Coronavirus updates: Fauci warns reopening US too soon could ‘backfire’ – National News


narvikk/iStock(NEW YORK) — A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 166,000 people worldwide.

Over 2.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected nation, with more than 759,000 diagnosed cases and at least 40,683 deaths.

Many cities and states have begun counting probable deaths caused by COVID-19, including New York City, the U.S. epicenter of the disease. The number of cases in New York state alone is higher than in any single country outside the U.S.

Here’s how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:

8:05 a.m.: Fauci warns reopening US too soon could ‘backfire’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic, warned Monday that reopening the U.S. economy too soon could “backfire.”

“Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen,” Fauci told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview on Good Morning America.

“If you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back,” he explained. “That’s the problem.”

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the United States is currently conducting about 1.5 to 2 million COVID-19 tests per week and is “certainly going to need more.”

“We need to get up to at least maybe two times that, three times that,” he said. “But we will as we go into the coming weeks.”

Fauci noted that tapping into “unused capacity” is equally important, so that states can identify and isolate cases as well as trace contacts.

“What we need to do is make a better connectivity with the tests that are available as well as the capacity that in some cases is not used, through no fault of the governor or the local people,” he said. “There’s got to be a meeting of the two.”

7:21 a.m.: New York state begins coronavirus antibody testing survey

New York state on Monday began conducting antibody tests to help determine how many residents were previously infected with the novel coronavirus.

The testing survey will sample 3,000 people across the state to help determine the percentage of the state’s population that is now immune to the virus, allowing more individuals to safely return to work, according to a press release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Shoppers at grocery stores in different regions of the state will be recruited to participate in the survey, and those who agree will provide a fingerstick blood sample that will be tested at the state-run Wadsworth Center in Albany using its IgG immunologic test.

6:54 a.m.: Over 1,800 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Ohio prison

More than 1,800 inmates housed at a single Ohio prison have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to state officials.

At least 1,828 inmates and 109 staff members at the Marion Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

Earlier this month, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed that a 55-year-old corrections officer at the facility had died from the disease.

Overall, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections has reported 2,400 positive cases of COVID-19 inside its prisons, according to Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX.

5:38 a.m.: UN confirms death of Nigerian aid worker from COVID-19

An aid worker on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria has died after contracting the virus, a United Nations official said Monday.

Edward Kallon, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said a Nigerian man working as a nurse in the country’s war-torn Borno state had died over the weekend. It’s believed to be the first COVID-19 death in the northeastern state.

“Despite the risks, this Nigerian health worker was devoting his life to treating vulnerable internally displaced persons who have lost everything during the conflict raging in the northeast,” Kallon said in a statement. “He had no travel history outside of Borno state and made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Kallon noted that officials are working to trace anyone whom the nurse may have been in contact with in Borno state, where nearly 1.5 million of people have been displaced from their homes in recent years due to violence from the Boko Haram insurgency and other conflicts.

“The humanitarian community reaffirms it is working closely with Nigerian authorities. Together, all actors are doing their utmost to reinforce protection and prevention measures against COVID-19,” he said. “With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting many areas in Nigeria, it is essential for the most vulnerable to continue receiving humanitarian aid, including water and soap or substitute solutions.”

So far, 627 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Nigeria and 21 of them have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

3:45 a.m.: US death toll tops 40,000 as stay-at-home protests continue

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 40,000 people in the United States, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Nearly half of all deaths — over 18,000 — occurred in New York state.

Meanwhile, opposition to stay-at-home orders has continued to build from coast to coast amid growing resentment against the crippling economic cost of confinement. Protests took place over the weekend in at least five states — Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee and Washington. Last week, other stay-at-home protests took place in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Virginia.

Many of the demonstrations flout the social distancing guidelines put in place by the White House to stem the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, President Donald Trump has spoken out in support of the protesters, describing them as “great people” who “love our country” and “have got cabin fever.”

“Their life was taken away from them,” Trump said at a press briefing Sunday. “They want to get back to work.”

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