15 children hospitalized in NYC with mysterious syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than a quarter of a million people worldwide.

Over 3.6 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 71,022 deaths.

Today’s biggest developments:

  • NJ urges public to report any nursing home misconduct
  • Obama to give nationwide commencement addresses
  • US crosses 1.2 million confirmed cases
  • US coronavirus death toll projected to almost double by August
  • Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

    8:12 p.m.: Inslee responds to Republican lawsuit

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee responded to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Republican lawmakers against the state’s stay-at-home order, saying, “I think they are not only shortsighted but dangerous.”

    “We had hundreds of new cases as of yesterday,” Inslee said. “The measures we have taken are to preserve health and life itself. … I am very confident that Washington is on the right track. We only want to go through this once.”

    “I will say I think politics has come into play with some decision-making here and I think that’s disappointing,” he said.

    Inslee announced the formation of three advisory groups that will help in each phase of the state’s reopening.

    Phase one began today with the reopening of some outdoor recreation.

    There have been more than 15,500 cases of coronavirus and 862 deaths in Washington.

    7:30 p.m.: Hawaii shopping malls can reopen this week

    Hawaii can begin reopening businesses, including shopping malls, on Thursday, Gov. David Ige announced Monday.

    “We have some of the lowest cases in the country,” Ige said at a press briefing. “Now we can begin our phased reopening.”

    Ige signed a proclamation allowing certain businesses to reopen starting on Thursday at 12:01 a.m. In addition to shopping malls, it includes apparel and electronics retailers, car washes, pet care and grooming services, landscapers, florists and health care services, such as elective surgery.

    Ige had previously allowed golf courses and car dealerships to reopen.

    All businesses and activities must continue to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

    According to the latest numbers from Hawaii’s health department, the state has had 625 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths.

    Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

    4:30 p.m.: Hair salons, gyms, nail salons, barber shops can soon open in Texas

    Personal services, like barber shops, nail salons and hair salons, can open in Texas on May 8, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday.

    Customers and employees must wear masks, the governor said.

    Gyms in Texas can open on May 18, but they must limit capacity to 25%, close showers and locker rooms, and disinfect. Gymgoers should practice social distancing.

    Restaurants, malls and movie theaters were allowed to reopen in Texas last Friday, with restrictions.

    Texas has had over 33,369 people diagnosed with the virus, including 1,937 people who tested positive in the last 24 hours.

    At least 906 people have died.

    3:15 p.m.: NYC preps for subway’s 1st overnight shutdown in at least 50 years

    At 1 a.m. Wednesday, all of New York City’s 472 subway stations will close for cleaning and police officers will begin removing people experiencing homelessness who have been sleeping on nearly empty trains.

    “There is no refusal. They’ll have to get off the subway,” said NYPD Chief of Department Terry Monahan.

    More than 1,000 police officers have been assigned to what is the first overnight subway shutdown in at least 50 years.

    Officers from the Homeless Outreach Unit, accompanied by nurses, will remove people from subway cars.

    Most will be offered space at shelters and in other cases the nurses will decide whether someone needs to be taken to a hospital for their own safety, Monahan said.

    “We are prepared for a large sum of individuals who want to accept services, but we’re not going to know until this operation,” said Monahan.

    2:32 p.m.: Delta limiting seating capacity through June 30

    Through June 30, Delta will be limiting seating to 50% in first class and 60% in the rest of the plane.

    Delta has been blocking middle seats since mid-April, and the airline said now it will block certain window and aisle seats on planes that have 1×2, 2×2 and 2×3 seating.

    Blocked seats will show up as unavailable or not assignable when travelers book their flight online.

    2:15 p.m.: Maryland’s Ocean City beach to reopen

    In Maryland, the Ocean City beach and boardwalk will reopen this weekend.

    Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan is encouraging people to go outside and enjoy the fresh air, but still adhere to social distancing guidelines.

    Carry-out restaurants will open on the boardwalk but nonessential businesses along the boardwalk will stay closed until that order is lifted by the governor, Meehan said.

    “We want to work our way towards larger crowds and we think this will give us an opportunity to do so,” Meehan said.

    Police won’t be “patrolling for license plates” of out-of-towners, he added.

    1:35 p.m.: NJ urges public to report any nursing home misconduct

    In New Jersey, where 8,244 people have died from the coronavirus, the state remains in “the fight of our lives,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at his briefing Tuesday.

    As pressure builds to reopen, Murphy said, “nobody is itching more to get this state back up and running than yours truly and the team up here — but we’ve got to do it right.”

    “We’re considering data,” he said, and “we’re trying to learn from other places in the country and the world.”

    Murphy called attention to New Jersey’s long-term care facilities, where there have been 4,151 deaths from the coronavirus — more than half of the state’s total.

    Murphy said the number of long-term care facilities reporting COVID-19 cases is still increasing.

    The New Jersey attorney general’s office started investigating the state’s long-term care facilities in April.

