On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
74°
Partly Cloudy
H 81° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    74°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 81° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    75°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 81° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    61°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 85° L 66°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Multiple distress signals, but incomplete information, highlighted in El Faro data
Close

Multiple distress signals, but incomplete information, highlighted in El Faro data

Multiple distress signals, but incomplete information, highlighted in El Faro data
Photo Credit: US Navy Supervisor of Salvage
El Faro's Voyage Data Recorder capsule being recovered from the ocean floor

Multiple distress signals, but incomplete information, highlighted in El Faro data

Among the more than two dozen hours of data and information collected on El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder, or ‘black box’, was electronic data on everything from navigation to ship position to weather information and more.

While the 510 page VDR transcript released by the NTSB was the longest ever put together by the Board, there were also hundreds of pages more made public detailing the facts that have been determined as a result of the investigation so far. One of those is the Electronic Data Group Chairman’s Factual Report, which details the electronic data captured by the VDR and other electronic communication both to and from the ship in the hours ahead of the sinking.

FULL COVERAGE: El Faro sinking

WOKV is working through those reports to bring you all the new information, as well as the context we’ve previously learned from the investigation so far.

Voyage Data Recorder

The NTSB says the most recent annual inspection for El Faro’s VDR was in December 2014. We previously learned through the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation that’s holding public hearing sessions on the sinking that the VDR’s beacon battery may have been expired at the time of the sinking, meaning the device wouldn’t have pinged to be located by search and rescue or subsequent salvage teams. The new Electronic Data Group Chairman’s report says the inspection also listed the wrong serial number for the VDR’s data acquisition unit that saves data to the capsule, listed an incorrect date for the next inspection, and was using an outdated checklist altogether.

The VDR was unable to be located during the initial search mission where the ship’s wreckage was found. It was located on a second mission, and salvaged on a third about six months ago.

Weather data

A question that has come up through the MBI hearing so far is how exactly emails and other information transmitted through satellite connection was getting on to the ship- whether there was a free flow, if it was sent directly to the Captain, if there were scheduled times, or any other option. This was a key question specifically with weather data, as investigators seek to figure out whether the crew was directly able to get updated information as they needed it.

The NTSB report shows outgoing and incoming email messages were transmitted to or from El Faro during active data sessions using FleetBroadband. The connection is established through a computer in the Captain’s stateroom, and can be configured to work on demand as well as at scheduled times during the day. The report says crewmembers of El Faro’s sister ship believed the emails synched periodically, as long as the computer was running. Even with satellite connection, there is still a question of whether weather data was sent directly to the Captain or was accessible to crew as well. That is further examined in the NTSB Meteorology Group Chairman’s Factual Report, which WOKV will detail later this week.

GALLERY: Exhibits from the NTSB's factual reports

Emails were also archived through GlobeArchive, although there is no read receipt, so the record only reflects when the messages are sent. The report says investigators were able to use the archives for information on position, forecasts, route planning, maintenance history, and more.

With weather data, there are still questions unanswered in this report. El Faro used a few resources for weather data, including the Bon Voyage System, which takes National Hurricane Center weather data and other factors, process that, and superimpose it to a map to give a detailed look at the conditions the ship would face. We’ve previously learned that, shortly before the sinking, El Faro was working with data that was 21 hours old at one point because of a one-time glitch that resulted in a duplicated track being sent to the ship.

This NTSB report shows that, on the final voyage, BVS data was routinely available to be downloaded a minute or two after it was sent, but there was a lag of anywhere between about twenty minutes and several hours before it was actually downloaded by the crew. That includes a five hour and forty-one minute lapse overnight ahead of the sinking, between when the data was available 11:04 PM September 30 and when it was downloaded 4:45 AM October 1. Investigators say it’s not clear whether that lapse was a deliberate action of the crew or a result of the schedule for satellite connection.

El Faro's anemometer captured data, however conversations by the crew on the bridge which were captured by the VDR show the crew had no confidence in the information from that tool.

