At least a quarter of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were among nursing home residents, new report finds
— Nearly 26,000 nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in the U.S., according to a new report provided to U.S. governors, according to AP News. This number, which makes up at least a quarter of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., is likely higher than what it is and will continue to increase, according to AP News. Based on data up to May 24, from 80% of the 15,400 nursing homes around the country, there were 60,000 cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents, according to a letter addressed to governors and a chart from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided to the AP.
— The Metropolitan Opera has canceled its fall season due to the coronavirus, according to a statement. They expect to open up and invite audiences back starting on December 31, 2020 “with a special gala performance,” they wrote. “Social distancing and grand opera simply don’t go together,” said Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan’s General Manager said in a video. “We are hopeful that in the winter starting December 31, that there will be a medical solution and the Met will continue its performances at that time,” Gelb said. “In the troubled state of the world today, the people certainly need the relief and happiness and solace the grand opera brings to them. For now we’ll be streaming, but in the winter we’ll be performing again.”
— The Democratic Republic of the Congo is now having a new outbreak of Ebola, as the country tries to fight both the coronavirus and the world’s largest measles epidemic, according to The New York Times. The new Ebola outbreak has killed five people and infected two more in Mbandaka, on the western side of the country, hundreds of miles away from an Ebola epidemic that, a couple of months ago, was nearly over until a new case was found. It’s unclear how Ebola spread to the western side amid travel restrictions from the coronavirus, according to the Times. Congo has reported more than 3,000 cases of the coronavirus and 71 COVID-19-related deaths but because testing is limited, it’s unclear how much higher those numbers actually are, the Times reported.
Spain reports zero coronavirus deaths in last 24 hours, cases are declining in some parts of the U.S. and increasing in others
— Spain reported no coronavirus deaths in the last 24-hours for the first time since March, according to The Associated Press. Spain, which was one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, only reported 71 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24-hours, according to AP News. The country’s peak death toll happened on April 2 with 950 deaths within 24 hours. Spain is slowly easing its very strict lockdown, but the government is warning that new waves of infections can occur and that the threat isn’t over, according to AP News. The country has tallied more than 239,400 COVID-19 cases and more than 27,100 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— In five days, California’s coronavirus cases have increased by 11%, according to CNN. The state now has 110,583 cases, up more than 11,000 since Wednesday, CNN reported. In some states, cases are declining significantly, but in others, new outbreaks are raising alarms, according to The New York Times. The U.S. has been reporting around 21,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, lower than the more than 30,000 cases the country was reporting at its peak in April, according to the Times. While the pandemic seems to be waning in the northeast, it’s persisting in the midwest. Some states in the South have also been seeing spikes, including Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, the Times reported.
New cases are increasing in California, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah, Arkansas, West Virginia, Vermont, Montana, Alaska and Puerto Rico, according to an analysis by The New York Times. New Cases are mostly remaining the same in Texas, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, Nebraska, Missouri, Nevada, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Idaho, Maine, Wyoming, Hawaii and Guam. New Cases are decreasing in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Iowa, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Delaware, Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and North Dakota.
Public health officials and government officials are worried that the protests over George Floyd’s death — which has led to large gatherings of people across the country — will lead to an increase in coronavirus cases, according to CNN. “I share the outrage and I stand with the protestors,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing. But Cuomo expressed concerns that these mass gatherings could “exacerbate the COVID-19 spread.”
“We don’t even know the consequence for the COVID virus of those mass gatherings, we won’t know possibly for weeks,” Cuomo said. It could potentially affect hundreds and hundreds of people — who knows how many super-spreaders might have been in those crowds, he said. And this comes a week before New York City is expected to start easing restrictions, he said. Cuomo told reporters people can continue to protest, but recommended they protest safely with masks, using hand sanitizer and physical distancing if possible, according to CNBC.
Eli Lilly begins testing a human-made antibody against the coronavirus on a small group of people
— Researchers have begun conducting an early study of a human-made antibody against the coronavirus discovered by AbCellera and developed by Eli Lilly, according to STAT News. Researchers with Eli Lilly will test this drug, thought to be the first developed specifically to fight COVID-19, on 32 people at various doses to see if it has any side effects. Mark Mulligan, the director of the vaccine center at New York University Langone Health, who is one of the doctors working in Lilly’s study, has intravenously given the antibody to the first patient at NYU for over 30 minutes, according to STAT. The researchers hope that by giving neutralizing antibodies to patients, it can help treat the coronavirus. But they also hope that it can prevent infection, according to STAT. It’s not yet clear if antibody drugs will be effective, but they’re not the only ones developing them: Regeneron is also expected to start testing its antibody drug soon, as are Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline (as part of a partnership).
— There are now more than 6.1 million people who have had COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 372,500 people who have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 1.79 million people who have had COVID-19 and more than 104,300 have died; In Brazil, there are now more than 514,800 people who have had COVID-19 and more than 29,300 who have died; in Russia there are 414,800 people who have had COVID-19 and more than 4,800 have died.
Health officials are trying to contact people who gathered at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend, after visitor tests positive for the coronavirus
— On Memorial Day weekend, large crowds gathered in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, despite social distancing guidelines, igniting outrage on social media. Now, health officials are trying to contact many of these people after one of the party-goers tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times. The person was a Boone County resident who had arrived to the lake on Saturday and developed illness on Sunday, “so was likely incubating illness and possibly infectious at the time of the visit,” according to a statement from The Camden County Health Department. The county released a timeline of where the person had visited on Saturday and Sunday “due to the need to inform mass numbers of unknown people,” according to the release. The Boone County Health Department is now conducting an investigation and Lake Area health departments are helping with local contacts, according to the statement.
— There are now more than 6 million people who have gotten COVID-19 worldwide and more than 367,600 people who have died from the infection, according the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. There are more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. who have gotten COVID-19 and more than 103,600 who have died in the country, according to the dashboard.
— There are now more than 465,100 COVID-19 cases in Brazil and 27,878 deaths, according to the dashboard. COVID-19 related deaths in Brazil has now surpassed Spain’s, making the country the fifth deadliest hit by the virus, according to Reuters.
Trump says U.S. is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, Monkey runs away with blood samples from possible COVID-19 patients in India
— A couple of days ago, a monkey attacked a lab technician at a medical school in Meerut, India and ran away with blood samples from patients suspected to have COVID-19, according to a Live Science report. The lab technician took a video with his phone of the monkey climbing up a tree and eating what seems to be surgical gloves, Indian news outlet NDTV reported. Residents in the area are concerned that this theft could increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the area if the monkey thief infects other monkeys and these animals become another source of transmission to humans, India Today reported. But there is no evidence that the monkeys or any animal can catch the virus from the blood of infected people, the New York Times reported.
— President Donald Trump said today that the U.S. will stop funding and terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), according to CNBC. “China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” Trump said during a news conference today. He has been criticizing the organization for their response to the pandemic and for being too “China-centric,” according to CNBC. It’s not clear if Trump can completely withdraw U.S. funding from the WHO without going through Congress.
Most funding from the U.S. goes directly out to the program that helps countries in “all sorts of fragile and difficult settings,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, had said on May 20, according to CNBC. (This was two days after Trump sent the WHO a letter threatening to freeze funding if the organization didn’t make “substantive improvements” to their response to the pandemic.) “This is going to be a major implication for delivering essential health services to some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and we trust developed donors will, if necessary, step in to fill that gap, Ryan said.
In response to Trump’s announcement today, the Infectious Diseases Society of America released a short statement, according to CNN.
“As infectious disease physicians on the front line of combating the current global crisis, we stand strongly against President Trump’s decision to leave the world Health Organization,” Dr. Thomas File, the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America said in the statement. “This pandemic has demonstrated that neither national boundaries nor political positions can protect us from the spread of an infectious disease. We will not succeed against this pandemic, or any future outbreak, unless we stand together, share information, and coordinate actions.”
New York City is expected to enter first phase of reopening on June 8
— New York City is expected to enter the first phase of reopening on June 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today during his daily briefing. About 400,000 employees that work in construction, manufacturing and retail are expected to be able to go back to work during this first phase, he said. “Remember that reopening does not mean we’re going back to the way things were,” Cuomo said. “We go forward.” New York City is reopening to “a new normal,” he said. “People will be wearing masks, people will be socially distanced.”
— U.S. offices that may reopen this year should undergo some major changes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These changes include conducting daily temperature screenings and symptoms checks before employees enter the office, requiring face coverings in all areas of the workspace, moving desks so that employees are at least 6 feet apart, marking the floors to help social distancing and setting up transparent “shields” in areas where social distancing isn’t possible, according to a new Live Science report. Also, coffee pots, water coolers and snack bins should be replaced with pre-packaged and single-serve items, and people should be discouraged from taking public transportation and carpooling and rather be encouraged or incentivized to travel alone and at less busy times, according to the report.
1 in 7 people in New York might have been infected with the coronavirus by the end of March, results from statewide antibody testing reveal
— 1 in 7 people in New York might have had COVID-19 by the end of March, according to a new study published as a pre-print on MedRxiv and that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed. That means that over 2 million adults might have been infected by the end of March, which is about 10 times the official count, according to CNN. These are the results of the random antibody testing that New York state conducted at grocery stores across 26 counties between April 19 and 28, according to the study. The researchers also found that more than 1 in 5 people in New York City likely had COVID-19 by the end of March.
— More than 200 schools in South Korea closed days after reopening because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the BBC. On Thursday, South Korea reported 79 new cases, the highest daily case count in two months. Most of the cases were traced back to a distribution center in Bucheon, outside of Seoul. The warehouse wasn’t complying with measures set in place to make sure the virus doesn’t spread, the BBC reported.
— There are now more than 5.8 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 361,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are now more than 1.7 million people who have had COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 101,000 have died.
The Boston Marathon has officially been canceled
— The Boston Marathon has officially been canceled, Mayor Marty Walsh announced at a news conference today, CNN reported. Originally, the April 20 event had been postponed to September 14. “There’s no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity,” Walsh said during the news conference, according to CNN. “This kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14th or anytime this year.” Registered runners will receive their entry fee back and will still be able to run virtually, according to CNN. They can get a finisher’s medal if they can show that they ran 26.2 miles within 6 hours, according to CNN.
— The city of Wuhan, China, recently launched a campaign to test every one of its 11 million residents for the virus. In less than two weeks, the city has tested about 6.5 million residents, The New York Times reported on May 26. U.S. cities could similarly conduct “pooled testing” to screen many residents at once and help stop new waves of infection, but this strategy would only work if the overall prevalence of COVID-19 remains low, according to a Live Science report.
— COVID-19 cases have exceeded 5.7 million worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 358,300 people have died from this virus across the globe. The U.S. has reported more than 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 101,000 deaths; Brazil has reported more than 411,800 cases and more than 25,500 deaths; Russia has reported more than 379,000 cases and 4,000 deaths. Case counts continue to increase rapidly across the globe and the pandemic is growing at a faster pace, especially as the coronavirus has now taken hold of countries in Latin America and the Gulf States, according to The New York Times. Last week, there were nearly 700,000 new infections reported worldwide, according to the Times.
One in every four U.S. workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March, South Korea reports big jump in cases
— More than 40 million people, or one in every four U.S. workers have filed for unemployment since the middle of March, according to The New York Times. That’s after 2.1 million people who filed for unemployment claims last week, which might include both new layoffs and backlogged claims, according to the Times. The federal virus relief package that gives eligible workers $600 a week on top of state benefits, is set to expire on July 31, according to the Times.
— There were 163 new COVID-19 patients hospitalized yesterday in New York, the lowest daily hospitalization rate recorded since March, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily briefing. Yesterday, 74 people died from COVID-19 in New York, 52 of those people were in hospitals and 22 in nursing homes, he said. Cuomo is signing an Executive Order today that authorizes businesses in New York to deny entry to people who are not wearing masks or face coverings. Mayor Bill De Blasio said today that 200,000 to 400,000 unemployed people could return to work in New York City once reopening begins as soon as early June, according to NBC News. Phase 1 of reopening in the city includes construction, manufacturing, wholesale and nonessential retail, he said.
— Today, South Korea reported 79 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest jump in cases in nearly two months, according to AP News. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 of the 79 new cases were from the Seoul metropolitan area, AP News reported. In response, South Korea shut down public facilities such as parks, museums and state-run theaters in the area for the next two weeks to slow the spread. In total, South Korea has reported more than 11,300 COVID-19 cases and 269 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The country has been praised for their handling of the pandemic including widespread testing, isolation and contact tracing, according to an NPR report from April. This recent spike shows the risks of easing social distancing rules, according to The Guardian. “The next two weeks are crucial to prevent the spread of the infection in the metropolitan area,” said South Korea’s Health Minister Park Neung-hoo. “We will have to return to social distancing if we fail.”
Coronavirus may not have started at a seafood market in Wuhan, Africa is seeing “rapid increases” in cases, U.K. starts mass testing and contract tracing
— Reports have suggested that SARS-CoV-2 jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Now, experts at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have claimed that this theory is wrong, and that the virus must have originated elsewhere, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Instead, a superspreader at the live animal market may have spread the virus to many people, according to a Live Science report.
— Africa is seeing “rapid increases” in COVID-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa, CNN reported. “Compared to two weeks ago, reported cases have tripled in five countries and doubled in 10 countries, noting that most countries still have fewer than 1,000 reported cases,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa said during a press briefing today, as CNN reported. “With strong country leadership and implementation of public and social health measures, cases in Africa remain lower than in some other parts of the world. However, we are not letting our guard down and we cannot be complacent.”
— Today, the U.K. is starting an effort to mass test and contact trace, according to The New York Times. People with symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested and those who turn up positive for the virus will be asked to list people they’ve recently been in contact with for at least 15 minutes. These people will then be called up and asked to isolate for 14 days. A day earlier, France’s parliament approved a contact tracing app, the Times reported.
US hits grim milestone: 100,000 COVID-19 deaths
U.S. deaths from coronavirus have now reached 100,000, the most of any country in the world, according to The New York Times. The somber milestone comes as all states are beginning to take steps to reopen parts of their economies. Overall death rates in the U.S. have dropped in recent weeks, from a high of more than 2,000 deaths a day in April and May, to about 750 deaths related to the coronavirus reported on Tuesday (May 26), according to the Times; however, reporting of deaths may have been delayed due to the holiday weekend. In addition, deaths from the coronavirus are likely underreported in general due to challenges with how deaths are counted, Live Science previously reported.
Walt Disney plans to reopen in July with restrictions, Denmark allows cross-border couples to meet again
— Walt Disney World is planning to reopen its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11 and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Seaworld is planning to reopen three of its parks in Orlando on June 11. Both companies plan to make changes to encourage social distancing and hand washing and will also require people to wear masks and get temperature checks, the Sentinel reported. Universal is planning to reopen on June 5, according to the Sentinel.
— Denmark is now allowing significant others to cross the border into Denmark, which has been closed to other countries since March, according to the BBC. As of Monday, significant others who live in Germany, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are allowed to cross into Denmark as long as they can prove that they are in a serious relationship with someone in Denmark (defined as about six months of face-to-face meetings not just online dating) with photos, text messages and emails, the BBC reported. In a couple of days, even these regulations will ease and couples will just need to sign a letter, Justice minister Nick Hækkerup said. “If you say you are a boyfriend and sign [the letter], we will assume it [is true],” Justice minister Nick Hækkerup told broadcaster TV2.
— The European Union is proposing a 750 billion euro ($860 billion) stimulus package to help the economies of its member countries, especially those hardest hit by the coronavirus, according to The New York Times. This will involve giving billions of euros worth of grants to all member states with Italy getting the most and Spain getting the second most, the Times reported.
France bans use of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients
— France has banned the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients, according to CNN. The French Health Ministry said there wasn’t enough data to suggest that the drug provides sufficient evidence of a benefit for use on COVID-19 patients, and some data suggests there’s a link between using this drug and cardiac toxicity, CNN reported. This comes after the World Health Organization stopped a study of hydroxychloroquine being conducted on COVID-19 patients because of safety concerns. A new study published in the journal The Lancet on Friday suggested that severe COVID-19 patients who took the drug were more likely to die or develop irregular heart rhythms, CNN reported.
— More than 5.6 million people have now been reported to have COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 351,000 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., more than 1.6 million people have had COVID-19 and more than 98,900 have died; In Brazil more than 391,200 have had COVID-19 and more than 24,500 have died; in Russia more than 370,600 have had COVID-19 and more than 3,900 have died.
— Across the U.S. states that had shut down amid the pandemic are undergoing various reopening phases, but the virus is still circulating and thousands of people are still being infected every day, according to The New York Times. New cases are increasing in some states (in part because of increased testing): California, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Nevada, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, North Dakota, Maine and West Virginia, according to The Times.
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression amid the pandemic, survey finds
— About a dozen states are reporting an increase in the number of infections even as levels nationwide are staying steady or decreasing, according to The New York Times. Half of those states had started to reopen in late April and early May, according to the Times. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, for example, have had increases several weeks after easing restrictions. Arkansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma — states that didn’t have state-wide stay-at-home orders — but began to reopen businesses also had an increase in cases, as did Washington D.C. which is still under lockdown but will start reopening on Friday, according to the Times.
— A new study that analyzed 16 women who tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant found that their placentas showed evidence of injury that might cause abnormal blood flow between the mothers and their babies in utero, according to a statement from Northwestern University. “Most of these babies were delivered full-term after otherwise normal pregnancies, so you wouldn’t expect to find anything wrong with the placentas, but this virus appears to be inducing some injury in the placenta,” senior author Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, assistant professor of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine pathologist said in the statement. “It doesn’t appear to be inducing negative outcomes in live-born infants, based on our limited data, but it does validate the idea that women with COVID should be monitored more closely.” The study was published last week (May 22) in the journal American Journal of Clinical Pathology.
— Amid the pandemic, a third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression, according to a new nationwide survey, as reported by The Washington Post. This 20-minute online “Household Pulse Survey,” conducted by The National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau, found that 24% of people showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder and 30% showed symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, the Post reported.
New York sees lowest daily death toll since the outbreak began, More than 7,000 Tyson Foods employees have tested positive for the coronavirus
— Yesterday, an additional 73 people died from COVID-19 in New York, the lowest death toll the state has seen since this outbreak began, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing. “In this absurd new reality, that is good news,” he said. The number of new daily COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York is about 200, also the lowest it has been since this started, he said.
— There are more than 7,000 employees working for Tyson Foods, the largest meat processor in the U.S., who have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a Washington Post analysis. That’s despite efforts made by the company to stop the spread among its employees through installing plastic dividers, requiring face masks or coverings and setting up on-site medical clinics and screenings, according to the Post. With thousands of employees coming down with COVID-19 and only some of the workforce having been able to go back to work, meat supplies remain strained, according to the Post.
— The New York Stock Exchange reopened for in-person trading for the first time today, according to The New York Times. Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell this morning at 9:30 a.m. There are restrictions put in place for those who will work in-person at the stock exchange — namely floor brokers and trading floor officials — including mandatory temperature checks and face masks, the Times reported. People will also need to avoid taking public transportation.
People crowded Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend, ignoring social distancing guidelines, The city of Wuhan tested 6.5 million people for the coronavirus in just two weeks
— People ignored social distancing guidelines and hung out in dense crowds at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks this past weekend, according to The Washington Post. These videos of Ozark vacationers — which circulated over social media over the weekend and was met with criticism — is an example of how some people took easing restrictions to mean life would return back to a pre-pandemic normal, according to The Post.
— The Wuhan government has tested 6.5 million people for the coronavirus in two weeks, according to The New York Times. The city is conducting a campaign to test all 11 million of its residents for free in order to prevent a second wave of infections and increase people’s confidence in getting back to work and normal life, according to the Times. Medical workers have gone to construction sites and markets, have made house calls to older residents and those with disabilities and made announcements over loudspeakers to sign up for the swab testing, according to The Times. Samples taken are still being analyzed, but so far, 200 people — most without any symptoms — have turned up positive for the coronavirus, according to The Times.
— More than 5.5 million people have now had COVID-19 worldwide, according to the latest numbers from the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 346,800 people have died across the globe. In the U.S., 1.6 million people have now had COVID-19 and more than 98,000 have died; in Brazil more than 374,800 have had COVID-19 and more than 23,400 have died; in Russia more than 362,300 people have had COVID-19 and more than 3,800 have died.
WHO stops hydroxychloroquine trial & warns of ‘immediate second peak’
—The World Health Organization has stopped its arm of a global study into the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 due to safety concerns, The Guardian reported. The WHO announcement today was spurred by research results published in the journal The Lancet showing that COVID-19 patients taking the drug had a higher risk of death and heart problems than those not taking the drug. Hydroxychloroquine is the drug that U.S. president Donald Trump has promoted and has said he was taking prophylactically.
—The chief of staff to UK prime minister Boris Johnson released a statement today confirming that he had indeed traveled about 250 miles (400 kilometers) during the lockdown, despite his wife showing coronavirus symptoms. He did so, he said, to visit family who could help with childcare. Even so, David Cummings said he acted reasonably, The Guardian said.
—Italy reported its lowest daily deaths from COVID-19 since early March, with 92 deaths related to the virus, The Guardian reported. The country recorded 300 new cases Monday, down from 531 on Sunday. They had zero new cases in five regions — Bolzano, Umbria, Calabria, Molise and Basilicata, according to The Guardian. To date, the country has logged 230,158 COVID-19 cases and 32,877 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—Countries where COVID-19 cases are on the decline could experience an “immediate second peak” if they loosen lockdown measures too soon, the WHO said today, Channel News Asia reported. Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO emergencies, said during an online briefing that though some countries are on the decline, others — such as Central and South America, South Asia and Africa — are experiencing an increase in cases. “When we speak about a second wave classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months’ time,” Ryan said. “But we need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we are get [sic] a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave.”
Japan lifts lockdown measures, Advisor to UK prime minister sparks furor over travel while sick
—Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced he is lifting the country’s state of emergency, since the virus spread seems to be under control, loosening the once-strict lockdown measures for the last five of the country’s 47 prefectures, NPR reported. “Recently, new infection cases have fallen below 50 for the entire nation,” Abe said at a news conference, as reported by NPR, “and what was once nearly 10,000 hospitalized cases — that has now fallen below 2,000.” Japan has confirmed a total of 16,550 COVID-19 cases and 820 related deaths to date.
—Dominic Cummings, the chief adviser to the U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson is facing pressure to resign after he the government confirmed that in March Cummings made a 260-mile trip from London to County Durham in northern England with his wife who was showing symptoms of the coronavirus in order to be closer to family, according to reports by BBC News and The Wall Street Journal. “Critics including lawmakers from Mr. Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party say the move contravened strict government instructions for families to isolate when sick with Covid-19 and appeared to show the rules don’t apply to Westminster’s political elite,” the Journal reported. The U.K. is the worst-hit by the coronavirus in all of Europe, with a total of 260,916 COVID-19 cases and 36,875 related deaths to date, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. Cummings is expected to give a statement and take questions from the press today.
—A city in New Jersey is leading the way in contact-tracing to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Paterson, New Jersey, with a population of 150,000, “has been tracing the virus at a level that could be the envy of larger cities. The team has been able to successfully investigate and trace about 90 percent of the more than 5,900 positive virus cases in Paterson, said the city’s top health officer, Dr. Paul Persaud,” The New York Times reported. Once contacts with sick individuals are traced, those individuals can self-isolate so they don’t unknowingly infect others. As a testament to the city’s efforts, the city is now logging about 50 to 70 new cases a day, down from a high of about 260 per day on April 15, the Times said.
2nd Missouri stylist exposes clients to COVID-19, Trump bans travel from Brazil
—A second hairstylist at Great Clips salon in Springfield, Missouri, may have exposed clients to COVID-19. The stylist had worked for a week at the salon earlier this month while she was experiencing mild symptoms; during that time, she may have exposed more than 50 clients, The Hill reported. Another hairstylist at that salon who tested positive for COVID-19 possibly exposed nearly 100 clients and employees, health officials announced Friday (May 22). Many businesses, including hair salons, were allowed to reopen beginning May 4 in Missouri.
—President Donald Trump announced Sunday (May 24) that he was banning travelers from Brazil from entering the United States, the Associated Press reported. With 363,211 COVID-19 cases and 22,666 related deaths, Brazil has become the world’s second worst hotspot for the virus behind the U.S. Trump had already implemented travel bans from certain areas in China and Europe (including the United Kingdom), the AP reported. “Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, the AP reported.
—Veteran Iditarod musher Thomas Waerner of Torpa, Norway, won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska on March 18; however, because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the 47-year-old and his 16 sled dogs have been stranded in Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Waiting for him at home in Torpa are his five children and 35 other sled dogs. Now, he is expected to hitch a ride aboard a DC-6 aircraft bound for the Air History Museum in Sola, Norway, in early June. Before boarding, Waerner will be tested for COVID-19 and will retrieve his dogs from a kennel owned by another musher. “We are hitchhiking,” Waerner said, according to the Daily News. “The plane is going to Norway, and we are going with them. We are so lucky.”
Grocery workers face risky conditions, Virus spreading at epidemic levels in 24 states
—Chile has experienced a surge in new COVID-19 infections recently, with 3,709 new cases recorded in the last day. The surge has pushed the country’s health-care system “very close to the limit,” President Sebastian Pinera said, The Guardian reported. To date, Chile has logged 69,102 cases and 718 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—An investigative report by The Washington Post has revealed the risky conditions for workers at various grocery stores. The Post investigation involved the following stores: Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Target, Kroger, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Lidl. They found that since late-March, at least 100 grocery workers have died from COVID-19, while another 5,500 have been infected with the virus causing COVID-19. In addition, during interviews with 40 employees from 30 supermarkets, individuals claimed “the companies had not disclosed cases of infected or dead workers, retaliated against employees who raised safety concerns and used faulty equipment to implement coronavirus mitigation measures,” the Post said.
—A model created by researchers at the Imperial College London suggests that the coronavirus is spreading at epidemic rates in 24 U.S. states, The Hour reported. That means in those states the so-called reproduction number — the average number of people who catch the virus from a single infected person — is still above 1. In general, the R0 (R-nought) needs to be below 1 to reduce disease transmission. The highest R0 was found in Texas, followed by Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama and Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Missouri, Delaware, South Carolina, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Maryland, according to the report. “Higher reproduction numbers are geographically clustered in the South and Midwest, where epidemics are still developing, while we estimate lower reproduction numbers in states that have already suffered high COVID-19 mortality (such as the Northeast). These estimates suggest that caution must be taken in loosening current restrictions if effective additional measures are not put in place,” the researchers write in their report, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Mass testing in Wuhan, COVID outbreak in German church, the latest in Africa
—After a cluster of COVID-19 surfaced in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak of the novel coronavirus began in December 2019, the city has instituted a mass testing initiative. Yesterday, the city conducted 1.1 million diagnostic tests for the disease, BBC News reported. The day before, the city conducted 1.4 million nucleic acid tests for the coronavirus.
—To date, the African Union’s 55 member states have logged 104,279 COVID-19 cases and 3,185 related deaths, according to BBC News. South Africa, which has recorded 21,343 cases and 407 related deaths, is expected to ease some of its lockdown restrictions beginning June 1; if so, schools would reopen for seventh through 12th grades, and some parts of the economy would also reopen. In Nigeria, a country with 7,526 cases and 221 deaths, the Muslim Public Affairs Center has advised Muslims to celebrate Eid at home or with just family members, BBC News said.
—During a service at a Baptist church in Frankfurt, Germany, 40 church members have become infected with COVID-19, just weeks after the country allowed such services to resume, The New York Times reported. “We followed all the rules,” leader of the church Wladimir Pritzkau told the German news agency DPA, as reported by the Times. For instance, churches are required to ask members to stay 5 feet apart and to have disinfectant readily available, according to the Times. Meanwhile, U.S. president Donald Trump is designating religious institutions as “essential,” and pushing officials to reopen such houses of worship, the Times reported.
NY has single-day death toll below 100, Remdesivir shows promise in clinical trial
—New York’s single-day death toll linked to COVID-19 dropped below 100 to 84 yesterday for the first time in weeks, the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo announced today. “Eighty-four is still a tragedy, no doubt,” he said. “But the fact that it’s down as low as it is is really, overall, good news,” Cuomo said, as reported by CBS News. During the peak of deaths in the state, New York was logging close to 800 daily COVID-19 deaths for days.
—In more of such hopeful news, the antiviral drug called remdesivir, which is the only COVID-19 drug approved by the FDA, showed some success in treating patients with less severe cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to results from a clinical trial just published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday (May 22). In the study of just over 1,000 patients, half were randomly assigned to the medicine and the others took a placebo. The researchers found that those on remdesivir had a median recovery time of 11 days, compared with 15 days in the placebo group. Estimates of mortality by day 14 were 7.1% for the remdesivir group and 11.9% for the placebo patients. That result wasn’t statistically significant. In terms of adverse effects from taking the drug, 114 patients out of 541 taking remdesivir had serious adverse effects, compared with 141 of 522 patients in the placebo group, according to the journal article. The drug showed much less to no benefit in patients who began the trial with a severe case of COVID-19, STAT News reported.
The researchers rated the patients’ illness severity on a scale of 1 (not hospitalized) to 8 (dead), according to The severity of patients’ illness was rated on a scale of 1 to 8: 1 (not hospitalized) to 5 (hospitalized, requiring any supplemental oxygen) to to 7 (hospitalized, receiving invasive mechanical ventilation or so-called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO) to 8 (dead). Most of the patients in the study rated 5, with the lowest score being a 4. In the group who scored 4, the study showed a 38% benefit in the speed of recovery, STAT reported, whereas those in the “5” group showed a 47% benefit in speed of recovery. However, in those who scored 6, that number fell to 20%; it fell even further to 0.05% in the group who scored 7, STAT said. “We need to get something that works for these patients who have a high mortality rate,” said Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, as reported by STAT.
Missouri hairstylist exposes at least 91 to virus, US nears 100K deaths
—A hairstylist in Springfield, Missouri, may have exposed 84 clients and seven co-workers to COVID-19, after working eight shifts at Great Clips hair salon while she was sick (and symptomatic) with the coronavirus, The New York Times reported. While working between May 12 and May 20, she wore a face mask, as did her clients. Over the last 10 days, the stylist also visited a fitness center, a Dairy Queen and a Walmart, the Times said. Many businesses, including hair salons, were allowed to reopen beginning May 4.
—The U.S. is nearing the 100,000-deaths mark related to COVID-19. The country has to date logged more than 1.57 million cases of the virus and 94,729 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has said that casinos could reopen June 4, after closing for the first time ever in mid-March in order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Associated Press reported. Even so, the casinos will look much different than they did pre-pandemic. For instance, there will be no valet parking; bartenders, blackjack dealers and waiters will don face masks; and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the floors. And then there will be social distancing. “You’re going to see a lot of social distancing,” said Sean McBurney, general manager at Caesars Palace, the AP reported. “If there’s crowding, it’s every employee’s responsibility to ensure there’s social distancing.”
Burial site of Jesus reopens, NY allows small gatherings, Spain soccer to resume
—The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, said to have been built over the original tomb of Jesus and considered one of the holiest sites of Christianity, will again open its doors beginning Sunday (May 24). The church was closed for two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the doors open, patrons will be required to wear masks, stand at least 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) apart and to avoid practices that would require close contact, “touching and kissing the stones, icons, vestments and the personnel in the Basilica,” BBC News reported. (Here’s a gallery of images of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.)
—Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country will reopen to foreign visitors beginning in July, BBC News reported. “I am announcing to you that from the month of July, entry for foreign tourists into Spain will resume in secure conditions,” Sánchez said, according to the BBC. The prime minister extended the state of emergency until June 6. He also announced that soccer matches would resume for the professional soccer league, La Liga, the week of June 8. Spain has recorded 234,824 cases of COVID-19 and 28,628 related deaths to date, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday night (May 22) that he had issued an executive order to allow gatherings of up to 10 people in the state (including in the hardest-hit New York City), as long as social-distancing measures were followed, The New York Times reported. The announcement was met with outcry from some who say the risks are too great.
In a tweet, Councilman Mark D. Levine, who represents Upper Manhattan and is the chair of the City Council’s health committee, said: “This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings — especially those held indoors.” Reportedly, the governor’s order comes on the heels of a lawsuit from the New York Civil Liberties Union, which objected to a tighter version of this order.
More than 5.2 million people worldwide have now had COVID-19
— An early trial in more than 100 people found that a candidate coronavirus vaccine developed in China appeared safe and able to generate an immune response, according to a Live Science report. The vaccine, called Ad5-nCoV, is being developed by the Chinese company CanSino Biologics, and was one of the first coronavirus vaccines to enter early human trials back in March. Now, there are more than 100 different coronavirus vaccines in development worldwide, with at least eight of those in the process of human trials, according to the report.
— More than 5.2 million people worldwide have now had COVID-19, and more than 337,500 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 1.6 million people in the U.S. have now had COVID-19 and more than 95,900 have died, according to the dashboard.
— Brazil has reported more than 20,800 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the Brazilian health ministry said today. The country now has a total of 330,890 cases, which is slightly higher than Russia’s cases, making Brazil the country with the second highest number of cases in the world, according to CNN’s calculations.
It’s “conceivable” that the U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine by December, Fauci says and large study finds that use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine increased the risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients
— Based on surveys given to 2,500 adults in England, about 1 in 5 believe that the coronavirus is a hoax “to some extent”, according to NPR and a new study published in the journal Psychological Medicine. About 3 in 5 adults believe to some extent that the government is misleading the public about how the virus came to be and 2 in 5 adults believe to some extent that powerful people are deliberately spreading the virus to gain control, according to a statement from The University of Oxford.
— It’s “conceivable” that the U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine by December, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with NPR. “I think it is conceivable if we don’t run into things that are, as they say, unanticipated setbacks, that we could have a vaccine that we could be beginning to deploy at the end of this calendar year — December 2020 or into January 2021,” he said.
— A large international retrospective study of more than 96,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 found that those who were treated with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by Trump as a “game changer,” had a significantly higher risk of death compared to those who weren’t. The patients treated with these drugs were also more likely to develop arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rates, the authors found. “We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19,” the authors wrote in the study published today in the journal The Lancet.
