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Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

More than 5.1 million people worldwide – including nearly 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 Friday, May 22, continue below:

Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

Update 10:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, unable to withstand the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled global travel and with it, the heavily indebted 102-year-old car rental company’s business.

The Estero, Florida-based company’s lenders were unwilling to grant it another extension on its auto lease debt payments past a Friday deadline, triggering the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Hertz and its subsidiaries will continue to operate, according to a release from the company. Hertz’s principal international operating regions and franchised locations are not included in the filing, the statement said.

By the end of March, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. had racked up $18.7 billion in debt with only $1 billion of available cash.

Starting in mid-March, the company — whose car-rental bands also include Dollar and Thrifty — lost all revenue when travel shut down due to the novel coronavirus, and it started missing payments in April. Hertz has also been plagued by management upheaval, naming its fourth CEO in six years on May 18.

Judge orders Los Angeles to move thousands of homeless

Update 9:25 p.m. EDT May 22: A federal judge on Friday ordered Los Angeles city and county to move thousands of homeless people living near freeways after an agreement on a plan fell through.

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter issued a preliminary injunction requiring the relocation, by Sept. 1, of an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people camping near freeway ramps and overpasses, saying they face a health risk emergency.

Carter ordered a status report on the relocation plan to be ready by June 12, with updates to follow, and warned that he would move up the deadline if he doesn’t see “satisfactory progress.”

The city didn’t immediately release any comment on the ruling.

US warns Los Angeles stay-at-home extension could be illegal

Update 8:45 p.m. EDT May 22: The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday warned the mayor of Los Angeles and the county’s top health officer that an extension of the coronavirus stay-at-home order may be unlawful.

The vague letter sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer did not spell out any specific violations, but noted concern about statements both had made publicly that restrictions may be prolonged without a vaccine.

“Reports of your recent public statements indicate that you suggested the possibility of long-term lockdown of the residents in the city and county of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for such restrictions,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband wrote. “We remain concerned about what may be an arbitrary and heavy-handed approach to continuing stay-at-home requirements.”

Garcetti received the letter, but his office declined comment, spokesman Alex Comisar said.

The letter came the same day the White House coronavirus response coordinator named the LA region as an area where spread of the virus is a concern. Los Angeles County, with a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, accounts for nearly half of its COVID-19 cases and about 55% of the state’s more than 3,600 deaths.

Dr. Deborah Birx asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help look into the source of new cases to help prevent future outbreaks.

Patrick Ewing hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Georgetown men’s basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing announced in a statement on social media that he has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated at an area hospital.

"I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this,” Ewing said in the statement.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer extends stay-at-home order

Update 6:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended Michigan’s stay-at-home order by slightly more than two additional weeks, through June 12, while keeping theaters, gyms and other places of public accommodation closed until at least then.

A day after a judge ruled in her favor in a lawsuit filed by the Republican-led Legislature, the Democratic governor also extended her coronavirus emergency declaration through June 19. Both the stay-at-home measure and state of emergency had been set to expire late next Thursday, though Whitmer said extensions were likely.

The state on Friday reported 5,158 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 complications, which is the fourth-most of any state. The daily death toll rose by 29 and the number of new confirmed cases in the state increased by 403, to nearly 54,000 since the pandemic started.

Federal prison system to begin moving nearly 7K inmates

Update 5:40 p.m. EDT May 22: The federal Bureau of Prisons will begin moving about 6,800 inmates who have been waiting in local detention centers across the U.S. to federal prisons to avoid jail overcrowding in the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.

It’s not clear when it would begin. The inmates will be sent to one of three designated quarantine sites — FCC Yazoo City in Mississippi, FCC Victorville in California and FTC Oklahoma City — or to a Bureau of Prisons detention center.

All the inmates who are being moved will be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive at the Bureau of Prisons facility and would be tested again before they are moved to the prison where they would serve their sentence.

The prisoners have already been sentenced to federal crimes but were unable to be moved from local facilities as the coronavirus pandemic struck over concerns the virus would spread rampantly.

