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Coronavirus live updates: 11 veterans die after coronavirus outbreak at state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts

Coronavirus live updates: 11 veterans die after coronavirus outbreak at state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts

‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ songwriter Alan Merrill dies of complications from coronavirus

Coronavirus live updates: 11 veterans die after coronavirus outbreak at state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts

At least 722,000 people worldwide – including more than 142,000 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 Monday, March 30, continue below:

11 veterans die after coronavirus outbreak at state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts

Update 10:40 p.m. EDT March 30: Eleven veterans are dead after a coronavirus outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, a state-run veterans care facility in Massachusetts.

Five of the victims had COVID-19 and health experts are still waiting for test results on the others.

Eleven additional veterans have tested positive for coronavirus.

Five staff members have also tested positive, and another 25 are awaiting results.

The National Guard has been requested to support on-site testing for the residents and expedite the results.

The Soldiers Home superintendent has been placed on administrative leave.

Utah medical group retracts on malaria drugs for coronavirus

Update 10:40 p.m. EDT March 30: A Utah medical association has rescinded a recommendation it made last week on behalf of state health officials for doctors to treat coronavirus patients using malaria drugs that medical professionals across the country have cautioned against using until more testing is done.

The about-face by the Utah Medical Association came after a group of infectious disease doctors pushed back over the weekend against the Friday guidance.

The association said in the first email sent Friday that chloroquine and a similar drug, hydroxychloroquine, had shown “promising data for affecting the course of COVID-19” and that their recommended use was being made at the suggestion of the Utah Department of Health. The association also recommended combining them with zinc.

The association reversed positions in a follow-up email Sunday in which it said the Utah Department of Health had withdrawn the previous guidance after “much collaborative discussion” and based on “a lack of convincing evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of off-label use of hydroxycholorquine.”

Michelle McOmber, CEO of the Utah Medical Association, declined to answer any questions about what led to the change and instead sent only a statement Monday.

“Things are rapidly changing on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. We are doing all that we can to help share the latest information and recommendations to help providers do their jobs and take care of patients,” McOmber said. “We are working to get information out as quickly as possible to help in this crisis and will continue to update and give information that we receive as soon as practicable to help providers on the front lines.”

Pentagon confirms first US service member death

Update 8:50 p.m. EDT March 30: A New Jersey Army National Guardsman that tested positive for COVID-19 passed away Saturday, according to the Pentagon. Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, a physician assistant, had been hospitalized since March 21.

“This is a stinging loss for our military community,” Esper says in a release, “and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community. The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

US death toll surpasses 3,000

Update 7:50 p.m. EDT March 30:  The death toll due to COVID-19 has risen to over 3,000 Monday evening according to John Hopkins University.

Arizona governor issues stay-at-home order

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT March 30: Arizona Doug Ducey on Monday imposed a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus that will take effect at the close of business on Tuesday.

But he said grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services will remain open, restaurants will continue takeout service and the order doesn’t prevent people from going to work, medical appointments or seeking other essential services. He also discouraged hoarding.

Judges slow abortion bans in Texas, Ohio

Update 7 p.m. EDT March 30: A federal judge Monday temporarily blocked Texas’ efforts to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic, handing Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers a victory as clinics across the U.S. filed a wave of lawsuits to stop states from trying to shutter them during the outbreak.

A new Ohio order is also unconstitutional if it prevents abortions from being carried out, a separate judge ruled Monday. The ruling instructed clinics to determine on a case-by-case basis if an abortion can be delayed to maximize resources — such as preserving personal protective equipment — needed to fight the coronavirus. If the abortion is deemed necessary and can’t be delayed, it’s declared legally essential.

Taken together, the rulings were signs of judges pushing back on Republican-controlled states including abortion in sweeping orders as the outbreak grows in the U.S. In Texas, the ruling came down after state Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said abortion was included in a statewide ban on nonessential surgeries.

But U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the “Supreme Court has spoken clearly” on a woman’s right to abortion. One abortion provider in Texas, Whole Woman’s Health, said it had canceled more than 150 appointments in the days after the Texas order went into effect.

Trump defends extending virus guidelines

Update 6 p.m. EDT March 30: Siding with public health experts’ dire projections, President Donald Trump on Monday defended his decision to extend restrictive social distancing guidelines through the end of April, while bracing the nation for a coronavirus death toll that could exceed 100,000 people.

“Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days,” Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference. He called refraining from public outings “our shared patriotic duty” during the outbreak.

The comments came a day after Trump made a dramatic course reversal and announced that he would not be moving to ease the guidelines and get the economy back up and running by Easter, as he said last week he hoped to do.

New York virus death toll rises above 1,200

Update 5 p.m. EDT March 30: As the Navy hospital ship docked in New York City on Monday as the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the state soared to a “beyond staggering” 1,218.

The 1,000-bed USNS Comfort will be used as a “relief valve,” treating non-coronavirus patients while the city’s increasingly stressed hospitals handle people with COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

New York is bracing for an escalation in hospitalizations and deaths in April as the outbreak’s projected “apex” closes in. Cuomo noted the statewide death toll has already shot up by 253 in a single day to just over 1,200.

UN official concerned about COVID-19 in Syria

Update 4:35 p.m. EDT March 30: The U.N. humanitarian chief is warning that the 10 cases of COVID-19 and one death confirmed in Syria are just “the tip of the iceberg” and judging from other countries “a devastating impact” can be expected on vulnerable communities.

Mark Lowcock told the U.N. Security Council that “all efforts to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 are impeded by Syria’s fragile health system,” noting only around half of the country’s hospitals and primary health care facilities were fully functional at the end of 2019.

He said efforts to prevent and combat the virus are also are impeded by high levels of population movement, challenges to obtaining critical supplies including protective equipment and ventilators, and difficulties of isolating in crowded camps for the displaced with “low levels of sanitation services.”

Pentagon orders additional 8,000 ventilators

Update 4:15 p.m. EDT March 30: The Pentagon has ordered an additional 8,000 ventilators, with delivery of the first 1,400 by early May. The $84.4 million order was placed with several suppliers under existing Defense Logistics Agency contracts.

A Pentagon spokesman, Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Andrews, identified the four suppliers as Zoll, Combat Medical, Hamilton Medical, and VyAire. Andrews said delivery locations will be prioritized by FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services. These are in addition to the 2,000 ventilators that the Pentagon previously said it would make available to FEMA from Defense Department stockpiles.

