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National
Coronavirus updates: Insurers Cigna, Humana waive coronavirus treatment costs
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Coronavirus updates: Insurers Cigna, Humana waive coronavirus treatment costs

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Coronavirus updates: Insurers Cigna, Humana waive coronavirus treatment costs

Nearly 705,000 people worldwide – including more than 135,000 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.

Live updates for Sunday, March 29, continue below:

Insurers Cigna, Humana waive coronavirus treatment costs

Update 11:18 p.m. EDT March 29: Two of the country’s largest health insurance companies said they will waive customers coronavirus treatment costs.

Cigna and Humana said they would cover costs, including hospitalizations, ambulance transfers and co-pays, CNBC reported.

“Our customers with COVID-19 should focus on fighting this virus and preventing its spread,” David Cordani, Cigna president, said in a statement. “While our customers focus on regaining their health, we have their backs.”

The waiver will also include medications and vaccines when they are available, CNBC reported.

“We’re taking this significant action to help ease the burden on seniors and others who are struggling right now. No American should be concerned about the cost of care when being treated for coronavirus,” Bruce Broussard, president of Humana said in a statement.

Michigan Rep. Isaac Robinson dead from suspected coronavirus infection

Update 10:44 p.m. EDT March 29: Michigan state Rep. Isaac Robinson, who represented part of Detroit, died from a suspected coronavirus infection.

He went to the hospital Sunday morning after having trouble breathing the last couple days and died hours later, WXYZ reported.

“He wouldn’t go to the hospital. I kept insisting the last three days. I kept saying, ‘You should go to the doctor, go to the hospital.’ Of course, he resisted,” his mother, Rose Mary Robinson, told Crain’s Detroit Business. “Tough guy.”

Robinson, 44, had not been tested for the coronavirus, Crain’s reported.

Robinson, a Democrat, was elected in 2018. He was serving his first term in the seat previously held by his mother, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer offered her condolences.

“He dedicated his career to ensuring justice and security for those he served, and the impact he had on his community will continue to be felt for years to come,” Whitmer said on social media. “Rep. Robinson will be missed by many, including me. It was an honor to serve the people of Michigan alongside him.”

There are more than 1,500 confirmed cases in Michigan, according to state health officials.

Amazon workers plan strike at New York facility 

Update 8:57 p.m. EDT March 29: Amazon employees at a New York facility plan to walkout Monday amid concerns about safety as the coronavirus spreads.

As many as seven workers have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Staten Island, New York, facility, CNN reported.

“The plan is to cease all operations until the building is closed and sanitized,” Christian Smalls, an assistant manager leading the strike, told CNN. “We’re not asking for much. We’re asking the building to be closed and sanitized, and for us to be paid.”

The strike could involve 50 to 200 employees, CNN reported.

Amazon did not immediately comment.

The Amazon employees are not the first to threaten a strike as the coronavirus spreads.

Instacart shoppers said they will strike Monday after asking for additional compensation and safety precautions.

There are more than 142,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to a Johns Hopkins map.

First person in West Virginia dies from virus

Update 7:39 p.m. EDT March 29: The first person in West Virginia has died from the coronavirus, health officials said Sunday.

An 88-year-old woman from Marion County died, the state Department of Health and Human Resources said in a release. No other details were released.

“We extend our sincere condolences to this family,” department Secretary Bill J. Crouch said in a statement.

West Virginia was the last U.S. state to report a confirmed case. Hawaii and Wyoming are the only states that have no reported coronavirus deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump extends social distancing guidelines another 30 days

Update 6:36 p.m. EDT March 29: President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the federal guidelines for isolating for an additional 30 days in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines were set to expire Monday. Health officials said the rollback would increase transmission of the virus.

Trump said last week he hoped to have the country “reopened” by April 12.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Musician John Prine hospitalized with virus symptoms, ‘critical’ 

Update 5:49 p.m. EDT March 29: Musician John Prine is hospitalized with symptoms of the coronavirus.

He was taken to a hospital Thursday and was intubated Saturday, the Prine family said on social media.

“His situation is critical,” the Prine family said in a statement. “This is hard news for us to share. But so many of you have loved and supported John over the years, we wanted to let you know, and give you the chance to send on more of that love and support now.”

Resident at Maryland nursing home dies from virus

Update 5:36 p.m. EDT March 29: A resident at a Maryland nursing home where an outbreak of the coronavirus infected 66 people has died.

The 90-year-old man was a resident at Pleasant View Nursing Home. He died Saturday, The Associated Press reported.

Health officials said Sunday that the number of cases has not changed. There are still 66 residents who have tested positive and 11 who were hospitalized.