Voice communication

There was a voice phone line on El Faro, with connections on the bridge, in the Captain’s stateroom, and in the Chief Engineer’s stateroom. We previously told you about the Captain’s final shoreside communications, where he described a “marine emergency” to TOTE’s emergency response answering service. The NTSB now says there were 26 incoming calls to the ship’s telephone that morning that went unanswered, with later ones showing on the call logs as “subscriber absent”.

Distress signals

El Faro’s distress alerts were received by authorities through three sources: Inmarsat-C distress alert, ship’s security alert system (SASS), and emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB).

The ship’s location was inaccurately recorded because of problems with how information from the Inmarsat-C distress alert from El Faro was pushed through the appropriate channels, according to the report.  It was received by an operating station in Norway and forwarded to the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command Center in Norfolk. The Inmarsat satellite operator in Norway then sent a supplemental, but separate bulletin with contact information for the ship. The Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command Center received both emails, but then only forwarded the supplement to the Coast Guard rescue coordination center in Miami, meaning Miami didn’t get information on the ship’s course, speed, or the time it was reported. The report says an inaccurate primary location for El Faro was logged as a result of this missing data.

The MBI also revealed that Coast Guard search and rescue teams were facing a compounded issue because, in addition to the incomplete data being passed forward to them, recent upgrades to their systems resulted in computers locking up, the need to chart data by hand, and other “frustrations”.

Two emergency notifications were received through the SSAS with information on position, course, and more. It’s a discreet security alert sent to predetermined recipients that is not broadcast to other ships.

The EPIRB broadcasts on the distress frequency, sending a transmission once every fifty seconds which is detected by satellites and used for search and rescue. El Faro’s EPIRB did not have GPS encoding, so the first detection was an “unlocated alert”. There was a 24 minute window before the last distress signal was detected, and no satellites passed overhead to get a location reading during that window.

