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    Actor John Callahan, known for playing Edmund Grey on “All My Children” and also starring on other soaps including “Days of Our Lives,” “Santa Barbara” and “Falcon Crest,” has died. He was 66. His ex-wife and former “All My Children” co-star Eva LaRue announced his death on her social media account on Saturday. The two, who played a married couple on the show, shared a daughter, Kaya, “May Flights of Angels Wing You to Your Rest my Dear Friend. Your bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We are devastated-My great friend, co parent partner, and loving father to Kaya,” she wrote on Instagram. “Kaya and I are beyond broken hearted, so stunned, sorry that my thoughts are a mess. You gave the best most beautifully written tributes, and I am at a complete loss for words right now for you.” Callahan starred on “All My Children” from 1992 to 2005.
  • Tourism officials in Memphis, Tennessee, say the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest have been rescheduled for the fall after they were postponed by the new coronavirus outbreak. Memphis in May officials said in a statement Saturday that the barbecue cooking competition has been reset for Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. The music festival will now be held Oct. 16 through Oct. 18. Both events are the cornerstones of the city's monthlong tourist event in May. They attract music fans and barbecue cooking teams from around the world. The Lumineers, Three 6 Mafia, The Avett Brothers, Lil Wayne and The Smashing Pumpkins were among the musical acts scheduled to perform at the music festival before the cancellation. It was not immediately clear if the performers who were set to appear on the original dates in May will be part of the lineup in September. The Great American River Run also had been postponed. It has been reset for Oct. 31. This Mississippi River city relies heavily on tourism revenue from Memphis in May. Organizers said earlier this month that they had been instructed by city officials that the events could not be held as originally scheduled. Meanwhile, Elvis Presley's Graceland said it is extending its closure through April 19. The Memphis tourist attraction is centered on the life and career of the late rock n' roll icon. It annually attracts about 500,000 visitors, including international travelers. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.
  • There were the great fires of 1788 and 1794 and the multiple yellow fever outbreaks of the 1800s. Hurricane Betsy hit in 1965, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the memories linger in New Orleans like remnants of a bad dream. Now the city is one of the nation’s hot spots for coronavirus. As of Friday, New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish had recorded more than 80 of the state’s 119 COVID-19 deaths and more than 1,700 of the state’s 2,700-plus known cases. The numbers have been climbing fast, in part because increased testing is revealing more people to have the disease. Why New Orleans has become a hot spot is uncertain, although medical experts and government officials openly speculate that the annual Mardi Gras celebration in late February was a factor. It draws more than a million tourists and locals to city streets each year. Gov. John Bel Edwards has repeatedly warned that the state’s health care system could be overwhelmed by early April. Louisiana is preparing for 2,000 to 4,000 patients above normal for this time of year, said Joseph Kanter, an assistant state health officer. Morial Convention Center, which sheltered Katrina refugees in sweltering squalor, is about to become an emergency hospital for a potential overflow of virus patients, which will once again test emergency preparedness in a city where rescue efforts were widely viewed as inadequate in 2005. The rush is on to corral protective masks and gowns for medical personnel and to gather lifesaving ventilators. Meanwhile, an economy largely built on the opposite of social distancing — tourism, crowded restaurants, music at bars and nightclubs — is being sacrificed to stay-home orders, business shutdowns and bans of gatherings of more than 10 people. Live music, which reverberates through the city’s history, is, for now, history itself. Bartenders, waiters and hotel staffers are out of work. And the city’s heralded musicians, who could at least travel the world looking for gigs after Katrina, have nowhere to go in a pandemic. “I’ve been playing music all my life, since I was a teenager,” said 78-year-old John Moore, better known as session guitar virtuoso, singer and band leader Deacon John. “I’ve never been unemployed. But now, all of a sudden, WHOP! The day the music died.” “It does feel like what we cherish about this city is being taken away from us,” said George Ingmire, a longtime DJ at the city’s famed roots music station WWOZ. “The reason that some of us came here and never left ... and those that are from here and take deep pride in ... That’s all unavailable right now. That’s really heartbreaking.” The city’s vulnerabilities include its poverty and low-wage jobs. “I worry very much that a lot of people in our city are operating ... on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis,” said John Clarke, a professor at Tulane University’s business school. He said the New Orleans economy lacks big companies that are often better positioned than smaller enterprises to weather financial ups and downs. The industries that New Orleans has in abundance — hospitality, gambling, tourism — have basically “come to a full stop.' A high poverty rate could also crimp the city’s ability to combat the disease. Drive-up testing, which allows symptomatic people to get tested while lessening their possible exposure, isn’t always an option for the poor. According to the Data Center, a New Orleans-based think tank, nearly 1 in 5 households do not have access to a car. Preexisting conditions, a risk for those who get COVID-19, are another problem in south Louisiana, Kanter said. “We know that our population has more other diseases, underlying, than perhaps other parts of the country do. We have a lot of diabetes, heart disease, renal disease and liver disease here. That puts us at risk for worst outcomes – very difficult to model for these,” Kanter said. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover. Meanwhile, medical workers are conserving protective masks and gowns by re-using them. A nurse at a suburban New Orleans hospital, who was not authorized to speak to reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity, said staffers have discussed using plastic rain ponchos, like the ones French Quarter tourists buy at souvenir shops on rainy days, as protective gowns. “People are handling it well and soldiering on,” the nurse said. “But there’s a lot of people worried about catching it and giving it to your family and all that stuff ... We want to help but we don’t want to be sacrificial lambs.' ___ Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey and Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge contributed to this report.
