On Air Now

Listen Now


Partly Cloudy
H 82° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 82° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    Partly Cloudy. H 82° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    Partly Cloudy. H 84° L 67°

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00


The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00


The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

NTSB weighs survival factors in sinking that nobody survived

NTSB weighs survival factors in sinking that nobody survived

NTSB weighs survival factors in sinking that nobody survived
Photo Credit: NTSB
El Faro's starboard lifeboat showed a "fouled propeller, bent propeller blade, and damage to both sides of the hull" after arriving at Coasst Guard Air Station Miami. The lifeboat was found swamped in the water with nobody on board.

NTSB weighs survival factors in sinking that nobody survived

When El Faro sank in Hurricane Joaquin, none of the 33 people on board survived. It’s a fact that has been a big driver of the investigation, with officials specifically looking in to factors that influenced the survivability of the storm.

More than a year since the ship went down, the NTSB has released a series of factual reports on the sinking, including the Survival Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report that examines the search and rescue efforts and safety systems on board.

FULL COVERAGE: El Faro sinking

WOKV has worked through this report to bring you the new information and how it fits in with what’s been uncovered in the investigation in to the sinking so far.

First notifications

The first call from El Faro’s Captain came at 6:59AM to TOTE’s designated person ashore, where he left a message describing a “navigational incident”. At 7:02AM, the Captain called TOTE’s contracted emergency call center, describing a “marine emergency”.

AUDIO: El Faro Captain’s final shoreside communication

The Captain and DPA were connected at 7:06AM, and while that communication was not recorded, the DPA says they spoke about the blown scuttle, considerable flooding, list, and the ship’s main engine not having power.

At 7:24AM, the DPA contacted the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center, per protocol. Within about 15 minutes, the Search and Rescue operations unit watchstander at Coast Guard Seventh District Command Center in Miami had called back, telling the TOTE rep to start lining up a tow operation and indicating they would continue trying to contact the ship. Numerous efforts to reach El Faro following those initial communications were unsuccessful.

TOTE’s incident command center was stood up in Jacksonville and the American Bureau of Shipping rapid response damage assessment group was established in Houston. Previous testimony in front of the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation that’s also working the sinking showed that there were some data inconsistencies these groups initially dealt with during their response, specifically with cargo loading.

Initial alerts

El Faro was equipped with a number of systems to use in an emergency situation.

At 7:13AM, an Inmarsat-C distress alert was sent with information about the ship, speed, nature of the distress, and more. This alert was routed through Norway to the Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Norfolk, and then down to Miami. The NTSB Electronic Data Group Chairman’s Report says the alert data wasn’t fully passed from Norfolk to Miami, giving an incorrect initial ship position.

The ship security alert system (SSAS) sent two automated alerts. This is a covert alert that’s generally designed for a security situation, like pirates.

Additionally, El Faro’s emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) sent a transmission, which includes registration data about the vessel. This alert did not have GPS data.

Early search and rescue

Coast Guard Miami requested an Air Force hurricane hunter C-130 that was doing Hurricane Joaquin reconnaissance do a fly over of El Faro’s last known position around 10:35AM on October 1st. The aircraft made radio callouts and did a radar search, but had negative results. The storm prevented the plane from getting below 10,000 feet.

The Coast Guard then asked for the assistance of another vessel in the area, the Emerald Express, but the Captain declined because his ship was trying to ride out the storm in the lee of the islands, and felt that moving would expose them. The Captain did make radio callouts, but with negative results.

On the second day, October 2nd, a C-130 from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater took off to conduct a search, but the hurricane- including high winds- continued to hamper their efforts. The weather was so severe, that a fuel leak was discovered on the aircraft when it got back to the base. All additional flights were canceled for the day, because of the danger.

Three Coast Guard H-60 helicopters were deployed to two different locations to support the search once the storm moved. Other assets were readied as well, including two C-130s out of New Jersey and the Coast Guard Cutter Northland.