Cardinal close to Pope tests positive for virus

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT March 30: Pope Francis’ vicar for Rome has tested positive for the coronavirus in the first case of a cardinal close to the pope known to be infected.

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis had been in touch with Francis in recent weeks over the cardinal’s initial decision to close all Rome churches in line with an Italian government shutdown decree. De Donatis reversed himself after Francis intervened and allowed diocesan churches to remain open for individuals to pray.

The pope is technically bishop of Rome, but he delegates the day-to-day running of the diocese to his vicar, De Donatis, 66. The Rome church said De Donatis was in good condition at Rome's Gemelli hospital and was receiving antiviral treatment.

The Holy See has said six people have tested positive for the virus in the Vatican, none of them the pope or his closest advisers.

San Francisco to order residents indoors until May

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT March 30: Mayor London Breed of San Francisco said Monday that an order barring residents from leaving their homes for less-than-essential reasons will be extended until at least May 1.

The order, which went into effect March 17, had originally been scheduled to end on April 7.

“We’re working to slow the spread of coronavirus in San Francisco, but we know that the challenges we face are going to get tougher," Breed said Monday in a statement posted on Twitter.

Kohl’s extends store closures, furloughs employees

Update 3:40 p.m. EDT March 30: Officials with the department store chain Kohl’s on Monday announced an indefinite extension of the company’s store closures due to the continued threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Company officials also announced a temporary furlough of store associates, store distribution center associates and some corporate office associates “whose work has been significantly reduced by the store closures.” Kohl’s will continue to provide health benefits to affected employees.

“It is an incredibly difficult decision to extend our store closures and temporarily furlough some of our associates,” Kohl’s chief executive officer, Michelle Gass, said Monday in a statement. “We look forward to the day that we can reopen our stores to welcome our associates back and serve the millions of families across the country that shop Kohl’s.”

Italy to remain under lockdown until at least mid-April

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT March 30: Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Italy will follow the recommendation of scientists and extend a nationwide lockdown at least until April 12.

The lockdown decree currently runs until April 3, and doctors and other health experts have been cautioning that Italy’s cases of COVID-19 haven’t reached their peak yet, despite some encouraging numbers.

Speranza says the national scientific technical committee recommended “extending the containment measures at least until Easter,” April 12. He added: “The government will move in this direction.”

Italy has more than 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and nearly 11,600 deaths of infected persons.

First coronavirus cases reported in Botswana

Update 3 p.m. EDT March 30: Lemogang Kwape, the health minister for Botswana, said on state television Monday that health officials have recorded the country’s first three COVID-19 cases, according to Reuters.

Kwape said the patients were in quarantine Monday. They had recently traveled to Britain and Thailand, Reuters reported.

3,347 new COVID-19 cases reported in New Jersey

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in New Jersey said the number of novel coronavirus cases detected in the state rose Monday by 3,347.

The numbers announced Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey to 16,636, the second-highest number in the United States. The only state with more cases of COVID-19 is New York, where 66,497 people have tested positive for the viral infection.

In addition, Murphy said 37 people have died in New Jersey of COVID-19, bringing the state’s coronavirus death toll to 198. Among the victims was New Jersey National Guard Capt. Douglass Linn Hickok, a drilling guardsman and physician’s assistant.

Pennsylvania governor orders schools closed indefinitely

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced schools across the state would be closed indefinitely amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, WPXI reported.

The governor also expanded his previously issued stay at home order to include more counties. The order, which bars people from leaving their homes except for essential activities, will be in effect until April 30, according to WPXI.

Virginia governor issues ‘stay at home’ order

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia issued an order Monday instructing residents to stay home as officials work to curb the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, WTVR-TV reported.

Like similar orders issued in recent days across the country, the order will allow for people to leave their homes only for essential activities, such as grocery shopping.

“Please stay home as much as possible,” Northam said Monday, according to WTVR-TV. “This is a community-wide effort and I thank you for complying. This is a time of sacrifice. We need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly.”

US State Department continuing with repatriation

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT March 30: State Department officials said they have successfully arranged the repatriation of some 25,000 American citizens stranded abroad in more than 50 countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Department officials said they are continuing to ramp up evacuation efforts and that more than 100 flights for U.S. citizens have been scheduled for the coming weeks. About 9,000 Americans have registered for those upcoming flights and there is still space available on many.

Many of those stranded are in Latin American countries, notably Peru, where some Americans have been quarantined by authorities.

Meanwhile, department health officials said there are 75 confirmed coronavirus cases among employees at the 220 U.S. embassies. Inside the United States, the officials said there are 30 confirmed cases of the virus at State Department offices in nine cities.

Rhode Island schools to be closed through April

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island on Monday announced the state’s public schools will remain closed through the end of April in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus, WPRI-TV reported.

The governor also announced the state’s fourth death connected to COVID-19. She said 114 new coronavirus cases were identified, bringing the state’s total to 408, according to WPRI-TV.

“We believe we’re in a fast spread of the virus at this point in Rhode Island,” Raimondo said Monday, according to the news network.

‘What is happening in New York is not an anomaly,’ governor says

Update 1:35 p.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York cautioned Americans on Monday against believing the disproportionate amount of COVID-19 cases reported in the state will be confined to the area.

“No American is immune,” Cuomo said Monday at a news conference. “What is happening in New York is not an anomaly.”

As of Monday afternoon, 66,497 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, by far the highest number of recorded cases in the U.S. The second highest number of cases have been reported in New Jersey, where 13,386 people had tested positive for the viral infection as of Monday.

Cuomo said the numbers released Monday include 9,517 people who are currently hospitalized because of COVID-19 in New York state. Cuomo said 2,352 patients were in intensive care units.

Officials have discharged 4,204 patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus, according to authorities.

34 new COVID-19 deaths reported in Louisiana

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in Louisiana reported 34 new deaths connected to the 2019 novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 185.

Officials said 4,025 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state as of noon local time Monday.

Minor dies of COVID-19 in New York City

Update 12:55 p.m. EDT March 30: Officials with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Monday announced the death of a minor due to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Officials did not provide the minor’s exact age, although they said in a data report that he or she had underlying medical conditions. The minor is the first believed to have died in New York City of the coronavirus.

Globally, few minors have died due to COVID-19, which health officials say tends to disproportionately affect older generations. On Saturday, officials in Illinois said an infant died of COVID-19. Earlier in the month, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a 10-month-old infant died in China from the viral infection.