Looking forward

WOKV has already brought you details from the Engineering Group Chairman’s Factual Report, and check back tomorrow for insight on the survival factors that have become a focus of these ongoing investigations.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Beginning Friday, small businesses struggling to stay afloat as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread across the United States can apply for the nearly $350 billion in loans set up through the CARES Act passed by Congress last month. Four programs are now in place to help small businesses to stay in business until the public health crisis triggered by COVID-19 abates. The programs came from the CARES Act which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. The programs, the Small Business Administration pointed out in a sample form, are much easier to apply for than typical loans. Many businesses across the U.S. – those with fewer than 500 employees – are eligible for the programs. And it is not just what one may consider traditional small businesses. Freelancers, nonprofits and proprietorships are also able to get help. In addition to funding programs the SBA normally runs, the CARES Act established four new temporary programs to address businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Here, from the SBA website, is the information on the CARES Act programs: 1. Paycheck Protection Program SBA will forgive loans taken by small businesses “if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.” How do you get it: You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020. Click here to learn more about the program. 2. EIDL Loan Advance This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties. “This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.” How do you get it? This program is for any small business with fewer than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private nonprofit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19. Businesses in certain industries that may have more than 500 employees are eligible for the loan if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. Click here to learn more about the program. 3. SBA Express Bridge Loans Enables small businesses that currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. “These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan,” the SBA website says. Click here to learn more about this program. 4. SBA debt relief The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of SBA's debt relief efforts: The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest and fees of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months. The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest and fees of new 7(a) loans issued prior to Sept. 27, 2020. Additional debt relief For current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and Business) Loans: If your disaster loan was in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through Dec. 31, 2020. What does an “automatic deferral” mean to borrowers? The SBA says:  Interest will continue to accrue on the loan. Monthly payment notices will continue to be mailed out which will reflect the loan is deferred and no payment is due. The deferment will NOT cancel any established Preauthorized Debit (PAD) or recurring payments on your loan.  Borrowers preferring to continue making regular payments during the deferment period may continue remitting payments during the deferment period. SBA will apply those payments normally as if there was no deferment. After this automatic deferment period, borrowers will be required to resume making regular principal and interest payments. Borrowers that canceled recurring payments will need to reestablish the recurring payment. Click here to learn more about the program.
  • A Michigan grandfather has been taking extraordinary measures to see his granddaughter -- walking more than four miles to set eyes on the newborn through a glass partition. Josh Gillett shared a photo of one of the visits of his father and daughter Elliana Rae on social media this week. “It breaks my heart that my dad can’t hold my daughter,” Gillett wrote. “However, as you can clearly see on my dad’s face, he’s overflowing with joy just to see her.” Gillett said his father, who’s not been identified, held Elliana Rae twice before Michigan went on lockdown. “While my wife was pregnant, I don’t think an hour went by where my dad didn’t brag about becoming a grandpa soon,” Gillett wrote. “Now, his granddaughter is finally here, and the only things he can hold are the daily pictures we send him.” A “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order telling residents to isolate themselves was issued last week. The order also closed nonessential businesses and schools, WXMI reported. Then, earlier this week, a state of disaster was declared closing any remaining schools and increasing social distancing measures. There are more than 10,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 417 deaths, according to The New York Times.
  • More than one million people worldwide -- including more than 245,000 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 Friday, April 3, continue below:  Pennsylvania officials report 1,404 new coronavirus cases Update 12:40 p.m. EDT April 3: Officials in Pennsylvania reported 1,404 new coronavirus infections Friday, bringing the state’s total to 8,420, WPXI reported. In addition, officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 12 more deaths. Statewide 102 people have died of COVID-19, according to WPXI. 104 new coronavirus infections reported in DC Update 12:20 p.m. EDT April 3: Officials in Washington D.C. said 104 new coronavirus infections have been reported, bringing the total in the district to 757. Mayor Muriel Bowser said three new fatal cases were also reported Friday. In all, 15 people have died due to COVID-19 in Washington D.C. Delta Air Lines giving passengers 2 years to rebook flights Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 3: Delta Air Lines announced Friday that the company is extending its window to redeem travel credits from one to two years amid the coronavirus outbreak. The change will allow for travel credits to be used through May 2022. “Just as our business is changing, we know that events in our customers’ lives are being changed and canceled, too,” airline officials said Friday in a statement. “Whether customers have been affected by recent