Tiger at NYC zoo tests positive for coronavirus

A tiger at a New York City zoo has tested positive for coronavirus in what is believed to be the first known Covid-19 case in a US animal or tiger anywhere, zoo officials said.

The four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia, and six other lions and tigers, have reportedly become ill at the Bronx Zoo after they were believed to be infected with coronavirus by a zoo employee. the US Department of Agriculture said.

Officials said the first animal first began showing symptoms on March 27. All of the lions and tigers are expected to recover, according to the zoo which has been closed since March 16.

‘(Nadia), her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover’ the Wildlife Conservation Society announced Sunday.

‘Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert and interact with their keepers,’ the statement continued.

Paul Calle, the zoo’s head veterinarian, said: ‘We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution (to)…contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.’

The shocking findings have raised further questions about the virus’s ability to infect animals. The USDA previously said there were no known cases of coronavirus in US pets or livestock.

‘It’s important to assure pet owners and animal owners that at this time there isn’t any evidence that they can spread the virus,’ Dr Jane Rooney, a USDA veterinarian, told ABC.

However, there have reportedly been cases of pets outside the US becoming infected by the virus, which has killed over 9,500 Americans and infected more than 333,000.

In February, a dog in Hong Kong reportedly tested positive for a low level of the virus, although health officials in Hong Kong said that pets could not pass the virus to humans.

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Trump says NYC field hospital at Javits Center WILL be used for coronavirus patients as city pleads for health workers – The Sun

PRESIDENT Donald Trump has confirmed that the NYC field hospital at Javits Center will be used for coronavirus patients.

This comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo appealed to Trump for more space as the virus continues to overwhelm the city's hospitals.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Trump gave the go-ahead for the 2,500-bed temporary hospital to be used to treat coronavirus patients as the number of cases continues to surge.

An emergency alert was put out on people's phones, it reads: "Emergency Alert. Attention all healthcare workers: New York City is seeking licensed healthcare workers to support healthcare facilities in need. Visit NYc.gov/helpnow to volunteer."

New York's Central Park field hospital is already at half capacity on its third day treating Covid-19 patients, according to the director of the facility.

"As we all know the growing coronavirus cases are threatening the capacity of our hospital system," Cuomo said.

"The state-owned Javits Center has been turned into a 2,500-bed emergency medical facility being run by the U.S. Army. The original plan for Javits was that it be used to take non-COVID patients from hospitals to open up hospital beds.

"However, the number of COVID positive patients has increased so dramatically that it would be beneficial to the state if Javits could accept COVID positive patients."

The Javits Center is one of several temporary facilities the state put in place to cope with the influx of Covid-19 patients.

A total of 562 people have died in the state in the past 24 hours, which means there have been 23 fatalities every hour.

"I am signing an Executive Order allowing the state to take ventilators and PPE from institutions that don't need them now and redeploy them to other parts of the state and other hospitals that do," he said.

Cuomo said the National Guard will be mobilized to move ventilators to where they are most needed.

"Am I willing to deploy the National Guard [to save] several hundred lives? You're damn right I am," he added.

Cuomo has repeatedly called for more federal supplies in recent weeks, citing the need for around 30,000 ventilators after 2,935 people died from the killer bug.

There are currently 14,810 people hospitalized, he said, with 3,731 ICU patients who depend on ventilators to stay alive.


He acknowledged that hospital discharges and admissions were simultaneously rising as the deadly disease spread around the state.

But the governor said some hospitals and institutions with excess equipment and ventilators don't necessarily want to hand them over.

He vowed the State will either return the machines or reimburse them under the new order.

"[Some institutions] are reluctant to see them go out the door," he said.

"I can’t do anything more than that. I can’t be in a position where people are dying and we have vents. I will pay you for the ventilator but I’m not going to let people die."

The State tracks the in-state hotspots on a nightly basis, Cuomo said, adding they were "very concerned" now that Long Island was starting to "light up" with cases.

However, he insisted they were not "seizing" supplies from medical facilities who refused to comply with the order, but "sharing resources."

"Am I seizing vents? No, I’m taking excess equipment to save lives," he said.

"It’s about doing the right thing to save lives."

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Major crime up 12% in NYC despite coronavirus outbreak

Crime in the Big Apple was up about 12 percent over the first three months of the year — with nearly 2,500 more major felonies in 2020, NYPD stats show.

Five of the seven major index crimes — robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and car theft —  showed a marked increase this year compared to last year.

Among the NYPD statistics from the first quarter of 2020:

  • Car thefts spiked 65.5%, from 943 to 1,561
  • 685 more robberies were reported for a 25.2% increase
  • Burglaries jumped by 21.9% with 533 more reported
  • 486 additional grand larcenies occurred, a 5.2% uptick
  • 117 more assaults were reported for a 2.6% increase

After having one of its deadliest years of late, murders dipped about 10 percent, from 75 to 67, according to the department’s crime stats from January through March.

One-fifth fewer rapes were reported through the end of March — but the NYPD believes the decrease in 95 reports was due to victims not coming forward.

“Rape continues to be underreported,” a spokesperson said in a release.

Despite the steep drop off in most crimes over the second half of March as the coronavirus kept most New York City residents indoors, the decrease couldn’t wipe out the uptick from the prior weeks and months.

Crime was still on the upswing until March 11 — with more than 600 major felonies reported — but the pandemic COVID-19 slowed most criminal activity.

March ended down 4.2% in major crime.