President Trump says he won’t close the country if another wave of coronavirus hits
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that the virus “does not spread easily” from touching surfaces or objects. This worries some public health experts that it could encourage people not to wash their hands so often, according to The Washington Post. The CDC updated this on their website earlier this month, without making a formal announcement, according to the Post.
— President Donald Trump said yesterday that he won’t close the country if another wave of coronavirus infections hits, according to CNBC. “We are going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country,” Trump said. “We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country.”
— More than 1.58 million people in the U.S. have now been infected with COVID-19, and more than 94,700 people have died and 298,400 have recovered so far, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 356,400 people in New York, more than 151,500 people in New Jersey, more than 102,600 people in Illinois, more than 90,000 in Massachusetts and more than 88.400 people in California have now been infected with the coronavirus, according to the dashboard.
Nearly half of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden are care home residents
— Nearly half of the COVID-19 deaths in Sweden are care home residents, according to the BBC. Some healthcare workers are pinning the high death counts in the elderly population on a protocol-dictated institutional unwillingness to admit them to the hospital. Some workers have criticized these protocols given to them by healthcare authorities, which they say discourage them from sending care home residents to the hospital and prevent them from giving people oxygen without approval, according to the BBC.
Sweden has reported 3,698 deaths associated with COVID-19, almost all of them in people over the age of 70. The country, which has largely stayed open compared with the rest of Europe, has reported more than 32,100 cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— The mysterious inflammatory syndrome tied to COVID-19 and reported in children, is now being diagnosed in young adults in their early 20s, according to a Live Science report. Doctors have reported the syndrome in a 20-year-old in San Diego and a 25-year-old in Long Island, New York, according to The Washington Post. Several additional cases have been reported in patients in their early 20s who are hospitalized in New York City, the Post reported.
— The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several state health departments have been reporting results from COVID-19 diagnostic tests and antibody tests together, The Atlantic reported. Reporting these numbers together, rather than differentiating them, presents several major issues, according to a Live Science report. Namely, combining the numbers could make America’s diagnostic testing capabilities and testing rates appear higher than they actually are, according to The Atlantic.
Downstate beaches in New York will open with restrictions tomorrow
— Yesterday, there were 246 new COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York, lower than what the number of hospitalizations were at the start of the incline on March 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his news briefing. An additional 105 people died from COVID-19 in New York yesterday, which is relatively better than what it has been, Cuomo said.
— Downstate beaches in New York (Jones Beach, Sunken Meadow, Hither Hills, Robert Moses, Lake Welch Beach in Harriman State Park) will open tomorrow, May 22, Cuomo said. “There are certain rules on braces that are operating,” he said. The beaches will open at 50% capacity, people won’t be allowed to partake in group contact activities, there will be no concessions, areas of social gathering will be closed, social distancing will be enforced and masks will be required when social distancing is not possible, he said. It’s expected that the 50% capacity of the beaches will be reached by 10 a.m.
— Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, a former White House butler who served 11 presidents and retired in 2012, died of the coronavirus, according to NBC News. He was 91. “I want the world to remember my grandfather as someone who was really authentic,” Jamila Garrett, his granddaughter told WTTG. “Always being yourself. That’s what he taught our family, that’s what thrives throughout our family. And that’s what we’ll continue to carry on, his legacy.”
“He was a lovely man,” former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush said in a statement to NBC News. “He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and the last person we saw each night when we returned.”
COVID-19 case count reaches 5 million worldwide
— Last week an additional 2.4 million workers filed claims for unemployment, according to The New York Times. There are now more than 38 million people who have filed for unemployment in the past 9 weeks.
— There have now been 5 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 328,600 of those people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 1.5 million cases reported and more than 93,400 deaths. In Russia, the country with the second-most cases, there are more than 317,500 reported cases and more than 3,000 deaths. Brazil ranks third with more than 291,500 cases and more than 18,800 deaths.
— Columbia University researchers found that if the U.S. had enacted social distancing rules a week earlier, it could have saved 36,000 lives, according to The Washington Post. The week of March 8 when the country had a reported 500 cases of COVID-19, everything went on as normal: crowds gathered and parties happened, according to the Post. Modeling found that had social distancing begun that week, tens of thousands of people could have been saved. If the U.S. had enacted such measures even earlier, on March 1, it could have saved 54,000 lives, the researchers reported in their not-yet peer-reviewed study published in medRxiv as a pre-print.
Less than a month after relaxing restrictions, some Gulf Arab countries are reimposing them after seeing a surge in cases
— A new study published Tuesday (May 19) in the European Journal of Epidemiology, suggests that alternating between 50 days of strict lockdown and 30 days of relaxation could control the outbreak, according to a Live Science report. “This intermittent combination of strict social distancing, and a relatively relaxed period … may allow populations and their national economies to ‘breathe’ at intervals — a potential that might make this solution more sustainable, especially in resource-poor regions,” study lead author Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, a global health epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge in England, said in a statement.
— A couple of Gulf Arab countries are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, less than a month after easing restrictions, according to The Washington Post. The number of cases quadrupled in Saudi Arabia and increased sevenfold in Kuwait, according to the Post. Some of these Gulf Arab countries are now reimposing strict restrictions.
— The Smithsonian museums are collecting or planning to collect artifacts related to the pandemic in order to document it, according to NPR. These include objects, but also digital objects and oral histories, they reported. Many of the physical objects won’t be collected until after the pandemic ends, according to NPR. The National Museum of American History and the Anacostia Community Museum have already started their collection projects and the National Museum of African American History and Culture will start their project in June, according to NPR.
There were 106,000 COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO in the past 24 hours, the largest single day increase in cases since the start of the outbreak
— There were 106,000 COVID-19 cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the past 24 hours, the largest daily number of cases reported since the outbreak first began, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a news briefing today. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” he said.
Two-thirds of those cases were reported in four countries, Ghebreyesus said, though he didn’t specify which ones, according to NBC News. The countries that currently have the most reported cases are the U.S., Brazil, Russia and the U.K., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. But “We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries,” he said.
There have been nearly 5 million cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide and more than 325,700 deaths, according to the dashboard.
— Religious gatherings of up to 10 people will now be allowed in New York State starting Thursday, if people wear masks and practice social distancing, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today. “I think that even at this time of stress and when people are so anxious and so confused, I think those religious ceremonies can be very comforting,” he said, The New York Times reported. “But we need to find out how to do it, and do it safely and do it smartly.”
All 50 states have now at least partially reopened, but many don’t meet federal benchmarks
— All 50 states have now at least partially reopened, according to The Washington Post. But many of them don’t meet federal benchmarks on when it’s safe to reopen, sparking fears of new surges of infection, according to the Post. There have now been 1.5 million COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. and nearly 92,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— Brazil, with more than 271,800 cases, has the third-most reported COVID-19 cases in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The country has reported nearly 18,000 deaths. Yesterday, Brazil had its deadliest COVID-19 day yet with 1,179 deaths from the coronavirus, according to CNBC. President Donald Trump said he was considering a travel ban on the country.
— Offices in Boston will start reopening on June 1 with regulations to prevent spikes in the outbreak, Mayor Marty Walsh said on CNN this morning. “I don’t think we can afford to shut back down, so I think we have to get this right the first time,” he said. Elsewhere in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker said offices may open up on May 25.
Dozens of people in South Korea were infected with the coronavirus from fitness dance classes
— Dozens of people in South Korea were infected with the coronavirus after going to fitness dance classes at the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new report, published May 15 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. A cluster of COVID-19 cases were traced back to a workshop for fitness dance instructors held on Feb. 15 that involved four hours of intense training, according to a Live Science report.
Eight of the 27 instructors at that workshop, though none showing symptoms at the time, later tested positive for COVID-19. By March 9, researchers traced 112 COVID-19 cases tied to fitness dance classes taught by those instructors at 12 different sports facilities, according to the report. “The moist, warm atmosphere in a sports facility coupled with turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise can cause more dense transmission of isolated droplets,” the authors said. Also, the classes with a higher number of people resulted in disease spread, while smaller classes and those that were lower intensity classes such as yoga and pilates did not, according to the report.
— The head of Florida’s coronavirus dashboard claims she was removed from her position of managing the dashboard after she refused to censor and change the information to increase support for reopening the state, according to NBC News. “As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it,” Rebekah Jones said in an email to the team, according to Florida Today .
“I don’t know who she is,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during his press briefing today after being asked about Jones’ claims, according to WFLA News. DeSantis said that he was given an email that she reportedly sent to her supervisor saying she might have said something that was misrepresented. “Our dashboard has been recognized nationally,” he said. “It’s a non-issue.”
Carbon emissions fell by 17% worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic, Trump threatens to permanently stop funding the World Health Organization
— In a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), President Trump wrote that if the organization doesn’t “commit to major substantive improvements” to their response to the pandemic, the U.S. will make their freeze on funding to the organization, permanent. “The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” Trump wrote in the letter. But Trump himself has been majorly criticized for his response to the pandemic, such as in an editorial published last week in the journal The Lancet that tells U.S. voters to replace Trump with someone who will support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health experts, NPR reported.
— “An important lesson” that can be seen in every state and almost every country is that the incline in the COVID-19 curves (such as in the number of hospitalizations) is very steep and the decline is slow, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily news briefing. “It takes you a longer time to turn that curve and to turn that infection rate, so don’t let a spike happen in the first place.” The number of hospitalizations in New York are declining. There were 335 new COVID-19 hospitalizations yesterday and an additional 105 deaths. The number of daily deaths is “down dramatically from where it was in the first place, but it’s still painfully high,” Cuomo said. “We are basically back to where we started before this tragedy.”
— Carbon emissions dropped by 17% across the globe during the pandemic, according to NBC News. Under quarantines and lockdowns, with limited economic activities and travel, daily global carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 18.7 million tons compared to the average daily emissions last year, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The biggest decline in carbon dioxide emissions came from decreased traffic from cars, buses and trucks, NBC News reported.
COVID-19 cases reach 4.8 million worldwide, cases are trending down in the U.S. but there are still tens of thousands of people infected a day
— There have now been 4.8 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 319,000 people have died from the coronavirus worldwide. There have now been 1.5 million cases in the U.S. and more than 90,300 deaths. In Russia, there have been nearly 300,000 cases and more than 2,800 deaths; in Brazil there have been more than 255,300 cases and more than 16,800 deaths; and in the United Kingdom there have been more than 247,700 cases and more than 34,800 deaths.
—COVID-19 cases are trending down in the U.S. but there are still more than 20,000 people who are infected with the virus every day, according to The New York Times. Yesterday, there were 21,760 new cases of COVID-19, whereas on April 24, there were more than 36,000 daily cases, according to the Times. New cases are increasing in Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, Alabama, Delaware, Arkansas, North Dakota, Maine and Wyoming; new cases are staying around the same in Illinois, California, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Idaho, West Virginia, Guam, Hawaii, Montana and Alaska; New cases are decreasing in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, Colorado, Washington, Tennessee, Iowa, Rhode Island, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington D.C. , New Hampshire and Vermont.
— A person who had severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 17 years ago had antibodies in their blood that appeared to inhibit SARS-CoV-2, according to a Live Science report. This antibody, so-called S309, could bind and disable the coronavirus’ spike protein, which it uses to enter human cells, according to a statement from the University of Washington School of Medicine, which was involved in the research. Multiple authors on the study work for Vir Biotechnology, a company that’s developing a therapeutic based on the study findings (and have fast-tracked the development and testing of the antibody in hopes of starting a clinical trial in people). But these findings were conducted in a lab dish and much more research is needed to see whether or not the antibody could be effective against the new coronavirus in humans, according to the report.
Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent the coronavirus, despite warnings from experts
— President Donald Trump said today that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine — an anti-malarial drug he’s been promoting for some time now despite warnings from medical experts that it wasn’t helpful and could cause severe side effects — to prevent the coronavirus, according to Reuters. “I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with restaurant executives. He said he asked his doctor if he could take the drug and the doctor said “well, if you’d like it.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously cautioned against using hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital or clinical trial “due to risk of heart rhythm problems.”
— More than 90,000 people have now died in the U.S. from the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are now more than 1.5 million cases across the country. The IHME model, often cited by the White House, now projects that there will be 147,040 deaths by August 4. In April, the model projected around 60,300-60,400 deaths.
— France and Germany are proposing a European recovery fund of $545 billion to help countries in European Union that were most impacted by the pandemic, according to the BBC. French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed today that the recovery fun should be given as grants, the BBC reported.
There are now 4.7 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, Massachusetts Governor Baker releases reopening plan
— There are now 4.7 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 316,800 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S. cases have reached nearly 1.5 million and deaths are nearing 90,000. In Russia, there are now more than 290,600 cases, in the United Kingdom there are more than 247,700 cases and in Brazil there are more than 245,500 cases.
— Students took more than 2.2 million Advanced Placement tests last week, and thousands of them experienced technical problems taking them digitally, according to The New York Times. The College Board, a nonprofit organization which gives these exams, said that less than 1% of the tests taken had these problems, but those who experienced such issues can retake the tests in June, the Times reported.
— States are continuing to reveal phased reopening plans. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released a 28-page plan today that details the phased reopening of the state. Manufacturing, construction and places of worship can reopen immediately and retail and office spaces, beaches, parks and some athletic fields can reopen on May 25, according to NBC Boston.
Moderna releases early promising results for its candidate vaccine
— Early results from Moderna’s phase 1 clinical trial study suggests that their candidate coronavirus vaccine is “generally safe” and prompts the body to create antibodies at levels comparable, and sometimes even exceeding, the levels found in those who were naturally infected, according to a press release. These antibody results come from data collected on only 8 participants who received the vaccine. The vaccine, called mRNA-1273, “was generally safe and well tolerated,” the company wrote. In a study they conducted on mice, they found that the vaccine prevented viral replication in the lungs of the animals who were given their experimental vaccine.
“These interim Phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection starting with a dose as low as 25 µg,” said Dr. Tal Zaks, the Chief Medical Officer at Moderna. When combined with results from the mouse studies, the findings “substantiate our belief that mRNA-1273 has the potential to prevent COVID-19 disease and advance our ability to select a dose for pivotal trials.”
— COVID-19 deaths across the U.S. are probably being undercounted, according to a Live Science report. Many states are being challenged for misrepresenting the actual death counts. In Colorado, for example, a Republican state legislator accused the state’s public health department of falsely inflating COVID-19 deaths and in Florida, local media has suggested that the state may be underreporting deaths, according to the report. But assigning a cause of death to people is not always simple, and local rules and regulations make it difficult to get valid national data, according to the report.
180 from California church under quarantine, Regions open as infections climb
—More than 180 individuals in northern California who attended a Mother’s Day church service are now under quarantine, after one parishioner tested positive for COVID-19, The Hill reported. Palermo Bible Family Church pastor Michael Jacobsen told The Washington Post that the incident occurred at his church, and that he held the service because his county had so few cases at the time. As of Saturday (May 16), Butte County (where the church is located) had recorded just 22 COVID-19 cases and no related deaths, the Hill said. The service was in direct violation of the ban on public gatherings put into place in March by the state’s Gov. Gavin Newsom. “At this time, organizations that hold in-person services or gatherings are putting the health and safety of their congregations, the general public and our local ability to open up at great risk,” Danette York, director of Butte County Public Health said in a statement.
—Some local governments in the U.S. are opening up their regions despite not meeting federal guidelines for doing so. For instance, Palm Beach County in Florida opened up beginning Monday (May 11), regardless of the fact that the prior two weeks didn’t show the number of coronavirus infections or positive tests going down, The Sun Sentinel in South Florida reported, adding that some of the numbers are now trending upward. The county’s commissioner Hal R. Valeche, an investment banker, said that he prefers to look at hospital capacity rather than new infections to determine the outbreak severity. His argument was that test results can take days to process, The Sun Sentinel reported. (You can see the guidelines for reopening the U.S. on a White House webpage.)
—Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey are still under lockdown. But reportedly, you wouldn’t notice if you were to step onto a beach or into a bar this weekend: Crowds of people flocked to a Belmar, New Jersey beach that’s popular with people from Staten Island and Brooklyn, the New York Post reported. Outside of bars on the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, the East and West Villages and in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, people crowded the sidewalks to pick up cocktails and then decided to stay and drink, the Post reported. Masks? “How are you going to drink with a mask on?” one reveler, hairdresser Akeem Kelley, told The Post.
UK has lowest single-day deaths, Investigation reveals violations at nursing homes
—The United Kingdom had the lowest daily deaths from COVID-19 since March 24, when 149 such deaths were reported the day after lockdown measures were put into place, BBC News reported. The U.K. reported 170 deaths today, a week after the country eased social-distancing restrictions. Numbers are typically lower on Sundays and Mondays, BBC News reported, because of the speed with which hospitals and care homes report deaths on those days. Even so, today’s figure is nearly 100 fewer deaths than the 268 that were reported a week ago. The country has recorded 244,603 COVID-19 cases and 34,716 related deaths.
—At least 10 nursing homes run by Life Care Centers of America violated federal standards for infection control and prevention, government inspectors have found, The Washington Post reported. These violations were found in nursing centers from the Pacific Northwest to New England. In a case in Michigan, a health care worker moved a blood pressure machine from an isolation room into a non-COVID-19 patient’s room without sanitizing the machine, the Post said. And in another Michigan home, government inspectors said residents were not wearing masks in a hallway and an aide delivering meals wasn’t wearing gloves or a gown. In a home in Denver, the Post reported, the door of an isolation room was left open and the infected patient walked into the hall, not wearing a face mask, and sat next to a room holding healthy patients. These reports don’t include deficiencies found at the Life Care Center of Kirkland in Washington state, where the first reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were found in February.
The Post reports, however, that there isn’t any national data to show whether the Life Care Centers have higher COVID-19 infections and deaths relative to other nursing home chains. In fact, even those homes with strong track records are reporting such cases.
“We have a virus that has attacked our vulnerable populations who have comorbidities, and that has made this extremely difficult to manage,” said Tim Killian, public information liaison for Life Care Centers of America, as reported by the Post. “We need help. We need hands on the ground. We need money. We need equipment. We need doctors. And none of that is happening in a significant way anywhere in the country.” (Read more about the investigation at The Washington Post.)
1st COVID-19 death in Madagascar, China quarantines 8,000, Brazil spike in cases
—The city of Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, completed 222,675 COVID-19 tests yesterday (May 16), nearly double the number of tests conducted the day before in this city of 11 million, The Guardian reported. These PCR tests look for bits of sequences of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material, revealing if someone is actively infected with the virus causing COVID-19. The testing comes a week after Wuhan recorded its first cluster of COVID-19 since the city reopened April 8, The Guardian reported. No symptomatic cases were found, though the recently tested revealed 28 asymptomatic cases.
—A 57-year-old health care worker in Madagascar has died from COVID-19, the first such death in the island country, Reuters reported. The man also had diabetes and high blood pressure, the Madagascar COVID-19 task force said. “A man died from Covid-19 in Madagascar … he is 57 years old and a member of the medical staff,” said Hanta Danielle Vololontiana, spokesperson for the task force, as reported by Reuters. Madagascar has confirmed at least 283 COVID-19 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—Brazil has become the fourth largest outbreak of COVID-19 after its health ministry reported 14,919 new cases, The Guardian reported. The country now has more cases — 233,511 — than either Spain (230,698 cases) or Italy (224,760).
—Officials in northeastern China have quarantined at least 8,000 individuals, after clusters of COVID-19 were found in three cities in two provinces: Jilin city and Shulan in Jilin province, and Shenyang city in Liaoning province, The New York Times and other news agencies reported. While Jilin has traced nearly 700 people exposed to coronavirus patients, Liaoning province has found more than 1,000 such contacts and some 6,500 people who are now considered at high risk of infection, the Times reported.
FDA approves at-home test, New Yorker arrested in Hawaii, Texas has spike in cases
—The Food and Drug Administration has approved an at-home nasal swab test for COVID-19. Made by Everlywell, the swab tests should be available later in the month for $135 per test, The New York Times reported. Some public health scientists have said such at-home tests are not as accurate as the ones completed in a health-care setting, where the swab is pushed through the nose to the base of the throat, the Times said. To receive a test, individuals will need to complete a survey to make sure they meet federal guidelines for a test, according to Everlywell. But the entire process from that survey to getting results should be 3 to 5 days, the Times said. In such an at-home test, the sample will be taken from the nostrils; the swab is then placed into a saline solution that comes with the kit and mailed to a lab. Other at-home tests that have been FDA-approved for COVID-19 include: A LabCorp nasal swab test and a spit test developed by RUCDR Infinite Biologics, a biorepository based at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Live Science previously reported.
—A Bronx, New York resident who traveled to Hawaii has been arrested for not following the state’s 14-day quarantine rule. The 23-year-old man apparently posted photos on Instagram showing himself on a Honolulu beach, The Guardian reported. “He allegedly left his hotel room the day he arrived and traveled many places using public transportation,” according to a statement from the Hawaii Covid-19 Joint Information Center. “Authorities became aware of his social media posts from citizens who saw posts of him — on the beach with a surfboard, sunbathing, and walking around Waikiki at night.” Travelers entering Hawaii from another state — both residents and visitors — must comply with a mandatory 14-day quarantine in which they can’t leave their hotel room or residences for anything except medical emergencies.
—Iceland announced it will open its borders to tourists beginning June 15, The Washington Post reported. To date, Iceland has confirmed at least 1,802 COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. So far in May, however, there have been just four new cases, the Post said. They have controlled the outbreak, according to the Post, through testing and contact tracing.
—Texas reported 1,801 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, which is the state’s highest single-day increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic, The Washington Post reported. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said increased testing explains the spike today. “As Texas continues ramping up its testing capabilities, there will be an increase in positive cases as the state targets the most high-risk areas: nursing homes, meat packing plants and jails,” Abbott said in a statement, the Post reported. To date, Texas has recorded 47,669 COVID-19 cases and 1,340 related deaths.
9-year-old boy in France dies of rare inflammatory syndrome
A 9-year-old boy in Marseille, France, has died from a rare inflammatory syndrome that seems to be linked to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, The Washington Post reported. His symptoms at first appeared to be those of scarlet fever, and after a doctor visit on May 2 the boy returned home. However, that night he suffered from a heart attack and was admitted to the intensive care unit at La Timone hospital. Blood tests showed he had been infected with COVID-19 in previous weeks. On May 8, the boy died. Doctors say some of his symptoms resembled those of Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that causes inflammation in the blood vessels and can lead to heart damage. This is the first death from the syndrome in France.
However, these Kawasaki-like symptoms have been popping up in children, many of whom have COVID-19, in several regions now. For instance, in the journal The Lancet, doctors described a group of 10 kids with Kawasaki-like symptoms who were hospitalized in Bergamo, Italy; eight of those children tested positive for COVID-19. The kids had an average age of 7.5, and seven were boys, the researchers said in a statement. Five of the children also showed signs of toxic shock syndrome and required “fluid resuscitation” due to low blood pressure. Though all of the patients survived, six had heart complications.
This mysterious inflammatory syndrome seems to present with some Kawasaki-like symptoms — including high fever, skin rashes, and in some cases, heart inflammation — as well as some symptoms common in toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening illness caused by some types of bacteria, Live Science previously reported.
New York is investigating 110 cases that could be categorized as having this syndrome. The cases involve predominantly school-age children, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. To date, three children in New York have died from it: a 5-year-old in New York City; a 7-year-old in Westchester County (just north of the city); and a teenager in Suffolk County (on Long Island). Cases have also been reported in Massachusetts and New Jersey, as well as outside the U.S. in the United Kingdom. (Read more about this syndrome and its possible ties to COVID-19 on Live Science.)
Russia records highest daily deaths; Afghanistan could face ‘big catastrophe’
—Russia logged its deadliest day regarding coronavirus deaths on Saturday, with 119 deaths in 24 hours and 9,200 new cases in that time period, The Guardian reported. To date, Russia has recorded 272,043 COVID-19 cases and 2,537 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
—Spain has experienced the opposite — over the past 24 hours, the country had its lowest rise in deaths related to COVID-19 since mid-March. Over that time, Spain recorded 102 COVID-19 deaths. The country to date has confirmed 230,698 COVID-19 cases and 27,563 related deaths.
—As war rages across Afghanistan, the country’s health ministry is warning a “big catastrophe” could lie ahead if lockdown measures aren’t heeded. Overnight, 15 COVID-19 deaths were recorded, and out of 1,113 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, 349 came back positive, The Guardian reported. Though a lockdown is in place, the streets are still crowded with people. “If people continue to not heed, we will witness a big catastrophe among families,” the country’s deputy health minister Wahid Majroh said during a press conference in Kabul. He added that the country has a three-phase plan to ease the measures, according to The Guardian. “According to our plan, the lockdown should be in place for one year so we can get back to normal life,” he said.
Two residents of Snohomish County, Washington who had COVID-19-like symptoms in December have now tested positive for antibodies against the new coronavirus
— Two residents of Snohomish County, Washington, who had COVID-19-like symptoms in December have now tested positive for antibodies against the new coronavirus, suggesting that the virus might have arrived in the U.S. earlier than thought, according to a new Live Science report.
— COVID-19 kills 20 times more people per week than the flu does, according to a study published yesterday (May 14) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Based on death certificate data, the average number of flu deaths during the deadliest week of each flu season between 2013 and 2020 was 752 deaths, according to a Live Science report. The deadliest week of flu season in the past couple of years ranged from 351 during the 2015 to 2016 flu season to 1,626 during the 2017 to 2018 flu season. By comparison, in the deadliest week of COVID-19 so far, the week ending April 21, there were 15,455 deaths reported, according to the study.
— There have been more than 345,800 COVID-19 cases reported in New York and more than 27,800 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The total number of hospitalizations and daily deaths are on the decline. Yesterday, there were another 132 lives lost to the coronavirus in New York. The “number of deaths is down but still painful,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily news briefing. “We are right about where we were when we started this.” The number of lives lost in New York today is right around the number of lives lost on March 27 “when we really first started this miserable journey,” he said.
COVID-19 cases in Texas have increased between 20% to 30% after stay-at-home measures were lifted
— Experts are considering doing “human challenge studies” that would deliberately expose volunteers to the coronavirus to quickly understand whether or not candidate vaccines work and if they are safe, according to a Live Science report. More than 20,000 people around the world have already expressed interest in participating in such a challenge, if it were ever to be brought to light. But such trials raise major ethical questions, according to the report.
— There are now 4.5 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 305,300 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 86,700 deaths.
— In Texas, COVID-19 cases have been up between 20% and 30% since stay-at-home measures were lifted on May 1, according to CNN. On Thursday, there were 58 new deaths in Texas, the state’s highest one-day increase in deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to CNN. There have been more than 45,200 cases of COVID-19 in Texas and 1,256 deaths, according to The New York Times.
Widely-used rapid coronavirus test may be delivering false negative results, parts of New York start reopening today but NYC remains shut down
— A widely-used rapid coronavirus test may deliver false-negative results, the Food and Drug Administration warned, according to NPR. The test, made by Abbott Laboratories, is used for daily testing in the White House and has been promoted by the Trump Administration, NPR reported. “This test can still be used and can correctly identify many positive cases in minutes,” Dr. Tim Stenzel, the director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said in a statement. “Negative results may need to be confirmed with a high-sensitivity authorized molecular test.”
— Disney’s “Frozen” the Broadway musical is the first major broadway show that announced it will not return to stage after the New York shutdown ends, according to The Washington Post. The show began on March 2018 and went on for 851 performances, the Post reported.
— Parts of New York will begin a phased reopening today, including The Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Central New York, according to a tweet from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He extended the shutdown until May 28 for other parts of the state, including New York City, that have not met key criteria to open, according to a new executive order.
‘Herd immunity’ isn’t likely anytime soon in England, Spain and France
— Studies in England, Spain and France show that only a small proportions of the population has been infected by the coronavirus, which likely means herd immunity isn’t in the near future, according to The New York Times. Experts are warning that easing social distancing might cause new waves of the pandemic.
— A COVID-19 superspreader unknowingly infected 52 people with the coronavirus at a choir practice in Mount Vernon, Washington in early March, and two people died, according to a Live Science report. The choir practice, mostly attended by older women, lasted for about 2.5 hours and within a couple of days, some people began to show symptoms of COVID-19. The coronavirus could have spread in a number of different ways from the superspreader, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published on May 12. “Transmission was likely facilitated by close proximity (within 6 feet) during practice and augmented by the act of singing,” according to the report.
— There are now 4.4 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 300,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are 1.4 million cases in the U.S., more than 252,000 in Russia, more than 234,000 in the U.K. and more than 229,500 in Spain.
Without better planning 2020 could be ‘the darkest winter in modern history,’ Whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright says before congress today
— “Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged, there will be likely a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall and it will be greatly compounded by the challenges of seasonal influenza,” Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said in his testimony before Congress today. “Without better planning 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.”
“Initially our nation was not as prepared as we should have been, as we could have been. Some scientists raised early warning signals that were overlooked and pages from our pandemic playbook were ignored by some in leadership,” Bright said today. “There will be plenty of time to look back to assess what has happened so we can improve but right now we need to focus on getting things right going forward.”
This testimony follows his filing of a whistleblower complaint that his dismissal was in response to his limiting the use of coronavirus drugs that Trump was promoting. At the time, he had told The New York Times: “I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit.”
A 113-year-old woman, thought to be the oldest woman in Spain, recovers from the coronavirus
— Almost 3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, the U.S. government said today, according to The New York Times. In the past eight weeks, the total number of claims have reached more than 36 million. Still, the number of new claims has been declining since late March, the Times reported.
— A 113-year-old woman in Spain survived the coronavirus, according to the BBC. Maria Branyas, thought to be the oldest woman in Spain, was diagnosed in March and only had mild symptoms, the BBC reported. “Now that she is well, she is wonderful, she wants to speak, to explain, to make her reflections, it is her again,” her daughter tweeted.
— Japan lifted its state of emergency for most of its prefectures, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in a press briefing, according to CNN. But Tokyo, Osaka and 6 other prefectures (of its 47) remain under the state of emergency until reassessed on May 21.
Yellowstone National Park to begin reopening on Monday
— The new coronavirus “may never go away,” a top official with the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a news briefing, according to The Washington Post. The official, Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program, noted that HIV has never gone away since it emerged several decades ago. “I’m not comparing the two diseases but I think it is important that we’re realistic. I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear,” Ryan said. He also urged caution about a coronavirus vaccine, saying that it would be “a massive moonshot” to find a vaccine and “give that to everyone who needs it and stop this disease in its tracks.” But such an achievement would “turn maybe what has been a tragic pandemic into a beacon of hope to the future of our planet,” he said.
— Yellowstone National Park will begin reopening on Monday (May 18), after being closed since March 24, according to a statement from the National Park Service. The park has released a three-phased plan for reopening that starts with opening of Wyoming’s south and east entrances to the park, and will limit travel to the lower loop of the park, which includes access to the Old Faithful geyser, the statement said. The park also has entrances in Montana and Idaho, but officials are still in discussions with those states about when to reopen those remaining entrances. The park is also taking several steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, including encouraging the use of facial coverings in high-density areas of the park and metering visitor access to certain park locations.
NYC frontline workers are testing positive for coronavirus antibodies at lower rates than the general population
— Frontline workers in New York City are testing positive for coronavirus antibodies at lower rates than the general population, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing. Around 19.9% of tested people in the general New York City population tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. That’s compared to 14.2% of downstate transit workers, 10.5% of NYPD, 17.1% of FDNY/EMT that tested positive and 12.2% of downstate healthcare workers that tested positive for the antibodies. That means personal protective equipment, gloves, masks and hand sanitizing works, Cuomo said. “How do healthcare workers have a lower percentage of infection than the general population? Because people don’t wear these at home and they don’t take the same precautions but this works.”
— House Democrats are pushing for legislation that would give another round of stimulus checks up to $1,200 to people in the U.S., according to NBC News. The new relief legislation will be voted on on Friday.
— There are now 4.3 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 294,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are 1.38 million cases in the U.S. and more than 82,800 deaths; around 242,200 cases in Russia and more than 2,200 deaths; more than 228,000 in Spain and more than 26,900 deaths; more than 143,100 cases in Turkey and more than 3,950 deaths.
The coronavirus can affect children in different ways than adults, Twitter employees can work from home forever
— Since children make up only a sliver of known cases of the coronavirus causing COVID-19, not as much is known about the effects of the virus on this population. But more and more data, such as a new case report describing five children hospitalized with COVID-19 with non-respiratory symptoms, suggests that the virus can affect children in unexpected ways, according to a Live Science report. “I think we better be careful [that] we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune of the deleterious effects,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said yesterday (May 12) during the question-and-answer portion of his testimony to the U.S. Senate Health Committee.
— Twitter employees will not be expected to go back to the office, according to The New York Times. Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter, told the company’s employees they could work from home forever if they wanted to. Many companies are also pondering remote work and whether renting out office spaces, especially in Manhattan, will still be worth it after the pandemic, according to the Times.
California State University system will not have in-person classes in the fall, stay-at-home order in Los Angeles will likely be extended for the next three months
— All 23 campuses of the California State University system will have mostly online instruction in the fall, and will not have in-person classes, according to The New York Times. There could be exemptions to this, such as in-person clinical classes in the nursing program or science labs if health and safety precautions allow, Timothy White, the chancellor said during a meeting of the system’s board of trustees. “Our university, when open without restrictions and fully in person, as is the traditional norm of the past, is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity with each other on a daily basis,” White said. “That approach, sadly, just isn’t in the cards now as I have described.”
— The stay-at-home order in Los Angeles will likely be extended for the next three months, LA County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said during a Board of Supervisors meeting today. Without widespread testing or rapid home testing kits, it’s unlikely that stay-at-home orders and social distancing will ease in that timeframe, the Los Angeles Times reported. But the county hasn’t yet officially extended the order.
