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    U.S. health authorities urged millions of residents of the New York City region to avoid non-essential travel due to surging coronavirus infections there as deaths in the United States and Europe rose and countries including Russia and Vietnam tightened travel and business restrictions. The advisory late Saturday came after the number of confirmed American deaths passed 2,000, more than double the level two days earlier. It applies to New York City, the hardest-hit U.S. municipality, and the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The advisory cited “extensive community transmission” in the area and urged residents to avoid travel for 14 days. Worldwide infections surpassed 660,000 mark, with more than 30,000 deaths as new cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The United States leads the world with more than 120,000 reported cases. Five other countries have higher death tolls: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy has more than 10,000 deaths, the most of any country. The disease has spread to other major U.S. cities including Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago and into rural America, where hotspots erupted in Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said defeating the virus will take “weeks and weeks and weeks.” The United Nations, which has its headquarters in New York, donated 250,000 face masks to the city. Cuomo delayed the state's presidential primary from April 28 to June 23. The travel advisory from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said employees of trucking, food supply, financial services and some other industries were exempt from the measure, It said governors of the three states had “full discretion” over how to carry out the advisory. Earlier, Cuomo and governors of the other states rejected a suggestion by President Donald Trump that he might impose a quarantine on the region. Cuomo said that would be illegal, economically catastrophic and unproductive since other areas are already seeing a surge. Elsewhere, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered his country's borders closed as of Monday. Diplomats and residents of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea were exempt. Vietnam cut back domestic airline flights and ordered restaurants, shopping malls and other businesses deemed non-essential to close for at least two weeks from Saturday. Gatherings of more than 20 people were banned and the government urged companies to allow employees to work from home if possible. Vietnam has quarantined nearly 60,000 people who entered the country from virus-infected nations or had contact with infected people, according to the Health Ministry. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and lead to death. More than 135,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. In Detroit, which has a large low-income population, the death toll rose to 31 with 1,381 infections as of midday Saturday. “The trajectory of Detroit is unfortunately even more steep than that of New York,” said Dr. Teena Chopra, the medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center. Chopra said many patients have ailments including asthma, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. “This is off the charts,” she said. “We are seeing a lot of patients that are presenting to us with severe disease, rather than minor disease.” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said an infant with COVID-19 died in Chicago and the cause of death is under investigation. Officials didn't release other information, including whether the child had other health problems. Some U.S. states without known widespread infections began to try to limit exposure from visitors from harder-hit areas. Rhode Island National Guard troops were instructed to go door to door in coastal communities to find New Yorkers and advise them about a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from the state. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered anyone arriving from Louisiana to self-quarantine and said law enforcement officers would set up checkpoints to screen cars from the state. Louisiana has surpassed 3,300 infections with 137 deaths, according to the health department. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the region was on track to run out of ventilators by the first week of April. Cases in Chicago and suburban Cook County accounted for about three-fourths of Illinois' 3,026 total as of Friday. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed popular lakeshore parks after people ignore a statewide order to stay home and urgings to stay away from each other in public. The governor of Kansas has ordered the public to stay home starting Monday as the the virus takes hold in more rural areas where doctors worry about the lack of intensive care unit beds. A cluster of three counties in rural Indiana have surging rates of confirmed cases. One of them, Decatur, population 26,000, has 30 cases with one confirmed death and another suspected, said Sean Durbin, the county’s public health emergency preparedness coordinator. Several cases were traced to large gatherings earlier in the month, including a religious retreat and a high school basketball tournament. The county health department has already run out of personal protective equipment, Durbin said. The last supply from the federal stockpile arrived more than a week ago and contained just 77 N95 masks and two dozen face shields. “I wish there was a stronger word for disappointed,' he said. 'I’m calling on them to do better.” Blaine County, Idaho, a scenic ski haven for wealthy tourists, now has about 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest rate per capita outside the New York City area. Two people have died. European governments including Italy, Spain and France have imposed lockdowns that have left normally bustling city streets empty. Germany has fewer deaths than some neighboring countries but has closed nonessential shops and banned public gatherings of more than two people until April 20. It still had its share of grim news: 12 residents of a nursing home in the northern town of Wolfsburg have died since Monday, news agency dpa reported. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announced he had signed a decree freeing up 400 million euros ($440 million) for coupons and packages of food aid to be delivered door-to-door if necessary. Italy has almost completed a three-week lockdown. In Spain, where stay-at-home restrictions have been in place for nearly two weeks, the death toll rose to 5,812. Another 8,000 confirmed infections pushed that count above 72,000 cases. Spain's director of emergencies, Fernando Simon, said the rate of infection is slowing and figures “indicate that the outbreak is stabilizing and may be reaching its peak in some areas.” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for a more vigorous response from the European Union. Spain, Italy, France and six other members have asked the union to share the burden of European debt, dubbed coronabonds in the media, to help fight the virus. But the idea has met resistance from other members, led by Germany and the Netherlands. “It is the most difficult moment for the EU since its foundation and it has to be ready to rise to the challenge,” Sanchez said. As other governments tightened controls, China eased more restrictions following the ruling Communist Party’s declaration of victory over the coronavirus in the country where it emerged in December. Subway and bus service resumed Saturday in Wuhan, the city of 11 million people at the center of the outbreak. Restrictions that bar Wuhan residents from leaving the surrounding province of Hubei are due to end April 8. ___ Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • As the coronavirus rages across the United States, mainly in large urban areas, more than a third of U.S. counties have yet to report a single positive test result for COVID-19 infections, an analysis by The Associated Press shows. Data compiled by John Hopkins University shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 3,142 counties nationwide. Of the counties