Navy hospital ship reaches COVID-19 epicenter New York

U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort heads to port in New York City to help with coronavirus patients. (Photo: News 12 New Jersey LLC)

(CBS News) — President Trump has extended the nationwide shutdown of thousands of businesses until April 30, prolonging social distancing measures in a bid to curtail the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic.

Mr. Trump says the rate of new infections in the country is expected to “peak” in about two weeks, but he believes the U.S. will be “well on its way to recovery” by June 1.

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The nation’s top epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned COVID-19 could claim between 100,000 and 200,000 American lives. As of Monday morning, the nation’s death toll was over 2,500.

More than 143,500 people have tested positive in the U.S. — almost a fifth of the roughly 740,000 cases worldwide. Doctors and nurses in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, continue to face shortages of vital protective equipment and ICU beds. To help ease the burden on New York’s beleaguered health care facilities, the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort docked at New York Harbor Monday with 1,000 more beds.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned the disease is spreading “like fire through dry grass” at senior care facilities across the country.

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