— A video released by the Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva, shows inmates at the North County Correctional Facility in Los Angeles County drinking from the same bottle of hot water and breathing into the same mask, trying to infect themselves with the coronavirus or trying to raise their oral temperatures in the hopes they would be released if they got sick or faked sick, according to a statement. “As a direct result of the behavior seen in the video, 21 men tested positive for COVID-19 within a week,” according to the statement. “A gross misunderstanding among the inmate population led many to believe that those diagnosed with COVID-19 may be released, which is untrue.”
Dr. Fauci warns that reopening states prematurely can have “really serious” consequences
— Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned today that reopening states prematurely could have “really serious” consequences, according to a Live Science report. Fauci along with several other government health officials, testified remotely before the U.S. Senate Health Committee today (May 12) on the reopening of the country. If communities, cities, states or regions, “prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said.
— There are now 1.3 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 81,600 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Russia, now ranking second in the world for number of COVID-19 cases, has more than 232,200 COVID-19 cases and more than 2,000 deaths. The United Kingdom has more than 227,700 cases and 32,700 deaths; Spain has more than 227,400 cases and more than 26,700 deaths; and Italy has more than 221,200 cases and more than 30,900 deaths.
— Today, a fire in Russian hospital that was treating coronavirus patients killed five patients and evacuated 150 people, according to CNN. The fire started at an intensive care unit at St. George Hospital in St. Petersburg and could have been caused by a malfunction or short circuit in a ventilator, according to local reports. On Saturday, another fire had started in the intensive care unit of a coronavirus hospital in Moscow, killing one person, according to CNN.
Wuhan plans to test all 11 million of its residents for the coronavirus after 6 new cases were identified
— India’s carbon dioxide emissions have fallen for the first time in four decades amid the country’s lockdown, according to The New York Times. In March, carbon emissions dropped around 15% and in April, they likely dropped another 30%, according to an analysis conducted by researchers at Carbon Brief, an environmental website.
— The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak first began but has largely been contained, has reported 6 new cases of the coronavirus over the weekend. Now, the city plans to test all 11 million of its residents for the virus by the end of next week, according to The Washington Post.
— New coronavirus cases emerge in countries that have recently eased their lockdowns and reopened including South Korea, China and Germany, according to CNN. “Fortunately, all three countries have systems in place to detect and respond to a resurgence in cases,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General said during a news briefing on Monday, CNN reported.
COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now exceed 80,000, Louisiana will begin to partially reopen and White House staff are now required to wear masks in the West Wing
— COVID-19 Deaths have now exceeded 80,000 in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are more than 1.3 million cases across the country. The IHME model, often cited by the White House, now projects that there will be 137,184 deaths by August 4 in the U.S., up from the around 60,300 deaths it predicted in April and slightly down from the 134,475 deaths it predicted last week.
— Restaurants in Louisiana will be allowed to serve customers at tables starting on Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced today, according to The Washington Post. Under this reopening plan, that follows recommendations by the White House, restaurants will be allowed to seat customers at 25% of normal capacity at tables separated by 10 feet (3 meters), according to the Post. But people will not be allowed to stand at bars for a drink and bars that don’t serve food will remain closed. Other places including nail and hair salons, gyms and museums will also open under similar restrictions that will remain in place until June 5, according to The Post.
— White House staff are now required to wear masks in the West Wing and avoid going there unless absolutely necessary, according to a memo sent to White House staff, NBC News reported. But they aren’t required to wear masks if they are at their desks and can socially distance, according to the memo. This comes after President Trump’s personal valet and Vice President Pence’s spokesperson both tested positive for the virus.
FDA approves first antigen tests for emergency use, mask-less people crowd a Colorado restaurant that reopened on Sunday, defying safer at home orders
— On May 15, some low-risk businesses and recreational activities will open in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today. These activities include landscaping and gardening, outdoor, low-risk recreational activities like tennis and drive-in movie theaters, he wrote on Twitter.
— The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to the first antigen test to detect the coronavirus, according to a May 9 statement. This test, created by Quidel Corporation, detects viral protein fragments in samples collected using nasal swabs, according to the statement. Compared to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, antigen tests are typically cheaper to make and can potentially be scaled up to test millions of Americans per day, according to the statement.
While PCR tests are “incredibly accurate,” running the tests and analyzing results can take time, according to the statement. “One of the main advantages of an antigen test is the speed of the test, which can provide results in minutes.”
However, antigen tests are not as sensitive as PCR tests and may not be able to detect all active infections, according to a statement. “This means that positive results from antigen tests are highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives, so negative results do not rule out infection.” If someone gets a negative antigen test result, it may need to be confirmed with a PCR test, according to the statement.
— On Sunday, people crowded a restaurant in Castle Rock, Colorado that reopened, defying the state’s Safer at Home order which still prohibits dine-in service, according to The Washington Post. On its Twitter page, the C&C Coffee and Kitchen tagged President Trump and wrote, “We are standing for America, small businesses, the Constitution and against the overreach of our governor in Colorado!!”
A reporter took a video, which he posted on Twitter, of the scene unfolding inside the restaurant, with customers — only one wearing a mask — crowding the counter and tables and people lining up outside to be seated.
There are now 38 children in New York who have fallen ill with a mysterious inflammatory syndrome that might be linked to COVID-19, more than 80,000 middle school students went back to school in Beijing
— There are now more than 4.1 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 283,120 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 1.3 million cases and 79,528 deaths.
— There are now 38 children in New York who have fallen ill with the mysterious inflammatory syndrome that might be linked to COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday. That’s more than twice the number announced last Monday by New York’s health department, according to The New York Times. Three children have died from the illness, known as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
— As China continues to ease its lockdown measures, on Monday, more than 80,000 middle school students went back to school in Beijing, according to NBC News. In each classroom, two stewards are now responsible for temperature detection, disinfection and ventilation. These people will also be responsible for the student’s security during lunch time, self-study and recess, NBC News reported. The teachers were told to prepare material and equipment for epidemic prevention.
COVID-19 model projects 137,000 U.S. deaths, Schumer calls on VA to explain use of unproven drug
—A model being used to project the death toll from COVID-19 now suggests the virus could take 137,000 lives in the U.S. by Aug. 4, Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said Sunday on CBS show “Face the Nation,” the LA Times reported. Nearly 80,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. have now been logged by the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. Some states, Murray said, are showing an unexpected rise in cases. “Some good-ish news coming out of New York and New Jersey and Michigan, where the death cases and death numbers are coming down faster than expected,” he said, according to the LAT. “Some other states where cases and deaths are going up more than we expected — Illinois and then Arizona, Florida, California as examples of that.” The model is now forecasting more than 6,000 COVID-19 deaths in California by the end of August; that’s an increase of 1,420 from the death projection on Monday (May 4). California has confirmed 67,533 COVID-19 cases and 2,715 related deaths.
—The Department of Veterans Affairs reportedly ordered $208,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine, a drug highly promoted by President Donald Trump and one that hasn’t been approved for use to treat the novel coronavirus. Now, New York Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the VA to provide information on why they are using an unproven drug on veterans with COVID-19, the Associated Press reported. “There are concerns that they are using this drug when the medical evidence says it doesn’t help and could hurt,” Schumer said in an interview with the Associated Press. In one recent study of the drug, patients on a high dose experienced dangerous heart rhythm problems, Live Science previously reported.
Schumer also said the VA should explain a recent investigation finding there were more deaths at the VA hospital in COVID-19 patients receiving hydroxychloroquine compared with those receiving standard care, the AP reported.
Belgium ‘corona bubble’ plan starts today, Florida nursing home deaths spike
—Belgium’s “corona bubbles” plan went into effect today; under this new plan, each household can invite up to four guests to their home, meaning a bubble would comprise two sets of up to four people each. “The physical separation from those whom we love has in some cases become unbearable,” said Belgium’s prime minister Sophie Wilmès. Even though these visits are allowed, the government is asking guests to stay 6 feet (1.5 meters) apart and is recommending such meet-ups happen in gardens or on terraces where possible, The Guardian reported.
—Despite the ban on air travel between Greece and the U.K., a rescue flight is set to leave Athens, Greece, to reunite refugees from Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan with family members on Monday (May 11), The Guardian reported. “Many of the individuals on the flight have been living for months in overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps on the Greek islands,” The Guardian said. The reunification resulted from a collaboration between refugee families in the U.K., former Parliament member Alf Dubs and Safe Passage, a campaign that aims to bring child refugees to safety.
—COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have spiked in Florida, accounting for 60% of the coronavirus deaths in the state over the past week, The Miami Herald reported. Over last week, 242 new COVID-19 deaths were reported from such facilities, while the state’s overall death toll increased by 401 during that same period. Florida has confirmed 40,596 cases to date and 1,715 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
New clusters of COVID-19 in South Korea, France opening schools, Boris Johnson announces threat levels
—New clusters and outbreaks of the novel coronavirus are popping up in countries that have tiptoed back to reopening. For instance, a new cluster of COVID-19 in South Korea led the country to close more than 2,100 bars and nightspots on Saturday (May 9), the Associated Press reported. Germany, days after restrictions were loosened, is reporting new outbreaks of the coronavirus at slaughterhouses. Researchers and doctors are looking at the reproduction rate of the virus — the average number of people each infected person transmits the virus to — and finding it is now above 1, at 1.1. In a tweet, Karl Lauterbach, a Social Democrat lawmaker and professor of epidemiology, said: “It has to be expected that the R rate will go over 1 and we will return to exponential growth. The loosening measures were far too poorly prepared,” Reuters reported.
—After 8 weeks in lockdown, France is also beginning to reopen. And parents are worried, as some schools are opening their doors on Monday (May 11), the AP reported. Preschools and elementary schools will be allowed to reopen, with limits of 10 students per class at the preschools and 15 in elementary. French parents who spoke to the AP aired their concerns about these openings. Cecile Bardin, with two sons who are 2 and 6, said she thinks it is “too soon” to send them back to their schools in Paris. “I am not reassured at the moment, because it will be very difficult to keep safe distance at school, especially for the little ones, who will want to play together,” Bardin said.
—Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce an alert system to communicate the coronavirus threat level (from a low of Level 1 to a high of Level 5) in different areas, BBC News reported. England is currently at a Level 4, Johnson is expected to say, but is moving toward a Level 3. You can watch the address shortly at BBC One.
UK plans to gradually reopen, China offers coronavirus help to North Korea
—The globe has now logged more than 4 million cases of COVID-19, with by far the highest case count in the United States (1.3 million), according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. The virus has killed at least 278,135 people worldwide, with 78,693 of those deaths in the U.S.
—The U.K. transport secretary Grant Shapps said today that Britain would move with “extreme caution” as the country eases up lockdown measures in what is being called “get Britain moving again,” BBC News reported. He added that many people have been walking and biking rather than taking public transportation, something he said should continue even as the country gradually reopens. “Whilst it’s crucial that we stay at home, when the country does get back to work we need to ask those people to carry on cycling or walking and for them to be joined by many others as well,” he said, according to BBC News. The U.K. has confirmed about 216,525 cases of COVID-19, with at least 31,662 related deaths.
—After receiving a message from the North Korean leader, China’s president Xi Jinping expressed concern about the threat of coronavirus to the country, offering to help. China state media said Kim Jong-un congratulated China for their successful response to the coronavirus pandemic. Jinping then said that China is “willing to continue to provide assistance within its own capacity for [North Korea] in the fight against COVID-19,” BBC News reported. North Korea has stood by their claim that just a single COVID-19 case has been found in the country. There were concerns at the end of April that Jong-un was gravely ill, as he hadn’t made a public appearance for a span of 20 days, even missing one of the year’s biggest events — celebration of his grandfather’s birthday. However, those concerns were dismissed when the leader made an appearance at a fertilizer plant on May 2, according to BBC News.
Ivanka Trump’s personal assistant has COVID-19, White House buried pandemic documents
—Personal assistant to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, has tested positive for COVID-19, the New York Post reported. The assistant has been teleworking and hasn’t been in the presence of Ivanka Trump for a week, news outlets have reported. Presidential advisor Stephen Miller also recently tested positive for the coronavirus; His wife, Katie Miller, who is press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence, also tested positive. And because she had contact with the FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, he is self-isolating for two weeks, the Post reported. During this past week, the first White House staffer, a personal valet to President Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus.
—Emails and files obtained by the Associated Press reveal that top public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent weeks crafting a plan for reopening communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Called “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” the document was shelved by the Trump administration, the AP reported. On Friday (May 8), the White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the document hadn’t been released b/c CDC director Robert Redfield had yet to approve it. That isn’t true, the AP learned from emails showing he had cleared the guidance for release. In one of those emails, dated April 24, Redfield sent the guidance documents to Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the White House coronavirus task force, and Joseph Grogan, assistant to the president for domestic policy. In that email, according to the AP, Redfield asked Birx and Grogan to review the documents so the CDC could post them publicly.
After an AP story on May 7 indicated the guidance had been buried, the White House ordered the CDC to refile those documents. The White House ordered parts of the guidance to be fast-tracked for approval, the AP reported. (Read the AP story about the evidence and actions taken by the CDC and the White House regarding the “Guidance” documents.)
Pet cat in Spain contracts COVID-19, is euthanized
A 4-year-old domestic cat named Negrito belonging to a family in Catalonia in Spain has been euthanized and found to have contracted the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, Reuters reported. The cat did not die from COVID-19, but rather had an underlying heart condition. The cat’s body was sent to the Animal Health Research Center (Cresa) in Barcelona for an autopsy, which found SARS-CoV-2 in the nasal cavities and a lymph node near the intestine, El Pais reported. “This only shows that cats in very isolated occasions can be collateral victims of the pandemic, but there is very little chance of them infecting people,” said Nàtalia Majò, the head of Cresa, as reported by El Pais.
“We intend to publish this data in a scientific journal, but before that we want to try to sequence the genome of the virus and see if the animal had antibodies,” said Cresa researcher Joaquim Segalés.
Negrito is one of just a handful of feline cases of SARS-CoV-2. The others include: at least one tiger (a 4-year-old named Nadia) at the Bronx Zoo in New York; two cats in Hong Kong, one in Belgium; two pet cats in New York state; and one in France. Cats seem to be able to contract the virus from their owners because they have a receptor protein on the outsides of respiratory cells that is similar to the human counterpart involved in SARS-CoV-2 infections. Called ACE2 in humans, this receptor protein allows the coronavirus to break into these cells and multiply. “The feline ACE2 protein resembles the human ACE2 homologue, which is most likely the cellular receptor which is being used by Sars-CoV-2 for cell entry,” Steven Van Gucht, virologist and federal spokesperson for the coronavirus epidemic in Belgium, told Live Science previously.
Even so, there haven’t been any reports of cats transmitting the novel coronavirus to humans. “We think the cat is a side victim of the ongoing epidemic in humans and does not play a significant role in the propagation of the virus,” Van Gucht said previously.
Millions of students in poor countries may not return to school once the pandemic is over, experts fear and Vice President Pence’s press secretary tests positive for the coronavirus
— Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to CNN. This follows news that one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive on Thursday.
— Experts fear that tens of millions of students in poor countries who are out of school now due to the coronavirus pandemic, may never go back to school, according to The Washington Post. The coronavirus crisis, worsening economy and unrest in some areas could affect millions of students, many who will probably not go back to school because of the costs and pressure to work, Alice Albright, chief executive of the Global Partnership for Education, told the Post.
Girls in the most rural and poorest areas are likely to be more severely impacted by school closures, as they are more likely to become victims of domestic violence and sexual harassment and be deprived of education and social and health services than boys, she said.
FDA gives approval to Moderna to begin phase 2 trials of its coronavirus vaccine, also approves first at-home saliva collection test for COVID-19
— The Food and Drug administration (FDA) has given approval to biotech company Moderna to begin the next phase of testing on its coronavirus vaccine candidate, the company announced Thursday (May 7). The purpose of phase 1 trials such as the one Moderna just completed, is to understand the safety and dosage of the candidate drug or vaccine, according to the FDA. Now, the testing will move to phase 2, in which the researchers will test the efficacy and side effects of the vaccine on about 600 people, according to a Live Science report.
— The FDA has also given approval to the first at-home saliva collection test for COVID-19, developed by RUCDR Infinite Biologics, which people could use to sample their own saliva and send it to a lab for analysis, according to another Live Science report. “Collecting a saliva sample at home mitigates the risk of exposure needed to travel to a facility or drive-through and is less invasive and more comfortable and reliable than sticking a swab up your nose or down your throat,” Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR, said in a statement. The only other at-home coronavirus test on the market requires users to collect samples using a nose swab, The New York Times reported May 7.
There are more than 3.8 million COVID-19 cases worldwide
— India is working to bring home about 15,000 stranded Indians around the world by air and ship, according to The New York Times. Air India and navy ships are being sent abroad to bring back citizens who are struggling amid the pandemic. On Friday, two naval ships carrying around 1,000 people arrived from the Maldives and on Thursday, the first rescued citizens flew from Dubai. But while bringing people home, India is trying to avoid bringing more of the virus into the country that has reported 60,000 infections and about 2,000 deaths, relatively low for the more than 1 billion people that live there, according to the Times. Passengers will be quarantined for 14 days in facilities after arriving.
— There are more than 3.8 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 270,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Here are some other numbers from around the world: Russia has reported 187,859 cases and 1,723 deaths; Brazil has reported 136,519 cases and 9,265 deaths; Turkey has reported 133,721 cases and 3,641 deaths; Iran has reported 104,691 cases and 6,541 deaths; Germany has reported 169,430 cases and 7,392 deaths; the United Kingdom has reported 207,977 cases and 30,689 deaths; and Canada has reported 66,201 cases and 4,541 deaths.
Researchers detect coronavirus in semen but it’s unclear if the particles are viable
— Researchers detected the new coronavirus in semen, according to a small study. The findings, published Thursday (May 7) in the journal JAMA Network Open, doesn’t mean that the virus was necessarily sexually transmitted through contact with semen, according to a Live Science report. The researchers analyzed semen samples from 38 men in Shangqiu, China who had tested positive for COVID-19 and were still experiencing symptoms or had recently recovered. They found coronavirus in the semen of 6 of these participants — four who were currently experiencing symptoms and two who had recently recovered, according to the report. But it’s not clear if the virus particles are “viable.”
— Researchers at the Johns Hopkins school of public health are starting a clinical trial to test whether convalescent plasma, or plasma taken from patients who have recovered from COVID-19, could help prevent infections in health care workers, according to CNN. Another group will test whether the convalescent plasma will be effective in keeping people who are not sick enough to be hospitalized out of the hospital, CNN reported.
— Amtrak now requires passengers to cover their faces with masks or other coverings while in stations, on trains, and on buses, starting on Monday, NPR reported. “Facial coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in their private rooms, or seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats. Small children who are not able to maintain a facial covering are exempt from this requirement,” according to a statement. Many other airlines and public transit systems in the U.S. also require face coverings or masks, according to NPR.
Trump administration doesn’t release a CDC report providing detailed guidance on how to reopen the country
— One of President Trump’s personal valets, a U.S. Navy member, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to CNN. “We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
— A report created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that provides step-by-step guidance on how to open up the country, was stopped from being released by the Trump administration, according to AP News, who got their hands on a copy of the report from a federal official. The Trump administration rejected the guidelines, calling them too prescriptive, and asked the CDC for revisions, according to The New York Times.
— Counties across the country that are disproportionately black, make up more than half of coronavirus cases and 60% of deaths, according to a new study conducted by an AIDS research group, The Washington Post reported. The authors also found that factors such as employment and access to health care impacted infection and death rates from the coronavirus more than underlying health conditions did, the Post reported.
New York City may have fueled coronavirus outbreaks across the country
— Travelers from New York City may have fueled many of the coronavirus outbreaks across the country, according to The New York Times. To figure this out, a group of researchers tracked the mutations in the virus and examined travel histories of those infected and models of the outbreak. They found that people who left New York City before social distancing measures took hold, could have infected people in other states including Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and even some states on the West Coast, fueling outbreaks across the country, the Times reported.
— The World Health Organization (WHO) said domestic violence reports in Europe are still increasing amid lockdowns and urged countries to increase measures to address the problem, according to The Washington Post. Governments and local authorities have a “moral obligation to make sure services to address violence are available and resourced,” Hans Kluge, the WHO’s top official for Europe said during a virtual news briefing, the Post reported.
— There are now 3.77 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 264,400 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. has 1.2 million cases and more than 73,400 deaths. Spain has more than 220,300 cases, Italy has more than 214,400 cases and the United Kingdom has more than 202,300 cases, according to the dashboard.
Trump says coronavirus task force will continue ‘indefinitely,’ medications that prevent blood clots show promise in treating severe cases
— Today, Trump tweeted that the coronavirus task force will “continue on indefinitely,” contradicting comments made yesterday by Vice President Mike Pence who leads the task force. Pence had said the task force will likely wind down by the end of the month and later on that day, Trump told reporter that the task force will take on a different form, according to The New York Times. “I thought we could wind it down sooner,” Trump told reporters about why he changed his mind. “But I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday, when I started talking about winding it down. I get calls from very respected people saying, ‘I think it would be better to keep it going. It’s done such a good job.’”
— Giving COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators medications that prevent blood clots might help to reduce deaths, according to STAT News. A group of doctors at Mount Sinai in New York found that patients who received such medication had better outcomes than those who didn’t. The data, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is preliminary and needs to be confirmed in larger studies, STAT reported. It’s not clear how many COVID-19 patients develop blood clotting, but there are reports of people getting very small clots on their lungs or people — some unexpectedly young patients in their 30s and 40s — having strokes, STAT reported.
New COVID-19 cases in New York are mostly people who are staying home
— New York is still seeing on average around 600 new COVID-19 cases a day, despite all the closures and social distancing, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his news briefing today. To figure out where all the new cases are coming from, the state asked hospitals to provide information about new COVID-19 patients. Three days of data analyzing around 1,000 patients showed that 66% of patients were those who were staying home, “which is shocking to us,” Cuomo said. Only a sliver of the newly hospitalized were taking public transportation and most of them were not working. “Much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself,” Cuomo said. “Now it’s up to you.” They also found that most of those hospitalized were African Americans and Latinos.
— Nearly 1 in 5 young children in the U.S. aren’t getting enough food to eat amid the coronavirus crisis, according to new research released today based on surveys conducted by the Brookings Institute, The New York Times reported. This rate, as families skip meals and decrease portions, is three times higher than the rate in 2008 during the worst of the Great Recession, according to The Times. Part of the problem could be disruption to school meal programs, the Times reported.
More than 71,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19
— The European Union’s economy could shrink by 7.4% this year, the European Commission said today. Italy and Spain, the two European Union countries hit hardest by the virus, will see a 9% shrink of each of their economies, according to The New York Times. Unemployment rates will average around 9% across the European Union nations but will reach 19,9% in Greece, the Commission said.
— There are now more than 71,000 people who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are a total of 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 across the country, with more than 321,000 of those cases in New York, around 130,500 of cases in New Jersey and more than 70,000 of cases in Massachusetts.
— New York City subways were deliberately shut down for the first time early this morning for a deep clean, according to CNN. Previously, the subways had been shut down because of extreme weather, but though passengers couldn’t ride on the subway, the trains kept running. Now, the subways will be shut down every night from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for a deep clean.
Trump administration’s coronavirus task force considers winding down, even though cases remain at high levels
— The Trump administration’s coronavirus task force is considering winding down its work in the coming weeks, even though cases remain at high levels around the country, according to The New York Times. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters today that the task force could finish up its work by early June, the Times reported.
— California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that some businesses can reopen in a limited capacity starting Friday (May 8), according to The Washington Post. At that time, low-risk businesses, such as bookstores, florists and clothing stores, can reopen for pickup services, Newsom said. The governor also said that he had reached an agreement to reopen three beaches in Orange County.
— A COVID-19 mass testing effort within San Francisco’s Mission District found stark inequalities in how the virus is affecting different groups. About 95% of the people who tested positive were Latino, and the vast majority could not work from home, Live Science reported. The findings highlight just how hard it is to avoid the virus if you cannot shelter in place or work from home.
15 children in New York hospitalized with rare inflammatory condition, the coronavirus could have reached France as early as December
— The coronavirus may have reached France as early as December, according to The Guardian. By retesting old samples of pneumonia patients who had tested negative for the flu, a French hospital discovered that a patient treated on December 27 had been infected with the coronavirus. That’s nearly a month before France confirmed is first couple of cases of COVID-19. The patient, who survived the coronavirus, was sick for around two weeks and infected his two children but not his wife, according to The Guardian. But it’s not clear how he was infected as the only contact he had was with his wife.
— “The faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost but the higher the human cost,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing. “That my friends, is the decision we are really making.” Projection models have doubled the number of expected deaths from COVID-19 because “now they’re factoring in the reopening plans and the reopening schedules that states are announcing,” Cuomo said. In April, the IHME model, often cited by the White House, projected around 60,300-60,400 deaths. The model’s new projection is 134,475 deaths.
— 15 children in New York were hospitalized from a mysterious inflammatory condition that could be tied to COVID-19, according to The New York Times. Doctors in the U.K. previously warned of a possible connection between COVID-19 and an unusual inflammatory syndrome which causes symptoms similar to toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening condition caused by bacterial toxins, and Kawasaki disease, a childhood illness that causes inflammation in blood vessel walls, according to a previous Live Science report. Similar to cases in Europe, some children in New York who were hospitalized with this illness tested positive for COVID-19 while others didn’t.
Pfizer and BioNTech start clinical trial of experimental coronavirus vaccine
— Pfizer and BioNTech have started testing an experimental coronavirus vaccine on people in the U.S., and last week in Germany, according to CNN. The mRNA vaccine could teach the cells to make the spike protein of the virus, but not make the person sick, according to The New York Times. This kind of vaccine is faster to produce and can be more stable than traditional vaccines, but no vaccines made from this technology have ever become available worldwide, according to the Times. If this vaccine proves safe and effective, the companies say they hope to have several million doses by September.
— There are now 3.6 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 251,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. now has around 1.18 million cases, followed by Spain with 218,000 cases and Italy with nearly 212,000 cases; the U.K. has more than 191,800 cases and France has more than 169,500 cases.
New Zealand and Australia discuss a possible ‘travel bubble,’ the FDA issues new rules for antibody tests
— New Zealand and Australia, countries that both seemed to have gotten the coronavirus outbreak under control, are discussing the possibility of forming a “travel bubble” that would allow people to travel between them without restrictions, according to The Washington Post. If the two countries decide to go ahead with this move, it would still be weeks or months away, The Post reported.
— The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new rules that companies must follow before their COVID-19 antibody tests can be sold, according to a Live Science report. This comes after a number of antibody tests hit the market without adequate proof that they actually worked, according to the report. The new rules dictate that the companies already selling these tests must send the FDA an application for “emergency-use authorization” and data showing that the tests are accurate within 10 business days, according to a statement.
— The National Institutes of Health (NIH) started a new study to understand the rate of COVID-19 infection among children in the U.S., according to a Live Science report. The study will recruit 6,000 people from 2,000 families living in 11 U.S. cities, according to a statement from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The researchers will track each child and their family for 6 months to determine how many children catch COVID-19 and whether they transmit the virus to family members and which family members end up developing symptoms, according to the report.
— The total number of hospitalizations in New York are still declining. “Unfortunately the decline from the mountain is not as steep as the incline,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing. The number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations per day is also on the decline. There were 226 people who died yesterday from COVID-19 in New York, the lowest number the state has reported since March, according to The New York Times. Cuomo also presented a list of seven requirements that the state’s regions would need to meet in order to ease restrictions:
1. 14-day decline in hospitalizations or a three-day average of under 15 new hospitalizations
2. 14-day decline in hospital deaths or a three-day average of fewer than 5 deaths
3. A three-day average of new hospitalizations under 2 per 100,000 residents
4. 30% of total hospital beds available
5. 30% of ICU beds available
6. Around 30 per 1,000 residents tested monthly
7. At least 30 contract tracers per 100,000 residents
New York City currently only meets three of the seven requirements.
Trump administration projects that by early June, daily death rates will nearly double
— The Trump administration is projecting that by early June, there will be about 3,000 COVID-19 related deaths each day, nearly double the current daily death rate of about 1,750, according to an internal document that was obtained by The New York Times. What’s more, the projections which are based on models created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predict that there will be about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, compared to about 25,000 new cases now. Meanwhile, some states including Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas have lifted some of their lockdown restrictions, partially opening up, even as they continue to see a rise in coronavirus cases.
— New Zealand reported zero new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, the first time the country reported no cases since the outbreak began, according to The Associated Press. The country put strict lockdowns in place and closed its borders at the start of the outbreak in mid-March, successfully fighting the virus. New Zealand has reported nearly 1,500 cases of COVID-19 and 20 deaths. Last week, amid dwindling number of cases, some of the restrictions were lifted but most remain in place, according to the AP.
— Last week, Israel’s Education Ministry announced that most schools would welcome back 1st graders to 3rd graders on Sunday and 11th and 12th graders later on this week, according to The Washington Post. “We have succeeded in finding a balance between the desire to restore the economy and guidelines from the Ministry of Health,” Education Minister Rafi Peretz said in a statement. Classes would be divided into smaller groups, schools would start at different times and teachers over the age of 65 or those with underlying health conditions wouldn’t come to school, local school systems could have the choice to reopen and families could have the choice whether or not to send their children to school, according to The Post. But even as the cases in Israel are declining, it’s unclear how reopening schools might impact the outbreak. Parents are wishing for more clarity on how much danger there will be to their children and to their families at home, according to The Post.
COVID-19 cases surpass 3.5 million worldwide
— J.Crew filed for bankruptcy on Monday, becoming the first major retailer to do so as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Times. J.Crew, the company that also owns Madewell, had already been struggling under a great deal of debt before the outbreak, the Times reported.
— There are now more than 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 247,900 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. has more than five times the number of cases than Spain, the second-highest in case count. More than 67,600 people have died in the U.S and the case count is still increases, according to CNN.
— In patients with COVID-19, doctors are reporting a number of different skin rashes that take on a variety of forms from tiny red dots to larger flat or raised lesions, according to a Live Science report. However, it’s too early to tell whether these rashes are caused by the new coronavirus or they’re related to other factors, according to the report. It’s possible they’re caused by complications from the disease, reactions to medications or even other viruses in patients with co-infections, researchers wrote in an editorial published April 30 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.
Prisons full of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, VP Pence changes mind on face mask
—A Reuters investigation has found that in four state prison systems, in Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, 96% of the 3,277 inmates who tested positive for the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 showed no symptoms. Testing in 15 of Ohio’s 28 state-run facilities, which house a total of 49,000 prisoners, said that 3,837 had tested positive. The state didn’t provide symptom information on 1,809 of those inmates and didn’t provide the number of tests conducted in the prison system, Reuters said.
Across the U.S., state prisons house some 1.3 million inmates, though there are another million in non-state prisons. These new results support the idea that asymptomatic individuals may be important as spreaders of the coronavirus, Reuters reported. “It adds to the understanding that we have a severe undercount of cases in the U.S.,” Dr. Leana Wen, adjunct associate professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, told Reuters. “The case count is likely much, much higher than we currently know because of the lack of testing and surveillance.” Other state prison systems are also testing inmates. Both Tennessee and Michigan have said a good chunk of those who tested positive were asymptomatic. Meanwhile, California hasn’t released counts for asymptomatic prisoners, Reuters reported.
—Vice President Mike Pence said he should have worn a face mask when he visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, last week. “I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic and I wore it when I visited the ventilator plant in Indiana” two days later, Pence said at a Fox News virtual town hall, Politico reported. Pence had said he didn’t need to wear a mask because he was tested so often for the coronavirus. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly recommended that everyone wear cloth face masks in public settings where social distancing isn’t feasible. And further, the Mayo Clinic has its own policy requiring all visitors to wear face masks, and everyone else at the clinic during that visit was donning a face mask, Politico reported.
Italy to reopen Monday, Russia has record day of new cases, Michigan protests are worrisome
—Italy is expected to reopen Monday (May 4) after two months under a strict lockdown. Italy’s population of 60 million lives in one of 20 regions; during this first phase of reopening, Italians will be allowed to go out in their own region to walk in parks, bike, visit relatives and participate in any of the government’s list of permitted activities. However, each region is also implementing their own rules, so there is a lot of confusion about what people can and cannot do during this partial reopening, News18 reported.
—Russia extended its isolation period through May 11, CNN reported. The extension comes as the country is reporting its fourth record day in new cases, with 10,633 cases confirmed Sunday (May 3). The country has confirmed at least 134,687 COVID-19 cases and 1,280 related deaths. “The daily increase in cases has relatively stabilized but this mustn’t calm us down, the situation is still very serious,” President Vladimir Putin said. “The peak is not behind us, we are about to face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic… the deadly threat of the virus remains.”
—Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said protests at the capitol building in Michigan last week were “devastatingly worrisome to me, personally,” CNN reported. During an interview on Fox, Birx said she was worried the hundreds of protestors, who were demanding the state end its lockdown, exposed elderly family members to the novel coronavirus. She said that Americans need to “protect each other, at the same time we are voicing our discontent,” CNN reported. On Friday (April 30), state Gov. Gretchen Whitmer put into place a new state of emergency through May 28.
Boris Johnson describes horrors of COVID-19, Maryland terminates $12.5 million PPE contract.
—Today’s numbers: The U.S. has 1.13 million COVID-19 cases and 66,385 related deaths; Spain has 216,582 cases and 25,100 deaths; and Italy is reporting 209,328 cases and 28,710 deaths.
—Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was released from St. Thomas’ Hospital last month after spending three nights in the ICU for COVID-19, describes the grip the virus had on him. He said that even though he received “liters and liters of oxygen,” he was not getting better, The New York Times reported. “I was just incredibly frustrated because the bloody indicators kept going in the wrong direction and I thought, ‘There’s no medicine for this thing and there’s no cure.'” To date, the United Kingdom has confirmed 183,500 cases of COVID-19 and more than 28,000 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—The state of Maryland is terminating a $12.5 million contract it had with the company Blue Flame Medical, because the company failed to deliver the personal protection equipment. The state made a $6.3 million down payment, but didn’t receive any of the masks or ventilators needed, The Washington Post reported. In a letter sent Thursday (April 30) to Blue Flame, Danny Mays, Maryland’s director of procurement, voiced this frustration. “Despite numerous requests for information and order status, Blue Flame Medical has yet to deliver any items under this order, or provide any pertinent data as to a pending shipment,” Mays wrote, according to the Post. “As Blue Flame Medical LLC has failed to honor its delivery commitment under the terms and conditions, [the Department of General Services] is now formally requiring Blue Flame Medical to cure this deficiency.”