  • Oprah Winfrey says she’s playing it safe when it comes to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. The 66-year-old entertainment icon told The Associated Press on Friday that she has been quarantining and practicing social distancing at her home — even if that means longtime partner Stedman Graham has to stay in the guest house. “I have now-grown girls from South Africa here (but) Stedman’s on lock down at the guest house. He’s still there, asking: ‘When can I come? When can I come to the main house?’ He’s still got, hmm, till Monday,” she said. Earlier this week Winfrey posted a video of her talking to Graham as he poked his head outside of the guest house window. She said he must stay in the guest house because he had been recently flying and they’re trying to be safe. “I’m getting ready to take him some food down there now for lunch. But I’m playing it as safe as I possibly can. Nobody goes out and nobody comes in,” she said. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Winfrey has been busy working despite being stuck at home. She interviewed actor Idris Elba, who tested positive for the coronavirus, through FaceTime for an episode of 'Oprah Talks: COVID-19' on Apple TV. When asked about how she’s continuing to do work from her home, she said: “What did we do before Zoom is what I’d like to know? How could we do it without Zoom? I don’t even know.” She also said she’s enjoying the downtime: “Don’t be hating because I’m having a really good time. I’m really OK in retreat from everyone. I’m really OK with it.”
  • A publicist for Joe Diffie says the country singer has tested positive for COVID-19. Scott Adkins released a statement to The Associated Press from Diffie that said he is under the care of medical professionals and is receiving treatment. “My family and I are asking for privacy at this time,” Diffie said in the statement. 'We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.” The Grand Ole Opry member and Grammy winner is known for his hits in the '90s including, “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox,” “John Deere Green,” “Third Rock From The Sun” and “Pickup Man.' For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
  • The stars of the 2011 virus thriller “Contagion” — a prescient film these days — have reunited for a series of public service announcements to warn about COVID-19. Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Ehle have teamed up with scientists from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health to offer four individual homemade videos. “Wash your hands like your life depends on it,” Winslet says in her PSA. “Because right now, in particular, it just might.” Ehle stresses that the coronavirus is novel, meaning no one is immune. “Every single one of us, regardless of age or ethnicity, is at risk of getting it,” she says. “Contagion,” directed by Steven Soderbergh, explores a scenario in which a lethal and fast-moving influenza is spreading around the world. Damon, who in the film played a character who was immune to the hypothetical virus, also stresses listening to experts and staying 6 feet apart. “That was a movie. This is real life,” he says. “I have no reason to believe that I'm immune to COVID-19. And neither do you.” Fishburne appeals to helping medical staff on the front line. “If we can slow this thing down, it will give our doctors and our nurses in our hospitals a fighting chance to help us all get through this thing together,” he says. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
  • Kristen Bell is hosting a Nickelodeon special with a “kid’s-eye view” of the coronavirus pandemic to address youngsters' concerns and help families weather the crisis, the channel said Friday. Bell and her guests practiced social distancing, using video to connect for the hourlong program airing 7 p.m. EDT Monday. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s surgeon general, and Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, former U.S. surgeon general, offer advice on how to be healthy, while kids and parents around the country share how they're coping with disruption. “I feel like right now, kids' questions and worries might be getting overlooked,” the 'Frozen' star said in explaining why she participated. “I wanted kids to feel empowered to ask questions, and create a place where they are heard.” Children need and deserve that, Bell said in an email to The Associated Press after taping '#KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall' on Thursday. “I hope people see that kids' worries are just as important as every adults, and I hope people encourage their kids to ask vulnerable questions, and take their ideas of how to help seriously,” Bell said. “Some of these kids are getting some amazing work done helping people in their community!” Josh Gad, Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Charli D'Amelio and Russell and Ciara Wilson make appearances. Other celebrities contribute home videos, including YouTube personality Emma Chamberlin’s how-to on having housebound fun with your pet. Music artists JoJo Siwa and DJ Khaled also took part, Nickelodeon said. “With families everywhere focused on staying healthy and essentially every kid out of school, we immediately understood this is the time to act quickly and be there for the audience in a way that can hopefully help them better cope with what’s going on,” said Brian Robbins, ViacomCBS’ head of kids and family content. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The special, also showing on TeenNick and Nicktoons, is part of the #KidsTogether initiative that launched this month and enlists familiar Nick faces to help people stay healthy and active. SpongeBob SquarePants, for instance, demonstrates effective hand-washing and social distancing in videos shown on Nickelodeon’s cable and digital platforms. ___ Online: #KidsTogether: http://www.nickhelps.com/ ___ Lynn Elber can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.
