Maryland agency receives more than 100 disinfectant use calls

narvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, WILLIAM MANSELL and ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 195,000 people worldwide.

Over 2.7 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 890,000 diagnosed cases and at least 51,017 deaths.

Here’s how the news developed Friday. All times Eastern:

9 p.m.: Massachusetts blames lab error for large increase in cases, deaths

The Massachusetts Department of Health has announced that a reporting error made by Quest Diagnostics is to blame for a dramatic increase in the number of coronavirus cases reported by the state.

“Today’s data reflects a correction of a reporting error made by Quest, a national commercial laboratory, which affected case counts in multiple states including Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health received a backlog this week of almost 10,000 patient results (both positive and negative) from Quest dating back to April 13. These cases are included for the first time in today’s data,” state officials announced late Friday.

Over the last 24 hours, there were 2,877 new positive COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, and 10,897 new tests completed.

However, the state is reporting a total of 4,946 “new” cases, and 20,137 “newly” completed tests, since their last report released yesterday. These numbers include a backlog of nearly 10,000 tests administered since April 13.

With the new tests, Massachusetts has now surpassed 50,000 positive cases statewide and now has totaled 2,556 deaths.

5:08 p.m.: Virginia postpones election, encourages absentee voting

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced he is postponing the state’s general and special election two weeks, from May 5 to May 19.

The June primary was also moved from June 9 to June 23.

But Northam wasn’t happy about the overall decision not to move the May elections to November, as he previously suggested, but which would take approval by the state legislature.

“Virginians should never have to choose between casting a ballot and risking their health,” Northam said in a statement. “I am grateful to the House of Delegates for taking action to move our upcoming elections, but unfortunately the Senate failed to make the same commonsense decision. While we strongly encourage every Virginian who can vote by mail to do so, we will also take every necessary step to conduct these elections in a way that ensures in-person voting is done safely and responsibly.”

Officials in Wisconsin have identified at least 19 cases of COVID-19 connected to in-person voting in that state’s primary election on April 7.

4:23 p.m.: New Jersey to allow renters to use security deposits

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order allowing renters to use their security deposit to pay for rent.

Murphy made the announcement during his daily briefing. He said the deposit could be used to pay rent in its entirety or partially with other funds.

“Remember, now, this is money that had been paid up front to secure a lease. And during this emergency, renters should have the ability to tap this deposit to help them secure their place in their home,” the governor said.

Murphy also gave an update on the cases in the state, saying the curve is flattening, but asked, “don’t take your foot off the gas, please.”

The total number of cases is now at least 102,196, after 3,047 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, according to Murphy. The death toll rose to 5,617 after 253 new deaths, he said.

3:57 p.m.: 73 deaths at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

An additional five veterans have died in the last 24 hours at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, putting the total number of fatalities at 73, according to the state’s Office of Health and Human Services.

Of those who died, 62 tested positive for COVID-19, nine tested negative, one result is pending and one was unknown, according to the office.

The state-run health care facility for veterans is under both a federal investigation and an independent investigation ordered by Gov. Charlie Baker over its handling of containing the virus’s spread in the facility.

There are now 85 veteran residents who have tested positive and 60 who have tested negative, according to state officials. Eight residents still have pending tests and 81 employees have tested positive.

The Office of Health and Human Services said in a statement that the home “continues its focus on supporting staff on appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) usage and ensuring monitoring and compliance for PPE best practices.”

Employees from the Baystate Medical System will be onsite to help ensure that best practices for PPE are being followed. Officials are continuing to respond to the outbreak at the facility while bringing in additional support for staff, according to the Office of Health and Human Services.

2:11 p.m.: Maryland warns residents not to ingest disinfectant after receiving more than 100 calls

Maryland sent out an emergency alert after receiving more than 100 calls on consuming disinfectant as a possible treatment to COVID-19, according to the governor’s office.

The calls came after President Donald Trump suggested using a disinfectant.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” Trump said Thursday at the White House briefing.