4 more deaths, 126 more COVID-19 cases reported in Georgia

Update 12:50 p.m. EDT March 30: Officials in Georgia said that as of noon Monday, 2,809 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, up 126 from the number of cases reported Sunday night, WSB-TV reported.

Officials said four more deaths have also been reported, bringing Georgia’s total death toll connected to the novel coronavirus to 87, according to WSB-TV.

The youngest person to die of the illness in Georgia was 29 years old. Dougherty County has reported the most deaths at 17 victims. The median age of people who have died from the virus is 68.

More than 100,000 COVID-19 cases reported in Italy

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 30: Reports of the 2019 novel coronavirus have topped 100,000 in Italy, making the nation the second to have case numbers in the six-digit range.

Officials with the Italian Ministry of Health said Monday that 101,739 coronavirus cases have been reported in the country. Authorities said 11,597 people have died in the country of the viral infection while 14,620 people have recovered.

The numbers put Italy second only to the United States in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In the U.S., more than 144,000 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed as of Monday afternoon, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

693 new coronavirus cases reported in Pennsylvania

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in Pennsylvania announced 693 new novel coronavirus cases in the state Monday, according to WPXI-TV.

The new cases bring the total number of viral infections to 4,087 in the state, WPXI-TV reported. In addition to the new cases, 11 more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 49.

USNS Comfort arrives in New York

Update 12 p.m. EDT March 30: A Navy hospital ship has arrived in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping New York City’s hospitals.

The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours. It's expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19.

New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported Sunday that its toll had risen to 776.

Macy’s to furlough most employees due to COVID-19 pandemic

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT March 30: Officials with Macy’s Inc. announced Monday that the company will furlough most of its 125,000 employees as the country reels from the economic impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

The company previously announced a closure of all of its stores, including Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, beginning March 17. Company officials said they would focus on supporting the company’s online retail.

“While the digital business remains open, we have lost the majority of our sales due to the store closures,” officials said Monday in a news release. “Across Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury brands, we will be moving to the absolute minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations. This means the majority of our colleagues will go on furlough beginning this week.”

Macy’s Inc. will continue to provide health care coverage for furloughed employees through at least May.

“We expect to bring colleagues back on a staggered bases as business resumes,” company officials said.

Mnuchin says small businesses could get directions for coronavirus relief Monday

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT March 30: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business News that owners of small businesses could see instructions for filing for federal aid beginning as soon as Monday.

“These loans will be available starting on Friday,” Mnuchin said in an interview Monday with Fox Business News. “We hope later today we’ll be releasing the documents and instructions."

Krispy Kreme giving free doughnuts to health care workers

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Company officials have announced that beginning Monday, Krispy Kreme will give away a dozen of its Original Glazed doughnuts for health care workers through May 11.

“Just go to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru, tell us what you need and show us your employer badge,” Krispy Kreme officials said in a news release. “That’s it. Pick up some free dozens on the way to work for you and your colleagues, or maybe a free dozen on your way home to family after a long shift.”

Maryland governor issues ‘stay at home’ order for state

Update 11:10 am. EDT March 30: Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland announced Monday that he signed a “stay at home” order for the state amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The governor announced the order, which bars residents from leaving their homes for less-than-essential reasons, as health personnel in the state deal with 1,413 confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus. Hogan said the cases include a month-old infant who has been diagnosed with the viral infection.

“No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it’s for an essential job or an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or other essential purposes,” Hogan said.

Fifteen people have died of COVID-19 in Maryland, according to officials.

Governor announces ‘safer at home’ order for southeast Florida

Update 11 a.m. EDT March 30: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida announced Monday that he plans to sign a “safer at home” order for four counties in the southeast of the state which account for 60 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases, according to WPLG.

The order will ensure the area, including Palm Beach and Monroe counties, is 'operating under the same sheet of music," DeSantis said, WPLG reported.

DeSantis also announced Monday that he plans to sign an order allowing for retired law enforcement and medical professionals to return to join the fight against the novel coronavirus, WJAX-TV reported.

Trump presses need for extra month of social distancing

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT March 30: A day after changing course and moving to extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April to fight the coronavirus, President Donald Trump told Fox News that Americans must do their part to help hold down the number of deaths from the virus outbreak.

“It’s hard work to stay in place, to distance yourself,” the president said in a Monday morning phone call to “Fox and Friends.”

“And hopefully, we will keep the deaths down to a minimum,” Trump said. On Sunday, the president told Americans that if his administration can keep deaths from the virus to 100,000, that would be a “good job.”

USNS Mercy begins accepting patients in Los Angeles

Update 10:25 a.m. EDT March 30: A floating U.S. Navy hospital began accepting its first patients Sunday after docking in Los Angeles to help relieve the strain on hospitals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The men and women embarked on board Mercy are energized, eager, and ready to provide relief to those in need,” Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy’s Military Treatment Facility commanding officer, said Sunday in a news release.

The ship is one of two U.S. Navy hospital ships deployed to support hospitals grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak. Personnel on the ship and on the USNS Comfort, which docked Monday morning in New York City, will treat non-coronavirus patients to ease the strain on local hospitals.

Vincent van Gogh painting stolen from museum closed due to COVID-19 outbreak

Update 10:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Officials with the Singer Laren museum in Amsterdam said Monday that a painting by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh had been stolen in an overnight raid. The museum had been closed to help stymie the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reported Van Gogh’s “Spring Garden” was taken early Monday.

Spain surpasses China with more than 85,000 coronavirus cases

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT March 30: Numbers released Monday by Spanish health officials show the country has overtaken China in the number of reported COVID-19 cases.

According to authorities, 85,195 novel coronavirus cases have been reported in Spain, making it the country with the second-most cases in the world. Chinese health officials have reported 82,356 cases, according to the World Health Organization. In the country with the most number of COVID-19 cases, the United States, 143,055 coronavirus cases have been reported, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In Spain, 7,340 people have died of COVID-19. The number makes Spain the country with the second-highest number of reported deaths behind Italy, which has reported more than 10,000 fatal infections.

Prince Charles ends isolation period for virus

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT March 30: Prince Charles has ended his period of isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The prince’s Clarence House office says Charles is in good health after completing the seven-day quarantine recommended by U.K. health authorities for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Royal officials said last week the 71-year-old heir to the British throne was showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and self-isolating at the royal family’s Balmoral estate in Scotland. His wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative but will be in self-isolation until the end of the week.

Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth II, 93, is at her Windsor Castle home west of London with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip.

Saudi Arabian health officials report 154 new COVID-19 cases

Update 9:45 a.m. EDT March 30: Officials in Saudi Arabia announced 154 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,453.

According to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health, health personnel have linked 16 of the new cases to travel. Officials said 138 cases stemmed from direct contact with a person previously diagnosed with COVID-19.

Eight people have died of the 2019 novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia.

93 new coronavirus deaths reported in the Netherlands

Update 9:35 a.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in the Netherlands recorded 93 new deaths related to the 2019 novel coronavirus on Monday, raising the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 864.

Officials with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment also reported 884 new COVID-19 cases. Health authorities have reported 11,750 coronavirus cases in the country so far. Of those cases, 3,990 have prompted hospital admissions.

USNS Comfort to arrive in New York on Monday

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT March 30: The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy floating hospital, is set to arrive in New York on Monday to help relieve the pressure on hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The ship was scheduled to dock around 10 a.m., according to WNBC. Officials said they expected to begin taking patients 24 hours after the ship’s arrival.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said Sunday that the ship “will right away be making a difference.”

“We are so, so grateful to the Navy, to the military that this new help will be arriving in our city,” he said.

The ship, staffed with more than 1,100 Navy medical personnel and support staff along with over 70 civil service mariners, will be open to patients who are not infected with COVID-19.

Field hospital being built in New York’s Central Park

Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 30: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced Sunday that officials are building a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park to help respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re adding hospital beds,” de Blasio said Sunday. “You’ll see an unusual sight in Central Park. We’re working with Mount Sinai (Health System) to open a field hospital in Central Park’s East Meadow.”

Officials said the 68-bed hospital will begin to accept patients from Mount Sinai Hospital on Tuesday.

Trump weighs in on coronavirus response in new interview

Update 8:38 a.m. EDT March 30: President Donald Trump weighed in on the coronavirus pandemic in a Monday morning interview with “Fox and Friends.”

When asked whether the country has enough equipment to deal with the crisis, he pointed to efforts to build a 2,900-bed mobile hospital and medical centers in New York City, and said “massive planeloads” of deliveries and thousands of ventilators were on the way.

"We're delivering so much equipment, nobody's ever really seen anything like it," he said, touting his relationship with governors of states that have been hit hard by the virus.

Trump said he expected the pandemic to peak in the U.S. “around Easter,” and by June 1, “the deaths will be at a very low number.”

He said that he reassessed his initial "15 days to slow the spread" plan after listening to advice from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah L. Birx.

“We picked the end of April as the day where we can see some real progress,” he said of the new timeline to continue social distancing through April 30.

He added that if the government hadn't "shut [the economy] down," up to 2.2 million people here could have died from the virus.

Trump also said new, rapid coronavirus tests could be available as soon as this week.

Additionally, he slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticism of his response to the outbreak, calling her "a sick puppy."

“I think it’s a disgrace to her country, her family,” he said.

Israeli prime minister self-isolating after possible coronavirus exposure

Update 8:30 a.m. EDT March 30: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was self-isolating Monday after one of his aides tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

Officials told Reuters that Netanyahu was scheduled to take a coronavirus test Tuesday. He previously tested negative for COVID-19 on March 15, according to Reuters.

Officials said in a statement obtained by CNN that Netanyahu’s doctor would determine when to end the self-isolation.

Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for 2021

Update 8:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Organizers announced Monday that the Tokyo Olympics, which had been set to take place over the summer, have been rescheduled for 2021.

Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.

“The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games," Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.”

Adviser to British PM Boris Johnson experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolating

Update 7:26 a.m. EDT March 30: Just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he tested positive for coronavirus, one of his chief advisers is experiencing symptoms and has decided to self-isolate.

According to The Associated Press, Dominic Cummings said he started feeling sick over the weekend and has been staying at home.

Meanwhile, Johnson took to Twitter on Monday morning to say he’s “been working from home and continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus."

>> See the tweet here

FDA issues ‘emergency use authorization’ of anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment

Update 6:45 a.m. EDT March 30: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an “emergency use authorization" to allow two anti-malaria drugs donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to possibly be used to treat coronavirus patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in a news release Sunday.

HHS said it “accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals" on Sunday.

The authorization allows the donated drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” the release said.

In addition, the authorization “requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including the known risks and drug interactions,” according to the FDA’s website.

Read more here or here.

New York City to fine people who violate social-distancing rules

Update 5:20 a.m. EDT March 30: New York City will fine those who fail to follow social-distancing guidelines, officials said.

According to WPIX-TV, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the news in a Sunday news conference.

“We’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” he said, adding that people could face fines of $250 to $500 if they continue to violate the rules after receiving a warning from police.

The city has already shut down nonessential businesses and instructed to residents to stay inside when possible, WPIX reported.

Budget airline EasyJet grounds entire fleet

Update 4:32 a.m. EDT March 30: British airline EasyJet announced that it is grounding all of its 344 planes amid the coronavirus pandemic, ITV is reporting.

According to CNN, the budget carrier’s decision takes effect Monday.

“At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights,” the Luton-based airline said in a statement.

The carrier tweeted Monday that entitlements for customers whose flights were canceled “are available for up to a year after your flight was originally due to depart.”

>> See the tweets here

'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' songwriter Alan Merrill dies of complications from virus

Update 3:23 a.m. EDT March 30: Alan Merrill, best known for writing the hit song “I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” died Sunday morning after experiencing coronavirus complications. He was 69.

According to USA Today, Merrill’s daughter, Laura, said in a Facebook post that her father died at a New York City hospital.

“I was given two minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out,” she wrote of Merrill, who also was a guitarist and vocalist. “He seemed peaceful, and as I left, there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn’t be a ticker on the right-hand side of the CNN/Fox News screen.”

She said she walked home and received the news of his death by the time she reached her apartment.

“I’ve made a million jokes about the ‘Rona’ and how it’ll ‘getcha’ ... boy, do I feel stupid,” she continued. “If anything can come of this, I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying. You don’t think it’ll happen to you or your strong family. It has.”

>> See the post here

I’ve been trying to sleep but I can’t. I woke up normally yesterday with the world at my feet and now today I lay here...