Further complicating this coordination effort was the fact that two other rescue missions were taking place. The Bolivian ship Minouch was listing 30 degrees after her crane broke loose near Haiti, and the twelve person crew abandoned ship in Tropical Storm conditions on the fringe of Hurricane Joaquin. A stroke patient also had to be medically evacuated from the cruise ship Carnival Pride off North Carolina.

Debris starts surfacing

Even on October 3rd, the search conditions remained “challenging”, with low visibility, hurricane force winds, and high swells. Despite that, a C-130 was able to complete a four-hour search, but had negative results.

An HC-130 aircraft located a debris field off Crooked Island, and an MH-60 helicopter found three life rings, including one stenciled with El Faro. A second debris field was later found with items appearing to be packing material.  In all, seven aircraft from the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard completed a SAR mission on October 3rd, totaling 28 hours.

By October 4th, the Northland arrived on scene and aircraft continued search and rescue, or SAR. Another cutter and three tugs contracted by TOTE arrived later in the morning to further support efforts. El Faro’s sister ship, El Yunque, also searched as it traveled from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico.

El Faro’s starboard lifeboat was found at 3PM, swamped. A rescue swimmer was put in the water, finding heavy damage and nobody on board.  Two life rafts were spotted by a Navy P-8, and while a cutter found one with nobody on board, they couldn’t locate the second one.

GALLERY: Exhibits from the NTSB’s factual reports

Just before 5PM, the Navy P-8 spotted an immersion suit forty nautical miles west-northwest of the ship’s last known position. Around 6:23PM, an MH-60 deployed a rescue swimmer, who found the suit contained human remains in “an advanced stage of decomposition”- to the point that identifying factors like race couldn’t be determined. The crew received a report of another immersion suit that may have had waving arms, so they decided not to recover the remains, and instead to move to the new position. A SAR representative told the MBI that, had they recovered the remains, they would have been required to immediately return to the base, instead of checking the report of another suit, and they determined it was more important to continue the search for survivors.

The crew dropped a “self-locating datum marker buoy” with the remains, but it was later determined the beacon didn’t transmit the position, so the remains were never located again. The second immersion suit could not be located when search crews moved to where it had been reported.

The skies finally cleared October 5th, and crews quickly concluded El Faro had likely sunk. SAR crews began recovering survival equipment, including three lifebuoys. Other debris believed to also belong to the ship included a refrigerated container door, personal flotation device, and dozens of toy dolls.

An empty survival suit was recovered the next day, and another empty suit the day after that.

By the end of the day October 7th, 195,601 square miles had been searched in 50 air and surface missions totaling 274 hours. At that point, the Coast Guard suspended the active search, with no survivors found.

SAR frustrations

The early SAR mission was complicated by the fact that the Coast Guard’s software had been upgraded in July, and continued to be glitchy. SAROPS is used for search planning, and includes the ability to plug in different scenarios and factors. Coast Guard SAR representatives previously told the MBI that the system would lock up, forcing them to reboot their computers, while they instead mapped things out by hand.

The new NTSB report says SAROPS 2.0 was also limited to winds of up to 40 knots and a vessel of up to 300 feet- where El Faro was 790. Additionally, the case file disappeared during their efforts because of issues with computer servers, and there was no built-in backup.

Safety equipment on board

The NTSB report says the survival system- including the lifeboat, davit to lower the lifeboat, winches to recover the lifeboat, and hook to release the lifeboat- was all original equipment to the ship, from the 1970s. One of the lifeboats is mechanically propelled by a manual Fleming gear and the other by a diesel engine, and both are open construction. The report notes these types of lifeboats are only allowed on ships that were built before 1986.

The annual lifeboat inspection in August 2015 tested the boats and launching appliances. The technician signed off across the board- davits, winches, lifeboats, and hooks. There were some areas of corrosion noted, though, and the technician tasked the crew with cleaning that by a November follow-up. He further recommended replacing the freewheel clutches because they were leaking oil, and replacing the starboard winch clutch because it was making a strange noise.