The nursing home is seeing staff shortages, as employees are not coming into work.

No staff member has tested positive.

Country music star Joe Diffie dies from complications caused by virus

Update 4:39 p.m. EDT March 29: Oklahoma-born country music star Joe Diffie died Sunday from coronavirus-related issues, according to his Facebook page.

His family has asked for privacy at this time.

Worldwide cases top 700,000; US cases at 135,000

Update 3:29 p.m. EDT March 29: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus topped 710,000 Sunday, according to the Coronavirus Resources Center at Johns Hopkins University. The number of cases in the United States has now passed 135,000, the website reported.

The total number of cases passed 705,000 worldwide, and more than 33,000 people have died from COVID-19. according to the Resources Center. Sunday morning, the World Health Organization reported 638,146 confirmed cases across 203 countries, with 30,105 deaths.

Moscow mayor issues quarantine order

Update 2:57 p.m. EDT March 29: Moscow’s mayor issued a citywide quarantine starting that will begin Monday, The Washington Post reported.

The stay-at-home order by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin came after the Russian capital’s confirmed cases of coronavirus topped 1,000, the newspaper reported. Residents are allowed to leave their homes for groceries or to pick up medical supplies, the Post reported. People are also allowed to take out their trash or walk their dogs within 100 feet of their residences, the newspaper reported.

Cuomo: Death toll in New York state approaching 1,000

Update 2:02 p.m. EDT March 29: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state’s death toll because of the coronavirus is approaching 1,000, The New York Times reported.

Cuomo put the number of disease-related deaths at 965, an increase from 728 in the last 24 hours, the newspaper reported. The majority of COVID-19 related deaths have occurred in New York City. At a news conference, Cuomo said figures released Sunday morning showed 678 coronavirus deaths in the city, the Times reported.

Justin Trudeau will continue to self-isolate at home

Update 1:33 p.m. EDT March 29: Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, said he will continue to self-isolate at home even though his wife has recovered from the coronavirus, The New York Times reported. Trudeau said he will continue to remain in isolation because he was living with someone who tested positive, the newspaper reported.

Trudeau said his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, took their three children to the prime minister’s summer residence in Harrington Lake, Quebec, the Times reported.

Plane evacuating patient crashes at Manila airport, killing 8

Update 12:34 a.m. EDT March 29: An plane on a medical evacuation mission headed for Tokyo crashed at Manila airport Sunday night, killing all eight people on board, The Washington Post reported. One American, one Canadian and six Filipinos were killed, according to Richard Gordon, the Philippines’ Red Cross chairman and a member of the Senate.

Details of the medical mission were unclear, authorities said.

“There was no confirmation or denial about the situation of the passenger,” Ed Monreal, general manager of Manila International Airport Authority, told the Post.

Mnuchin: Expect stimulus check deposits within 3 weeks from Sunday

Update 11:28 a.m. EDT March 29: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters at the White House that Americans can expect direct deposit of their checks from the stimulus bill in their accounts within three weeks from Sunday, CNN reported. Mnuchin also said small businesses should “Go back and hire your workers because the government is paying you to do that."

“(My) number one objective is now delivering to the American workers and American companies the needed money that will put this economy in a position where it get through the next eight-10 weeks,” Mnuchin said.

Fauci predicts US could have more than 100K deaths

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT March 29: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday the United States could have “millions of cases” of COVID-19 and more than 100,000 deaths, according to an Associated Press report.

Fauci made the prediction while speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday morning. The U.S. is currently reporting more than 124,700 cases and more than 2,100 deaths, the AP reported.

UK announces 209 more deaths in past 24 hours

Update 10:18 a.m. EDT March 29: There have been another 209 coronavirus related deaths in the United Kingdom over past 24 hours, Public Health England said Sunday. That puts the total death toll at 1,228, and there are 19,522 confirmed cases in the UK.

US civil rights office working to prevent discrimination

Update 9:57 a.m. EDT March 29: Roger Severino, the director of the U.S. health department’s civil rights office, said his department is opening investigations to ensure states do not allow medical providers to discriminate in deciding who receives medical care during the coronavirus pandemic. According to The New York Times, the probes will examine whether providers have been discriminated against on the basis of disabilities, race, age or certain other factors.

“Our civil rights laws protect the equal dignity of every human life from ruthless utilitarianism,” Severino said in a statement. People with disabilities “should not be put at the end of the line for health care during emergencies,” the statement said.

Severino told the Times his office had heard from “a broad spectrum of civil rights groups, pro-life groups, disability rights groups, from prominent members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, from ordinary people who are concerned about their civil rights in this time of crisis.”

