Health and Science

US coronavirus death toll tops 20,000, Governors call for $500 billion more in aid

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  • Global cases: More than 1,760,000
  • Global deaths: At least 107,000
  • US cases: More than 519,400
  • US deaths: At least 20,000

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

7 pm: Check your balance: Coronavirus stimulus money starts to flow into bank accounts

Americans are starting to receive their cash payments via direct deposits, part of the $2 trillion bill passed by Congress to stimulate the economy after the decline caused by the pandemic.

″#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers' bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we'll continue issuing them as fast as we can," the IRS tweeted on Saturday.

Numerous Twitter users also posted on Saturday that they had received a deposit. —NBC News

6:30 pm: JPMorgan Chase to raise mortgage borrowing standards as economic outlook darkens

JPMorgan Chase, the country's largest lender by assets, is raising borrowing standards this week for most new home loans as the bank moves to mitigate lending risk stemming from the novel coronavirus disruption.

From Tuesday, customers applying for a new mortgage will need a credit score of at least 700, and will be required to make a down payment equal to 20% of the home's value.

The change highlights how banks are quickly shifting gears to respond to the darkening U.S. economic outlook and stress in the housing market, after measures to contain the virus put 16 million people out of work and plunged the country into recession. —Reuters

6:15 pm: Macy's taps Lazard to bolster finances as coronavirus saps sales, sources say

Macy's has hired investment bank Lazard to explore options for bolstering its finances after the department store operator lost most of its revenue as it shut down all its stores as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, people familiar with the matter said.

The move by Macy's, the largest U.S. department store operator by sales, is a sign of the severity of the crisis facing brick-and-mortar retailers, which were already struggling with the shift to online shopping. The pandemic has forced store closures and widespread furloughs of employees as state after state issued shelter-in-place orders in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness. —Reuters

5:50 pm: WHO is investigating reports of recovered Covid-19 patients testing positive again

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was looking into reports of some Covid-19 patients testing positive again after initially testing negative for the disease while being considered for discharge. 

South Korean officials on Friday reported 91 patients thought cleared of the new coronavirus had tested positive again. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a briefing that the virus may have been "reactivated" rather than the patients being re-infected.

The Geneva-based WHO, asked about the report from Seoul, told Reuters in a brief statement: "We are aware of these reports of individuals who have tested negative for COVID-19 using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing and then after some days testing positive again.

"We are closely liaising with our clinical experts and working hard to get more information on those individual cases. It is important to make sure that when samples are collected for testing on suspected patients, procedures are followed properly," it said. 

According to the WHO's guidelines on clinical management, a patient can be discharged from hospital after two consecutive negative results in a clinically recovered patient at least 24 hours apart, it added. —Reuters

5:35 pm: Brazil deficit jumps to 7% of GDP as coronavirus deaths mount

A group of residents of the Chapeu Mangueira slum, prepares food to distribute it to homeless people in Copacabana neighbourhood during the coronavirus outbreak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Lucas Landau | Reuters

Brazil's 2020 deficit is approaching 500 billion reais ($96 billion), or 7% of gross domestic product, even before a state aid proposal of up to 222 billion reais to tackle coronavirus is factored in, the economy ministry said on Saturday.

In 2019, the deficit was 61 billion reais, or 0.9% of GDP, the ministry said.

"It is important that any new fiscal impact be discussed carefully to avoid an excessive growth of the primary deficit and public debt of the public sector beyond what is strictly necessary to reduce the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus crisis," the ministry said in a statement.

Brazil is the worst-hit country in Latin America by the coronavirus outbreak. On Saturday, Brazil's health ministry said 1,124 people had died as a result of the outbreak, with 20,727 confirmed cases. —Reuters

5:20 pm: New Orleans archbishop takes to sky for coronavirus blessing

Archbishop Gregory Aymond, ride, rides in a World War II era Stearman PT-17 biplane over the city of New Orleans, Friday, April 10, 2020. He took with him holy water from the Jordan River, where Christ was baptized, to sprinkle over the city, and the Eucharist, to bless those sick or deceased from the new coronavirus, as well as the front line responders.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

The archbishop of New Orleans sprinkled holy water from a World War II-era biplane high above the city in an unusual Good Friday blessing for those affected by the coronavirus.