Spain eases COVID-19 lockdown measures, France extends ‘health emergency’
—For the first time in 48 days, residents of Spain were allowed to go outdoors for recreation. The country had been under one of the strictest lockdowns to slow the spread of COVID-19, with adults allowed to go outside only for food, medicine or to walk their dog, the AFP reported. On Tuesday (April 28), Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a plan for gradually reopening the country, with kids under 14 last week being allowed to start going outdoors for walks. “It’s lovely to be able to dress up and go for a walk instead of doing exercises at home,” said 79-year-old Sonia Claesson, out for a stroll near the Madrid opera AFP reported. “We’re part of the high-risk population, so I didn’t go out at all,” she said. Spain has confirmed 216,582 COVID-19 cases and 25,100 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. The country has a population of nearly 47 million.
—Sanchez also said that face masks would be required for anyone on public transport beginning Monday (May 4), BBC News reported. The government, Sanchez said, would distribute a total of 13 million masks.
—Meanwhile, France has extended its health emergency and related measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 by 2 months. For instance, anyone entering France will have to quarantine for two weeks. Details about the health emergency, expected to last until July 24, are expected in the coming days, the AFP reported.
New Mexico city being sealed off to stop COVID-19 spread
The governor of New Mexico on Friday (May 1) invoked the Riot Control Act in order to lock down the city of Gallup, where COVID-19 shows no signs of abating, CBS News reported. “Effective at 12 p.m., May 1, all roads into Gallup are closed. Businesses in the city of Gallup will close from 5 p.m. through 8 a.m. Vehicles may only have a maximum of two individuals. Residents of the city should remain at home except for emergency outings and those essential for health, safety and welfare,” the office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. Lujan Grisham added that she understands this lockdown is a drastic measure, saying it was necessary because “the COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Gallup is a crisis of the highest order. Immediate action is necessary.” To date, Gallup has confirmed 1,064 COVID-19 cases and 20 related deaths, in a city of nearly 22,000, according to the state health department. The entire state has confirmed 3,513 cases and 159 related deaths to date.
Gallup, which is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Albuquerque, has a substantial number of Native Americans in its population, with members from the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes, according to news reports. The president of Navajo Nation, which extends into New Mexico, said he supports the governor’s decision. “We fully support the proactive measures implemented by Governor Lujan Grisham, at the request of the City of Gallup,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in the statement from the governor’s office. “We have many members of the Navajo Nation that reside in Gallup and many that travel in the area and their health and safety is always our top priority. Thank you to the Governor for her leadership and decisive actions. We urge everyone to stay home, stay safe, and save lives.”
The FDA gives emergency use authorization to the antiviral drug remdesivir, Trump says
— A field hospital that was set up in Central Park to take in the overflow of coronavirus patients in New York City, will stop admitting new patients on May 4, according to CNN. The field hospital will likely continue to treat patients for around two weeks, Samaritan’s Purse and Mount Sinai Health System’s spokesperson Melissa Nystrom told CNN.
— The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency use authorization to the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat some patients that are hospitalized with the coronavirus, President Trump said today, according to NPR.
— The coronavirus might be spreading for another 18 months to two years, according to a new report released on Thursday. The spread might continue until 60 to 70% of the population has been infected, CNN reported.
More than 4,000 workers in meatpacking plants across the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus
— The number of daily new hospitalizations in New York has remained steady just below 1,000 a day, which is “still too high,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily press briefing. More specific information is needed on the new cases to “have a specific battle plan” such as where the new cases come from, who they are, where they work, how they commute, where they live, what their sex, age and previous health status is, Cuomo said.
— More than 4,000 workers in meatpacking plants across the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus and 20 have died, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About half a million people work in the meat and poultry processing industry, many in cramped conditions, according to The New York Times. This week President Trump issued an order that allowed officials to keep plants open, the Times reported.
— There are more than 1.08 million COVID-19 cases and more than 63,400 deaths in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are more than 213,400 cases in Spain and more than 24,500 deaths; more than 207,400 cases in Italy and more than 27,900 deaths; more than 178,600 cases in the United Kingdom and more than 26,800 deaths.
South Africa lifts country-wide lockdown
— NASA developed a new ventilator, a high-pressure device called VITAL, that recently received emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus patients, according to Space.com. “This FDA authorization is a key milestone in a process that exemplifies the best of what government can do in a time of crisis,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. “This ventilator is one of countless examples of how taxpayer investments in space exploration — the skills, expertise and knowledge collected over decades of pushing boundaries and achieving firsts for humanity — translate into advancements that improve life on Earth.”
— Gilead Sciences, the company that developed an antiviral drug called Remdesivir which recently showed promise as a treatment for severe COVID-19, is now investigating whether the drug can be given to patients earlier, such as when the disease is still in its moderate stage, CEO Daniel O’Day said Friday on “Today,” CNN reported.
— South Africa is lifting its country-wide lockdown on Friday but will continue to require strict social distancing and face masks, along with curfews according to The New York Times. Employees are still required to work from home and gyms and restaurants will stay closed, the Times reported. South Africa had put in place one of the strictest lockdowns in the world back in March, from banning jogging and dog-walking to banning the sale of alcohol and cigarettes.
All beaches in Orange County, California will temporarily close, Newsom says
— All beaches in Orange County in California will temporarily close, Governor Gavin Newsom said today. This comes after thousands of people crowded the county’s beaches last weekend, against the statewide stay-at-home order, according to the Los Angeles Times.
— Gilead Sciences, the developer of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that’s shown promise in fighting COVID-19, said they will give away the first 1.5 million doses of the drug for free if the Food and Drug Administration grants them emergency approval, according to The New York Times.
— Over 260 recovered COVID-19 patients in South Korea who have tested positive again for the virus are likely not reinfected, according to infectious disease experts in South Korea. Rather, tests are detecting dead virus fragments in these people, according to The Korea Herald.
USNS Comfort departs NYC, South Korea reported no new domestic coronavirus cases today
— New York subway service will stop between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. each night so that the subways can be disinfected, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today during his daily briefing. This will begin next Wednesday, May 7.
— The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship deployed to help New York City fight off the coronavirus pandemic, has left the city, according to CNN. The ship arrived in New York City on March 30 and had originally arrived to provide care to non-COVID-19 patients, but later went on to care for patients who were also COVID-19 positive.
— South Korea reported no new domestic coronavirus cases for the first time, according to NPR. On Thursday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported four new coronavirus infections — all from travelers into the country — bringing the countries total to 10,765, according to NPR. South Korea has been largely applauded for its handling of the outbreak. The country has reported 247 COVID-19 deaths.
New Yorkers will be able to get married online by the end of the week, doctors document a frostbite-like toe rash in some COVID-19 patients
— A frostbite-like toe rash might be a symptom of the new coronavirus, according to a Live Science report. “COVID toes” have only been documented in anecdotal evidence from doctors around the globe, but research is needed to determine if this pinkish-reddish rash is actually caused by COVID-19.
— By the end of the week, New Yorkers will be able to obtain marriage licenses from the City Clerk online, according to a statement. Before so-called “Project Cupid,” New Yorkers were required to obtain a marriage license in person. “We need moments of joy now more than ever, and we won’t let a pandemic get in the way of true love,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “To all of the couples looking forward to tying the knot, know that your city is right here with you, throwing rice from afar.”
— It’s possible that we can have a coronavirus vaccine by January, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on the Today show. The Trump administration has set up an “Operation Warp Speed” program to help accelerate the process of developing a vaccine, according to CNN. “Remember go back in time, I was saying in January and February that it would be a year to 18 months,” Fauci said. “January is a year — so it isn’t that much from what I had originally said.” A group in the U.K. is testing a vaccine that could be ready in the fall, if it works, according to a previous Live Science report.
Remdesivir shows promise in large, international study
— The antiviral drug remdesivir significantly reduces the time it takes for COVID-19 patients to recover, as compared with a placebo treatment, according to a large, international study. Patients treated with the drug took about 11 days to recover as compared with 15 days for patients who took the placebo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in an interview with NBC News today (April 29). “Although a 31% improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100%, it is a very important proof of concept,” Fauci said. “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.” The NIAID-sponsored trial began on Feb. 21 and included over 1,000 participants from various places around the world, according to a Live Science report.
— The University of Alabama plans to open up campuses for teachers and students to return in the fall, according to CNN. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said part of the state will start to reopen on May 4, according to CNN.
USNS Comfort will depart NYC on Thursday
— New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned today of “caution signs” from other nations as states look to reopen. Singapore is talking about a potential second wave of the coronavirus with 900 new cases and Germans are urged to stay home again amid fears of increasing rate of COVID-19 infections, Cuomo said. The rate of infection was around 0.7 in Germany in mid-April, but within 10 days, as Germany started to re-open, the infection rate rose to around 1 (that means an infected person infects one other person on average). “That’s troubling; shows you how fast the infection rate can increase if you don’t do it right on the reopening,” Cuomo said.
In New York, hospitalization, intubation and death rates continue to decline, Cuomo said. But the number of new hospitalizations remains flat at just below 1,000 daily cases, which is “not good news,” Cuomo said. Ideally, you’d want to see the number of daily new infections in the low hundreds, he added.
— The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship deployed to help New York City fight off the coronavirus pandemic, will depart New York City on Thursday, according to a statement from the U.S. Northern Command. The ship arrived in New York City on March 30 and had originally arrived to provide care to non-COVID-19 patients. But the ship soon began to take in patients who were also COVID-19 positive. “Even as USNS Comfort departs NYC, the ship and its embarked medical task force remain prepared for future tasking. The Navy, along with other U.S. Northern Command dedicated forces, remains engaged throughout the nation in support of the broader COVID-19 response,” they wrote in the statement. The ship will now return to Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia.
Coronavirus death toll in the U.S. might be much higher than thought
— In Tennessee, some restaurants were allowed to reopen on Monday and some stores can reopen today at 50% capacity, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said, according to CNN. Tennessee has more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 188 deaths, according to the state’s Department of Health.
— The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. might be much higher than thought in hard-hit states, according to The New York Times. The total number of deaths in seven states was nearly 50% higher than the average during a five-week span, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are 9,000 more deaths in those states than official counts of coronavirus deaths have reported, but it’s difficult to know if these excess deaths are due to a surge in deaths from other causes or from an undercounting of the coronavirus, according to the Times. It’s likely both, they wrote.
— There are now more than 3.1 million COVID-19 cases worldwide; there are more than 232,000 cases in Spain; more than 201,500 in Italy; more than 169,000 in France; more than 162,300 in the United Kingdom; more than 160,000 in Germany; and more than 114,600 in Turkey.
The U.S. has exceeded 1 million cases of COVID-19
— The U.S. just hit 1 million cases of coronavirus, that’s two-thirds of all the COVID-19 cases around the world, according to a Live Science report. There are now more than 216,000 deaths in the country, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— It’s not impossible that you could have had coronavirus in late January or February, but it’s not necessarily likely either, according to a Live Science report. Recently, two individuals in Santa Clara County were found to have died from the coronavirus on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, weeks before what was previously thought was the first COVID-19 fatality in the U.S. so in light of that news, it’s becoming clear that the coronavirus was spreading in the U.S. long before we knew it was, according to the report. But it’s still not clear how prevalent the coronavirus was in the U.S. in those first couple of months of the year.
— Nearly every coronavirus-related death in Massachusetts has been a patient with an underlying health condition or a previous hospitalization, according to WHDH TV 7 News. As of today, the state has reported more than 58,300 COVID-19 cases and more than 3,150 deaths, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
New York coronavirus cases continue to decrease, France starts discussions on gradually reopening schools
— Total and daily hospitalization rates in New York are still going down as are the number of intubations. There are just under 1,000 people who are being newly hospitalized with COVID-19, which is “still a significant number of people,” Cuomo said. The death rate is also decreasing daily but not at a “tremendous” rate, Cuomo said. Yesterday, 335 people died from the virus.
“We want to reopen but we want to do it without infecting more people or overwhelming the hospital system,” Cuomo said. “You can factually, with data, design a system that does just that.” If the hospital system in an area exceeds 70% capacity or the rate of transmission of the virus hits 1.1 those are danger signs, he said. There’s a two week lag, so once you hit 70%, you can expect that number to increase further, which means that percentage is a “safe” metric to use so as to not overwhelm hospitals, he said.
— France will begin to gradually reopen starting on May 11, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said today. On May 11, Kindergartens and elementary schools will start to reopen on a voluntary basis. In the second step, intermediary schools, starting with 6th and 7th grade will start to open, he said. A decision will be made in early June for reopening high schools, and another decision will be made at the end of May for reopening bars, cafes and restaurants he said, according to CNN. But “we have to progress with prudence,” he said. These confinement measures prevented 62,000 deaths in the country, he added.
Oxford vaccine shows promise in monkeys, first million doses could be available by September if it also shows promise in humans, scientists say
— The novel coronavirus tends to affect men more severely than it does women, and though experts can’t yet explain why, there are several theories, according to a Live Science report. It’s possible that the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone play a role or it could be because the X chromosome (which women have two of, but men have only one of) has a large number of immune-related genes or maybe the virus can hide in the testes that has an abundant expression of ACE2 receptors, the portals that allow the novel coronavirus into our cells, according to the report.
— Two million Australians downloaded a coronavirus contact tracing app since it was launched in the country on Sunday, according to CNN. The COVIDSafe app “speeds up contacting people exposed to the coronavirus,” according to the Australia’s Department of Health.
— Scientists at Oxford’s Jenner Institute are saying that with emergency approval, the first few million doses of their new coronavirus vaccine could be available by September if it proves to be effective, according to The New York Times. Because the scientists have already proven similar vaccinations harmless in the past, they were able to move forward quickly and set up trials to test the vaccine on thousands of people by the end of next month, according to the Times. Last month, scientists tested the vaccine in six rhesus macaque monkeys and though they exposed the monkeys to large amounts of the virus, the animals remained healthy, according to the Times.
Thousands of people gathered onto southern California beaches over the weekend
— Thousands of people gathered onto southern California beaches over the weekend, according to The Guardian. “This virus doesn’t take the weekends off, this virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful, sunny day along our coast,” governor Gavin Newsom saidon Monday. “We can’t see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport beach and elsewhere.” Now, the Newport Beach city council is considering closing the beaches for the next couple of weekends or blocking roads that lead to popular destinations, according to The Guardian.
— Doctors are testing whether estrogen could help men combat COVID-19, according to a Live Science report. More men than women have developed severe COVID-19 or died from it, according to The New York Times. It’s not clear why men seem to be fairing worse than women during this outbreak, but one idea is that the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone could be helping to regulate the female immune system and protect against infections and harmful immune system responses. Now, scientists at Cedars-Sinai and the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University plan to test that idea by treating small groups of COVID-19 patients with those hormones, to see if they make a difference, according to the Live Science report.
— An autopsy of the first known COVID-19 patient’s body revealed that the person died from a ruptured heart triggered by the virus, according to a Live Science report. The 57-year-old woman, Patricia Dowd of San Jose, California, died at home on Feb. 6 after experiencing flu-like symptoms, according to The Mercury News. “The immune system was attacking the virus and in attacking the virus, it damaged the heart and then the heart basically burst,” Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist who was not involved with Dowd’s case, told The Mercury News.
14.9% of 7,500 people tested for coronavirus antibodies in New York test positive
— New Zealand has “won the battle,” against the coronavirus, according to NPR. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that the country has no widespread undetected community transmission of the coronavirus and she announced the lifting of most restrictions in the country put in place to curb the transmission of the virus. “There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand. We have won that battle,” Ardern said today. “But we must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way.” Cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand have been declining since April 5, when 89 cases were announced. On Sunday, there were no new cases announced, but on Monday there were 5 cases announced, according to NPR.
The small case count “does give us confidence that we have achieved our goal of elimination,” said Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director-general of health. But this declaration that the virus is eliminated doesn’t mean that there won’t be any more new cases, it just means the cases will be manageable with aggressive contact tracing, Bloomfield and Ardern said.
— Of 7,500 people tested in New York for coronavirus antibodies , 14.9% have tested positive, governor Andrew Cuomo announced today. Last week, the first tests — conducted on 3,000 people — found that 13.9% of New Yorkers tested positive, according to a previous Live Science report.
The US is inching closer to the 1 million mark in coronavirus cases
— The U.S. is inching closer to the 1 million mark in coronavirus cases, according to the Johns hopkins dashboard. There are nearly 3 million cases worldwide and more than 207,400 deaths.
— Afghanistan is planning to release more than 60 percent of its prisoners, to curb the spread of the coronavirus in confined spaces, according to The New York Times. The Afghan government is releasing an additional 12,000 prisoners, on top of the 10,000 they are in the process of releasing, the government announced today. Though the official COVID-19 count stands at 1,703 for the country, testing is very limited, the Times reported. Afghanistan has about 36,000 prisoners in total, but has only a capacity to hold 18,000, the head of Afghanistan’s prison authority said. Meanwhile, the long war in Afghanistan against the Taliban continues amid the pandemic, as insurgents continue to kill dozens of Afghan security forces daily, according to another New York Times report.
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added 6 more symptoms to the list for COVID-19: chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, repeated shaking with chills and new loss of taste or smell. “People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness,” the CDC says.
2 healthy men nearly die from COVID-19. Here are their stories.
—The New York Times has an amazing story that reveals the complex nature of this novel coronavirus, hitting both healthy and sick individuals and seeming to let up before aggressively attacking its host. This 49-year-old man in Massachusetts was a healthy athlete who ended up on a ventilator for 32 days; his lungs were nearly completely filled with fluid and at times the doctors did not think he would pull through. They tried hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug, a statin and he was in a clinical trial for remdesivir (so they don’t know if he got a placebo or the actual drug). Doctors tried the intricate treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), in which blood gets siphoned from the patient, run through an oxygenator and pushed back into the patient’s body; when that didn’t seem to be the technique siphons blood out of the patient, runs it through an oxygenator and pumps it back into the body. In their last-ditch effort, doctors added another tube to the ECMO machine that would drain more fluid from his lungs. And he made it. Read more at the Times.
—StatNews reports on another healthy, middle-age man who almost died after being infected with SARS-CoV-2. Though the avid runner and surgeon was never ventilated, he spiked a high fever and two indicators of inflammation were going through the roof. That all pointed to the idea that his body’s immune system was reacting to the virus in a way that was harmful. Called a cytokine storm, the body’s overreaction could be one of the reasons otherwise healthy individuals are experiencing critical infections from COVID-19. In the end, doctors at the New Jersey hospital put the man on the drug Actemra, which blocks a cytokine called Interleukin 6 (IL-6), and his fever started to come down. He is expected to return to that same hospital, where he works as a surgeon. “I’ve never been nervous walking into a hospital before,” Fiske told StatNews. “I fought a war, and I’m going back to the same battlefield.”
Dr. Birx says social distancing through summer, and disinfectant is not a treatment
Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that some social-distancing measures will remain in place through the summer. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today, Birx said: “If you look at these outbreaks over time and you look at places like Louisiana, if you look at Houston, if you look at Detroit, if you look at how they’ve reached their peak and come down and what those cases look like as they come down, it gives us great hope when you project out Boston and Chicago and certainly the New York metro.” She added, “Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases,” NBC News reported.
Birx said she has “great hope” for slow reopening of states over the next few months, but she stressed the importance of ramped-up testing, particularly screening for antibodies to the coronavirus.
When asked on Saturday by Fox News about Trump’s questions about injecting the lungs with disinfectant or getting powerful light “inside the body” as possible COVID-19 treatments, Birx said, “I also made it very clear, and so has Dr. Fauci and everyone associated with the task force, and the clarity around this is not a treatment,” NBC News reported.
On Friday (April 24), Trump said that he was being sarcastic when he asked about “disinfectant injections” and getting UV light into the body. “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters just like you, just to see what would happen,” Trump said during a bill signing for a coronavirus aid package, NBC News reported. “I was asking a sarcastic and a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands, and it would make things much better.” This Live Science report describes why these treatments are such a bad idea.
Africa banks on COVID-19 testing, Spain eases up on strict lockdown
—Africa has nearly 32,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 4,000 related deaths, according to the tracker Worldometers. The country is hoping that “aggressive screening and testing,” is their only hope in containing the coronavirus at all, The Guardian reported. South Africa, with nearly 4,400 cases, has started testing 10,000 people a day, according to The Guardian. The World Health Organization has warned that the continent could see 10 million cases within 3 to 6 months.
—With its lowest daily death toll in more than a month (288 COVID-19 fatalities), Spain is allowing kids under 14 to get outdoors, The Washington Post reported. On Sunday, the health ministry said COVID-19 cases increased by less than 1% from the prior day. “It is also the third consecutive day in which cured cases (3,024) outnumbered new ones (1,729),” the health ministry said, according to the Post. Spain currently has confirmed 223,759 cases and 22,902 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. If the figures continue to be promising, the prime minister said the country would allow adults outside to exercise beginning May 2.
—The epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wuhan, China, has announced the city has no COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized, The New York Times reported. The city of 11 million also reported a total of 46,452 infections and 3,869 deaths, though many think the figures are much higher, the Times said.
Global death toll passes 200,000; Nearly 3,300 inmates test positive in 4 states
—The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 200,000 with the Johns Hopkins dashboard showing 202,098 deaths. The highest death tolls are in: the U.S. (53,280), Italy (26,384), Spain (22,902), France (22,614), followed by Belgium (6,917).
—Relative to population, Belgium has the highest death rate from COVID-19 in Europe, Bloomberg News reported. One of the reasons for Belgium’s high death rate has to do with the fact that the country registers possible COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes even if there was no confirmed infection. “We often get criticism — oh, you’re making Belgium look bad — we think it’s the opposite,” Steven Van Gucht, head of the viral disease division at the Sciensano public-health institute, told Bloomberg News. “If you want to compare our numbers with a lot of other countries, you basically have to cut them in half.”
—Some 3,277 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 in state prisons in Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. Of those, 96% of the inmates were asymptomatic at the time of testing, Reuters reported. State prisons across the U.S. house about 1.3 million inmates. “It adds to the understanding that we have a severe undercount of cases in the U.S.,” Dr. Leana Wen, adjunct associate professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, told Reuters. “The case count is likely much, much higher than we currently know because of the lack of testing and surveillance.”
Additional coronavirus symptoms, WHO warns no evidence antibodies protect people
—Additional COVID-19 symptoms have been added to the list put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These additional symptoms include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell, the Sacramento Bee reported.
—Scientists at the Army Research Lab and Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts, told DefenseOne they have figured out how to make face masks that are as effective as N95 respirators; this comparison has not been verified by outside researchers. “The ideal made-at-home masks need an absorbent layer composed of something like quilted cotton, terrycloth, dense flannel, a heavy T-shirt, etc. You also need at least one layer that’s hydrophobic, meaning that it repels water, such as a polyester fabric like OLY-Fun, preferably treated with Scotchgard. The more layers you add, alternating back and forth, the better you are protected,” DefenseOne said.
—Scientists are not sure whether a person can be reinfected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the World Health Organization stressed today. The WHO said there is “no evidence” that once a person has survived a COVID-19 infection and has antibodies they are protected from the virus.
“Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection,” the WHO said in a statement. “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
California announces ‘meals for seniors’ program, COVID testing by pharmacists in Florida
— California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a new program called “Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Older Californians,” which will pay restaurants to prepare and deliver meals for seniors. The program is a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Restaurants will be paid up to $16 for each breakfast, $17 for each lunch and $28 for each dinner prepared.
“This partnership will allow for the ability for restaurants to start rehiring people or keep people currently employed and start preparing meals … and have those meals delivered to our seniors all throughout the state of California,” Newsom said in a news briefing.
— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he has instructed the state’s surgeon general to allow pharmacists to order and administer tests for COVID-19, according to CNN. The order is meant to help expand testing in the state. “We’ve got to figure out ways to make it as simple and accessible as possible,” DeSantis said in a news briefing.
— A woman in New Jersey passed out and crashed her car while wearing an N95 mask on Thursday, according to NBC News. Officials said they believe the woman passed out due to “insufficient oxygen intake/excessive carbon dioxide intake,” while wearing the mask, adding that she had been wearing the mask while driving for three hours. However, officials later clarified that they were not definitively sure that the mask was responsible for the crash.
COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. surpass 50,000
— Amid an increase in domestic violence incidents, New York state launched a 24/7 texting and confidential online service program for domestic abuse victims, Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted today. “Abuse victims are often closely surveilled by their abuser, making these tools needed,” he said. If you need help, text 844-997-2121 or visit http://opdv.ny.gov.
— There are now more than 50,000 people who have died in the U.S. from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. has more than 886,000 cases of COVID-19; Spain has around 220,000 cases; Italy has around 193,000 cases; and France has around 159,000 cases.
— An experimental coronavirus vaccine protected monkeys from catching the infection, according to an unreviewed report published in the preprint database bioRxiv. The new vaccine has now entered clinical trials in China to test the drug in humans, according to a Live Science report.
A second Navy warship hit by a coronavirus outbreak
— The USS Kidd is the second U.S. Navy warship to be hit by a coronavirus outbreak, with at least 18 coronavirus cases on board, a U.S. Navy Official told CNN. The first ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, also had an outbreak of coronavirus cases and that carrier’s commanding officer was fired, after he sent a letter to the Navy asking for assistance with the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Live Science report.
The USS Kidd was assigned to a counter-narcotics mission in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, when the first sailor displayed symptoms and was taken off the ship, according to CNN. Later, more sailors tested positive and testing is continuing. “They are preparing to return to port, where they will undertake efforts to clean the ship. They will remove a portion of the crew from the ship. And work to get everybody back to health and get the ship back to sea,” said Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.
— In New York, “all the evidence suggests we’re on the downside of the curve,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily briefing. The total number of hospitalizations and the change in intubations is down. The number of new people coming into the hospital is also “slightly down” but that’s basically a flat line, Cuomo added. It is “troubling” that there are still 1,200 to 1,300 new infections every day, he said. Yesterday, 422 additional people died from COVID-19. This is still an “unimaginable level… it’s dropping somewhat but its still devastating news,” Cuomo said.
Coronavirus might be using part of the body’s own immune response against us
— The new coronavirus might be using part of the body’s own immune response against us, according to a new study. SARS-CoV-2 uses a receptor called ACE2 to invade human cells, according to a Live Science report. Now, researchers have discovered that the ACE2 receptor might be stimulated by interferons, proteins that the immune system releases to alert other cells that there’s a pathogen in the body. But when interferons rush to alert the body to the coronavirus, they’re actually stimulating the gene that ramps up expression of ACE2 receptors, which may lead to more ACE2 production and allow SARS-CoV-2 to infect even more cells.
— President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of “injecting” a disinfectant into a person with COVID-19 to clean out the virus, according to NBC News. Medical professionals were quick to say that that was “improper health messaging,” according to NBC News. “This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous,” Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist, global health policy expert told NBC News. “It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves.”
— The European Union is planning to raise 7.5 billion Euro or $8.1 billion, starting on May 4 to help the fight against the coronavirus, according to CNN.
Up to half of the COVID-19 deaths in Europe are occurring in long-term care facilities, WHO says
— Doctors are seeing an alarming number of COVID-19 patients with blood clots, according to a Live Science report. Blood clots can cause serious problems such as heart attack and stroke. The link between COVID-19 and clots has led some hospitals to put all COVID-19 patients on low doses of blood thinners to prevent clots, according to CNN.
— Yesterday, 115 people died of COVID-19 in California, the highest daily death toll the state has seen, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today during his daily briefing.
— In the recent weeks there’s been a “deeply concerning picture” emerging in long-term care facilities in Europe and around the world, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe said during a news conference. Up to half of the COVID-19 deaths in Europe are occurring in long-term care facilities, he said. “This is an unimaginable human tragedy.”
Thousands of people could have been infected with the coronavirus in New York before the first confirmed case
— “Silent hypoxia” may be killing some COVID-19 patients, according to a Live Science report. Doctors are seeing more and more COVID-19 patients who don’t seem to be having too much trouble breathing but whose blood oxygen saturation levels are very low, according to the report. Their lungs are clearly not effectively oxygenating the blood, but these patients are alert and feeling relatively well, according to the report.
The concern with this “silent hypoxia” is that patients are going to the hospital with worse health than they realize, but there may be a way to prevent that, according to a New York Times Op-Ed by emergency department physician Richard Levitan. If sick patients were given oxygen-monitoring devices to monitor their symptoms at home, they might be able to seek medical treatment sooner, and thereby avoid invasive treatments in the future
— New York state collected around 3,000 antibody samples from 40 locations in 19 counties so far. Preliminary estimates show that about 13.9% of random people who gave samples were infected by the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today. More than 21% of people tested in New York City specifically had antibodies from the coronavirus. A new model from Northeastern University suggests that by the time New York confirmed its first case on March 1, there could have been 10,700 people infected already, according to The New York Times.
More than 26 million people have filed for unemployment
— Around 4.4 million more people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to more than 26 million people over the last five weeks, according to The New York Times.
— There are now more than 842,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 46,700 who have died, according to the latest numbers from the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In Spain, more than 213,000 people have tested positive; in Italy, more than 187,000 people; in France more than 157,000 people; in Germany, more than 150,700 people; in the U.K. more than 134,600 people; in Turkey more than 98,600 people; and in Iran, more than 87,000 people.
— In a study analyzing thousands of COVID-19 patients admitted to Northwell Health, the largest health system in New York, researchers found that the most common underlying conditions among the patients were hypertension, obesity and diabetes. They also found that around 88 % of people who required mechanical ventilation died. Of the 5700 people they included in the study, 320 required mechanical ventilation, according to the study published in the journal JAMA on April 22.
The director of a key federal vaccine agency was suddenly dismissed
— At today’s daily White House briefing , Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clarified comments he made to The Washington Post yesterday on how a second wave of the coronavirus that might appear next fall or winter, might be even more devastating than the current wave. [See Live Science report]. “I think it’s really important to emphasize what I didn’t say. I didn’t say this was going to be worse.” He said he thinks it would be “more difficult” and “potentially complicated” if both the flu and the coronavirus is circulating at the same time.
— The director of a key federal vaccine agency was suddenly dismissed from his post this week. Rick Bright, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says he was dismissed this week from his post after carefully screening treatments that Trump has touted, according to The New York Times. “I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he told the Times.
“Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit,” he said. These drugs have serious risks and “I insisted that these drugs be provided only to hospitalized patients with confirmed Covid-19 while under the supervision of a physician.”
Two pet cats tested positive for the coronavirus in New York
— “We’re not home yet but we’re in a better place,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily press briefing today. The number of people hospitalized and the number of people intubated is declining, he said. Though the number of new people going into the hospital every day is better than it was, it is still “troublingly high,” he said. The number of lives lost is still “breathtakingly painful,” he added. Yesterday, another 474 people died, slightly lower than the 481 people who died the day before. Number of lives lost seems to be “on a gentle decline,” Cuomo said.
It’s not clear how long it will take for New York to descend the curve, Cuomo said during his briefing. “This is a profound moment in history,” Cuomo said. “Our actions are going to shape our future and you’re not going to have to wait for a 10 year analysis, a retrospective, to find out how our actions affected our future. What we do today you will see the results in 3, 4 or 5 days.” If we get reckless today, you’ll see hospitalization rates go up, he said.
— Two pet cats from different parts of New York have tested positive for the coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. Both had mild respiratory symptoms and are expected to recover, The Washington Post reported.
First U.S. coronavirus deaths likely occurred weeks earlier than previously thought
— Governor Andrew Cuomo told President Trump that the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort, which was docked in New York City to ease the pressure on hospitals during the outbreak, wasn’t needed anymore, according to CNN. For the past couple of days, New York has been descending on the outbreak curve.
— There are now more than 825,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 45,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are more than 208,000 cases in Spain and more than 21,700 deaths; There are more than 183,900 cases in Italy and more than 24,600 deaths.
— The first U.S. coronavirus deaths likely occurred weeks earlier than previously thought. The earliest deaths in the country were thought to be on Feb. 29, but upon investigation, a medical-coroner found the first deaths to actually be on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 in Santa Clara County in California, according to a Live Science report.
CDC funds 650 new hires to state departments
— Calls to poison control centers regarding exposure to household cleaners and disinfectants have spiked amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Live Science report. From January to March this year, poison control centers received 45,550 calls related to cleaner and disinfectant exposure, up 20% compared with calls over the same period in 2019, according to the report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are funding state health departments to hire 650 more people to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to NPR. The extra hires are part of a strategy to focus on testing and contact tracing of people infected with the coronavirus in order to prevent more major outbreaks in the future.
— The senate approved a $480 billion coronavirus relief package to provide funding to small businesses struggling amid the pandemic and also provide money to hospitals and to expand COVID-19 testing, according to CNN.
Some staff from USNS Mercy have been sent to a nursing facility to help with non-COVID-19 patients
— Researchers at the University Hospital Southampton and the University of Southampton will soon begin a clinical trial of a new coronavirus vaccine made from the weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees that has been genetically altered such that it can’t grow in humans, according to a statement. The vaccine was combined with genes that code for the coronavirus’ spike proteins which the virus uses to enter human cells. The study will involve 510 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.
— The hospital ship that was sent to Los Angeles to help with non-COVID-19 patients now has a new assignment: Help with nursing home patients. Forty staff on the USNS Mercy have been sent off the ship to help with non-COVID-19 patients at a state-run nursing facility in Orange County, according to The New York Times. The capacity onboard the ship will also decrease from 1,000 beds to 250. The news comes after nine crew members tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 100 are in quarantine after exposure to a known case.
— A COVID-19 patient in Italy had detectable levels of infectious viral particles in her eyes, long after the infection had cleared from her nose, according to a Live Science report. Using lab tests that amplify the viral particles, the researchers confirmed that the sample of virus taken from her eyes was replicating and thus could be viable.
