As virus toll mounts in NY, more hospitals sought

NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking 4,000 more temporary hospitals beds across New York City and ordered schools closed statewide for two more weeks. President Donald Trump and elected leaders in New York are clashing again over the depth of the state’s coronavirus crisis. Meanwhile, the outbreak is taking its toll on the state’s civil servants.

Hopkins to research blood plasma therapy uses against virus

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A public-private initiative will provide $4 million to a Johns Hopkins University-led team to study therapeutic uses of blood plasma recovered from COVID-19 patients, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Gov. Larry Hogan, and Johns Hopkins University announced Friday.

4 passengers dead aboard cruise ship anchored off Panama

PANAMA CITY — Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the cruise line said Friday, with hundreds of passengers unsure how long they will remain at sea.

US eyes new outbreaks as infections worldwide top 575,000

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans rushed to build a makeshift hospital in its convention center Friday as troubling new outbreaks bubbled in the United States, deaths surged in Italy and Spain and the world warily trudged through the pandemic that has sickened more than a half-million people.

A new beat for police across US: Enforcing social distance

NEW YORK — In New York City, they’ve started dismantling basketball hoops to prevent people from gathering in parks and playing. In Lakewood, New Jersey, police broke up a wedding being held in violation of a ban on large gatherings. And in Austin, Texas, officers are encouraging people to call a hotline to snitch on violators of the city’s orders for people to stay home.

74,000 Floridians seek benefits, critics demand reform

ORLANDO, Fla. — More than 74,000 Floridians applied for unemployment benefits last week, a tenfold increase from the previous week, as the spread of the novel coronavirus shut down the state’s theme parks and visitors stayed away from its hotels and airports, officials said Thursday.

Italy records smaller increase in virus cases for 2nd day

ROME — Italy has recorded a smaller day-to-day increase in new coronavirus cases for the second straight day, officials said Monday while cautioning it was too soon to know if the worst is behind the country with the world’s second-biggest caseload.

Malaria drugs’ promise for coronavirus spurs hope, shortages

Excitement about treating the new coronavirus with malaria drugs is raising hopes, including with President Donald Trump. But the evidence that they may help is thin, and a run on the drugs is complicating access for people who need them for rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Pope prays for ‘fragile’ humanity needing help in pandemic

VATICAN CITY — Praying in a desolately empty St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis on Friday likened the coronavirus pandemic to a storm laying bare illusions that people can be self-sufficient and instead leaves “all of us fragile and disoriented” and needing each other’s help and comfort.

Europe eyes smartphone location data to stem virus spread

Britain, Germany and Italy are evaluating powerful and invasive tools for what epidemiologists call contact-tracing, the mapping of personal interactions that could spread the virus. These apps would use real-time phone data to pinpoint virus carriers and people they might have infected.