Coronavirus Briefing: A tough week

An informed guide to the global outbreak, with the latest developments and expert advice about prevention and treatment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, who was hospitalized over the weekend, has been moved to intensive care.
More than 10,000 people in the United States have now died from the virus.
The governor of Wisconsin ordered Tuesday’s primary election postponed, but he was overruled by the state’s Supreme Court.
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Where we are now: Bracing for the worst
There is a terrible week ahead in America — one of “death” and “sadness,” the White House has warned — as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged above 350,000 on Monday, the national death toll exceeded 10,000, and public health officials cautioned that even those grim numbers understated the true scale of the epidemic.

The U.S. is now by far the hardest-hit nation in the world, with more confirmed cases than the next three — Spain, Italy and China — put together. And the New York City area is the hardest-hit part of America, with hundreds of deaths daily and harrowing scenes of panicked doctors and besieged hospitals.

Though the crisis is showing signs of starting to level off in the city (more about that below), it is still growing explosively in places like Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans. A halting federal response has left states and counties fighting with one another for critical supplies and imposing quarantines on each other’s residents.

The global pandemic shows little sign of letting up. At least 188 countries and territories have now reported five or more cases; many are in the early stages of outbreaks they are not well equipped to handle. But here and there are signs of progress: Death rates seem to be slowing in Italy and Spain, while countries like Singapore and South Korea show clear success in limiting new cases.

Financial markets seized on those positive signs to rebound a bit on Monday. But experts warned that the world’s largest economy, the U.S., would not fully recover until people could be confident of going about their business without catching the virus.

Hard times in Britain: The country, which was slow to impose stay-at-home restrictions, has seen its death rate skyrocket and prominent figures stricken. Prince Charles is recuperating, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care.

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Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address to buck up national spirits. “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return,” she said. “We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

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Is New York approaching its peak?
The spread of the virus in New York is beginning to stabilize, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday, and the state’s data seems to support that idea.

The state’s death tolls on Sunday (594) and Monday (599) were both lower than on Saturday (630). The numbers of people hospitalized and in intensive care units are still growing, but the growth rate appears to be slowing.

Joseph Goldstein, who covers health care in New York for The Times, says those figures should be taken with a grain of salt. The hospitalization rate might be slowing if overwhelmed facilities are sending more patients home, he said, and there are signs that deaths are being undercounted — for instance, by leaving out people who die at home.

Mr. Cuomo said he thought the daily tally of new cases might crest this week. But he warned New Yorkers that a positive trend could only continue if they maintained strict social distancing.

Even if the epidemic is starting to plateau, it is still overwhelming. A municipal official said New York City was running out of capacity to handle all the deaths, and might have to start burying people temporarily in city parks.

The peak of the epidemic might come later in the city than in the state. “May could be worse than April,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. And as some experts have pointed out, the day after the peak will still be the second-worst day of the outbreak


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