Posted by Laura Merrill on Sunday, March 29, 2020

″I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was originally released by the Arrows, a band Merrill was part of, in 1975, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” Seven years later, rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released a version of the song, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the outlet reported.

Jett took to Twitter to pay tribute to Merrill on Sunday, sending “thoughts and love” to his loved ones and the music community.

“I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,” Jett wrote. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.”

>> See the tweet here

News of Merrill’s death came the same day that country music star Joe Diffie died from the virus, “ET” reported.

Costco to temporarily change store hours

Update 1:31 a.m. EDT March 30: In an effort to help protect its customers, Costco announced it will temporarily implement new weekday closing hours for its locations nationwide.

Beginning Monday, all its warehouses will close at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and its gas stations will close at 7 p.m.

However, it said some specific locations’ hours would be different.

The wholesale giant said its weekend hours would remain the same.

For its members ages 60 and older and those with physical impairments, Costco has special operating hours from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Costco said it has made some temporary department changes to create more space for social distancing and is following CDC recommendations to minimize risk to its members and employees.

Beginning Monday, March 30, U.S. Costco locations will temporarily implement new weekday closing hours. We will close at...

Posted by Costco on Thursday, March 26, 2020

U.S. cases soar past 142,000, including more than 2,500 deaths

Update 12:39 a.m. EDT March 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 142,000 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 142,502 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 2,506 deaths. Worldwide, there are 722,435 confirmed cases and 33,997 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 97,689 reported in Italy and the 82,149 confirmed in China.

Of the confirmed deaths, 966 have occurred in New York, 200 in Washington state, 161 in New Jersey and 151 in Louisiana.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 59,746 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 13,386, California with 6,284 and Michigan with 5,488.