By Friday, he said that he was “sarcastically” asking a question.

Some Maryland residents, however, still dialed the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to ask about disinfectant use.

“This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route,” the agency tweeted.

Doctors also say that no one should consume disinfectant.

Mike Ricci, the communications director for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, said the state “decided to take the step of posting this alert after receiving more than 100 calls to our hotline.”

1:46 p.m.: Florida tops 30,000 cases, 1,000 deaths

There are now at least 30,174 confirmed cases and at least 1,012 deaths, Florida’s Department of Health said Friday.

The counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach are the most impacted; however, Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida, has by far the most cases with at least 10,701. Broward County has at least 4,570 cases.

12:34 p.m.: Javits field hospital, USNS to close

Plans are in the works to close the field hospital at the Javits Center and send the USNS Comfort hospital ship home, as cases in the city decline, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency official briefed on the matter.

The Javits facility is expected to close on May 30 and the ship will depart the New York Harbor on April 30, according to the official.

Both facilities were being used to provide relief to health care systems in the city that were being hammered with cases.

12:29 p.m.: Cuomo says US needs to learn its lesson from pandemic

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stressed that the public must learn its lesson from the current pandemic because “it will happen again.”

“Bank on it,” Cuomo said.

The governor said although there were travel restrictions implemented for China in the U.S., there were still flights coming from Europe between January and mid-March, where researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai believe the New York outbreak originated.

“We closed the front door with the China travel ban … but left the back door open,” Cuomo said.

“So the lesson? An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere,” he added.

Cuomo also gave his daily update on hospitalizations and ICU admittances, which he said were both down.

“All of the evidence suggests that we are on the downside of the curve and headed down,” Cuomo said.

The state’s stay-at-home order is expected to end in three weeks. When a reporter asked when the governor would make a decision on whether or not to keep the schools closed, Cuomo said a decision would be announced in a week.

11:56 a.m.: FDA warns against using hydroxychloroquine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public not to use hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to treat COVID-19 outside of a hospital setting or a clinical trial.

“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” the FDA said in a statement on Friday. President Donald Trump had previously touted hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment.

 The agency noted there have been reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 who were treated with either of the two FDA- approved drugs, which are used to treat or prevent malaria. The FDA also said it has reviewed case reports concerning serious heart-related adverse events and death in patients who received the drugs that were reported in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System database, the published medical literature, and the American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poison Data System.

“We are continuing to investigate these safety risks in patients with COVID-19 and will communicate publicly when more information is available,” the agency said.

11:30 a.m.: WHO announces effort to accelerate vaccines

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, announced that his agency was launching a new effort to accelerate the fight against the virus.

Tedros said in a briefing that the effort will bring together health groups and private sector partners to find a vaccine and ensure the public has access to it.

“This is a landmark collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for COVID-19,” the director general said.

The partnership for the ACT Accelerator includes the help of French President Emmanuel Macron, EU President Ursula von der Leyen and Bill and Melinda Gates.

“We are facing a common threat, which we can only defeat with a common approach,” Tedros said.

11:08 a.m.: US death toll surpasses 50K

The death toll in the United States has surpassed 50,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

There are now at least 50,031 deaths in the country, the data shows.

The grim milestone was reached Friday morning, five days after the number of fatalities hit 40,000.

The U.S. has the highest death toll in the world and the most number of cases.

10:46 a..m: Stay-at-home order extended in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15.

The order was previously set to end on April 30.

The new order will require people to wear homemade, non-medical face coverings when entering enclosed public spaces, such as grocery stores, according to a statement from Whitmer’s office. People will not face criminal penalties for going out without a mask, her office said.

Some restrictions will also be eased. Nurseries, landscaping and lawn-service companies can reopen, but social distancing must be maintained, according to Whitmer’s office. Retailers that do not sell necessary supplies will also be allowed to reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery.