The freewheel clutches were replaced September 28th and 29th, 2015- the day before and the day of El Faro’s final departure- and the work was approved by the technician involved. We learned at the MBI, however, that TOTE never notified ABS or the Coast Guard about the work, meaning it was never properly surveyed as required. The TOTE employee involved says it was “an oversight” to note notify their surveyor. The technician further confirmed to the MBI that, while he was confident in the repair, he didn’t actually see both lifeboats get lowered, which they would generally do as part of the final tests on the repairs.

The starboard lifeboat- which was the open, mechanical design- was recovered during the search and rescue. It was swamped, with a fouled propeller, bent propeller blade, and damage to the port and starboard sides of the hull. The other lifeboat wasn’t found until the second mission searching for El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder, or black box, when it was located on the ocean floor. One end of the lifeboat had been cut off and hasn’t been found, according to the report.

El Faro was required to have three life rafts, but had five on board. The NTSB report says two additional life rafts were put on El Faro’s sister ship, El Yunque, as a precaution because of corrosion to the lifeboat davits, and TOTE decided to add them to El Faro as well “in case a similar situation should arise”. The report says there was a discrepancy between ABS records and life raft inspection records on what type of six-person life raft was on board. The type reported by ABS was apparently removed in May after being damaged by a container.

The transcript of the VDR confirmed, for the first time, that El Faro’s Captain had ordered life rafts be put in the water for the crew to abandon ship. One of the life rafts was located during the search operations, but not recovered. None were found in their stowed positions in the wreckage.

No life preservers were recovered during SAR, although 46 were on board, spread between crew cabins, the bridge, the engine room control station, and the bow. Crews did recover four life preservers, but it was determined they were cargo, not the ones used by crew. 

Only two of the ship’s 56 immersion suits were recovered, one of which was unzipped, had the left arm inside out, and a tear at the right hip seam. The strobe light and whistle were operational, but off.

Ship records show safety tests, like fire drills, took place as scheduled through August, and many of the systems- like the lifeboat radios- were tested. The September records were not available because they were on board at the time of the ship sinking. The NTSB says there was a monthly safety meeting verified in September.

Open lifeboats

There was no specific mention in the VDR transcript of the lifeboats, however protocol to deploy those was included in the abandon ship procedures. The NTSB report says the lifeboat design is capable of being launched at a 15 degree list, which is the condition the Captain reported for the ship ahead of the sinking.

Because of the age of the ship, El Faro’s lifeboats had different standards than those on ships post-1986. For example, the lifeboats had to be able to be deployed at a 15 degree list, whereas the more modern designs are at 20 degrees. Also because of the age of the vessel, El Faro was allowed to have open lifeboats, instead of enclosed.

When El Faro converted from a strictly roll on/roll off operation to Ro/Con- or also using cranes for deck container storage- TOTE successfully petitioned to not have that considered a “major conversion”. Had it been given that classification, the lifeboats would have been held to more modern standard.

The Coast Guard Captain leading the SAR told the MBI he wished the crew would have had an enclosed, self-launching lifeboat. He told investigators the safest place for the crew in those conditions was El Faro, and when that was no longer an option, the enclosed, self-launching lifeboat would have been the safest alternative.