The open-air plane carried Archbishop Gregory Aymond, 70, from the Lakefront Airport to Kenner, to Gretna, to the French Quarter over 25 minutes, The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reported.

Aymond prayed for protection and healing and sprinkled holy water that came from the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized.

Aymond recently recovered from the virus himself and said he asked God to offer grace in particular to health care workers, first responders and city leaders.

The archdiocese has canceled all Masses indefinitely due to social distancing requirements. Louisiana has seen encouraging signs this week in its fight against the virus outbreak. The rate of new hospitalizations has slowed, and the number of Covid-19 patients on ventilators has decreased. —Associated Press

5:10 pm: Pentagon awarding contract to boost N95 mask production capacity by 39 million

The Pentagon said Saturday it is using its authority under the Defense Production Act to boost the supply of N95 masks, which are essential for protecting healthcare professionals from the coronavirus and are in short supply in many places.

The American military will spend $133 million to increase U.S. domestic N95 mask production by over 39 million over the next 90 days, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews said in a statement.

This is the first time the Pentagon is using the Korean War-era law to address coronavirus needs after it won approval late Friday from a White House task force.

The Defense Production Act, approved in 1950, grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons.

Andrews said the Pentagon in coming days will identify the companies involved when the contract is awarded. —Reuters

4:55 pm: Pope Francis leads an Easter vigil service with no public participation

Pope Francis leads the Easter vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica with no public participation due to the outbreak of coronavirus at the Vatican
Remo Casilli I Reuters

Pope Francis urged people to "not yield to fear" and focused on a "message of hope" as he led an Easter eve Mass in an empty St. Peter's Basilica on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic and called for an end to wars.

The vigil, which normally takes place in a church packed with about 10,000 people, was attended by only about two dozen, including a few altar servers and a smaller-than-usual choir. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, it was scaled back to eliminate several traditional features, such as the baptism of adult converts and a long procession up the main aisle of Christendom's largest church.—Reuters

4:30 pm: U.S. senators hold call with Saudi officials urging them to put oil cut in motion

Republican U.S. senators from oil states who recently introduced legislation to remove American troops from Saudi Arabia said on Saturday they had spoken with three officials from the kingdom and urged them to take concrete action to cut crude output.

Saudi Arabia and Russia were close to finalizing a deal to cut crude output by a record 10 million barrels per day. Oil prices had fallen to 18-year lows as the coronavirus outbreak closed down economies across the world and after major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia had boosted output in a race for market share.

Senator Dan Sullivan said after the call that Saudi Arabia's action to boost production during a pandemic was "inexcusable" and "won't be forgotten." —Reuters

4:20 pm: Every US state is now under a major disaster declaration

The entire country is now under a major disaster declaration for the coronavirus pandemic after the U.S. death toll reached the highest in the world on Saturday.

President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for Wyoming on Saturday, which comes 22 days after the first disaster declaration in New York, the epicenter of the virus.

All 50 states as well as the U.S. Virgin islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico have received a federal disaster declaration. American Samoa is the one U.S. territory that isn't under a major disaster declaration.

The designation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency allows states and territories to access federal funds to help fight the coronavirus spread. State officials and doctors have been competing for essential supplies like ventilators and personal protective equipment as hospitals grapple with shortages. —Emma Newburger

4 pm: As coronavirus restrictions empty streets around the world, wildlife roam further into cities

In this photograph taken on March 26, 2020, stray dogs gather on a deserted road during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Kolkata.
Sarkar Dibyangshu | AFP | Getty Images

As people across the world remain indoors to slow the spread of the coronavirus, animals are taking over the empty streets.

Peacocks stroll the streets of Ronda, Spain; a gang of goats wander around a seaside town in North Wales; a puma climbs down from the Andes Mountains into Santiago, Chile; and coyotes trot around San Francisco. 

While some animals are curiously wandering or enjoying the quiet, others are going hungry because they've become dependent on tourists who feed them treats. 

For instance, mobs of macaques in Thailand that are used to getting fed by visitors must now fend for themselves. Many have resorted to brawling in the empty streets in a desperate search for food.