In a memo issued to staff earlier this week, Bureau of Prisons officials said the inmates would be held there “until such time that inmates can be moved safely to their final destination.” The BOP says it has suspended most transfers of inmates already in the federal system, but there are still exceptions for forensic studies, medical or mental health treatment, residential reentry and inmates who are wanted by other juristictions.

Nevada’s 28% joblessness is worst in US and in state history

Update 4:50 p.m. EDT May 22: More than one-fourth of Nevada’s workers don’t have jobs after the state’s unemployment rate hit unemployment rate of 28.2% in April — the highest rate in the U.S. and the worst joblessness showing in Nevada history.

The previous record for Nevada unemployment was estimated at 25% during the Great Depression.

“They are all sobering numbers, far in excess of anything we have experienced as a state before now,” said David Schmidt, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Nevada was hit especially hard by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic because so many of its jobs are tied to the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, Schmidt said. He said Nevada’s accommodation and food service industry alone lost nearly 41% of its jobs compared with April 2019

Nearly 37,000 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Officials in Louisiana reported 421 new coronavirus infections Friday, raising the state’s total number of infections to 36,925.

Statewide, at least 2,545 people have died of COVID-19 and at least 26,249 people have recovered from the viral infection, officials with the state Department of Health said.

Harley-Davidson to restart production

Update 3:40 p.m. EDT May 22: After suspending production for about two months because of the coronavirus, thunder is about to roll again at the Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant in Milwaukee.

Work is expected to resume after the Memorial Day weekend for about 1,000 employees at the Menomonee Falls engine and drivetrain facility, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. A worker at the plant who tested positive for the coronavirus is expected to recover.

>> Read more

Pence visits Atlanta for restaurant roundtable

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the Atlanta metropolitan area Friday for a roundtable discussion with restaurant executives who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to WSB-TV.

>> Read more on WSBTV.com

Social distancing ‘very important’ over Memorial Day weekend, Birx says

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 22: Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force coordinator, stressed the importance of continued social distancing efforts over Memorial Day weekend during a news conference Friday.

“When you go out for this weekend, Memorial Day, and you want to do some kind of social gathering, it’s very important to maintain that six feet distance and very important to have your mask with you in case that six feet distance cannot be maintained,” Birx said.

Officials in all 50 states have begun reopening efforts after swaths of the economy were closed by the threat of the novel coronavirus.

Trump says houses of worship ‘essential,’ urges governors to reopen

Update 2 p.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump urged governors to reopen houses of worship and said he has directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to classify them as essential amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Today I am identifying houses of worship -- churches, synagogues and mosques -- as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said Friday at a news conference.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right."

Trump holding news briefing amid questions about antimalarial drug he touted

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump is holding a news conference Friday after a study published earlier in the day in the medical journal The Lancet found an increased risk for death in coronavirus patients treated with antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine or a combination of the drugs and an antibiotic.

Voting centers reopen in Washington DC ahead of June 2 primary

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 22: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Friday that the area’s primary election is set to go on as scheduled June 2.

Voters will be required to wear masks or face coverings while voting, Bowser said.

Business owners sue Pennsylvania governor over closure orders

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Business owners in four counties are suing Pennslyvania Gov. Tom Wolf over his order to close businesses deemed non-essential amid the coronavirus pandemic, WPXI reported.

Tom King, the attorney who filed suit on behalf of the business owners, told WPXI that the case was about Americans’ rights, which he said had been limited by the closures and Wolf’s planned phased reopening.

“The imposition on people’s constitutional rights even in war time, even in a pandemic … this is America, and people have constitutional rights." King said. “That’s the message that we want to send to the governor.”

>> Read more on WPXI.com

1,394 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Friday that 1,394 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 152,719.

Murphy said the number of hospitalizations, patients in intensive care units and ventilators in use “have all fallen dramatically.”

“Each day brings with it more signs that we’re moving closer to being able to enter Phase 2 of our restart,” the governor said in a post on Twitter.

Murphy raised the capacity for outdoor recreational businesses like driving ranges from 10 to 25, though he stressed that social distancing measures would need to continue at the businesses. Indoor gatherings remained limited to no more than 10 people.

Officials said Friday that 146 more people have died of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Statewide, 10,985 people have died of coronavirus.

