WATCH: President Trump, White House coronavirus (COVID-19) task force hold daily briefing

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence listen during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and the White House coronavirus (COVID-19) task force held the daily briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The task force holds a press conference each day to provide an update on the country’s response to COVID-19.

Watch the briefing below (or click here):

Read a COVID-19 update from the Associated Press below:

As hot spots flared around the United States in places like New Orleans, Detroit and Southern California, New York was the hardest hit of them all, with bodies loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift outside overwhelmed hospitals. And the worst is yet to come, with Vice President Mike Pence comparing the U.S. trajectory to that of Italy.

Experts warned that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. even if social distancing guidelines are maintained. America now has more than 4,000 dead from the outbreak.


— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order Wednesday as local pressure mounted for him to abandon the county-by-county approach he had implemented. Florida, which has recorded 86 deaths, followed more than 30 other U.S. states that had already issued such orders, including other large states such as California, New York and Illinois.

— Vice President Mike Pence said the White House’s models for the coronavirus outbreak show the country on a trajectory akin to hard-hit Italy. Pence was referencing the prediction models unveiled Tuesday by the White House that project 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. deaths in the pandemic. Those figures assume that the country maintains rigorous social-distancing practices for the duration of the public health crisis.

— Countries around the world continue to test potential treatments. The Russian government said Wednesday that tests of a new coronavirus vaccine will begin in June. Algeria plans to administer the anti-malaria medication chloroquine to treat citizens with confirmed cases of COVID-19 as well as those who appear to be infected. Many doctors say more tests need to be done before chloroquine is used as a treatment.

— Wimbledon was canceled on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time since World War II that the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament won’t be played.

— The IRS and the Treasury Department say Americans will start receiving their economic impact checks in the next three weeks.

— Facing intense surges in the need for hospital ICU beds, European nations are on a building and hiring spree, throwing together makeshift hospitals and shipping coronavirus patients out of overwhelmed cities. The key question is whether they will be able to find enough healthy medical staff to make it all work.

— The coronavirus pandemic couldn’t come at a worse time for rural communities across the U.S. that have lost their hospitals. Nearly 200 small-town hospitals have closed nationwide since 2005, often forcing residents to drive much farther for health care. Last year was the worst yet for shutdowns, and officials say hundreds more rural hospitals are endangered by the pandemic.