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New York sees signs of virus plateau; in China, Wuhan lockdown finally lifted

The coronavirus has claimed more than 12,000 lives in the U.S., but signs of hope are emerging. The number of patients being hospitalized in New York, the nation’s top virus hot spot, has dropped, in an indication that physical distancing measures are working. Across the globe in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak originated, an 11-week lockdown has finally lifted. Stephanie Sy reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The coronavirus pandemic has claimed well over 80,000 lives as of tonight, including more than 12,000 in the United States. And New York City has surpassed its own record of deaths set by the worst terror attack on American soil.

    Still, there are new signs of hope.

    Stephanie Sy begins our coverage.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Another grim milestone reached.

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo:

    A lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Deaths in New York City have now exceeded 3,200, more than died in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

    But the number of new patients being ferried to hospitals is dropping, and Governor Andrew Cuomo says that is a sign of progress.

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo:

    Right now, we're projecting we are reaching a plateau in the total number of hospitalizations. You can see the growth, and you see it starting to flatten.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Other states are also seeing early signs of containment.

    New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy urges staying the course.

  • Governor Phil Murphy:

    But we cannot be happy with only reaching a plateau. We need to keep strong and keep determined to see that curve begin to fall and ultimately get to zero. That's going to require many more weeks, at the least, of our being smart and staying at least, at all times, six feet apart.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    But in Wisconsin today, staying six feet apart presented a new challenge for voters. The state Supreme Court ordered the primary to take place as scheduled, after an 11th-hour legal battle to delay in-person voting.

    Lines outside polling stations stretched for blocks. National Guard troops stepped in to run sites where poll workers failed to show, in fear of catching the virus.

    Meanwhile, the pandemic's effect on detained migrants came into sharper focus. Amnesty International reported that detention facilities have failed to adopt adequate measures to prevent outbreaks. The report says they're not ensuring basic hygiene and sanitation or enforcing social distancing practices and quarantining people with symptoms.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement has reported 19 migrants have so far tested positive, as authorities continue to detain individuals and families. Advocates have asked ICE to provide alternatives to detention. The agency announced today it may start doing so for certain detainees, including those over 60 and pregnant women.

    But the Trump administration's efforts to control the virus have been called into question even outside closed quarters like these. The New York Times reported today that warnings about the scale of the crisis circulated around the White House in late January, even as President Trump publicly downplayed the threat.

    Memos from trade adviser Peter Navarro warned the virus could take millions of lives and cost the economy trillions.

    President Trump also came under fire today for replacing Glenn Fine, the independent watchdog who had been chosen by peers to oversee the rollout of more than $2 trillion in coronavirus relief funds.

    And in Britain today, Londoners woke up to news Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been moved to intensive care overnight, battling worsening coronavirus symptoms.

  • Uliana Dunaeva (through translator):

    It is quite worrying for the country, for people in general, because what's going to happen, because he is the leader, right, of the country? Yes, so I think, yes, it is quite worrying.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Officials said Johnson relied on oxygen support, but without the need of a ventilator, and with no signs of pneumonia.

    British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, now at the helm, said Johnson's diagnosis came as a shock.

  • Dominic Raab:

    He's not just a prime minister for all of us in cabinet. He's not just our boss. He's also a colleague and he's also our friend.

    I'm confident he will pull through, because if there's one thing I know about this prime minister, he's a fighter.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    And in Wuhan, China, the original epicenter of this crisis, upbeat residents flocked the streets, ready for an 11-week lockdown coming to an end.

    China reported its first day since January with no new deaths.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

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