Summer camps, youth activities allowed to reopen in Florida

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said Friday that summer camps and youth activities will be allowed to immediately reopen without restrictions, according to WFTV.

DeSantis said local governments and organizations can put restrictions in place on their own but that the state would not preempt them, WFTV reported.

“We trust parents to use common sense,” the governor said.

>> Read more on WFTV.com

109 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Friday that 109 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly more than the 105 new fatal cases reported one day earlier.

Cuomo said the number of fatal cases “has been stubborn on its way down” but he added that other key indicators -- such as the number of new hospitalizations and the number of people admitted to intensive care units -- continued to fall Friday.

Defense secretary confident coronavirus vaccine will be ready by end of 2020

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT May 22: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that officials are “completely confident” the U.S. will have a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by the end of the year.

“I’m confident we’ll get it,” Esper said Friday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. “(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.”

Scientists have expressed concern over the fast-paced timeline to a given by federal officials, noting that a vaccine would likely take 12 to 18 months to test and approve. The fastest ever vaccine developed, for mumps in 1967, took four years to make it to the market, according to The Verge.

Esper said Friday that researchers in America “have been working on this vaccine now and therapeutics and diagnostics for a few months.”

“This is the next phase of this battle and we will deliver on time the vaccines,” he said.

105 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT May 22: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Friday that 105 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 7,893.

Bowser also said six more people between the ages of 86 and 95 died of COVID-19. As of Friday, 418 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Study finds increased risk of death for COVID-19 patients treated with antimalarial drug

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT May 22: Scientists studying the efficacy of treating novel coronavirus patients with an antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump found an increased risk of death and heart arrythmias for patients who received the drug.

large study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet looked at COVID-19 cases from late December to mid-April in which patients were hospitalized. Those included in the study had died or been discharged by April 21.

Using data from 671 hospitals on six continents, researchers reviewed more than 96,000 cases of COVID-19, including nearly 15,000 in which patients were treated with the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine or a combination of the drugs and an antibiotic.

“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.”

Wall Street opens lower, but still on track for weekly gain

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 22: Stocks opened mostly lower Friday on Wall Street following a mixed showing in overseas markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% in early trading Friday, but it’s still on track for a weekly gain.

Hong Kong’s main index fell 5.6% after China made more moves to limit political opposition in the former British colony. China also abandoned its longstanding practice of setting economic growth targets.

European markets shook off some early weakness and were mostly higher. Oil prices headed lower after six straight gains, which weighed on energy stocks.

Trading was subdued ahead of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S.

3,287 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT May 22: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 3,287 new coronavirus infections Friday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 254,195.

Officials said that as of 9 a.m. local time, 36,393 people had died nationwide of COVID-19.

Global deaths top 333K, total cases soar past 5.1M

Update 7:44 a.m. EDT May 22: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 333,382 early Friday, 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 5,125,612 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,081. 

The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,577,758 cases, resulting in 94,729 deaths.

• Russia has confirmed 326,448 cases, resulting in 3,249 deaths.

• Brazil has recorded 310,087 cases, resulting in 20,047 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 252,246 cases, resulting in 36,124 deaths.

• Spain has confirmed 233,037 cases, resulting in 27,940 deaths.

• Italy has reported 228,006 cases, resulting in 32,486 deaths.

• France has confirmed 181,951 cases, resulting in 28,218 deaths.

• Germany has reported 179,021 cases, resulting in 8,212 deaths.

• Turkey has recorded 153,548 cases, resulting in 4,249 deaths

• Iran has recorded 131,652 cases, resulting in 7,300 deaths.

Trump orders flags lowered on federal buildings for 3 days in memory of coronavirus victims

Update 6:02 a.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Thursday he has ordered all flags on federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff for three days in memory of Americans lost to the novel coronavirus.

As is customary, the flags will also fly at half-staff on Memorial Day to honor military veterans who lost their lives in combat.

Young adults also contracting coronavirus-linked inflammatory syndrome, doctors say

Update 5:25 a.m. EDT May 22: The mysterious coronavirus-linked inflammatory disease affecting children and adolescents has now been confirmed in a small number of young adults, The Washington Post reported.