Burglars and car thieves, though, seemed undeterred by the potentially deadly bug. Both categories saw a significant increase last month compared to the year prior.

Burglaries were up by nearly 200 — or 26.3 percent — and grand larceny autos increased by 61.7% or 187 more stolen cars.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the NYPD will “rise up” during the coronavirus crisis.

“We stand strong, on the front lines, to ensure a common good for all and to continue to relentlessly drive down crime, deliver justice for every crime victim and maintain a sense of safety we believe all New Yorkers deserve,” the commissioner added.

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NYC veterinarians forced to choose people over pets in war against coronavirus

Big Apple veterinarians are being forced to put human lives above animal lives for the first time in their careers — as besieged hospitals desperate for ventilators continue a losing battle against the coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio urged veterinarians Tuesday to lend their human-grade ventilators to infirmaries, but vets at big animal hospitals across the city have already been in the process of rounding up supplies for the last week, the chief medical officer at Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group, Brett Levitzke, told The Post.

“As veterinarians, we take an oath to relieve suffering in pets and that’s what our careers are centered around. I think this is the one time, in a crisis like this, where the needs of a human life would supersede [a pet’s life],” Levitzke said. 

“There’s usually a distinct line between veterinary medicine and human medicine and there’s no crossover. That’s what makes the time we’re in so unprecedented. We are in such a desperate time that we’re having this crossover of using machinery and equipment on the veterinary side for the human side.” 

VERG, one of the city’s largest 24-hour emergency animal hospitals, is one of the few specialty centers that have a human-grade ventilator they use on animals.

“If a dog or cat is hit by a car and they have tremendous contusions in the lung, if they have horrible heart failure or horrible pneumonia due to an infection, we put them on the mechanical ventilation to get them through until their lungs can heal,” Levitzke explained.

“They’re only found in specialty hospitals and there’s a couple of other specialty hospitals throughout Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan and maybe between all of them, we had maybe a dozen or so and I know they’re all being spoken for.”

Last week, Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners donated seven of their ventilators to New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, a spokesperson told The Post.

VERG only has one ventilator — and the decision to forgo their ability to do ventilation is one they “don’t make lightly.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” the animal doc admitted.

Without it, Levitzke’s team will have to resort to “manual ventilation” — a labor-intensive process that requires a veterinary technician to manually squeeze a bag of oxygen into an animal’s lungs every 10 to 20 seconds.

“When you do it manually, it’s not as accurate … the prognosis probably wouldn’t be as good. The pets that need to go on ventilators already have a pretty guarded prognosis. It does make it a little bit trickier,” Levitzke explained.

“We had a cat just come in [Tuesday] that was in horrible heart failure and would potentially need to be on a ventilator. Unfortunately, the owners elected to euthanize the cat,” he said.

If they hadn’t, the cat would’ve been set up on the ventilator, but “if and when” VERG got the call that their equipment was needed, the feline would’ve been switched over to manual ventilation.

Still, “it’s just the right thing to do,” Levitzke said.

“If the option is to have the ventilator here for potential use, or getting it out on the front lines where it’ll definitely be used, it’s not even a question. We obviously want it out on front lines.” 

He said the hospital has been in touch with the New York State Department of Health and if he doesn’t receive instructions soon on where to bring the ventilator, he’s planning to go “door to door” until a hospital takes it. 

“We all have to do our part,” Levitzke said.

“And if we as veterinarians can contribute in some way to help our human counterparts, then we certainly will.” 

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NYC paramedic says coronavirus patients brought to hospitals ‘to die’

“We’re pretty much bringing patients to the hospital to die.”

That’s how city paramedic Megan Pfeiffer summed up the increasingly grim local coronavirus situation to The Post, while described her grueling work as a first-line emergency worker treating patients in Queens while responding to 911 calls.

“It’s been crazy the past few days,” Pfeiffer, 31, told The Post on Monday night. “We know what we signed up for – though we didn’t expect this. It’s very straining. We’re all exhausted.”

Pfeiffer, an FDNY paramedic since 2013, is assigned to Jamaica Station 50 — and says COVID-19 now makes up the largest number of 911 calls she handles.

“There are a lot of really sick people. Others are panicked, and as soon as they have symptoms, they call us. Some have fever, some have shortness of breath,” Pfeiffer said.

“The hospitals in Queens I go to are totally full,” she said.

Pfeiffer recalled recently bringing a patient in cardiac arrest to New York Presbyterian Queens hospital in Flushing and the person was immediately admitted and put on the last ventilator available in the intensive-care unit.

While older people infected with COVID-19 tend to be seriously ill, she said, she was struck by how many younger adults she treats who end up in the hospital ward.

“It’s like battlefield triage right now. There are 20- to 40-year-olds being sent to the ICU,” she said.

Her colleagues have described similar horror stories.

Pfeiffer said she and other paramedics have been exposed to so many COVID-19 patients that they’re self-quarantining to avoid infecting family and friends. She said she often sleeps at her work station in Jamaica.

“A lot of people are not going home,” she said.

She and other paramedics and emergency technicians work the ambulance crews that are employed by the city Fire Department’s Emergency Services Division.

FDNY stats show how the coronavirus has ravaged its ambulatory workforce.

About one in four Emergency Services workers – or 23 percent – is currently on medical leave for COVID-19 illnesses and other injuries. That’s 2,800 ambulance workers.

A total of 282 FDNY members – EMS firefighters and civilians – have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Oren Barzilay, head of paramedics union Local 2507 who represents EMS workers, said the coronavirus outbreak has taken a toll on his members.

