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American COVID-19 Deaths Hit New Milestone as 30 States Issue 'Stay-at-Home' Orders to Stop Virus's Spread

03-31-2020
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A body wrapped in plastic that was unloaded from a refrigerated truck is handled by medical workers wearing personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A body wrapped in plastic that was unloaded from a refrigerated truck is handled by medical workers wearing personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A sobering milestone as America's deaths from COVID-19 has now surpassed the number of those killed in the 9/11attacks.  Also, confirmed cases continue to skyrocket in the US with nearly 165,00 coronavirus cases. That's more than double the number of reported cases in China where the outbreak originated. 

Even with the arrival of the Navy's hospital ship Comfort, and the Samaritan's Purse field hospital in Central Park, It's still an uphill battle against COVID-19 in New York City with resources stretched and hospitals bursting.

At least 30 states have now implemented stay at home orders as Coronavirus hot spots pop up across the country. Some jurisdictions like New York City are threatening to begin fining people who do not comply with social distancing rules.

"All of the states together, all of them are moving at exactly the same curves, and so that's why we believe this needs to be federal guidance so that every state understands that while it may look like 2 cases today that become 20 that becomes 200 that becomes 2000," said Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Health officials say the CDC and the task force are actively considering broadening the usage of face masks to the general public, but right now they hesitate to do so because they don't want to take away needed masks from medical professionals.  In an interview on The 700 Club Tuesday, Dr. David Perlmutter said there could a huge benefit.

"One thing a mask will do is keep you from touching your face when your hands are contaminated which, when you're out in public is likely to happen," Perlmutter said. "The chances of you touching your nose or mouth is markedly reduced if you're wearing a mask.  So, I'm in favor of it."

Worldwide there are more than 800,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Spain alone reported 850 new deaths Tuesday, the worst 24-hour period yet in its outbreak that has killed more than 8,000.

It is second only to Italy that has a coronavirus death toll of more than 11,000.

But there is a sign of the spread slowing in Italy. The number of people currently sick at its epicenter in the northern Lombardy region has dropped for the first time. Plus, the number of people who have recovered across the nation has reached a new high.

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Another encouraging development - while there's no government-approved vaccine, a family practitioner in New York reports he has successfully treated nearly 700 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, a drug shown to be effective in treating malaria and SARS. 

"It looks like the benefits are pretty profound, this is a preliminary study but there are risks and indeed there are," Perlmutter said.

Perlmutter said the risks include, among others, rhythm disturbances of the heart. 

As for the outbreak, health officials warn we could see a second wave of the virus in the fall, but it's not expected to be as bad because of the action we are taking now.

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