The condition is similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that causes inflamed blood vessels. 

According to the Post, a 20-year-old is being treated for the condition in San Diego; a 25-year-old has been diagnosed at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center; and several patients in their early 20s are being treated for the syndrome at NYU Langone in New York City.

Doctors told the Post that because Kawasaki disease is typically diagnosed in young children only, they fear the COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome - dubbed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C – is being overlooked as a possible diagnosis in young adults by non-pediatric physicians.

Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases doctor at NYU Langone, told the Post that teens and young adults have more of an “overwhelming” response to MIS-C involving multiple organs, especially the heart.

“The older ones have had a more severe course,” Lighter said.

Catholics, Lutherans in Minnesota set May 26 reopening of churches as coronavirus lingers

Update 3:48 a.m. EDT May 22: Two of Minnesota’s largest faith denominations announced plans Thursday to resume indoor worship services May 26, bucking the governor’s stay-at-home order enacted to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tallyMinnesota has reported a total of 18,200 COVID-19 infections caused by the virus to date, resulting in 818 deaths.

In a news conference conducted by phone, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Catholic leader for the state, and the Rev. Lucas Woodford, president of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, said the time for loosening restrictions on houses of worship has arrived, The Washington Post reported.

Specifically, the faith leaders called it “extreme and prejudicial” for Gov. Tim Walz’ order to impose stricter restrictions on houses of worship than on retail stores, the Post reported.

“Our community members are suffering from financial and social and emotional strain,” Hebda said on the call.

“It’s our sacred duty to meet the spiritual needs of the suffering,” he added.

Drug smugglers concealed meth shipments in hand sanitizer bottles

Published 2:28 a.m. EDT May 22Australian authorities discovered nearly 4.5 pounds of smuggled methamphetamine hidden in shipments of hand sanitizer and face masks sent in early May to help the nation combat the novel coronavirus.

“We know criminals will go to any length to smuggle drugs into the country, so it’s no surprise they’re trying to use in-demand items such as masks and hand sanitizer to hide them in,” John Fleming, superintendent of the Australian Border Force, said in a news release.

The drugs were detected as officers inspected shipments at the Sydney Gateway Facility, CNN reported.

According to the news release, officers inspecting the packages, shipped from Canada, found bottles of hand sanitizer wrapped in bubble wrap. Further investigation revealed the bottles had false bottoms, creating secret compartments in which a crystal-like substance later confirmed to be methamphetamine was discovered.

US coronavirus cases approach 1.6M, deaths near 95K

Update 12:38 a.m. EDT May 22: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.5 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 1,577,287 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 94,702 deaths. 

The hardest-hit states remain New York with 356,458 cases and 28,743 deaths and New Jersey with 151,586 cases and 10,846 deaths. Massachusetts, with 90,084 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,148, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 102,688. 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: 88,031 cases, resulting in 3,583 deaths

• Pennsylvania: 69,252 cases, resulting in 4,869 deaths

• Michigan: 53,510 cases, resulting in 5,129 deaths

• Texas: 53,053 cases, resulting in 1,460 deaths

• Florida: 48,675 cases, resulting in 2,144 deaths

• Maryland: 43,531 cases, resulting in 2,159 deaths

• Georgia: 40,663 cases, resulting in 1,775 deaths

Meanwhile, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia and Ohio each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Indiana, Colorado and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Washington with 19,117; Tennessee and Minnesota each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 16,170 and Arizona with 15,348; Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Alabama each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 12,222; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 9,381; Kansas, Delaware and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 6,472; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases.

Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Charges have been filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the situation that led last week to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Former Officer Derek Chauvin, who was previously charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, has been charged with second-degree murder. The other officers involved in the situation, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Floyd, 46, died May 25 after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage. Live updates for Thursday, June 4 continue below: New fencing dramatically expands White House security zone Update 11:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Even as the number of people demonstrating over the police killing of George Floyd dwindled to a small group on Thursday afternoon in the nation's capital, workers were busy installing new high fencing around the park area known as the Ellipse just to the south of the White House, significantly expanding the security zone for President Donald Trump. 'It's a sad commentary that the (White) House and its inhabitants have to be walled off,' said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 'We should want the White House to be opened up,' the Mayor told reporters. Critics immediately compared the new fencing to the President's push to build a wall along the border with Mexico. 'And American taxpayers, not Mexico, will again be sent the bill,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). By Thursday afternoon, workers had run the new fencing all the way down to, and along Constitution Avenue, which crosses in between the White House and the Washington Monument. Portland, other cities rethink school police amid protests Update 8 p.m. EDT June 4: Oregon’s largest school district will no longer have police officers in its schools and joins a handful of urban districts from Minneapolis to Denver that are rethinking their school resource officer programs amid national outrage over the death of George Floyd. Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said Thursday that Portland Public Schools needed to “re-examine our relationship” with the police in light of protests over the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes. The district of more than 49,000 students joins Minneapolis, which severed ties with its school resource officers on Tuesday. Districts in St. Paul, Minnesota and Denver are considering doing the same. Protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, have made the end of the school resource officer program in their district one of their demands. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Thursday that he would also discontinue using school resource officers in two smaller metropolitan districts under a program that costs the city $1.6 million a year. The move is in response to the demands of thousands of protesters, many of them young, who have filled the streets of Oregon’s largest city for six consecutive nights. Having the officers in high schools has been a touchy topic for several years in this liberal city. Students have protested in recent years for an end to the program, at one point even overwhelming a school board meeting. “Leaders must listen and respond to community. We must disrupt the patterns of racism and injustice,” Wheeler said Thursday of the most recent demonstrations. “I am pulling police officers from schools.” The presence of armed police officers in schools is a contentious one. While many Portland residents applauded the decision, others raised immediate concerns about student safety in the event of a school shooting or other emergency. Wheeler said the city would make sure officers could respond rapidly in an emergency. The move is “a knee-jerk reaction,” and the decision by a few districts to stop their programs could snowball — to the detriment of students nationwide, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, whose association represents about 10,000 dues-paying officers. There are an estimated 25,000 school resource officers nationwide, he said. Headlines, op-ed prompt staff protests at NY Times, Inquirer Update 6:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Some staffers at The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer called in sick Thursday to protest decisions at each newspaper they believe were insensitive in the midst of nationwide protests about police mistreatment of black Americans. At the Times, an opinion column by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton supporting use of the military to quell demonstrations prompted a rare public rebuke from dozens of staffers and the paper’s guild. Times management didn’t back down from the decision to publish it. The Inquirer apologized for a “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” on an article. The twin uprisings illustrated raw feelings unleashed by the video of George Floyd dying last week after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee against his neck, along with long-time concerns about whether newspaper staffs reflect the makeup of their communities. In his column, headlined “Send in the Troops,” Cotton condemned “nihilist criminals” out for loot and the thrill of destruction and “left-wing radicals” who want to exploit Floyd’s death to create anarchy. The Arkansas Republican, supporting President Donald Trump, said it was time to supplement local law enforcement with federal troops. Pentagon-Trump clash breaks open over military and protests Update 5:40 p.m. EDT June 4: President Donald Trump is not only drawing criticism from his usual political foes but also facing backtalk from his defense secretary, his former Pentagon chief and a growing number of fellow Republicans. A day after Defense Secretary Mark Esper shot down Trump’s idea of using active-duty troops to quell protests across the United States, retired four-star Gen. John Allen joined the chorus of former military leaders going after the president. And Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Esper’s remarks were “overdue” and she didn’t know if she would support Trump in November. Although Esper’s declaration was followed by the Pentagon reversing course on pulling part of the 82nd Airborne Division off standby outside Washington, the rising criticism underscored an extraordinary clash between the U.S. military and its commander in chief. On Thursday, an official said the troops in question from the 82nd were going home to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after all. Both Trump and Esper also drew stinging, rare public criticism from Trump’s first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, in the most public pushback of Trump’s presidency from the men he put at the helm of the world’s most powerful military. 