“It’s really heart-wrenching work. It’s going into a house and not knowing what to expect,” Barzilay said.

“We’re taking sick people to the hospitals not knowing if they’re going to come out alive or not. They’re working in a war zone. Not even on Sept.11 did I see this many refrigerated trailers used to store bodies outside hospitals.”

He said there are EMS units where nearly all of the workers are sick.

“We have people who are sleeping in their cars to protect their families. This is a communicable disease,” Barzilay said.

More than 75,000 New Yorkers statewide have tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 1,500 have died — with New York City being the epicenter.

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NYC pediatric neurosurgeon, 73, dies from coronavirus

World-renowned NYC pediatric neurosurgeon, 73, who separated conjoined twins dies from coronavirus

  • Dr. James T. Goodrich died on Monday after complications related to Covid-19
  • He separated twins Jadon and Anais McDonald three years ago in a NY hospital
  • Montefiore Medical Center described Goodrich as a ‘humble and caring man’
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A world-renowned NYC pediatric neurosurgeon who separated conjoined twins has died from coronavirus. 

Dr. James T. Goodrich, 73, died on Monday after complications related to Covid-19, the hospital where he worked announced. 

He separated twins Jadon and Anais McDonald four years ago at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City in a 27-hour surgery. 

Dr. James T. Goodrich, 73, (pictured) died on Monday after complications related to Covid-19, the hospital where he worked announced

The hospital have described Goodrich as a ‘humble and truly caring man’ who ‘did not crave the limelight and was beloved by his colleagues and staff.’ 

They added that he was a skilled neurosurgeon but was also kind and used to bake cookies during the holidays to give to the nurses that he worked with.  

Montefiore Medicine CEO Dr. Philip O. Ozuah said: ‘Dr. Goodrich was a beacon of our institution and he will be truly missed. His expertise and ability were second only to his kind heart and manner.’  

In a tweet the hospital said: ‘The Montefiore community is mourning the loss of Dr. James T. Goodrich, world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. Dr. Goodrich passed away on March 30, 2020 from complications associated with COVID-19.’

Dr. James T. Goodrich (left) separated twins Jadon and Anais McDonald (pictured with their mother Nicole) three years ago at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City in a 27-hour surgery

The statement went on to say that he was a generous mentor and teacher who shared his expertise with aspiring young surgeons. 

The pioneering neurosurgeon spent more than 30 years at the Bronx hospital, where he was director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery.

He was also a professor of clinical neurological surgery, pediatrics, plastic and reconstructive surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

The hospital said Goodrich, originally from Oregon, served as a Marine during the Vietnam war. It was during this time he decided to pursue a medical career. 

Dr. Goodrich will leave behind his wife and three sisters. The hospital has sent their condolences to the family. 

The twin boys he famously separated were born via Cesarean section in September 2015 near Chicago, Illinois.  

They were joined at the crown and shared a five-to-seven centimeter section of brain tissue.

The twins were born in September 2015 near Chicago, Illinois, and were known as craniopagus twins, meaning they were joined at the skull. Pictured: Anais, left, and Jadon

The operation, which took place over October 13 and 14, 2016, cost a cool $2.5million and lasted an incredible 27 hours

Just five months later, the McDonalds traveled to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York, to have Dr. Goodrich perform the incredibly rare operation to separate their heads. 

After the twins arrived at the hospital in February, the four-stage separation procedure was planned, in-part, by using 3-D printing technology to map the boys’ anatomy. 

The operation, which took place over October 13 and 14, 2016, cost a cool $2.5million and lasted an incredible 27 hours.

The 40-person surgical team was led in part by Dr. Goodrich, who specializes in separating craniopagus twins.

Two months later, in December, Jadon and Anais were transferred to Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester Country to begin rehabilitation. 

The coronavirus pandemic continues to claim more victims as the death toll on Monday surpassed 3,000 Americans, including a single mother of six children who bid her farewell using a walkie-talkie, and a New Jersey National Guardsman, the first military figure to die after contracting the virus.

Sundee Rutter, 42, a breast cancer survivor from Snohomish County, Washington State, died on March 16 after contracting the coronavirus

Sundee Rutter, 42, a breast cancer survivor from Snohomish County, Washington State, died on March 16 after contracting the coronavirus. 

She was first admitted to Providence Regional Medical Center, the hospital which treated the first known case of COVID-19, on March 3, according to BuzzFeed News.

That day, she and her son, Elijah Ross-Rutter, 20, spent eight hours in a sealed room while she was treated by hospital staff wearing full protective suits.

‘They don’t even want to touch my mom,’ Elijah, who was allowed to see his mother with a face mask on, recalled.

That same day, she was sent home.

‘She thought she had the flu, probably,’ Ross-Rutter said.

‘But like, the coronavirus? It was kind of hard for us to understand how she could get it because not that many people had it around here.’

Rutter, a single mother of six children from Snohomish County, Washington State, bid her children farewell through a two-way radio as she lay dying in the hospital. She passed away on March 16

Rutter, who tested positive for coronavirus, was a breast cancer survivor. She was kept in the hospital on March 7 after initially being diagnosed with pneumonia

Rutter is seen above with her six children in this undated file photo. She would have turned 43 years old in August

‘For a while, she was able to text,’ her son, Elijah Ross-Rutter (above),20, said. On March 12, his mother texted him that she was feeling ‘much better.’ But her text messages would eventually be limited to just emojis

Four days later, Rutter and her son returned to the hospital. While Ross-Rutter waited in the visiting area, his mother was examined by doctors.  