schedule adjustments or want additional reassurance about upcoming travel, we’re now extending the ability to plan, re-book and travel with us for up to two years – giving Delta customers some extra breathing room.” Temporary military hospitals to begin taking COVID-19 patients, Pentagon says Update 11:55 a.m. EDT April 3: The Pentagon said it will begin accepting COVID-19 positive patients at Pentagon-supported medical facilities in Dallas and New Orleans that previously had been designated as non-COVID hospitals. COVID-19 positive patients in convalescent care and those deemed non-urgent cases will be accepted at the Morial federal medical station in New Orleans and at the Kay Bailey Hutchison federal medical center in Dallas. These patients must first be screened at a local hospital. President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that he had approved New York’s request that COVID-19 patients be accepted for care at the Pentagon-supported Javits center, which previously had taken on non-COVID patients. The Pentagon also said Friday that screening for care of non-COVID-19 patients on the hospital ship USNS Comfort in New York harbor is being modified in an effort to reduce a backlog at some New York hospitals. Instead of requiring patients to be tested for COVID-19 at the hospital from which they are being transferred, each patient transferred to the Comfort will be screened by temperature and given a short questionnaire pier-side. The Pentagon also announced that the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the active-duty military had risen to 978 as of Friday morning. That is up 85 from a day earlier. New York reports 562 new fatal COVID-19 cases Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 3: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the state saw its “highest single increase in the number of deaths since we started” on Friday. Officials reported 562 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,373. 102,863 coronavirus infections reported in New York Update 11:20 a.m. EDT April 3: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Friday that 10,481 new coronavirus infections have been reported, bringing the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 102,863. New York has been the state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. UK prime minister to continue self-isolating Update 11 a.m. EDT April 3: Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom said Friday that he will continue to self-isolate past the recommended seven-day period as he deals with a “minor symptom” lingering since his COVID-19 diagnosis. Johnson said he continues to have a fever. “In accordance with government advice, I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom itself goes,' he said. “But we’re clearly working the whole time on our program to defeat the virus.” Mayor tells New York City residents to wear face coverings in public Update 10:50 a.m. EDT April 3: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said Friday that residents should wear face coverings while around people who are not part of their families or households to stymie the spread of the new coronavirus. He said in a video posted Friday to Twitter that he’s been asked several times recently whether masks are appropriate for people in the general public. “The masks -- the surgical masks, those N95 masks -- we want to keep those for the health care workers, for the first responders,” he said. “We’re now advising all New Yorkers, when you go outside and you’re close to other people -- not your own family and people under your same roof, but when you’re close to other people -- have a bandanna, a scarf, some kind of face covering you can use when you happen to be in close proximity to people.” He emphasized that the mask does not protect against coronavirus and urged people to continue keeping at least 6 feet of space between each other. “(This) will help make sure that if, God forbid you’ve contracted the disease, even if you’re not yet symptomatic, that you won’t inadvertently spread it to someone else,” he said. “It’s a precaution to protect others.” Cruise ship en route to Florida confirms 12 COVID-19 cases Update 10:20 a.m. EDT April 3: Health officials have confirmed a dozen coronavirus infections on a Princess Cruise Lines ship headed toward Fort Lauderdale, Florida, company officials said Thursday. Princess Cruise Lines said that on Tuesday, crew members on the Coral Princess sent 13 COVID-19 test samples to health officials in Barbados. Of those, samples from seven guests and five crew members tested positive for the viral infection. The Coral Princess had set sail March 5 from Chile, one week before Princess Cruises announced a 60-day pause of operations. It was scheduled to travel to Argentina, where passengers were set to disembark March 19. Stocks open lower after US government reports 700,000 job losses Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 3: Stocks wavered in early trading on Wall Street after the U.S. government reported that more than 700,000 jobs were lost last month. Businesses have shut down across the country and the world as people stay home in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The S&P 500 was up 0.4% in the first few minutes of trading. European markets were down Friday after losses in most of Asia. The price of oil continued to rise on hopes for a global deal to limit overproduction, which helped boost energy stocks. The price of benchmark U.S. crude rose 7%. Grupo Modelo to halt production of Corona beer Update 9:45 a.m. EDT April 3: Grupo Modelo, the Mexican company that brews Corona beer, said Friday in a statement that it will halt production of the drink and others it brews to comply with Mexico’s closure of non-essential businesses. U.S. economy lost 701,000 jobs in March Update 9:15 a.m. EDT April 3: A new report from the Labor Department on Friday showed the economic storm associated with the coronavirus battering the U.S. economy in March, causing the loss of 701,000 jobs, and pushing the jobless rate up by almost one percent -- the largest monthly increase in over 45 years. The unemployment rate was at 4.4 percent in March, not far under the 4.7 percent rate when President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the highest jobless rate of his presidency. 'Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000, mainly in food services and drinking places,' the Labor Department reported. “Notable declines also occurred in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction,” the report added. UK officials report 684 new fatal coronavirus cases Update 9:05 a.m. EDT April 3: Officials in the United Kingdom recorded 684 new fatal COVID-19 cases on Friday, raising the country’s coronavirus death toll to 3,605. The number is slightly higher than the 569 deaths reported Thursday. Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced 4,450 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. In all, officials said 33,718 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in the U.K. Germany becomes 4th nation to surpass China’s total coronavirus count Update 7:53 a.m. EDT April 3: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 54,137 early Friday, and Spain’s total number of infections surpassed that of Italy, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 1,030,628 people worldwide. Four countries – the United States, Spain, Italy and Germany – have now confirmed total infection counts well above China’s 82,509 tally. • The United States has reported 245,573 cases, resulting in 6,058 deaths. • Spain has reported 117,710 infections, resulting in 10,935 deaths. • Italy has confirmed 115,242 cases, resulting in 13,915 deaths. • Germany has reported 85,063 cases, resulting in 1,111 deaths. • China has recorded 82,509 cases, resulting in 3,326 deaths. • France has confirmed 59,929 infections, resulting in 5,398 deaths. • Iran has recorded 53,183 cases, resulting in 3,160 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 34,192 cases, resulting in 2,926 deaths. • Switzerland has confirmed 19,145 cases, resulting in 573 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 18,135 cases, resulting in 356 deaths. UK field hospital NHS Nightingale opens less than 2 weeks after project began Update 7:41 a.m. EDT April 3: Less than two weeks after crews began repurposing London’s ExCel conference center to accommodate overflow novel coronavirus patients, the NHS Nightingale field hospital stands ready to serve. Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, called the timely transformation a “spectacular and almost unbelievable feat.” “(It’s) an example – if ever one was needed – of how the impossible could be made possible,” he said Friday via a video-link from Scotland, where he has been self-isolating after being diagnosed with the virus in March. “In this dark time, this place will be a shining light,” Prince Charles said, adding, “It is symbolic of the selfless care and devoted service taking place in innumerable settings, with countless individuals throughout the United Kingdom.” To date, the United Kingdom has reported 34,192 cases, resulting in 2,926 deaths. Coronavirus cases continue mounting in Brazil, Japan Update 6:56 a.m. EDT April 3: With more than 1 million novel coronavirus cases now recorded worldwide, new – and some old – hotspots are emerging as the pandemic continues its global spread. • Brazil confirmed Thursday its third consecutive day logging at least 1,000 new cases. The South American country now reports a total of 7,910 infections, which have resulted in at least 299 deaths. • Japan confirmed early Friday that 235 additional novel coronavirus cases have brought the East Asian country’s total to 3,329, resulting in at least 63 deaths. • Tokyo reported its largest single-day increase in new cases on Friday with 97. Japan’s capital city has now confirmed a total of 684 cases. Portion of famed Paris market repurposed as makeshift morgue Update 6:33 a.m. EDT April 3: A portion of the Rungis food market on the outskirts of Paris has been converted into a temporary morgue to handle the swelling number of novel coronavirus fatalities reported in the region. According to The Washington Post, the Paris Police Prefecture is converting one isolated building in the world’s largest meat and vegetable market into a makeshift morgue, capable of accommodating between 800 and 1,000 coffins. “This location will permit the coffins of the deceased to be kept in the most dignified and acceptable conditions from a health point of view, pending their burial or cremation in France or abroad,” the prefecture said in a statement, circulated widely among French media. According to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, France has recorded at least 59,929 COVID-19 infections since the global pandemic began, resulting in 5,398 fatalities. Libya confirms 1st coronavirus-related death Update 4:35 a.m. EDT April 3: Libya’s National Center for Disease Control confirmed the country’s first novel coronavirus-related fatality in a statement released Thursday. The patient, who was not diagnosed until after hear death, was an 85-year-old woman. According to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the North African nation has reported a total of 11 infections to date. Lenders question Friday rollout of $349B small business coronavirus relief program Update 4:23 a.m. EDT April 3: The $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program is slated to launch today, but banks tapped to disperse the emergency federal small business loans told The Washington Post they are skeptical the plan is rollout-ready. “Having just received guidance outlining how to implement a $349 billion program literally hours before it starts, we would ask for everyone to be patient as banks move heaven and earth to get a system in place and running to help America’s small businesses and the millions of men and women who work at them,” Richard Hunt, president and chief executive officer of the Consumer Bankers Association, said in a statement. The Paycheck Protection Program, considered a key element of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package approved by Congress one week ago, is intended to deliver a “sharply streamlined, same-day approval process unheard of in the history of federally backed small business lending,” the Post reported. Several participating lenders indicated in interviews with the Post as late as Thursday, however, that they are still awaiting finalized program guidelines from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration before processing any applications despite today’s launch date. Amid coronavirus crisis Disney to furlough employees ‘whose jobs aren't necessary at this time’ Update 3:28 a.m. EDT April 3: Walt Disney Co. has officially notified employees that those “whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time” will be furloughed beginning April 19. The global entertainment empire shuttered all 12 of its theme parks on March 12 and has been paying its employees salaries in the interim. Per the latest announcement, those payments will cease on April 18. The company said in its statement it has been “forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees” because there is “no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses.” All furloughed workers will remain employed by Disney and retain their benefits. Mexico’s Grupo Modelo halts production of Corona beer Update 2:54 a.m. EDT April 3: Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo announced late Thursday it will temporarily halt production of Corona beer as the novel coronavirus pandemic pits essential products against those deemed nonessential. In a news release, Grupo Modelo said the move is in response to the Mexican government’s Tuesday directive that suspends temporarily most industries not deemed “essential” services such as health care and agriculture. In turn, the company plans to cease producing its brews on Sunday with no clear timeline outlined for a return to production. Supplies seized from suspected Brooklyn hoarder donated to medical staffs fighting coronavirus Update 2:32 a.m. EDT April 3: Some New York and New Jersey medical personnel are slightly better stocked after a Brooklyn man’s arrest led authorities to a stockpile of hoarded medical supplies, CNN reported. Prosecutors contend in court documents that Baruch Feldheim, 43, sold N95 masks to doctors and nurses at substantially inflated prices. In turn, the roughly 192,000 in-demand respirator masks and assorted other supplies are being redistributed to medical personnel across New York and New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sony launches $100 million global coronavirus relief fund Update 2 a.m. EDT April 3: Sony is preparing to launch $100 million fund to provide global relief to those affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Sony extends its condolences to the families of those who have passed away as a result of the coronavirus crisis and extends its sympathies to all those who have been impacted,” Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement, adding, “In order to overcome the unprecedented challenges that as a society we now face around the world, we will do all we can as a global company to support the individuals on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus the children who are our future, and those who have been impacted in the creative community.' US coronavirus deaths hit 6,053, total cases top 245K Update 12:30 a.m. EDT April 3: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 245,000 early Friday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 245,540 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 6,053 deaths. U.S. cases now more than double the 115,242 reported in Italy and the 112,065 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 2,374 – or roughly 40 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 537 in New Jersey and 417 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 92,720 confirmed cases – or more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 25,590 and California with 11,042. Seven other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • Michigan: 10,791, including 417 deaths • Louisiana: 9,159, including 310 deaths • Florida: 9,008, including 144 deaths • Massachusetts: 8,966, including 154 deaths • Illinois: 7,695, including 163 deaths • Pennsylvania: 7,268, including 90 deaths • Washington: 6,588, including 271 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia and Texas each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections; Connecticut, Colorado and Indiana each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • While everyone is social distancing and self-quarantining, why not pick up a new hobby? Multiple guitar companies are teaching how to play guitar for free. Fender announced three free months of lessons on Fender Play, People magazine reported. The company will teach you how to play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass or ukulele. All you have to do is sign up and find an instrument. At the same time, Gibson is teaming with Amped Guitars to offer free months of online guitar lessons, NME reported. Those companies are using the Amped Guitar Learning app that is currently only available on the Apple App store to learn how to play. The app has lessons and then allows musicians to play with some of the greats like The Beatles, Tom Petty and B.B. King through audio augmented reality technology, NME reported.
  • A North Carolina hospital has set up “mobile morgues” as a precautionary measure as it prepares for the possibility of a large number of deaths because of the coronavirus. Atrium Health confirmed it has set up the “mobile morgues” outside the emergency room at Atrium Health Cabarrus in Concord. Residents were alarmed Thursday at the sight of the two large, white containers. “That’s just not good for people’s morale in a time like this,” Joshua Seeler said. Officials said it is accurate to call them “mobile morgues,” but they stress that the move is precautionary. Hospital officials urged the public to do its part by following social distancing and stay-at-home orders. They said how quickly COVID-19 spreads is directly dependent on the community. Hospital officials said in a statement: 'As part of our ongoing pandemic planning, we are coordinating and working with every hospital in our system to prepare for the anticipated influx of COVID-19 patients in the weeks ahead. 'This includes decreasing non-essential appointments and procedures early on, our emphasis on virtual health visits and identifying extra available space for patients. 'We are also preparing for the possibility there may be a higher number of patients who succumb to COVID-19. 'The extent of how fast COVID-19 will spread, the impact it has, and our ability to serve the community during this state of emergency is directly dependent on how well our community observes the physical distancing and stay-at-home orders in place today. “We continue to urge the community to do their part in flattening the curve. These measures underscore how vitally important it is for the community to observe stay-at-home and physical distancing orders in place.”

The Latest News Videos