Coronavirus updates: Global cases near 3 million as CDC flags new symptoms


 

Italy’s PM planning to ease lockdown measures

FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attends a session of the lower house of parliament on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attends a session of the lower house of parliament on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome, Italy April 21, 2020.

Remo Casilli / REUTERS


Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte held a televised address Sunday that outlined “Phase 2” of the country’s reopening plan, BBC News reports. Restrictions on daily life will start to be lifted May 4, and people will be able to visit their relatives in small numbers.

Italy, which has the second-highest death behind only the U.S., has been under a strict lockdown since March 9. Some shops, including bookstores and dry cleaners, were allowed to reopen April 14. 

Here are some of the plans Conte outlined:

  • Traveling within the same region will now be permitted.
  • Funerals will be allowed to resume, but only with a maximum of 15 people.
  • Bars and restaurants will reopen for take-out service (they had previously been limited to delivery) on May 4.
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons, bars and restaurants are expected to open June 1.
 

New Jersey governor says state “several weeks away” from reopening

Virus Outbreak New Jersey
Women wait in line to receive food assistance at Oasis in Paterson, N.J., Thursday, April 23, 2020. 

Seth Wenig / AP


New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Sunday that the state is “several weeks away” from phased reopening, CBS New York reports

“The fatalities continue to be significant each and every day,” Murphy said. “Our positive test curve has flattened and that’s a good thing. More importantly hospitalizations have started to come down, ICU and ventilator use down a little bit. Those are good signs, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

Murphy said there were 75 deaths Saturday from the coronavirus, putting the state’s death toll at nearly 6,000. The state’s death toll is second only to New York.

Murphy said the northeastern counties have been “absolutely crushed” by the coronavirus. A plan to reopen would likely have to be statewide.

“While we haven’t made a decision on that, we’re going to move as one state, recognizing, you’ve got density issues in the north that you just don’t have in the south,” he said.

 

Spain sees lowest daily death toll in a month

Spain Allows Children To Go Outside, Easing Lockdown Rule
A boy rides a scooter as Spain eases lockdown rules for children, on April 26, 2020, in Seville, Spain. Children in Spain, which has had one of the stricter lockdowns in Europe, are now allowed to leave their homes for up to an hour per day. 

Getty


Spain’s health minister said Sunday that 288 people have died in the last 24 hours from the coronavirus, the lowest daily death toll since March 20. “For the first time in a long time, we are below 300,” said Fernando Simon, the health ministry’s emergencies coordinator.

Sunday’s death toll was a steep drop from the 378 deaths recorded Saturday, BBC News reports.

Spain has the third-highest death toll of any country, behind the U.S. and Italy, with more than 23,000 people having died of the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins.

Children in Spain were allowed outside Sunday for the first time in six weeks, when the lockdown began. They are able to leave the house for an hour between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., but they cannot go more than a kilometer (about 0.6 miles) from their home.

 

U.S. naval destroyer reports jump in virus cases

The Navy reports that the number of sailors aboard the USS Kidd confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus has nearly doubled, rising from 18 on Friday to 33. The destroyer with its crew of 350 are off the Pacific coast of South America.

In a statement, the Navy said an embarked medical team continues testing of the Kidd’s crew. Two sailors have been medically evacuated to the United States. Meanwhile, officials say those aboard the Kidd are wearing N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.

Virus Outbreak Navy USS Kidd
This May 18, 2011, photo made available by the U.S. Navy shows the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd in the Pacific Ocean.

AP


The Navy says the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island is en route to rendezvous with Kidd in case medical support is required at sea. Officials say the Makin Island has a fleet surgical team, intensive care capacity and ventilators as well as additional testing capability.

The Kidd is the second Navy ship at sea to report an outbreak of the coronavirus. Officials say the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has reported more than 850 cases of infection among its nearly 5,000 crew members. Most of its crew has been moved ashore to quarantine on Guam, but one sailor assigned to the ship died.

 

San Francisco mayor: “Facts and data” will drive decisions to protect health

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that the “biggest challenge” facing her city is ensuring leaders are “looking at the facts and data from our public health experts so that we can make decisions to protect public health.