  • From finding ways to help others cope to sheltering in place to canceling events, here’s a look at some of the ways the entertainment industry is reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, which most people recover from but can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions. TODAY SHOW'S KOTB BREAKS DOWN AFTER SEGMENT Hoda Kotb's emotions got the better of her on the “Today' show Friday as she concluded a segment with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is donating money to help with the outbreak of coronavirus there. “Drew, we love ya,” Kotb said. Then she dissolved in tears, and co-anchor Savannah Guthrie jumped in to take over. Kotb was a news anchor and reporter at the CBS affiliate in New Orleans during the 1990s. “Hoda, I'm so sorry, hon,” Guthrie said. “I know where your heart is.” DISNEY RESORTS TO STAY CLOSED The Walt Disney Co. is indefinitely extending closures at its theme park resorts in Florida and California because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company had closed Disneyland in Southern California and Disney World outside Orlando in mid-March with plans to reopen at the start of April, but Disney said Friday the resorts would remain closed until further notice. It cited directions given by health and government officials. The company has been paying its employees during the closure, and Disney said it would continue to pay its tens of thousands of hourly workers through April 18. ‘BABY SHARK' CHALLENGE: WASH YOUR HANDS, DOO DOO Sorry parents, ‘Baby Shark’ is making a comeback — for a good cause. Pinkfong's 'Baby Shark' — that jingle earworm that every toddler seems to know — has been reworked to teach good hygiene to combat COVID-19. The company has debuted the 'Wash Your Hands With Baby Shark' video and started a dance challenge to encourage families to upload videos of their children washing hands to the song. “Wash your hands/doo doo doo doo doo/Wash your hands,” go the new lyrics. “Grab some soap/doo doo doo doo doo/Grab some soap.” Videos are tagged with #BabySharkHandWashChallenge. Pinkfong uploaded its original version of “Baby Shark” with an accompanying dance and colorful cartoon video to YouTube in June 2016. It has now been viewed over 4.6 billion times, making it one of YouTube’s top five watched videos of all time. EMMY SEASON ADJUSTS TO VIRUS SCRAMBLE The Television Academy has adjusted its calendar ahead of the Emmy Awards following disruption from the coronavirus. According to the calendar, June 5 will be the new entry deadline, nominations will be voted on from July 2-13 and nominations will be announced July 28. Final voting will take place from Aug. 21-31. There is also modification of the hanging episode rule for series and limited series. But the academy stressed that there are no changes to the Sept. 20 Emmy telecast or the Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies.
  • All of the so-called “Big Five” publishers have dropped out of BookExpo, the industry's annual national convention. Hachette Book Group and Macmillan became the fourth and fifth to announce they would not attend the July gathering and the fan-based BookCon which immediately follows. 'With the impact of the coronavirus still an unknown, Hachette Book Group has decided to withdraw our participation in Book Expo and BookCon 2020 in the interest of the health and well-being of our employees and authors,' according to a statement Thursday from the publisher. “We’ll miss having the opportunity to engage with booksellers, librarians, and readers but are committed to finding new ways to connect these audiences with our books and authors.” Penguin Random House, HarperCollins Publishers and Simon & Schuster had already canceled even as the convention's organizer, ReedPOP, postponed BookExpo and BookCon from May to July. In a statement Thursday, show manager Jenny Martin said the gatherings, which traditionally attract tens of thousands, were still planned. The events are to be held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, which New York state has converted to a medical facility. “No one is operating business as usual because business is not usual,” Martin said. “Our customers know the door is open and the dialogue will continue now through July about how we come together as an industry and survive this.
  • Richard Reeves, an author and syndicated columnist who wrote about politics for more than 50 years and published books on Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy and other American presidents, has died at age 83. Reeves son' Jeffrey Reeves told The Associated Press that his father died Wednesday in Los Angeles and had been in failing health. Reeves was a New York City native who worked as a journalist for much of the 1960s, including several years with The New York Times. He released his first book, on then-President Gerald Ford, in 1975, and four years later began a weekly column that was syndicated for decades. He became a frequent commentator on PBS and even appeared on the “Tonight Show' with Johnny Carson. His point of view was clear. He opposed the Iraq War, faulted President Ronald Reagan for favoring the rich and wrote in a 2004 column: “I am always amazed when I get letters, many of them, accusing me of being a 'liberal' or, a lot worse, an 'elitist.' Yes, I am. Hello!” His other books included 'President Kennedy: Profile of Power,' “President Nixon: Alone in the White House” and “What The People Know: Freedom and the Press.” His most recent publication was “Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II,” which came out in 2015. Reeves was married twice, and had five children.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Nearly 622,000 people worldwide -- including nearly 105,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Saturday, March 28, continue below: Instacart employees plan strike over safety fears Update 10:17 p.m. EDT March 28: Instacart employees are planning to strike Monday over fears that they are exposing themselves to risk of the coronavirus and are not being adequately protected or compensated by their company. “Instacart has a well established history of exploiting its Shoppers, one that extends years back before our current crisis,” Instacart employees and Gig Workers Collective, an activist organization, wrote in a letter posted on Medium. “Now, its mistreatment of Shoppers has stooped to an all-time low. They are profiting astronomically off of us literally risking our lives, all while refusing to provide us with effective protection, meaningful pay, and meaningful benefits.” Employees are asking for an additional $5 on each order and personal protection equipment provided at no cost, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays. It not unclear how many employees would participate. More than 200,000 people work as shoppers for the company, The New York Times reported. The company had plans to hire thousands more amid demand for delivery while people are quarantined and isolating. Instacart announced earlier this week new safety guidelines and said it would increase bonuses for its shoppers and extend sick and quarantine pay. “The health and safety of our entire community – shoppers, customers and employees – is our highest priority,” the company said in a statement, KNTV reported. 