India’s prime minister apologizes to nation’s poor

Update 9:46 a.m. EDT March 29: India’s prime minister asled the nation’s poor for forgiveness after a nationwide lockdown forced thousands of jobless laborers to walk from cities to their home villages.

“I extend a heartfelt apology to all countrymen,” Narendra Modi said in a nationwide radio address, The Washington Post reported. “When it comes to my underprivileged brothers and sisters, they must be wondering about the kind of prime minister they have, who has pushed them to the brink. My wholehearted apologies, especially to them.”

Modi’s government announced a $22.6 billion stimulus plan Thursday, the newspaper reported.

Vietnam plans to halt incoming flights for 2 weeks

Update 9:28 a.m. EDT March 29: to a government report released Sunday, Vietnam will halt incoming passenger flights over the next two weeks, CNN reported. Flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to other locations will also be reduced, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.

Netherlands rejects 600K defective masks made in China

Update 8:52 a.m. EDT March 29: Health authorities in The Netherlands rejected approximately 600,000 Chinese-made masks from hospitals after learning they did not adequately protect health workers from the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported. Dutch health authorities that represented about half of a recent shipment of 1.3 million masks, according to NOS, the Dutch public broadcaster.

“Due to shortages, we can find ourselves in a situation where the only protective equipment that is available does not meet the highest standards. This is an issue in all countries,” the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport said in a statement to NOS.

The number of people who have tested positive in The Netherlands topped 10,000, the Dutch Ministry of Health said Sunday.

Mexico tells citizens to stay home until April 19

Update 8:41 a.m. EDT March 29: Mexican health authorities asked citizens to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by staying home until April 19, according to CNN. “This can’t be postponed, it is our last chance to do it and do it now," Mexican deputy health secretary Hugo López-Gatell said. "And this requires that we massively restrict ourselves and stay at home.”

Health authorities said there are 848 confirmed coronavirus cases and 16 deaths in Mexico.

Spain reports record-high 838 deaths in one day

Update 7:01 a.m. EDT March 29: Spain has reported that 838 people died from coronavirus in one day, marking a new, grim daily record for the country, officials said Sunday.

According to The Associated PressSpain saw more than 6,500 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, bringing its total number of cases to 78,797.

The country’s 6,528-person death toll is the second-highest worldwide, the AP reportedItaly has reported the highest number of deaths, with 10,023, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Canadian PM Trudeau’s wife recovers from virus

Update 5:36 a.m. EDT March 29: The wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recovered from coronavirus, she announced Saturday.

According to The Associated Press, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau took to Facebook on Saturday night to share the news.

“I wanted to give you all an update: I am feeling so much better and have received the all clear from my physician and Ottawa Public Health,” she wrote. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you to everyone who reached out to me with their well wishes. And to everyone who is suffering right now, I send you all my love.”

>> See the post here

Bonjour mes chers amis, Canadiens et alliés de partout...

Posted by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau on Saturday, March 28, 2020

Gregoire Trudeau tested positive for COVID-19 after she traveled from London back to Canada, her husband’s office said on March 12.

Trudeau and the couple’s three children have been self-isolating and have not noticed any symptoms, the AP reported.

CDC issues travel advisory for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Update 4:46 a.m. EDT March 29: President Donald Trump has decided against seeking a quarantine for New YorkNew Jersey and Connecticut, opting instead to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to issue a strong travel advisory” for the states, he tweeted Saturday night.

“A quarantine will not be necessary,” Trump added.

>> See the tweets here

The advisory, which now appears on the CDC’s website, “urges residents of New YorkNew Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.”

“This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services and food supply,” the advisory reads.

The states’ governors “will have full discretion to implement” the advisory, the website says.

>> See the CDC’s tweets here

Nordstrom partners with furniture store to produce more than 100,000 face masks

Update 3:46 a.m. EDT March 29: After Seattle-based Providence Health put out a global request for more personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses and other health care workers, Washington state manufacturer Kaas Tailored and retail giant Nordstrom partnered together to answer the high demand.

As part of Providence’s 100 Million Mask challenge, Kaas and Nordstrom are producing daily personal face masks and face shields at their facilities. Nordstrom recently partnered with Kaas, a Mukilteo furniture store, to make the masks.

Members of the Nordstrom alteration teams in CaliforniaOregonTexas and Washington will be sewing more than 100,000 masks to be distributed to Providence Health in Seattle. Kaas Tailored typically makes furniture for aerospace clients. Founder Dan Kaas told KIRO-TV earlier this week it didn’t take long to setup an action plan after answering Providence’s call.