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

• Massachusetts: 4,955, including 48 deaths

• Florida: 4,950, including 60 deaths

• Illinois: 4,596, including 66 deaths

• Washington: 4,493, including 200 deaths

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • More than 5.8 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.7 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 Friday, May 29, continue below:  Tyson Foods shuts down 7th meatpacking facility amid latest coronavirus outbreak Update 2:53 a.m. EDT May 29: Tyson Foods shut down its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant temporarily, following the latest novel coronavirus outbreak to infect the company’s operations. Citing a “delay in COVID-19 testing results” as a partial reason for the facility’s idling, the company issued a statement attributing the shutdown to “team member absences related to quarantine and other factors” as well. According to the Des Moines Register, 555 of the Storm Lake plant’s 2,517 employees have tested positive for the virus. The two-day stoppage is intended to allow for deep cleaning and sanitization with plans to reopen for business next week, the company statement said. Since the onset of the global pandemic, Tyson has shuttered six other facilities temporarily, including facilities in Waterloo, Columbus Junction and Perry, Iowa, as well as Dakota City, Nebraska; Logansport, Indiana; and Pasco, Washington, the Register reported. Iowa has confirmed a total of 18,586 novel coronavirus cases, resulting in 506 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. US deaths near 102K, total cases soar past 1.7M Published 12:49 a.m. EDT May 29: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 1.7 million early Friday 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 1,721,750 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 101,617 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 366,733 cases and 29,529 deaths and New Jersey with 157,185 cases and 11,409 deaths. Massachusetts, with 94,895 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,640, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 115,833. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 53,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 103,813 cases, resulting in 3,993 deaths • Pennsylvania: 74,220 cases, resulting in 5,373 deaths • Texas: 60,395 cases, resulting in 1,611 deaths • Michigan: 56,014 cases, resulting in 5,732 deaths • Florida: 53,285 cases, resulting in 2,364 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Virginia each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 33,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 18,586 and Arizona with 17,877; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 16,000 cases; Rhode Island and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska, Missouri and South Carolina each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Kentucky and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,364; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • More than 5.9 million people worldwide – including more than 1.7 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 Thursday, May 28, continue below:  Rising US job losses stir fears of lasting economic damage Update 10:55 p.m. EDT May 28: The coronavirus crisis threw at least 2.1 million Americans out of work last week despite the gradual reopening of businesses around the country, stoking fears Thursday that the scourge is doing deep and potentially long-lasting damage to the U.S. economy. Despite a few glimmers of hope, most of the latest economic news from around the globe was likewise grim, as some of the world’s most populous countries reported rising infections and deaths. The confirmed U.S. death toll has surpassed 100,000, the highest in the world. The latest job-loss figures from the U.S. Labor Department bring to 41 million the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March. There were some encouraging signs: The overall number of Americans currently drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. And first-time applications for unemployment benefits have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up factories again. But the number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment benefits is still extraordinarily high by historical standards, and that suggests businesses are failing or permanently downsizing, not just laying off people until the crisis can pass, economists warn. Legal sports betting pitched as California budget salve Update 9:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Two California lawmakers on Thursday pitched legalized sports betting as a way to help prop up a state budget devastated by the economic shutdown designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, though their revised proposal immediately reignited a turf battle between powerful gambling interests. State Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa and Assemblyman Adam Gray of Merced are lobbying to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow horse racetracks and the Las Vegas-style casinos run by American Indian tribes to also offer sports wagering, both at their locations and through mobile devices. The proposal, like others before it, is controversial in part because of competition between gambling interests including card rooms, which offer table games like blackjack and poker. The legislation would also allow tribal casinos to offer craps and roulette, but the California Nations Indian Gaming Association fears it would aid card rooms by legalizing a practice that the state attorney general last year sought to outlaw. Card rooms say the attorney general’s regulatory proposal would change the way player-dealer games like blackjack have operated for decades. The tribal casinos contend that those operations have long been illegal and that writing them into law now would amount to “a massive expansion of games” by their rivals. Association chairman James Siva added that by the time the proposed new revenue surfaces, the economic crisis caused by the pandemic is likely to have subsided. It would take a two-thirds legislative vote to put the Democratic lawmakers’ measure on the ballot, and a majority of voters would then have to approve. Montana gates to Yellowstone park opening Monday Update 8:10 p.m. EDT May 28: Montana’s three entrances to Yellowstone National Park will reopen to visitors Monday, as the state moves to its second phase of restarting the economy after shutdowns because of the coronavirus. Parts of Glacier National Park could open in mid-June, Gov. Steve Bullock added Thursday, but a specific day has not been set. The West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cooke City entrances to Yellowstone will open two weeks after Wyoming’s entrances near Cody and Jackson. The park, famous for its geysers and bison, remains open for day use only. No overnight accommodations are available, and large tour buses aren’t allowed yet, park Superintendent Cam Sholly said. Park employees won’t be policing visitors’ compliance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks, Sholly said Thursday. “We have to have the respect of the public to adhere to health guidelines,” he said. The opening of Yellowstone remains a gradual one. Limited overnight facilities, such as cabins and campgrounds, will begin reopening later in June, Sholly said. The Montana gates will reopen at 10 a.m. Monday. Hurricane season to be challenging amid pandemic Update 7:35 p.m. EDT May 28: Emergency management officials briefed President Donald Trump Thursday about the challenges of preparing for what is expected to be an above-average hurricane season amidst a coronavirus pandemic. During an Oval Office meeting, officials reported that the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have 13 to 19 named storms and six to 10 of those storms could develop into hurricanes. Vice President Mike Pence says that when people are displaced by tropical storms or hurricanes, they are used to congregating at local schools or gyms. He says there will be “different challenges now” and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided recommendations to local and state officials on how to respond to natural disasters during a pandemic. Recommendations include encouraging evacuees to plan on staying with friends and families rather than end up in shelters. In a NY state of mind, Guetta readies virus relief concert Update 6:45 p.m. EDT May 28: When hundreds of artists started singing from their living rooms when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Grammy-winning DJ-producer David Guetta still wanted to perform in front of a live audience. So the hitmaker set up shop in front of a 205-foot pool at the Icon Brickell in downtown Miami, performing for 90 minutes as 8,000 locals danced along from their balconies during the feel-good moment last month. Now, he’s launching his second United At Home event at an undisclosed location in New York on Saturday to connect with fans and raise money for health care workers and virus relief efforts. “A lot of artists, especially DJs, were doing performances from their bedrooms. I felt like that was a little bit frustrating. I really wanted to feel like I have a crowd,” Guetta said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “So, I had the idea of doing this in the middle of towers and people were on the balconies and that was absolutely amazing.” Job losses continue to mount in US despite reopenings Update 5:50 p.m. EDT May 28: The coronavirus crisis threw at least 2.1 million Americans out of work last week despite the gradual reopening of businesses around the country, stoking fears Thursday that the scourge is doing deep and potentially long-lasting damage to the U.S. economy. Amid a few glimmers of hope, most of the latest economic news from around the globe was likewise grim, as some of the world’s most populous countries continued to report rising infections and deaths. The confirmed U.S. death toll topped 100,000, the highest in the world, on Wednesday. The latest job-loss figures from the U.S. Labor Department bring to 41 million the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March. There were some encouraging signs: The overall number of Americans currently drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. And first-time applications for unemployment have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up factories again. But the number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment is still extraordinarily high by historical standards, and that suggests businesses are failing or permanently downsizing, not just laying off people until the crisis can pass, economists warn. “That is the kind of economic destruction you cannot quickly put back in the bottle,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork. Mitch McConnell says wearing masks is important Update 4:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday preached the importance of wearing masks in public as the nation’s economy reopens from the “cataclysmic” damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic. During a tour of hospitals in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican leader stressed