“San Francisco was the first city in the U.S. to issue a shelter-in-place order, which is in place until May 3. Breed said it’s likely the order will be extended for several more weeks. Residents are also required to wear a mask or face covering in public.

Despite the city’s early action, Breed said San Francisco is still having issues securing personal protective equipment and testing kits.”The challenges that we face still around PPE, around testing kits is just absolutely insane,” she said.

Breed said that in one instance, a shipment of personal protective equipment was diverted from China to France, and in another, FEMA confiscated equipment at the border.

“It’s been very difficult, and then sometimes getting things through customs or needing to use a ship rather than a plane,” she said. “So we have been resourceful.”

San Francisco Mayor emphasizes “facts and data” as key to reopening after coronavirus

 

Bank of America CEO predicts economy will reach pre-pandemic levels by “late next year”

With the U.S. economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said his analysts predict it will not be until late 2021 before the economy returns to pre-pandemic levels. “Our experts think it’s late next year when the economy gets back to the same size it was prior to this,” Moynihan said on “Face the Nation.”

The economy came to a halt because of the coronavirus, which caused restaurants, theaters and retailers to close their doors in an effort to curb its spread. More than 26 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits, and White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters Sunday the unemployment rate could reach 16%.

To assist small businesses, Congress established the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to ensure small businesses can keep employees on the payroll. Bank of America is one of the financial institutions accepting applications for the program, and

Moynihan said it’s crucial for lawmakers to  ensure there is enough money allocated for the program for all small businesses who need it.”

“The difference between this program and unemployment is if you qualify for this program, it’s like getting unemployment authorization and then you have to win a footrace to the office,” he said. “We need to take away the first-come, first-served aspect of this to make sure it’s fully funded because at the end of day it’s going to where people want it.”

Bank of America CEO says analysts predict economy will return to normal “late next year”

 

Georgia “jumping the gun” by easing restrictions, former FDA commissioner says

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Trump, warned Sunday that Georgia is “jumping the gun” with allowing some businesses to reopen as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s going to take some time until we see sustained declines in new cases and get to the point where there’s a low enough level of spread in the country that we could feel comfortable about opening up parts of the country,” Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation.” “It’s going to be probably mid-May, maybe late May in parts of this nation. Georgia’s certainty jumping the gun I think here getting started too early relative to where they are in the epidemic.”

Read the full interview here.

Former FDA commissioner says Georgia “jumped the gun” on reopening after coronavirus slow-down

 

Cuomo outlines phases in New York reopening plan

Cuomo says parts of upstate New York could open as soon as May 15

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined his vision for reopening the state, saying Sunday that it will be a gradual process which will allow for the state to monitor the spread of COVID-19 as businesses reopen

“We’re going to reopen in phases,” Cuomo said. “Look at the regional analysis, make a determination, and then monitor whatever you do. Phase one of reopening will involve construction and manufacturing activities, and within construction and manufacturing, those businesses that have a low risk.”

He said phase two would involve a business-by-business analysis, asking how essential — and how risky — that business is to reopen.

“In phase two, when we get there, we need businesses to do that analysis. They have to think about how they’re going to reopen with this quote-unquote new normal. What precautions are they going to take in the workplace, what safeguards are they can put in place,” Cuomo said. “Then we’re going to leave two weeks between phases so we can monitor the effect of what we just did.”

He said a major caveat to the reopening plan is making sure anything that reopens won’t draw visitors from other regions or states.

Cuomo said the 367 deaths from the coronavirus that he reported Sunday were “horrific,” but the number was less than half the nearly 800 deaths that occurred in a single day during the pandemic’s peak in New York. It marks the first time this month that the statewide daily death toll has been below 400.  

 

Billionaire Barry Diller says “no chance” of economic rebound by summer

American businessman Barry Diller, chairman of IAC and ExpediaGroup, threw cold water on the possibility that the U.S. economy, which has been brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic, would rebound by the summer, saying there was “no chance” that would occur.

“To anyone who thinks that this economy is going to bounce, I mean you’d have to have the idea of a rubber ball not in existence to think it’s going to bounce high,” Diller said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “It can’t. The damage that’s being done is catastrophic.”

Asked whether the economy could turn around by the summer, Diller said “there’s no chance.”