66 residents at Maryland nursing home test positive for virus Update 9:07 p.m. EDT March 28: A coronavirus outbreak has doubled the cases in Maryland after 66 residents at a nursing home tested positive for the deadly virus. Eleven of the 66 residents at Pleasant View Nursing Home have been hospitalized, WBAL reported. “Multiple state agencies are on the scene and working closely with the local health department & the facility to protect additional residents and staff who may have been exposed,” Gov. Larry Hogan said on social media. There have been 10 deaths in the state. US death toll surpasses 2,000, doubling in two days Update 6:39 p.m. EDT March 28:  More than 2,000 U.S. citizens have died from the coronavirus as of Saturday, the death toll doubling in about 48 hours, the Washington Post reported. The time between the first confirmed death and the 1,000th was about a month. There are nearly 120,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., according to a Johns Hopkins map. More than 30,000 people have died from the coronavirus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins. Columbia Sportswear CEO cuts salary to $10,000 Update 5:59 p.m. EDT March 28: Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle has cut his salary to $10,000 while employees will continue to receive their regular pay. At least 10 other top executives took a voluntary 15% pay cut, The Oregonian reported. The company’s nearly 3,500 employees are receiving their regular paychecks through a “catastrophic pay” program while its stores are closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. The stores closed March 16 and will remain shuttered at least another two weeks. Boyle was paid $3.3 million in total compensation in 2018, The Oregonian reported. Infant in Illinois dies from virus Update 4:24 p.m. EDT March 28: An infant less than a year old died from the coronavirus in Illinois. The child is one of 13 new deaths in the state, health officials said Saturday. “There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” state Health Department Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us.” In China, a 10-month-old died from the coronavirus, the New England Journal of Medicine reported March 18. There are 3,491 cases of the coronavirus and 47 deaths in Illinois, according to health officials. Ireland imposes strict lockdown order Update 3:42 p.m. EDT March 28: Ireland’s prime minister announced a lockdown with strict restrictions in the country Saturday, The New York Times reported. “Freedom was hard-won in our country, and it jars with us to restrict and limit individual liberties, even temporarily,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in an address to the nation. As of early Saturday, Ireland had reported 2,121 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and 22 deaths, the Times reported. From midnight until at least April 12, Ireland’s residents have been ordered to stay at home except to travel to essential jobs, medical appointments, family care or “brief” exercise, according to the newspaper. Trump goes to Virginia, sends off Navy ship bound for NYC Update 2:49 p.m. EDT March 28: President Donald Trump spoke in Front of the USNS Comfort in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, before the Navy hospital ship before it departed for New York City. “This great ship behind me is a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York,” Trump said. Trump said the ship would not treat patients with coronavirus, but will provide aid for people with other urgent care needs, CNN reported. “Their mission will be to care for New Yorkers who do not have the virus but who require urgent care,' Trump said. “In other words, they’ll be using this, people will be coming out of hospitals who don’t have the virus and they’ll be on this ship where they have great operating rooms and great facilities and the places in-bound, on land will be where people that have the virus will be.” RI governor confirms 2 deaths, issues stay-at-home order Update 2:06 p.m. EDT March 28: Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo confirmed the first two deaths in the state and issued a stay-at-home order, telling citizens they could still make necessary trips for food, gasoline or medicine, the Providence Journal reported. Raimondo also ordered anyone entering the state by any means to self-quarantine for 14 days, she said at a news conference. The governor also said all “non-essential” retail outlets will close Monday until April 13, “These are the first deaths and certainly will not be the last two,” Raimondo said. “This is for me and for all of us, this a reminder of the stakes that we face.” Kansas gov. Kelly issues stay-at-home order Update 1:32 p.m. EDT March 28: At a news conference, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a stay-at-home order for the state beginning Monday at 12:01 p.m. “As we speak, well over half of Kansas’ population falls under a local stay at home order of some kind. Even without the executive order I’m issuing today, Kansas’ most populous counties have already issued local state orders to their communities,' Kelly said at the news conference. “As governor, I left these decisions to local health departments for as long as possible. But the reality is that a patchwork approach is a recipe for confusion in our statewide fight to slow the spread of coronavirus that statewide uniformity will ensure. We’re all playing by the same rules, and it would help prevent an influx of new cases for local health departments, many of which are already stretched to max.” Cuomo: NY presidential primary moved to June 23 Update 12:39 p.m. EDT March 28: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a news conference that the state’s presidential primary, scheduled for April 28, will be postponed until April 28. Cuomo said the prospect of many people congregating to vote in April was not wise. “I don’t think it’s wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote,” Cuomo said. “A lot of people touching one doorknob, a lot of people touching one pen, whatever you call the new device on the ballots.” Cuomo also extended the tax filing deadline in the state to July 15. “This is good news for individuals, for businesses. You don’t have to file your state tax return. You file it with the federal tax return on July 15,' Cuomo said. “It’s bad news for the state of New York on a parochial level. That means we receive no revenue coming in until July 15.' UN to donate 250K protective masks to hospitals in NYC Update 12:29 p.m. EDT March 28: United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said the organization will donate 250,000 protective face masks to medical facilities in New York City, CNN reported. The masks will be given to medical