Looking forward

WOKV continues to break down all of the latest information from the NTSB, including reports this week on the engineering history of the ship and electronic data that was recovered in the investigation. Check back tomorrow for new insight on the impact of forecasting errors with this storm.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Nearly 70 people ignored a state ban on social gatherings and attended a funeral in New Jersey, leading to 15 arrests when guests refused to disperse, investigators said. It was the third time in four days that an event in Lakewood was broken up during a statewide quarantine. The Wednesday gathering defied Gov. Phil Murphy’s March 21 stay-at-home order. It’s not the first one police had to break up this week. Police on Sunday broke up a bat mitzvah and charged the hosts with five counts of child endangerment, NBC News reported. Ten people at an engagement party were charged Tuesday after officers found a group of people on the front lawn outside of a Lakewood home where the event was being hosted, NBC News reported. “Can’t believe I have to say this at all, let alone for the second time. But here we are,” Murphy said earlier this week on social media. “No Corona Parties. They’re illegal, dangerous, and stupid. We will crash your party. You will pay a big fine. And we will name and shame you until everyone gets this message into their heads.” There are more than 25,000 confirmed cases and nearly 539 deaths in New Jersey, 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:  2 more federal inmates die of COVID-19, officials say Update 2:15 p.m. EDT April 3: Officials with the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Friday announced two more inmates have died of COVID-19. Authorities said Wallace Holley Jr., a 56-year-old inmate at the Federal Correction Institution Oakdale I in Oakdale, Louisiana, died Thursday. Officials said Holley, who had long-term,pre-existing medical conditions, tested positive for COVID-19 prior to his death. Margarito Garcia-Fragoso, a 65-year-old inmate at Federal Satellite Low Institution Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio, also died Thursday after he tested positive for COVID-19. He also had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions, officials said. COVID-19 cases top 10,000 in Louisiana Update 1:55 p.m. EDT April 3: Health officials in Louisiana reported 1,157 new coronavirus infections Friday, raising the state’s total number of cases to 10,297. Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health also noted the death toll attributed to the coronavirus doubled from the 185 reported Thursday to 370. IMF official: Recession caused by coronavirus ‘a crisis like no other’ Update 1:50 p.m. EDT April 3: The head of the International Monetary Fund says the recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is “way worse” than the 2008 global recession. IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva described the situation as “a crisis like no other.” “Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill,” she said. “We are now in recession, it is way worse than the global financial crisis and it is a crisis that requires all of us to come together.' Georgieva said 90 countries have already approached the institution for emergency financing. She called on countries to prioritize health expenditures and to make sure doctors, nurses and other health workers are paid. She added that the world’s most fragile countries must be protected, noting that “$90 billion have flown out” and damaged emerging economies. 4,372 new coronavirus cases reported in New Jersey Update 1:40 p.m. EDT April 3: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Friday that 4,372 new COVID-19 cases have been reported, bringing the statewide total to 29,895. In addition, Murphy said 113 new fatal coronavirus cases were identified. In all, 646 people have died of COVID-19 in the state. Murphy identified one of the victims as James Brown, the principal of Grover Middle School in Caldwell. He was 48 years old. CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin tests positive for COVID-19 Update 1:15 p.m. EDT April 3: CNN reporter Brooke Baldwin announced Friday on Instagram that she’s been diagnosed with COVID-19. “I am OKAY,” she wrote Friday. “It came on suddenly yesterday afternoon. Chills, aches, fever. I’ve been social distancing. Doing ALL the things we’re being told to do. Still -- it got me.” She said she has no underlying health conditions and that overall, she feels “like one of the lucky ones.” “I look forward to being back on (television) and seeing you real soon,' she wrote. She also thanked health care workers for their efforts on the front line of the coronavirus battle. Baldwin is at least the second CNN anchor to test positive for coronavirus. Earlier, reporter Chris Cuomo said he was self-isolating after being diagnosed with the viral infection. Special small business loans available beginning Friday Update 1:10 p.m. EDT April 3: 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. 109 new coronavirus cases reported in Oklahoma Update 12:45 p.m. EDT April 3: Officials in Oklahoma said 109 new coronavirus infections were reported Friday, raising the total number of cases in the state to 988, according to KOKI-TV. Four new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported in the state, bringing Oklahoma’s COVID-19 death toll to 38. The four new fatal cases involved patients who were all over 65 years old. 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.
  • Researchers at a Michigan university believe they have discovered a way to decontaminate face masks, which have been in short supply -- bake them. Scientists at Michigan State University are using commercial ovens to effectively clean N95 face masks -- a process that appears to be working, the Lansing State Journal reported. “I think we have a duty and obligation to use those resources in any way we can in this moment,” university extension director Jeff Dwyer told the State Journal. 'We need to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things and push for solutions. Then this becomes an instance that we believe the decontamination of N95 masks … will be one of the important components of saving the lives of patients who have COVID-19 and the lives of the health care providers taking care of them.” The school hopes to start using the process next week to help medical facilities decontaminate face masks for health care workers.
  • 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.

The Latest News Videos