Billionaire Barry Diller says “no chance” of economic rebound by fall, calls Trump a “witch doctor”

 

Maryland governor says Trump’s “mixed messages” on disinfectants led to confusion

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Sunday he has raised concerns about “mixed messaging” coming from the White House during the coronavirus crisis and stressed that it’s “critical” for the president to stick to facts as he seeks to inform the American people about the pandemic.

“It’s critical that the president of the United States, when people are really scared and in the middle of this worldwide pandemic, in these press conferences that we really get the facts out there, and unfortunately some of the messaging has not been great, the mixed messaging,” Hogan said on “Face the Nation.”

The Republican governor added that he’s “raised concerns multiple times about conflicting messages.”

On Thursday, the president suggested injecting disinfectants to treat the coronavirus, a comment that received widespread condemnation. Mr. Trump then walked back the remark, telling reporters Friday he was being sarcastic.

Hogan said that in the wake of Mr. Trump’s comments about disinfectants, Maryland received “hundreds of calls” to its hotline.

 

Seattle farmers market reopens during pandemic

In Seattle last Sunday, a line of people stretching a block long (and standing six feet apart) welcomed the reopening of Ballard Farmers Market, which sells only locally-grown and produced food.

But things are different there now, thanks to COVID-19.

Watch Luke Burbank report for “Sunday Morning” below:

A Seattle farmers market reopens in a time of COVID-19

 

NYC mayor outlines vision for “fair” recovery after pandemic

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday outlined what and how reopening of the city would look like. CBS New York reports the mayor announced the creation of several advisory councils, including one on racial inclusion co-chaired by his wife Chirlane McCray.

“We’re going to build something new and we’re going to build something better, and not just better because it’s more modern. We’re going to build something more fair. We’re going to build something for everyone,”  De Blasio said. “We need to build a better and more just society than the one we left behind.”

The mayor said the coronavirus pandemic has “laid bare” disparities that must not be allowed to continue.

“The economic and racial disparities that have been made so clear by this crisis. We knew about them before, they’ve been, just a powerful, painful exclamation point has been put on them by this crisis. It is a clarion call to us to start right now fighting back against those disparities and to build a deeper plan to fight them on a more permanent basis,” the mayor said.

De Blasio said a reopened New York City will be a “reimagination of what this city could be.”

 

Virus death toll in Maryland rises

There are now more than 18,000 coronavirus cases and more than 800 deaths in Maryland, according to new data released Sunday morning.

According to the state health department, there are now 18,581 cases of COVID-19 in the state and 827 have died from the virus and 83 more probable deaths. That’s an increase of 815 coronavirus cases.

CBS Baltimore reports more than 1,100 people have been released from isolation. Currently, 1,463 people are hospitalized as a result of the virus. Over 900 people are in acute care and 530 are in intensive care.

 

Why was America unprepared for coronavirus?

News stories of a mysterious novel coronavirus outbreak spreading in Wuhan, China began appearing in the U.S. in early January. So, how did we get from those small but worrying early warnings to now, when our nation leads the world, not in managing the crisis, but in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths?

“Sunday Morning” Correspondent Martha Teichner talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett (“The Coming Plague”); Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute; and Beth Cameron, who was once in charge of pandemic preparedness for the National Security Council, about the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

Why was America unprepared for coronavirus?

 

Kids in Spain allowed outside for first time in 44 days

After six weeks stuck at home, Spain’s children were allowed out Sunday to run, play or go for a walk as the government eased one of the world’s toughest coronavirus lockdowns.

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Madrid
Miriam del Peso, her husband Alejandro and their children Pablo and Sofia keep social distancing as they interact with another family after restrictions were partially lifted for children for the first time in six weeks, during the coronavirus outbreak in Madrid, Spain, on April 26, 2020.

Reuters


Spain is among the hardest hit countries, with a death toll running at more than 23,000, putting it behind only the United States and Italy despite stringent restrictions imposed from March 14.

But unlike other countries, Spain’s children were kept indoors, with only adults allowed to leave the house to buy food, medicine, briefly walk the dog or seek urgent medical care.  

On Sunday, Spanish children took to the streets of Madrid to enjoy their newfound freedom after weeks under lockdown. Some rollerbladed while others rode bikes or pushed toy prams around, many wearing small masks to cover their faces.

