With hospitals stressed, U.S. enters ‘peak death week’ in coronavirus crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States entered what an official called the “peak death week” of the coronavirus on Monday while a watchdog report said hospitals were struggling to maintain and expand capacity to care for infected patients.

The U.S. death toll, now at more than 9,600, was rapidly closing in on Italy and Spain, the countries with the most fatalities to date at nearly 16,000 and about 12,500 respectively, according to a Reuters rally of official data.

“It’s going to be the peak hospitalization, peak ICU week and unfortunately, peak death week,” Admiral Brett Giroir, a physician and member of the White House coronavirus task force, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday.

U.S. death toll from coronavirus tops 10,000: Reuters tally

Healthcare workers wheel the body of deceased person to a makeshift morgue outside the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

(Reuters) – The U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus topped 10,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally.

The United States has the third highest number of reported deaths from the disease in the world, only exceeded by Italy with 15,887 and Spain with 13,055.

Indians light lamps to heed Modi’s call for coronavirus comradeship

MUMBAI/DHAKA (Reuters) – Millions of Indians turned off their lights and lit up balconies and doorsteps with lamps, candles and flashlights on Sunday, in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to “challenge the darkness” spread by the coronavirus crisis.

People stand on their balconies and light candles after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to Indians to turn out their lights for nine minutes at 9 p.m. to mark the coronavirus fight, during a lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, April 5, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

France’s death toll slows but coronavirus still hits hard

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s daily death toll from the novel coronavirus fell in the past 24 hours and admissions into intensive care also slowed, the health ministry said on Sunday, thanking citizens for largely respecting a lockdown to halt the spread of the virus.

FILE PHOTO: Members of the French Civil Protection service arrive on site for a rescue operation in Paris, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in France, April 4, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The health ministry data showed that 357 people died from COVID-19 in hospitals, compared with 441 in the previous 24 hours, taking the total toll in hospitals to 5,889.

‘You’ve Been Served’: Wisconsin Hospitals Sued Patients Even During Pandemic

When her doorbell rang Sunday night, Blanche Jordan was just starting a new Game of Thrones puzzle on her living room floor.

Jordan, 39, is a breast-cancer survivor who is taking social distancing seriously, so she put on a mask before opening the door. A woman handed Jordan a paper and said: “You’ve been served.”

The paper was a court summons that said Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Inc. was suing Jordan for $7,150. Just three weeks before, Jordan had paid off a different $5,000-plus Froedtert debt linked to a hysterectomy that her insurance did not cover.

UK coronavirus death rate to stay high top medic says, as toll passes 4,300

LONDON (Reuters) – High fatalities from the coronavirus will continue in the United Kingdom for at least another week or two even if people comply with stringent isolation measures, health authorities said on Saturday as the country’s death toll jumped to 4,313.

A man wearing a protective face mask exercises in Greenwich Park, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, April 4, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay – RC2OXF9TNUBP

The toll went up by 708 in 24 hours, the highest daily rise so far in Britain. A 5-year-old child with an underlying health problem was among the dead, along with at least 40 who had no known previous known conditions.

Exclusive: Pressed by Trump, U.S. pushed unproven coronavirus treatment guidance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In mid-March, President Donald Trump personally pressed federal health officials to make malaria drugs available to treat the novel coronavirus, though they had been untested for COVID-19, two sources told Reuters.

Shortly afterward, the federal government published highly unusual guidance informing doctors they had the option to prescribe the drugs, with key dosing information based on unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science.

While Trump, in a series of tweets and press comments, had made his opinions on the drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, well known, the nature of his behind-the-scenes intervention has not been previously reported. The guidance, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has received scant notice outside medical circles.

Trump Administration Uses Wartime Powers To Be First In Line On Medical Supplies

The Trump administration quietly invoked the Defense Production Act to force medical suppliers in Texas and Colorado to sell to it first — ahead of states, hospitals or foreign countries.

It took this action more than a week before it announced Thursday that it would use the little-known aspect of the law to force 3M to fill its contract to the U.S. first. Firms face fines or jail time if they don’t comply.

The Cold War-era law gives federal officials the power to edge out the competition and force contractors to provide supplies to them before filling orders for other customers.

WHO opens door to broader use of masks to limit spread of coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A WHO flag is pictured between rounds of the election of the new Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the 70th World Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization on Friday said it still believed the use of respirator masks should be focused mainly on medical workers, but opened the door to greater use of homemade masks or other mouth coverings as a way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Spain overtakes Italy in coronavirus cases, death rate slows

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain overtook Italy for the first time on Friday for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, but the overnight death toll fell from the previous day, providing a small glimmer of hope.

A Spanish National Police officer is seen wearing two protective masks, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ronda, southern Spain, April 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

With a total 117,710 confirmed cases, Spain is now second in the number of infections only to the United States, which has a population some seven times larger. Spain’s total death toll now stands at 10,935, second only to Italy’s 13,915 fatalities.