Mar 19, 2020 - Health

N.Y. prisons medical official calls on judges to free inmates over coronavirus

Several of the jails on Rikers Island as seen from a departing domestic flight leaving nearby Laguardia Airport on Nov. 7, 2019 in Queens, New York. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Ross MacDonald, the chief medical officer for Correctional Health Services in New York, has called on prosecutors and judges to enable prisoners to be released from the state's jails in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: MacDonald made the call in a series of tweets late Wednesday — a day after a New York City Department of Correction officer stationed on Rikers Island died of the virus, per NBC News. A prisoner on the island tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, NY Mag notes. NYC Department of Correction suspended all in-person visits to its prisons from Wednesday.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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Cuomo says New York is "literally going day-to-day with our supplies"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.

Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

A Malayan tiger cub in its enclosure at the Bronx Zoo on April 27, 2017. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

A Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to statements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the New York City zoo.

Why it matters: It's the first known animal to test positive for the virus in the United States. The tiger is believed to have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic zookeeper.

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