President Trump: National Stockpile of Masks, Gloves Nearly Depleted
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have now topped 200,000 with more than 5,000 deaths.
It comes amid growing concerns about access to protective medical equipment desperately needed in hospitals.
President Trump announced Wednesday that the federal stockpile of gloves and masks is almost empty.
That announcement was accompanied by another warning from the president—he says we’re in store for a difficult few weeks ahead.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force predicts deaths in the U.S. could reach 240,000 by the end of the outbreak.
So health officials continue urging people to adhere to federal social distancing guidelines.
“The more we push to really very, very strictly adhere to the guidelines of physical separation, I believe we can modify that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci says. “We can’t just throw our hands up and say, that’s inevitably going to happen.”
As of now, the White House’s social distancing guidelines will stay in place until the end of the month.
Florida Gov. Issues Stay-at-Home Order
More than 30 states are now under Stay-at-Home or Shelter-in-Place orders in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.
That includes Florida, which officially announced its Stay-at-Home order Wednesday.
The state has about 7,000 confirmed cases and nearly 100 deaths.
Critics had been calling on Florida’s governor to take action because of the number of cases in the state and because Florida has a particularly vulnerable population.
More than a quarter of the population is over the age of 60. The order will go into effect Thursday night.
Stranded Cruise Ships Near Florida Coast
Also in Florida, dozens of cruise ships are lining the coast, some carrying passengers that are sick or even dead from the coronavirus.
Now the U.S. Coast Guard says those vessels must stay where they are. The news came in a memo Wednesday.
The coast guard says the stranded ships will not be given the go-ahead to come ashore and must remain isolated indefinitely.
That’s causing frustration and concern among the healthy passengers quarantined in their rooms.
Ships with passengers and crew who are severely sick are being told to send them to the countries where the vessels are registered.
For most of south Florida’s cruise ships that means the Bahamas, where people are still recovering from last year’s hurricanes.
Grand Canyon Closed to Visitors
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the National Park Service to shut down the Grand Canyon.
The park was already operating at a limited capacity because of the outbreak.
But the National Park Service announced the full closure Wednesday following a recommendation from the chief health officer in Coconino County, Arizona, where the Grand Canyon is located.
This does not mean all national parks will be closed.
The park service says it is listening to state and local health officials when determining what to do with its parks.