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A hospital ship for NY

The USNS Comfort

Cuomo announced what he termed drastic but necessary steps to counter the coronavirus outbreak, including the hospital ship and a further limitation on business staffing. 

The federal government's deployment of the USNS Comfort will mean there will be "literally a floating hospital" next to the city.

Businesses in the state are to be placed under a "density reduction" mandate, Cuomo said, so that they would be required to operate with no more than 50% of their employees.

The numbers as of 4 p.m.: 183 confirmed cases in Nassau, 116 in Suffolk, 1,339 in New York City and 2,382 statewide.

$1 trillion for economy

The Treasury Department wants to dedicate $500 billion to start issuing direct payments to Americans by early next month as the centerpiece of a $1 trillion plan to stabilize the economy.

A first set of checks would be issued starting April 6, with a second wave in mid-May. The amounts would depend on income and family size.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump announced he'll invoke emergency powers that allow the government to marshal the private sector in response to the pandemic.

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And he said the Housing and Urban Development Department will suspend foreclosures and evictions through April.

Run on guns 

Some Long Islanders are on the hunt for more than just hand sanitizer and masks.

Gun store owners on Long Island say their businesses have sold out of firearms over the past week as scores of customers have inundated retailers.

Buyers, they said, are fearful of possible lawlessness as the outbreak escalates.

Welcome to remote learning

Schools have launched or are preparing for remote learning, lining up Wi-Fi for students and computers to take home. 

Experts say that distance learning cannot replace what happens in the classroom, but it helps to keep continuity of instruction going.

Benefits are academic and emotional, educators said.

Drive-thru testing

A coronavirus drive-thru testing site, the second in as many days set up by New York State, opened around noon Wednesday on the grounds of Stony Brook University.

In Jericho and Little Neck, Queens, urgent and primary care provider ProHEALTH opened drive-thru COVID-19 testing facilities as well.

A drive-thru testing site opened at Jones Beach on Tuesday. All require appointments.

Unwanted vacation extension

After a “lovely” two-week cruise around the bottom of South America, Fred and Marlene Kantrow are rested and ready to return to Smithtown.

They can't.

They're among thousands stuck on the Celebrity Eclipse, a massive ocean liner that’s been milling for days off the coast of Chile after the country’s government denied entry.

More to know 

Stocks fell in another atrocious day for Wall Street, illustrating a cruel paradox: Beating the virus means potentially causing a U.S. recession. Workers idled by the coronavirus are overwhelming the state Department of Labor's website and telephone lines to file for unemployment benefits. But you might be able to file your taxes later than April 15

Bare toilet paper shelves are a sign of a sign of exaggerated demand, not a production shortage, retail experts say. Some stores are shortening hours, which allows more time for cleaning and restocking. And Macy's is among those that are closing.

Nonprofit organizations that serve tens of thousands of Long Islanders say the coronavirus has created difficult challenges.

Food banks and soup kitchens are having difficulty bringing in enough volunteers because COVID-19 is deadliest for senior citizens.

Hospitals should suspend all visitation except when it's medically necessary or for family members or legal representatives of patients in end-of-life situations, the state Department of Health advised. 

The NHL has its first confirmed case, and there could be an Islanders connection. 

News for you

Stay in shape: With gyms and other fitness businesses closed, exercise actually should be uppermost in our minds now, according to Long Island fitness experts. Some are even offering daily online exercise classes, question-and-answer sessions and other virtual support. Our report includes step-by-step routines for beginners, intermediates and pros.

Sports from the sidelines: Miss following your favorite teams? Take our daily sports trivia quiz to keep yourself sharp.  

When the workout's done: Here's a curated list of 12 goofy movies to stream. We also have a list of 112 vintage sitcoms to watch (you read that right: 112!)  And here are 14 shows to binge watch. 

Plus: Each day Newsday produces a video wrap-up of coronavirus news. The latest updates from reporters and newsmakers are available here. And we keep updating our list of closings and changes to meetings, events and policies in towns, cities and libraries across Long Island. 

All you can eat

Restaurants and takeout

While a number of restaurants have closed temporarily, many are shifting their focus to takeout — including some restaurants that have never done it before.

Most of them are offering both curbside pickup and delivery. Here’s an Islandwide roundup of just a fraction of restaurants that are scrambling to serve you at home. 

And a fun fact: Restaurants now can serve alcohol to go. 

If you want to try a meal-kit delivery service, here's Newsday food critic Scott Vogel's road test of them. 

And if you want to cook your own and save it, you can build your freezer stash with this chicken stock recipe.

Opinion data: hospital space

A Newsday analysis of New York State Health Department data shows that Long Island has about 7,250 hospital beds and 550 intensive care-specific beds.

That would be approximately 2.55 hospital beds per 1,000 people, slightly lower than the U.S. average of 2.8.

This could be a concern as the coronavirus reaches peak infection rate because Long Island has a significant 60-and-older population, which Census American Community Survey estimates at 686,652.

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

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