Georgia announces plans to reopen businesses, public health experts voice concerns
— Maryland bought 500,000 coronavirus test kits from South Korea for $9 million, in part due to efforts of the state’s first lady, Yumi Hogan, according to The Baltimore Sun. “The administration made it clear over and over again they want the states to take the lead and we have to go out and do it ourselves,” Governor Larry Hogan said on Monday. “So, that’s exactly what we did.” This move will allow the state to greatly expand its testing capacity, according to The Baltimore Sun.
— Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said businesses in the state, including barber shops and gyms can reopen later this week, according to NBC News. He also said theaters, restaurants and social clubs can reopen next Monday. Public health experts are voicing their concerns over reopening too soon, amid a lack of rigorous testing and contact tracing.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said beaches and retail stores can open today. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said his state’s stay-at-home measure won’t extend beyond April 30 and parks can reopen on Friday. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said elective surgery can start up again on May 4, according to NBC News.
— Munich has canceled Oktoberfest that typically draws around 6 million people to the city, according to The Washington Post.
Federal government now requires nursing homes to report all COVID-19 cases within a certain time period
— Nursing homes will now be required to report all COVID-19 cases to patients, families and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to CNN. Nursing homes are now required to tell patients and patients’ families within 12 hours of a patient being diagnosed with COVID-19 and give them weekly updates. Thousands of residents have died from COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities since the start of the outbreak, CNN reported.
— An “at home” study will test if a common drug used to treat a type of arthritis called gout can prevent serious complications in patients with COVID-19, according to a Live Science report. Participants in the study from the U.S.,Canada and Europe will receive the drug, called colchicine, by mail within 48 hours of a COVID-19 diagnosis and experts will monitor them via phone or video visits, according to the report. The researchers hypothesize that giving patients with COVID-19 colchicine early enough might prevent a cytokine storm, an aggressive immune system reaction that can damage the body’s organs, a complication that has been reported in some severe cases.
— There are now more than 783,390 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 41,800 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Around 4 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in the country, according to the dashboard.
WHO cautions countries that easing restrictions too quickly can lead to a spike in cases
— Some countries, such as Germany and South Korea, have slowly begun to lift restrictions amid declining COVID-19 numbers, according to the Washington Post. The World Health Organization warned that countries should be cautious about lifting restrictions too quickly, as cases of COVID-19 can spike right back up, according to the Post. “We want to reemphasize that easing restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing on Monday. Lockdowns can’t end the epidemic on its own, countries must be able to “detect, test, isolate and care for every case and trace every contact,” he said.
— Severe COVID-19 patients being treated with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral Remdesivir in a Chicago Hospital have had rapid drops in fever and recoveries of respiratory symptoms, according to early results, STAT News first reported. Remdesivir also showed promise in rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) monkeys infected with the new coronavirus, according to a small study that has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, according to a Live Science report. Six monkeys given Remdesivir early in their COVID-19 illness showed significantly reduced disease, including pneumonia, compared with six monkeys in the untreated group, according to the preprint posted on March 21 to the bioRxiv database.
New York is now past the peak, Cuomo calls on federal government to increase hazard pay to essential public workers
— It has been 51 days since the first COVID-19 case was reported in New York and 92 days since the first case in the U.S. There were 478 people who died in New York yesterday from COVID-19. But the rate of hospitalizations from COVID-19 is decreasing and New York is now off the plateau and is on the descent. The question now is “how long is the descent and how steep is the descent,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily press briefing. “Nobody knows, just the way nobody knew how long the ascent was, nobody can tell you how long the descent is.”
— We should stop saying “reopen” New York and start to “reimagine” New York, Cuomo said. “Let’s use this situation, this crisis, this time to actually learn the lessons, value from the reflection and let’s reimagine what we want society to be.” Since we have to go through all of this, “and it’s not going to be fast, lets at least make this a moment that when we look back, we can say ‘wow we went through hell, but look at all the lessons we learned and look at how much better we made this place from this incident.” It was “hellish” what we had to build back after 9/11, but downtown Manhattan is “better” than it was before 9/11; security procedures in the U.S. are better than they were before 9/11; Superstorm sandy wreaked havoc on Long Island, destroying thousands of homes, but Long Island is now better than it was before, Cuomo said.
— Black and brown Americans are disproportionately victims of COVID-19, because they were out there dealing with the virus as frontline workers, Cuomo said. The federal government should increase hazard pay for essential public workers, Cuomo said. “Pay them what they deserve…give them a 50% bonus,” he said.
New York will begin antibody testing today
— New York will begin coronavirus antibody testing today, according to the New York Times. Antibody testing will be important in understanding who has already had COVID-19 and will help guide decisions to eventually reopen the state.
— There are now more than 2.4 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 166,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 759,000 cases and more than 40,600 deaths. In Spain, cases have exceeded 200,000 and deaths have exceeded 20,800 and in Italy, cases have exceeded 179,900 and deaths have exceeded 23,600.
— One of the last cruise ships that was still out at sea during the pandemic, the MSC Magnifica docked in Marseille, France on Monday morning, according to CNN. The 1,769 passengers on board are all healthy, but they will be checked for temperature and symptoms before they disembark, a spokesperson told CNN. The ship had left Italy on January 5. Another cruise ship is still out at sea and is expected to dock in Genoa, Italy tomorrow, the spokesperson said.
Unreliable antibody tests, Stay-at-home protests erupt, and more
—Coronavirus antibody tests, which are supposed to show if a person has already been exposed and might now be immune to the virus, are failing in the U.S., The New York Times reported. The FDA has allowed about 90 companies, many from China, to sell these tests without government vetting, the Times said. In Laredo, Arizona, for instance, the antibody tests have about a 20% reliability. And most of them do flag people as having antibodies when they really don’t, which would give them a false sense of protection, the Times said.
—In recent days, protests have erupted in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah in opposition to stay-at-home orders put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, CNN reported. “The sad part is, though, that the more they’re out and about, the more likely they are to spread Covid-19,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, according to CNN. “And the more likely we’re going to have to take this posture for a longer period of time.”
—Deaths from COVID-19 in Turkey have just surpassed 2,000, with more than 86,000 cases confirmed to date. Poland has recorded the sharpest uptick in cases so far, with 545 new infections confirmed, bringing the total to 9,287, The Guardian reported.
—About 1,500 Brits will be repatriated back to their country, after being stranded in New Zealand, with the most vulnerable being prioritized to take the first flights, The Guardian said. Until now the New Zealand government had said there would be no repatriation due to the strict lockdown in the country, which has meant no international flights. Now, the first flight back is expected on Friday, April 24, with flights continuing every other day to bring Brits home.
Yellowstone bears having a blast, Afghan presidential palace infected
—Yellowstone National Park in Northern California has been closed since March 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the wildlife is starting to notice. “It’s an amazing scene where you hear the natural sounds of the river, wildlife and the birds. The wildlife is getting a little bit bolder now because there are few people around,” Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean told Reuters. Most of the park’s 3 million-plus annual visitors usually turn up between April and October. Bears, just waking up from hibernation, are out and about, much less secretive than usual, Dean said. And the coyotes “are out in the daytime now and they’re not afraid. I mean, they’re just sort of walking by people and walking around, among buildings,” Dean said, according to Reuters.
—Europe just surpassed 100,000 deaths related to COVID-19, NBC News reported. Italy is reporting the highest number of deaths across Europe, with 23,660 deaths to date.
—At least 40 members of the staff at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, have tested positive for COVID-19. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, 70, is now in isolation, though there is no word if he has actually been infected, The New York Times reported. Years ago, Ghani lost much of his stomach decades ago to cancer, and in recent weeks he has been “attending” meetings via video, the Times said.
Nursing facilities hit hard in California, Spain to disinfect air with ‘fog generators’
—The numbers: The globe has confirmed 2.36 million COVID-19 cases and 162,013 related deaths. There are 735,287 cases in the U.S. and more than 39,000 related deaths; the United Kingdom has 121,168 cases and 16,095 related deaths; in Italy, 175,925 cases and 23,227 related deaths; Spain has now reported 195,944 cases and 20,453 related deaths; Germany, 144,033 cases and 4,543 related deaths.
—At least 258 skilled nursing facilities in California have confirmed one or more COVID-19 cases, the California Department of Public Health reported. That’s out of 1,224 such “skilled nursing” facilities in the state, so-called because they provide a high level of medical care that can be provided only by licensed health professionals such as registered nurses. About 150 of those facilities are located in Los Angeles, according to a list of each facility, its location, number of positive cases in staff and patients.
—The Spanish government has reportedly authorized the military to carry out aerial disinfection, which entails dispersing disinfectants through the air using a kind of “fog generator,” La Razon reported.
Haiti and Africa in dire need of ventilators, Ireland smashes the curve
Haiti and Africa in dire need of ventilators, Ireland smashes the curve
—Haiti is unprepared to handle any surge in COVID-19 cases, said Stephan Dragon, a respiratory therapist in the capital, Port-au-Prince, as reported by BBC News. Apparently, the nation has as many as 60 ventilators and as few as 20 that work, Dragon said. Currently, the country has reported 40 cases and 4 related deaths from the disease, though the numbers may be an underestimate. The high rate of underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, as well as the widespread poverty make this a dire situation. “Around 60% of Haitians live below the poverty line and many face a stark choice: either go about your daily business and run the risk of contracting COVID-19, or stay indoors, as the government advises, and be unable to put food on the table,” BBC News reported.
—Africa is also vulnerable due to a lack of medical equipment. According to the World Health Organization, just 2,000 ventilators are available across 41 countries that provided numbers, The Washington Post reported. Some countries have far fewer than others: Somalia’s health ministry has none; the Central African Republic has just three; South Sudan has four; Liberia has five; and Nigeria has fewer than 100, the Post said.
—Ireland, which has reported 14,758 COVID-19 cases and 571 related deaths to date, may have flattened its transmission curve, says chief medical officer Tony Holohan, The Guardian reported. “We think we can go along at a low level and reduce it even further,” he said. The country will remain under lockdown until at least May 5.
Wuhan lab denies claims virus originated there, Botched CDC tests explained
—Claims have been swirling online that the novel coronavirus may have somehow “escaped” from the high-security biolab in Wuhan called the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Today, Zhiming Yuan, the vice director of the institute told Chinese state broadcaster CGTN that “there is no way this virus came from us,” NBC News reported. “We have a strict regulatory regime and code of conduct of research, so we are confident.” This Live Science report explores the history of the Wuhan lab and the study of bat coronaviruses.
—Contamination at the central lab of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta caused the botched COVID-19 tests at the start of the U.S. outbreak, The Washington Post reported. “The CDC facilities that assembled the kits violated sound manufacturing practices resulting in contamination of one of the three test components used in the highly sensitive detection process,” the Post reported. Though that step wasn’t critical in confirming a case of COVID-19, because of the faulty component, the CDC took more than a month removing that part of the test kit, the Post said.
Jacksonville beaches open, Nurses benched for refusing to work without PPE, New China cases
—Beaches and parks in Jacksonville, Florida, reopened Friday (April 17). According to CNN reporters in Jacksonville, the scene was unlike anything you’d expect during a pandemic: “Crowds cheered and flooded the beach when police took the barriers down. People were seen swimming, biking, surfing, running and fishing.” The beaches there will now be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. More than 24,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, with 817 of those cases in Jacksonville.
—China reported 27 new COVID-19 cases Friday (April 17) and 26 the day before, according to China’s National Health Commission, Reuters reported.
—In Santa Monica, California, 10 nurses have been placed on administrative leave after refusing to work without N95 masks while treating COVID-19 patients. Two nurses at the hospital, Providence Saint John’s Health Center, told CNN that although other health care workers were given those N95 respirators, these nurses were told to wear only surgical masks.
—The United Kingdom is now reporting 115,299 COVID-19 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus dashboard, with 15,497 related deaths. About 5,600 new cases were confirmed yesterday.
A new model projects that many states and the country as a whole, won’t see a peak in deaths until after May 1
— A new model for COVID-19 deaths in the United States projects that many states, and the country as a whole, likely will not see a peak in deaths until after May 1. The model, from The University of Texas at Austin (UT), is similar to a highly-cited model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, but the UT model corrects some statistical flaws that made the IHME model “too optimistic,” according to a UT statement. The model finds that only two states, New York and Louisiana, will see their peak by April 19; and only seven more will have a peak by the end of April.
—At least one Florida city is reopening its beaches as the state considers plans to ease social distancing restrictions. Jacksonville, Florida announced that it’s beaches will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, according to CNN. Activities such as running, hiking and swimming are permitted, but sunbathing and group activities are not.
Total number of hospitalizations in New York is a “tick down” again, Cuomo said
— There are now more than 672,200 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., around 223,700 of them in New York, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 33,300 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 complications and over 56,000 have recovered. The U.S. has conducted around 3.4 million COVID-19 tests, according to the dashboard.
— States including Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Idaho are announcing plans to slowly reopen, according to The New York Times. But experts are warning that premature decisions, amid a country still lacking necessary supplies, could be problematic, the Times reported.
— Total number of hospitalizations in New York is a “tick down” again, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily press briefing. A pessimist would say the curve is basically flat, an optimist would say we are on the down-curve, he said. The number of people requiring intubations has decreased. But the number of new cases that walk in the door of a hospital is still about 2,000 per day and “that is still very high,” Cuomo said. “It’s hovered about the same rate for several weeks.” The number of deaths “unfortunately refuses to come down dramatically,” he added. Yesterday, there were 630 additional deaths in the state, he said.
Early results from a Remdesivir trial show promise, China revises Wuhan’s death toll and case count
— Severe COVID-19 patients being treated with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral remdesivir in a Chicago Hospital have had rapid drops in fever and recoveries of respiratory symptoms, according to early results. Nearly all the patients were discharged from the hospital in less than a week, but experts are cautious to draw conclusions until the full results (Gilead Sciences’ is conducting similar clinical trials around the world) are published, according to an exclusive from STAT News.
— Given the current pressure, a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready within 12 to 18 months, as long as scientists and regulatory agencies prove willing to take a few shortcuts, according to a Live Science report.
— China revised its death toll and case count numbers for Wuhan, increasing the death count by 50% to 3,869 deaths and the case count by 325 people to 50,333, according to The New York Times. This comes amid growing skepticism over the accuracy of China’s coronavirus statistics, the Times reported.
Switzerland will ease restrictions, Japan extends state of emergency to entire country
— As COVID-19 cases slow, Switzerland will ease some restrictions imposed over a month ago, according to CNN. On April 27, hospitals, health centers, dentists physiotherapy and massage salons will be allowed to start non-urgent treatments and hairdressers, beauty salons, tattoo shops and gardening shops will open. On May 11, shops and markets will be allowed to reopen and schools will reopen for students in preschool through ninth grades. On June 8, professional schools and universities, museums, libraries, botanic gardens and zoos will reopen, according to CNN. Throughout this period, social distancing must continue to be followed, the government said.
— Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency that expanded another one put in place less than two weeks ago that only covered a part of the country, according to NPR. This order is effective until May 6, according to NPR. There are currently more than 8,600 cases in Japan and 178 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— The U.S. government is exploring the possibility that the coronavirus spread from a Chinese lab rather than a wet market, among many other theories they’re looking into, according to CNN. But the U.S. government doesn’t believe that the coronavirus was associated with bioweapons research, according to CNN. Experts also think this scenario unlikely, according to a Live Science report.
Cuomo extends New York’s lockdown until May 15.
— The bodies of COVID-19 victims may be contagious, according to a Live Science report. A forensic practitioner working in Thailand, most likely caught the virus from a deceased patient, according to a report published as preprint for the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. The forensic practitioner later died from COVID-19. It’s unclear how long the virus remains infectious in a dead body.
— Preliminary research that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed suggests that obesity might be a significant risk factor for developing severe cases of COVID-19, according to The New York Times. But despite concerns that asthma could also be a significant risk factor, data released by New York finds that only about 5 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the state were people who had asthma. Still, research into asthma as a risk factor for COVID-19 is minimal and sometimes inconsistent, according to the Times.
— New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the state’s lockdown until May 15. Another 606 people have died from COVID-19 since yesterday, but that is the lowest number of daily deaths in New York in 10 days.
More than 3.2 million people have been tested for the coronavirus in the U.S. but experts say it’s not enough
— A new study published online April 12 in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology found that loss of smell and taste seem to be common initial symptoms in people with mild COVID-19 infections, according to a Live Science report.
— Conservative protesters in Michigan, most without masks, gathered together on Wednesday, blocking roads and demanding that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ease her stay-at-home order and allow them to to back to work, according to The Washington Post. “We know that this demonstration is going to come at a cost to people’s health,” Whitmer said during her news conference. When mask-less people gather together like that, the coronavirus can spread, she added. “And so the sad irony here is that the protest was that they don’t like being in this stay-at-home order, and they may have just created a need to lengthen it, which is something we’re trying to avoid at all costs.” Similar protests happened in Ohio and North Carolina, according to The Post.
— There are now more than 3.2 million people tested for the coronavirus around the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Between April 8 and 15, the U.S. was conducting about 151,000 tests per day. Between March 25 to April 1, the U.S. was conducting around 110,000 tests per day. So while the number of tests conducted have been increasing, experts say that it’s not nearly enough for states to ease restrictions and return to somewhat normal everyday life, according to Vox.
New Yorkers are now required to wear masks or mouth/nose coverings when out in public
— Everyone in New York is now required to wear a mask or mouth/nose covering (such as a bandana or scarf) when in public, according to a new executive order, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today during his daily press briefing. “We’ll give people three-day notice to allow compliance.”
Total hospitalizations in New York is “a click down,” Cuomo said. 752 people died in New York yesterday, 707 of them in hospitals and 45 in nursing homes. But “basically, the healthcare situation has stabilized, the fears of overwhelming the healthcare system has not happened.” This will not end until we have a vaccine, or even a treatment, Cuomo said. Until then, the state will partake in a phased reopening.
“We’re going to a different place which is a new normal,” Cuomo said. “When you relax that social distancing, you could very well see an increase in the infection rate,” he said. So it will be a gradual increasing of economic activity, while making sure the phased reopening is keeping the public healthy, he said. The “single best tool” will be large-scale testing. “Test, trace and isolate,” he said.
— New York is being hit the hardest by the novel coronavirus spreading across the U.S., with more cases than any other state, but more than 70% of the state’s related deaths are being reported in New York City alone, according to a Live Science report. The reason is still muggy but it could include the dozens of introductions of the virus into New York City, an early superspreader, a delay in enacting social distancing measures, testing, density divides and race disparities, according to the report.
— A surprising number of pregnant women delivering babies at two New York City hospitals tested positive for COVID-19 without showing any symptoms, according to a Live Science report. This suggests that a much higher number of people in the city could be infected with COVID-19 than thought.
There are now more than 2 million COVID-19 cases worldwide
— There are now more than 2 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to a Live Science report. It’s been 45 days since the first COVID-19 case was reported in New York, 85 days since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the U.S. and 106 days since the world first learned about a mysterious respiratory virus that had sickened at least 44 people in China. More than 500,000 people have recovered from the virus worldwide.
— At least 585 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt now have COVID-10 and one has died, according to another Live Science report. The story of this aircraft carrier shows how quickly the coronavirus can spread in close quarters, according to the report.
— Some stimulus checks have started to arrive as direct deposits in people’s bank accounts, according to The New York Times. Depending on their income, people will receive up to $1,200.
Tour de France is postponed, airline industry will receive a $25 billion bailout
— Tour de France is postponed until August 29, according to a tweet. “Le Tour de France will take place on the planned route, with no changes, from Nice to Paris, from Saturday 29th August to Sunday 20th September,” according to the tweet.
— There are now over 609,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and over 26,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The second-worst hit country in terms of case count is Spain with over 177,000 cases and over 18,000 deaths and the third is Italy with over 162,000 cases and over 21,000 deaths.
— The airline industry will receive a $25 billion bailout, some of it as loans, according to The New York Times. Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and Southwest Airlines will participate in the bailout, the Treasury Department said.
Trump stops funding to the World Health Organization, New York City’s death count exceeds 10,000
— President Trump announced today during a press briefing that he will stop U.S. funding to the World Health Organization while the administration reviews their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. funds $400 to 500 million to the World Health Organization every year, while China contributes around $40 million, he said. “Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into china to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” Trump said. “Instead the WHO willingly took china’s assurances to face value…and defended the actions of the Chinese government for its so-called transparency.”
— The novel coronavirus likely originated in bats, but a new study suggests that COVID-19 may have hopped from dogs to humans, according to a Live Science report. However, experts say there are weaknesses in the study and the data doesn’t support the study’s conclusions. Researchers have been trying to understand which intermediate animal the virus hopped to from bats before it infected humans. Back in February, a preliminary study had suggested that pangolins may have bridged the gap. But again, experts argued that hypothesis was unlikely.
— Over 3,700 people who were thought to have died from the coronavirus but were never tested were just added to New York City’s death count, bringing the total to over 10,000, according to the New York City health department.
California is discussing a framework that will guide decision making to bring the state back to a “sense of normalcy,” Newsom said. But things still won’t look as they did before.
— California will eventually be moving from broad stay-at-home measures to a “more individual approach,” to suppression, Governor Gavin Newsom said today during a press briefing. “We have a framework that will guide our decision making,” to bring us back to a “sense of normalcy,” Newsom said.
The framework includes 6 indicators for modifying the stay-at-home order:
This last one is “perhaps be the most challenging, if indeed we lean in but we have to then lean back out as we toggle from stricter to looser interventions,” Newsom said. Things will look different: restaurants will likely reopen with fewer tables, face coverings will be more common in public and new opportunities will arise to support mitigation, according to the framework.
“Normal is anything but and I’ll be honest and sober about that,” Newsom said. “You have bent the curve in the state of California, the models have changed because of your behavior,” he said. Still “We are not out of the woods yet.” Today California recorded 71 more deaths since yesterday, bringing the state’s count to 758, Newsom said.
Total hospitalizations in New York are “basically flat,” Cuomo says
— The coronavirus has killed five indigenous people in the Brazilian Amazon, including a 15-year-old boy from a remote tribe, according to a Live Science report. It’s not clear how the boy — thought to be the first member of the Yanomami indigenous people known to have died from the new coronavirus — was infected, but his community lives near the Uraricoera River in northern Brazil, where up to 10,000 illegal gold miners have set up camps, according to the report. The boy also had several underlying health problems including malnutrition, anemia and repetitive malaria, but it’s unknown if these issues can make someone more at risk of dying of COVID-19, according to the report.
— Total hospitalizations are “basically flat,” and technically a tick down, “probably the first tick down,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his press briefing today. The number of intubations and the number of people going into the hospital are also down from what it was, but there were still 1,600 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday, he said. “So the volume is still high,” he said. Yesterday, another 778 people died yesterday, slightly up from the 671 lives lost the day before, but the numbers seem to be flat at this high level, he said. “We changed the curve,” Cuomo said. “We are changing the curve everyday.” Every projection model created predicted a higher rate of infection and a higher rate of death, he said.
“We have shown that we control the virus, the virus does not control us,” he added. “We could have been in a place where we couldn’t stop the spread of the virus, we could have done this whole lockdown, close down, shut down and you still could have seen those numbers going up. That could have been a frightening place. We should take some comfort in the fact that we have demonstrated that we can actually control the spread of the virus.”
There is good news in this but, “there’s also a caution flag,” he said. “Whatever we do today will determine the infection rate tomorrow. It is total cause and effect. So you stop doing what you are doing or you behave differently and you will get a different result and that’s important to remember as we talk about reopening,” he added. “How you reopen is everything.”
The global economy might experience its worst downturn since the Great Depression, IMF warned
— There are now over 582,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., over 196,000 of them in New York, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 23,600 people have died in the country, around 10,000 of them in New York.
— Today, the International Monetary Fund warned that because of the coronavirus outbreak, the global economy will experience its worst downturn since the Great Depression, according to The New York Times.
— South Korea is sending 750,000 coronavirus testing kits to the U.S., according to NBC News. Around 150,000 of those kits were shipped last week and the rest of them will be sent on Wednesday, according to a public health official in South Korea.
China has 169 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest in over 5 weeks
— China reported 169 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest in over 5 weeks officials said on Monday, according to NPR. Of those cases, 61 were asymptomatic and 98 involved people coming into China from abroad, NPR reported. The country currently has reported 82,160 infections and 3,341 deaths, according to China’s National Health Commission.
— There are nearly 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 119,400 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are over 682,000 cases and over 23,500 deaths in the U.S. alone. Spain is the second-worst hit with a little over 170,000 cases and over 17,700 deaths and Italy is third with a little over 159,500 cases and over 20,400 deaths.
— During a press briefing today, President Trump claimed “everything we did was right,” regarding the steps his administration took to slow the spread of the virus in February, The New York Times reported. He also showed a video of reporters and governors complimenting his decision to stop travel from China. Dr. Anthony Fauci,the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said over the weekend that more lives could have been saved if the government had shut down schools, businesses and other gatherings sooner.
On Sunday night, the president retweeted a tweet that said “Time to #FireFuaci,” but on Monday, the White House said in a statement that the president had no intention of firing him. Fauci, during today’s press briefing, said he made those remarks in response to a “hypothetical question,” according to the Times.
Governors on both coasts discuss forming groups to help decide when and how to reopen states, several clinical trials look at whether an old TB vaccine can help protect against COVID-19
— President Trump tweeted on Monday that it was up to him and not the governors, to decide when to reopen states, according to The New York Times. Hours later, governors both on the East Coast and on the West Coast announced they were forming groups to help plan when to reopen their states, according to the Times. On the East Coast, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and New York will create a committee to work together and on the West Coast, California, Oregon and Washington will work together in what they called a “Western States Pact,” the Times reported.
— Several clinical trials around the worlds are studying whether a century-old vaccine developed to fight tuberculosis can protect against COVID-19, according to a Live Science report. A couple of early analyses, which have yet to be peer-reviewed, have found that countries that require this vaccine, called Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), seemed to have been hit less severely, in terms of both number and severity, by the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. But because there could be a lot of confounding factors, experts aren’t sure if this vaccine could actually protect people from the coronavirus. But scientists have long known that the BCG vaccine doesn’t just protect against tuberculosis, it also helps fight other viruses, respiratory infections in particular.
“The worst is over,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo says
— A sailor on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who was admitted to the intensive care unit on Thursday after being found unresponsive in an isolation house, has died from COVID-related complications, the U.S. The Navy said on Monday. The sailor had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 30 and was moved with four other sailors to an isolation home. Navy medical teams checked on the sailors twice a day. On the morning of April 9, this sailor was found unresponsive, was given CPR and then transferred to the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.
There were a number of COVID-19 infections on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Previously, The carrier’s commanding officer was fired, after he sent a letter to the Navy asking for assistance with the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Live Science report.
— Over 10,000 people have died from the coronavirus in New York, with 671 cases reported on Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing today. There were 1,958 people newly hospitalized, the lowest number in two weeks. “The worst is over,” he said. “We are controlling the spread.” Though there will be “waves of resolution” in the coming months, this outbreak won’t be completely over until there is a vaccine against the coronavirus, which will take 12 to 18 months, he said. In the meantime, “stay the course.”
— Russia’s coronavirus outbreak is changing almost daily, and not for the better, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. The number of COVID-19 cases are rising and more people are getting severely sick, he said. There are currently 18,328 cases in Russia and 148 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
Small study on chloroquine stopped after patients developed heart complications
— There are now over 1.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world and over 115,200 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Cases in the U.S. have surpassed 557,000 and over 22,000 people have died. Over 190,000 of those cases and 9,385 deaths are in New York, according to the dashboard.
— A small study testing chloroquine on COVID-19 patients in Brazil was stopped after patients taking a higher dose developed irregular heart rates, which put them at risk for arrhythmia, according to the New York Times. Chloroquine is related to the drug hydroxychloroquine that President Trump has touted as a game-changer in treating the coronavirus, despite the lack of evidence in its safety and efficacy.
The researchers said there weren’t enough patients in the lower-dose group for them to make conclusions about whether or not chloroquine was effective in treating severe cases of COVID-19. Patients were also given an antibiotic called azithromycin which can have similar effects on the heart. In the U.S., hospitals are often using azithromycin, often with hydroxychloroquine, to treat patients, according to the Times.
— Some Spanish and Italian residents will be allowed to go back to work this week, after a fall in daily death tolls, according to NBC News. Some non-essential workers will be able to return to work, they reported. In Italy, some shops such as bookstores, forestry businesses, stationery stores and children clothing stores will reopen starting on Tuesday and in Spain, anyone who can’t work from home will be allowed to go into work. Officials in Spain will distribute 10 million masks in transit stations, NBC News reported.
FDA authorization could decontaminate 4 million N95 respirators a day
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Advanced Sterilization Products to use a process that could decontaminate about 4 million N95 respirators (or similar respirators) per day to be reused in U.S. hospitals, the FDA announced tonight. The company’s machines, called STERRAD Sterilization Cycles, use vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization; the low-temperature sterilization is used on heat-sensitive devices.
“Our nation’s health care workers are among the many heroes of this pandemic and we need to do everything we can to increase the availability of the critical medical devices they need, like N95 respirators,” Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, FDA commissioner, said in an FDA statement. “This authorization will help provide access to millions of respirators so our health care workers on the front lines can be better protected and provide the best care to patients with COVID-19.”
When properly fitted, N95 masks seal closely to the face and filter out 95% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends only health care workers and not the general public because the masks are difficult to fit correctly and are in such short supply.
Boris Johnson leaves hospital, Pope Francis urges solidarity, NYC sees signs of hope
—Hospitals in Moscow are being overwhelmed by a “huge influx” of patients due to COVID-19, The Kremlin said, as reported by Reuters. As of today, Russia was reporting at least 15,770 cases of COVID-19 and 130 related deaths. Moscow and other regions in Russia have been on lockdown for almost two weeks, Reuters reported.
—British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from the hospital and will continue to recover from COVID-19 at Chequers, his country residence, the Wall Street Journal reported. He had been admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on April 5; three of those nights Johnson spent in the intensive care unit.
—Pope Francis delivered his Easter mass to an empty St Peter’s Basilica, urging solidarity in humans’ fight against the coronavirus. In an online broadcast, the pontiff said, “This is not a time for indifference. Because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united,” BBC News reported. He praised doctors, nurses and other service workers, while also warning the European Union risked collapse unless EU nations came together to figure out how to help the region recover.
—Infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed “cautious optimism” that the virus spread was slowing down in the United States, suggesting that parts of the country could start to reopen as early as May, he said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” CNBC reported. New York city, which is being hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been setting single-day death records related to the coronavirus. Even so, Fauci said that other indicators — such as new hospitalizations, ICU check-ins and number of intubations — had started to flatten.
How US president Trump failed to contain the coronavirus
A New York Times investigation has found that U.S. President Trump, instead of acting to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, focused on controlling the public message and protecting the economy. Dozens of interviews and inside records reveal that throughout January Trump was downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus while individuals inside the White House “from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action,” the Times reported.
Here are some of the highlights from the Times investigation:
—In early January, the National Security Council, tasked with monitoring pandemics, had intelligence reports in hand showing the future spread of the virus. Within weeks of receiving those reports, the NSC outlined proposals for shutting down schools and entire cities. Trump didn’t do any of this until March.
—Trump was privy to a Jan. 29 memo from his trade advisor Peter Navarro, who described the potentially devastating fallout from the coronavirus, saying that “as many as half a million deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses,” could result in the U.S.
—Alex M. Azar II, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services, “directly warned Mr. Trump of the possibility of a pandemic during a call on Jan. 30,” the Times said.
—Even though top health experts for the administration decided the White House should warn Americans of the virus risk and implement measures such as stay-home-from-work and social distancing, that didn’t happen. That was the third week in February, and as the Times revealed, the administration instead focused on their messaging. That gave the virus weeks to spread relatively unimpeded.
Read more on the Times investigation.
Jane Goodall blames pandemic on humanity’s disrespect of animals’
Famous primatologist Jane Goodall called the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic a result of humanity’s disrespect for nature and wildlife, during a conference call ahead of the release of her documentary “Jane Goodall: The Hope,” coming out on Earth Day, April 22, in National Geographic channels:
“It is our disregard for nature and our disrespect of the animals we should share the planet with that has caused this pandemic, that was predicted long ago.
Because as we destroy, let’s say the forest, the different species of animals in the forest are forced into a proximity and therefore diseases are being passed from one animal to another, and that second animal is then most likely to infect humans as it is forced into closer contact with humans.
It’s also the animals who are hunted for food, sold in markets in Africa or in the meat market for wild animals in Asia, especially China, and our intensive farms where we cruelly crowd together billions of animals around the world. These are the conditions that create an opportunity for the viruses to jump from animals across the species barrier to humans,” she said, as reported by the AFP.
The novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, and is thought to have originated in bats before jumping to humans, possibly through an intermediary animal. Initially, it was thought the virus started at a wet market in Wuhan, though now earlier cases are turning up in China in individuals with no exposure to that market.
Why the US is running out of PPE, Recovered patients have long road ahead
—The Atlantic has a great article explaining why the U.S. is running out of surgical masks and N95 respirators. Olga Khazan of The Atlantic writes: “One reason the U.S. ran short of masks is that many of them are manufactured in China; the country slowed mask manufacturing and stopped shipping them to the U.S. during its own coronavirus outbreak. But America was supposed to have its own supply of masks in the Strategic National Stockpile, a secretive stash of emergency supplies held in an undisclosed number of warehouses around the country. As of April 1, it was almost out.”
And it turns out, that national stockpile distributed 85 million N95 respirators (and millions of other masks) during the 2009 swine flu pandemic; the stockpile of those masks was never replenished, Khazan writes.
—Even after a person with severe COVID-19 recovers, they will likely not go “back to normal.” Rather, the effects of the disease itself and the methods used to save their lives will linger, researchers say based on what they’ve seen in other disease recoveries, Science magazine reported. After a severe case of pneumonia — which plagues patients with severe COVID-19 infections — the prolonged inflammation along with underlying diseases may increase risk of future illnesses such as kidney diseases and heart attacks, Science reported. In addition, just spending any length of time in the ICU can make a person more prone to “post-intensive care syndrome,” which encompasses a set of physical, cognitive and mental health issues.
