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As New York’s death toll approaches 2,000, Cuomo warns other states of what’s to come

New York’s death toll from COVID-19 is nearing 2,000, and experts warn it will continue to rise. But many other areas of the country are also seeing cases climb and taking steps to try to limit them. President Trump sounded a grave warning during a Tuesday Coronavirus Task Force briefing, saying the virus is projected to kill at least 100,000 Americans in the months to come. John Yang reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The United States has more than 200,000 coronavirus infections as of tonight, with some 4,600 deaths. That is a 50 percent increase over the past two days.

    And the World Health Organization is warning that the global count will shortly top one million cases, with 50,000 deaths.

    The pandemic is taking its greatest toll in New York and other hot spots.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

  • John Yang:

    As the coronavirus death toll in New York City nears 2,000 people, officials warned today that fatalities in the pandemic's epicenter will continue to rise.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that should be a warning to all of America.

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo:

    I say to my fellow governors and elected officials all across this country, look at us today, see yourself tomorrow.

  • John Yang:

    In New York Harbor, the U.S. Navy hospital ship the Comfort prepared to care for non-COVID-19 patients, in hopes of easing the strain on overwhelmed hospitals.

    And in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis today issued a stay-at-home order, a step he had resisted for several days, even as cases in his state had risen.

    Later, Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, another holdout, said he would sign a stay-at-home order tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, the Navy responded to the request from the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, docked in Guam, to evacuate the aircraft carrier's 5,000-person crew to stem an onboard outbreak.

  • Thomas Modly:

    We cannot and will not remove all the sailors from the ship, and that's not what the commanding officer requested either, nor the medical team. Our plan has always been to remove as much of crew as we can while maintaining for the ship's safety.

  • John Yang:

    In Detroit, people lined up for a drive-through testing site. The city is facing an uptick in cases, and officials say it's shaping up to be the country's next hot spot. Mayor Mike Duggan:

  • Mayor Mike Duggan:

    Somebody brought the virus into this community early on. It spread in this community before we knew what was happening, and the places in this country that are getting hit are the places that were infected first.

  • John Yang:

    As that grim reality settles in, President Trump has begun preparing Americans for the worst. At the White House yesterday, he said he has been on top of the issue from the start.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I knew everything. I knew it could be horrible, and I knew it could be maybe good. Don't forget, at that time, people didn't know that much about it, even the experts. We were talking about it. We didn't know where it was going.

  • John Yang:

    But in late January:

  • President Donald Trump:

    We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine.

  • John Yang:

    The White House late yesterday published projections that suggest the virus will take the lives of at least 100,000 Americans in the coming months.

    Already in Europe, there have been 30,000 deaths, in hard-hit Spain, empty streets in Madrid, save for a few pigeons. A stoplight turns green, but there were no cars on the road. The country has recorded more than 100,000 cases, including Fernando Simon, who is leading the country's response.

    Today, he spoke from his home.

  • Ferndo Simon (through translator):

    Right now, we are not in the battle to see if we are or are not in the maximum infection point, because it appears that we are there and we are descending.

    So now the battle is to make sure that our health system is able to guarantee the adequate cover for all of our patients in treatment.

  • John Yang:

    Elsewhere in Europe, police tape surrounded an empty Moscow playground, Prague's riverbanks disinfected, London music arenas have turned into testing centers.

    Also in London, this time-lapse video of a 4,000-bed hospital being built in just two weeks. The Nightingale Hospital opened to the public today to help care for an influx of coronavirus patients.

    Meanwhile, the Wimbledon tennis tournament, still four months away, joined the growing ranks of events called off due to the pandemic, the first time Wimbledon has been canceled since World War II.

    But, in Italy, a glimmer of hope.

  • Roberto Speranza (through translator):

    We must not confuse the first positive signals that we are seeing in these hours with an all-clear signal. Data and the statistical projections made by experts show that we are on the right path and that the drastic decisions we have adopted so far are starting to bear fruit.

  • John Yang:

    Officials there say they will stay under a national lockdown until at least April 13.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The rising tide of infections drove financial markets sharply lower today.

    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 973 points to close at 20943. The Nasdaq fell 339 points, and the S&P 500 dropped nearly 115 points.

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