wearing masks in public and following social distancing guidelines. “There should be no stigma attached to wearing a mask,” McConnell said during an appearance Thursday in Owensboro. “And even among age groups that are least likely to either contract this disease or die from it, you could be a carrier. So I think what we all need to do is say, ‘OK, I’m going to take responsibility not only for myself but for others.’” McConnell, who is in his late 70s and is in the midst of his own re-election campaign, has worn masks at his appearances. On Thursday, he stuffed the face covering into his coat jacket to speak, then donned it again afterward. President Donald Trump has refused to wear face coverings. Manw coronavirus epidemic, some two weeks ago. The country has been gradually lifting virus restrictions as the number of new cases fell to none or one or two daily. Ohio to allow for outdoor visitations at some assisted living facilities Update 3:45 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio on Thursday announced that, beginning next month, assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities in the state will be allowed to resume outdoor visitations, WHIO-TV reported. The governor also announced guidance for county fairs and said he plans to release information about the reopening of amusement parks and zoos next week, according to WHIO-TV. >> Read more on WHIO.com Florida’s Pulse nightclub holding virtual ceremony to remember victims of 2016 mass shooting Update 3:35 p.m. EDT May 28: Officials said Thursday that Pulse nightclub will hold its annual ceremony to remember the 49 people killed at the club in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings online next month due to the coronavirus pandemic, WFTV reported. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. local time June 12 on Facebook and YouTube, according to WFTV. The ceremony will also honor survivors of the shooting and first responders. >> Read more on WFTV.com Businesses to face fines of $10K or more if they violate Washington state’s Safe Start plan Update 3 p.m. EDT May 28: Businesses in Washington that stay open or operate in violation of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order and Safe Start plan could face fines of $10,000 or more, KIRO-TV reported, citing new emergency rules filed Wednesday by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. The rules allow the Department of Labor & Industries to cite businesses for being open or for operating in a way that is “purposely defying the phased-in approach and, as a result, putting their workers at risk,” officials said. >> Read more on KIRO7.com 2020 Boston Marathon canceled Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston announced Thursday that the Boston Marathon has been canceled for this year, WFXT reported. The mayor had previously announced that the marathon would be postponed until September 14, according to WFXT. However, he said Thursday that it “became increasingly clear” that the planned date was no longer feasible. Instead, organizers plan to hold a virtual marathon, WFXT reported. >> Read more on Boston25News.com NY Gov. Cuomo to issue executive order allowing businesses to deny service to maskless customers Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that he plans to issue an executive order allowing businesses to deny service to customers who decline to wear masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “We are giving the store owners the right to say, ‘If you are not wearing a mask, you can’t come in,’” Cuomo said during a news conference. “That store owner has the right to protect himself.” 1,261 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 1,261 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 157,815. On social media, the governor noted that the number of new cases, new deaths and hospitalized patients reported statewide continued to fall. However, he urged people to continue to practice social distancing measures. “We’re not out of the woods,” he wrote. Officials also reported 66 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,401 people have died statewide of COVID-19. Coronavirus restrictions eased on Long Island, continued in New York City Update 1:15 p.m. EDT May 28: The easing of some coronavirus restrictions Wednesday on Long Island left New York City as the only part of the hardest-hit U.S. state that has yet to begin the process of reopening the economy. The sprawling suburbs of Nassau and Suffolk counties, where the virus has killed at least 4,000 people, won approval Tuesday from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to gradually restart construction, manufacturing, agriculture and retail activity two months after nonessential business ceased. The Democratic governor also lobbied President Donald Trump in Washington for help with massive New York City transportation projects — including train tunnels, a subway expansion and an airport rail link — and accused top Republicans who oppose more aid of “abusing” states, such as New York, that suffered heavy coronavirus losses. The projects require some federal funding or approval. Cuomo said he and the Republican president, who are often at odds, will talk again next week. 1,887 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 28: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,887 new coronavirus infections Thursday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 269,127. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 37,837 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. 74 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 11:40 a.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 74 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number of new fatal cases reported one day earlier was also 74. The governor said Thursday at a news conference that key indicators of the coronavirus pandemic continued to fall across the board. “The total number of hospitalizations are down. The rolling total is down,” Cuomo said. “The change in intubations -- the number of people put on ventilators -- is down, and that’s good.” COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina reach single-day high for second straight day Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 28: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of hospitalizations connected to the coronavirus pandemic for a second straight day Thursday, WSOC-TV reported. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 708 people were hospitalized due to severe complications associated with the novel coronavirus. Officials said that 29% of the state’s 19,048 in-patient beds and 22% percent of its 3,223 intensive care unit beds remained open Thursday. Officials have reported 25,412 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. Nearly 830 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections, WSOC-TV reported. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com Study: 5-day course of remdesivir as effective at treating COVID-19 as 10-day course Update 11:20 a.m. EDT May 28: A study published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine found no major differences between the recoveries of COVID-19 patients who took a five-day course of remdesivir and patients who took a 10-day course of the experimental drug. Dr. Francisco Marty, an associate physician at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, worked on the study, according to WFXT. “People were counting on 10 days of treatment per patient for the supply that’s available,” Marty told WFXT. “Now I think with confidence we can say, five days is enough, so now you have twice as many treatment courses.” >> Read more on Boston25News.com Sen. Tim Kaine says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies Update 11 a.m. EDT May 28: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Thursday that he and his wife, Anne, have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Kaine said he tested positive earlier this year for the flu but that even after getting medication to treat the illness, his symptoms lingered. At the end of March, Kaine said he 'experienced new symptoms that I initially thought were flu remnants and a reaction to the unusually high spring pollen count.” He and his wife spoke to their health care providers in early April after she also began to feel ill. “They thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus,” Kaine said. “Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free.' He said he and his wife got positive results from a coronavirus antibody test this month. “While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide,” he said. 'So we will keep following CDC guideline s —hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.” 86 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC Update 10:45 a.m. EDT May 28: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Thursday that 86 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 8,492. Bowser also announced eight more people between the ages of 37 and 96 had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 453. Wall Street opens modestly higher, extending recent gains Update 10 a.m. EDT May 28: Stocks are opening slightly higher Thursday on Wall Street, extending recent gains that brought the S&P 500 back above 3,000 for the first time since March. The benchmark index was up about 0.1% in the first few minutes of trading Thursday. Health care companies and makers of consumer products were among the biggest winners in early trading. The modest gains came even as more dire reports on the economy came in, including another 2.1 million claims for unemployment benefits. Twitter fell as President Donald Trump prepared to sign an executive aimed at curbing liability protections for social media companies. Trump shares sympathies after more than 100,000 Americans die of COVID-19 Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 28: President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to remember the more than 100,000 Americans who have died after contracting coronavirus infections. The president called the death toll “a very sad milestone.” “To all of the families (and) friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy (and) love for everything that these great people stood for (and) represent,” Trump wrote. “God be with you!” The United States has lost more people to the coronavirus pandemic than any other country in the world. Health officials in the country with the second-most number of fatal COVID-19 cases, the United Kingdom, said Wednesday that 37,460 people have died of the viral infection. 