Sika deer in Nara Park, a popular tourist destination in Japan, heavily rely on the thousands of tourists that feed them rice crackers. But the park is now empty and the deer have begun searching around the city for food, at risk of getting hit by cars or swallowing plastic garbage. Take a look at the gallery here. —Adam Jefferey, Emma Newburger

A security guard feeds sika deer at a temple on March 12, 2020 in Nara, Japan. Like a number of tourist hotspots around the country, Nara, a popular ancient city where free-roaming deer are an attraction for tourists, has seen a decline in visitor numbers in recent weeks amid concern over the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Some groups of deer have begun roaming in the city's residential area due to shortage of food partially fed from tourists according to media reports.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images

3:46 pm: US death toll tops 20,000

The U.S. death toll reached 20,071, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. surpassed Italy on Saturday as the country with the most coronavirus deaths in the world, according to JHU data.

At least 20,071 people have died from the virus in the U.S. Italy has suffered 19,468 fatalities; Spain has recorded at least 16,353 deaths; and France has confirmed 13,851 deaths. —Meg Graham, Riya Bhattacharjee

3:30 pm: Michael Avenatti released from New York jail over coronavirus concerns

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, who was convicted of trying to extort over $20 million from Nike, was temporarily released from a federal jail in New York City due to concerns over the coronavirus, authorities said Saturday.

Avenatti has to report back to jail in 90 days, U.S. District Judge James Selna stated in his order.

Before Avenatti is allowed to leave the Metropolitan Correctional Center, judge Selna said he has to quarantine for 14 days and submit to a health screening to ensure he does not have the coronavirus.

He will be released to home confinement at a friend's house in Los Angeles. A $1 million bond was posted to secure his release. —NBC News

3:05 pm: New York has started to bury people in mass graves on Hart Island

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York's Hart Island where the department of corrections is dealing with more burials overall, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New York City, U.S., April 9, 2020.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York's Hart Island where the department of corrections is dealing with more burials overall, amid the coronavirus outbreak in New York City. 

The United States surpassed Italy on Saturday as the country with the most coronavirus deaths in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said hospitalizations seemed to be plateauing in New York state, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. During a press conference Saturday, he said 783 people died of the virus in New York on Friday, bringing the state's death toll to 8,627. —Reuters, Meg Graham

2:30 pm: After months in space, astronauts returning to changed world

Two NASA astronauts said Friday they expect it will be tough returning to such a drastically changed world next week, after more than half a year at the International Space Station.

Andrew Morgan said the crew has tried to keep atop the pandemic news. But it's hard to comprehend what's really going on and what to expect, he noted, when his nine-month mission ends next Friday.

"It is quite surreal for us to see this whole situation unfolding on the planet below," said Jessica Meir, who took part in the first all-female spacewalk last fall. "We can tell you that the Earth still looks just as stunning as always from up here, so it's difficult to believe all the changes that have taken place since both of us have been up here." —Associated Press

2:05 pm: New Jersey governor slashes all train, bus and light rail transit by 50%

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday announced an executive order to cut capacity on all transit systems by half, and asked all passengers to wear face coverings.

In addition, the order requires NJ Transit and private carriers to supply their workers with gloves and face coverings.

"Right now for many of our essential workers, public transit is how they get to work and we need to protect them during that trip," Murphy said during a press briefing.

The order requires New Jersey Transit "and all private carriers to cut the capacity on all trains, buses, light rail vehicles, and paratransit vehicles to 50% of their maximum," Murphy said.

Murphy further expanded the executive order to restaurant workers and customers. He announced that anyone heading into restaurants and bars to pick up takeout orders must wear a mask. Restaurants and bars will also be required to give face coverings and gloves to their food-service personnel.

All orders will be effective April 13 at 8 p.m. —Jasmine Kim


1:30 pm: UK coronavirus death toll nears 10,000 as minister says PM Johnson must rest

Britain's COVID-19 death toll neared 10,000 on Saturday after health officials reported another 917 hospital deaths, while one senior minister said Prime Minister Boris Johnson will need time off as he recovers from being seriously ill with the virus.

Britain has now reported 9,875 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, the fifth highest national number globally. Saturday's increase was the second day running that the number of deaths had increased by more than 900.

Almost 80,000 people in Britain have tested positive for the virus, among them Johnson, who is in the early stages of recovery on a hospital ward after spending three nights in intensive care.

