Wednesday morning news – April 8, 2020

Coronavirus deaths in NYC top 9/11 » New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus has now eclipsed the number of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. More than 3,200 people have died in the city from COVID-19. 

That came after New York state recorded its biggest one-day jump in deaths—731. 

But as alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that’s a “lagging indicator.” The number of deaths reflects the number of severely ill people hospitalized before this week. And he said there is some potentially good news to report. 

CUOMO: Right now, we’re projecting that we are reaching a plateau in the total number of hospitalizations. And you can see the growth and you can see it starting to flatten. Again, this is a projection. It still depends on what we do. 

Statewide, nearly 5,500 people have died.

British prime minister in stable condition in ICU » British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in stable condition with the coronavirus Tuesday in a London hospital’s intensive care unit. Doctors were giving him oxygen, but officials said he was breathing on his own without a ventilator.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron called Johnson’s move to the ICU “worrying news.” 

CAMERON: All of us are praying for Boris and thinking of him and praying, thinking of his family, and hoping that he gets well soon and gets back to Number 10 where I know he wants to be and we all want him to be. 

The 55-year-old Johnson is the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19. He checked into the hospital late Sunday with a fever and cough that persisted 10 days after testing positive for the coronavirus. Doctors moved him to the ICU the next night. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has temporarily taken over many of the prime minister’s duties to lead the country’s response to the pandemic. Britain has no official post of deputy prime minister or any clear line of succession. 

Secretary of the Navy resigns » Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has reportedly submitted his resignation after sparking a controversy over his firing of a Navy captain. 

Modly fired USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Brett E. Crozier on Monday. He said Crozier had shown “extremely poor judgment” in widely distributing a letter calling for urgent help with the COVID-19 outbreak aboard his ship.

Media outlets soon picked up and reported on the letter. That upset some of Crozier’s superiors, including Modly. 

Modly then flew to the aircraft carrier, at port in Guam, and delivered a speech to the crew in which he lambasted Crozier. 

MODLY: If he didn’t think that information was going to get out into the public in this information age that we live in, then he was either: a) Too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this. 

Modly later issued a public apology for those remarks, but by then the calls for his resignation were already mounting on Capitol Hill. 

Trump removes Defense Dept. watchdog » President Trump has removed the inspector general tapped to chair a special oversight board for the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: On Tuesday, the president removed Glenn Fine, the acting Defense Department inspector general. He was selected by peers last month to oversee the economic aid spending. Now it’s unclear who will handle that task.

Democrats quickly condemned the news. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump is moving to “undermine oversight.”

The move follows the president’s late-night firing on Friday of Michael Atkinson. He was the intelligence community inspector general who forwarded to Congress a whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment in the House. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

David Benham arrested in front of N.C. abortion facility » Pro-life activist and former HGTV star David Benham has posted a video to social media of his recent arrest in front of a North Carolina abortion facility. 

Benham was part of a small group offering counseling to women entering the facility last weekend. 

The video captured his interaction with police and eventual arrest as officers said he was violating the state’s stay-at-home order.  

BENHAM: We are offering essential services to these mothers and you know this. And we are practicing social distancing. We are doing everything well within the ordinance, well within the provisions.
POLICE: It’s a state statute.
BENHAM: It’s well within the statute. We are doing everything.    

Benham called the arrest “government overreach.”

Pro-life activists across the country have faced similar charges for violating stay-at-home orders.

Voters head to polls in Wisconsin despite health warning » Thousands of Wisconsin voters waited hours in long lines to participate in the state’s presidential primary election. Those lines were made longer as volunteers tried their best to keep voters spaced apart. Thousands more stayed home, unwilling to risk their health. Wisconsin is under a stay-at-home order. 

Polls closed last night, but a court ruling prevented officials from revealing the results until next week. 

Singer John Prine dies from coronavirus complications » Singer-songwriter John Prine died Tuesday from complications from the coronavirus. Prine was known for folk songs like “Sam Stone” and “Hello in There.”

MUSIC: [Hello in There]

Prine signed with Atlantic Records and released his first album in 1971. Many artists covered his songs over the years, including Johnny Cash, John Denver, George Strait, and Norah Jones.

John Prine was 73 years old.

(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali) An ambulance drives past St Thomas’ Hospital in central London as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened in London, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

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