“I said, ‘Hey, do you need help?’ and about five minutes later she texted me saying, ‘Yeah, we want to talk.’ And that was Wednesday, and there was a plan put in place by the end of the day,” Kaas said in an interview with KIRO′s Rob Munoz.

In an online video posted to the Kaas Tailored website, Kaas details its new Essential PPE Network Equation, how it’s going about meeting the demands of the mask production and the structure working with other manufactures who also want to help. Kaas Tailored is continuing to make thousands of masks a day, but said it’s working at full capacity and cannot fill new orders at this time.

Providence is referring manufacturers in AlaskaCaliforniaMontanaNew MexicoTexas and Washington that are interested in making PPEs to reach out to Kaas. Manufacturers in other states that want to help make face masks can reach out to the American Hospital Association.

Nordstrom will continue to offer additional support to local partners the Seattle Foundation, YouthCare and Hetrick Martin Institute. Nordstrom is also donating 1% of its gift card sales to support community grants and programs during the coronavirus relief efforts.

Country singer Joe Diffie tests positive for COVID-19

Update 3:08 a.m. EDT March 29: Country music star Joe Diffie has tested positive for coronavirus, he announced on social media.

In a Friday Instagram post, the Grammy Award-winning singer said he's being treated for the virus, which had infected about 665,000 people worldwide and more than 124,000 in the United States by Sunday morning.

"My family and I are asking for privacy at this time," the statement read. "We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic."

>> See the post here


According to The Associated Press, Diffie, 61, is best known for songs such as "Honky Tonk Attitude" and "Third Rock From the Sun." He joins a growing list of celebrities and public figures who have tested positive for COVID-19, including Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba, Harvey Weinstein, Jackson Browne, Placido Domingo, Britain's Prince Charles and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Samaritan’s Purse helps New York amid coronavirus pandemic

Update 2:14 a.m. EDT March 29: The North Carolina-based organization Samaritan’s Purse is now bringing relief to New York amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New York’s hospital system is already overwhelmed with patients.

The group shipped a 68-bed field hospital with a special respiratory care unit Saturday.

The organization said an advanced team got to New York on March 27 to begin assessments and prepare the site.

“People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds and the medical staff are overwhelmed,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We are deploying our emergency field hospital to New York to help carry this burden.”

This comes a week after Samaritan’s Purse opened an identical unit in Cremona, Italy.

U.S. cases soar past 124,000, including more than 2,100 deaths

Update 12:49 a.m. EDT March 29: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 124,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Sunday.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 124,464 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 2,191 deaths. Worldwide, there are 664,695 confirmed cases and 30,847 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 92,472 reported in Italy and the 82,057 confirmed in China.

Of the confirmed deaths, 834 have occurred in New York, 189 in Washington state, 140 in New Jersey and 137 in Louisiana.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 53,520 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 11,124 and California with 5,636.

Four other states have each confirmed at least 4,000 novel coronavirus cases, including:

• Michigan: 4,658, including 112 deaths

• Washington: 4,310, including 189 deaths

• Massachusetts: 4,257, including 44 deaths

• Florida: 4,038, including 56 deaths

Meanwhile, Illinois and Louisiana have confirmed at least 3,000 novel coronavirus infections each, while PennsylvaniaTexasGeorgia and Colorado have confirmed at least 2,000 cases each.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Two people were killed early Monday after a car crashed into a Houston motel and caught fire, authorities said. The vehicle slammed into the Super 8 Motel in northern Harris County near the North Freeway around 1:45 a.m., KTRK reported. The crash left a large hole and extensive damage in the front office of the motel, police said. “The guy went off the road and crashed right into the hotel,” Chris Young, who witnessed the crash, told KRPC. Harris County Precinct 4 investigators said it appeared the car flipped onto its side before hitting the building, according to KHOU. It was not clear if both victims were in the car or staying at the motel, the television station reported. However, some witnesses told KRPC the victims were in the sedan. The motel manager also said the people in the car had been killed, KTRK reported. The motel manager told KTRK that no employees were injured, although a clerk was standing behind the counter when the crash occurred. The manager said the motel’s sprinkler system prevented the fire from spreading, the television station reported. “Once they actually got (the fire) put out, we could see the back portion of the vehicle that was actually in the lobby,” Young told KPRC.
  • An Iowa woman is accused of trying to stab a cat with a kitchen knife and then trying to drown it, authorities said. Rosemary Kay Buelow, 21, of Des Moines, was charged with animal torture in connection with the Sunday morning incident, the Des Moines Register reported. Police officers responded to a call at 2 a.m. Sunday, the newspaper reported. Buelow told police her “aggressive” cat had bitten her while she was showering and she stabbed the animal in self-defense. Des Moines Police Department Sgt. Paul Parizek told the Register. “Officers discovered serious inconsistencies and, upon further investigation, learned that Buelow had stabbed the cat, and then attempted to drown it because she didn’t want to care for it anymore and she did not believe that any shelter would take the cat,” Parizek told the newspaper. According to a criminal complaint, Buelow allegedly stabbed the cat three times in the back before attempting to drown the animal in a bathtub. The condition of the cat was unknown. Buelow was being held at the Polk County Jail on a $2,000 bond, the Register reported.
  • More than 5.4 million people worldwide – including at least 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Monday, May 25, continue below: Maryland company announces experimental vaccine Update 5:07 p.m. EDT May 25: Novavax, a Maryland-based biotechnology company, announced plans to begin enrolling approximately 130 people with a new experimental vaccine against the coronavirus. It is the 10th company worldwide to start human trials of potential vaccines against COVID-19, and the first volunteer is expected to be vaccinated in Australia, CNN reported. The vaccine, called NVX‑CoV2373, produced high levels of neutralizing antibodies in pre-clinical testing, the company said in a statement. “These results provide strong evidence that the vaccine candidate will be highly immunogenic in humans, leading to protection from COVID‑19 and thus helping to control the spread of this disease,” the statement said. Connecticut reports 49 new COVID-19 related deaths Update 4:29 p.m. EDT May 25: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s office issued a statement that said there were 495 new coronavirus cases and 49 deaths. Some of the numbers have been compiled over the last several days to a week, Lamont said. As of 2 p.m. today, the state now has a total of 40,873 cases of coronavirus and 3,742 deaths. On Tuesday, Lamont reported there were 3,693 deaths. At least 706 Covid-19 patients have been hospitalized. Officials respond to Trump’s threat to pull RNC from North Carolina Update 3:55 p.m. EDT May 25: Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina and other officials responded Monday after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention from Charlotte due to the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, WSOC-TV reported. In a series of tweets published Monday, Trump said Cooper must immediately tell organizers whether or not they’ll be able to host the convention as expected from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. “Plans are being made by thousands of enthusiastic Republicans and others to head to beautiful North Carolina in August,” the president wrote. “They must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.” Cooper said Monday that state health officials are working with the Republican National Committee and reviewing their plans for holding the convention, WSOC-TV reported. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,” Cooper said, according to WSOC-TV. As of Monday, 23,964 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in North Carolina. Officials said at least 754 people have died of COVID-19 statewide. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com Most stores in England will be allowed to reopen in June Update 3:40 p.m. EDT May 25: The vast majority of shops in England will be allowed to reopen next month as the government gradually eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said outdoor markets and spacious car showrooms will be allowed to open from June 1 because the likelihood of transmission is low there. Clothes stores, bookshops, tailors, auctioneers and other retailers will follow on June 15, as long as the number of infections continues to fall and the businesses can be made “COVID-19 secure.” The other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — can set their own timetables. Since a nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 23, only shops classed as “essential,” such as supermarkets, have been allowed to operate. Pennsylvania reports lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-March Update 3:35 p.m. EDT May 25: Officials in Pennsylvania on Monday reported the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-March, according to WPXI. Officials with the state Department of Health reported 473 new coronavirus infections Monday, bringing the statewide total to 68,186 cases, WPXI reported. About 61% of those diagnosed have since recovered, according to health officials. As of Monday, 5,139 people have died statewide of COVID-19, WPXI reported. >> Read more on WPXI.com 1,625 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 3:15 p.m. EDT May 25: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,625 new coronavirus infections Monday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 261,184. Officials said that as of 9 a.m. local time, 36,914 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. Nearly 38,000 