professionals “who have been working courageously, selflessly, and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the boroughs in the hope that they play some small role in saving lives,” Guterres said in a statement Saturday. UK death toll tops 1,000; Johnson tweets, ‘We’ll beat this' Update 11:02 a.m. EDT March 28: The death toll from the coronavirus in the United Kingdom passed the 1,000 mark, according to figures released by the country’s Department of Health and Social Care. That is an increase of 260 people, with the total at 1,019, according to the BBC. On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “We’re going to beat it, and we’re going to beat it together.' Johnson tested positive for coronavirus Friday. “Thank you to everybody who’s doing what I’m doing, working from home and stopping the virus spreading from household to household,' Johnson tweeted. Death toll surges in Spain, Italy Update 9:31 a.m. EDT March 28: Spain and Italy reported record numbers in the death tolls in their countries. Spanish officials reported 832 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 5,690, The New York Times reported. Spain also reported that 12,248 people have recovered from the virus, the newspaper reported. Italian officials said 969 people have died in the past day, bringing its total to 9,134, the Times reported. Trump approves Michigan’s request for disaster relief Update 9:31 a.m. EDT March 28: The White House announced Saturday that President Donald Trump approved Michigan’s request for a disaster declaration. “Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Michigan and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected,” the White House said in a statement. The declaration means federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments, the statement said. Certain private nonprofit organizations also will be eligible for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for areas in Michigan impacted by coronavirus. South Korea says 3 test-kit makers win FDA preapproval Update 8:42 a.m. EDT March 28: South Korea’s foreign ministry said three test-kit makers in the country have won preapproval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The move paves the way for kits to be sent to the United States, The New York Times reported. The ministry did not name the manufacturers but said the preapproval, under emergency use authorization, allowed the products to be sold in the United States, the newspaper reported. Global coronavirus deaths top 28K, worldwide cases near 608K Update 7:35 a.m. EDT March 28: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 28,125 early Saturday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the three months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 607,965 people worldwide. • The United States has reported 104,837 confirmed cases, resulting in 1,711 deaths. • Italy has confirmed 86,498 cases, resulting in 9,134 deaths. • China has recorded 81,996 cases, resulting in 3,299 deaths. • Spain has confirmed 65,719 infections, resulting in 5,138 deaths. • Germany has reported 53,340 cases, resulting in 395 deaths. • Iran has recorded 35,408 cases, resulting in 2,517 deaths. • France has confirmed 33,414 infections, resulting in 1,997 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 14,754 cases, resulting in 761 deaths. • Switzerland has confirmed 13,187 cases, resulting in 240 deaths. • South Korea has recorded 9,478 cases, resulting in 144 deaths. Japanese PM warms of ‘explosive spread’ of coronavirus threatening urban hubs Update 7:20 a.m. EDT March 28: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a stern warning during a Saturday news conference, urging citizens to prepare for a “long-term battle” as the novel coronavirus threatens an “explosive spread” across the country. The Washington Post, citing Japanese media coverage of the news conference, reported Abe said cases of unknown origin are spiking, especially in the urban hubs of Tokyo and Osaka. “An uncontrollable chain of infection could lead to explosive spread somewhere,” he said. Abe’s comments came one day after Japan recorded its largest single-day spike in new cases of 123, bringing the nationwide total to 1,499 and 49 deaths. Nearly half of those newest cases were detected in Tokyo. New coronavirus cases spike in South Korea following steady decline Update 5:13 a.m. EDT March 28: Following a week of significantly decreased volume, South Korea reported a spike of 146 new coronavirus infections on Saturday. According to the nation’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the new cases bring South Korea’s total infections to 9,478, but Friday’s uptick stood in stark contrast to the fewer than 105 cases reported each day for the past week. On a more positive note, the country’s CDC confirmed only about 4,500 coronavirus patients remain isolated for treatment, while more than 4,800 patients have been deemed recovered and discharged from isolation. Italy’s coronavirus cases surpass those in China Update 5:07 a.m. EDT March 28: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Italy has reached 86,498, making it the second nation in as many days to surpass China’s total of 81,946. The United States eclipsed China’s infection total on Thursday – and currently reports slightly under 105,000 confirmed cases – but Italy’s death toll continues to climb as the outbreak ravages Europe.  Health officials confirmed 969 virus-related deaths in Italy on Friday, alone, making it the largest single-day death toll recorded by an country since the pandemic began. To date, the nation has reported a total of 9,134 fatalities, followed by Spain with 5,138 deaths and China with 3,295. U.S. Navy locks down Yokosuka base after sailors test positive for coronavirus Update 3:31 a.m. EDT March 28: The U.S. Navy has ordered a lockdown of its Yokosuka base after recording its second and third cases of novel coronavirus on Friday. The strategic Pacific base houses the Seventh Fleet. In a video posted to Facebook, Yokosuka Capt. Rich Jarrett encouraged residents on base to remain in their quarters “maximum extent possible.” “This is not a time to do lawn maintenance, take the dog for a long walk or go for a run. Time outdoors should be for necessities only and should be conducted as quickly as possible,” Jarrett posted in a Saturday morning update. Ginnie Mae poised to ease mortgage firms’ coronavirus fallout Update 3:18 a.m. EDT March 28: Mortgage firms are bracing for the crunch when borrowers begin falling behind on their payments, and Ginnie Mae sits poised to assist them in weathering the financial fallout of he novel coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported. Ginnie Mae, which already guarantees more than $2 trillion of mortgage-backed securities, told the Journal late Friday it will help companies such as Quicken Loans Inc. and Mr. Cooper Group Inc. with their anticipated cashflow interruptions. The agency will leverage a program typically reserved for natural disaster response. Read more here. Duke