Motorized boating and golf will be allowed, but using golf carts is still prohibited. Individuals will also be allowed to travel between their residences, but her office noted that “such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged.”

“With new COVID-19 cases leveling off, however, we are lifting some of the restrictions put in place in the previous order,” Whitmer said. “I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible.”

10:31 a.m.: NYC mayor says all COVID metrics are down

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday offered what he called “just plain good news” on the virus’s spread in the city.

De Blasio said all indicators — hospitalizations, ICU admittances and percent of the population that tested positive — were all down.

Daily hospitalizations of people with suspected COVID-19 went down from 227 to 176, which the mayor called a “serious decline.” The number of people admitted to ICUs on a daily basis decreased from 796 to 786 and the citywide percentage of people who tested positive went from 32% to 30%.

De Blasio also spoke about the disproportionate ways the virus appears to affect communities of color. His Equity Action Plan includes active testing sites in those communities and advertisements that are broadcasted in 15 languages in 88 zip codes.

He said even after the pandemic ends, New Yorkers can never “look away” from these disparities.

10:03 a.m.: NY hydroxy trials deliver inconclusive results

Trials of a malaria drug that was touted by President Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 delivered inconclusive results in New York, according to the head of the research team.

There was not a “statistically significant difference” between patients who took hydroxychloroquine and those who did not, David Holtgrave, dean of the University at Albany School of Public Health, told ABC News.

During CNN’s coronavirus town hall on Thursday night, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed that up, saying the drug “was not seen as a positive, not seen as a negative.”

8:59 a.m.: South Korea reports no deaths, only six new cases

For the first time in a month, South Korea has reported no new deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, according to the Center for Disease Control (KCDC).

There were also only six new cases as of Friday, the KCDC reported. The total number of confirmed cases in South Korea is at least 10,708, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

7:16 a.m.: Lysol company says don’t ingest its products to fight coronavirus

Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes Lysol, said you should not inject or ingest any of its products as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. This statement follows a press briefing Thursday in which President Donald Trump seemed to muse that UV light and disinfectants could maybe combat COVID-19.

“We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” the company said in a statement.

RB, without specifically mentioning Trump or the press briefing, said it felt compelled to put out a statement because of “recent speculation and social media activity … whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus.”

“Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said during Thursday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. “And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs so it would be interesting to check that.”

His comments came after a Department of Homeland Security official said their research found that ultraviolet rays and disinfectants like bleach and isopropyl alcohol work well against the virus.

6:15 a.m.: Georgia governor defends opening some nonessential businesses

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defended his controversial plan to open some nonessential businesses on Friday, despite criticism from President Donald Trump.

Kemp said he’s followed federal safety guidelines and that now is the time to start reopening the state’s economy.

“Now, with favorable data and approval from state health officials, we are taking another measured step forward by opening shuttered businesses for limited operations,” Kemp tweeted Thursday night. “I know these hardworking Georgians will prioritize the safety of their employees and customers. Together, we will weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever.”

Trump said Kemp went too far in opening some of the state’s businesses.

“I want him to do what he thinks is right,” Trump said during a press briefing Wednesday. “But … I think (opening) spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in Phase One … it’s just too soon.”

In addition, Kemp released new requirements through executive order, detailing how various businesses can begin reopening again starting on Friday and Monday. Some requirements include that restaurants must post signs saying no one with symptoms of COVID-19 can enter.

Georgia has at least 21,883 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, with at least 881 deaths.

3:30 a.m.: China reports no new COVID-19 deaths for ninth straight day

China reported no new deaths from the novel coronavirus for the ninth consecutive day on Friday.

There were also only six new cases of COVID-19, two of which were brought into the country from overseas, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Since the virus was first detected in the city of Wuhan back in December, the Chinese mainland has reported 82,804 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,632 deaths.

Hospitals were still treating 915 patients with confirmed cases as of Friday morning, including 57 who are listed in serious condition, according to the National Health Commission.

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