Downing Street said Johnson "continues to make very good progress", but interior minister Priti Patel said it was vital he took time to fully recover. —Reuters

1:03 pm: Congressional Republicans reject Democratic call for broader coronavirus relief

The two top Republicans in the U.S. Congress vowed on Saturday to oppose Democrats' demands to boost a proposed $250 billion bill to aid small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic by adding money for hospitals and state and local governments.

The statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy came a day after top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to hold bipartisan talks on the bill next week.

"American workers are in crisis," McConnell and McCarthy said. "This will not be Congress's last word on Covid-19, but this crucial program needs funding now. American workers cannot be used as political hostages."

Senate Republicans on Thursday failed to ram through a $250 billion increase in loans for small businesses suffering due to the outbreak. Democrats support the $250 billion in new funding but want to set aside some of the lending for community and minority-owned banks.

The $250 billion in small-business loans, which could turn into government-paid grants if certain terms are met, would be in addition to $349 billion already allocated by Congress in a $2.3 trillion relief measure passed last month. —Reuters

12:47 pm: US coronavirus deaths highest in the world even as hospitalizations slow in New York epicenter

The United States surpassed Italy on Saturday as the country with the most coronavirus deaths in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

At least 18,860 people have died from the virus in the U.S. Italy has suffered 18,849 fatalities; Spain has recorded at least 16,353 deaths; and France has confirmed 13,197 deaths.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said hospitalizations seemed to be plateauing in New York state, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. During a press conference Saturday, he said 783 people died of the virus in New York on Friday, bringing the state's death toll to 8,627. —Meg Graham

12:38 pm: Gov. Cuomo pushes back on NYC mayor's closure of schools through the end of the academic year

Shortly after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that public schools would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the announcement was de Blasio's "opinion" and that there was no official decision yet.

"He didn't close them and he can't open them," Cuomo said at his own news conference. "We may do that, but we're going to do that in a coordinated sense with the other localities." —Emma Newburger

12:21 pm: Italy's daily coronavirus death toll and new cases push higher

A mural dedicated to all Italian medical workers depicting a nurse cradling Italy and reading 'To All Of You... Thank You!', on a wall of Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital on March 25, 2020 in Bergamo, near Milan, Italy.
Emanuele Cremaschi | Getty Images

Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 619 on Saturday, up from 570 the day before, and the number of new cases climbed to 4,694 from a previous 3,951.

The daily death toll was the highest since April 6 and the rise in infections was the biggest since April 4.

After easing from peaks around the end of March, Italy's daily death and infection tallies have declined but are not falling steeply, as was hoped by Italians who have been in lockdown for a month.

The number of officially confirmed cases climbed to 152,271, the third-highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain. —Reuters

12:12 pm: Governors Hogan and Cuomo call for additional $500 billion in aid to states

Governors Larry Hogan of Maryland and Andrew Cuomo of New York issued a bipartisan call Saturday for an additional $500 billion in federal aid for U.S. states and territories dealing with the coronavirus.

Hogan, a Republican, is chairman of the National Governors Association and Cuomo, a Democrat, is the vice chair. The two said in a statement Saturday morning that implementing stay-at-home orders and other public health measures have "resulted in catastrophic damage to state economies."

"In the absence of unrestricted fiscal support of at least $500 billion from the federal government, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reductions to critically important services all across this country, hampering public health, the economic recovery, and—in turn—our collective effort to get people back to work," the statement said. —Associated Press

11:55 am: Without a central predictive spread model, states are creating their own hodgepodge of response plans

State leaders are relying on a hodgepodge of statistical models with wide-ranging numbers to guide their paths through the deadly coronavirus emergency and make critical decisions, such as shutting down businesses and filling their inventory of medical supplies.

During hurricane season, coastal states can trust the same set of computer models to warn of a storm's track. During this pandemic, there is no uniform consensus to predict the toll and direction of the virus that is tearing through communities around the country.

With little agreed-upon information, governors and local officials are basically creating do-it-yourself sources of information with their own officials and universities. —Associated Press

11:48 am: Animal rescues are going to need more help than ever once coronavirus restrictions are lifted

Patrons at Meow Parlor pet a cat in the window of the cat cafe.
Meow Parlour

Nestled in the Lower East Side of Manhattan is a shop with a unique table in the window. A simple wood ledge is balanced on four big white letters that spell out the word "MEOW."

On a typical day, New Yorkers walking the streets can spot adoptable cats sunning themselves, sprawled out on the table or napping under the "M" or inside the "O."

