Hospital overrun with coronavirus patients in corridors waiting 3 days for beds

A shocking video appears to show coronavirus patients lining the corridors of a hospital as the COVID-19 pandemic results in a three-day wait for a bed in Spain.

The clip was recorded in the Hospital of Albacete in the region of Castilla La Mancha, where 88 patients were hospitalised on Tuesday.

In the video, patients in gurneys can be seen lining the corridors of the hospital, with others sitting on chairs.

The woman recording can be heard saying “people are lying on the ground because they said they were exhausted”.

She says that she was sharing the images as a call for the authorities to react to the situation because the sick patients have no voice and are being ignored.

The hospital is a bottleneck for the local health centres, she says, adding that more beds are needed for the huge number of patients being admitted.

Condemning the government further, the health worker claims there is not enough protective equipment “so we keep putting our health and our loved ones at risk”.

The Integrate Attention Management of Albacete, which belongs to the Health Service of Castilla La Mancha, said the increase in the number of patients in the hospital had put pressure on the emergency services.

New measures were implemented on Tuesday after the video was shared – with an entire floor of the hospital now being used for those coming from the emergency room.

Another ward from the nearby Perpetuo Socorro Hospital is also available for use.

This comes just days after sick and coughing patients were filmed lying on blankets on the floor of a hospital in Madrid.

Spain has registered 49,515 cases of COVID-19 with 3,647 deaths according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University.

According to the Spanish Health Ministry, 7,937 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours and in Castilla La Mancha there have been 2,780 cases and 315 deaths in the same timeframe.

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Crews sequestered 24-7 at Brandon water treatment plant amid COVID-19

The City of Brandon is sequestering a crew of workers at its water treatment plant in an effort to ensure the community has clean drinking water throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

In all, nine municipal water treatment facility operators and maintenance staff will remain inside the plant 24-7 starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, the city said in release.

Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest stressed the move should not be cause for public alarm and is being done proactively to protect the water treatment plant’s functions.

“We are doing all we can to ensure that we have a full contingent of healthy staff to perform critical functions at the municipal water treatment facility,” Chrest said in the release.

“I want to personally commend this group of water treatment facility staff, who have stepped up and put the comfort and security of their own lives on hold in order to ensure that our community’s supply of safe, potable water remains uninterrupted.”

The city says every crew member has volunteered for the duty, which is part of Brandon’s Water Treatment Facility Pandemic Preparedness Plan.

As part of the plan, trailers are on site to serve as personal accommodations for the crew.

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Fourteen additional staff will remain on the job outside of the facility, the city said.

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‘Everything is so surreal’: Global coronavirus cases surge as U.S. leads infections

The United States’ caseload of coronavirus infections surged to the most in the world and its capital reported more infections, as Italy shut most of its industry and masses of Indian day laborers received food rations after a lockdown put them out of work.

Increases in the number of cases have been expected as testing becomes more available. The U.S. passed China with more than 85,000 cases, and Italy also exceeded 80,000, the three countries together accounting for almost half of the world’s infections from the new virus.

Most of China’s patients have recovered, while places where the virus arrived later are now dealing with overwhelmed hospitals and supply shortages and are rushing to convert public spaces for treating the sick.

Washington, D.C., confirmed 36 new cases Thursday, raising its total to 267. The district is under a state of emergency, its major attractions like the Smithsonian museums and National Zoo closed and White House and Capitol tours cancelled. Police have blocked off streets, bridges and traffic circles to prevent crowds coming to see Washington’s blooming cherry blossom trees.

The stay-home order for India’s 1.3 billion people threw out of work the backbone of the nation’s economy — rickshaw drivers, fruit peddlers, cleaners and others who buy food from whatever they can earn in a day. The government announced a $22 billion stimulus to deliver monthly rations to 800 million people.

In some parts of India, people got rice rations or bank deposits from local authorities, and aid groups were working to expand their reach. The nation’s vital and massive train system was also halted, and jobless workers are now attempting to walk hundreds of miles to their home villages from India’s major cities.

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Uzbek doctor, 39, dies after coronavirus self-treatment

TASHKENT (Reuters) – A doctor in Uzbekistan died on Saturday after unsuccessfully trying to treat a coronavirus infection that he kept secret, the Central Asian nation’s healthcare ministry said.

The 39-year-old man had been in contact with Uzbek “patient zero”, it said in a statement, who appeared to have infected him.

He was hospitalized on March 26 in grave condition and died two days later, becoming the second coronavirus patient to die in the former Soviet republic.

Uzbekistan has confirmed 104 cases of the virus and has locked down all of its provinces and barred citizens from leaving their homes except for work or essential shopping.