without positive tests, 85% are in rural areas — from predominantly white communities in Appalachia and the Great Plains to majority Hispanic and Native American stretches of the American Southwest — that generally have less everyday contact between people that can help transmit the virus. At the same time, counties with zero positive tests for COVID-19 have a higher median age and higher proportion of people older than 60 — the most vulnerable to severe effects of the virus — and far fewer intensive care beds should they fall sick. Median household income is lower too, potentially limiting health care options. The demographics of these counties hold major implications as the Trump administration develops guidelines to rate counties by risk of the virus spreading, empowering local officials to revise social distancing orders that have sent much of the U.S. economy into freefall. President Donald Trump has targeted a return to a semblance of normalcy for the economy by Easter Sunday, April 12. Experts in infectious disease see an opportunity in slowing the spread of coronavirus in remote areas of the country that benefit from “natural” social distancing and isolation, if initial cases are detected and quarantined aggressively. That can buy rural health care networks time to provide robust care and reduce mortality. But they also worry that sporadic testing for coronavirus could be masking outbreaks that -- left unattended -- might overwhelm rural health networks. “They'll be later to get the infection, they'll be later to have their epidemics,” said Christine K. Johnson, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Davis. “But I don't think they're going to be protected because there's nowhere in the U.S. that's isolated.” Counties that have zero confirmed COVID-19 cases could raise a red flag about inadequate testing, she said. “I hope the zeros are really zeros -- I worry that they’re not doing enough testing in those regions because they’re not thinking they’re at risk,” she said. In New Mexico, a state with 2 million residents spanning an area the size of Italy, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has moved aggressively to contain the coronavirus' spread with a statewide school shutdown and prohibition on most gatherings of over five people. Nearly half of the state's 33 counties are free of any positive coronavirus cases. New Mexico is among the top five states in coronavirus testing per capita, though some virus-free counties aren't yet equipped with specialized testing sites beyond samplings by a handful of doctor offices. Torrance County Manager Wayne Johnson said plans are being prepared for the first three dedicated COVID-19 testing sites, in the high-desert county of 15,000 residents that spans an area three times the size of Rhode Island. A statewide stay-at-home order is keeping many residents from commuting to jobs in adjacent Bernalillo County, the epicenter of the state’s COVID-19 infections, with 93 confirmed cases out of a state government tally of 208 as of Saturday night. “We don’t have any test sites open, and part of that is that we don’t have any needs for the test yet,” Johnson said. Still, Johnson said he worries that an outbreak could overwhelm the county's sole local medical clinic and an all-volunteer corps of emergency medical technicians. The state´s first of two coronavirus-related deaths occurred last Sunday within a southern oil-producing region in Eddy County, where two other positive tests have surfaced. A man in his late-70s died shortly after arriving at a hospital in Artesia, and tested positive postmortem. He had previously visited two health clinics, and at the hospital five staff were quarantined for possible exposure even though they wore face masks. State Deputy Epidemiologist Chad Smelser said health officials have continued to painstakingly retrace the steps of infected patients and notify people who came into contact with them. There are dozens of connections per infection on average. “We know the details of his prior visits in the health care system,' Smelser said of the deceased Eddy County patient. 'We've worked with those physicians to assess their exposure. And we do not believe that he acquired it in the health care setting.” State health officials say it is unclear how many people have been tested for coronavirus in each county. Medical experts say uneven testing patterns across the country make it difficult to gauge whether remote areas are really better off. “It’s a fundamental unknown,” said Benjamin Neuman, a virologist at Texas A&M University in Texarkana. “I think there is some truth to that notion that there are lower infection rates out there” in rural areas. He said he fears for homeless populations and undocumented migrants. ¨We hope they stay safe. Those would be hard places to get rid of the coronavirus,¨ Neuman said. Complaints that testing is not readily available extend to the crossroads town of Crossett in southern Arkansas, where surrounding Ashley County has no confirmed coronavirus cases. Disabled veteran Marty Zollman, 42, of Crossett says his wife, a clothing store clerk, and teenage daughter sought coronavirus testing this week for fever and flu-like symptoms at a local health clinic and were turned away. “We might be contagious, but no one will test her,” Zollman said of his wife, Janet, who was awaiting surgery for breast cancer. “They keep turning her down. They don’t have a source of testing.” He lashed out at Trump for indicating that testing is readily available. “Now it’s time for me to call his bluff. If he’s got the equipment ... he’s got to provide it,” Zollman said. In New Mexico, along the southernmost finger of the Rocky Mountains, Mora Valley Community Health Services and a companion agency attend to elderly patients living in extreme poverty in Mora County, where there have been no confirmed COVID-19 infections and few if any people tested. With a population of 4,500 that is more than 80% Latino, the county is among the economically poorest in the nation. Average combined household income is $27,000. “There's elderly out there that have dementia, who don't have a family ... who eat out of cans,' said Julián Barela, CEO of Community Health Services, which ordinarily serves a steady stream of Medicaid and Medicare patients with health, dental and behavior health services. Under new state directives, the clinic has scuttled all non-emergency appointments — most of its caseload — to comply with a measure designed to conserve dwindling protective gear such as masks, gloves and gowns for health care workers, Barela said. The clinic has yet to see a patient with telltale symptoms of coronavirus worth testing. Barela said it has been alarming to turn away patients who feel they need attention as new federal grant money arrives. “We don't have an emergency backlog, it doesn't seem reasonable that we're just shut down,” he said. “We should not operate the same as New York. There is no reason for it.”
  • The world changed remarkably this past week — yet again, just as it did the week before, as the coronavirus marched across the world. No corner of the planet was safe, it seemed: If the virus itself wasn't upending lives, it was the isolation that spread as the world locked down or the economic repercussions of the fight. Associated Press journalists across the planet chronicled it. This guide to some of their words and images is a diary of a world at once on pause and in the middle of the biggest fight of its generation. More than perhaps anyone, front-line medical professionals are seeing the virus' effects up close — and taking the biggest risks. This series of portraits from Italy, showing some of them up close, puts faces with the facts. And in Iran, another hard-hit area, belief in a false treatment that was poisonous killed hundreds. New York City became a terrifying epicenter of the virus in the past week as a “cacophony of coughing” overran emergency rooms and health care workers worried they might be next. And as more was asked of Americans, an important question emerged: Are they ready for a once-in-a-generation kind of sacrifice? In addition to covering breaking news, the AP is focusing on several overall areas in its coverage. Here's a look at some of the most significant work from those areas over the past week. HEALTH AND SCIENCE: THE VIRUS, AND FIGHTING IT Scientists are scrambling to find ways to protect people from the coronavirus including collecting the blood of recovered patients to harvest the antibodies they’ve already produced to fight the virus. The excitement about treating the new virus with a malaria drug now used against lupus and rheumatoid arthritis along with an antibiotic is raising hopes, but the evidence that it works is thin. With capacity also stretched thin, U.S. hospitals are rushing to find beds for a coming flood of patients, opening older closed hospitals and repurposing other medical buildings. And in the world's most densely populated cities, how do you practice social distancing? The distancing rules are affecting U.S. seniors in nuanced ways. Some are resilient and say the coronavirus crisis reminds them of World War II rationing and past disease epidemics. Others are isolated and lonely in senior homes that have imposed visitor bans. Those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse face challenges, too, from a pandemic that requires distancing and isolation. And in Europe, political leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. The tests could reveal the true extent of the outbreak, but some scientists have challenged their accuracy. THE ECONOMY: RECESSION LOOMS The effects of the pandemic reverberated through the world economy. Businesses shut down, millions of people lost jobs, and governments scrambled to put together aid packages. Feel like you had whiplash? You’re not alone. Never before have economies screeched to such a sudden, violent stop. Some economists see a downturn that could rival the Great Depression. The U.S. reported astronomical unemployment figures, quadrupling the previous record for claims, set in 1982. Congress passed a $2.2 trillion emergency relief package, which led to examinations of the ways that might help people stay afloat and answers about the one-time checks for most Americans and enhanced unemployment benefits included in the package. President Donald Trump vowed that the U.S. economy would be open for business by mid-April, but experts warned that it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. In Europe, the crisis is already challenging farmers, with closed borders preventing seasonal workers from showing up to harvest crops. And in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, we started to get a sense of how things might look when restrictions ease, with millions of people heading back to work as authorities began lifting the last of the controls that confined them to their home. In places just starting lockdowns, people whose jobs could continue came to terms with the realities of working from home, admiring each others’ kitchen cabinets on video conference calls and dealing with interruptions from kids and pets. And in a bit of brighter news, volunteers around the world banded together to sew masks for hospital workers facing shortages of protective equipment. GOVERNMENTS: ARE THEY ACCOUNTABLE? Questions of accountability are at the core of the coronavirus saga. Who is doing what, and are they doing right? Are abuses of power taking place? Where can — and should — nations, government and businesses do better to protect people? From Washington, a $2 trillion legislative package to shore up the economy was carefully written to prevent President Donald Trump and his family from profiting from the fund. But the fine print reveals that businesses owned by Trump and his family still may be eligible for some assistance. The nation's governors are trying to get what they need from Washington, and fast. But that means navigating the disorienting politics of dealing with Trump, an unpredictable president with a love for cable news and a penchant for retribution. The Pentagon was racing to shield vital missions even as it faced urgent calls for help on the civilian front. And for prisons around the United States, plagued for years by violence, misconduct and staffing shortages, the coronavirus pandemic throws gasoline on the fire. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a scattershot policy on COVID-19 safety, and both advocates and even prison guards are calling for quick reform. INEQUALITY: THE STRUGGLING The world is getting used to a new normal of curfews, economic devastation and deep travel restrictions. For the people of Gaza, Sarajevo, Lebanon and other places that have known war and siege, this is all too familiar. Recalling life under siege in Kashmir, one man remembers: “It helped us to rediscover the family and social talk.' Overlooked people and communities everywhere are struggling with the new coronavirus. There are the Americans who’ve had their water shut off in an age when hand washing could save your life, and the smaller communities that are dealing with the crisis. Two families in San Francisco, one rich and one poor, face very different struggles as they navigate this frightening time. In this view from rural America, we meet people and communities filled with fear that, despite the natural social distancing there, the pandemic is coming. And in Europe, the mostly deserted streets of virus-riddled Spain are still populated with homeless people, as documented in a sobering photo essay. THE RIPPLE EFFECT: SOCIETY AND CULTURE As the virus spreads, life changes — for right now and, maybe in some cases, for the long term as well. People stuck at home changed entire family configurations, leading to some couples trying to figure out new challenges — and some partners and children becoming potentially more vulnerable to abuse. Other families drew closer, some by taking walks in their neighborhood, as seen in this profile of a Virginia community. More restaurant- and takeout-focused diners turned to — or turned back to — cooking. And laughter, long a go-to expression in tough times, was bursting forth in unusual, virus-specific ways. In Lebanon, COVID-19 managed to do what a string of wars could not: shut down nightlife. In France, where going out for the morning baguette is an irrepressible part of life, the push to isolate was creating new conversations about it. And an American milestone, baseball's opening day, passed without a single crack of a bat in ballparks that were empty and desolate. 'ONE GOOD THING' AP’s new daily series “One Good Thing” is designed to tell stories about the kindness of strangers and those individuals around the world who sacrifice for others during the outbreak. That means a sailmaker in Maine making masks and university veterinary departments loaning ventilators to ill-equipped hospitals. And in Berlin, “United We Stream” was dreamed up as a way to keep the moribund nightlife financially healthy while entertaining a quarantined city. GROUND GAME: INSIDE THE OUTBREAK Tune in daily to the virus edition of AP's “ Ground Game ” podcast, where host Ralph Russo taps the expertise of AP's global team covering the coronavirus story. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • President Donald Trump has backed away from calling for a quarantine for coronavirus hotspots in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, instead directing Saturday night that a “strong Travel Advisory” be issued to stem the spread of the outbreak. Trump's talk earlier Saturday of what he called a quarantine for those hard-hit areas raised questions whether the federal government had the power to do so. Vice President Mike Pence has since tweeted federal health officials are urging residents of the three states “to refrain from non-essential travel for the next 14 days.” The United States has more confirmed coronavirus infections than any other country. Cities including Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans are growing as hot spots of infection, while New York City continues to be pummeled. Nurses there are calling for more masks and other gear to safeguard themselves against the virus that has so far sickened more than 52,000 people and killed over 700 in New York state, mostly in the city. Italy's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is the highest in the world, with 10,000 fatalities. Here are some of AP's top stories Saturday on the world's coronavirus pandemic. Follow APNews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates through the day and APNews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak for stories explaining some of its complexities. WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY: — The coronavirus continued its unrelenting spread across the U.S. with fatalities doubling in two days to more than 2,000 and authorities saying Saturday an infant who tested positive died in Chicago. Elsewhere, Russia announced a full border closure and prevention measures turned violent in parts of Africa, with Kenyan police firing tear gas and officers elsewhere seen on video striking people with batons. — Health experts say U.S. prisons and jails are a potential epicenter for the coronavirus: Social distancing is nearly impossible, medical services behind bars have long been substandard and even hand sanitizer is deemed contraband in some because of its alcohol content. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomohas delayed the state's presidential primary from April to June to keep people from gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. More than a dozen states have delayed some elections, in some cases including their presidential primaries. — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board domestic flights or intercity trains. Trudeau's wife tested positive for the virus but she said Saturday she has recovered. — Census workers in the U.S. have to take a different approach to collecting information. Nonprofits and civic organizations leading census outreach efforts are pivoting to digital strategies. — Brazil's president is being sharply criticized for downplaying the pandemic, even suggesting Brazilians have a natural immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. — U.S. child welfare agencies are confronting new challenges. Many agencies, seeking to limit the virus’s spread, have cut back on in-person inspections at homes of children considered at risk of abuse and neglect. — More than a fifth of Detroit’s police force is being quarantined after two officers died from the virus and at least 39 tested positive, including the chief. — The coronavirus pandemic is defining for the globe what's “essential” and what things we really can't do without, even though we might not need them for survival. ___ WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover. Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu. One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off. You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how. Misinformation overload: How to separate fact from fiction and rumor from deliberate efforts to mislead. TRACKING THE VIRUS: Drill down and zoom in at the individual county level, and you can access numbers that will show you the situation where you are, and where loved ones or people you’re worried about live. ___ ONE NUMBER: 2.2 MILLION: More than 2.2 million people are imprisoned in America, more than any other place in the world. Health experts say prisons and jails are a potential epicenter for America’s coronavirus pandemic. ___ IN OTHER NEWS: PORTRAITS FROM THE PANDEMIC: The doctors and nurses on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy are almost unrecognizable behind their masks, scrubs, gloves and hairnets — the flimsy battle armor that is their only barrier to contagion. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Another member of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet has developed symptoms of COVID-19, as the number of people with the coronovrius to die in the U.K. passed the 1,000 mark Saturday. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said he had symptoms of the disease and was self-isolating a day after the prime minister and Britain's health secretary revealed they tested positive for the virus and were experiencing mild symptoms. Johnson. 55. is the highest-profile political leader to have contracted the virus. Jack sat beside him in the House of Commons on Wednesday before Parliament shut down until at least April 21 to reduce the risk of infections. Business Secretrary Alok Sharma said Johnson continues to show only 'mild symptoms' of coronavirus. “He continues to lead the government's effort in combating Covid-19,'' Sharma told reporters, 'This morning he held a video conference call and he will continue to lead right from the front on this. 'What this has reminded us is that no one is immune and that is precisely why we ask people to follow the Government advice in terms of staying at home where they are able to do that,'' Sharma said. Johnson has been accused of failing to follow the British government's distancing measures after he, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 41, and the chief medical officer of England began self-isolating with symptoms Friday. The medical officer, Dr. Chris Whitty, has been advising the prime minister during the virus pandemic and not said if he was tested. The editor of the respected British medical journal The Lancet published a scathing editorial Saturday that criticized the government for doing too little, too late to protect public health and leaving the U.K.'s public health system “wholly unprepared for this pandemic.” Lancet editor Richard Horton wrote that despite numerous warnings, Britain's strategy for containing the virus failed, 'in part, because ministers didn't follow WHO's advice to 'test, test, test' every suspected case. They didn't isolate and quarantine. They didn't contact trace. “These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.” Horton said. Keith Willett, the National Health Service's strategic incident director for COVID-19, disputed the editorial’s conclusions. He said the NHS freed up 33,000 beds for virus patients - a third of all hospital capacity -and enabled 18,000 nurses and doctors to return to practice. Three new makeshift hospitals are being built. “In respect of our NHS responsibilities and response, the facts clearly speak for themselves,' Willett said. NHS employees have begun getting tested for the virus, a move seen as helping get self-isolating staff members back on the job. The issue of health workers going into self-isolation has proved to be a big problem for the NHS because workers are sometimes in that position because they have an ill family member, not because they themselves are infected. Meanwhile, authorities released photos of the inside of the ExCel center, an exhibition space which is being converted into a makeshift hospital. It will have two wards, and ultimately have a capacity of 4,000. Initially, however, it will house some 500 beds with ventilators and oxygen. The U.K. had 17,300 confirmed virus cases as of Saturday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. British officials reported that the number of deaths increased by 260 from a day earlier, bringing the country's total for virus-related deaths to 1,019. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Salvador Calzadillas isn't worried about catching the coronavirus when he's picking mandarin oranges in the trees in central California. But he said the mere act of getting to the groves each day puts him and his wife, also a farmworker, at risk, and there’s nothing they can do to change that. Farmworkers, after all, can't work from home. Calzadillas and his wife are among half a dozen workers who crowd into a car or van to get to the groves a 40-minute drive away. There, they are huddled in a group to get daily instructions — without regard for social distancing, he said. “There’s been no changes so far, everything is the same,” Calzadillas said. “Many of my co-workers say it’s like we’re immortal, we’re working just the same. There’s no prevention, and we keep working.” The 31-year-old is one of many workers on farms operating as essential businesses in the heart of California's farm-rich Central Valley, supplying food to much of the United States even as schools, restaurants and stores have closed down because of the virus. More than a third of the country's vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts are grown in California, whose farms and ranches brought in nearly $50 billion in 2018, according to the state Department of Agriculture. Agriculture groups and union leaders are urging employers to take extra precautions to prevent the outbreak from spreading among California's farmworkers, who are already in short supply. Workers getting sidelined by illness could jeopardize crop yields and disrupt the food supply. Some farms are heeding the call, union officials and growers say. But it can be difficult to separate workers by 6 feet (2 meters) as recommended because of the way certain crops are grown, said Dave Puglia, president of Western Growers, a group representing family farmers in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. And efficiency is also critical, he said, with farmers facing pressure to restock grocery shelves. “You would have to stagger the workers who are harvesting,” Puglia said. “That is a very inefficient and a very, very costly way to operate, and most farmers wouldn't be able to do it. They would be losing way too much money.” Western Growers said many members have added sanitation stations in the fields and required hand-washing before and after work as well as spaced out workers in packing facilities. United Farm Workers is using the moment to push for longstanding requests, including removing the need for a doctor's note and other hurdles to getting sick pay. In a letter to the agriculture industry, the union said workers should be able to wash their hands frequently and be encouraged to stay home if they are sick. 'What we're finding is that most growers are not communicating with their employees to even share the basics: how to practice best practices (like) washing your hands' and keeping distance from others, said Armando Elenes, secretary treasurer at United Farm Workers, which represents up to 27,000 seasonal workers. Joe Pezzini, president of vegetable grower Ocean Mist Farms, said his office and sales staff are working remotely wherever possible. He said the company, which operates in California's Coachella Valley and Central Coast, had workers use gloves and sanitized equipment to ensure food safety long before the virus appeared. “One of the biggest changes is just in the training and education,” he said, including encouraging workers to keep a safe distance from each other, even on breaks. “Partly for personal safety, but it’s also for, ‘Hey, we’re feeding the nation. We’re creating food the nation needs right now.’” The coronavirus crisis has drawn fresh attention to farmers' critical role, with residents finding some supermarket shelves cleaned out by people stocking up and then hunkering down in their homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the threat of contracting COVID-19 from food or food packaging is low. Farmers and workers are mostly concerned about passing it to each other. For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. As of Friday, more than 90 people have died of the virus in California and over 4,600 have tested positive, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Most cases are in the San Francisco Bay Area and around Los Angeles. Leti Martinez, who picks mandarin oranges, said her employer told her little about the virus except to explain that the farm is allowed to keep operating. The 31-year-old said she wears gloves to prevent her hands from getting cut and wraps a cloth around her face to keep out the dust. But she is worried about her commute with other workers and said they sometimes face a shortage of running water in the bathrooms once they’re there. Another concern is conditions for foreign workers in the U.S. on temporary agricultural visas, known as H-2As. They often live in close quarters, sometimes with bunk-style beds or in motels provided by their employers, and commute together in vans and buses. A coalition of farmworker advocates has asked U.S. officials to require employers to provide at least 6 feet between beds for such workers and that they be tested for the virus before entering the country. A Labor Department spokesman said this week that there were no announcements about changed working conditions for H-2A workers. Those workers account for a small percentage of farm labor overall but are significant in Colorado, which has a shorter growing season, and for certain crops, like berries, said Puglia of Western Growers. To address conditions at the thousands of farms that the California Farm Bureau Federation represents, its president, Jamie Johansson, said he has told farms to have workers go out in smaller groups “when possible.” His organization also says hand-washing on farms is routine for food safety reasons. Some small farms are taking extra measures. Heringer Estates, a 152-year-old family-owned vineyard and winery in Clarksburg, has 30 workers growing its grapes. Steve Heringer said workers now have more hand sanitizer and already use their own gloves for field work. “If they're working in rows, (we) have them working back to back” to maximize distance, he said. “It's had pretty little impact on the vineyard side, but we have a heightened awareness.” ___ Taxin reported from Orange County, California.
  • In tiny Munfordville, Kentucky, the closure of the public library has cut people off from a computer used only for filling out census forms online. In Minneapolis, a concert promoting the once-a-decade count is now virtual. In Orlando, Florida, advocates called off knocking on doors in a neighborhood filled with new residents from Puerto Rico. Across the U.S., the coronavirus has waylaid efforts to get as many people as possible to participate in the count, which determines how much federal money goes to communities. The outbreak and subsequent orders by states and cities to stay home and avoid other people came just as the census ramped up for most Americans two weeks ago. On Saturday, the Census Bureau announced it was going to continue to suspend its 2020 census field operations for another two weeks to April 15. That leaves thousands of advocates, officials and others who spent years planning for the U.S. government's largest peacetime mobilization scrambling to come up with contingency plans for pulling it off amid a pandemic. “Right now, everybody is faced with figuring out how to outreach to our communities not being face to face,” said Jennifer Chau, leader of a coalition of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander organizations in Phoenix that passed out 300 reusable boba tea cartons in January to anyone who signed a card pledging to complete their census form. Nonprofits and civic organizations leading census outreach efforts are pivoting to digital strategies. Texting campaigns, webinars, social media and phone calls are replacing door-knocking, rallies and face-to-face conversations. But it comes at a cost: Experts say connecting with trusted community leaders in person is the best way to reach people in hard-to-count groups that may be wary of the federal government. 