University develops N95 mask decontamination method to assist coronavirus fight Update 3:03 a.m. EDT March 28: Duke University researchers in North Carolina have developed a method for cleaning used N95 respirator masks, CNN reported. By Friday night, Duke’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory team had already decontaminated hundreds of used N95 respirators without damaging them, so they can be re-worn several times, the network reported. More importantly, the researchers published their decontamination protocol, encouraging other medical centers and research facilities to follow suit. Specifically, the method uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide to kill microbial contaminants, CNN reported. Read more here. Trump issues order allowing Pentagon to reactivate former troops for coronavirus response Update 2:40 a.m. EDT March 28: U.S. President Donald Trump issued an order late Friday allowing the Pentagon to return certain troops to active duty in response to the mounting coronavirus crisis, The Washington Post reported. According to the Post, the order allows for the reactivation of former U.S. troops and members of the National Guard and Reserve to bolster the military’s ongoing efforts to help contain the virus’ spread. “Generally, these members will be persons in Headquarters units and persons with high demand medical capabilities whose call-up would not adversely affect their civilian communities,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement released early Saturday morning. Read more here. MLB, players strike deal should coronavirus cancel 2020 baseball season Update 2:14 a.m. EDT March 28: Major League Baseball owners and players ratified a deal Friday that sets terms should the novel coronavirus pandemic postpone or even cancel the 2020 season. According to NPR, players will be paid $170 million in advanced salaries over the next two months, and should the season ultimately be canceled, the advances will not have to be paid back. Meanwhile, players will receive “service time” credit for an entire year even if they only play portions of the 2020 season. The season had been slated to open Thursday and run through late October, NPR reported. Delta offering medical volunteers free flights to emerging US coronavirus hotspots Update 1:57 a.m. EDT March 28: Delta Air Lines announced Friday it will fly select medical workers to areas of the country hardest hit by the novel coronavirus for free. By early Saturday morning, the company had confirmed free, round-trip Delta flights will be offered to certain medical volunteers bound for Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan during the month of April. State-by-state breakdown of 101,242 US coronavirus cases, 1,588 deaths Update 12:44 a.m. EDT March 28: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 104,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Saturday morning. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 104,661 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 1,706 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation, including the 86,498 reported in Italy and the 81,946 confirmed in China. Of the confirmed deaths, 519 have occurred in New York, 175 Washington state and 119 in Louisiana.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 44,635 confirmed cases – more than five times any other state – followed by New Jersey with 8,825 and California with 3,801. Five other states have each confirmed at least 3,000 novel coronavirus cases, including: • Washington: 3,723, including 175 deaths • Michigan: 3,657, including 92 deaths • Massachusetts: 3,240, including 35 deaths • Florida: 3,192, including 45 deaths • Illinois: 3,026, including 34 deaths Meanwhile, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Georgia each has confirmed at least 2,000 novel coronavirus infections, while Colorado, Texas, Connecticut, Tennessee and Ohio each has confirmed at least 1,000 cases. The figures include 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship and 49 repatriated citizens. The repatriations include 46 sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and three others retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China. CNN’s state-by-state breakdown – including presumptive cases – of at least 101,242 cases detected on U.S. soil is as follows: • Alabama: 638, including 3 deaths • Alaska: 69, including 1 death • Arizona: 665, including 13 deaths • Arkansas: 386, including 3 deaths • California: 3,801, including 78 deaths • Colorado: 1,734, including 31 deaths • Connecticut: 1,291, including 27 deaths • Delaware: 163, including 2 deaths • District of Columbia: 267, including three deaths • Florida: 3,192, including 45 deaths • Georgia: 2,198, including 65 deaths • Guam: 49, including 1 death • Hawaii: 120 • Idaho: 230, including 4 deaths • Illinois: 3,026, including 34 deaths • Indiana: 981, including 24 deaths • Iowa: 235, including 3 deaths • Kansas: 202, including 4 deaths • Kentucky: 302, including 7 deaths • Louisiana: 2,746, including 119 deaths • Maine: 168, including 1 death • Maryland: 774, including 5 deaths • Massachusetts: 3,240, including 35 deaths • Michigan: 3,657, including 92 deaths • Minnesota: 398, including 4 deaths • Mississippi: 579, including 8 deaths • Missouri: 670, including 9 deaths • Montana: 109, including 1 death • Nebraska: 89, including 2 deaths • Nevada: 535, including 10 deaths • New Hampshire: 187, including 2 deaths • New Jersey: 8,825, including 108 deaths • New Mexico: 191, including 1 death • New York: 44,635, including 519 deaths • North Carolina: 763, including 3 deaths • North Dakota: 68, including 1 death • Ohio: 1,137, including 19 deaths • Oklahoma: 322, including 8 deaths • Oregon: 414, including 12 deaths • Pennsylvania: 2,218, including 22 deaths • Puerto Rico: 64, including 2 deaths • Rhode Island: 203 • South Carolina: 539, including 13 deaths • South Dakota: 58, including 1 death • Tennessee: 1,203, including 6 deaths • Texas: 1,731, including 23 deaths • U.S. Virgin Islands: 19 • Utah: 480, including 2 deaths • Vermont: 184, including 10 deaths • Virginia: 604, including 14 deaths • Washington: 3,723, including 175 deaths • West Virginia: 96 • Wisconsin: 842, including 13 deaths • Wyoming: 70
  • Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle has cut his salary to $10,000 while employees will continue to receive their regular pay. At least 10 other top executives took a voluntary 15% pay cut, The Oregonian reported. The company’s nearly 3,500 employees are receiving their regular paychecks through a “catastrophic pay” program while its stores are closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. The stores closed March 16 and will remain shuttered at least another two weeks. Boyle was paid $3.3 million in total compensation in 2018, The Oregonian reported. Earlier this week, Wayne Kent Taylor, CEO of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain, said he would give up his salary. In 2018, his total compensation was $1.3 million.