A few hours later, Ross-Rutter was told that his mother was suffering from pneumonia and that she would be kept at the hospital overnight. 

The next day, Rutter tested positive for coronavirus.

‘For a while, she was able to text,’ Ross-Rutter said. On March 12, his mother texted him that she was feeling ‘much better.’ 

But her text messages would eventually be limited to just emojis.

‘She was sending me hearts on the messages but she wasn’t replying,’ Ross-Rutter said.

On March 16, the family received a phone call from a doctor telling them they should come to the hospital. 

Ross-Rutter, his five siblings, and his mother’s sister watched from a small glass window as Rutter lay in her bed.

As Rutter was moment away from death, her 20-year-old son assured her that her children would be looked after.

The children said goodbye to their mother using a hand-held radio whose receiver was propped next to her pillow. 

‘I told her I love her … she shouldn’t worry about the kids,’ Ross-Rutter said.

The most difficult part was not being able to be in the same room with his mother during her final moments.

‘Like, I’m about to lose my best friend and she can’t even hear me,’ Ross-Rutter said. 

Captain Douglas Linn Hickok (above) is the first American service member to have died after contracting the coronavirus

First US military service member dies from coronavirus 

The first US military service member has died from the coronavirus, the Pentagon said on Monday, as it reported another spike in the number of infected troops.

The service member was a New Jersey Army National Guardsman who tested positive for COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – and had been in the hospital since March 21. 

He died on Saturday, the Pentagon said.

Hickok has been in the hospital since March 21

‘Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member – active, reserve or Guard – to coronavirus,’ Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement. 

‘This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community.’

The nationwide death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed past 3,000 on Monday, the deadliest day yet.

The New Jersey National Guard identified him as Captain Douglas Linn Hickok, a drilling guardsman in Medical Command and a civilian physician assistant, originally from Jackson, New Jersey.

‘Our thoughts are with his wife, children, and their family,’ New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wrote on Twitter.

General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, lamented the death and said ‘all of us are likely to know people directly affected by this virus in the coming weeks.’

Earlier on Monday, the Pentagon said that 568 troops had tested positive for the coronavirus, up from 280 on Thursday. 

More than 450 Defense Department civilians, contractors and dependents have also tested positive, it said.

Reuters reported last week that the US military has decided to stop providing more granular data about coronavirus infections within its ranks, citing concern that the information might be used by adversaries as the virus spreads.

The new policy, which the Pentagon detailed in a statement on Monday, appears to underscore U.S. military concerns about the potential trajectory of the virus over the coming months – both at home and abroad.

There has been a sharp increase in coronavirus cases among troops inside the United States, which officials tell Reuters have overtaken the number of cases among forces overseas in key branches of military.

More than 164,000 people in the US have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 3,100 have died since the nationwide outbreak began in late January.  

Among the latest victims are a Michigan state congressman, a member of the Louisiana governor’s disability office, a college senior weeks away from graduating, an FDNY ambulance mechanic and a 24-year-old from Utah who contracted the disease from her father. 

Their stories shed light on how quickly COVID-19 can strike people of all ages, including those who don’t have underlying health problems.       

More than 164,000 people in the US have tested positive for COVID-19 and 3,180 have died since the nationwide outbreak began in late January. Among the latest victims was Michigan state Rep Isaac Robinson (pictured), who died aged 44 at a Detroit hospital on Sunday

Michigan state Rep Isaac Robinson dies at 44, days after he first began experiencing coronavirus symptoms 

Isaac Robinson, a Democrat representing Michigan’s 4th district in Detroit, passed away on Sunday morning at Detroit Medical Center Hospital. 

He was not officially diagnosed with COVID-19 before he died, but many who knew him have said they suspect the disease was the culprit. 

House Minority Leader Chris Greig (D-Farmington Hills) told the Detroit Free Press she spoke with Robinson on Thursday night and he said he hadn’t been feeling well. 

Greig said Robinson didn’t go to the hospital until Sunday because ‘he was pretty stubborn’. 

‘I spoke with Rose Mary [Robinson’s mother] tonight and she’s in shock,’ she said. ‘She told me she believes it was COVID-19.’

Robinson was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2018, taking over the seat from his mother, former state Rep Mary Robinson. He served on the Commerce and Tourism, Regulatory Reform and Tax Policy committees

Robinson was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2018, taking over the seat from his mother, former state Rep. Mary Robinson. He served on the Commerce and Tourism, Regulatory Reform and Tax Policy committees. 

Greig described Robinson as a relentless advocate for his constituents who frequently participated in protests on issues such as water shutoffs, air quality and working conditions.  

‘Anytime Isaac spoke, anytime he was working on something, it was with a huge passion and focus on making lives better for Detroiters,’ she said. ‘It’s just heartbreaking for our caucus, the city and the state.’ 

About two weeks before his death, Robinson called on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to institute a statewide ban on utility shutoffs and evictions during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Whitmer issued a statement about the lawyer and prominent community activist, remembering his ‘huge heart, quick wit, and genuine passion for the people’.

‘He was a fierce advocate for Detroiters and people across Southeast Michigan,’ Whitmer said. 

‘He dedicated his career to ensuring justice and security for those he served, and the impact he had on his community will continue to be felt for years to come.’

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also paid tribute to Robinson and expressed his condolences to the politician’s family.  

‘Representative Isaac Robinson fought passionately for the issues he believed in and for those in our community who needed a strong advocate like him,’ Duggan said. 

