavirus hospitalizations may show that the state is on the declining slope of the apex, but cautioned against an immediate reopening of the economy.

There were 16,213 hospitalizations across the state as of Sunday, compared to over 18,000 a week ago, according to the new data.

“If the data holds, we are past the high point,” Cuomo said. “Right now we are on a descent.”

The state had 507 new deaths recorded on Saturday, compared to the 778 deaths recorded on April 13, according to the governor.

The state currently has 242,786 confirmed cases and 13,869 related deaths, according to the state’s Health Department.

Cuomo warned New Yorkers that despite the downward trend of hospitalization they are still not out of the water. He said it will take more time and more social distancing before he can reopen the economy.

“It’s no time to get cocky, it’s no time to get arrogant. There is still a lot to do,” he said.

The governor acknowledged the rallies outside state capitols that call on the reopening of the government, but reiterated that the COVID-19 numbers could easily go back up if social distancing is reversed too early.

“The beast can rise up again,” he said.

Cuomo urged President Donald Trump and the federal government to expedite its latest aid package to the states. He said without extra funding, he’d have to cut educational dollars to New York municipalities in half.

“The governors of the states need to have resources,” he said.

12:00 p.m.: Italy cases rise to nearly 179,000

Italian health officials released updated data on their COVID-19 cases and found that the number of infected persons rose by 3,047 over the last 24 hours.

The country now has a total of 178,972 coronavirus cases.

There were 433 new deaths reported over the last 24 hours bringing the country’s total coronavirus fatality number to 23,660.

10:55 a.m.: NYC mayor accuses Trump of failing New York City for stalling stimulus money

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had some harsh words for President Donald Trump and congressional Republican leadership over the delays in the next round of federal assistance.

During his daily briefing on Sunday, de Blasio accused Trump of failing his hometown by not speaking up and encouraging Congress to pass the next relief package. The mayor cited the famous Daily News headline from the 70s, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” and called on him to help get the city back on track.

“My question to Mr. Trump are you going to save the city or are you going to tell the city to drop dead? Which one is it?” de Blasio asked.

As of Saturday afternoon, the city had 126,368 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the city’s Health Department. There have been 8,448 confirmed coronavirus fatalities and 4,264 probable fatalities from the virus, officials said.

De Blasio said he has spoken with the president “eight or 10 times in the last month,” but Trump did not give any update on when the next federal aid will be available. The mayor warned that the money, COVID-19 tests and other relief plans from Washington needed to be finalized as soon as possible to ensure the economic recovery from the pandemic begins early and runs smoothly.

De Blasio also warned New Yorkers to be careful and continue to practice social distancing guidelines as the weather gets warmer. He said officers and park officials will step up their presence in parks and green spaces, issue warnings against people violating those guidelines, and, if need be, issue fines up to $1,000.

“Do not underestimate our enemy. This is a horrible disease, and if we let it back through the door it will reassert itself,” he said.

9:14 a.m.: UK cases above 120,000, deaths rise to 16,000

The U. K.’s Department of Health and Social Care provided an update on its coronavirus data and said as of 5 p.m. Saturday, 120,067 people contracted COVID-19, with 5,850 cases recorded in the last 24 hours.

The nation has an additional 596 coronavirus-related fatalities over the 24-hour period, bringing the death total up to 16,060, according to health officials.

The U.K. has tested over 482,000 residents for the virus so far, the department said.

8:23 a.m.: Police break up a party with over 60 people in Brooklyn

Police broke up a massive party that was being held in Brooklyn, New York, Saturday night, despite the city’s strict ban against mass gatherings, the NYPD said.

Officers responded to eNVee Barbershop on Avenue L in the Canarsie neighborhood around 10:30 p.m. where they found dozens of people gathered for the party, according to a police spokesman. Officers broke up the party and issued 60 summonses to the guests for violating the city’s orders to shelter in place, which included a ban on mass gatherings, the NYPD said.

A police source said officers arrested two people involved with the gathering after it was discovered they allegedly had illegal weapons.

2:23 a.m.: Andover, New Jersey, nursing home issued citations

At Saturday’s COVID-19 briefing, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli announced that the Andover Subacute Nursing Home received several citations from the state Department of Health after a survey of the facility was done on Friday.

“Survey of the Andover facility, which was a CMS survey along with a state surveyor is completed. A conference call was held with the owner and the nursing consultant yesterday,” Persichilli said.

He received several citations and is required to submit a plan of correction on Monday.

12:42 a.m.: NY, NJ, CT governors announce reopening of marinas and boatyards

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont today announced marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers will be allowed open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed. Chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed, and restaurant activity at these sites must be limited to take-out or delivery only, like anywhere else in the three states. This announcement aligns the policies of the three states on this particular service.

“We’ve committed to working with our regional partners throughout this crisis to align our policies when and where appropriate,” said Murphy. “A unified approach is the most effective way to alleviate confusion for the residents of our states during the ongoing public health emergency.”

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve worked closely with our friends in neighboring states to implement a uniform regional approach to reducing the spread of the virus,” Cuomo said. “Aligning our polices in this area is another example of that strong partnership, and will help ensure there is no confusion or ‘state shopping’ when it comes to marinas and boatyards.”

“Our states share workforces, resources, public transit, and we all have share a connection on the water,” Lamont said. “This is yet another example of how our states have shared interests, which is all the more reason to collaborate on these kinds of decisions. This decision provides uniformity across our marinas.”

9:29 p.m.: Judge strikes down Kansas ban on church gatherings

U.S. District Judge John Broomes ruled late Saturday against Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s decision to limit churches from holding services with more than 10 people.

“Laura Kelly, in her capacity as Governor of the State of Kansas, is hereby enjoined and ordered to refrain from enforcing the prohibition in Executive Order No. 20-18 and Executive Order 20-25 prohibiting religious gatherings involving more than ten attendees … so long as those gatherings comply with the social distancing and public health protocols Plaintiffs have indicated in their complaint they are prepared to apply,” Broomes wrote in his decision.

The Democratic governor was fighting to keep large church gatherings from meeting in opposition to the Republican-controlled legislature.

Broomes wrote that “churches and religious activities appear to have been singled out among essential functions for stricter treatment.”

The ruling will hold at least until May 2.

There have been at least 1,850 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kansas, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 85 deaths, mostly in Wyandotte County, which includes Kansas City, and Johnson County.

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