Medical supplies dwindle as COVID-19 continues to spread around the world

The virus pandemic advanced Sunday after the U.S. and Europe reported soaring new cases, prompting a scramble in some regions to set up additional hospital beds and replenish much-needed medical supplies.

Italy announced its biggest day-to-day increase of infections, which rose by 6,600 with nearly 800 new fatalities from the virus that causes COVID-19. The country’s total death toll of more than 4,825 has surpassed the number of deaths in China, where the first cases emerged late last year.

In the U.S., where multiple states have ordered residents to stay indoors, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the government is “literally scouring the globe looking for medical supplies.” Health care workers from Oklahoma City to Minneapolis sought donations of protective equipment. Staff at a Detroit hospital began creating homemade face masks for workers. Even rural hospitals were strained as people increasingly felt the pandemic closing in.

In Washington, negotiators from Congress and the White House resumed top-level talks on a ballooning $1 trillion-plus economic rescue package, urged by President Donald Trump to strike a deal to steady a nation thoroughly upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Trump continued to strike a confident tone about the nation’s ability to defeat the pandemic soon, even as health leaders nationwide acknowledged that the U.S. is nowhere near the peak for the outbreak.

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