‘His passing is a devastating loss to our community and another reminder of how we all need to do our part to protect ourselves and each other in these difficult times.’

Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted a photo of herself with Robinson, writing: ‘There has never been a greater prince of a man than Isaac. No one who worked harder or loved his community more. No better person who has walked this earth. My heart is broken.’ 

Robinson is one of several prominent officials in Detroit who are believed to have died from coronavirus, including community leader Marlowe Stoudamire, police homicide Capt Jonathan Parnell and Wayne County Sheriff’s Cmdr Donafay Collins. 

Michigan has recorded more than 5,400 coronavirus cases and 132 deaths as of Monday, with the majority concentrated in Detroit.  

Silvia Deyanira Melendez, 24, dies from coronavirus after five members of her family contracted the disease 

Silvia Deyanira Melendez passed away on Saturday at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to her family. 

The 24-year-old suffered from diabetes and underwent heart surgery two years ago, putting her at high risk for coronavirus complications. 

Silvia Deyanira Melendez, 24, died on Saturday at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, after she and four of her family members contracted coronavirus

Her father Marcos, 54, said five of the seven people living in their home in West Jordan have tested positive for COVID-19 since he first began experiencing symptoms about two weeks ago.  

‘When I talked to the doctor she said if I had [symptoms] or anyone in my family had it, we’re supposed to [assume] we’re positive,’ Marcos told The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday, describing how he and two of his sons suffered from fever, chills, body aches, coughs and diarrhea. 

Silvia and her mother, 49-year-old Silvia B Melendez, were hospitalized with severe breathing problems on March 20.  

Angelica Macias, who is the girlfriend of one of the Melendez sons and lives with the family, said the younger Silvia had to be sedated and intubated with a breathing tube as her blood pressure continued to drop.  

Macias said Silvia began showing signs of recovery until Saturday, when her ‘heart started beating too fast’ and she died.  

Her mother was discharged from the hospital the same day and is recovering.  

Silvia’s 22-year-old brother Xander said his sister worked as a receptionist at a medical imaging company and hoped to one day have a career that would allow her to travel.  

‘She was a fighter, that’s for sure,’ Xander said. ‘She fought a lot of things in her life.’ 

Silvia’s 22-year-old brother Xander (pictured together) said his sister worked as a receptionist at a medical imaging company and hoped to one day have a career that would allow her to travel. ‘She was a fighter, that’s for sure,’ Xander said

Ambulance mechanic James Villecco, 55, becomes the first member of the FDNY to die of coronavirus 

James Villecco, a 55-year-old Army veteran and ambulance mechanic for the Fire Department of New York, died on Sunday after contracting coronavirus. 

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro praised Villecco as an ‘unsung hero’ in a statement announcing his death. 

‘Behind the thousands of calls our members respond to every day is a team of dedicated and skilled mechanics who ensure our ambulances are running 24/7,’ Nigro said.

‘James Villecco was one of those truly unsung heroes in our Department whose outstanding work provided medical care for the people of our city. The entire Department mourns his loss.’ 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also paid tribute to Villecco at a press conference, telling reporters: ‘This is the kind of unsung hero who doesn’t get the credit he deserves. 

‘This is the kind of man who keeps us safe because he kept the ambulances in good repair so they could get there to help all of us.’

Villecco joined the FDNY Bureau of Fleet Services in 2014 and was assigned to the Coney Island repair facility. He later joined the Review Avenue Facility in Long Island City, where he worked in the ambulance repair shop.  

He is survived by his wife Joy and daughter Jessica. 

New York City has recorded more coronavirus cases than any other metropolitan area by a significant margin, with more than 36,000 infections and 790 deaths as of Monday.  

James Villecco, a 55-year-old Army veteran and ambulance mechanic for the Fire Department of New York, died on Sunday after contracting coronavirus. He is survived by his wife Joy (pictured together) and daughter Jessica

Villecco joined the FDNY Bureau of Fleet Services in 2014 and was assigned to the Coney Island repair facility. He later joined the Review Avenue Facility in Long Island City, where he worked in the ambulance repair shop

April Dunn, a member of the Louisiana governor’s staff, dies aged 33 from coronavirus complications 

Louisiana Gov John Bel Edwards announced the death of his staff member April Dunn on Saturday. 

The 33-year-old served as chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and was a part of the State As A Model Employer Taskforce.   

‘It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April,’ Edwards said in a statement.

‘She brightened everyone’s day with her smile, was a tremendous asset to our team and an inspiration to everyone who met her. 

‘I was proud to have an advocate like April on the task force and on my staff. She set a great example for how other businesses could make their workforce more inclusive.’ 

Edwards did not disclose any details about Dunn’s death, other than that it was due to complications from coronavirus. 

Louisiana has recorded the fastest growth of new cases in the entire world, with 3,540 infections and 151 deaths as of Monday.  

State officials used Dunn’s death as a tragic example of why it’s important for people to practice social distancing.  

April Dunn (center), a member of the Louisiana governor’s staff, died aged 33 from coronavirus complications on Saturday. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (left) called Dunn ‘an inspiration to everyone who met her’

Dunn served as chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and was a part of the State As A Model Employer Taskforce. She is seen with Gov Edwards in an undated photo

West Michigan University student Bassey Offiong, 25, days after week-long battle with coronavirus 

Bassey Offiong, a 25-year-old from Detroit, died on Saturday after spending a week fighting for his life in the hospital. His family said he had no prior health issues. 