These days, Meow Parlour, New York City's first cat cafe, doesn't house a single cat. Its doors are shuttered, like many small businesses in the city, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The cats that once resided inside have either been adopted or gone to live in foster homes.

"We are basically on pause, which feels really weird," Christina Ha, owner of Meow Parlour, said, "It looks a little bit like those horror movies where a place has been abandoned. It's very familiar to you, but it's not the same." 

Meow Parlour, like other animal rescues across the country, saw a spike in adoptions and foster applications in late February and early March as people prepared for extended stays at home. Now Ha wonders if she'll be able to reopen once the pandemic ebbs. —Sarah Whitten

11:37 am: Coronavirus forces colleges to try study abroad staying at home

With the coronavirus initiating international travel bans and campuses shut down, colleges and universities are seeking alternative ways to provide students with continued academic opportunities, including the iconic, immersive overseas study experience.

One option: studying abroad from home.

At the University at Buffalo, Dr. Mara Huber, director of the school's Experiential Learning Network, has brought groups to Tanzania to study women's empowerment for more than ten years. This fall, in the wake of the pandemic, she's launching the program virtually.

"I thought it was a good time to be bold and fully embrace the vision we had been working toward," Huber said. "Universities have relationships with communities all around the world, and i think it's time to use technology to give students access to these experiences." —Sully Barrett

11:19 am: SoftBank CEO Son says he will supply 300 million masks per month to Japan

People wearing facemasks as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus take a walk at Ueno Park in Tokyo on April 11, 2020. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on April 10 that the metropolitan government will request many businesses, including night clubs, karaoke parlors and pachinko pinball parlors to suspend operations from April 11 in light of the state of emergency over the coronavirus epidemic.
Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said he has secured a monthly supply of 300 million face masks for Japan from May after reaching a deal with Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD Co, which has also started producing masks.

SoftBank will supply two different kinds of mask, initially for medical staff, in cooperation with the Japanese government's "mask team," set up to tackle shortages due to the coronavirus outbreak, Son said on Twitter.

Addressing the supply crunch is a priority for the Japanese government, which will begin delivering two washable masks to households next week -- a move that has been widely criticized on social media as inadequate. —Reuters

11:05 am: Thinking they won't qualify for aid, small businesses could miss out on millions in stimulus

"When we got the order we were non-essential, that was the day we cleared house," said Suzanna Cameron, 30, the owner of Stems, a flower shop in Brooklyn, New York.

After her store was forced to close in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the single mom said she tried to pivot with virtual flower arranging workshops and free contactless delivery, but the business quickly came to a standstill.

"The next day I let most of my staff go."

Cameron said she knew the business could not weather two months without work. For florists, spring is the peak season. "From a cash flow basis, that's detrimental," Cameron said.

"I am leaning into the fact that I have some savings in the business and basically it's going to be a bleed out and I hope we make it to the other side," she said.

There is hope: As a sole proprietor, Cameron is eligible for the government's Paycheck Protection Program to help survive the economic fallout from Covid-19. —Jessica Dickler

10:42 am: Italy plans more virus testing, contact tracing

Italian Red Cross staff use a thermoscanner to check the body temperature of commuters arriving at Termini train station, during the Coronavirus emergency on April 9, 2020 in Rome, Italy.
Antonio Masiello Getty Images

Italy plans to increase testing for the coronavirus and use voluntary contact tracing whenever it exits from a lockdown that's currently in effect until at least May 3.

Italy's special commissioner for the virus emergency Domenico Arcuri told SKYTG 24 there will be mandatory blood tests to set up a system of ''immunity passports.''

The voluntary contact tracing mobile apps will allow people to know if they have come in contact with someone who is positive for the virus. Then they can be tested in an effort to limit further spread of the virus.

The blood tests identifying anti-bodies are still being developed. Virologists have cautioned the tests will not prove immunity but will give a snapshot whether a person has been in contact with the virus. If an antibody test is positive, more testing would be needed to know if the virus is still active.

The goal of public health officials is to determine how long immunity to the virus lasts. —Associated Press

10:28 am: Airline cash grants offered by federal government could force carriers to take on more debt

Two weeks after Congress approved a $50 billion bailout of airlines that earmarked carriers receiving $25 Billion in direct cash grants, it turns out those grants could require airlines to take on more debt. Executives at multiple U.S. airlines tell CNBC the preliminary grant offers extended by the federal government on Friday call for 30% of the money offered to come in the form of low-interest loans from the Treasury Department.

