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US tops world in coronavirus cases, Boris Johnson has Covid-19: Friday’s coronavirus news

What you need to know today.

People in face masks wait in line.
People line up outside Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, to get tested for the coronavirus on March 24, 2020.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

The United States now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 86,000 as of March 27. That exceeds the number of cases in China or Italy, both of which were once epicenters of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New York City is still the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, with 365 deaths so far, 85 of which occurred in just the past 24 hours. But other hot spots are emerging across the country, including in Louisiana and Michigan.

Hospitals and officials across the country are warning that vital medical supplies and equipment, including ventilators, are running out and are begging for help from the federal government — or, really, anyone who can help out. Yet President Donald Trump dismissed some of those pleas in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Europe continues to grapple with its own coronavirus crisis: Spain on Thursday recorded its highest single-day death toll: 769 people. And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

Here’s what you need to know today about the latest coronavirus news.

The US leads the world on coronavirus, in the worst of all ways

As of Thursday, the United States now has the most confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide. The number stands at more than 86,000, but an increase is inevitable.

As Vox’s Kelsey Piper explains, this doesn’t mean the US has the worst outbreak in the world, and the country still doesn’t have as many cases per capita as others.

At the same time, though, these numbers likely don’t capture the full scope of the coronavirus crisis in the US, as the country is likely still under-testing in many parts of the country, and not everyone who has symptoms is being accounted for. Of course, this is also likely true of other countries, too, including Iran and China.

And the virus is still spreading around the globe.

New York says it needs tens of thousands of ventilators. Trump isn’t so sure.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in press conference after press conference that New York needs 30,000 ventilators to care for patients as the epidemic peaks in the coming weeks. Cuomo said this week that the state had procured 7,000, including 400 from the federal government — though Vice President Mike Pence later said that the federal government would be shipping an additional 4,000 ventilators to the state.

Still, that only brings the total to 11,000 — well short of what New York says it needs.

But President Donald Trump doesn’t agree. In an interview with Fox New’s Sean Hannity Thursday night, Trump suggested that the numbers didn’t add up.

“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he told Hannity. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

But some New York hospitals are already trying to mitigate potential shortages by doubling people up on a single ventilator. It’s still a relatively untested method — according to the New York Times, it was used in the wake of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting and has been tried in Italy in recent days. And it can’t work for every patient.

Cuomo also explained at a press conference Thursday that while non-coronavirus patients spend an average of three to four days on a ventilator, coronavirus patients typically need ventilator assistance much longer: between 11 to 21 days.

New York State already has nearly 38,000 cases as of March 27. As that number continues to grow, the equipment shortages will only become more acute.

Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

In a video posted on Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he had developed mild symptoms of Covid-19 — a fever and “persistent cough.” He took a test, and it came out positive.

“So I am working from home, I’m self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do,” Johnson said. “But, be in no doubt, that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fight back against coronavirus.”

Johnson’s diagnosis comes just days after the prime minister implemented strict stay-at-home measures Monday that shuttered businesses and limited gatherings to two or more people. The mandate is in place for at least three weeks.

The UK’s early coronavirus response faced widespread criticism, after the government balked on banning mass gatherings and closing schools, and even exposing a large portion of the British population to the virus to help establish “herd immunity.”

And some good news

You may remember “BBC Dad,” the South Korea expert who was on a live video chat with BBC News back in 2017 when his toddler adorably pranced into the room and interrupted his interview.

Well, now that so many of us are working from home thanks to the coronavirus, video interruptions of all sorts are a part of life now.

So the BBC Dad (whose real name is Robert Kelly) decided to appear on BBC News once again — this time, with his whole family joining him — to offer some insight on the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea, where the family lives, and on the challenges and joys of working from home with young children.

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