Offiong was only weeks away from graduating with a degree in chemical engineering from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. 

His sister, Asari Offiong, said her brother told her he had tried to get a coronavirus test several times but was repeatedly turned down by health officials, even though he was suffering from a fever, fatigue and shortness of breath.  

‘I told him to ask them to test him,’ Asari said. ‘He said they refused to test him.’ 

Offiong was hospitalized at Beaumont in Royal Oak last week and was placed on a ventilator in the intensive care unit until his death. 

Asari described her ‘baby brother’ as sweet, humble and a ‘gentle giant’. 

‘I know God has him in his presence,’ she said. ‘He loved God.’ 

Offiong dreamt of starting his own organic makeup line with L’Oreal that would enhance women’s beauty, his sister said. 

‘He’s just someone who thinks so big,’ she said.

Bassey Offiong, a 25-year-old from Detroit, died on Saturday after spending a week fighting for his life in the hospital. His sister, Asari Offiong, described her brother as a ‘gentle giant’ who was weeks away from graduating college 

WMU President Edward Montgomery issued a statement about Offiong’s death on Saturday, saying he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the news.  

‘Bassey was a young man of enormous potential,’ Montgomery said.

‘On behalf of the entire Bronco community, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his entire family, including his sister Asari, who has been generous in communicating with us regularly. They are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.’

The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department also issued a statement, saying: ‘Our thoughts are with the student’s family and WMU as they grieve the loss of a loved one.

‘We know this student was not a Kalamazoo County resident; however, this virus has no borders when it comes to who it affects and how it is spread… Stay home and, if you must go out for essential items, stay safe by taking preventative measures.’ 

The department did not address Asari’s allegations that her brother had been refused a test on more than one occasion.  

Former Utah House Speaker Bob Garff dies aged 77 after he and his wife tested positive for coronavirus 

Bob Garff, who served as speaker in Utah’s House of Representatives from 1985 to 1987, died from coronavirus on Sunday. 

The 77-year-old Republican politician and his wife Katherine tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to Palm Springs, according to their daughter, Utah Rep Melissa Garff Ballard. 

Garff’s symptoms worsened to the point that he was hospitalized last week and passed away days later. 

‘It was really unexpected,’ Ballard told The Salt Lake Tribune. ‘And my mother is still battling this at home.’

She shared the sad news on Facebook on Sunday, writing: ‘My loving dad passed away peacefully today from COVID-19. He has lived a long and happy life, full of vigor and love for our state and our families.’

Ballard credited her father with inspiring her to get into politics. 

‘My dad lived an amazing life,’ she told the Tribune. ‘He is a giant in our city. And he didn’t care who got the credit for anything that he did.’

Bob Garff, who served as speaker in Utah’s House of Representatives from 1985 to 1987, died from coronavirus on Sunday. The 77-year-old Republican politician and his wife Katherine tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to Palm Springs, according to their daughter, Utah Rep Melissa Garff Ballard (pictured with her father)

Garff served in the Utah House for nine years from 1978 to 1987 and was a key organizer of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

Garff, a prolific philanthropist, served in the Utah House for nine years from 1978 to 1987 and was a key organizer of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. 

He was the longtime chairman of the Ken Garff Automotive Group, which his father founded in 1932. 

The company remains one of the biggest car sellers in the state, with dealerships across the US.  

Garff also served in multiple roles within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including as bishop and stake president, and was known for his philanthropic endeavors.  

Utah Senator Mitt Romney said he was ‘heartbroken’ to hear of Garff’s passing.  

‘It breaks my heart,’ Romney said. ‘Bob’s contributions to our state, to our economy, and to our church will be heralded by many. But for me, it was his sound and principled leadership as the Chairman of the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 that is most compelling.’  

Health experts warn US death toll will continue to climb as officials scramble to stem the spread of the virus

The US currently leads the world in coronavirus infections with more than 164,000 cases and 3,180 deaths as of Monday, according to public data reviewed by DailyMail.com, though the true number of cases is thought to be considerably higher because of testing shortages and mild illnesses that have gone unreported. 

Seventeen hard-hit states are now in various forms of lockdown as experts say the peak is yet to come and that the current state of crisis will last for another several months, at least. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, warned Sunday that the coronavirus outbreak could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and infect millions more.  

Hours later President Donald Trump said that he would consider it a ‘win’ and a ‘very good job’ if he can manage to keep the coronavirus death toll between 100,000 and 200,000, since estimates put it at more than two million if he did nothing.

Trump, who has largely avoided talk of potential death and infection rates, cited projection models that said potentially 2.2 million people or more could have died had social distancing measures not been put in place.

And he said the country would be doing well if it ‘can hold’ the number of deaths ‘down to 100,000.’

He said the best case for the country would be for the death rate to peak in about two weeks.

‘It’s a horrible number,’ Trump said, but added, ‘We all together have done a very good job.’

Trump also claimed during his daily press briefing at the White House Sunday evening that the peak of coronavirus is expected to hit in two weeks, even though the death toll in the US doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 in just one day.

‘The modeling estimates that the peak is likely to hit in two weeks. So, I’ll say it again: The peak – the highest point of death rates, remember this – is likely to hit in two week,’ Trump said during his remarks in the Rose Garden. ‘Nothing would be worse than declaring before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all.

The president made the comments as he announced that the administration’s coronavirus task force would extend it’s plan to reduce the spread of the disease, adding 30 days on top of the original 15-day schedule.   