The structure of the offers has caught U.S. airlines by surprise. "This is not what Congress approved," said one industry executive who asked not to be identified given the ongoing discussions between airlines and the Treasury Department. "The aid was supposed to be $25 Billion in cash grants and $25 Billion in loans."

The cash grant offers extended to the largest airlines on Friday also come with several important provisions including no mass layoffs of airline employees through September 30th, a stipulation airlines expected as Congress was finalizing $50 billion in aid. As a result, all carriers have committed to not laying off employees for the next six months. —Phil LeBeau

10:10 am: New York City public schools will remain closed for rest of academic year

Russell Sage Junior High School closed, Google Classroom sign.
Lindsey Nicholson Education Images | Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Saturday that New York City public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year as the coronavirus spreads.

"Having to tell you that we cannot bring our schools back for the remainder of this school year is painful. But I can also tell you that it's the right thing to do," the Mayor said during a press briefing.

To prevent further spread of the coronavirus, 1.1 million students in the nation's largest school system will continue their education remotely for the next three months. Approximately 1,800 schools in the city shut down on March 16 and were expected to reopen by April 20, after spring break. 

"The worst mistake we could make is to take our foot off the gas and end up in a situation where this disease had a resurgence and threatened us even more," de Blasio said. "We're not gonna allow the coronavirus to start to attack us even more and to make sure it doesn't, we have to be cautious. We have to be smart about the moves we make."—Emma Newburger, Jasmine Kim

9:51 am: England's coronavirus hospital death toll rises by 823 to 8,937

The coronavirus death toll in English hospitals rose over the past 24 hours by 823 to a total of 8,937, health officials reported on Saturday.

Those who died aged were between 11 and 102 years old, and 33 had no known underlying health condition, NHS England said. —Reuters

9:39 am: Easter and Passover celebrated in a 'world turned upside down' as churches and synagogues close due to coronavirus pandemic

Cathedral of St. John the Divine as pictured on April 7, 2020 in New York.

St. John the Divine is one of many Christian and Jewish houses of worship that are shuttered this week as congregations celebrate the Easter and Passover holidays online, amid shelter-in-place orders and social-distancing measures designed to stop the coronavirus epidemic from spreading even further, particularly in hard-hit New York City. There are 94,409 confirmed coronavirus cases in the city, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, accounting for nearly 20% of the nationwide case total of 501,615.

Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism, is broadcasting Shabbat services to congregants in the safety of their homes through a live stream. Senior Rabbi Serge Lippe held a Passover Seder with dozens of participants through video conference on the platform Zoom. While Lippe, 55, was grateful to engage with his community, he compared the experience to being underwater due to the time lag and limitations on hearing. 

"Passover has been diminished and limited," Lippe said. "It's a holiday that, for Jews, speaks of freedom and liberation, but we're not feeling particularly freed or liberated this season." —Spencer Kimball

9:31 am: Spain's death toll slows ahead of lockdown loosening

Spain registered its lowest one-day increase in deaths from coronavirus since March 23 on Saturday, as thousands of businesses prepared to reopen under a loosening of nationwide lockdown restrictions.

An overnight death toll of 510 brought the total number of fatalities up to 16,353, the Health Ministry said in a statement. Confirmed cases of the infection climbed to 161,852 from 157,022 a day earlier.

The slowdown is an encouraging sign for Spain, which has suffered the third-highest number of deaths from the virus after Italy and the United States.

At the beginning of April, the overnight death tally rose as high as 950, overwhelming the national health service and forcing regional authorities to set up temporary mortuaries in an ice rink and disused public buildings. –Reuters

9:16 am: Every 15 seconds: Outbreak overwhelms NYC's emergency system

A view of a group of nurses going to their shifts in NYU Langone hospital in Manhattan, New York City, USA, during coronavirus pandemic on April 10, 2020.
John Nacion | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The coronavirus crisis is taxing New York City's 911 system like never before.

Operators pick up a new call every 15.5 seconds. Panicked voices tell of loved ones in declining health. There are multitudes of cardiac arrests and respiratory failures and others who call needing reassurance that a mere sneeze isn't a sign they've been infected.