 

New Jersey sees triple the number of new cases as New York In 24 hours

New Jersey saw triple the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours as compared to New York State, according to numbers announced by both states’ governors on Saturday.

CBS New York reported New Jersey had 3,457 new positive tests, bringing the statewide total to 105,523 cases, according to Governor Phil Murphy. That compares to the 1,100 new confirmed cases mentioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New Jersey lost 249 lives in the past day, bringing the coronavirus total toll to 5,863 dead — more lives lost for the state than from World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.

“We can commit to defeating COVID-19 and to redoubling our efforts to stop the spread of the disease,” said Murphy. “This is up to us and us alone. The 5,863 we have lost must be our inspiration so we do not lose another 5,863. This is in our doing. We are New Jersey tough through and through.”

 

Pentagon forced to be selective for virus testing

With limited supplies of coronavirus tests available, the Pentagon is focusing first on testing those performing duties deemed most vital to national security. Atop the list are the men and women who operate the nation’s nuclear forces, some counterterrorism forces, and the crew of a soon-to-deploy aircraft carrier.

Defense leaders hope to increase testing from the current rate of about 7,000 a day to 60,000 by June. This will enable them to test those showing symptoms as well as those who do not.

The current tight supply forced the Pentagon to take a phased approach, which includes testing sailors aboard the USS Nimitz, the Bremerton, Washington-based Navy carrier next in line to head to the Pacific. Officials hope to avoid a repeat of problems that plagued the virus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt. On Friday the Navy disclosed a virus outbreak aboard another ship at sea, the USS Kidd.

 

Wife of coronavirus victim finds heartbreaking goodbye note

A Connecticut woman who lost her 32-year-old husband to coronavirus complications on Wednesday said she found a heart-wrenching goodbye note that he had left for his family. Jonathan Coehlo died Wednesday, after a 28-day battle in the hospital and 20 days on a ventilator, his wife Katie said on Facebook.

In an emotional post, Katie Coehlo said her husband had been improving recently but “suddenly” went into cardiac arrest and died on April 22. She said when his phone was returned to her, she discovered a goodbye note he had written the day before he was intubated.

“I love you guys with all my heart and you’ve given me the best life I could have ever asked for. I am so lucky it makes me so proud to be your husband and the father to Braedyn and penny,” he wrote, referring to his son and daughter.

The note also included an emotional goodbye to his wife: “Katie you are the most beautiful caring nurturing person I’ve ever met…..you are truly one of a kind…..make sure you live life with happiness and that same passion that made me fall in love with you. Seeing you be the best mom to the kids is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Read more here.

47090928-1585711117843051-r.jpg
Jonathan Coehlo died on Wednesday, after a 28-day battle in the hospital and 20 days on a ventilator, his wife Katie said on Facebook. The father of two left a goodbye note to his family.

GoFundMe


 

UK PM Boris Johnson returns to work after virus fight

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is returning to work after recovering from a coronavirus infection that put him in intensive care, with his government facing growing criticism over the deaths and disruption the virus has caused.
 
Johnson’s office said he would be back at his desk in 10 Downing St. on Monday, two weeks after he was released from a London hospital. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has been standing in for the prime minister, said Sunday that Johnson was “raring to go.”
 
Britain has recorded more than 20,000 deaths among people hospitalized with COVID-19, the fifth country in the world to reach that total. Thousands more are thought to have died in nursing homes. 

 

Florida governor says he’s in “no rush” to lift restrictions

Virus Outbreak Florida
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the Cleveland Clinic Florida during the new coronavirus pandemic, on Saturday, April 25, 2020, in Weston, Florida

AP


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Saturday that he is in no rush to lift restrictions on the state’s businesses shut down due in his executive order that is set to expire Thursday, CBS Miami reports. But he’s also seeking guidance from the Re-Open Florida Task Force, which is expected to submit recommendations to him in the next week.

“If you look at that Phase One that the president has laid out, it’s not terribly different from what we’re doing now,” he said at Saturday’s press conference at the Florida Cleveland Clinic in Weston. He drew some clear lines between his preferred approach and the White House’s plan, which includes guidance on social distancing in restaurants, theaters and sports venues.