President Donald Trump on Sunday said that he would consider it a ‘win’ and a ‘very good job’ if he can manage to keep the coronavirus death toll between 100,000 and 200,000, since estimates put it at more than two million if he did nothing

New York City remains the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak, with 33,786 cases and 776 deaths as of Monday. 

But several other cities including Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Miami and Boston are now being monitored as potential hotspots, threatening to push the overall case count in the US higher and higher.  

‘Every metro area should assume that they will have an outbreak equivalent to New York,’ Dr Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning.   

Birx has previously said that the White House task force anticipates challenges in areas that have not yet seen widespread outbreaks. 

On Sunday she said the Trump administration is working hard to push supplies such as ventilators out to affected areas to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed – as many across the country are already complaining of dangerous shortages. 

‘Hospitals are so busy taking care of the people who are ill, they can’t be spending time doing inventory,’ Birx said. ‘We need to help and support that.’

‘The sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they have put in full mitigation … then we’ll be able to move forward,’ she added. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed similar concern for new hotspots.  

Dr John Brooks, head of the CDC’s Epidemiology Research Team, said that the US is still ‘in the acceleration phase’ of the pandemic and that all corners of the country are at risk.

‘There is no geographic part of the United States that is spared from this,’ he said.

Some experts have said that outbreaks in other parts of the country could be even more devastating than the ones seen in New York City because they are less prepared.    

‘I’m worried that New York might not be the worst-case scenario when you think about other states that have even older and less-healthy populations, and fewer hospital beds available,’ Retsef Levi, a professor of operations management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has developed modeling tools designed to help public officials prepare for the spread of COVID-19, told The Washington Post.   

LA, Chicago and Detroit were expected to take on an influx of new hospital patients as cases increase

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New coronavirus cases in NYC jails outpacing rest of the city

The city Department of Correction said on Wednesday that the number of inmates testing positive for coronavirus has jumped to 75, up from 52 reported on Tuesday.

The number of DOC employees with confirmed COVID-19 cases was 37, an increase of seven from Tuesday, the department said.

The department does not provide information on which facilities the cases were reported from, though the vast majority of inmates are held on Rikers Island.

With about 5,200 inmates in custody, DOC’s infection rate for prisoners is higher than the rest of the city, according to an analysis by the Legal Aid Society.

There are 14.5 infections per 1,000 inmates in city jails compared with about 2 per 1,000 people in New York City, which has more than 16,700 cases.

“COVID-19 is spreading rapidly at Rikers Island and other local jails, endangering our clients, correction staff and all of New York City,” said Tina Luongo of the The Legal Aid Society in a news release. “Based on this analysis, New York City jails have become the epicenter of COVID-19.”

Compared with federal and state lock-ups in New York, coronavirus has spread like wildfire.

On Wednesday, the federal Bureau of Prisons reported that two of its inmates in New York tested positive — one in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center and one in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported positive tests for 33 of its employees and three inmates. One of them is disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who began his 23-year sentence at Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County.

As the number of confirmed cases builds, attorneys with clients in city and federal facilities have filed motions in droves to get them released.

Legal Aid filed a lawsuit against the city on Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court demanding the release of 110 at-risk Rikers inmates who are being held on technical parole violations.

That’s on top of the 148 vulnerable inmates that Legal Aid said should be released from Rikers in a pair of Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuits filed in recent days.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that the city plans to release 300 inmates and that his administration would review several hundred more in the coming days to determine if they could be set free.

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Coronavirus to hit NYC faster than a bullet train, writes TOM LEONARD

New York is struck dumb – and all of the USA is sick with worry as coronavirus is predicted to spread faster than a bullet train, writes TOM LEONARD

  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The streets are so dead now you can hear the ambulance sirens from a long way off. And you hear them more and more.

Yesterday, one came for an old lady at the end of my block, a squad of masked medics milling around the stretcher as she was wheeled into an ambulance and away to a hospital system that many fear will be overwhelmed when the stream of patients becomes a deluge.

The ambulance sirens are now competing to be heard over 1,000 police cars cruising the city, blaring out a recorded message outlining the social distancing rules to anyone gathered outside in groups. With New York fast threatening to become the global epicentre of coronavirus, the state governor, Andrew Cuomo, has warned that it has spread there faster than a ‘bullet train’.

A man crosses a nearly empty 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan as the coronavirus crisis hits New York City

Whether the train can be slowed or will crash spectacularly largely depends on a mercurial President whose assurances that the pandemic is under control – he’s pushing for business as usual by Easter – flatly contradict his medical experts.

Donald Trump’s obstinacy is compounding a sense of dread in a city facing its greatest challenge since 9/11 and perhaps the country’s greatest domestic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

There were scenes of chaos across the city’s hospitals as doctors told of being overwhelmed by a ‘cacophony of coughs’. Staggering figures revealed almost 31,000 have tested positive for the virus in New York State. That is more per capita than in Italy and almost 7 per cent of the world’s confirmed cases, with more than 5,000 new ones in the last 24 hours alone.

In a dire warning, Mr Cuomo described the number of infections as ‘breathtaking’ and warned that the city’s healthcare system would crumble without support.

He added: ‘New York is just the canary in the coal mine. What happens to New York is going to end up happening to California, in Washington State and Illinois.’