NYC schools closed until September, Americans may carry ‘immunity certificates’
—NYC public schools won’t reopen until September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning. The New York City school system is the largest in the country, with more than 1,800 schools and more than 1.1 million students, according to the Department of Education.
At a press briefing this morning, de Blasio said that continuing with social-distancing measures is the best way to protect everyone. “Everything we are doing is to protect our children, our families to help end the pain and the trauma. … After very careful consideration, New York City public schools will remain closed for [the] remainder of this school year,” he said, according to the Staten Island Advance.
—Nearly 1 in 10 U.S. sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the novel coronavirus; about 92% of the sailors aboard the aircraft carrier have been tested so far. The carrier docked off Guam on March 26, after several crew members came down with COVID-19, MSN reported. The carrier’s commanding officer was fired on April 2, after he sent a letter to the Navy asking for assistance with the COVID-19 outbreak, The New York Times reported.
—In the future, Americans may need to carry “immunity cards,” to certify they are immune to, or not infected with, the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s “New Day,” The Hill reported. “It’s one of those things that we talk about when we want to make sure that we know who the vulnerable people are and not,” Fauci said. “This is something that’s being discussed. I think it might actually have some merit.”
Cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. surpass half a million
— There are now over 1.7 million COVID-19 cases, over 103,700 deaths and nearly 389,000 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have now surpassed half a million and deaths exceeded 18,700. Over 29,000 people in the U.S. have recovered.
— Turkey gave a two hour notice to millions of residents in Ankara and Istanbul before imposing a two-day lockdown in those cities, according to the New York Times. Videos posted online showed that people rushed to shop for essentials, crowds formed and fights broke out, according to the Times. The number of COVID-19 cases increased by 4,747 in a day and 98 people died, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. The country now has over 47,000 cases, over 1,000 deaths and over 2,400 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
New York hospitals have stopped sharing ventilators among multiple patients
— New York hospitals have stopped sharing ventilators among multiple patients, an experimental practice that was being tried to solve the issue of not having enough ventilators, according to the New York Times. Doctors found that the patients didn’t respond well, the practice took too much staff time and that sharing the machines could have been dangerous, according to the Times.
— Smokers may be more prone to severe COVID-19 infections, in part, because their lungs contain more entry points for the virus, according to a Live Science report. Early research suggests that smokers’ lungs may accumulate large numbers of ACE2 receptors, the protein the coronavirus uses to enter human cells, according to the report.
— A highly-cited coronavirus model now projects thousands fewer U.S. deaths from COVID-19 than before, according to a Live Science report. Originally, the model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted 84,000 people would die in the U.S. by the beginning of August but then revised its prediction to about 60,400 people. Part of the reason for decline in the death forecast is due to new data from places where the pandemic has already peaked, such as Spain and Italy, IHME said in a post on Twitter.
Coronavirus is now the leading cause of death in the U.S.
— The coronavirus is now the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to The Hill. The coronavirus leads to around 1,970 deaths in the U.S. per day, according to a new graph published in Newsweek.
— The U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to buy $2 billion worth of ventilators, a spokesperson said on Friday, CNN reported.
— The number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators in New York has dropped for the first time, according to The New York Times.
Antibody tests could be available in the coming week, Dr. Fauci said
— A large number of antibody tests to determine whether a person has already been infected with the coronavirus, and thus may have gotten some immunity, could be available in the coming week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on CNN Friday morning.
— There are now over 1.6 million COVID-19 cases, over 97,000 deaths and nearly 365,000 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are over 466,000 cases in the U.S., over 16,600 deaths and over 26,500 recoveries.
— New York City hired laborers to bury people in mass graves its potter’s field on Hart Island, according to Reuters. Since the 19th century, the city has used the island to bury people who have no next-of-kin or whose families can’t arrange a funeral, Reuters reported. Typically there are 25 bodies buried each week, but now, amid the coronavirus outbreak, there are about two dozen bodies a day, five days a week. It’s likely some of those buried are coronavirus victims, they reported
USNS Mercy crew member tests positive for COVID-19, Turkey cases quickly rise
— A crew member aboard the USNS Mercy, a hospital ship docked in the Port of Los Angeles, has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual did not have contact with patients, and is currently in isolation, according to The New York Times. Officials expect to transfer the person off the ship soon. Other crew members who came in contact with the individual will also be isolated off the ship. The USNS Mercy arrived in L.A. last month to treat non-COVID-19 patients. All patients must test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed on the ship, but there is still a risk that someone infected may come onboard, as is the case with any hospital treating non-COVID patients, the Times reported.
— Scientists in Finland have modeled how small airborne viral particles spread in grocery stores, according to a Live Science report. They found that when a person coughs in a store aisle between shelves, an aerosol “cloud” could spread outside the immediate vicinity of the person coughing and dilute as it spread, the authors said. Based on their findings, the researchers recommended avoiding busy indoor areas, according to the report.
— There are now 42,282 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Turkey — the 9th highest number of cases in the world — and 908 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 2,100 people in the country have recovered from the virus so far. Data suggests the country has the fastest increasing number of coronavirus cases worldwide, according to the BBC. Turkey doesn’t have a full lockdown in place but those over 65 years of age or with a chronic medical condition and those under 20 years of age are ordered not to leave their homes, according to the BBC. Those between the ages of 18 and 20 who work in the public or private sector are exempt, they reported. Turkey also ordered all of its residents to wear masks while shopping or going to crowded places and said it will deliver free masks to every family for free, according to the New York Times.
Boris Johnson has left the ICU and “is in extremely good spirits”
— British prime minister Boris Johnson has left the intensive care unit, Downing Street said, according to The Guardian. “The prime minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery. He is in extremely good spirits.”
— There are now over 1.5 million COVID-19 cases, over 93,400 deaths and nearly 346,400 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. has nearly 451,500 cases; Spain has over 152,400 cases; Italy has over 143,600 cases; Germany has over 115,500 cases; and France has over 83,000 cases.
New York has reported highest daily death rate yet, but the curve continues flattening
— New York has reported 799 more deaths, the highest daily death rate yet, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a news briefing today. However, the change in total hospitalizations is decreasing, as is the change in intensive care unit admissions and change in intubations, he said. “We are flattening the curve,” he said. But “no, you can’t relax.”
“The flattening of the curve last night happened because of what we did yesterday, and the day before and the day before that. This is all a direct consequence to our actions. If we stop acting the way we’re acting, you will see those numbers go up. We can’t handle the worst-case scenarios,” given in various projection models, Cuomo said. “We can’t even handle the moderate-case scenarios with all we’ve done. So it is essential that we keep that curve flattened because we don’t have an option of handling the curve if it goes higher.”
It’s been 18 days since New York closed down, 39 days since the first COVID-19 case was reported in New York and 80 days since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the U.S., Cuomo said. “We’ve increased the capacity of the system dramatically, our healthcare system has down a phenomenal job in doing an insurmountable task,” Cuomo said.
Social distancing and other measures are “working better than anyone projected they would work,” as New Yorkers are acting “responsibly and diligently,” and saving lives with their actions, Cuomo said.
New York is bringing in additional funeral directors to deal with the number of people that have passed away, Cuomo said. To put it in perspective, 2,753 people died on 9/11 at the World Trade Center, while 7,067 people have died from COVID-19 in the state so far, he said.
“Don’t underestimate this virus,” Cuomo said. “I think that is a mistake we made from day one. We as the collective we, we as the global community. This virus is very, very good at what it does.”
Some patients with COVID-19 are developing heart problems, cardiologists find
— While the novel coronavirus mainly attacks the lungs, cardiologists are finding that a number of patients with severe illness are also developing heart damage, according to a Live Science report. Cardiologists say several scenarios could be unfolding: The heart may struggle to pump blood in the absence of enough oxygen; the virus may directly invade heart cells; or the body, in its attempt to eradicate the virus, may mobilize a storm of immune cells that attack the heart.
— Schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, governor Tom Wolf said in an order released today.
— President Trump is reportedly preparing to announce a second coronavirus task force that will focus on reopening the economy, according to The Washington Post.
Boris Johnson “continues to improve,” COVID-19 case counts in several African countries rise
— There are over 432,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., a little over 151,000 of those in New York state and around 81,800 of them in New York City, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 14,800 people have died and over 24,000 people have recovered in the country, according to the dashboard.
— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “continues to improve” as he receives standard oxygen treatment in the intensive care unit, according to his spokesperson. Johnson was hospitalized Sunday when his COVID-19 symptoms didn’t improve 10 days after testing positive and moved to the ICU a day later when his symptoms worsened.
— There are only 11,000 cases of COVID-19 in Africa but numbers are accelerating in a couple of countries, according to the World Health Organization, the Washington Post reported. Countries that are facing increasing numbers and local transmission, could face “a huge peak very soon,” said Michel Yao, head of emergency operations in Africa for WHO at an online briefing.
60% of those on board an Antarctica-bound cruise ship tested positive for the virus
— Around 60% of an Antarctica-bound cruise ship tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The Washington Post. The Australian cruise liner Greg Mortimer left for Antarctica on March 15. Now, the ship is off the coast of Uruguay, according to The Post. Passengers from Australia and New Zealand will likely be allowed to fly home Thursday or Friday, while passengers from Europe and America will remain on the ship for now, according to a statement from Aurora Expeditions.
U.S. and European passengers that test negative for the virus will “hopefully be able to depart later in the week, subject to a second test and permission from the Uruguayan government,” according to the statement. But European and U.S. passengers that test positive for COVID-19 will have to wait until they test negative before being able to travel home, according to the statement.
— There are now over 1.5 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Global deaths neared 88,000 and recoveries exceeded 318,000 as of Wednesday night. There are nearly 425,000 cases in the U.S., over 14,500 deaths and nearly 23,300 recoveries, according to the dashboard.
— New York state now has more cases than any other country in the world aside from the U.S., the New York Times reported. New York state has over 150,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 6,200 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Spain has a little over 148,200 cases and Italy has a little over 139,400 cases, according to the dashboard.
New York reports highest single-day COVID-19 death toll yet
— The good news is that “what we have done and what we are doing is actually working and it’s making a difference,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing today. Social distancing and other measures are “flattening the curve” but if we stop what we are doing “you will see that curve change. That curve is purely a function of what we do day in and day out,” Cuomo said. The number of hospitalizations per every three days is declining, he said.
But “the bad news isn’t just bad, the bad news is actually terrible,” he said. Another 779 people have died in New York, the highest single-day death toll yet. The death toll has been steadily increasing in the state. “The number of deaths will continue to rise as those hospitalised for a longer period of time pass away,” Cuomo said.
— More people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus (13,829 people so far) than the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which killed 12,469, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN reported. There are now over 400,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. so far and 22,775 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “improving” after spending two nights in intensive care, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, according to the BBC. He is now sitting up in bed and “engaging positively” with the clinical team at the hospital, he said.
An influential model lowered its projected U.S. COVID-19 death toll by 26%
— A University of Washington model, which is often cited by policymakers, lowered its projected U.S. COVID-19 death toll by 26% to 60,000, according to Reuters. But if the U.S. stops social distancing, another wave of infection can hit the country, a federal health official warned.
— The U.S. has nearly 400,000 cases of COVID-19, around 12,900 deaths and over 22,500 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Spain has over 146,600 cases and over 14,500 deaths while France has a little over 110,000 cases and over 10,300 deaths. Germany has over 109,300 cases and over 2,000 deaths, according to the dashboard.
— Newly published data shows that Hispanic/Latinos and Black/African Americans are dying at higher rates from COVID-19 in New York City. Around 22.8% of deaths are among Hispanic/Latinos, 19.8% among Black/African Americans, 10.2% among Whites and 8.4% among Asians, according to the data.
New York state has more COVID-19 cases than Italy
— Country folk singer-songwriter John Prine died Tuesday from complications related to COVID-19, according to Rolling Stone Magazine. He was 73. After a sudden onset of symptoms, Prine was hospitalized last month and was placed in intensive care for 13 days, according to the magazine.
— New York state now has more cases of COVID-19 than Italy, according to the New York Times. The state has 140,386 cases of COVID-19— around 76,900 of them in NYC— and 5,489 deaths. Italy has 135,586 cases of COVID-19 and over 17,000 deaths. Spain has nearly 146,700 cases and over 14,500 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered residents to wear masks when going to markets, pharmacies or other essential businesses starting on Friday, according to NBC News.
An adjusted coronavirus tracking model predicts 81,766 deaths in the U.S. in the next 4 months
— An adjusted coronavirus tracking model predicted that around 141,000 hospital beds would be needed in the next four months in the U.S., about 121,000 fewer than the model’s previous estimate. The model also predicted that the coronavirus would lead to 81,766 deaths in the country, about 12,000 less deaths than the previous estimate, according to CNN.
— Tuesday morning, the polls opened in Wisconsin and long lines formed at the handful of available polling sites around the state, according to Live Science. Yesterday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against postponing the state’s presidential primary election amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to Buzzfeed News.
— There are now over 1,400,000 COVID-19 cases ,over 81,000 deaths and nearly 300,000 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are over 387,000 cases in the U.S.,over 12,000 deaths and over 20,000 recoveries.
China lifts lockdown on Wuhan
— Today, China lifted its lockdown on Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus outbreak first began, according to a Live Science report. The city and its 11 million people had been under a strict lockdown for over 10 weeks.
— COVID-19 may spread through breathing and talking, according to another Live Science report. This could explain how people without symptoms or those with mild symptoms spread the disease. But it’s still not clear whether tiny particles expelled in breath infect more people than large droplets spewed through coughs, experts said.
— New Zealand, which had its first confirmed case on Feb. 28, is on track to stop its outbreak before it begins, according to another Live Science report. That’s likely because the government acted early and decisively, according to the report. There are currently 1,160 confirmed and suspected cases in the country and just one death, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
New York reports largest single-day increase in deaths from COVID-19
— In New York state, 731 more people died from COVID-19, the largest single-day increase the state has reported to date, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced during a press briefing today. The total number of hospitalizations is also up from yesterday, but the three-day average is on the decline. The daily ICU admissions and number of intubations also declined, he said,
“Right now we’re projecting that we are reaching a plateau in the total number of hospitalizations,” Cuomo said. The number of deaths is a “lagging indicator” to the number of hospitalizations, he added. The people who are dying were hospitalized during the peak, he said. “The longer you’re on a ventilator the less likely you come off the ventilator,” Cuomo said.
Still, social distancing and measures must not be loosened. “This is a projection,” Cuomo said. The outcome “still depends on what we do,” he added. “This is not an act of God that we’re looking at, it’s an act of what society actually does.”
— The USNS Comfort docked in New York City, will now accept COVID-19 patients, Governor Cuomo said today. Originally, the ship was brought into the city to serve patients who didn’t have COVID-19.
— China reported no new deaths from COVID-19 for the first time since January, according to The New York Times. Over 3,300 people in China have died from the virus and over 77,400 have recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
Boris Johnson is in stable condition and “remains in good spirits,” spokesman says
— There are now over 1,360,000 COVID-19 cases, over 75,900 deaths and nearly 292,000 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are over 368,400 cases in the U.S.; over 140,500 cases in Spain; over 132,500 in Italy; over 103,300 in Germany; and over 98,900 in France.
— There were 613 COVID-19 deaths in France on Monday, the country’s highest daily death toll yet, according to The New York Times. There are now a total of 8,926 deaths in the country, according to the dashboard.
— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was moved to the ICU yesterday with worsening COVID-19 symptoms, is in stable condition and “remains in good spirits,” his spokesperson said today. “He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support,” the spokesman said, according to ABC News.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled against postponing the state’s primary scheduled for tomorrow.
— Before you go grocery shopping, consider if you really need to go and if delivery is an option; If you can’t get delivery, try shopping at off-peak hours, don’t bring the whole family and don’t go if you have symptoms, according to Live Science’s guide on grocery shopping. While at the store, sanitize your hands often, wear a mask, wipe down your cart with disinfecting wipes, practice social distancing, touch only what you buy and don’t touch your face, according to the guide.
— In-person voting in Wisconsin will proceed as planned tomorrow despite the coronavirus outbreak, The Wisconsin Supreme Court declared, according to Buzzfeed News. Governor Tony Evers had ordered that the presidential primary be delayed until June 9 because of the outbreak, but the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, which has a conservative majority, ruled against postponing it.
— There are nearly 1,342,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide; over 74,400 deaths and over 276,000 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have exceeded 366,600.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care unit
— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now been moved to the intensive care unit after his symptoms worsened on Monday, the government said in a statement. The prime minister, 55, was diagnosed 10 days ago but has had persisting symptoms, according to a Live Science report. He is reportedly conscious but was moved to the ICU in case he needs a ventilator, according to the report.
— On Monday, 636 people died in Italy from COVID-19, the lowest daily rise since March 30, according to The Guardian. For the third day in a row, the number of people in intensive care has decreased, they reported. There are currently 132,547 cases in Italy, 16,523 deaths and 22,837 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
The U.S. surpasses 10,000 deaths, coronavirus seems to be mutating much slower than the seasonal flu
— The U.S. has surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Around 130,700 of those cases are in New York; around 37,500 in New Jersey and around 15,700 in Michigan. There are over 347,000 cases in the country and nearly 19,000 recoveries, according to the dashboard.
— The coronavirus seems to mutate much slower than the seasonal flu, according to a bioinformatician. SARS-CoV-2 seems to have a mutation rate of less than 25 mutations a year, he wrote on The Conversation. The seasonal flu, in contrast, has a mutation rate of nearly 50 mutations a year.
— A new report from the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General confirmed that hospitals across the country are facing massive shortages in testing and personal protective equipment. Hospitals also reported extended waits for test results, difficulty maintaining adequate staffing, difficulty in maintaining and expanding hospital capacity and shortages of critical supplies and materials such as IV poles, medical gas, linens, toilet paper and food.
New York curve has remained “effectively flat for two days,” governor Cuomo says. But it’s too soon to tell if New York’s cases are plateauing.
— Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine described a new vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in a new paper that appeared in EBioMedicine, published by The Lancet. When tested in mice, the vaccine — which works in the same way current flu shots work — produced sufficient amounts of antibodies to neutralize the virus, according to a statement.
— New York City might soon start a “temporary interment” in a park, which means the city will temporarily bury people who died from COVID-19 in a park, City Councilman Mark Levine wrote on Twitter. “Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line,” he wrote. “It will be done in a dignified, orderly — and temporary — manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take.”
— Overall, New York has 130,689 people who have tested positive for COVID-19; 16,837 people are currently hospitalized; 4,504 patients are in the intensive care unit; and 13,366 patients have been discharged, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing today. The number of deaths have reached 4,758, he said. But the curve has remained “effectively flat for two days,” he said. The number of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, daily intubations have decreased, he said. “It is hopeful but it’s also inconclusive and it still depends on what we do,” Cuomo said. If we are plateauing, we are plateauing because social distancing is working, he said.
“From our decision making point of view it doesn’t really matter if we hit the plateau or not if we are plateauing we are plateauing at a very high level and there’s tremendous stress on the healthcare system,” which is at maximum capacity today, he said.
COVID-19 cases exceed 1,288,000 worldwide, Japan to declare state of emergency
— There are now over 1,288,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are 70,482 deaths and 270,249 recoveries. The U.S. has nearly 338,000 cases, Spain has over 135,000 cases, Italy over 129,000 cases and Germany over 100,000 cases.
— Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures — Chiba, Fukuoka, Hyogo, Kanagawa, Osaka, Saitama and Tokyo — as the country’s coronavirus cases rise, according to The New York Times. Japan currently has 3,654 cases and 85 deaths, according to the dashboard. The country’s cases has more than doubled in the last eight days, according to the Times.
— Ireland’s prime minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, re-registered as a medical practitioner to help out during the coronavirus outbreak, according to CNN. “He has offered his services to the HSE [Irish Health Service Executive] for one session a week in areas that are within his scope of practice,” a spokesman said.
A Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for the coronavirus
— British prime minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests, ten days after testing positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement. “On the advice of his doctor, the Prime Minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” according to the statement.
— A 4-year-old tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement. The Tiger, Nadia and her sister Azul, two Amur tigers and three African lions all developed dry coughs, but are all expected to recover, according to a Live Science report.
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published instructions on how to make face masks on their website. CDC recently recommended that people wear cloth face coverings when out in public such as in grocery stores and pharmacies, “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
Next week will be the “Pearl Harbor moment” and the “9/11 moment” in the U.S., Surgeon General says
— There are now over 331,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Deaths in the country have exceeded 9,400 and recoveries are nearing 17,000. There are now over 1,260,000 cases worldwide; over 68,000 deaths and over 258,000 recoveries worldwide.
— Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked governors who haven’t yet ordered statewide stay-at-home measures to at least “give us a week” of restrictions, according to NBC News. Next week will be the “Pearl Harbor moment” and the “ 9/11 moment,” he said on “Fox News Sunday,” according to CNN. “Only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that,” he said. There are eight U.S. governors who have not yet issued statewide stay-at-home measures, according to CNN.
—There are now 122,031 cases of COVID-19 in New York and 4,159 deaths, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today. There are early signs that the outbreak is slowing down in the state as it reported slightly fewer deaths on Saturday than on Friday, he said. But it’s too soon to tell if that’s the actual case or not, he said, The New York Times reported.
Navy captain who was recently removed from command of a nuclear aircraft carrier with COVID-19 cases, tested positive for the virus
— The Navy captain who was recently removed from command of a nuclear aircraft carrier that had at least 155 cases of COVID-19 aboard, has tested positive for the virus, according to The New York Times. Captain Brett Crozier was fired after a letter he had written to the Navy — outlining the impossibility of social distancing on the aircraft carrier — was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle, according to the Times and a Live Science report. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” Crozier wrote in the report.
— Spain recorded the lowest daily rise in deaths from the coronavirus since early March, according to CNN. That daily rise is still very high: in the past day 674 people have died from COVID-19, bringing the country’s death toll to 12,418. But the number of cases and death rates seem to be slowing and thus the country looks like it’s on the road to recovery, according to CNN. The country has 130,759 cases in total and 38,080 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— People in the U.S. who are dying from COVID-19 are likely not all being counted in the official death count which currently stands at 9,132, according to The Washington Post and the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only counts if someone dies from the coronavirus if they have a confirmed positive COVID-19 lab test. But a lack of testing in the first couple of weeks of the U.S. outbreak— and even now in overwhelmed areas — likely means a bunch of people with respiratory illnesses died and wasn’t included in the death count, according to the Post.
5G towers ablaze by conspiracy theorists, Criminal investigation into COVID on cruise ship
—More than 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed across the globe, with more than 312,000 of those in the U.S.; 130,759 in Spain; 124,632 in Italy; and more than 96,000 in Germany.
—At least three 5G-type phone towers have been set on fire in the United Kingdom, after conspiracy theorists suggested the higher-frequency radio waves somehow accelerate the spread of the novel coronavirus, the BBC News reported. Those claims are completely false; and furthermore, those towers are needed right now, particularly during a pandemic. “I’m absolutely outraged and disgusted that people would be taking action against the infrastructure we need to tackle this emergency,” NHS Director Stephen Powis said during a press briefing, the BBC News reported.
One of these false ideas purports that the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, started in Wuhan because of the recent rollout of 5G there, before spreading to other 5G-enabled cities, The Verge reported. However, The Verge points out, “These false conspiracy theories neglect to mention that a highly contagious virus would naturally spread more in densely populated cities with access to 5G, and that the coronavirus pandemic has hit countries like Iran and Japan where 5G isn’t in use yet.”
—A criminal investigation has been launched into the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship, as its 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney on March 19, despite showing respiratory symptoms. At least 62 people linked to the cruise ship have tested positive for the virus, according to The Guardian.
“The only way I can get to the bottom of whether our national biosecurity laws and our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation,” said Mike Fuller, Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, as reported by The Guardian. “The key question that remains unanswered … Was Carnival transparent in contextualizing the true patient and crew health conditions relevant to COVID-19?”
‘Don’t go to the grocery store,’ Dr. Birx says, Most Americans staying at home
—Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said today at a press briefing that three U.S. hotspots — New York City, Louisiana and Detroit — are likely to hit their peaks in cases and deaths in the next six or seven days, NPR reported.
—Birx emphasized the importance of following the mitigation measures strictly over the next two weeks, saying: “The next two weeks are extraordinarily important. This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands,” NPR reported.
—A HuffPo/YouGov survey found that 87% of Americans say they are staying home as much as possible and most say they’d continue to do so even if official orders were lifted, HuffPo reported.
—In the U.K., 708 virus-related deaths were reported Friday, including the death of a 5-year-old with underlying health conditions, BBC News reported. The U.K. has now confirmed nearly 42,500 cases and 4,320 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
China donates 1,000 ventilators to NYC, New Orleans has sky-high death rate
—The Chinese government and the billionaire founders of the online marketplace Alibaba are sending 1,000 ventilators to New York City; they are expected to arrive at JFK Airport today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. In addition, Oregon has said the state will send 140 ventilators to the city, ABC News reported.
—The 1,000-bed Navy ship hospital, the USNS Comfort, was tasked with helping the NYC health care system by caring for non-COVID-19 patients; however, on Thursday (April 2), just 20 patients were onboard because of the harsh criteria for who could and could not be treated there. That should change with updated guidelines: “Screening for care on the USNS Comfort will be modified and will now occur pier-side in an effort to reduce the backlog at some of the nearby New York hospitals. The screening effort for the USNS Comfort will no longer require a negative test, but each patient will still be screened by temperature and a short questionnaire,” the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.
—Hundreds of service members cheered for the recently ousted Navy captain, Brett Crozier, who was relieved of his command after sending a letter asking for help due to an outbreak of COVID-19 on the carrier, Live Science reported.
—Two parishes in Louisiana, in the New Orleans area, have the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita in the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal. For instance, St. John the Baptist Parish has a death rate per capita of nearly 40 virus-related deaths per 100,000 people; Orleans Parish has a death rate from the virus of nearly 38 per 100,000 individuals, the WSJ reported.
4 billion people under lockdown, Brazil expects surge in COVID-19 cases
—Nearly 4 billion people on the planet are under lockdown measures, according to The New York Times. Some U.S. states have yet to order state-wide lockdowns, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. On Friday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a state-wide stay-at-home order effective 5 p.m. today.
—More than 1.1 million people worldwide have been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus to date, with more than 60,000 dying as a result. Italy and Spain each have surpassed the 100,000 mark for confirmed cases, while Germany is not far behind. The U.S. has now reported nearly 279,000 cases, with more than 100,000 of those in New York, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
—Brazil could see a surge in cases in the coming days and weeks; scientists and doctors say that lack of testing and underreporting suggest the scale of the outbreak there could be far greater than anyone realizes, The Guardian reported. The first known COVID-19 case in an indigenous person was reported in Brazil, in a 20-year-old woman from the Kokoma tribe, Live Science reported.
—An uber-exclusive country club in Brazil has also been struck by the novel coronavirus. Officials say at least 60 of the Rio de Janeiro Country Club’s 850 members have tested positive for COVID-19, The Guardian reported.
CDC now recommends people wear cloth face coverings in public
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where it’s difficult to socially distance from others such as in grocery stores and pharmacies, according to the CDC’s website. “The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms,” they wrote.
— There are now over 7,000 people who died in the U.S. from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are nearly 274,000 cases nationwide and around 9,500 who have recovered from the infection.
— Missouri Governor Mike Parson issued a statewide stay-at-home order starting on Monday, April 6.
Even if you test negative for COVID-19, assume you have it, experts say
— Asymptomatic people may be fueling the coronavirus spread, according to another Live Science report. For every person who tested positive for the coronavirus in China, there were likely another five to eight asymptomatic people who didn’t know they had the infection, according to a new study.
— Even if you test negative for COVID-19, assume you have it, experts say, according to another Live Science report. That’s because diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus may give false-negative results about 30% of the time.
— There are now 266,671 COVID-19 cases in the U.S., 6,921 deaths and 9,445 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— The protein that the coronavirus uses to attach to human cells has a compact “ridge” that allows it to attach more strongly to human cells than similar viruses, allowing it to infect better and spread faster, according to a Live Science report on a new study.
An Oregon man who just turned 104 might be one of the oldest survivors of COVID-19
— An Oregon World War II veteran who celebrated his 104th birthday on April 1, could be one of the oldest people in the world to survive the new coronavirus, according to The Oregonian.
— Spain recorded its first drop in daily deaths in four days, according to The Guardian. The country has nearly 118,000 cases of COVID-19 and 10,935 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Another 30,513 have recovered in the country.
— New York state had 562 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase yet, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during a briefing.
New York COVID-19 cases exceed 100,000
— There are now over 102,000 coronavirus cases and 2,935 deaths in New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a news briefing today. Over 57,000 of the positive COVID-19 cases are in New York City.
— Governor Cuomo said he will sign an executive order that will allow New York to redistribute medical equipment from hospitals and companies that aren’t using them to hospitals that need them right now, according to The New York Times.
White House recommends people wear cloth face masks while out in public
— COVID-19 cases in the U.S. now exceed 245,000, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are over 6,000 deaths and 9,000 recoveries in the country. There are now over 1 million cases worldwide.
— Austria will randomly test people for the coronavirus to get a better overview of how many people are infected in the country, according to CNN. The country currently has over 11,000 cases and 168 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— The White House has recommended people wear cloth face masks while out in public even if they aren’t sick, according to The New York Times. But wearing face masks doesn’t replace social distancing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on “Fox & Friends” this morning, according to CNN. Maintaining the six-foot physician distance is “the most important thing,” Fauci said. Face masks are “an addendum and an addition to the physical separation, not as a substitute for it.”
Healthy passengers on the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships will be allowed to disembark
— Trump announced that he is approving Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request to turn New York City’s Javits Center into a coronavirus hospital, at a White House press briefing on April 2.
— Healthy passengers on the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships will be allowed to disembark at Port Everglades in Florida and go straight to the airport to take a chartered flight home, according to CNN. The passengers who live in Florida will be given private transportation home and will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Those who have COVID-19 symptoms will remain on the ships until they can travel and 14 people will be taken to Broward Health, CNN reported.
— Those who receive social security and don’t typically file tax returns will automatically receive the stimulus payments, the Treasury announced on Wednesday (April 1). Originally, the Internal Revenue Service had said everyone who qualified for the $1,200 stimulus checks needed to file a tax return, according to The Washington Post.
COVID-19 cases exceed 1 million worldwide
— There are now over 1 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to a Live Science report. That’s 10 times more cases than the world reported a month ago.
— A 20-year-old woman from the Kokama tribe in Brazil tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first indigenous case of the coronavirus in the Amazon, according to The Guardian. Health experts fear that the spread of the coronavirus could be devastating for indigenous communities in Brazil, they reported.
— The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first antibody test to detect COVID-19, according to a statement. This test, produced by the biotech company Cellex, could be used to detect people who have already had COVID-19.
Over 50,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide
— Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force is facing threats to his safety, according to The Washington Post. Fauci now requires increased security, even at his home, according to CNN.
— There are now over 50,000 people who have died from COVID-19-related complications worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Another 204,605 have recovered.
— New York will run out of ventilators in six days, if the rate of ventilator-use continues as it has been, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today (April 2). “If a person comes in and needs a ventilator and you don’t have a ventilator, the person dies,” Cuomo said during a news briefing. “That’s the blunt equation here.”
Panama imposes new gender-based restrictions
— In Panama, women will only be allowed to leave their homes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays whereas men will only be allowed to leave on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, according to new restrictions put in place, the New York Times reported. Everyone is required to stay at home on Sundays.
— There are over 92,000 coronavirus cases and 2,373 deaths in New York, according to the latest update from New York governor Andrew Cuomo, CNN reported.
— China’s Jia county, with around 600,000 residents, has been placed under lockdown after reports of COVID-19 cases in a nearby hospital, according to the South China Morning Post. The country has seen a major decline in COVID-19 cases and has been slowly opening back up, but there are still fears of a second wave of illness.
COVID-19 cases near 1 million worldwide
— There are now over 952,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 48,000 people have died and over 202,000 have recovered. There are nearly 217,000 cases in the U.S., over 5,000 deaths and over 8,600 recoveries.
— Spain reported 950 new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the country’s total deaths to over 10,000, according to The Washington Post.
— Adam Schlesinger, an Oscar-nominated songwriter and co-founder of Fountains of Wayne (best known for its 2003 song “Stacy’s Mom”) died yesterday (April 1) from complications related to the coronavirus, according to CNN. Schlesinger was 52.
— Over 6.6 million people in the U.S. filed for unemployment last week, the highest number ever recorded, according to The Washington Post.
A 6-week-old baby died from complications related to COVID-19 in Connecticut
— A 6-week-old baby died from complications related to COVID-19 in Connecticut, according to an announcement from Governor Ned Lamont on Twitter. “We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19,” he wrote.
— There are over 932,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 46,800 people have died and over 193,000 have recovered from the virus, according to the dashboard.
— California schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year, Governor Gavin Newsom said today during a briefing.
There are now over 200,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
— The U.S. has passed 200,000 COVID-19 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. Over 4,500 people have died and over 8,400 people have recovered from the virus.
— Preliminary data shows that the curve of infections is flattening in the San Francisco Bay area and Washington state, two weeks after the states issued stay-at-home measures, suggesting that mandatory social distancing measures are working, according to The Washington Post.
— Up to 25 % of people with COVID-19 may not show any symptoms, according to a Live Science report. “That’s important, because now you have individuals that may not have any symptoms that can contribute to transmission,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NPR this week.
— The U.S. Coast Guard has told all cruise ships that they must remain at sea “indefinitely” and prepare to treat their sick passengers and crew on board their ships during the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
— Americans who are on Social Security now need to file a tax return in order to receive the $1,200 stimulus check, according to The Washington Post. And most high school seniors and college students won’t receive any money, they wrote.
Florida issues a state-wide stay-at-home order
— Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state-wide stay-at-home order today (April 1) after mounting criticism that he hadn’t done so yet. Starting on Thursday at midnight people are ordered to stay home unless they are taking part in essential activities.