  • A group of protesters ignored a stay-at-home order so they could gather in front of a North Carolina women’s clinic. The city of Charlotte received complaints Saturday morning about people possibly not following Mecklenburg County’s stay-at-home order. There was a protest at a preferred women’s health center in the Grier Heights neighborhood. “They’re putting our first responders at risk if they have to show up,” Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt said. “I just think it’s unconscionable. You can agree or disagree with reproductive health care, but it doesn’t matter. It’s legal. It’s deemed an essential business.”
  • Starting Saturday, the federal drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Lot J at TIAA Bank Field will be waiving the fever requirement. Previously, patients who wanted to be tested had to have an on-site temperature of 99.6 degrees or higher. Instead, patients will only need to exhibit respiratory symptoms or be a first responder or healthcare worker who has direct contact with patients.  While a doctor’s order and appointment are not required, you will be evaluated by a medical professional on site. If you don't meet the requirements, you will not be tested.  If you wish to be tested, you need to follow the following rules:  • Bring your own pen  • Bring a photo ID (first responders and healthcare professionals should bring a work ID)  • Refrain from taking any fever-reducing medicine four to six hours before testing  • Remain inside of vehicle at all times  A maximum of four people per car can be tested.  With long lines expected around the stadium, drivers coming from the Westside should use Bay Street, while drivers coming from the Eastside should use Gator Bowl Boulevard. The site is open from 9 AM to 5 PM, 7 days a week.
  • Joseph Maldonado-Passage seems made for reality TV. The one-time Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate and former wildlife park owner, known to fans by the moniker “Joe Exotic,” is a self-described “gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet.” A tiger breeder, he had his own YouTube channel, JoeExoticTV, on which he used to post footage of his wild exploits. His reality today is much different. Maldonado-Passage, 57, is currently serving a 22-year federal prison sentence for two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act. According to federal prison records, Maldonado-Passage is currently housed at the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth. Maldonado-Passage’s crimes are on full display in “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a seven-episode limited series on Netflix that chronicles how Maldonado-Passage went from freedom in the wild to behind bars in a federal prison in Texas. The streaming service describes the series as “a jaw-dropping true tale of con artists, polygamy, rivalry and revenge.” Netflix’s description of the documentary’s star is similar: A “mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country western singer who presides over an Oklahoma roadside zoo.” Watch Netflix’s trailer for “Tiger King” below. “Charismatic but misguided, Joe and an unbelievable cast of characters including drug kingpins, conmen and cult leaders all share a passion for big cats, and the status and attention their dangerous menageries garner,” the description states. “But things take a dark turn when Carole Baskin, an animal activist and owner of a big cat sanctuary, threatens to put them out of business, stoking a rivalry that eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot, and reveals a twisted tale where the only thing more dangerous than a big cat is its owner.” Maldonado-Passage is in prison for hiring someone to kill Baskin. The charges of falsifying records and violating the Endangered Species Act stem from his slaughtering of five tigers at his refuge. Watch a “Joe Exotic Sizzle Reel” from Maldonado-Passage’s YouTube channel below. It may contain some graphic language. ‘Tiger King’s’ reception in the age of coronavirus The documentary series has had remarkable success as Netflix viewers try to temporarily forget about the terrifying global coronavirus pandemic that, as of Friday afternoon, had sickened well over half a million people worldwide and killed more than 26,000. Memes abound on social media, and everyone from celebrities like Kim Kardashian West to, well, average Joes, have weighed in on the craziness. Actor and musician Jared Leto hosted an online “Tiger King” watch party -- and dressed as “Joe Exotic” for the occasion. Below are some of the other memes: The Netflix documentary is not the first time the “Joe Exotic” case has garnered national attention. Baskin was the main subject of a podcast by Wondery for its series, “Over My Dead Body.” More Hollywood fodder about Maldonado-Passage and Baskin is on the way. Vanity Fair reported that comedian and actress Kate McKinnon has signed up to star in and executive produce a limited series based on that podcast. McKinnon is slated to portray Baskin. Maldonado-Passage’s role has not yet been cast, though Vanity Fair’s article said this: “Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are thumb-wrestling to see whose agent gets to reach out about playing Joe Exotic, while David Spade is crafting a really, really long text to McKinnon about their shared SNL ties.” Actor Dax Shepard also has thrown his hat into the ring. “If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken,” Shepard tweeted. Edward Norton replied: “Um, step aside, pal. You’re way too young and buff and you know it.” Netflix U.S. also replied to Shepard’s tweet. “I’m liking what I’m hearing,” the tweet said. Buzzfeed News reported that the series’ creators are hinting at a possible second season. “Tiger King” director Eric Goode told the Los Angeles Times that Maldonado-Passage is happy with the finished documentary and is “over the moon” about being a household name. “Joe has called me quite a few times over the last few days and weeks. One, he is absolutely ecstatic about the series and the idea of being famous,” Goode told the Times. “He’s absolutely thrilled. I think he is trying to be an advocate for -- no surprise -- criminal justice reform. He is in a cage, and of course, he’s going to say that he now recognizes what he did to these animals.” Goode indicated he