(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has infected over three-quarters of a million people around the world.
The new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19, has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica since first emerging in China in December. There are now more than 788,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Over 166,000 of those patients have recovered from the disease while more than 38,000 have died.
With more than 164,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the United States has by far the highest national tally in the world. The virus has spread to every U.S. state as well Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. At least 3,170 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.
Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:
8:13 a.m.: Spain reports highest single-day death toll from COVID-19
Spain has recorded an additional 849 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest single day in-country increase since the pandemic began.
The 11.5% increase brings the country’s national death toll from COVID-19 to 8,189. About 85 percent of the newly reported fatalities were patients over the age of 70, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.
The health ministry also recorded 9,222 newly diagnosed cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 94,417 — a 10.8% increase.
Spain has the third-highest national tally of diagnosed cases in the world and the second-highest national death toll from the novel coronavirus, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.
7:15 a.m.: US Army Corps of Engineers assessing 341 facilities for potential makeshift hospitals
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, who is spearheading an effort to build makeshift hospitals across the country in response to the coronavirus crisis, said the scope of the initiative is “immense.”
“We’re looking right now at around 341 different facilities across all of the United States, very similar to the Javits Center,” Semonite told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday on Good Morning America.
Over the past week, the Army Corps of Engineers has been busy transforming the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City into an overflow medical facility designed to make it easier for hospitals to focus on treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The temporary field hospital could be able to house 2,910 beds, making it one of the largest hospitals in America. On Monday, the convention center began treating non-coronavirus patients.
The U.S. government is calling it “hospitals without walls,” and it’s requiring an unprecedented rollback of federal regulations so health care providers can act without fearing they might be penalized later. That means if a city like New Orleans or Denver wants to build its own makeshift hospital like the one at New York City’s Javits Center, they can. Hospitals also can now provide benefits to its staff like meals, laundry or child care.
Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, said they’re looking at various buildings across the nation, such as hotels and dormitories as well as big open spaces like convention centers, as potential sites to convert into more makeshift hospitals. There will be two types of temporary facilities: ones that will house COVID-19 patients and ones that will treat all other patients, according to Semonite.
“We’ve got eight contracts under gear right now, people in centers constructing facilities, probably about 8,500 beds,” Semonite said. “And then by the end of the day, we should have another five contracts awarded with somewhere around another 4,000 beds.”
“Our thought was make it extremely simple,” he added. “Find an existing facility that already has all the codes, has heat, has water, has IT, has parking lots, and then just put in whatever we can like a hospital inside of that.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working side by side with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as local governments.
“We don’t know where this is going to go,” Semonite said. “This is a state and local decision, but what the Corps wanted to do is come up with an option so if we could be able to mitigate this delta in some way, we’re able to find a solution that states could employ.”
6:13 a.m.: Italy observes minute of silence to mourn coronavirus victims
Italy flew its flags at half-staff and observed a nationwide minute of silence on Tuesday to mourn the victims of the coronavirus pandemic, honor their families and show solidarity with health workers amid the crisis.
With more than 101,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, Italy has the highest national tally in Europe and the second-highest in the world, behind the United States. More than 11,500 people have died from the disease in Italy, according to the latest county from Johns Hopkins Unversity.
3:30 a.m.: US Open tennis complex to transform into temporary hospital
The site of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City will be converted into a temporary medical facility as the coronavirus pandemic strains the city’s resources, according to the U.S. Tennis Association, which owns the venue.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the plans.
The USTA, the national governing body for tennis, originally had said it was going to keep the center open for people to take lessons, practice or play tennis. But then the organization said it was closing the site to the public.
With more than 38,000 diagnosed cases and nearly 1,000 deaths, New York City is the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States. State and city officials are trying to increase hospital capacity in order to handle the health crisis. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said up to one million more healthcare workers were needed.
“As governor of New York, I am asking health care professionals across the country: If you don’t have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York now,” he said at a press conference Monday.
The rising death toll from the outbreak in the United States was poised Tuesday to overtake China’s tally of more than 3,300 deaths.
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