“We’re not doing in-person sports yet no matter what,” DeSantis said. “That’s just not going to happen in May. Another thing in Phase One, they say movie theaters with social distance. I’m not there yet on the movie theaters. It’s an enclosed environment. You’re much better off being outdoors.”

 

White House does damage control after Trump’s comments about injecting disinfectant

President Trump didn’t take questions during a Friday night briefing at the White House, cutting it short after about 20 minutes. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Saturday that it’s not necessarily a sign of things to come.

“I leave that to the president and that’s entirely his decision but I believe the president is at his best when he’s speaking directly to the American people,” McEnany said.

Watch the full report below:

White House doing damage control after Trump’s comments about injecting disinfectant

 

Trump tweets coronavirus briefings are “not worth the time & effort!”

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-BRIEFING
President Trump looks on during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 24, 2020, in Washington, DC. 

Getty


There was no public White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Saturday, the first day without a public briefing since Easter. President Trump tweeted at 6 p.m., around the time the briefings usually take place, that the “news conferences” are “not worth the time & effort!”

The full tweet reads: “What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

The White House has been doing damage control since Thursday, when Mr. Trump speculated at the briefing about ingesting disinfectant to treat coronavirus. On Friday, he told CBS News’ Weijia Jiang in the Oval Office.that he was “asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.”

But hours later, Mr. Trump left Friday’s briefing without taking any questions.

 

Boston restaurants can now sell grocery items and paper products

Restaurants in Boston will now be allowed to sell grocery items, including produce and paper products, as people continue to social distance during the coronavirus crisis, CBS Boston reports.

Mayor Marty Walsh said this has been requested by both restaurants and customers and could cut down on essential trips outside the home.

Restaurants will have to follow strict safety guidelines, limit occupancy to 10 people at any given time, and maintain six feet between staff and customers.

“By allowing restaurants to also sell grocery and other essential items, we can help address social distancing concerns in grocery stores while supporting restaurants and food businesses during these unprecedented times,” Walsh said.

The new temporary policy will allow the grocery items to be sold via delivery, curbside pickup, and takeout

“I think it’s been a tough time for every restaurant in the city,” said Lynn MacDonald, the regional manager of Earls Kitchen and Bar. “We are extremely grateful for Mayor Walsh’s decision.”

 

Chicago launches homemade cloth mask drive

The City of Chicago is collecting donations of homemade masks for people who need them, and they still need help making them, CBS Chicago reports.

The city has launched a campaign called “Chicago Together! Make a Mask, Give a Mask, Wear a Mask.” The donated masks will be given to homeless shelters, community health clinics, essential public sector workers and other organizations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst the city’s high risk residents.

According to the city’s website, data has shown the most high risk resident to be “vulnerable residents on Chicago’s South and West Side communities.”

 

Board votes to cancel 2020 California State Fair over virus

The California State Fair has been canceled over coronavirus concerns, CBS Sacramento reports. This will be the first time since World War II that California won’t have a state fair.

It was scheduled to take place from July 17 to August 2 at Cal Expo.

“Canceling this summer’s California State Fair is the right thing to do, and is in line with the measured, scientific approach that’s been implemented by the governor and health officials to fight COVID-19,” said Cal Expo General Manager and CEO Rick Pickering in a statement.

Cal Expo generates more than $300 million a year into the local economy and the state fair is a large portion of that. It’s a major financial loss, but Pickering says the emotional loss is worse.

“There’s hundreds of thousands of participants that enjoy coming out and making memories that last a lifetime,” Pickering said.

 

Death toll passes 200,000 worldwide

The global death toll from the coronavirus passed 200,000 on Saturday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. More than 52,000 deaths were in the United States.

SPAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS-PANDEMIC-EMERGENCY
Health care workers of the Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia (SEM) arrive to attend a patient in distress on April 24, 2020 in Sabadell.

Getty


 

Tens of thousands descend on beaches amid Southern California heatwave

Lifeguards in Huntington and Newport Beach, California, say more than 50,000 people flocked to their beaches on Friday, and more are expected on Saturday when temperatures surpass 90 degrees Fahrenheit, CBS Los Angeles reports.

“It’s hot out, and we’re seeing the crowds increase, doubling every day,” said Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brian O’Rourke. “Yesterday we had about 20,000 people. Today I would expect almost double that.”

