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Coronavirus update: The coronavirus case count is surging as testing capacity increases worldwide

Anjalee Khemlani
Senior Reporter

The coronavirus case count is surging as testing capacity increases worldwide, as the global case count surges past 800,000 and deaths near 40,000 Tuesday. The U.S., which continues to lead the world with more than 170,000 cases, is seeing nearly half of its cases come from New York, with 75,000 positive cases as of Tuesday.

The mounting numbers in the Empire State, especially in New York City, are casting a dark shadow over the country’s health-care system as the city attempts to contain the contagion. Many health workers report that there are not enough supplies, forcing them to make hard choices about whom should be saved.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a number of possible solutions to the ventilator shortage in a press briefing on Tuesday, includes splitting ventilator tubes so two people can use the same machine, as well as repurposing similar devices, such as anesthesia machines, to act as ventilators.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who is overseeing the second-highest outbreak in the country at more than 18,000 cases, is also concerned about his state’s ability to respond the crisis. Murphy said he is focused on pushing for Congress to add more federal aid for the state in phase four of a stimulus package being worked on in the coming month.

“The numbers of positive cases will continue to rise, sadly, so will the fatalities,” Murphy said.

In an announcement Monday evening, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a number of regulatory changes to ease the burden on provider mandates for reimbursement, such as allowing patients to be triaged in a number of settings outside the hospital, including rehabilitation hospitals, dormitories and hotels.

In addition, the department is allowing lab technicians to travel to a beneficiary’s home to collect a swab or specimen for COVID-19 tests, and, under certain circumstances, “hospitals and other entities will also temporarily be able to perform tests for COVID-19 on people at home and in other community-based settings,”said administrator Seema Verma.

Markets

Markets were choppy Tuesday as the increased economic pressure of an extended stay-at-home policy weighs on businesses.

Crude oil futures especially took a hit, posting the largest single-quarter decline in a decade, at 66%. This mirrors the activity across markets, looking at significant lower first quarters than they have seen in decades.

[Read more: Stock market news live: Dow posts worst quarterly drop since 1987, oil slumps]

A number of companies are pivoting to respond to the U.S. efforts to respond to the outbreak, including Jockey, which was highlighted at Monday’s White House briefing, for making masks for frontline health workers. MyPillow was also congratulated for its efforts by Trump.

MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell told Yahoo Finance Tuesday that the company shifted to making masks within three days.

“We’re trying to get everybody back safely to their jobs, but first we have to make our brave people at the hospitals ... make them safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, retailers continue to announce plans to furlough employees as stores remain closed, the latest including JCPenny (JCP) and Macy’s (M).

Walmart, meanwhile, has announced it is changing its shopping experience to one-way aisles in order to support social distancing measures. It also plans to scan employees’ temperatures at all stores and some distribution centers, as well as providing protective gear for warehouse workers.

This comes a day after Amazon took some heat from workers who staged a walkout in Staten Island.

Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @AnjKhem

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