The US death toll from the coronavirus has climbed past 3500, eclipsing China's official count, as the deepening crisis in New York hit close to home for the governor when he disclosed that his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has become infected.
"But there's a lesson in this," Governor Andrew Cuomo said of his 49-year-old brother, now quarantined in his basement. "He's an essential worker, a member of the press so he's been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you get infected is very high."
Elsewhere around the world, hard-hit Italy reported that the infection rate appears to be levelling off and new cases could start declining but that the crisis is far from over.
Spain, too, struggled to fend off the collapse of its hospital system.
Vladimir Putin's Russia moved to crack down on quarantine violations and "fake news" about the outbreak.
And China edged closer to normal as stores in the original epicentre city of Wuhan began reopening.
Worldwide, more than 800,000 people have been infected and more than 40,000 people have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Italy and Spain accounted for half the deaths, while the US had about 3550 by midday, overtaking China's official toll of about 3,300.
New York was the country's deadliest hot spot, with about 1550 deaths statewide, the majority of them in New York City.
A Navy hospital ship with 1000 beds that docked in New York on Monday was expected to begin accepting non-coronavirus patients on Tuesday.
Figures on deaths and infections around the world are supplied by government health authorities and compiled by Johns Hopkins.
But the figures are regarded with skepticism by public health experts because of different counting practices, a lack of testing in places, the numerous mild cases that have been missed and perhaps government efforts to downplay the severity of the crisis.
For example, in Italy, where the death toll was put at about 12,400, the country's emergency co-ordinator, Domenico Arcuri, acknowledged that officials don't have a handle on how many people outside of hospitals are contracting the virus and how many are dying at home or in nursing homes.
Still, there was a glimmer of hope in Italy: Dr. Silvio Brusaferro, the head of the national institutes of health, said that three weeks into a country-wide lockdown, the hardest-hit country in Europe is seeing the rate of new infections level off.
"The curve suggests we are at the plateau," he said. "We have to confirm it, because arriving at the plateau doesn't mean we have conquered the peak and we're done. It means now we should start to see the decline if we continue to place maximum attention on what we do every day."
With the country's health care system buckling under the pressure, an intensive care field hospital, built in just 10 days, was unveiled at the Milan fairgrounds.
"We made a promise and we kept it," said the head of the project, former civil protection chief Guido Bertolaso, who ended up catching the virus while on the job and had to work from his hospital bed.
In Russia, lawmakers approved harsher punishments, including prison of several years, for violating quarantine rules and spreading misinformation.
The chief doctor at Moscow's top hospital for coronavirus patients said he tested positive for the virus, a week after shaking hands with Putin.
Spain reported more than 840 new deaths, pushing the death toll above 8000 and forcing Madrid to open a second temporary morgue after an ice rink pressed into service last week became overwhelmed.
Dozens of hotels across Spain have been turned into recovery rooms for patients in less-serious condition, and authorities are building field hospitals in sports centres, libraries and exhibition halls.
A 12-year-old girl became the youngest person to die in Belgium, though it was not disclosed whether she suffered from any underlying condition.
On the US east coast, the Holland America cruise line pleaded with Florida state officials to let two ships dock and carry off the sick and the dead.
But Governor Ron Santis said: "We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources."
Dozens on one of the ships have reported flu-like symptoms and four people have died.
China on Tuesday reported just one new death from the coronavirus and 48 new cases, claiming that all new infections came from overseas.
Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organisation's regional director for the Western Pacific, cautioned, however, that the risk in Asia and the Pacific "will not go away as long as the pandemic continues".
"This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard," Kasai said. "We need every country to keep responding according to their local situation."
Australian Associated Press