didn’t necessarily believe the former wildlife owner is regretful. “I take it with a big grain of salt when he says he is now apologetic for keeping animals,” the director said. Not everyone is thrilled by the series, particularly Baskin, who used her rescue’s website to refute the lies she alleges are included in the documentary. One of the more salacious bombshells: a suggestion that Baskin had a hand in the disappearance of her husband, Don Lewis, more than two decades ago. “When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago, they said they wanted to make the big cat version of Blackfish (the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive,” Baskin says in her rebuttal. “There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the docuseries not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers,” she writes. “As part of that (goal), it has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don 21 years ago.” According to People magazine, Don Lewis, 59, vanished in August 1997 and was never seen again. His car was found abandoned at an airport and, according to The Charley Project, the keys were on the floorboard. The Florida Crime Information Center still has Jack Donald Lewis, who vanished Aug. 8, 1997, listed as a missing person out of Hillsborough County. At the time of his disappearance, authorities said he may have traveled to Costa Rica. Lewis’ oldest child, Donna Pettis, told People in 1998 that his family believed Baskin was involved in his disappearance. Baskin feeding his body to big cats would be “a perfect scenario to dispose of someone,” Pettis told the magazine. “We were upset that the cops didn’t test the DNA on the meat grinder.” Baskin refutes the “absurd claims” about her husband and writes that Lewis was showing signs of mental deterioration for a couple of years before he vanished. She said he had begun hoarding vehicles and other equipment on the 40 acres where the sanctuary sits. “He deteriorated into dumpster diving and even got stuck in a dumpster and called me crying because he did not know where he was,” she writes. “Back then Alzheimer’s was not a commonly used word.” Click here to read all of Baskin’s statement refuting the claims made in the documentary. “The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims,” she writes. “They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers.” Another character in the series who has disputed his portrayal is Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, who runs the Myrtle Beach Safari in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Antle’s safari was recently raided by police, according to The Washington Post. The Myrtle Beach Sun News reported that a former employee of Antle’s accuses him on the series of running his business like a cult. Antle responded to the negative portrayal on Instagram. “It is important to understand that this series is not a documentary; it’s sensationalized entertainment with paid participants,” Antle alleges. “‘Tiger King’ is the bizarre story of Joe and Carole and their feud. These characters are not representative of experts in the wildlife sector or world-class facilities like ours here in Myrtle Beach. “Myrtle Beach Safari has been recognized by the state of South Carolina as one of the preeminent wildlife facilities in the United States. We’ve also received international accolades for the critical role we provide with our qualified, captive breeding programs and our global conservation efforts of threatened and endangered species.” Crimes behind the docuseries Federal authorities and court records give a detailed look into the crimes that sent Maldonado-Passage, of Wynnewood, Oklahoma, to prison. Maldonado-Passage, who also goes by the name Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, had an ongoing dispute with Baskin stemming from her criticism of his wildlife center’s care, exhibition and breeding practices for big cats like lions and tigers. Baskin is the founder of Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary based out of Tampa, Florida. “Until 2011, the dispute was carried on primarily through traditional and social media,” a November 2018 indictment in the case reads. That year, Baskin filed a civil lawsuit against Maldonado-Passage. The Tampa Bay Times reported that, in retaliation for Baskin’s outreach efforts to stop people from booking his traveling petting zoo, Maldonado-Passage had renamed the attraction “Big Cat Rescue Entertainment.” The trademark infringement suit in February 2013 resulted in a judgment against Maldonado-Passage, requiring him to pay Baskin more than $1 million. She and her sanctuary have never received any of the money. By January 2012, Maldonado-Passage’s criticism of Baskin turned to threats of violence, including threats on Facebook and YouTube. According to an interview Baskin did with the Times, the threats included a video Maldonado-Passage made of himself shooting a blow-up doll dressed to look like her. He also produced an image of Baskin hanging in effigy, the newspaper reported. In early November 2017, Maldonado-Passage began trying to hire a hit man to travel to Florida and kill Baskin, the indictment says. On Nov. 6, the supposed hit man traveled from Oklahoma to Dallas to get fake identification for use when traveling to Florida. Later that month, Maldonado-Passage mailed the man’s cellphone to Nevada to conceal the proposed gunman’s involvement in the plot. That same day, Nov. 25, Maldonado-Passage gave the man $3,000 he had received in the sale of a big cat to the man as payment for Baskin’s murder, the indictment says. Thousands more would be paid once the job was complete. That plot never materialized. The Times reported last year that the would-be killer ran off with the money and never made it to Florida. Jurors at Maldonado-Passage’s trial also heard that, beginning in July 2016, Maldonado-Passage repeatedly asked a second witness to kill Baskin or to help him find someone who would. The person he went to that time went to authorities and arranged a December 2017 meeting with a supposed hit man. The hit man was an undercover FBI agent. “The jury heard a recording of his meeting with the agent to discuss details of the planned murder,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma.

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