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana Update 3 p.m. EDT May 25: Officials in Louisiana reported 640 new coronavirus infections Monday, raising the state’s total number of infections to 37,809. The number was far higher than average due to a server issue which delayed reports of positive cases from commercial lab data, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Statewide, at least 2,585 people have died of COVID-19 and at least 28,700 people have recovered from the viral infection, officials said. Patrick Ewing released from hospital after coronavirus diagnosis Update 2:25 p.m. EDT May 25: Basketball Hall of Famer and Georgetown men’s basketball coach Patrick Ewing has been released from a hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, his son said Monday in a post on Twitter. Patrick Ewing Jr. said his father was resting Monday at home and continuing his recovery. “I want to thank all of the doctors and hospital staff for taking care of my father during his stay, as well as everyone who has reached out with thoughts and prayers to us and since his diagnosis,” the younger Ewing said in a post on Twitter. “I hope everyone continues to stay safe and protect yourselves and your loved ones.” The elder Ewing had announced Friday that he was diagnosed with a coronavirus infection. Number of deadly COVID-19 cases continues to fall in Massachusetts Update 2:10 p.m. EDT May 25: Officials in Massachusetts on Monday announced 68 new coronavirus-related deaths in the state, marking the fourth day in a row that the number of new deadly cases has decreased, according to WFXT. As of Monday, at least 6,372 people statewide have died of COVID-19, according to numbers released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Officials said 92,675 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state. >> Read more on Boston25News.com 965 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 2 p.m. EDT May 25: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Monday that 965 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 155,092. Murphy said officials also reported 16 more deaths, much smaller than the number of new daily deaths reported so far in the pandemic. He noted the low number might be due to delayed reporting over the holiday weekend. As of Monday, 11,144 people have died in New Jersey of COVID-19. WHO temporarily pauses review of antimalarial drug touted by Trump in COVID-19 fight Update 1:25 p.m. EDT May 25: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced Monday that the organization has paused a review of the efficacy of an antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump due to concerns over its safety for use in treating novel coronavirus infections. At a news conference Monday, Tedros said the decision was made in light of an observational study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet which found that coronavirus patients who were treated with antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine or a combination of the drugs and an antibiotic were at a higher risk for death. “The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met on Saturday and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally,” Tedros said Monday. “The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust randomized available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug. The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board.' Tedros said other coronavirus drug trials were continuing Monday. “This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloraquine in COVID-19,” Tedros stressed. “I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.” Trump honors fallen soldiers, military members fighting coronavirus pandemic on Memorial Day  Update 1:10 p.m. EDT May 25: President Donald Trump is mourning America’s fallen service members and noting that Memorial Day this year is different from years past. Marking the holiday at Baltimore’s historic Fort McHenry, Trump noted that tens of thousands of service members and national guard personnel are currently “on the frontlines of our war against this terrible virus.” The U.S. leads the world with more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and is approaching 100,000 deaths. Trump said brave warriors from the nation’s past have shown that “in America, we are the captains of our own fate.” Fort McHenry is where a poem written during the War of 1812 became “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The fort is closed to the public because of the pandemic. Trump speaks at Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry Update 12:05 p.m. EDT May 25: President Donald Trump is speaking Monday at a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. 96 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 25: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Monday that 95 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly less than the 109 new fatal cases reported one day earlier. Cuomo said hospitalization rate and the number of patients needing intubations continued to fall Monday, though he stressed that social distancing efforts need to continue. Trump to participate in Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Update 10:25 a.m. EDT May 25: President Donald Trump is set to participate in Monday morning’s wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley are also scheduled to participate. Pence: Republican National Convention will be moved from NC ‘if needs be’ Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 25: Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that the Republican National Convention will be moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to another city “if needs be” due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event is scheduled to begin Aug. 24. “I think the president is absolutely intent on ensuring that as we see our nation continue to make steady progress on putting the coronavirus epidemic in the past that, come this August, we’ll be able to come together in a safe and responsible venue and renominate President Donald Trump for four more years,” the vice president said Monday during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.' His comments came after Trump wrote in a series of messages posted earlier Monday on Twitter that Republicans “must immediately be given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.” The president framed the governor’s decision to keep businesses shut in the state due to the health threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic as a political decision by a Democratic governor. As of Sunday, the last date for which data was available, 23,222 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in North Carolina. Officials said at least 744 people have died. Stay-at-home order protesters plan demonstrations in North Carolina Update 9:05 a.m. EDT May 25: Protesters organized by the group ReOpen NC plan to hold a “Freedom Rally” Monday outside the governor’s mansion in North Carolina, WSOC-TV reported. “It would just be so appropriate to do it on Memorial Day and just really shine a light on honoring our fallen heroes and standing up for freedom right now,” said Ashley Smith of ReOpen NC, according to WSOC-TV. “We just all feel it is more important now -- than many of us have seen in our lifetime.” Protests were also planned for Monday in Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro and Wilmington, WSOC-TV reported. Rally organizers told WTVD that Gov. Roy Cooper’s phased reopening of businesses was hurting the state’s economy. As of Sunday, the last date for which data was available, 23,222 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in North Carolina. Officials said at least 744 people have died. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com Volunteers work in the night to create scaled-back Memorial Day flag garden in Boston Update 7:48 a.m. EDT May 25: A Memorial Day tradition in Boston was made possible by a group of volunteers who worked through the night to honor our fallen heroes, WFXT is reporting. Each Memorial Day for the past decade, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund has planted more than 37,000 flags on Boston Common – one flag for each fallen service member from Massachusetts since the Revolution. The project requires hundreds of volunteers, and due to coronavirus precautions and guidelines, organizers initially canceled the event this year. To keep the tradition alive, a group of 10 volunteers worked carefully overnight to plant 1,000 flags on the common. Each flag in the scaled-back display is 6 feet apart from the others, and organizers hope the smaller spectacle will minimize the number of people who visit the garden. People who plan on stopping by to see the display are asked to wear masks at all times, stay a safe distance away from others and be respectful. In addition to the flag garden, people were encouraged to create their own patriotic displays at home this year and share photos online using the hashtag #HeroesFlagGarden. A Monday morning ceremony at Boston Common will include speakers, a wreath-laying and a rendition of “Taps.” Florida reports lowest number of daily deaths since late March Update 5:04 a.m. EDT May 25: Florida health officials on Sunday reported five new coronavirus-related deaths statewide since Saturday – the lowest day-to-day increase since March 29, records show. According to Orlando’s WFTV, officials also reported 740 additional cases of the virus statewide since Saturday. As of Sunday, the total number of cases in the state was at 50,867, with 2,237 deaths. Read more here. ‘Person of interest’ identified in bias crimes against Asians in Seattle Update 3 a.m. EDT May 25: Police in Seattle are investigating a growing number of crimes targeting Asians during the outbreak. Seattle officers said the attacks started late Saturday afternoon in the heart of Ballard and moved to Golden Gardens Park. They believe one man is responsible for all the incidents. A victim at Golden Gardens Park said the man spat in his face. The workers at Thai Thani Restaurant said the man threw things at them while demanding to know if they are Chinese. “I hear some noise, and I see some guy angry, yelling,' Umboom Moore told Seattle’s KIRO-TV. That was the first time she knew something unusual was happening Saturday night at the restaurant where she works. “Just like some crazy guy,” she said. “So I just started taking pictures.” Her co-worker, Natthiya Chumdee, said he was yelling at her. “Right over there, he smashed the window,” she said. When he asked if she is Chinese, she told him everyone there is Thai. He asked her to kneel and swear to it. “Well, I’m not going to do that,” she said. “He’s starting [to] lose control. And he comes here, and he says, ‘You know, I’m going to slam the door, this table to you.’” The night before, Tonya McCabe got the brunt of his anger. “He said, ‘Are you Chinese?’” she said. “And I said, ‘No, we’re not.’ And he still kept yelling at us. And I said, ‘If you’re not going to leave, I’m going to call 911.’ And then he said, ‘Better [expletive] call 911.’” Just last week, a man was captured on camera shoving an Asian couple as they walked by. They told Seattle police he spat on them, too. The man in these latest attacks is described as white, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, in his mid-20s to mid-30s and is of a muscular build. He was wearing a white shirt and shorts. It is the same suspect description in two attacks at Golden Gardens Park on Saturday night. “I stand back there, and ... yell to him, ‘Get out, leave!’” said McCabe. It has McCabe and the others working at this restaurant finding a different way to get around this city that is now their home. “I’m afraid to like walk on the street or take a bus,” said McCabe. They told KIRO that the man also approached other Asian-owned businesses in the area before apparently heading to Golden Gardens Park. Anyone who recognizes him is asked to call Seattle police. 17-year-old Georgia boy becomes youngest in state to die from COVID-19 Update 2:24 a.m. EDT May 25: The Georgia Department of Public Health said Sunday that a 17-year-old boy has died of the coronavirus, marking the youngest fatality and first pediatric death in the state. Nancy Nydam with the department confirmed the information to Atlanta’s WSB-TV on Sunday. The teen was from Fulton County and had an underlying condition, according to officials. His identity has not been released. More than 1,800 people have died of COVID-19 in Georgia since the outbreak began, with the median age of deaths at 73.6 years old, according to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of COVID-19 in children have typically been less severe, though there has been growing concern and a new warning about a rare condition recently seen in dozens of children nationwide. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta confirmed that a team of infectious disease and cardiology experts are evaluating several cases in metro Atlanta of children who exhibited Kawasaki-like symptoms and inflammation. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta physician specialists stressed that it appears to be a rare finding with a low rate in Georgia. New York health officials have already issued a warning about a rare inflammatory syndrome that has infected at least 64 children in that state. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said they have experts for treating the symptoms regardless of a potential link to COVID-19. Families should contact their doctor or visit an emergency room if their child develops signs of illness such as high fever, rash, red eyes, abdominal pain and swelling of the face, hands or feet. US coronavirus cases top 1.6M, deaths near 98K Update 12:43 a.m. EDT May 25: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 1.6 million early Monday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,643,238 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 97,720 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York, with 361,515 cases and 29,141 deaths, and New Jersey, with 154,154 cases and 11,138 deaths. Massachusetts, with 92,675 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,372, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 110,304. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each. Seven other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 94,020 cases, resulting in 3,754 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,563 cases, resulting in 5,136 deaths • Texas: 55,861 cases, resulting in 1,528 deaths • Michigan: 54,679 cases, resulting in 5,228 deaths • Florida: 50,867 cases, resulting in 2,237 deaths • Maryland: 46,313 cases, resulting in 2,277 deaths • Georgia: 42,902 cases, resulting in 1,827 deaths Meanwhile, Connecticut has confirmed at least 40,468 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota and Tennessee each has confirmed more than 20,000 cases; Washington, Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed more than 14,000 cases; Mississippi, Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases; South Carolina has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by Nevada with more than 7,000; New Mexico and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases, followed by Arkansas with more than 5,000; South Dakota and New Hampshire each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; and Oregon and Puerto Rico each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Events traditionally held on Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend have had to go virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, those in Atlantic Beach thought otherwise. Ten days ago the American Legion Post 129 filed a permit to host their annual Memorial Day Ceremony. Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser says that when the request came in, she thought it was a good move towards recovery for the city. “We looked at this event in years past and the number of people that had come and we know everybody that’s involved in it and we just thought that the risk were really small for there to be a problem. We had really great cooperation in Atlantic Beach, and with the three beach communities, for social distancing. Maybe not everywhere, but certainly with a group like this coming together to honor our fallen heroes for Memorial Day and I had every expectation that people would do the right thing, and you saw it.” The ceremony honored both those who have fallen, but also those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clarence Hill, the President of the Beaches Veterans Memorial Park and the Past National Commander of the American Legion, spoke about the importance this day is as it reminds citizens about the price that freedom costs and how it transcends above politics. “Now during the coronavirus pandemic, the most visible heroes are the health care professionals who are saving others and risking their own lives while doing so. These heroes have much in common with the people we honor today, America’s fallen veterans. They are men and women who have sacrificed their own lives so others could live. They are both elite and ordinary,” Hill said during the ceremony. “They are elite in sense of character, giving your life so others could live is the ultimate definition of selfless. They are ordinary in the fact they represent the diverse fabric of our country. They are rich and poor, black and white, male and female. They come from every ethnicity and background. In short, they look like any one of us. Labels that we hurl today like Democrat, Republican, red state, blue state, matter little while facing minds and machine gun fire while charging a beach. Politics are irrelevant to a family that hear the words ‘we regret to inform you’.” Almost everyone attending the ceremony had a connection someway to the military. Many of the attendees knew each other and have been coming to the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day ceremony for years. Wanda Brandt, the 1st Vice President of the Legion Auxillary Department of Florida says it’s weird to not hug and kiss everyone because they are as close as family. “I find that walking around and doing my little elbow bump and wanting to kiss somebody and just make sure that they are okay is the hardest part,” Brandt said.
  • Officials with the World Health Organization announced the group has temporarily paused its trial of an antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump as a possible treatment for COVID-19 due to concerns over its safety. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the WHO said Monday that the decision was made in light of an observational study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet which found that coronavirus patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine or a combination of either drug and an antibiotic were at a higher risk for death. “The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met on Saturday and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally,” Tedros said Monday. “The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and, in particular, robust randomized available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug.' Tedros said other coronavirus drug trials were continuing Monday. “This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19,” Tedros stressed. “I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.” In the study published in The Lancet, researchers reviewed more than 96,000 COVID-19 cases in which patients were hospitalized between late December and mid-April. The data used for the study, which included 15,000 cases in which patients were treated with either hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine or a combination of the drugs with an antibiotic, came from 671 hospitals on six continents, researchers said. “We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine ... on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19,” researchers said in a summary of their findings. “Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.” Trump has dismissed concerns around the safety of hydroxychloroquine and told reporters last week that he was taking a two-week regiment of the drug to protect himself against a coronavirus infection. The president said he was not advised to take the drug but that he instead requested it himself from the White House physician. Scientists continue to race toward a vaccine for COVID-19, which White House officials have said is expected by the end of the year. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that he was confident a vaccine would be ready in the timeline given by officials. “(The Department of Defense) has the expertise and the capacity of course, to get the manufacturing done and the logistics and I’m confident that we will deliver,” he said during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. The United States has by far the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world with more than 1.6 million reported as of Monday afternoon, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 97,850 people have died of coronavirus infections nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins.

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