Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines as Death Toll in US Passes 2,500

US-HEALTH-VIRUS

US-HEALTH-VIRUS

As the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to wreak havoc on American's day-to-day life, President Donald Trump on Sunday announced he would extend his administration's guidelines on social distancing through April 30 to help curb the outbreak. Meanwhile the number of deaths topped 2,500 in the United States over the weekend as governors in several states warned their healthcare systems were under immense pressure and could be overwhelmed as soon as this week due to shortages of protective equipment and ventilators.

Meanwhile, the global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 35,000 over the weekend as health officials reported more than 738,000 infections worldwide.

Here is your COVID-19 update for Monday, March 30, 2020:

Trump Extends Federal Social Distancing Guidelines Through April

President Donald Trump said Sunday that he was extending his administration's guidelines on social distancing as COVID-19 continues to spread through the country.

Last week, Trump said that he wanted to see the country return to normal sometime by Easter, or April 12. However, on Sunday during the administration's daily White House press briefing on the virus, Trump said Easter had been an "aspiration" and that he expected "great things to be happening by June 1. Trump said he now believes Easter will be at around the time when the infection will peak in the U.S. and after that it should begin coming down, "hopefully, very substantially at that point."

Trump said he expects that June 1 would mar the "bottom of the hill" for the outbreak in the U.S.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force said more detailed guidelines would be issued on Tuesday.

"We know it's a huge sacrifice for everyone," she said.

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN's 'State of the Union' that he anticipates that COVID-19 could killed up to 200,000 Americans, and infect millions of others in the target.

Fauci said that such models are difficult to construct as the numbers are "such a moving target."

"The reason the president made the announcement today about going to the end of April is because we want to make sure that we don't prematurely think we're doing so great," Fauci said during Sunday's afternoon briefing. "We may be, but we want to push it to the extreme."

Trump said the guidelines were being extended in hopes of avoiding such a catastrophic death toll in the country.

"So if we can hold that down, as we're saying, to 100,000, it's a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 and 200,000, we all together have done a very good job," Trump said.

Death Toll Surpasses 2,500 in U.S.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 2,500 on Monday as more than 143,000 cases have been confirmed by health officials in the United States, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

New York accounts for nearly half of the reported deaths in the U.S., with the state reporting its 1,000th death from the virus over the weekend. A U.S. Naval Hospital Ship, the USNS Comfort is scheduled to arrive in New York City Monday morning to help alleviate the pressure on local hospitals. Patients who have been confirmed NOT to have COVID-19 will be treated on board the vessel for various day-to-day healthcare needs.

Nearly 5,000 people in the U.S. have recovered from COVID-19. Globally, the number of infections stand at nearly 738,000 with more than 35,000 deaths reported worldwide.

New Army Field Hospital Deployed At CenturyLink Field Event Center In Seattle

New Army Field Hospital Deployed At CenturyLink Field Event Center In Seattle

FDA Approves Ohio-Company's Mask-Sterilization Technology

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sunday said they've rewritten some of the agency's rules in order to allow an Ohio-based company begin using a machine that can sterilize up to 80,000 N95 protective masks used by healthcare professionals treating patients with COVID-19, every day.

According to the release sent by the agency, the FDA upgraded the emergency use authorization for the machine from partial to full in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that it was "appropriate to protect the public health or safety." Originally, the FDA's guidelines said the machine could only be used for 10,000 masks.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine had pushed the agency to rewrite the rules that would allow the Ohio-based company, Battelle, to use its new machine they claim can decontaminate N95 masks from the coronavirus, allowing them to be re-used up to 20 times. Ohio has two of the machines, located in Columbus and Beavercreek.

The company sells two types of machines, each one capable of cleaning up to 80,000 masks a day. Hospitals collect their used masks and wrap them in plastic bags before they are sent to Battelle. The company puts the masks through a decontamination cycle, including using a form of concentrated hydrogen peroxide vapor.

The company's CEO, Lewis Von Thaer, said the technology is already en route to some of the states where new masks are needed the most, such as California and New York.

Emergency Field Hospital Set Up in Central Park in New York City

One of the most iconic spots in New York City is being turned into a massive field hospital as hospitals become overwhelmed with patients who have been confirmed to have COVID-19.

Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical Christian relief organization began setting up the 68-bed field hospital on Sunday in corporation with FEMA and state and local officials. Four trailers filled with gear that included tents, beds, personal protective equipment and 10 ventilators were brought in to set up the hospital located in the park's East Meadow, along the Upper East Side.

About 70 health care workers from around the U.S. will be a part of the effort.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the field hospital is expected to be up and running by Tuesday.

The field hospital is one of several ways New York is trying to alleviate the pressure on hospitals in New York City. The Army Corps of Engineers have been working to transform Manhattan's Javits Convention Center into a 1,000-bed field hospitals, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanting to build another 1,000-plus temporary hospital in every New York City borough. Cuomo said he also wants to build temporary field hospitals in Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

New York has been one of the hardest hit states by the coronavirus, where they recorded the 1,000 death over the weekend. Officials say they expect that number to rise over the next two to three weeks as the pandemic peaks in the state.

To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Photos: Getty Images

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