— Two Holland America cruise ships, Zaandam and Rotterdam are making their way toward Ft. Lauderdale, Florida after having been rejected at several other ports in South America, but are still awaiting a decision as to whether or not they will be allowed to dock in the state, according to The Washington Post. Another cruise ship, The Carol Princess is also expected to arrive to Florida in a couple of days. There are at least 15 ships still out at sea across the world (some with passengers) that are being denied entry at ports, according to CNN.
— Cases in Italy are now peaking, with the daily death toll remaining steady rather than increasing and the daily number of cases now in decline, according to The Financial Times.
— The coronavirus cases in Massachusetts will likely peak sometime in mid-April, epidemiologists predict, according to The Boston Globe.
Wimbledon is canceled
— The Wimbledon Championships, which were set to be held from June 28 to July 11 are canceled, according to a statement.
— Government officials around the world advised people against making April Fools’ Day jokes about the coronavirus, according to The Washington Post. “It’s against the law to fake having COVID-19 this April Fools’ Day,” the Thai government wrote on Twitter. Not everyone got the message. South Korean singer Kim Jae-joong said he had COVID-19 and later said it was a joke, according to the Post.
— The U.S. has surpassed 190,000 COVID-19 cases, around 76,000 of those cases are in New York, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 4,100 people have died across the country, including 1,714 in New York.
“COVID-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations” in 1945, the secretary general of the UN says
— There are over 874,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, 43,291 deaths and over 185,000 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. has nearly 190,000 cases, over 4,000 deaths and over 7,000 recoveries.
— Spain has exceeded 102,000 cases, 9,000 deaths and over 22,600 recoveries. Italy has nearly 106,000 cases, over 12,400 deaths and nearly 16,000 recoveries. The numbers are also climbing in other European countries: Germany has over 72,000 cases and France has nearly 53,000.
— While other European countries have enforced lockdowns on people to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Sweden has not (though public gatherings of over 50 people are prohibited). The Swedish government left it up to the residents to act responsibly — social distance, work from home and self-isolate if you’re over the age of 70 — without putting many restrictions in place, according to NBC News.
— The world economy has entered a recession that it likely won’t recover from until 2021, the International Monetary Fund declared, according to The New York Times.
— “COVID-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations” in 1945, António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, said on Wednesday, according to a statement.
Even with mitigation efforts, over 100,000 people can die in the U.S. from the coronavirus, the White House said today
— Even with mitigation efforts, an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 people can die from the coronavirus in the U.S., the White House task force announced at a briefing today (March 31). But without mitigation efforts, 1.5 million to 2.2 million could have died, the models suggested, according to a Live Science report.
— The next two weeks are going to be “very, very painful” and “rough,” Trump said today during the briefing.
— California is releasing 3,500 inmates early in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading as efficiently through crowded prisons, according to the Los Angeles Times.
— Las Vegas has created a makeshift shelter in a parking lot — with spaces drawn 6 feet apart — to house homeless people after a shelter was closed because of a coronavirus case, according to The Guardian.
— Macy’s is furloughing most of its 125,000 employees, according to CNN.
Russia is sending medical equipment and protective gear to the U.S.
— Dr. James Goodrich, the neurosurgeon who separated conjoined twins died on Monday (March 31) from COVID-19 complications, according to CNN.
— Russia is sending medical equipment and protective gear to the U.S. on a plane that will take off today, the Kremlin said, according to The Washington Post. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, agreed to send supplies to the U.S. if the U.S. reciprocates with its own supplies should Russia need it one day.
— Cases in the U.S. have surpassed 180,000, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. There are 3,606 deaths and 6,038 recoveries in the country.
— Around 500 additional emergency medical technicians and paramedics will begin working in NYC in response to the record number of 911 calls that are being reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio said today. In addition, thousands of nurses will be coming to the city to help.
Six feet may not be enough space for social distancing, experts say
— Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor and brother of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, tested positive for COVID-19, he wrote in a Twitter post.
— William Helmreich, a well-known sociologist who walked every block of NYC and has published nearly 20 books, died on Saturday morning from the coronavirus, according to CNN. He was 74 years old.
— Six feet may not be enough space for social distancing, according to a Live Science report. The best way to ensure safety is to stay indoors and away from other people as much as possible, according to the report.
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently reconsidering its guidance that people don’t need to wear masks when they’re out of their homes, according to NPR.
There are now over 800,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide
— Two Holland America cruise ships, Zaandam and Rotterdam are making their way toward Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The ships are carrying 193 passengers and crew who have influenza-like illness, including eight people who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a blog post from Orlando Ashford, the president of Holland America Line.
— There are now over 800,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 39,000 people have died — around 11,500 of those in Italy and around 8,000 in Spain— and 173,000 have recovered. There are nearly 165,000 cases in the U.S. alone, with over 67,000 of those cases in New York. Over 3,000 people have died in the U.S.
Coronavirus rising in military personnel
—COVID-19 infections are on the rise in active military personnel, according to the news site Stars and Stripes. Due to rising coronavirus cases among crew, the 5,000-person aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is sitting at a dock in Guam instead of patrolling the Pacific and South China Sea, Stars and Stripes reported. In early March, there were 16 known cases onboard.
—Details about how many service members have contracted the novel coronavirus is not widely known, as the Pentagon has ordered military bases and command centers to withhold certain information. “As we confront this growing crisis, and out of a concern for operational security with regard to readiness, we will not report the aggregate number of individual service member cases at individual unit, base or Combatant Commands,” Department of Defense Press Secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement. “We will continue to do our best to balance transparency in this crisis with operational security.”
—According to The Hill, “As of Monday morning, 569 active-duty service members have contracted the illness, as had 220 civilian personnel, 190 family members and 64 contractors.”
—A New Jersey Army National Guardsman died on Saturday (March 28) as a result of COVID-19. The individual had been in the hospital after testing positive for the virus since March 21, according to a Department of Defense statement.
A Colorado ski town will test all of its residents for the coronavirus
— Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. issued stay-at-home orders today, according to CNN.
— Telluride, a Colorado ski town, will test all of its residents for the coronavirus for free, according to a Live Science report. The town, with 8,000 residents, is the first in the country to perform such wide-scale coronavirus testing.
— There are now nearly 160,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and nearly 3,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Over 5,500 people in the country have already recovered from the virus.
— COVID-19 cases in Italy surpassed 100,000 on Monday, according to the dashboard. The country has had over 11,500 deaths and 14,620 recoveries.
There are 36,221 COVID-19 cases in NYC and 790 deaths
— Nearly 12,300 health workers in Spain have tested positive for COVID-19, deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said at a news conference on Monday (March 30), according to Reuters. That means health care workers make up 14% of the country’s over 85,000 cases.
— Phuket, a popular tourist destination island in Thailand, banned air travel starting on April 10, Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana said. The island also closed all entry and exit points until the end of April, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
— Country folk singer-songwriter John Prine was hospitalized on Thursday after a “sudden onset” of COVID-19 symptoms, his family wrote on his official Twitter page. He was intubated on Saturday evening and is in “critical” condition, they wrote.
— Prince Charles, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, after consulting with his doctor, is now out of self-isolation and in good health, according to CNN.
— There are 36,221 COVID-19 cases in NYC and 790 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. But while the number of hospitalizations continues to rise, the rate of rise is slowing down, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a news briefing today. The number of hospitalizations had been doubling every two or three days and now it’s doubling every six days, he said.
NYC is setting up a field hospital in Central Park
— The USNS Comfort, a navy ship, equipped with 1,000 hospital beds and 12 operating rooms and a radiology suite arrived in New York City today. It will act as a floating hospital for patients not affected by COVID-19, according to Live Science.
— Anyone entering Vermont is required to quarantine for 14 days, Governor Phil Scott announced today.
— NYC is setting up a field hospital with 68 beds in Central Park to help accommodate coronavirus patients, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday, CNN reported.
Spain’s case count surpasses China’s, President Trump extends social distancing guidelines to the end of April
— Yesterday, President Trump extended social distancing guidelines to April 30. Earlier, he had said the country could ease the guidelines as early as Easter, according to The New York Times.
— There are over 735,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, nearly 35,000 deaths and 156,000 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are over 143,000 cases in the U.S., over 2,500 deaths and nearly 5,000 recoveries.
— Spain has reached 85,195 cases, surpassing China. The country has 7,340 deaths and 16,780 recoveries.
— The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for July 24, 2020 will now open on July 23, 2021, the organizers announced.
— South Korea is seeing an increase in infections near Seoul, officials in South Korea said, according to The Washington Post. The country has previously been commended for its response to the outbreak.
Moscow orders quarantine on residents
— Moscow ordered a quarantine on all of its residents starting on March 30, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said in a statement. People will only be allowed to leave their houses to get medical help, go to a nearby grocery store or pharmacy and walk their pets near their homes, according to CNN.
— There are now over 716,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, nearly 34,000 deaths and around 149,000 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are over 137,000 cases in the U.S., over 2,400 deaths and 2,660 recoveries.
— Holland America’s “Zaandam” cruise ship — on which two passengers tested positive for COVID-19 and four passengers died from unclear reasons — will be allowed to transit the Panama Canal and head to Florida, according to The New York Times.
The U.S. could eventually face over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci says
— The U.S. could eventually face over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on CNN’s State of the Union.
— The USNS Comfort, a navy ship, with 1,000 hospital beds will arrive tomorrow in New York City, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a briefing today. The ship will not house COVID-19 patients but other patients who need hospital care, he said.
— People driving into Florida may be screened and will be required to complete a traveler form that includes contact information and trip details, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Transportation. Anyone arriving in Florida from states that are hit hard with COVID-19 cases such as Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be required to isolate for 14 days.
Americans expected to receive direct deposits of stimulus checks within three weeks
—The U.S. health department’s civil rights office is opening up investigations to make sure states aren’t allowing medical providers to discriminate against people based on disabilities, race, age or other factors when treating them for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times.
— 730 uniformed NYPD officers and 96 civilian NYPD employees are infected with the coronavirus, according to a law enforcement official, CNN reported.
— Americans who are eligible can expect direct deposits of the stimulus checks within three weeks, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Sunday, according to CBS News.
CDC issues a travel advisory for those in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
—There are nearly 680,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, over 31,700 deaths and 145,600 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are nearly 125,000 cases in the U.S., over 2,190 deaths and 2,600 recoveries.
— Yesterday, President Trump said “a quarantine will not be necessary” in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after mentioning that he was considering one, according to his Twitter. Instead, the CDC issued a “domestic travel advisory” which urges residents of the three states to “refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.” This does not include people working in critical infrastructure industries such as public health professionals and those working in food supply, trucking and financial services.
— Hundreds of thousands of migrants in India are migrating home on foot after being left homeless and jobless by the nationwide lockdown of the country, according to The New York Times. The country’s homeless population — one of the largest in the world — may have tripled overnight, according to the Times.
An Illinois infant with COVID-19 has died
— An Illinois infant has died from the coronavirus, according to Illinois health officials. That’s the first known infant death from the coronavirus in the U.S, according to NBC Chicago.
— There are now nearly 120,000 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., nearly 2,000 deaths and over 920 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The number of cases exceed 657,000 worldwide.
— New York City officials will decide this weekend if they should start fining ($500) people who aren’t adhering to social distancing rules, according to The New York Times.
— In South Korea, more coronavirus patients recovered and were discharged (4,811 people) than were undergoing treatment (around 4,500 people) on Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
First cat tests positive for the coronavirus in Belgium
— A cat in Belgium tested positive for the coronavirus, the first cat to test positive, according to The Guardian. A week after the cat’s owner developed symptoms, the cat also developed symptoms, virologist Steven Van Gucht said during a press conference. But “there are no indications that this is common,” he said. Also, the virus transferred from the human to the cat not the other way around, similar to other pet transmissions. “We therefore consider the risk to people to be small,” he said.
— President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he’s thinking about enacting a short-term quarantine in parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut hit with many COVID-19 cases, according to CNN. But shortly after, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable,” according to The New York Times.
— There are now over 115,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. with 1,891 deaths and 921 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. Cases in Italy have exceeded 92,000 and deaths have exceeded 10,000.
Spain health officials say they might be approaching the peak of the outbreak
— President Donald Trump approved Masscahusetts and Michigans’ requests for disaster declarations, according to The Washington Post. This would give the states some federal assistance to help areas badly afflicted by the coronavirus, according to WCVB-TV.
— There are over 72,000 COVID-19 cases in Spain, 5,690 deaths and over 12,200 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. “We are approaching, we do not know exactly when we will have confirmation, but we are reaching the peak of the curve,” the director of Spain’s Center for Health Emergencies Fernando Simón said at a news conference in Madrid, according to CNN.
— Russia will temporarily close its borders— suspending traffic — starting on March 30, according to CNN.
COVID-19 cases reach nearly 615,000 worldwide
— There are nearly 615,000 COVID-19 cases, over 28,600 deaths and nearly 135,700 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S. there are nearly 105,000 cases with around 46,000 of those cases in New York state.
— Houses of worship may be fined or shut down if police discover people congregating there this weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, the New York Times reported.
— Domestic violence is likely to increase during these lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations said, according to CNN. “It is very likely that rates of widespread domestic violence will increase, as already suggested by initial police and hotline reports,” UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Simonovic, said in a statement Friday. “As making phone calls might be dangerous in a context of home confinement, helplines can facilitate access by providing online chats and texting services for victims, States should also come up with new and creative solutions to support them.”
Trump invokes Defense Production Act, US coronavirus cases surpass 100K
— The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has now surpassed 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
— President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to make ventilators after saying that the company was not acting quickly enough to produce the machines, according to CNBC.
— Over the next 100 days the United States expects to either make or acquire over 100,000 additional ventilators, President Trump said in a White House news briefing. The U.S. typically makes about 29,000 ventilators a year.
Italy reported 919 deaths in a single day, the highest daily death toll reported by any country
— Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt suspended elective surgeries including abortions unless they pose serious health risks to the mother, according to a statement.
— Italy reported 919 deaths in a single day, the highest daily death toll reported by any country, according to The Washington Post.
— The death toll in Spain is nearing 5,000. Spain has reported over 64,000 COVID-19 cases and over 9,300 recoveries.
— Four passengers died aboard Holland America’s “Zaandam” cruise ship off the coast of Panama, the company announced. Though it’s unclear if they died from COVID-19, two passengers on board tested positive for the disease, CNBC reported.
Congress approved a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill
— The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York Times. The next step is for President Trump to sign the bill.
— The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 25,000 according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Italy, with 86,498 confirmed cases of COVID-19, surpassed China. The U.S. with over 94,000 cases, continues to be the country with the most cases.
— The first patients have been enrolled in a drug trial by the World Health Organization testing four drugs to fight COVID-19, according to CNBC. The drugs include the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, an antiviral known as Remdesivir and HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir and a combination of drugs along with interferon-beta.
COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have now exceeded 86,000
— COVID-19 cases likely won’t peak in New York for another 21 days, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today. At the outbreak’s peak, the state will need about 140,000 beds, or about 87,000 more than it has right now.
— A poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News finds that 9 in 10 Americans are staying home as much as possible and social distancing, according to The Washington Post.
— COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have now exceeded 86,000. The U.S. has reported 1,301 deaths and 753 recoveries as of noon on Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— States aren’t testing uniformly for the coronavirus, creating a distorted picture of the outbreak in the U.S., according to a Live Science report.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus
— British prime minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement he gave on Twitter. “Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” he wrote. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.”
— There are now nearly 550,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, over 24,300 deaths and over 127,500 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The U.S. has 86,000 confirmed cases, 1,300 deaths and 753 recoveries.
—Crime rates have recently increased across Europe amid the coronavirus outbreak, Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency said in a report. “Criminals have been quick to seize opportunities to exploit the crisis by adapting their modi operandi or engaging in new criminal activities,” they wrote. Crimes such as cyberattacks, fraud schemes, scams, sale of counterfeit healthcare and sanitary products and organized property theft are likely to increase even more, they wrote and CNN reported.
The U.S. is the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic
— The U.S. now has at least 82,174 COVID-19 cases, more than any other country in the world, according to a Live Science report. Nearly half of all U.S. coronavirus cases are in New York state.
— Montana governor Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home order for residents starting on Saturday, March 28. Montana currently has 90 cases, according to the state’s dashboard.
— Coronavirus could be catastrophic for great apes, experts warned. Great-ape tourism should be suspended and field research should be reduced, they said, according to a Live Science report.
— As the coronavirus sweeps through the U.S., the country faces a shortage of ventilators. It’s possible to use a single ventilator between 4 patients as a temporary fix, but it could be disastrous, according to a Live Science report
— The number of patients on ventilators at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center has more than doubled, Dr. Craig Smith, chair of the department of surgery said in a statement and CNN reported.
New Hampshire governor orders people to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close
— The number of COVID-19 cases in Italy is still rising, but the day-to-day rise is slowing down, according to The Washington Post. Still, experts warn that if the nation loosens its measures to contain and mitigate the virus, cases will shoot right back up again.
— The U.S. has nearly 80,000 COVID-19 cases, following close behind Italy and China’s case count, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. Italy has about 800 cases more and China has about 2,000 cases more than the U.S.
— New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu ordered residents to stay at home and nonessential businesses to close by Friday, in a news briefing on Thursday.
Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed half a million
— Other states should prepare for a coronavirus outbreak as large as that in New York, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, according to NPR.
— While New York has nearly half of all the COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Louisiana is facing the fastest growth of new cases in the world, according to The New York Times. As of Thursday morning, Louisiana had nearly 1,800 cases of COVID-19.
— Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed 500,000, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. China still leads the way with the most number of cases, but Italy is close behind, followed by the U.S.
— China will temporarily ban foreign nationals with visas and resident permits from entering the country, according to The Washington Post.
NYC homeless man dies of COVID-19
— A New York City homeless man in his 60s with COVID-19 died at a hospital, becoming the first known fatality among New York City’s homeless population, according to NBC News.
— Vietnam is ordering tens of thousands of people returning to the country to quarantine in camps, according to Reuters. Passengers are undergoing screenings and if they have symptoms they are taken to a hospital. If they don’t, they are taken to quarantine camps where they share rooms with 10 to 20 others on their same flight. The country has only reported 148 infections and no deaths, according to its health ministry.
— Recent news reports claimed that the coronavirus may have infected half of the UK population, but that’s probably not true, according to Live Science. The reports are based on a hypothetical scenario proposed by a new study that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed. The scenario is based on several major assumptions, according to Live Science.
COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. exceed 1,000
— There are now 487,648 confirmed cases of COVID-19, over 22,000 deaths and nearly 118,000 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
— Deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have exceeded 1,000. There are now over 69,000 cases in the country, with around 33,000 of them in New York state.
— There were 3.3 million unemployment claims filed in the U.S. last week, the highest number of unemployment claims filed since the Department of Labor started tracking in 1967, according to CNN.
Nearly 70% of hotel rooms in the U.S. were empty last week
— Nearly 70% of hotel rooms in the U.S. were vacant last week, according to new data from the data and analytics group STR, according to CNN.
— Filming of “The Batman,” which was set for release in 2021, shut down until “it is safe for us all to resume,” filmmaker Matt Reeves wrote on Twitter.
— Americans with incomes below $100,000 will likely receive checks or direct deposits of $1,200 each within the next three weeks under a rescue package deal, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a news briefing on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.
— There are now nearly 467,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, over 21,000 deaths and nearly 114,000 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
Over 1 million Californians have applied for unemployment since March 13
— California distributed 24.5 million N95 masks and ordered 100 million more, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today.
— California homeowners struggling to make monthly payments because of the coronavirus outbreak may receive some help— delay in foreclosures or mortgage relief— from certain banks and financial institutions, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today, according to the Los Angeles Times. Over 1 million people in California have applied for unemployment benefits since March 13, according to CNN.
— There are nearly 63,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and 894 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
Medical students will be allowed to graduate early to help combat the coronavirus
— Medical students will be allowed to graduate from New York University earlier than scheduled in May so that they can help combat the coronavirus outbreak, according to a statement from the school.
— The rate of hospitalizations from COVID-19 seem to be slowing down in New York, which might mean that social distancing and closures of businesses among other measures are actually working, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a briefing today. “This is a very good sign,” Cuomo said. “I’m not 100% sure it holds or it’s accurate, but the arrows are headed in the right direction.”
— The coronavirus isn’t mutating quickly, according to experts who are closely monitoring its genetic code for changes, according to the Washington Post. This means that the virus is unlikely to become more or less dangerous as time goes by and that potential vaccines could be more long-lasting, according to the report.
— Spain has now 47,610 cases and 3,434 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, becoming the second country (after Italy) to surpass China’s death toll, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— Italy now has 74,386 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7,503 deaths, according to the dashboard.
Germany death rate is lower than other countries likely because of early, meticulous measures taken
— Germany has nearly 34,000 cases of COVID-19 but only 171 deaths. Early in the infection spread, Germany tested and isolated extensively and meticulously, which might have kept the death rate, around 0.5%, as low as it is, according to Live Science.
— Yesterday, LA County reported a COVID-19 death in a person under 18 years of age. But the case “will require further evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the County of LA Public Health department said in a statement released today. “Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality.”
— Within days, 15-minute home test kits for COVID-19 will be available to the British public, a Public Health England director said, according to The Independent.
COVID-19 cases exceed 435,000 worldwide
— There are not over 435,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, over 19,600 deaths and nearly 112,000 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. The U.S. has over 55,000 cases and over 800 deaths.
— A group of young adults in Kentucky threw a “coronavirus party” together to purposefully go against state guidance to socially distance, Governor Andy Beshear said on Tuesday. At least one person who went to that party is now infected with COVID-19. “This is one that makes me mad, and it should make you mad,” Beshear said.
— After days of negotiations, the White House and Senate agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus deal, one of the most expensive and extensive measures taken to date, to help the economy amid the coronavirus crisis, according to CNN.
— Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the coronavirus, has mild symptoms and is self-isolating in Scotland with the Duchess of Cornwall who tested negative, according to a spokesman, BBC reported.
LA County reports the death of a person under 18
— Los Angeles County officials reported the death of a Lancaster resident under the age of 18 years old, according to a news release from The Los Angeles County Public Health Department. This person, most likely a teenager, is one of the youngest to die from COVID-19 in the U.S., according to The New York Times.
— Anyone who has recently left New York City should self-quarantine for 14 days, White House officials said during a press briefing on Tuesday (March 24). New York has 25,677 confirmed cases of COVID-19, almost half of all the cases in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. Almost 15,000 of those cases are in New York City.
— A group of U.S. restaurants has named today, March 24, the “Great American Takeout Day,” to support restaurants amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Elon Musk plans to distribute 1,200 ventilators this week
— Some amount of mandatory social distancing, quarantining and travel restrictions could remain in place for months to come, according to a new Live Science report.
— Elon Musk plans to distribute over 1,200 ventilators made by both SpaceX and Tesla this week, according to Space.com.
— A man in Arizona died and his wife was hospitalized after they both self-medicated with chloroquine phosphate, a chemical that’s used to treat fish for parasites, in an effort to prevent the coronavirus, according to Live Science. They had watched President Donald Trump tout the medication form of chloroquine, an antimalarial drug, as a promising treatment for COVID-19 during press conferences. Clinical trials are underway but the FDA has not yet approved the drug for the treatment of COVID-19.
Trump said he wants the country “opened up” by Easter
— President Trump said that he wanted the U.S. “opened up” by Easter (April 12), during a Fox News town hall on Tuesday. That’s much sooner than the milestones other U.S. officials have set, according to NPR.
— Coronavirus RNA was found in the Princess Cruise ship up to 17 days after the passengers disembarked from the ship, according to a new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it’s not clear if the virus could remain viable for that long.
— Almost half of Americans will be under an order to stay at home by mid-week, according to an analysis by CNN.
India locks down entire country of 1.3 billion people
— India announced a 21-day lockdown for its 1.3 billion residents on Tuesday. There will be a total ban of leaving your homes, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.
— The Trump administration will use the Defense Production Act for the first time on Tuesday to obtain 60,000 coronavirus test kits, according to the Wall Street Journal.
— New York will begin to collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to give as treatment to those still infected with the disease, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. This treatment, known as convalescent plasma, was used for centuries, such as during the flu epidemic of 1918, according to NBC News.
The U.S. could potentially become a new epicenter for the coronavirus, WHO says
— Manu Dibango, a world-renowned Cameroonian jazz musician died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to his official Facebook Page.
— The U.S. which is seeing a “very large acceleration” in COVID-19 infections, could potentially become the new epicenter for the coronavirus, Margaret Harris, the World Health Organization spokesman told reporters on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
— Washington State’s governor Jay Inslee announced a “stay home, stay healthy” order yesterday (March 23). You can still go outside, take a walk, ride a bike or garden “but you must remain six feet away from everyone at all times,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
Public transport in Wuhan will start up again within 24 hours
— The summer Olympics in Japan which was set to take place in July will be postponed for a year, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, according to The New York Times.
— Public transport will start up again within 24 hours in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak began, and people will be allowed to leave the city starting on April 8, the Hubei provincial government announced Tuesday.
— There are now 392,331 COVID-19 cases, 17,156 deaths and 102, 972 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
— On Monday, 602 people died in Italy which was the country’s smallest increase for four days, Reuters reported. While there’s also a decrease in case count, there’s also a drop in the number of tests done, so it’s too soon to say if the decline will continue, Silvio Brusaferro, the head of Italy’s national health institute said.
Nearly 1 in 1,000 people are infected with the coronavirus in the New York metropolitan area
— Nearly 1 in 1,000 people are infected with the coronavirus in the New York metropolitan area, five times that of other areas, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator said today at a briefing.
— A man in South Carolina was arrested last Thursday (March 19) after he sent a fake doctor’s note to his employer saying he had the coronavirus, according to The Post and Courier. He can now face up to 10 years in prison.
— There are now over 375,000 COVID-19 cases, 16,371 deaths and 100,958 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the US there are 43,667 cases and 552 deaths.
— The Food and Drug Administration approved self-collected swabs for coronavirus testing, Vice President Mike Pence said today. People can now self-swab in clinics and drive-through tests, he said.
There are 86 clinical trials underway for COVID-19 treatments or vaccines
— As of Friday (March 20), there are 86 clinical trials of COVID-19 treatments or vaccines ongoing or recruiting patients, according to a new Live Science report.
— New York is now requiring hospitals to increase their capacity by 50%, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a news conference.
— There are now over 40,000 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., half of them are in New York State, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. There are 12,305 COVID-19 cases specifically in New York City.
Social distancing measures might already be flatting the curve in Germany
— Social distancing measures might already be helping to flatten the curve for the first time in Germany, according to Reuters.”We see the trend that the exponential growth curve is somewhat flattening” in Germany, said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute, a German federal government agency. “But I will only be able to confirm this trend definitively on Wednesday.”
— Indiana has issued a stay-at-home order (except for essential activities) starting on March 25 until April 7, governor Eric Holcomb announced today.
— Boeing is temporarily suspending its production operations in the Puget Sound area in Washington, according to a statement. The suspension will be for 14 days, during which time they’ll undergo deep-cleaning of sites and establish “rigorous criteria” for return to work, they wrote.
Massachusetts closes non-essential businesses
— Massachusetts joins a group of other states in closing non-essential businesses. The order will start on Tuesday at noon, Governor Charlie Baker announced today. Michigan also ordered residents to stay home “directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life,” according to a statement.
— New York is now testing 16,000 people a day, “more than any other state in the United States,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said today (March 23).
— There are 59,138 COVID-19 cases and 5,476 deaths in Italy. There are 33,089 COVID-19 cases and 2,206 deaths in Spain, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
The U.S. has over 35,000 COVID-19 cases
— There are now 349,211 cases of COVID-19, 15,308 deaths and 100,165 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. The U.S. has over 35,000 cases and 471 deaths.
— Postponing the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo might be a possibility, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, said to lawmakers, according to CNN. Up until now, Abe was adamant that the games would start as planned on July 24.
— A loss of smell and taste could be signs of COVID-19, the New York Times reported.
— Hong Kong is stopping all visitors from entering the city starting on Wednesday and banning the sale of alcohol at thousands of bars and restaurants, according to the South China Morning Post. These new regulations follow a spike of new COVID-19 cases, mostly from infected people coming into the country.
Warmer weather might slow the coronavirus spread, an early study suggests
— Warmer weather might slow down the coronavirus spread, according to a new early analysis from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The scientists found that the most coronavirus transmissions around the world occurred in places with low temperatures, The New York Times reported.
— The government is activating the US National Guard in Washington, California and New York “to carry out approved missions to stop the virus,” Trump said during a White House briefing today (March 22).
— New York state has nearly 15,800 cases of COVID-19 and 117 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
— Opera singer Plácido Domingo tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a Facebook post.
— Senate democrats blocked an economic rescue plan that was over $1.8 trillion, claiming it didn’t protect workers like it should during the coronavirus outbreak and didn’t impose strict-enough restrictions on businesses getting help from the government, according to the New York Times.
— Harvey Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault in a New York prison, has reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus, state prison officials told the Niagara Gazette. But Weinstein’s spokesman, attorney or prison consultant couldn’t confirm the news, according to Variety.
Ohio and Louisiana join other states in ordering residents to “stay at home”
— Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tweet. “He is feeling fine and is in quarantine,” according to the tweet. “He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events.”
— Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is under self-quarantine after a doctor that gave her a pneumococcal vaccine on Friday tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a tweet from Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for the German government.
— Ohio residents must “stay at home,” except for essential activities, Governor Mike DeWine announced on Sunday. Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards also announced a stay at home order for residents starting on Monday, March 23, according to a tweet.
Spain is extending its nationwide lockdown
— Ford, General Motors and Tesla “are being given the go ahead” to make ventilators and other products to help with the coronavirus, according to a tweet that President Trump sent out on Sunday (March 22).
— Spain will extend its nationwide lockdown by 15 days, making the measure last until April 11, according to The Washington Post. Spain has the second-most cases of COVID-19 in Europe, following behind Italy with 28,603 cases. Over 1,750 people have died in Spain and 2,575 have recovered.
— Greece is enacting a nationwide non-essential movement ban starting on Monday, according to CNN. Only people that need to go to work, the supermarket, or to see healthcare providers are allowed to leave their house, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced today. The country has 624 total COVID-19 cases.
Trump sends letter to North Korea, Russia sends help to Italy
— Russia is sending equipment and 100 doctors and virologists to Italy, a country that is still facing the worst of the new coronavirus, according to CNN. Italy now has over 53,500 cases and 4,825 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
— President Trump sent a letter to Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader saying the U.S. would be willing to help North Korea combat the coronavirus, according to the New York Times. North Korea has not reported any COVID-19 cases so far.
— The U.S. has over 26,700 confirmed cases, 340 deaths and 176 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In a press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio called New York City the “epicenter” of the outbreak in the U.S.
COVID-19 cases exceed 300,000 worldwide
— There are now over 300,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 13,000 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. Nearly 92,000 people have recovered.
— Bolivia, a country with 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19, announced a 14-day mandatory nationwide quarantine, according to Reuters. Supermarkets, hospitals, banks and hospitals would remain open and the government would help families with children in need starting in April.
— The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported the first known case of an inmate in a federal prison who contracted the coronavirus. After complaining of chest pains, an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn was taken to a hospital where he tested positive for the virus, according to CNN.
— Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence have both tested negative for the virus, Katie Miller, his spokeswoman said on Twitter on Saturday. They were tested after an official in Mike Pence’s office tested positive for COVID-19.
1 in 5 Americans directed to ‘stay at home’
—An official working in the office of Vice President Mike Pence has tested positive for COVID-19, though the person hadn’t come into close contact with Pence or the president, the Times reported.
—New guidelines in several states, including New York, California and Illinois, mean that about one in five Americans will be under directives to “stay at home” by the end of this weekend, the Times reported.
—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday (Marcy 21) a list of potential locations for field hospitals to test for and treat COVID-19. One of those spots is Manhattan’s Javits Center (which is the venue for many events, including the city’s Comic-Con), where he hopes the 1.8 million-square-foot center could hold a total of 1,000 hospital beds, CBS New York reported. Other locations included: campuses at the State University New York (SUNY) Stony Brook and SUNY Westbury as well as the Westchester Convention Center.
Italy reports 793 deaths in a single day
— Italy recorded 793 deaths from COVID-19 within a single day, bringing the total death toll to 4,825. That’s the highest recorded daily rise in the country to date, according to the Guardian.
— Thousands of the country’s 450,000 National Guard members in at least 27 states have been called up to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Times.
— The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted “emergency use authorization” to California company Cepheid for a coronavirus test that can be conducted at the “point of care” for a patient and give results in 45 minutes, according to The Washington Post.
Some areas in the U.S. are restricting COVID-19 testing to health care workers and hospitalized people.
— New York State has a medical gown shortage, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Saturday (March 21). We’re doing better with ventilators, nowhere near where we need to be with ventilators, we need 30,000 ventilators, we’re at 6,000,” he said. “But at least we got to 6,000.” They have also been making progress on finding more masks, he added. New York state is sending 1 million N95 masks to NYC, Cuomo said.
— Health officials across the country in areas particularly overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases such as New York and California, are restricting testing to health care workers and hospitalized people, according to the Washington Post.
— The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 are facing a lot of criticism after having not postponed or canceled the event in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York Times. Today, the U.S.A. Track and Field joined others in asking for the Olympics to be delayed, according to an email shared on Twitter.
US knew about COVID-19 dangers in January; Israel spy agency purchases tests
—U.S. intelligence reports reveal that back in January and February officials were warning about the global danger posed by the coronavirus that was spreading across China, according to news reports. “Taken together, the reports and warnings painted an early picture of a virus that showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it,” The Hour reported.
—As of March 21, Italy was reporting more than 47,000 cases, Spain with 21,571 cases, Iran with 20,610, Germany with 20,142 and the United States bumping up against 20,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
—A 90-year-old woman who tested positive for the new coronavirus at a long-term care facility outside of Seattle, Washington, where an outbreak began in February, is expected to be symptom-free in the coming days, CBS News reported. “She will still need to stay in isolation until she goes through their protocol for being listed as clear and recovered,” Wood’s grand-daughter-in-law Kate Neidigh wrote, CBS reported. “If she continues on her current path, she could possibly be discharged to go home in approximately a week.”