The system is so overwhelmed, the city has started sending text and tweet alerts urging people to only call 911 "for life-threatening emergencies."

As the city staggered through its deadliest week of the pandemic, its emergency response system and army of operators, dispatchers and ambulance crews is being pushed to the brink.

The Fire Department said it has averaged more than 5,500 ambulance requests each day — about 40% higher than usual, eclipsing the total call volume on Sept. 11, 2001.

"When you hang up with one call, another one pops in," said 911 operator Monique Brown. "There's no time for a minute's rest."

"It's back-to-back, nonstop," said dispatcher Virginia Creary. —Associated Press

8:55 am: Boris Johnson making 'very good progress'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is making "very good progress" in his recovery from Covid-19, his office said.

Johnson was moved out of intensive care after three nights on Thursday and Downing Street said on Friday he had managed to start walking, although his recovery was at an early stage.

"The Prime Minister continues to make very good progress," a Downing Street spokeswoman said. —Reuters

8:39 am: Why states are bidding against each other and the federal government to get important medical supplies

As manufacturers struggle to keep up with the surging demand for masks, gloves and gowns for medical professionals, states are bidding against each other — and the federal government — for supplies.

The situation has slowed down states' ability to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) during a time of intense need, while also driving up costs.

"Everybody trying to purchase the same things is not an efficient way to do this," said Casey Tingle, deputy director of the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. During past emergencies like Hurricane Katrina, the state has worked closely with regional officials for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and relied on the agency to procure supplies. But in an unprecedented situation that impacts not just Louisiana, but the entire country, the roadmap is murkier.

"There's a real lack of clarity of whether or not the federal government will be able to push from their level down at least to our state," Tingle said. —Lauren Feiner

8:32 am: S&P 500 has rebounded 25% in less than three weeks with improving outlook on the outbreak

The stock market's rapid plunge into a bear market this year has been nearly matched by a blistering rally off its lows.

Through Thursday's close, the S&P 500 has rallied nearly 25% from a low reached on March 23. The broader market average has also retraced half of its initial drop from its record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 28% from its late-March low while the Nasdaq Composite has jumped 19.1% in that time.

"As we've seen some hope that the coronavirus crisis may be peaking and unwavering Fed support, investor sentiment has turned," said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest, in a note. "This latest move up has been a welcome form of market volatility. But the world is moving fast. We believe the markets may need to get through the obstacles ahead before this bear truly ends." —Fred Imbert

8:24 am: Coronavirus ravages storied New Orleans Mardi Gras group

In a city ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak, members of the Zulu krewe, one of the groups that sponsors Mardi Gras parades and balls, have paid a heavy price. Four of the fraternal organization's members have died from coronavirus-related complications, said Zulu President Elroy A. James. Two others have also died since the pandemic began, though it's not known if their deaths were caused by the virus, he said.

An additional 20 have tested positive. Some are self-quarantining at home, some were hospitalized and released, while others are still hospitalized, James said.

"Members are calling every day checking on each other: 'How's this member doing? How's this family member doing?'" he said.

It's also taken a financial toll. Many Zulu members work in the hospitality sector and are out of work, James said, a widespread problem in a city with an economy closely tied to the restaurants, bars and nightclubs now largely shuttered due to the statewide stay-at-home order.

"Zulu is really a microcosm of the city of New Orleans," said state Sen. Troy Carter, a longtime Zulu member. "We're made up of every social and economic background that you can imagine. Our members come from all different walks of life." —Associated Press

8:15 am: India to extend nationwide lockdown

Devotees, wearing facemasks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, arrive to pray at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on March 13, 2020.
Narinder Nanu | AFP | Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to extend a nationwide lockdown to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, the Delhi state's chief minister said, without saying how long the extension would be for.

Modi earlier in the day held a video conference call with several state ministers. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Modi had "taken (a) correct decision to extend (the) lockdown", without sharing further details.

"If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost. To consolidate, it is imp (important) to extend it," Kejriwal said on Twitter.

India's 21-day lockdown ends on Tuesday but several states had urged Modi to extend it further, even as concerns have risen that the shutdown has put millions of poor people out of work and forced an exodus of migrant workers from cities to villages. —Reuters

Read CNBC's coverage from CNBC's Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: US cases pass 500,000, Spain's death toll falls for third straight day