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Coronavirus: Eiffel Tower says ‘Merci’ to health care workers

Health workers racing to save lives as France contends with one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks have received a huge show of gratitude with the help of the Eiffel Tower.

The Paris landmark also had a message for the broader French public: Stay home.

Lights spelled out “Merci,” French for `Thank you,” and “Stay at home” in English on Friday night along with the tower’s famous sparkling illuminations.

The display of solidarity that started at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) coincided with the moment when citizens in lockdown across France have been cheering and applauding from their windows and balconies in support of doctors and nurses.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the light show will take place every evening on the 324-meter-tall tower.

French hospitals recorded nearly 2,000 virus-related deaths as of Friday, a figure that doesn’t include COVID-19 cases elsewhere. Health workers are straining to treat an ever-increasing number of patients, including nearly 3,800 in intensive care.

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UK will have done well if fewer than 20,000 die, NHS medical director says

LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom will have done well if it comes through the coronavirus crisis with fewer than 20,000 deaths, Stephen Powis, the national medical director of the National Health Service, said on Saturday.

When asked if he hoped that the United Kingdom was not on the same trajectory as countries such as Italy, Powis said: “If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.”

“If it is less than 20,000… that would be a good result though every death is a tragedy, but we should not be complacent about that,” said Powis, speaking at a news conference in Downing Street alongside Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

He said the NHS had been working incredibly hard to increase the intensive care capacity beyond the 4,000 beds it typically had.

He said the NHS was preparing operating theatres and recovery areas to take critically ill patients. He said that was going on in London hospitals and almost doubling capacity though it had not yet been used to treat patients.

“At the moment, I am confident the capacity is there,” Powis said. “We have not reached capacity.”

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Coronavirus: Spain death count rises 769 in one day to 4,858

The number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Spain has risen by 769 in one day, taking the total to 4,858.

The number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease in the country also went up on Thursday from 56,188 to 64,059, according to the national health ministry.

The number of coronavirus patients who have died in Spain is second only to Italy, where 8,215 people have died.

Spain ranks fourth for the number of confirmed cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US took the lead on Thursday evening with 85,991 positive tests, moving ahead of China, where the disease originally emerged back in December.

Italy is set to surpass China’s total when its latest figures are released later on Friday.

There are 80,589 confirmed cases in Italy, which has been overwhelmed by the deadly disease in the past month, compared to 81,894 in China.

China has seen a sharp decrease in new cases and has suspended visits from almost all foreign nationals – a turnaround from the situation in January, when the US and Europe were limiting travel from China.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 500,000 on Thursday.

There have been concerns that Spain could become the new epicentre of the pandemic in Europe, as the number of cases and deaths has continued to rise.

However, health emergency chief Fernando Simon said the numbers were showing some signs of stabilising since a lockdown was imposed by the government earlier this month.

“In percentage terms, today’s increase is roughly equivalent to that of the past three days, in which we seem to see a clear stabilisation,” he said.

Hotels are being converted into hospitals to deal with the outbreak, and an ice rink at a Madrid shopping mall is being used as a temporary morgue to store bodies until they can be buried or cremated.

An investigation has also been launched after troops disinfecting nursing homes discovered elderly people living amid the corpses of suspected coronavirus victims.

The Spanish army has asked fellow NATO countries for coronavirus testing kits, ventilators and protective gear.

Spain’s central bank expressed fears for the state of the country’s economy following the outbreak, with many businesses in the country having already started to temporarily lay off thousands of workers.

Many European nations may be looking to Germany for inspiration in tackling the disease, with the country so far recording an incredibly low death rate compared to neighbouring nations.

In Germany, just 0.6% of their confirmed coronavirus cases have so far ended up being fatal – the lowest figure amongst any of the most affected countries.

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U.S. House leaders plan to pass $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill Friday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expected the chamber to pass an estimated $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill when it meets on Friday, after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the unprecedented economic rescue legislation on Wednesday evening.

“Tomorrow we’ll bring the bill to the floor. It will pass with strong bipartisan support,” Pelosi, a Democrat, told reporters.

The legislation will rush direct payments to Americans within three weeks once the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passes it and Republican President Donald Trump signs it into law, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The Republican-led Senate approved the bill – which would be the largest fiscal stimulus measure ever passed by Congress – by 96 votes to zero late on Wednesday, after days of intense negotiations between Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials.

The unanimous Senate vote, a rare departure from bitter partisanship in Washington, underscored how seriously members of Congress are taking the global pandemic as Americans suffer and the medical system reels.