'It's making it exponentially more difficult to get the kind of accurate count that is needed for this census. There's no sugarcoating it. It's really tough,' said Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund, a Latino advocacy group. “Thank goodness for technology. We wouldn't be able to do what we're doing without it.” Although the U.S. Census Bureau is spending $500 million on outreach efforts, including advertising, it's relying on more than 300,000 nonprofits, businesses, local governments and civic groups to encourage participation in their communities. The groups are recalibrating their messaging to address the upheaval in people's lives, including job losses and stay-at-home orders, and to focus on how census numbers help determine the distribution of federal aid or medical supplies their communities may get during the coronavirus crisis. The groups also are emphasizing that if people answer the questionnaire online, by phone or by mail now, they can avoid having a census taker sent to their house to ask them questions come late spring and summer. “We want people to understand that even though we have this health emergency going on, there's a connection to the census with how the distribution of funds to states is all going to rest on how many people there are in a community,” Minnesota's demographer Susan Brower said. The 2020 census will help determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets, as well as the distribution of some $1.5 trillion in federal spending. The coronavirus has forced the U.S. Census Bureau to delay the start of tallies of homeless people and other transient populations such as racetrack workers, college students, prisoners and nursing home residents. It has pushed back the deadline for wrapping up the count by two weeks, to mid-August. “Of all of our worst nightmares of things that could have gone wrong with the census, we did not anticipate this set of actions,' said Al Fontenot of the Census Bureau. “But our staff has been extremely resilient about looking for solutions.' On the plus side, more people at home now have time to answer the questionnaire, and the deadline extension offers chances to reach out to more people, Brower said. In some places, outreach done well before the virus spread in the U.S. is paying off, but organizers aren't sure it will last. For the first week that people could start answering the 2020 questionnaire, New York City — which had dedicated $40 million to outreach efforts — was well ahead of its 2010 pace of self-responses. But now it's the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, including fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. More than 30% of U.S. residents already had answered the census questionnaire as of Friday. Most of the temporary census takers hired by the government won't be sent out until May to knock on the doors of homes where people haven't yet responded. 'We are trending much better than 10 years ago, even in this craziness,' said Sheena Wright, president and CEO of United Way of New York City. That's despite events meant to generate participation getting canceled or delayed. Pittsburgh had commissioned Jasmine Cho, who uses cookie decorating to highlight Asian American and social justice issues, to lead decorating workshops with a census theme. An October session drew almost 50 people and grabbed attention, but workshops planned for March and April were canceled. “I'm hopeful that under the current quarantine measures, that people will actually pay more attention to their census mailings and take the time to complete it,” Cho said. The self-described “cookie activist” and the city are in talks to make an online instructional video about census-themed cookie decorating. San Francisco was supposed to ring in Census Day on April 1 with one of its famous cable cars rolling through iconic neighborhoods, but that became a casualty of COVID-19. Money from a $3.5 million budget earmarked for food and venues for census form-filling parties and town halls in the Bay Area will now go toward video marketing and printed materials, according to Stephanie Kim of the United Way Bay Area. “It's been hard to have to pivot on all the activities and events they were planning for for a long time,” Kim said. “So many organizations had planned for big community get-togethers.” ___ Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP. Tang reported from Phoenix and is a member of The Associated Press’ race and ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ttangAP.
  • China sent a plane loaded with medical personnel and supplies Saturday to help Pakistan fight the spread of the coronavirus in one of the world's most populous nations. Across the Middle East and elsewhere, the outbreak has raised concerns that health systems strapped by multiple wars, refugee crises and unstable economies won't be able to handle a growing numbers in cases. Iran is battling the worst outbreak in the region and state TV said Saturday another 139 people had died from the virus. That pushed the total fatalities in Iran to 2,517 amid 35,408 confirmed cases. China has sought to portray itself as a global leader in the fight against the outbreak, which began a few months ago in its Wuhan province. The plane carrying aid to Pakistan was met at the capital's airport Saturday by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureishi, who greeted the arriving Chinese doctors and officials. China had previously sent ventilators and masks to Pakistan, a key link in China's ambitious multi-billion-dollar One Road Project linking south and central Asia with China. China is also a key military supplier for nuclear-armed Pakistan, having supplied the country with missiles capable of carrying atomic weapons. Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, has 1,408 confirmed cases of the virus, including 11 deaths from the illness it causes, COVID-19. Most of the infected people there were travelers returning from neighboring Iran. Most people infected by the virus only experience mild symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover within a few weeks. But the virus can cause severe respiratory illness and death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems. Pakistan has closed its borders with both Iran and Afghanistan, but has come under widespread criticism for its initial lax response to the virus. Even as the pandemic spread to the country, Pakistani authorities allowed tens of thousands of Islamic clerics from around the world to congregate for three days outside the eastern city of Lahore. Some 200 of the clerics are now quarantined at the site of the gathering, a sprawling compound belonging to an Islamic missionaries group, Tableeghi Jamaat. Many of the visiting clerics at the conference returned to their home countries, some of them carrying the coronavirus. The first two reported cases in the Gaza Strip attended the three-day gathering in Pakistan, and are now under quarantine in Gaza. Other linked cases have emerged elsewhere in the Middle East and Central Asia. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has refused to impose a countrywide lockdown saying it would devastate the country's poor, but ordered non-essential businesses closed, including restaurants, money changers and wedding halls. As of Saturday, the government still had not ordered mosques closed nationwide, instead relying on recommendations to worshippers not to gather for weekly Friday prayers. Pakistani officials are reluctant to defy local hard-line Islamic leaders, who can whip up mobs to protest any perceived insults to religion. Some of these clerics have taken to social media to urge the faithful to fill the mosques, saying it is their religious obligation. Pakistan's federal health authorities say the outbreak is so far concentrated in Punjab province, with 490 confirmed cases there, and Sindh province, which has 457 confirmed infections. Other cases are spread throughout several other regions, including the capital, Islamabad. Health authorities in the country's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province reported one additional death Saturday, a woman in the district of Dir. Ajmal Wazir, a spokesman for the provincial government, said the woman fell sick after returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, before dying in a government hospital where she tested positive for the coronavirus. In Iran, officials have repeatedly insisted they have the outbreak under control, despite concerns it could overwhelm the country's health facilities. Iran's government has faced widespread criticism for not acting faster to contain the virus. Only in recent days have authorities ordered nonessential businesses to close and banned travel between cities — long after other nations in the region imposed sweeping lockdowns. In Egypt the country's chief prosecutor warned that anyone convicted of spreading “fake news and rumors” about the coronavirus could be fined or sentenced to up to five years in prison. Public prosecutor Hamada el-Sawy's statement came just days after Egypt expelled a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper over a report citing a study that challenged the official count of coronavirus cases in the Arab world’s most populous country. Egypt's Health Ministry has confirmed 576 cases of the virus and reported six additional fatalities, bringing the number of dead to 36. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland on Saturday urged the country's warring groups to suspend fighting in and around the capital, Tripoli, as “an absolute necessity' to allow public health officials across the divided country to contain the epidemic. Libya's health system is near the point of collapse after years of civil war. It has so far reported three confirmed cases of coronavirus. Authorities in Gaza, which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since the Hamas militant group seized power there in 2007, have reported nine confirmed cases. Gaza's health care infrastructure has been severely eroded by years of conflict and isolation. A major outbreak in the territory, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians, could be extremely difficult to contain. Organizers of weekly demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel frontier said they would cancel a rally that was scheduled for next week to abide by guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus. Khaled al-Batsh, head of the Great March of Return committee, said the rally was to mark the second anniversary of the protest movement. ___ Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Beirut, Fares Akram in Gaza and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.
  • The coronavirus continued its unrelenting spread across the United States with fatalities doubling in two days and authorities saying Saturday that an infant who tested positive had died. It pummeled big cities like New York, Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago, and made its way, too, into rural America as hotspots erupted in small Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens. Elsewhere, Russia announced a full border closure while in parts of Africa, pandemic prevention measures took a violent turn, with Kenyan police firing tear gas and officers elsewhere seen on video hitting people with batons. Worldwide infections surpassed the 660,000 mark with more than 30,000 deaths as new cases also stacked up quickly in Europe, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world in reported cases with more than 120,000. Confirmed deaths surpassed 2,000 on Saturday, twice the number just two days before, highlighting how quickly infections are escalating. Still, five countries have higher death tolls: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy has more than 10,000 deaths, the most of any country. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday that an infant with COVID-19 died in Chicago and the cause of death is under investigation. Officials didn't release other information, including whether the child had other health issues. “If you haven’t been paying attention, maybe this is your wake-up call,' said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. New York remained the worst-hit U.S. city. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said defeating the virus will take “weeks and weeks and weeks.” The U.N. donated 250,000 face masks to the city, and Cuomo delayed the state's presidential primary from April 28 to June 23. As President Donald Trump made his way to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy medical ship sent to New York City to help, he suggested imposing some kind of quarantine for New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, all hit hard by the coronavirus. But he later tweeted that he intended to issue a “strong travel advisory” instead. It wasn't entirely clear whether he had the power to impose such a quarantine for the three states, and the idea was met with confusion and anger from their governors. Cuomo said on CNN that it would be illegal, economically catastrophic and unproductive since other areas are already seeing a surge. Still, some states without known widespread infections began to try to limit exposure from visitors from harder-hit areas. Rhode Island National Guard troops were instructed to go door to door in coastal communities to find New Yorkers and advise them about a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from the state. And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered anyone arriving from Louisiana to self-quarantine and said law enforcement officers would set up checkpoints to screen cars from the state. Louisiana has surpassed 3,300 infections with 137 dead from COVID-19, according to the health department. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the region was on track to run out of ventilators by the first week of April. Cases also have been rising rapidly in Detroit, where poverty and poor health have been problems for years. The number of infections surged to 1,381, with 31 deaths, as of noon Saturday. The city's homeless population is especially vulnerable, officials said. “At this time, the trajectory of Detroit is unfortunately even more steep than that of New York,” said Dr. Teena Chopra, the medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center. “This is off the charts,” she said. Chopra said many patients have ailments like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. She also acknowledged that in Detroit, one of the nation's largest African American cities, there is a distrust among some in the community of the medical system and government due to systemic racism. 'In Detroit, we are seeing a lot of patients that are presenting to us with severe disease, rather than minor disease,' said Chopra, who worried about a “tsunami” of patients. Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan, providing money for the outbreak. He has done the same for New York, Louisiana and Illinois. Cases in Chicago and suburban Cook County accounted for about three-fourths of Illinois' 3,026 total as of Friday. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed popular lakeshore parks after people failed to practice social distancing, despite a statewide shelter-at-home order. The governor of Kansas also issued a stay-at-home order to begin Monday, as the virus takes hold in more rural areas where doctors worry about the lack of ICU beds. A cluster of three counties in rural Indiana have surging rates of confirmed cases. One of them, Decatur, population 26,000, has 30 cases with one confirmed death and another suspected, said Sean Durbin, the county’s public health emergency preparedness coordinator. Several cases were traced to large gatherings earlier in the month, including a religious retreat and a high school basketball tournament. The disease threatens to be devastating for close-knit communities where everyone knows everyone, Durbin said, adding that he was a friend of the person believed to have died from the virus as well as others currently in critical condition. The county health department has already run out of personal protective equipment, Durbin said. The last supply from the federal stockpile arrived more than a week ago and contained just 77 N95 masks and two dozen face shields. “I wish there was a stronger word for disappointed,' he said. 'I’m calling on them to do better.” Blaine County, Idaho, a scenic ski haven for wealthy tourists, now has around 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest rate per capita outside the New York area. Two people have died. The virus continues to strain health systems in Italy, Spain and France. Lockdowns of varying degrees have been introduced across Europe, nearly emptying streets in normally bustling cities. Germany has fewer deaths than some neighboring countries but has closed nonessential shops and banned public gatherings of more than two people until April 20. It still had its share of grim news: 12 residents of a nursing home in the northern town of Wolfsburg have died since Monday after being infected, news agency dpa reported. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announced he had signed a decree freeing up 400 million euros ($440 million) for coupons and packages of food aid, to be delivered door-to-door if necessary. “People are suffering psychologically. They’re not used to staying in their homes. But they are also suffering economically,” Conte said. Italy has almost completed a three-week lockdown, with no end in sight. In Spain, where stay-at-home restrictions have been in place for nearly two weeks, the death toll rose to 5,812. Another 8,000 confirmed infections pushed that count above 72,000 cases. But Spain's director of emergencies, Fernando Simón, saw hope in that the rate of infection is slowing and figures “indicate that the outbreak is stabilizing and may be reaching its peak in some areas.” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called for a more vigorous response from the European Union. Spain, Italy, France and six other members have asked the union to share the burden of European debt, dubbed “coronabonds” in the media, to help fight the virus. But the idea has met resistance from other members, led by Germany and the Netherlands. “It is the most difficult moment for the EU since its foundation and it has to be ready to rise to the challenge,” Sánchez said. As the epicenter has shifted westward, the situation has calmed in China, where some restrictions have been lifted. Some subway service was restored in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December, after the city of 11 million had its virus risk evaluation reduced from high to medium. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and lead to death. More than 135,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins. Countries are still trying to bring home citizens stranded abroad. On Saturday, 174 foreign tourists and four Nepali nationals in the foothills of Mount Everest were flown out days after being stranded at the only airstrip serving the world's highest mountain. Indian authorities sent buses to the outskirts of New Delhi to meet an exodus of migrant workers desperately trying to reach their home villages amid the world's largest lockdown, which effectively put millions out of work. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered his country's borders fully closed as of Monday, exempting diplomats as well as residents of the exclave of the Kaliningrad region. ___ Irvine reported from Chicago. Associated Press journalists around the world contributed. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • The surge of coronavirus cases in California that health officials have warned was coming has arrived and will worsen, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday, while the mayor of Los Angeles warned that by early next week his city could see the kind of crush that has crippled New York. “We are now seeing the spike that we were anticipating,” Newsom declared while standing in front of the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship Mercy that arrived in the Port of Los Angeles. It will take non-virus patients to free up rooms at hospitals for infection cases. Newsom said California's cases grew 26% in one day even with the results of 65,000 tests still pending. Johns Hopkins University tallied more than 4,700 California cases Friday, with at least 97 deaths. After a slow start, testing has accelerated rapidly, from about 27,000 on Tuesday to 88,000 on Friday. In Los Angeles County — the nation's most populous with more than 10 million residents — there were 678 new cases in the past two days for a total of nearly 1,500. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said if the trend continues, the city's cases could double every two days. That would put Los Angeles on par with New York City's outbreak in five days. “We will be where they are,' Garcetti said. “We will have doctors making excruciating decisions. We will be trying to figure out what we do with that surge, how to get ventilators, where to find beds.' New York City has more than 26,000 cases and at least 366 deaths. Newsom has said the state could need 50,000 additional hospital beds. Since the crisis started. the state's 416 hospitals have been able to find space for 30,000 more patients in their facilities. State and local officials have scrambled to find other locations. Newsom obtained emergency funding from the state Legislature to lease room for more than 500 patients at two hospitals, one in the San Francisco Bay Area that is bankrupt and a Los Angeles facility that closed in January. Beyond the Mercy hospital ship, the military is providing eight field hospitals with room for 2,000 patients. The massive Los Angeles Convention Center also is being readied to serve as a location for patients. Meantime, state officials are trying to find 10,000 ventilators, and so far have 4,095. Newsom said the only federal help has been 130 ventilators sent to Los Angeles. It was a subtle, and rare, criticism from Newsom of the Trump administration during the crisis. While the Democratic governor has often sparred with Trump over policies, he has praised the Republican president for his response to the virus. In fact, Newsom's comments now are part of a Trump campaign ad titled “Hope.' At his news conference Friday, Newsom said it's “a time for partnership, not partisanship. As I said, an open hand, not a clenched fist. ... I'm candidly grateful for his leadership for the state of California.” Newsom and Garcetti continued to urge people to stay home and maintain social distancing when out on essential errands With sunny weather in the forecast, Los Angeles County ordered a three-week closure of public trails, beaches, piers, beach bike paths and beach access points. The order came after hordes of people visited beaches last weekend, the first under expanded closure orders. San Diego County and other local governments have similar restrictions. Garcetti said the city was prepared to step up its enforcement, including shutting off power to nonessential businesses that refuse to close. Garcetti added: “99.99 percent of this can be done without any criminal penalty, but we are prepared if anybody is an outlier.' In San Francisco, where nearly 300 people have tested positive and at least three have died, Mayor London Breed pleaded with people to stay inside. The National Park Service has closed parking lots to popular beaches and open fields. Breed asked people to walk to their neighborhood park if they need fresh air, but not to get in their cars to drive to the beach. “We know what happened last weekend,” she said. “Sadly, we saw a number of areas in our city that were just jam-packed, and we also saw people who were playing things like volleyball and basketball and other sports” that violate orders for people to stay apart from others. Meanwhile, Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area reported its first death related to the virus: a man in his 70s who had been a passenger aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship during a February voyage to Mexico. The man died Friday after being hospitalized for nearly three weeks, county health officials said. Federal officials announced Thursday that two men who had traveled on the ship had died. Thousands of passengers on the vessel were quarantined earlier this month after a passenger from a previous trip died and nearly two dozen passengers and crew tesed positive for the virus. Two a former passenger on a previous trip died of the disease. The virus has had a crippling impact on the economy. Nationwide, more than 3.3 million people have filed for unemployment benefits. About a third of those claims are in California, where thousands of businesses have been forced to close. On Wednesday, five of the nation's largest banks plus hundreds of credit unions and state-chartered banks agreed to defer mortgage payments for people affected by the virus. Newsom took that one step further on Friday by ordering a ban on all evictions for renters through May 31. The order takes effect for rents due on April 1. And it only applies to tenants who are not already behind on their payments. To be eligible, renters must notify their landlords in writing up to seven days after rent is due. Tenants must be able to document why they cannot pay, which include termination notices, payroll checks, medical bills or “signed letters or statements form an employer or supervisor explaining the tenant's changed financial circumstances.' ___ Beam reported from Sacramento, California. Associated Press reporters Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento and Janie Har in San Francisco contributed to this report.