Orange County is the only county in the area where beaches remain open, as counties north and south of it have shut down their public spaces in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. California Governor Gavin Newsom has temporarily closed some of the state’s parks and beaches to the public, and closed vehicle access at all 280 state parks. People aren’t restricted from going to beaches that remain open under the states stay-at-home order issued back in March.

Read more here.

Huntington Beach In Southern California Remains Open During Coronavirus Lockdown
People gather on Huntington Beach, which remains open amid the coronavirus pandemic, on April 23, 2020, in California.

/ Getty Images


 

Boeing looks to restart production in three states with safety protocols in place

Signs were hung at a Boeing plant in Washington state to welcome back some of its 27,000 employees as the aerospace giant looks to resume production at facilities there and in Ohio and Pennsylvania after they were forced to shut due to the coronavirus. Boeing officials told “CBS This Morning” that the health and safety of employees and their families is their priority, and their precautionary measures are based on federal and state guidance.

“I am glad that the Boeing company is committing to very robust social distancing protocols and use of PPE,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said, according to CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave.

Some of the other protocols in place include temperature checks, enhanced cleaning procedures and staggered shifts to reduce crowding when people arrive and leave. The company will also be issuing masks for workers who must be close together.

Boeing said it would be using contact tracing should an employee come down with COVID-19.

Watch the full report below:

Boeing implements safety measures to get employees back to work

 

There’s “no evidence” coronavirus survivors can’t be reinfected, WHO says

The World Health Organization said there is “no evidence” that survivors of COVID-19 cannot be reinfected with the virus. In a statement Saturday morning, WHO warned that antibodies may not adequately protect survivors, leaving them vulnerable to a second coronavirus infection.

The warning came as several countries, including the United States, are considering allowing people who have recovered to carry “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates.” That documentation would allow survivors to return to work and other activities under the assumption that they are immune from the virus.

Read more here.

 

Ballots in Maryland’s special congressional election will be quarantined before they’re counted

Ballots cast in person in Maryland’s special congressional election between Democrat Kweisi Mfume and Republican Kimberly Klacik will be quarantined for about 24 hours after poll close before being counted, to give any potential germs a chance to die to help protect election workers.

It’s one of the safety measures being taken in an unprecedented Maryland election on Tuesday that will only have three places for in-person voting out of concern for the coronavirus, as election officials are strongly urging eligible voters to mail in their ballots in a single race to decide who will serve the rest of the term of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in October.

In hopes of avoiding the lines seen in this month’s Wisconsin primary, roughly 484,000 ballots were mailed to registered voters in the district. More than 77,000 already have been turned in. More than half of the vote could be released on the state elections board website shortly after the 8 p.m. poll close on Tuesday.

Precautions due to the virus in this special election have thrust the candidates into unknown campaign territory in the time of a pandemic.

 

Jersey City, N.J., to let people back into some parks

Jersey City, New Jersey, will start reopening five city parks on Monday, taking a first step toward reopening after the coronavirus pandemic shut down public gathering spaces, businesses and schools. Among the locations with limited access from dawn until dusk will be Enos Jones Park, Berry Lane Park, Audubon Park, Leonard Gordon Park and Pershing Field, CBS New York reports.

The move on April 27 will be followed by more park reopening in mid-May.

Although open to people for walking and jogging while observing social distancing and wearing masks, city parks workers will be on-site to watch for overcrowding and prohibited activities such as organized sports. The city is also asking people to wear gloves while in the parks.

“We closed the parks early on to keep people safe, which helped slow the spread of the virus,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “After nearly two months of quarantine, there’s also a mental and physical health aspect that needs to be considered, and we know we can’t ask our residents, who rely on parks for outdoor access, to stay inside indefinitely.”

 

U.S. COVID-19 death toll tops 52,000

The death toll from the coronavirus in the United States passed 52,000 on Saturday morning, accounting for more than 25% of COVID-19 deaths reported globally, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 900,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S.

 

State Department says coronavirus samples from China “critical” for developing vaccine; Experts say that’s not the case

As the coronavirus continues to devastate the U.S., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been ramping up rhetorical pressure on China this week, accusing the country of standing in the way of international efforts to develop a vaccine and treatments.

