A new coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people worldwide.
More than 3.2 million people worldwide 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. Actual numbers are said to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their country’s epidemics.
Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the most affected country, with more than a million cases diagnosed and at least 63,019 deaths.
The biggest developments today:
Here’s how the news is evolving today. Every hour in the East. Please refresh this page for updates.
8:25 a.m .: 2 investigations launched after the decomposition of bodies discovered at the Brooklyn funeral home
New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker’s office is investigating the Andrew T. Cleckley funeral home in Brooklyn, where up to 100 rotting bodies were found in unrefrigerated trucks.
“Funeral homes and morgues must be responsible for their actions or their absence, and we will do everything in our power to protect health and safety,” said the commissioner’s office in a statement.
Abandoning, neglecting, mistreating or not treating with dignity and respect, a dead human body entrusted to the license holder, constitutes a violation of reprehensible behavior under public health law.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is also investigating.
Police reacted to a foul odor outside the funeral home on Wednesday and found dozens of rotting bodies in two U-Haul trucks and a U-Haul pickup truck.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio called the situation “unacceptable” and noted that the city had transferred some of the coronavirus victims to freezer trucks for preservation.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is building long-term storage for corpses as part of its portable disaster relief unit with a capacity of nearly 3,000 people.
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5.51 a.m .: 4 dead detainees, 600 tested positive at the BOP prison
Four inmates died from COVID-19 at Terminal Island Prison, a low-security federal correctional facility in San Pedro, California.
Another 600, or almost 60% of the prison population, tested positive for the new coronavirus.
“The government has a responsibility to protect those in its care, including inmates,” said MP Nanette Diaz Barragan, whose district includes Terminal Island, at ABC Los Angeles KABC station in a statement. “Terminal Island management has clearly failed. “
“There are alternatives that can keep non-violent prisoners safe, such as home confinement. We need prison management to consider these alternatives, especially for the vulnerable, and stop the spread of this disease in Terminal Island, “said the Barragan statement.
On the premises of the Federal Prisons Office, 1,692 federal inmates and 349 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 across the country. According to the organization, there have been at least 33 deaths from coronaviruses among detainees.
3:08 a.m .: City votes to legally challenge Newsom Beach closure order
Huntington Beach City Council voted to continue legal action against California Gavin Newsom’s beach closure order Thursday evening.
“Governor Newsom’s mandate to close all beaches in Orange County today has been a jarring decision that significantly affects us here at Huntington Beach,” said Mayor Lyn Semeta in a statement. “Given that Orange County has one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates per capita in California, state action prioritizes policy over data, in direct contradiction with the governor’s stated purpose of allowing science and the facts to guide our response to this horrible global pandemic. “
The board voted 5-2 to request “all necessary legal action” to contest Newsom’s order.
Newsom said photos of crowded beaches with little social distancing gave him no choice but to protect public health by ordering the beaches closed.
“Everyone has seen these images and we are all concerned about them. … This is what ultimately led to this decision, “Newsom said Thursday.
California has more than 50,000 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed, with at least 2,036 deaths across the state.
What you need to know about coronavirus:
ABC News’ Mark Crudele, Marilyn Heck and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.