    “Our investigation was prompted by both the high number of deaths we were seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and by the disturbing reports we were receiving: reports of bodies piled up in makeshift morgues, of nurses and staff without adequate PPE,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday.

    “We’re not alleging any misconduct by any facility or any entity or any individual — we’ll simply follow the facts and the law wherever they lead us,” he said.

    The state is now asking for the public’s help and encourages residents to report anonymously through an online portal.

    “If you have first-hand knowledge of misconduct during the pandemic or before, please let us know,” Grewal said. “There you can share with us any evidence of misconduct that you might have. You can also upload documents, photographs or other materials.”

    12:30 p.m.: Cuomo says reopening poses the question, ‘how much is a human life worth?’

    In New York, where 230 people died Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday stressed that, “the faster we reopen the lower the economic cost — but the higher the human cost.”

    “How much is a human life worth? That’s the real discussion that no one has admitted openly or freely. But we should,” Cuomo said. “To me, I say the cost of human life — a human life is priceless.”

    Cuomo said New York’s reopening plan is monitoring the data — including the transmission rate, hospitalization rate and death rate — and if rates go up, the state will “close the valve on reopening.”

    Cuomo on Tuesday railed against the federal government for not providing enough funding to New York.

    “They have not provided any aid to state and local governments,” he said, noting the states are the ones “that fund police, fire, education, teachers, health care workers. If you starve the states, how can you expect the states to be able to fund this entire reopening plan?”

    Cuomo also urged the federal government to work on a bipartisan basis, stressing that is the only way legislation can be passed.

    “If you don’t pass legislation, the federal government does not work. If the federal government does not work it makes it virtually impossible for state governments to work. If I can’t work, then local government can’t work,” he said.

    11:30 a.m.: Obama to give nationwide commencement addresses

    Former President Barack Obama will deliver a nationwide commencement message to the country’s high school seniors on Saturday, May 16, at 8 p.m. ET

    The one hour event, called “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” will be aired simultaneously on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.

    President Obama will also share a message for graduates of historically black colleges and universities during a live stream on May 16 at 2 p.m.

    Then on June 6, President Obama and Michelle Obama each will deliver a commencement address as a part of YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” event.

    The June 6 livestream will begin at 3 p.m. ET.

    President Obama tweeted Tuesday, “I’ve always loved joining commencements––the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones.”

    10:30 a.m.: NYC offering antibody tests for 140,000 health care workers and first responders

    New York City is offering antibody tests for 140,000 health care workers and first responders, beginning next Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said

    Testing identifies a likely past infection of COVID-19 and provides confidence that the individual overcame the virus.

    The tests will be offered at hospitals, firehouses, police stations and corrections facilities, the mayor said.

    New York City’s tracking indicators are a mix of positive and negative numbers.

    Citywide, 22% of people tested on May 3 were positive for the coronavirus — up from 17% on May 2.

    There were 75 people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 on May 3 — down from 88 admissions on May 2.

    And 596 people were in New York City ICUs with suspected coronavirus on May 3 — down from 632 on May 2.

    The mayor on Tuesday also blasted President Donald Trump, saying the president “seems to enjoy stabbing his hometown in the back, talking about ‘no bailout’ for New York.”

    Trump told The New York Post on Monday, “It’s not fair to the Republicans because all the states that need help — they’re run by Democrats in every case. Florida is doing phenomenal, Texas is doing phenomenal, the Midwest is, you know, fantastic — very little debt.”

    “You look at Illinois, you look at New York, look at California, you know, those three, there’s tremendous debt there, and many others,” Trump told the Post.

    De Blasio said at his Tuesday briefing, “These comments today show me something very cold and very unfair to the people he grew up around, the people who gave him every opportunity.”

    The mayor called on Trump to “act like the President of the United States and care … regardless of politics. Care about the people of this city.”

    10 a.m.: CT schools closed rest of academic year

    Connecticut schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year, with students instead continuing with distance learning, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

    Schools will still provide meals to children who need them.

    A decision on summer school has not yet been made.

    9:06 a.m.: US coronavirus death toll projected to almost double by August

    A coronavirus model now forecasts that nearly 135,000 people will die of COVID-19 in the United States by early August — almost double its previous projection.

    The revised projections, as shown in an influential model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is often cited by the White House, reflect increasing mobility in most U.S. states as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, indicating that more human-to-human contact will promote virus transmission. A rise in testing and contact tracing along with warmer weather — factors that could help slow transmission — don’t offset increasing mobility, according to a press release from the institute.

    “In each state, the evolution of the epidemic depends on the balance between relaxed social distancing, increasing temperature, and rising rates of testing and contact tracing,” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said in a statement Monday. “We expect that the epidemic in many states will now extend through the summer.”

    Nearly 69,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States thus far, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    8:49 a.m.: Nearly 1,300 inmates in Texas prisons test positive for COVID-19

    At least 1,275 inmates in Texas have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

    Meanwhile, 461 employees, staff or contractors of the department have also tested positive.