The pressure campaign comes as the U.S. and China wage an information war over the origins and blame for COVID-19, and race to develop a vaccine. But some medical experts interviewed by CBS News question some of the administration’s claims about whether China’s lack of transparency is actually blocking the world from developing a vaccine. In a series of interviews, Pompeo reeled off a list of accusations against Beijing including that it had deliberately destroyed early samples of the virus rather than share them with the world.

“It covered up how dangerous the disease is. It didn’t report sustained human-to-human transmission for a month until it was in every province inside of China,” he told State Department reporters on Wednesday. “It censored those who tried to warn the world, it ordered a halt to testing of new samples, and it destroyed existing samples.”

Read more here.

 

Cuomo says independent pharmacists will be able to conduct diagnostic tests

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will sign an executive order Saturday allowing independent pharmacists to conduct diagnostic coronavirus tests. Around 20,000 tests are being conducted in the state per day, but Cuomo said the goal is to increase the number of tests to 40,000 daily.

Cuomo also said he is expanding the criteria for a person to obtain a diagnostic test.

Cuomo said the state was conducting antibody testing for health care workers in four New York City hospitals. Next week, transit workers and state and city police will also receive antibody testing.

He also during his daily briefing that the number of new coronavirus cases ticked down on Friday, with around 1,100 new cases. “Only in this crazy reality would 1,100 be relatively good news, right?” Cuomo said.

He also announced that 437 people died on Friday, a slight uptick from Thursday’s death toll. “Just when you think you’re going to have a good day, this reality slaps you in the face,” Cuomo said.

 

CDC adds 6 new possible coronavirus symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added six new symptoms to its list of possible signs of the coronavirus. Previously, the CDC only noted fever, cough and shortness of breath as symptoms.

The agency has updated its list to include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Shortness of breath has also been changed to “shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.” The full list now is:

Read more here.

Coronavirus CDC illustration
Illustration of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


 

Texas expands interactive COVID-19 testing site map

Texas has expanded its online interactive map of COVID-19 testing locations throughout the state to include mobile and walk-in locations, both public and private.

A search feature allows Texans to locate test collection sites near them and includes important details such as contact information and hours of operation for each location, CBS DFW reports.

“This mapping tool will help Texans locate test collection sites in their communities and it is part of our commitment to expanding COVID-19 testing throughout Texas,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “By using this map, Texans will have access to pertinent information on a variety of test collection options that will help fulfill testing needs in communities across the Lone Star State.”

More than 340 test collection sites are currently listed on the map and additional locations will be added as more sites are identified across the state.

Texans can submit updated information about a test collection site or suggest additional sites by filling out an online form. Officials will then verify the information and update the map accordingly.

 

“We’re doing what we got to do”: Coronavirus’ toll on NYC’s EMTs

The coronavirus continues to keep New York City paramedics busy, accounting for a majority of 911 calls, including this call that EMT Andrew Brock responded to, a middle-aged man with COVID-19-like symptoms.

“It was high risk,” Brock said. “The family doesn’t think they’ll see him again.”

New York City’s 911 calls peaked at nearly 7,300, almost double what used to be a normal day. There’s nothing normal about this.

“I’ve been, I’ve been with the fire department for 18 years and I’ve never in life told so many people in one day, that their family member has passed,” Brock said.

Watch the full report below:

Despite decrease in infections, NYC emergency workers still overworked

 

Restaurants with outdoor seating in Colleyville, Texas, reopen

Restaurants with outdoor seating reopened Saturday in Colleyville, Texas, one of the first towns in North Texas to reopen, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth reports.

The proclamation from Mayor Richard Newton allowing the reopening raised questions earlier in the week about possibly being in opposition to the most recent order from Governor Greg Abbott.

In a video posted to YouTube Friday, Newton said he had spoken to the office of the attorney general, and that it did not require him to make any changes.

In guidance posted online by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, a document states in bold and underlined print, that dining “inside” is what Abbott’s order prohibits.

Specific language of the order also indicates that it only supersedes local orders that restrict businesses that should be allowed to operate. It does not mention how it affects local orders that expand those services.

Colleyville’s order also allowed salons and gyms to re-open by appointment, and with customers maintaining distancing.



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