41 million Americans have lost jobs since virus hit Update 8:40 a.m. EDT May 28: Roughly 2.1 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, a sign that companies are still slashing jobs in the face of a deep recession even as more businesses reopen and rehire some laid-off employees. About 41 million people have now applied for aid since the virus outbreak intensified in March, though not all of them are still unemployed. The Labor Department’s report Thursday includes a count of all the people now receiving unemployment aid: 21 million. That is a rough measure of the number of unemployed Americans. The national jobless rate was 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression, and many economists expect it will near 20% in May. LA sues wellness company, alleging ‘sophisticated’ fraud via ‘at-home’ COVID-19 testing kits Update 7:29 a.m. EDT May 28: The city of Los Angeles is suing Wellness Matrix Group for what it called a “sophisticated” and “wide ranging” scheme to defraud people concerned about their risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, NPR reported. The suit contends the California-based company sold “at-home” coronavirus tests it claimed falsely were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company also sold a supposedly coronavirus-killing “virucide,” claiming that the product could 'build a force field around your event or even spray your entire city,” NPR reported. L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer accused the company of “shockingly deceptive conduct” that included attaching “false government registration numbers to these products and fabricated phony scientific studies and white papers to substantiate their false claims,” the news outlet reported. NBA eyes ‘bubble’ to house select family members when season resumes Update 6:58 a.m. EDT May 28: The National Basketball Association and its players’ association are working to craft a plan that will allow select family members to stay in a “bubble” with the teams once the season resumes. The bubble refers to a proposed enclosed environment in which all dwellers live, practice and play games, CNN reported. The discussions come days after the network confirmed the league and players’ association are in talks with Disney to hold the rest of the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. Google alerts nearly 2K users hackers posing as WHO targeted them in April Update 6:22 a.m. EDT May 28: Google sent 1,755 warnings to users who were targeted by government-backed hackers in April, according to a Wednesday blog post. The majority of the hacking and phishing schemes Google detected preyed on public fear of the novel coronavirus and lured users into disclosing personal information. The ruses included the creation of spoof email accounts purporting to be the World Health Organization. The ploys typically asked users to sign up for coronavirus updates, but the goal was to mine the information provided for passwords and other private data, The Washington Post reported. Business leaders in the United States, Slovenia, Canada, India, Bahrain, Cyprus and the United Kingdom were the most common targets of the phishing campaigns, the company said in its post. South Korea closing public facilities in Seoul in bid to stop potential COVID-19 outbreak Update 5:55 a.m. EDT May 28: Beginning Friday, South Korea will close all public facilities in Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area following detection of a novel coronavirus cluster at a logistics center near the South Korean capital, CNN reported. Specifically, government-operated parks and retreat facilities as well as art galleries, museum and theaters will be shuttered until June 14, with all government-hosted events either postponed or canceled, the network reported citing Health Minister Park Neung-hoo. Meanwhile, Park also advised private businesses to follow suit and said residents should refrain from going outdoors or hosting public gatherings until June 14. To date, South Korea has confirmed 11,344 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 269 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. The nation recorded Wednesday its highest spike in new infections since April 5 with 79 new cases, 54 of which have been linked to a logistics center in Bucheon, located about 25 miles from Seoul. To date, 82 cases have been linked to the logistics center cluster, CNN reported. Global coronavirus deaths surpass 356K, worldwide cases top 5.7M Update 4:51 a.m. EDT May 28: The global count of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 5.7 million early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,707,163 people worldwide, resulting in at least 356,042 deaths.  Brazil records more than 20K coronavirus cases, 1K deaths in a single day Update 3:47 a.m. EDT May 28: Brazil added another 1,086 coronavirus-related deaths during the past 24 hours bringing its nationwide death toll to 25,598, the nation’s health ministry reported Wednesday. The latest figures, which added 20,599 new cases in one day, bring Brazil’s total number of confirmed infections to 411,821, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. Brazil trails only the United States for the most confirmed cases. American Airlines slashing management, support staff by 30% Update 2:16 a.m. EDT May 28: The ongoing stress caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the airline industry with one of the United States’ largest carriers telling employees Wednesday that steeper cuts yet are on the way. Elise Eberwein, American Airlines executive vice president of people and global engagement, said in a letter to employees that “fleet retirement accelerations are underway, and we will fly roughly 100 fewer aircraft next summer — mostly widebodies — than we had originally planned.” “Additionally, running a smaller airline means we will need a management and support staff team that is roughly 30% leaner,” Eberwein added. According to The Washington Post, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline had already reduced its carrying capacity and nearly 39,000 employees have taken either voluntary leave or early retirement. Meanwhile, Eberwein asked any willing employees to leave their jobs voluntarily by June 10, but she also noted that if voluntary departures do not result in the needed 30% reduction in staff, layoffs will be the next step, the Post reported. “There is no doubt this is going to be a painful time for all, especially for our departing colleagues, who have given American Airlines their all and are leaving through no fault of their own,” Eberwein wrote in the letter. “They deserve our respect and gratitude.” US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths climb past 100K Update 12:44 a.m. EDT May 28: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Thursday 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 1,699,933 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 100,442 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 364,965 cases and 29,484 deaths and New Jersey with 156,628 cases and 11,339 deaths. Massachusetts, with 94,220 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,547, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 114,306. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 52,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 101,807 cases, resulting in 3,919 deaths • Pennsylvania: 73,557 cases, resulting in 5,265 deaths • Texas: 58,542 cases, resulting in 1,581 deaths • Michigan: 55,608 cases, resulting in 5,334 deaths • Florida: 52,634 cases, resulting in 2,319 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Virginia each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 18,369 and Arizona with 17,318; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 16,000 cases; Rhode Island and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,623; Kansas, Delaware and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,252; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Some retailers are reporting record numbers for online sales amid the coronavirus outbreak, but WOKV's Consumer Warrior Clark Howard says the surge in demand is coming with some challenges. If you have noticed some delays in orders actually arriving at your house, Howard explains it's not an isolated issue.  'You know [Amazon] Prime delivery before in many communities, one-day delivery on a lot of things, two-day delivery on others. And Amazon is struggling to now get back to that, after lengthy delays,' says Howard.  Howard says it's not just Amazon either.  'Others that have very heavily pivoted from traditional in-store shopping to having so many people buy online are struggling to get those deliveries on to some kind of reliable basis,' Howard says.  Get more consumer news and advice from Clark Howard in his latest on-demand podcasts.
  • A Florida man was charged with providing material support to the Islamic State after trying to acquire firearms and targeting 'busy beaches' for a possible terror attack, federal prosecutors said. Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari, 23, had negotiated with an undercover FBI employee to purchase a variety of guns and silencers, including an AK-47-style rifle allegedly to be used in an attack. He was arrested Sunday after taking possession of the weapons. “We are grateful for the hard work and swift action by our law enforcement partners and concerned citizens during this investigation,” U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez said in a statement. “Their coordination and cooperation in this matter allowed us to interrupt a serious threat, without harm to anyone.” Al-Azhari was charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, prosecutors said in a complaint filed Tuesday. The charge carries a potential 20-year prison term. Al-Azhari scouted a number of Tampa-area locations, including “busy beaches,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. Al-Azhari, who admired the shooter who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016, also went to Orlando, where he visited the site of the shooting. “I don’t want to take four or five, no. I want to take at least 50,” Al-Azhari said on a recording, according to the affidavit. “You know like, brother Omar Mateen in Orlando did. He took 49 with him.” He also allegedly rehearsed what he would say when carrying out an attack, some of which was intercepted by electronic surveillance May 16: “Know America. Today is your emergency. Today we kill from you guys like you killed from us,” he is heard saying, according to the affidavit. “This is a revenge for Muslims.” A key to the case was an eBay transaction in which Al-Hazhari purchased weapons parts from someone in Texas. The package was halted by the U.S. Postal Service and eBay flagged the purchase. The seller then provided FBI agents with details about the deal and the Postal Service seized the package. Al-Azhari's lawyer said the charges unfairly portray his client as a terrorist. “The allegations misunderstand both the law and the evidence,” the public defender, Samuel Landes, said. “I’m thankful that in this country everyone enjoys a presumption of innocence, and I look forward to Mr. Al-Azhari’s day in court before a jury of his peers.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A waiter working on Memorial Day was surprised to get a $2,000 tip. Armando Garcia, a server at Los Cucos Mexican Cafe, was given the gracious gratuity on a $64 check, KVVU reported. 'I couldn't believe it,' Garcia told KVVU. 'It's been tough for everyone, for me. It's been a relief, I'm just thankful for it.' Garcia thought it was a mistake, but there was a note written on the receipt that read: 'Stay safe, thank you for your great service. Hope this helps. Love, the Lopez Brothers.' The Lopez Brothers are dancers and have millions of subscribers on TikTok, KVVU reported.

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