The unanimous support also increased the bill’s chances of easily winning approval in the House.

The package is intended to flood the country with cash in an effort to stem the crushing impact on the economy of an intensifying pandemic that has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States and infected nearly 70,000.

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The U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to 3.28 million, the highest level ever.

Pelosi said there was no question more money would be needed to fight the coronavirus. She said House committees would be working on the next phase in the near term, even if the full chamber is not in session. Lawmakers have been told to be on call for possible votes.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also backs the relief plan passed by the Senate. But he wants it to be allowed to work before deciding whether more legislation was needed.

“This will be probably the largest bill anybody in Congress has ever voted for,” he told reporters.

Only two other countries, China and Italy, have more coronavirus cases than the United States. The World Health Organization has warned that the country looks set to become the global pandemic’s epicenter.

The massive coronavirus rescue bill follows two others that became law this month. The money at stake amounts to nearly half of the total $4.7 trillion the federal government spends annually.

Trump has promised to sign the bill as soon as it passes the House.

Pelosi said House leaders were planning a voice vote on the rescue plan on Friday, but would be prepared for other contingencies. She had said that if there were calls for a roll-call vote, a ballot recorded by name, lawmakers might be able to vote by proxy, as not all would be able to be in Washington.

“If somebody has a different point of view (about the bill), they can put it in the record,” she said.

There was some opposition. Republican Representative Thomas Massie said he opposes the bill, and was uncomfortable with the idea of allowing it to pass on a voice vote, rather than recording every House member’s position on it.

“I’m having a real hard time with this,” Massie said on 55KRC talk radio in Cincinnati.

McCarthy predicted the measure would pass Friday morning following a debate.

The $2.2 trillion bill includes a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 apiece to millions of families.

The legislation will also provide $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and at least $100 billion for hospitals and related health systems.

And it includes $400 million to expand voting by mail and early voting in every state, amid some concern that coronavirus could interview with November’s general election. The virus has already postponed some of the primary elections, or nominating contests, to pick which Democrat will oppose Trump as he vies for re-election.

The House has 430 members, most of whom have been out of Washington since March 14. Many want to return for the vote, but it would be difficult for all to attend, given that at least two have tested positive for the coronavirus, a handful of others are in self-quarantine, and several states have issued stay-at-home orders. There are five vacant House seats.

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Thune, missed Wednesday’s vote because he was not feeling well. His spokesman said Thune, 59, flew back to his state, South Dakota, on a charter flight Wednesday, accompanied by a Capitol Police officer and wearing a mask.

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Treasury: U.S. will be 'compensated' for assistance to airlines

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Friday that taxpayers will “compensated” for providing up to $25 billion in direct grants to the airline industry.

“I’ve been very clear this is not an airline bailout,” Mnuchin told Fox Business Network Friday. “It is support to the airlines for national security reasons that the taxpayers are going to be compensated for.”

U.S. airlines are preparing to tap the government to cover payroll in a sharp travel downturn triggered by the coronavirus, even after the government warned it may take stakes in exchange for bailout funds or other financial instruments, people familiar with the matter said.

Under the bill approved Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives, Mnuchin can demand equity, warrants or other financial instruments to “provide appropriate compensation to the federal government.” Mnuchin did not directly answer whether he will seek warrants or equity.

The Treasury has an internal working group already discussing how to proceed, people briefed on the matter said. A person briefed on the matter said Mnuchin is expected to take a hard line with the airlines who had threatened to furlough tens of thousands of workers without immediate cash.

Airline stocks fell Friday on Mnuchin’s comments.

American Airlines Inc (AAL.O) fell 6%, while Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) fell 9% and JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O) fell 7%.

“We have people coming from other agencies in the government to come and help us out,” Mnuchin said, saying officials are working at “lighting speed.”

American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said Thursday the largest U.S. airline is eligible for $12 billion of the $50 billion in U.S. government loans and grants. Parker said the conditions for the grants are “not currently well-defined.” But he added “I expect their terms will not be onerous.”

Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) said Friday the “payroll assistance funds ensure there will be no involuntary furloughs or reductions in pay rates through Sept. 30.”

Airlines are supposed to receive payments within 10 days of the law’s signing.

Boeing Co (BA.N) has sought at least $60 billion in government loans or loan guarantees aerospace industry. Earlier this week, Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun said the company was not interested in giving the government equity in exchange for loans.

“Boeing has said they have no intention of using the program – that may change in the future,” Mnuchin said.

Boeing did not immediately comment Friday. “The taxpayers will be fully compensated,” Mnuchin said. “No bailout for Boeing or anyone else.”

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