    More than 20,063 inmates across Texas are on medical restriction because they may have had contact with either an employee or another offender with a positive or pending COVID-19 test.

    8:05 a.m.: South Korea reports lowest daily case tally since February

    South Korea on Tuesday morning reported no new locally transmitted infections of the novel coronavirus and just three imported cases over the past 24 hours — its lowest daily tally in 77 days.

    South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded only one new case of COVID-19 on Feb. 18. Eleven days later, the country hit a peak with more than 900 new cases registered in a single day.

    Since then, the country’s rate of infections has slowly declined. The worst-hit city of Daegu reported zero new cases over the past 24 hours, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    South Korea once had the largest novel coronavirus outbreak outside China, where the virus first emerged, but appears to have brought it under control with an extensive “trace, test and treat” strategy. A total of 10,801 people in the country have been diagnosed with COVID-19, of which 9,283 have recovered and 254 have died, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Starting Wednesday, the nation will relax its strict social-distancing measures that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

    7:16 a.m.: China marks 3 weeks of no reported fatalities from COVID-19

    China reported no new deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, three weeks since the country recorded its last fatality from the disease.

    There were also no new reported local transmissions of the novel coronavirus — just one imported case from overseas, according to China’s National Health Commission.

    The Chinese mainland has reported 82,881 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,633 total deaths since the outbreak began in the city of Wuhan back in December.

    The National Health Commission said 77,853 patients have recovered from the disease while 395 others remain hospitalized for treatment. Another 949 people who either have suspected cases or tested positive despite showing no symptoms remained under isolation and medical observation.

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
  • 6:05 a.m.: France becomes 5th country to surpass 25,000 deaths from COVID-19

    The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 25,000 people in France, making it the fifth country in the world to surpass that threshold.

    The country reported 306 new deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the nationwide tally to 25,201. Just 135 new fatalities were reported the previous day, according to government data.

    Over 15,000 people have succumbed to the respiratory illness in hospitals, while more than 9,000 have died in care and nursing homes. Nearly 6,500 patients remained hospitalized in intensive care on Monday.

    The national death tolls from COVID-19 in the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain have also surpassed the 25,000 mark, according to counts kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    Nearly 170,000 people in France have been diagnosed with the disease so far, according to Johns Hopkins.

    6:05 a.m.: Russia reports over 10,000 new cases for 3rd straight day

    Russia reported more than 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday for the third day in a row, with the country’s overall caseload soaring past 150,000.

    The country’s coronavirus response headquarters said 10,102 new infections had been registered in the past 24 hours, just under Monday’s case count of 10,581 and lower than Sunday’s daily record of 10,633 new cases.

    Russia now has 155,370 diagnosed cases of the disease. However, the country’s death toll remains relatively low with just 95 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 1,451.

    Moscow still has the bulk of the country’s infections, with 5,714 new cases reported Tuesday, according to the coronavirus response headquarters.

    5:43 a.m.: US reports over 22,000 new cases on Monday

    The United States recorded more than 22,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    Although still high, the additional caseload is lower than the number of new cases recorded the previous day — over 25,000 — and down from a peak of around 36,300 new cases reported on April 24.

    Monday’s case count brings the U.S. tally to over 1.18 million.

    3:36 a.m.: 15 children hospitalized in NYC with mysterious syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19

    Fifteen children, many of whom tested positive for or had previously been exposed to the novel coronavirus, have recently been admitted to New York City hospitals with a mysterious illness possibly linked to COVID-19, health officials said in an alert Monday night.

    The patients, aged 2 to 15, had been hospitalized in intensive care from April 17 to May 1 with various symptoms associated with toxic shock or Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory syndrome typically affecting children under the age of 5. None of the reported patients have died, though more than half required blood pressure support and five needed mechanical ventilation, according to the bulletin posted by the New York City Health Department.

    “Clinical features vary, depending on the affected organ system, but have been noted to include features of Kawasaki disease or features of shock,” Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy city health commissioner for disease control, said in the alert Monday night. “However, the full spectrum of disease is not yet known.”

    All 15 patients had subjective or measured fever while more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea. Less than half of those patients reported respiratory symptoms, according to the city health department, which described the mystery ailment as a “multi-system inflammatory syndrome potentially associated with COVID-19.”

    Molecular diagnostic testing showed four of the patients were positive for the virus strain that causes COVID-19, while antibody testing revealed that six who had tested negative were likely previously infected with the virus.

    The New York City Health Department had identified the 15 patients by contacting pediatric intensive care units in hospitals across the city over the past week.

    “Only severe cases may have been recognized at this time,” Daskalakis said.

    A growing number of hospitals in the United States and Europe have reported similar cases, raising concerns of a new global pattern emerging of critically ill children with COVID-19.

    ABC News’ Gio Benitez, Dee Carden, Aicha El Hammar, Alexandra Faul, Ibtissem Guenfoud, Aaron Katersky, Rachel Katz, Alina Lobzina, Arielle Mitropoulos, Gina Sunseri and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

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