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday reported 54,453 cases across the country, an increase of 10,270 from its previous count. It said the death toll had risen by 193 to 737, marking America’s deadliest day so far. Cases have been reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Times Square, pictured, remains mostly empty as staggering figures revealed almost 31,000 have tested positive for the virus in New York State

Mr Cuomo said with cases doubling every three days in New York City alone, 140,000 people might need urgent care in the next few weeks. New York doctor Craig Spencer, who survived ebola after contracting it in Guinea in 2014, said: ‘What we are seeing in the emergency room now is dire. It is only a matter of time now before this spills out on to the streets.’

New York City’s population density – 28,000 people per square mile – has been a key factor in its vulnerability. All non-essential workers have been told to stay at home while White House officials have advised people who have passed through or left New York to quarantine themselves for 14 days. The silence on the streets is perhaps more sharply felt here than anywhere else in the world. This, after all, is the city that never sleeps.

There is none of that famous vibrancy now. The National Guard has been called in to help turn a convention centre into a 1,000-bed hospital.

A giant US Navy hospital ship is on its way, too, but experts fear these won’t be nearly enough. Soldiers have been building a makeshift morgue outside a Manhattan hospital – the first of several planned around the city.

New York state has 53,000 hospital beds but is estimated to need 140,000. Hospitals are reporting they are already nearing full capacity, with some saying they are putting a breathing tube into a new virus-hit patient at the rate of one an hour.

The crisis is not only uncomfortable for New York, it’s also shameful. More billionaires have homes in New York than anywhere else and yet the richest city in the richest country in the world is scrambling to get hold of even the most basic tools to combat the virus.

Much like in the UK, all non-essential workers have been told to stay home, which has seen the usually busy Union Square Park, Manhattan, pictured, almost deserted

One reason is the escalating feud between Mr Trump and Mr Cuomo, the city’s Democrat governor, who wants the President to enforce a law that could compel US manufacturers to make much-needed medical supplies. Mr Trump has complained it smacks of socialism while Mr Cuomo has accused him of playing politics with people’s lives. Just as in London, hospital staff are short of protective gear. Some are wearing makeshift masks made from coffee filters.

Maintaining law and order is a growing concern. The New York Police Department has 200 confirmed cases of the virus, with 3,000 more officers off sick. It is also working its way through New York’s prisons – up 34 per cent in a day – and infecting, among others, rapist film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Officials have started releasing the most medically-vulnerable inmates and those jailed for lesser offences.

They’ll join a New York population whose famous devil-may-care spirit has been ground down by a lockdown that started on Sunday night.

All ‘non-essential’ shops have closed, all ‘non-essential’ gatherings have been banned and those who must go out have to stay at least six feet apart – just like in the UK.

Yellow cabs line an empty 42nd St. waiting for fares outside Grand Central Terminal in a city facing its biggest challenge since 9/11

New Yorkers love their brash image. But they now move cautiously, always on the look-out for anyone getting too close.

With restaurants only allowed to deliver food or sell takeaways, many New Yorkers are discovering cooking for the first time – and the average Manhattan kitchen is minuscule. To make things worse, New Yorkers adore their therapists but can’t see them any more. It’s left to radio stations to offer tips on coping with anxiety.

After five days of bickering, Democrats and Republicans have finally agreed a $2trillion economic aid plan – the biggest in modern US history.

Extraordinarily, Mr Trump’s popularity is actually rising in the polls. His critics cannot understand it given his bizarre handling of the crisis, regularly contradicting the advice of his experts. ‘Please do not take medical advice from a man who looked directly at a solar eclipse,’ Hillary Clinton tweeted yesterday, alongside a video of the President doing just that.

There is a very real concern here that he may start to distance himself from public health messages in a matter of weeks rather than let the pandemic further damage the economy – and his political prospects.

And that is making many Americans sick with worry.

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NYC Health Department gets graphic in coronavirus sex memo

Is anything sacred anymore?!

In a sign of these strange times, the city Health Department has issued a stunningly blunt memo on how to stay clean while doing the dirty during the global coronavirus pandemic.

That’s right — the government wants in your bedroom.

First and foremost on its two-page list of tips: sex is safest with oneself.

“Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after,” the department wrote.

Good news, though, “COVID-19 has not yet been found in semen or vaginal fluid,” the notice says, adding that feces does carry the virus, and sex acts involving mouth-to-anal contact can spread coronavirus.

If you do have sex with another human, make sure it is “with people close to you,” like someone you live with.

If sex with strangers is your thing, the agency suggests “video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.”

Condoms and washing up are more important than ever, notes the memo, which was later taken down.

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NYC coronavirus cases continue to grow with nearly 4,000 infected, 26 dead

Four more people in the Big Apple have died from the coronavirus and 339 more are confirmed to be infected as testing increased across the five boroughs on Thursday, City Hall said.

The new figures bring the city’s total number of coronavirus cases to 3,954 — a significant jump from the 3,615 cases that were reported earlier on Thursday.

A total of 26 city residents have now died from the illness.

Brooklyn continues to be the borough with the most infected, at 1,195 cases, according to the new tally. In Queens there are 1,042 cases; 1,038 in Manhattan; 496 in the Bronx; and 179 on Staten Island.

As the city numbers continue to grow, Mayor de Blasio demanded the federal government step up to provide a shipment of medical supplies by April to help city health workers battling the pandemic.

“From the very beginning, New York City has been fighting COVID-19 with one hand tied behind our back,” de Blasio said in a statement.

“We cannot leave our healthcare workers vulnerable, and we need the federal government to step up and give our frontline workers the tools they need to save lives all across our City.”

By Thursday night, 1,700 medical providers — up from 1,000 on Wednesday — have voluntarily joined the city’s medical reserve to help treat patients infected with the coronavirus.

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