NEW YORK (AP) — Coronavirus deaths and infections surged in Europe and the U.S. on Tuesday, with New York warning it is about to get hit by a "bullet train."
President Donald Trump said he is hoping the United States will be reopened by Easter as he weighs how to relax social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job during the outbreak. Easter is 18 days away — April 12.
Health experts say the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction.
Around the globe, India, with 1.3 billion people, or one-sixth of the Earth's population, ordered the biggest lockdown in the world.
In Spain, officials dealing with more corpses than its morgues could contain commandeered an ice rink and discovered a nursing home with the dead lying alongside the living.
The International Olympic Committee postponed the Olympics until the summer of 2021 at the latest.
ONE VICTIM OF MANY
Infections in the U.S. topped 46,000, with about 600 dead, and hospitals braced for an expected increase in patients.
One victim of the illness was playwright Terrence McNally who won Tony Awards for the plays and musicals including "Kiss of the Spider Woman." He died of complications from the coronavirus on Tuesday at age 81 in Sarasota, Florida.
NEW YORK CITY
In New York, now one of the world's hot spots, authorities rushed to set up thousands of hospital beds for potential victims in the city of 8.4 million. But the number of cases is doubling every three days, threatening to swamp the city's intensive care units in the weeks ahead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
New York State recorded more than 200 deaths, or one-third of the U.S. total.
"One of the forecasters said to me we were looking at a freight train coming across the country," the governor said. "We're now looking at a bullet train."
Spain registered a record one-day increase of nearly 6,600 new infections and a leap of about 500 in the death toll to almost 2,700.
The country started storing bodies in an ice rink converted to a morgue until they could be buried or cremated. Also, army troops disinfecting nursing homes discovered elderly people living amid the corpses of suspected coronavirus victims.
A glimmer of hope was seen in hard-hit Italy as the nation recorded two days of slight declines in the number of new cases and deaths.
Several mayors in Italy have shouted at their townspeople for walking the streets, potentially spreading the virus through close human contact despite a nationwide lockdown.
Antonio Tutolo, mayor of Lucera, lambasted residents who were using mobile hairdressing units. "Getting in a mobile hairdresser? What the f-is that for?" he shouted. "Do you realize the casket will be closed?"
Nearly 400,000 people worldwide have been infected and more than 17,000 have died, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
In a distinct shift in the crisis, some 85% of new infections are coming from Europe and the United States. In fact, Chinese authorities said they would finally end the two-month lockdown in Hubei province, where the outbreak began.