U.S. Braces for Tough COVID-19 Week; Deaths Drop in Parts of Europe

New York Reports Drop in Deaths; Virus Sickens Zoo Tiger
In New York, the nation’s main hot spot, health officials reported 7,256 more cases, but at a media briefing yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the number of deaths have been dropping over the past few days, though it’s too early to say how significant the trend is. So far, New York state has reported 122,031 cases, 4,159 of them fatal. New York City has 60,850 cases, including 2,254 deaths.

In another development, a tiger at a zoo in New York has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said yesterday. Media reports said the location is the Bronx Zoo.

The tiger was tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed signs of respiratory illness. Health officials believe the cats got sick after they were exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding the virus. The zoo has been closed since the middle of March, and the first tiger began showing symptoms on Mar 27.

All of the animals are expected to recover, and no signs of infection have been noted in the zoo’s other animals. The finding marks the first known COVID-19 infection in a tiger. Hong Kong has reported infections in two pet dogs and one pet cat.

New Jersey, the second most affected state, reported 3,482 new cases yesterday, raising its total to 37,505, including 917 deaths. Governor Phil Murphy said on Twitter yesterday that after multiple talks with the White House, the state has secured 500 more ventilators, which he says is New Jersey’s top need right now.

With many Christian denominations observing Palm Sunday yesterday, at least one church in a state with a stay-at-home order—Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana—defied rules and held services, Reuters reported. Some states with stay-at-home orders, such as Florida, have exempted church services, but many congregations have opted for online alternatives.

European Hot Spot Deaths Decline
In Spain, the country with the second highest case total, deaths from COVID-19 declined for a third consecutive day, Bloomberg News reported. The ministry reported 674 more deaths, raising its fatality count to 12,418.

Italy reported 525 more deaths yesterday, its lowest daily total in more than 2 weeks, Bloomberg News said in a separate report.

Deaths also declined in the United Kingdom, which reported 621 more yesterday, down from 708 yesterday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital yesterday for persistent symptoms, 10 days after testing positive, the BBC reported. Before Johnson’s hospitalization, Queen Elizabeth addressed the country in a prerecorded message, thanking key workers and the public and vowing that the UK will succeed in its fight against the virus.

In Turkey, however, COVID-19 activity is quickly accelerating, with the country now reporting 27,069 cases and 574 deaths, according to the health ministry. Of the total, 3,134 were reported yesterday, along with 73 deaths.

Africa Cases Rise; Asian Developments
In Africa, cases continue to rise steadily, with 8,377 cases reported so far, the WHO’s African regional office said yesterday on Twitter. It said Algeria and Cameroon have reported sharp increases in the past 24 hours.

In Japan, an outbreak in Tokyo grew by 143 cases, 92 with no clear links to other cases, the most in one day, Kyodo News reported yesterday. The country’s capital has reported 1,033 cases overall. Though the city is the country’s worst-hit area, five other prefectures have stay-at-home orders.

In other Asian developments:

·  South Korea yesterday reported 81 new cases, 40 of them imported, according to Korea Centers for Disease Control.

·  China yesterday reported 30 new cases, 25 imported and five local cases from Guangdong province, the National Health Commission said in its daily report. The country also reported 47 new asymptomatic cases, 16 of them imported.

·  Singapore reported 120 new cases, 4 imported and 116 local. Of the local cases, 50 are linked to existing clusters, according to the health ministry.

·  Hong Kong yesterday reported 28 more cases, 25 of them with a travel history, the Center for Health Protection said.