—In an undercover mission, Israel’s spy agency Mossad has purchased COVID-19 testing kids from abroad and will deploy them across the nation for drive-through testing, the Wall Street Journal reported. The prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hopes to carry out thousands of tests a day.
COVID-19 cases reach over 278,000 worldwide
— There are now 278,136 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 11,572 deaths and 89,276 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. There are 19,624 cases in the US, 260 deaths and 147 recoveries.
— Bandi Beach in Sydney, Australia was shut down on Saturday, after people gathered there in crowds the previous day despite social distancing recommendations, according to the New York Times. “I for one, as the police minister, cannot sit by,” David Elliott, the police and emergency services minister for the state of New South Wales said at a news conference. “The photos that we saw this morning were a clear breach of faith.”
— Angola reported its first two coronavirus cases, both men in their 30s who traveled from Portugal, the country’s health minister Silvia Lutucuta said during a news conference, according to CNN.
Death rates from COVID-19 continue to soar in Italy
— In Italy, 9,600 people were given citations for violating lockdowns, Italy’s interior ministry said Friday. People are only allowed to leave for essentials— to grocery or medicine shop, doctors appointments and a walk once per day— but they have to fill out a form before they leave explaining why they’re leaving, according to the Washington Post. The country reported 627 deaths today, bringing the total to over 4,000.
— The U.S. now has over 18,500 confirmed cases, 227 deaths and 147 recoveries from COVID-19.
— Despite the announcement a couple of days ago that national parks would remain open, Yosemite National Park in California is now closed, according to a statement.
Illinois orders people to “stay at home”
— More than one in five Americans will soon be under orders to stay indoors, according to the New York Times. Illinois just ordered its residents to “stay at home,” except to go to the grocery stores or pharmacies, put gas in their cars or take walks outside, starting on Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune. Yesterday, California announced a similar “stay at home” order and earlier today, New York ordered non-essential businesses to close.
— Zimbabwe reported its first case of coronavirus, a 38-year-old man, Obadiah Moyo, Zimbabwe’s minister of health said Friday on state television ZTV, according to the Sunday Times.
— The Florida Keys is closing to visitors starting on Sunday, March 22, according to a statement. “The only exception is for long-term renters in vacation homes and R/V parks with contracts of 28 days or more, who are presently in the Keys,” they wrote. “They are to be allowed to remain until the conclusion of their contracts.”
U.S. announces border closures, WHO distributes 1.5 million coronavirus tests
—Borders between the U.S and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada will close to nonessential travel on Saturday at midnight, the administration announced during a White House briefing on Friday.
— All restaurants, bars, cafes and gyms in the UK are ordered to close Friday evening, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced.
— The World Health Organization (WHO) distributed 1.5 million coronavirus tests around the world, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program said at a briefing on Friday. But that’s not enough: the world will need at least 80 times the amount of tests, he added.
New York orders all “non-essential” businesses to close
— Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said all non-essential businesses must close in the state and people should stay indoors except to go outside for “solitary” exercise. Cases in the state are nearing 6,000, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
— Trends in Italy suggest that males are more likely to die than females in every age group, Deborah Birx, a physician and public health expert said on Friday.
— Tax day, or the day by which people need to file their income tax returns, was postponed to July 15, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday.
COVID-19 deaths pass 10,000 worldwide
— There are 246, 275 confirmed cases, 10,038 deaths and 86,035 recoveries from the coronavirus worldwide. There are 14,250 confirmed cases in the U.S., 205 deaths and 121 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, ordered everyone in the state to stay at home except for essentials (such as food, prescriptions or essential jobs) starting at midnight on Thursday.
— A man in the UK has been arrested for not self-isolating himself on the island even though everyone was told to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving, with or without symptoms, according to The Guardian.
Senate Republicans introduce an economic relief bill
— Senate Republicans introduced an economic relief bill that would provide $1,200 to Americans making up to $75,000 a year, along with an extra $500 per child, according to The Washington Post. The bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, would also provide loans to small businesses as well as tax cuts to larger corporations.
— U.S. airlines could see a “virtual shutdown” as demand plummets due to international travel bans and recommendations to stay home amidst the coronavirus outbreak, according to CNN. American and Delta have already grounded half their fleets and cancelled thousands of flights. So far, restrictions have not been placed on domestic travel, but they are under consideration.
— The United States now has more than 13,000 reported cases of COVID-19, and 176 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— English football games have been suspended until April 30 at the earliest, according to the BBC.
US cases soar and US airlines may see ‘virtual shutdown’
— Senate Republicans introduced an economic relief bill that would provide $1,200 to Americans making up to $75,000 a year, along with an extra $500 per child, according to The Washington Post. The bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, would also provide loans to small businesses as well as tax cuts to larger corporations.
— U.S. airlines could see a “virtual shutdown” as demand plummets due to international travel bans and recommendations to stay home amidst the coronavirus outbreak, according to CNN. American and Delta have already grounded half their fleets and cancelled thousands of flights. So far, restrictions have not been placed on domestic travel, but they are under consideration.
— The United States now has more than 13,000 reported cases of COVID-19, and 176 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— English football games have been suspended until April 30 at the earliest, according to the BBC.
State department issues level 4 travel recommendation
— American citizens should not travel abroad and those abroad should return home if commercial departure options are available or remain abroad for an “indefinite period”, according to new recommendations from the State Department. They issued a level 4 travel recommendation.
— Connecticut postponed its presidential primary originally scheduled for April 28 to June 2, according to a Tweet from the Connecticut governor Ned Lamont.
— The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees into national parks, according to a statement. “This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
Bayer donates 3 million tablets of chloroquine phosphate to the U.S. to help fight coronavirus
— Italy’s COVID-19 death rate hits 3,405, surpassing China and becoming the highest death rate in the world, according to the New York Times.
— TJX Companies, the parent company of TJMaxx and Marshalls, is temporarily shutting down stores worldwide to help stop the spread of the virus, they announced on Thursday.
— Bayer donated 3 million tablets of an antimalarial drug, chloroquine phosphate, sold under the name Resochin, to the U.S., according to a statement. Resochin was developed to treat and prevent malaria but “appears to have broad spectrum antiviral properties and effects on the body’s immune response,” they wrote. Some limited data from China indicates that Reoschin could help in treating patients with COVID-19, they wrote.
— At a news briefing on Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered businesses to keep 75 percent of their workers at home. Yesterday, he had ordered businesses to keep 50 percent at home.
There are now over 10,700 COVID-19 cases in US
— A large backlog of pending COVID-19 tests in the U.S. will be released in the next few days, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a news conference, according to The New York Times.
— There are now more than 10,700 COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— President Trump said in a news conference that he had cut bureaucratic barriers so that effective treatments for COVID-19 could be developed as fast as possible. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the President had directed the agency to take a closer look at whether hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for malaria, might benefit patients with COVID-19, according to CNN.
China reports no new local cases of COVID-19
— There are now 222,643 cases, 9,115 deaths and 84,506 recoveries of COVID-19 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— In the U.S., there are over 9,400 cases of COVID-19, 150 deaths and 106 recoveries, according to the dashboard.
— On Thursday, China reported zero new local infections for the previous day, according to the New York Times. But to call the outbreak over, they will need to see at least 14 consecutive days of no new infections, experts said.
— Lufthansa grounded 700 of its 763 planes, according to CNN.
— The Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) cut down its workforce by 80% — laying off 2,000 people— after they have been facing a “near complete elimination of revenue,” a spokesman told Eater New York. The founder of USHG, Danny Meyer announced on Twitter he was contributing his entire compensation and his executive team was taking a pay cut to donate to a relief fund they set up for USHG employees.
Pentagon says naval ship with hospital beds won’t be ready for weeks
— A naval ship with 1,000 hospital beds was reportedly heading to New York Harbor in light of the growing number of coronavirus cases in the state. But the Pentagon said Wednesday that it won’t be ready for a couple of weeks, according to CNBC.
— Italian volunteers 3D printed unofficial valves, which were in short supply at Italian hospitals, to help with coronavirus treatments, according to The Verge.
— Florida representative Mario Diaz-Balart tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times.
— Among the 508 patients known to be hospitalized in the US so far, 20% were aged 20 to 44, 18% were aged 45 to 54 and 5% were aged 0 to 19, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the fatality rate was higher among older patients.
U.S. Senate passes measure to provide paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, coronavirus testing
— The U.S. Senate has passed a measure to provide paid sick leave, unemployment benefits and free coronavirus testing as well as food and health aid to people affected by the pandemic, according to The New York Times. The bill will now be sent to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
— All U.S. national parks that are still open amid the coronavirus outbreak will waive entrance fees to help people practice social distancing outdoors, according to CNN.
— A small Italian town appears to have drastically reduced coronavirus infections — reaching zero cases last week — after implementing an aggressive tactic to curb spread.
— Half a million nasal swabs were transported from Italy to the U.S., Pentagon officials announced, according to the Washington Post. The swabs are needed for coronavirus testing, and have been in short supply. The swabs arrived in Memphis and will be sent to various locations around the U.S.
Italy reports highest daily death toll increase
— Italy reported 475 new COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday. This is the highest daily COVID-19 death toll increase recorded worldwide, according to The Washington Post.
— Schools in the UK will be shut down starting on Friday until further notice, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday. There are currently 2,626 confirmed cases in the UK and 104 deaths, according to the BBC.
— University of Oxford scientists developed a test for the new coronavirus which they claim can deliver results in 30 minutes, according to a press release.
— London could follow other European cities and be locked down in an attempt to slow the coronavirus spread, according to CNN.
A naval ship with hospital beds headed to NY Harbor
— The White House is proposing an emergency stimulus package that would send two rounds of $1,000 directly to Americans, and would allocate $300 billion for helping small businesses, according to The Washington Post
— President Donald Trump announced he is invoking an law passed in 1950 to increase production of critical medical supplies to fight the coronavirus, according to NBC News. The law, known as the Defense Production Act, allows the president to require U.S. businesses to make materials for national defense, which in this case, could be ventilators or protective equipment for health care workers, such as face masks.
— A naval ship with 1,000 hospital beds is headed to New York Harbor in light of the growing number of coronavirus cases in the state, according to The New York Times. The nearly 900-foot ship, called the USNS Comfort, has previously deployed to areas hit by natural disasters, including Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Times reported.
First dog to test weakly positive for coronavirus has died
— The Eurovision Song Contest is canceled for the first time in 64 years, according to a statement. It was originally set to take place in May in the Netherlands.
— Canada and the U.S. will be closing the border between them to non-essential traffic, according to a tweet from Donald Trump.
— The first dog that had been tested “weak positive” for the coronavirus in Hong Kong died on Monday (March 16) after returning home from quarantine, according to the South China Morning Post. The owner of the 17-year-old Pomeranian didn’t allow an autopsy, so it’s not clear why the dog died.
Coronavirus cases surpass 200,000 worldwide
— Coronavirus cases have surpassed 200,000 and deaths have surpassed 8,000 worldwide. There are over 82,000 who have recovered so far, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is planning to brief national committees on Wednesday about the summer olympics set to take pace in Tokyo from July 24 and August 9. The IOC has so far remained adamant about continuing on with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics amid the outbreak, according to Reuters.
— Uncontrolled spread of the new coronavirus could overwhelm hospitals, cause up to 510,000 deaths in Britain and 2.2 million deaths in the U.S., according to a new report from the Imperial College in London. Both the U.S. and the UK have strengthened measures to stop the spread of the virus, supposedly based on the conclusions of the report, according to the New York Times.
— The MS Braemar, a transatlantic cruise ship carrying at least five passengers with COVID-19, has docked at the Cuban port of Mariel. The ship spent days looking for a port that would allow them to dock and was refused entry at many Caribbean ports, according to CNN.
COVID-19 cases surpassed 100
— Turkey announced its first coronavirus death, according to a news conference on Tuesday. The country has a total of 98 cases so far.
— COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. surpassed 100 on Tuesday. There are a total of 6,420 cases in the U.S.
— The Trump administration is planning to turn back asylum seekers and foreigners trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico illegally out of coronavirus concerns, according to the New York Times.
— “While we are confident that stores will remain open and supply will continue to meet demand nationwide, we ask all Americans to only purchase enough food and essentials for the week ahead,” Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner said in a statement today.
— The coronavirus has now spread to all 50 states and D.C. West Virginia, the last state to report infections, confirmed its first case on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.
LA faces a blood shortage, EU bans non-essential travel
— Cases of COVID-19 that go undetected or diagnosed may have fueled the rapid spread of the disease, according to a new study reported on by Live Science.
— The European Union banned non-essential travel to at least 26 of its countries from the rest of the world, according to the New York Times. Britain won’t be participating in the ban, said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission.
— The Los Angeles area is facing a blood shortage after 160 major blood drives were canceled in the last couple of weeks, according to CNN.
New Yorker’s should prepare for a possible “shelter-in-place”
— New Yorker’s should be prepared for a possible “shelter-in-place” decision within the next 48 hours, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference on Tuesday.
— Macy’s will temporarily close down all their stores starting on Tuesday until the end of the month in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the company wrote in a statement.
— The effects of social distancing won’t been seen for at least one week, Caitlin Rivers, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said during a webcast Tuesday.
White House supports sending checks to Americans to help with outbreak
— The White House said Tuesday (March 17) that it supports the idea of making immediate cash payments to Americans to help out during this coronavirus outbreak. “We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary said at a news briefing. “And I mean, now in the next two weeks.”
— It’s possible that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. could peak in 45 days, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said at a news conference today. New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo had said earlier today that he expects the peak in the state to be around 45 days.
— An Italian citizen Olmo Parenti and his friends created a film called “10 days” with a message “from the future” to take COVID-19 seriously [Watch it on The Atlantic]
Trump administration will ask for $850 billion to help economy
— The Trump administration will ask senators for an $850 billion to help the economy on Tuesday, according to the New York Times. They are also considering a request for $50 billion to help the airline industry.
— New York is “absolutely considering” a shelter-in-place, similar to the order in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to the Washington Post.
— Iran has temporarily released 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, to stop the coronavirus from spreading in the overcrowded jails, according to Reuters.
Cases reach over 185,000 worldwide
— There are over 185,000 positive COVID-19 cases, 7,330 deaths and 80,236 recoveries worldwide; The US has over 4,660 cases, 85 deaths and 17 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
— Amid the coronavirus outbreak, some states have postponed their primaries, but Florida, Illinois and Arizona have not. Their primaries are set to take place today (March 17).
— New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy encouraged residents to stay home between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless for emergencies and essentials. Officials are considering a similar curfew for New York City, according to the New York Times.
— The Kentucky Derby is postponed for the first time in 75 years, according to the Louisville’s Courier-Journal.
— On March 16, China only had one local infection of the coronavirus in Wuhan, where the epidemic started, according to China’s National Health and Health Commission. The rest of the cases of COVID-19 reported that day were from travelers coming back into the country.
First person in the U.S. receives experimental coronavirus vaccine
— Georgia Governor Brian Kemp ordered all public schools to shut down from Wednesday until March 31. [Get more Georgia coronavirus updates here]
— Today, a healthy volunteer in Seattle became the first person to receive an experimental coronavirus vaccine as part of a new clinical trial, but it will still be a while before it’s ready for the public to use, according to a Live Science report.
— NASCAR is postponing all of its races until May 3, according to a statement.
Stocks experience worst drop since beginning of coronavirus outbreak
— Stocks have experienced the worst drop since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the New York Times.
— D.C. ordered all restaurants, bars and clubs to close by 10 p.m. on Monday until April 1, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference today. Take-out and delivery will still be allowed.
— The College Board canceled the May 2 SAT tests and makeup exams scheduled for March 28, according to a statement. Students will receive refunds.
— Switzerland declared an “extraordinary situation” and prohibited all public and private events as of midnight tonight until April 19th, according to a statement from the Swiss Federal Council. They ordered the closing of all shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment and leisure facilities.
Trump announces new coronavirus guidelines
— President Trump issued new guidelines to help curb the coronavirus outbreak for the next 15 days. The guidelines include avoiding gathering in groups of over 10 people; avoiding bars, restaurants, food courts; avoiding discretionary travel; and working from home and engaging in virtual schooling whenever possible. “If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people,” the guidelines read. [Read the full set of guidelines on CNN]
— The coronavirus crisis could continue until July or August, Trump said in a news conference on Monday. But he said he’s not currently considering a nation-wide lockdown like those in other countries such as Italy.
— Six counties in California’s Bay Area is expected to announce a “shelter in place” order for residents until at least April 7. Residents will be told to stay home as much as possible but they will still be able to go shopping for food and household supplies, seek medical care and go outside for walks or exercise if they stay six feet away from everyone they don’t live with, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (The counties are: San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda).
— France will close its borders starting Tuesday (March 17) to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and Russia will close its borders to most foreigners starting on Wednesday, according to CNN.
WHO says countries need to undertake more vigorous testing, isolation
— The European Union is considering a temporary travel restriction to member countries to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Ursula von der Leye, president of the European Commission said on Monday. This would restrict all “non-essential” travel to the EU to everyone except for returning E.U. citizens, health care workers, doctors and nurses.
— The Supreme Court is postponing arguments scheduled for March because of health concerns over the coronavirus, according to a statement. One argument that was postponed is about access to President Trump’s financial records, according to CNBC.
— “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded, and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization said during a news conference on Monday (March 16). “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test test… test every suspected case.” He also said countries aren’t doing enough to escalate testing, isolation and contact tracing which is “the backbone of the response.”
— During a conference call with a group of governors Monday, he told them to not wait for the federal government to supply them with more respirators and equipment, according to the New York Times. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Trump said. “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves.”
— Canada, which has 375 positive COVID-19 cases, is closing its borders to non-citizens, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut coordinate COVID-19 response
— Gatherings of over 50 people are banned and all casinos, gyms and movie theaters in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will close as of 8 p.m. on Monday (March 16), according to a joint announcement from the states.
— Reinfection with the new coronavirus couldn’t occur in rhesus macaques, according to a study published in the preprint journal bioRxiv on March 14. “Our results indicated that the primary SARS-CoV-2 infection could protect from subsequent exposures,” the authors wrote in the study, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed.
— A cyberattack on the Department of Health and Human Services was an attempt to slow down coronavirus response, according to ABC News. It is still under investigation.
— Penguins were allowed to leave their habitats and explore the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago which is closed to visitors, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals,” the aquarium said, “introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors.”
— In the absence of boats, Venice canals have turned clear again and fish have made a reappearance, according to local newspaper La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre.
— New York City’s public schools are closed and will likely reopen for remote learning on March 23, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday.
— Nara Park in Japan is a popular tourist destination and home to free-roaming deer that are typically fed with ample amounts of rice crackers. But amid the coronavirus outbreak, tourism has dwindled and some of the deer have wandered out of the park into other parts of the city in search for food, according to Japan Today.
Monkeys fight for food, US stocks plunge
— Egypt is suspending all flights for two weeks starting on Thursday, Egypt’s prime minister Moustafa Madbouly announced at a press conference, according to local media reports.
— U.S. stocks plunged again Monday morning creating a 15-minute halt to trading, and then dropped even further, according to the Los Angeles Times.
— More people have died from the coronavirus outside of mainland China than inside, according to the Washington Post.
— Tourism in Thailand has plummeted because of the new coronavirus. Starving monkeys who are usually fed free food from the tourists are fighting each other on the streets, according to a Live Science report.
US COVID-19 cases reach 3,774
— There are now 169,387 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 6,513 deaths and 77,257 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. There are 3,774 positive cases in the U.S. and 69 deaths.
— New York City will close down all of its bars and restaurants, save for takeout and delivery service starting on Tuesday (March 17), Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday night.
— An Irish budget airline, Ryanair, said it expected to ground most of its planes in Europe in the next week to 10 days, according to a statement.
— LVMH, a French luxury goods company will use its perfume and cosmetics production lines to create hand disinfectant gel and deliver them for free to health authorities in France, according to the BBC.
CDC recommends cancelling, postponing events with over 50 people
— All bars and restaurants in Massachusetts will shut down “on-premise consumption” starting on Tuesday until April 6, Governor Charlie Baker announced Sunday. All gatherings of larger than 25 people are also prohibited, according to the order.
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone events with over 50 people, according to guidance posted on their site on Sunday.
— The Tennessee man who bought 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer and was under investigation for price gouging, donated all of it to people in Tennessee after outrage from the public, according to the New York Times.
— The first dose of a vaccine for COVID-19 will be given to a person on Monday, kickstarting a clinical trial, according to a government official, as reported by AP News.
Cities across the US take measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus
— Labs across the US will be able to screen up to 4,000 people a day starting this week, the administration announced Sunday (March 15).
— New York City’s public schools will start to shut down this week, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
— California will close down all bars, night clubs, wineries and brew pubs, California’s governor Gavin Newsom said Sunday.
— New York City’s hospitals will be required to cancel elective surgeries starting on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
— Starbucks stores in the US and Canada will become a “to go” model for two weeks meaning customers can still order but won’t be able to sit down at the stores, according to a statement.
— Boston declared a public health emergency and required bars, restaurants and nightclubs to reduce their capacity by half and close by 11 p.m., Mayor Marty Walsh announced Sunday. Food drive through and delivery services can continue normal business hours, according to a statement.
Italy reports 368 deaths in a single day
— Italy had 368 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli announced at a press conference today. That brings Italy’s total coronavirus death toll to 1,809. The country has a total of 24,747 positive cases of COVID-19, with 3,590 of those cases recorded in the past day.
— Colombia is blocking all non-residents from entering the country and requiring residents to self-isolate for 14 days, President Ivan Duque said on Twitter.
— Germany is introducing border controls with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland to slow the spread of the virus, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said during a news conference on Sunday (March 15).
— There are now 3,244 positive cases of COVID-19 in the US and 62 deaths.
Cruise ship with COVID-19 cases looks for place to dock
— New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked the president to mobilize the military to help in the fight against the coronavirus, in an opinion piece published in the New York Times.
— A cruise ship, MS Braemar, with over 600 passengers and at least five confirmed coronavirus cases is trying to find somewhere to dock after being denied entry at various ports in the Caribbean, according to CNN.
— Nike is shutting down all of its stores in the U.S., Canada, New Zeand, Western Europe and Australia until March 27, according to a statement.
— Hoboken in New Jersey is the first city in the U.S. that’s implementing a curfew to fight the coronavirus, according to Insider. Residents of Hoboken must stay inside save for emergencies or if they’re required to work during the night, according to Mayor Ravinder Bhalla.
2 ER doctors in critical condition with COVID-19
Two ER doctors — a man in his 40s in Washington and a 70-year-old in New Jersey — are in critical condition after being infected with the novel coronavirus and developing COVID-19.
“I am deeply saddened by this news, but not surprised. As emergency physicians, we know the risks of our calling. We stand united with our colleagues and our thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery are with each of them and their families,” Dr. William Jaquis, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), said in a statement.
It is uncertain how the Washington doctor caught the virus, whether at work or through other community-based spread, the ACEP statement said. The doctor had complied with all personal protective equipment (PPE) procedures.
As for the New Jersey physician, that doctor leads his institution’s emergency preparedness in Patterson, and was admitted to the hospital days ago with upper respiratory issues. That person, who has tested positive for COVID-19, is in isolation in the facility’s intensive care unit.
Newborn tests positive for coronavirus
— There are now 156,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 5,833 deaths and 73,968 recovered from COVID-19 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard; There are 2,952 cases in the U.S. and 57 deaths.
— A newborn baby tested positive for the coronavirus in London, marking what’s likely the youngest case of the disease, according to The Guardian. The baby’s mother was tested positive for COVID-19 when she was taken to a hospital with suspected pneumonia days before giving birth.
— The Vatican is closing Holy Week celebrations to the public, according to the New York Times.
— The UK advised against “all but essential travel to the USA,” in response to the travel restrictions that the U.S. put in place for the UK and other European countries, according to a post from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on its website.
Trump tests negative, Italy cases continue rising
— President Trump tested negative for the coronavirus, according to a statement from the White House.
— Georgia delayed its presidential primary, becoming the second state to do so. The primary that was originally set to take place on March 24 will now take place on May 19, according to a statement.
— Coronavirus cases in Italy rose by around 20% on Saturday, the largest daily increase in cases yet, according to the Washington Post.
Spain announces nation-wide lockdowns
— Spain, experiencing the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe, announced nation-wide lockdowns on Saturday. Spain’s prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced today that the public must stay home unless they need to do something essential such as buy food, go to work, care for those in need or get healthcare themselves. There are 6,315 confirmed cases and 191 coronavirus-related deaths in Spain as of Saturday afternoon.
— Louisiana reported its first coronavirus-related death, a 58-year-old Orleans Parish resident who had underlying health conditions, according to a statement from the Louisiana Department of Health.
—”I feel fine, things are going well, just taking the proper precautions,” Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who was confirmed to have COVID-19 this week, said in a video posted on Twitter. He is currently under isolation.
France shuts down restaurants, clubs
— France is shutting down restaurants, cafes, cinemas and clubs starting at midnight Saturday, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said on Saturday (March 14). Markets, food shops, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, newspaper and tobacco stores and places of worship will remain open, he said. But religious ceremonies and gatherings will be postponed.
— Trump is considering some travel restrictions within the country, according to CNN.
— An 82-year-old woman with COVID-19 died in New York City this weekend, NYC’s first coronavirus-related death, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a media conference Saturday.
U.S. extends travel bans to Ireland and UK
— US is expanding travel bans to the UK and Ireland starting on Monday at midnight, Vice President Mike Pence announced today (March 14). Originally, his travel bans had just extended to the rest of Europe.
— President Trump took a coronavirus test but doesn’t know the results yet, he announced at a press conference today. A Brazilian official and several others who were with Trump last weekend, tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump had originally said he “isn’t concerned” and likely won’t be tested.
House passes relief package, Apple closing stores
— The pentagon will close for visitors (not people who work in the Defense Department buildings) at midnight on Sunday, according to a statement from the Defense Department. They are also stopping all domestic travel for military service members, department of defense civilians and their families in the U.S. for two months starting on Monday, according to another statement.
— The House overwhelmingly passed a coronavirus economic relief package which dedicates tens of billions of dollars to help people affected by the coronavirus. This package would help pay sick leave, unemployment insurance, free testing and other measures, according to the Washington Post.
— The coronavirus has now spread to 49 states. There are a total of 146,838 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 5,539 deaths and 71,718 recoveries worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Dashboard.
— Apple is closing down its stores outside of China until March 27, according to a statement.
— Guatemala is expanding its travel restrictions by banning arrivals (subjecting them to quarantine) from the U.S. and Canada, President Alejandro Giammattei said on Friday. Earlier this week, the country had banned arrivals from European countries, China, Iran, South Korea and North Korea in an effort to fight the coronavirus.
Europe is the new epicenter, WHO says
— The Food and Drug Administration approved a new coronavirus test from the pharmaceutical company Roche that could be a breakthrough for testing, according to NPR. The new test is simpler and quicker than the initial test approved by the FDA, Paul Brown, a senior executive for Roche said.
— An employee who works at the Monroe Correctional Complex, a Washington State prison tested positive for the coronavirus, which might be the first case tied to a prison, according to the New York Times.
— Europe is now the epicenter of the pandemic, the World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing today. New COVID-19 cases in China are declining, while cases in other parts of the world are increasing.
— There are now over 145,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 5,411 deaths. There are over 70,200 people who have already recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— Stocks rebounded on Friday after President Trump declared a national emergency that would “open up access” to federal funds.
Trump declares national emergency
— Trump declared a national emergency on Friday during a press conference at the White House. This declaration will open up access to federal funds — some $50 billion — to fight COVID-19, he said.
— Denmark is closing its borders to non-citizens on Saturday until April 13, the government announced today.
— Texas governor Greg Abbott declared the new coronavirus a public health disaster and announced the opening of the state’s first drive-through testing facility in San Antonio, at a press conference on Friday.
Louisiana postpones primary
— Louisiana postponed its presidential primary which would have taken place on April 4, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced today. Louisiana, the first state to postpone a primary, will now hold it on June 20.
— President Trump plans to declare a national emergency today, according to the Washington Post. That means he’d have more authority to use $40 billion disaster-relief funds, according to the New York Times.
— Miami Mayor, Francis Suarez, tested positive for the coronavirus after attending an event in Florida with a Brazilian government aide who later tested positive for the virus, according to the Miami Herald.
Boston marathon postponed, U.S. takes steps to speed up testing
— Coronavirus cases reach 137,456 worldwide, with 5,065 total deaths and 69,623 recoveries. There are 1,268 total cases in the U.S., 15,113 in Italy, 11,364 in Iran and 7,869 in South Korea, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— The Boston marathon will be postponed until September, Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday (March 13).
— Major golf events, including the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals have been postponed, according to a statement.
— The Trump administration announced that they will take steps to speed up screening and testing of COVID-19 in the U.S. which has been lagging far behind other countries, according to the New York Times. These steps include introducing an emergency hotline for private labs, forming new partnerships with companies that can quickly detect the virus and awarding over a million dollars to two companies, DiaSorin Molecular and Qiagen to hasten the development of tests.
— Stocks rebounded on Friday after having experienced the worst day since 1987 yesterday, according to the Washington Post.
South Korea cases down, Ethiopia reports first case
— Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, has tested positive for the virus after returning from a speaking event in the UK, according to the prime minister’s tweets.
— South Korea has reported more recoveries than coronavirus cases for the first time, according to Reuters. On Friday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 110 new coronavirus cases and 177 patients who recovered.
— Peter Dutton, the Australian minister for home affairs tested positive for the virus on Friday after having met with Attorney General William Barr and Ivanka Trump the week before, according to the New York Times.
— Ethiopia confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, according to Reuters.
— At least 6 states (Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky and New Mexico) will close all of their schools for at least two weeks, according to the New York Times.
March Madness canceled, Ohio closes schools, events canceled
— A Brazilian official who met with President Trump last weekend has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Brazilian government. Trump said he “isn’t concerned” and the White House later said through “exposures from the case are being assessed,” Trump and Vice President Mike Pence don’t need testing, according to the New York Times.
— Disneyland is closing its parks in California through the end of the month, according to a statement.
— March Madness is canceled: The NCAA has canceled both men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.This announcement from the NCAA president follows on the news yesterday that the NCAA events would be closed to the public. The N.H.L and Major League Soccer announced they were pausing their seasons.
— New York is banning most gatherings that exceed 500 people including Broadway shows. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center are also all temporarily shutting down. Nearby Jersey City is imposing coronavirus curfews on bars and nightclubs.
— Trump said today (March 12) that restrictions for travel within the U.S. could occur if some regions become “too hot” with coronavirus, according to NBC News.
— Ohio is closing all of its K-12 schools, for an “extended spring break” until April 3, the state’s governor Mike DeWine said today (March 12) during a news conference.
— There are currently 127,863 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide and 4,718 deaths. In the U.S., there are 1,323 cases and 38 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus dashboard.
Parades, sports events canceled in the U.S.
— California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for all public gatherings to be canceled, saying, “Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now,” according to news reports.
— President Trump announced that he would be suspending travel from Europe (excluding the UK) for 30 days starting on Friday, a decision that was met with disapproval from the European Union, according to news reports.
— The NBA canceled all basketball games after a player on the Utah Jazz tested preliminarily positive for coronavirus, according to an NBA statement. Games as of Thursday (March 12) will be suspended until further notice, the statement said.
— March Madness, the biggest college basketball tournament of the year, going back to 1939, will be played with limited viewers. The championship events would happen “with only essential staff and limited family attendance,” The NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement on Wednesday (March 11). The first games take place on March 17-18.
— New York City postponed its St. Patrick’s Day Parade next week over fears of the coronavirus, according to a statement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. This parade, the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world typically brings 150,000 marchers and 2 million spectators to the streets of Manhattan, according to the New York Times. This is the first time that the event will not go on as planned for 250 years, they wrote. Ireland canceled all it’s St. Patrick’s Day parades; Similar celebrations were canceled in Chicago and Boston.
— Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement he tweeted out. They are currently in Australia where Hanks is filming for a movie.
— Wall Street has halted trading for a second time this week for 15 minutes in a pause known as a “circuit breaker,” according to NBC News.
— Missouri is suing disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker for promoting a fake treatment after he suggested on his TV program that colloidal silver will cure the new coronavirus, according to the Washington Post.
The white house classifies coronavirus discussions
— The White House has classified dozens of high-level discussions regarding the coronavirus, allowing only some individuals high security clearances access to the information, CNBC reported.
— Italy’s Ministry of Health is reporting a total of 12,462 coronavirus cases with 827 deaths related to the virus.
— India is suspending all tourist visas; travelers or nationals returning to India from high-risk areas will be quarantined for at least 14 days, the government’s Press Information Bureau said in a statement.
— Hundreds of Americans have already lost jobs over the past week due to the outbreak, according to the Washington Post.
WHO declares pandemic
—The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19, a pandemic.”This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
—Scientists figure out how the novel coronavirus breaks into human cells, a discovery that could help in the development of vaccines and other treatments.
—King County, outside Seattle, Washington, confirmed that 10 nursing home or other long-term care facilities have individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, the Seattle Times reported.
—Confusion and chaos surround coronavirus testing in the U.S., with even doctors not clear on who should be tested.
Grand Princess cruise ship
After more than 20 people tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship off California, the U.S. State Department issued an alert Sunday (March 8) strongly recommending the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to avoid cruise ships.
Cases in Italy, South Korea and Iran have surpassed 7,000 each, with the death toll in Italy reaching 366. The northwest part of the country is on lockdown, limiting mobility of some 16 million people in what is being called “one of the largest-ever attempts to restrict the movement of people in a Western democracy,” The New York Times reported.
The U.S. has approved $8.3 billion in emergency funding for the country’s coronavirus response.
The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. The event, which was to take place March 13–22, typically attracts hundreds of thousands of people.
Originally published on Live Science.