The United States has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the world, including China where COVID-19 is thought to have originated. More than 86,000 people around the country have tested positive for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, House members scrambled to get back to Washington D.C. Friday morning after at least one member indicated he would call for a quorum on a vote for the $2 trillion economic relief package, which would require at least 216 members to show up to vote on the floor.
Here is your COVID-19 update for Friday, March 27:
Number of Coronavirus Infections Surpass 545,000 Worldwide
The number of coronavirus cases in the world surpassed 500,000 on Friday with the death toll rising to nearly 25,000. The United States also surpassed China for the highest number of infections, with at least 86,000 confirmed cases as of Friday morning, according to a tracker run by Johns Hopkins University.
The death toll in the U.S. also rose to more than 1,300, with New York accounting for at least 450 deaths. Hospitals there are falling into crisis with many waiting rooms there packed with people displaying symptoms of the virus. Some patients have taken more than 6 hours to be seen by a doctor while others are forced to convalesce on stretchers while they wait up to two days for a bed.
Italy, which has been hit incredibly hard by the virus, has seen its death toll skyrocket to at least 8,200 as the outbreak continues to ravage the country.
President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that he'd spoken with China's President Xi Jinping about his country's experience in battling COVID-19.
"Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China," Trump tweeted. "Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!
The U.S. is also working with the international community by sharing information and data about the coronavirus, Trump said during the daily White House briefing on Thursday.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tests Positive for COVID-19
One of the first major world leaders has been confirmed to have the coronavirus after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he'd tested positive for COVID-19.
"Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this," Johnson wrote on Twitter.
In a video message, Johnson said he had been experiencing a temperature and persistent cough, two symptoms of COVID-19.
"So I am working from home and I am self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do, but be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team, to lead the national fight back against coronavirus," he said.
Johnson's positive test comes a few days after news broke that the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, tested positive for the virus.
"We will get through it, and the way we will get through it is of course by applying with the measures we have heard so much about," he said. "The more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country can come through this epidemic and the faster we will bounce back."
It's unknown whether Johnson is staying at home with his pregnant fiancee, Carrie Symonds.
It was also reported that British Health Secretary Matt Hancock is also infected. In a video posted to Instagram, Hancock said his symptoms were mild and he was working from home and self-isolating.
$2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill Could Be Delayed in the House
The $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package could be in danger of being delayed on Friday as House lawmakers scramble to ensure that at least 216 members that can show up to vote on the floor after at least one member of the House indicated he would demand a recorded vote that could derail the bill.
Lawmakers jumped in their cars and caught the red eye back to head back to Washington after the office for House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) issued a notice to lawmakers that it was "possible this measure will not pass by voice vote."
Rep. Thomas Massie, (R-Ky.), told the Courier-Journal that he opposes a voice vote on the bill.
"I'm having a really hard time with this. Because they're saying, well it's hard to travel, yadda yadda yadda," Massie said. "Well, last night, 96 out of 100 senators voted. All we would need is 218 out of 435 to vote."
The bill is still expected to pass, however, it could be delayed for as long as it takes for at least 216 members to arrive at the Capitol and form a quorum - half of its membership present - to pass a bill. Rep. Massie tweeted a portion of the constitution on Thursday that defines a quorum, which he could use to delay the bill if there aren't enough members present. If no one asks for a quorum, one is assumed to exist and a voice vote or unanimous consent can be taken.
Two hours of debate have been scheduled for the bill beginning at 9 a.m. ET.
44 Health Workers in Italy Have Died From COVID-19
According to the Italian Federation of Doctors, at least 44 health workers in Italy have died of COVID-19 since the outbreak began there as healthcare professionals there work to save patients from the worst parts of the novel coronavirus.
Italy has seen the number of infections there surpass 80,000 with thousands of doctors, nurses, technicians and other health employees coming down with the disease. The majority of healthcare workers were on the frontlines of the outbreak, especially in the Lombardy region.
"It’s as if a storm hit us," Roberto Stellini, a doctor of infectious diseases at Poliambulanza hospital in Brescia told The Guardian. "The problem is that when this storm hit us we were unprepared, perhaps ignoring what might have been the consequences. Some of the dead were doctors who died at the beginning of the emergency, when we knew nothing about this storm. I knew some of them. Now we are more prepared and we continue to fight."
More than 8,000 people in Italy have died from the virus.
U.S. Navy Hospital Ship USNS Mercy Arrives in Los Angeles Friday
The 1,000-bed hospital ship USNS Mercy is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Los Angeles today to help provide some relief for Southern California hospitals that have become overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The ship departed Naval Station San Diego on Monday and is expected to dock at the cruise ship terminal in the Port of Los Angeles Friday morning.
The ship would not be used to house or care for people confirmed to have COVID-19 and instead care for people who are experiencing non-COVID-19 emergencies, such as broken bones or other types of injuries. The more than 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff on board will provide medical care that includes general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.
The hope is to allow healthcare workers in Los Angeles concentrate on treating COVID-19 patients and reserve intensive care units and ventilators for them.
“This global crisis demands whole of government response, and we are ready to support,” said Navy Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy's military treatment facility commanding officer.
“Mercy brings a team of medical professionals, medical equipment and supplies, all of which will act, in essence, as a `relief valve' for local civilian hospitals in Los Angeles so that local health professionals can better focus on COVID-19 cases,” he said. “We will use our agility and responsiveness as an afloat medical treatment facility to do what the country asks, and bring relief where we are needed most.”
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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