3 ex-officers charged in George Floyd’s death ordered held on $750,000 bail Update 3:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Court records from Hennepin County, Minnesota, show three former police officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd have each been ordered held on bails of $750,000. Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao made their first court appearances Thursday, according to court records. They were fired last week from Minneapolis Police Department after Floyd died on May 25. In video captured by passersby, the trio could be seen standing by or holding Floyd down as then-Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The three are scheduled to next appear in court on June 29. Chauvin is scheduled to make his first court appearance on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on June 8. First of three memorial services for George Floyd set to begin in Minneapolis Update 3 p.m. EDT June 4: A memorial for George Floyd, who died last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police, is set to begin at 1 p.m. local time Thursday. President of North Central University announces George Floyd memorial scholarship Update 2:55 p.m. EDT June 4: The president of North Central University in Minneapolis announced that university officials have launched a memorial scholarship in honor of George Floyd, who was killed last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police. University President Scott Hagan announced the establishment of the fund during a memorial held Thursday for Floyd in Minneapolis. “Even before announcing this scholarship, yesterday, unsolicited, over $53,000 was handed to me to contribute toward the educational promise of aspiring young Black American leaders,” Hagan said. “I am now challenging every university president in the United States in America to establish your own George Floyd memorial scholarship fund.” Pelosi asks Trump for full list of agencies involved in response to DC protests  Update 2:20 p.m. EDT June 4: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday asked President Donald Trump to name the agencies involved in the response to protests against police brutality in Washington D.C. and clarify their roles and responsibilities. The California Democrat wrote to the president days after peaceful protesters were tear-gassed to clear them from a park near the White House to allow for Trump to walk across the street for a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. “We are concerned about the increased militarization and lack of clarity that may increase chaos,” Pelosi said in the letter. “Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other state operating in the capital.' Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has been critical of the decision to allow out-of-state National Guard officials and military troops into the city, shared Pelosi’s letter on Twitter. “If it can happen in DC, what jurisdiction is next?” Bowser wrote. Los Angeles mayor lifts city’s curfew Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday lifted a curfew enacted over the city as protests against police brutality and the death of Black Americans including George Floyd erupted nationwide. “I have lifted the curfew in the City of Los Angeles,” Garcetti said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We remain strongly committed to protecting the right of Angelenos to make their voices heard and ensuring the safety of our community.” University of Central Florida reviewing comments by professor who tweeted about ‘black privilege’ Update 1:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The University of Central Florida is reviewing a professor’s tweets after a hashtag calling for his removal began to trend Thursday morning on social media, WFTV reported. A Change.org petition was launched asking for an investigation into psychology professor Charles Negy, who in recent days compared African-Americans to Asian-Americans and claimed “black privilege” exists, according to WFTV and the Miami Herald. >> Read more on WFTV.com Ohio governor calls for moment of silence to remember George Floyd Update 1:35 p.m. EDT June 4: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday requested that state residents observe a moment of silence at 2 p.m. to remember George Floyd, who authorities said was killed last week in police custody. WHIO-TV reported DeWine cancelled a planned news conference scheduled Thursday afternoon because it was set to begin at the same time as a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis. Los Angeles County sheriff says deputies will no longer enforce county’s curfew Update 12:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday that deputies will no longer enforce a curfew amid protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. “Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will no longer enforce a curfew,” Villanueva said in a statement. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.” Virginia governor announces plans to take down statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee Update 11:35 a.m. EDT June 4: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced plans to take down a large statute of Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue. “Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then, and it is wrong now,” Northam wrote in a series of Twitter posts announcing the decision. “So we’re taking it down.” The move comes amid protests nationwide over police brutality, racism and the deaths of Black Americans like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of police and vigilantes. Officials in Richmond, one of the former capitals of the Confederacy, have resisted calls to remove the statue for years. Massachusetts man accused of bringing Molotov cocktails to protest Update 11:15 a.m. EDT June 4: Authorities have charged a Worcester, Massachusetts, man with civil disorder and possession of several Molotov cocktails during a demonstration in the city over the death of George Floyd, WFXT reported. In a news release obtained by WFXT, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said 18-year-old Vincent Eovacious “attempted to obstruct or interfere with law enforcement officers” by bringing the Molotov cocktails to a peaceful protest on June 1. Eovacious was arrested Wednesday after being released on bond following state charges, including possession of an incendiary device, WFXT reported. >> Read more on Boston25News.com Washington State Patrol apologizes after trooper says, ‘Don’t kill them but hit them hard’ during protests Update 10:55 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Washington State Patrol apologized after video surfaced on social media showing a trooper saying, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard” during protests in Seattle on Tuesday night, KIRO-TV reported. “Using that language ... which gives the impression of over-aggression and physicality and hurting people and harming people by law enforcement by intent was totally out of line, totally inappropriate, hurtful, confusing,” WSP Communications Director Chris Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. He implored the public to understand the context of the situation. “(The trooper) was preparing his troops for what would be a physically confrontational situation,' Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. “He was letting them know there were limits to what we could do.” The woman who caught the trooper’s comments on video, Krystal Marx, told KIRO-TV that WSP’s apology and explanation are not enough. “I would encourage WSP -- any other law enforcement agency -- if you are there to protect the peace, keep the peace and to listen and learn from communities that are hurting,' Marx said. “Make sure you use your language appropriately.” >> Read more on KIRO7.com Some Minneapolis police take knee as hearse for George Floyd passes by Update 10:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Some Minneapolis police officers were seen kneeling Thursday morning as the hearse carrying the body of George Floyd passed them, Twin Cities PBS reported. Ben Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, said a memorial for the 46-year-old will be held at 1 p.m. local time Thursday at North Central University in Minneapolis. Senate Democrats hold moment of silence to remember George Floyd, victims of police brutality Update 10:30 a.m. EDT June 4: Senate Democrats on Thursday stayed silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of George Floyd, the man who died last week as a Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Drew Brees apologizes after saying protests during national anthem disrespect the flag Update 8:55 a.m. EDT June 4: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized Thursday after saying in an interview with Yahoo! that he thought protests during the national anthem were disrespectful to the flag. “I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday,” Brees said in a statement posted Thursday morning on Instagram. He acknowledged that while speaking Wednesday with Yahoo! he “made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.” “They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy,” Brees wrote. “Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.” Asked a question Wednesday about players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem, Brees told Yahoo! that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Brees was heavily criticized on social media for his comments. “WOW MAN!!” LeBron James said in a tweet Thursday. “Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag) and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free.” Beyoncé urges fans to stay ‘focused’ in fight for justice  Update 8:10 a.m. June 4: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is urging her fans to stay “focused” in fighting for justice for George Floyd. The Grammy-winning artist shared a message on Instagram, which featured an aerial photo of of Black Lives Matter demonstrators filling the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The caption framing the photo read: “The world came together for George Floyd. We know there is a long road ahead. Let’s remain aligned and focused in our call for real justice.” Friend in car says George Floyd did not resist arrest Update 6:17 a.m. June 4: A friend who was in the passenger seat of George Floyd’s car when he had a fatal encounter with a police officer said the Minneapolis man tried to defuse the situation and did not try to resist arrest. Maurice Lester Hall, 42, was arrested on outstanding warrants Wednesday in Houston and was interviewed by investigators in Minnesota, The New York Times reported. “He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,” Hall told the newspaper. “I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?’” Hall called Floyd a mentor and said the two Houston natives spent time together May 25 before the incident with Minneapolis. Hall said he will not forget what he saw as Derek Chauvin placed a knee against Floyd’s neck and held it there for nearly nine minutes. “He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying,” Hall told the Times. “I’m going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd’s face because he’s such a king. That’s what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die.” LA police arrest protesters who broke curfew Update 5:18 a.m. June 4: Police in Los Angeles arrested nearly 100 protesters who broke the city’s curfew, with some staying outside more than 90 minutes past the 9 p.m. deadline, The Washington Post reported. The rally occurred outside City Hall on Wednesday night and many of the 1,000 attendees obeyed the curfew and went home, the newspaper reported. Those who did not were handcuffed by police in riot gear. “When I first got here it was really scary, because when I came here I saw the National Guard and I was not myself,” Ashley, a 22-year-old protester from Pasadena, California, who declined to give her last name, told the Post. “So seeing that made me fear what was going to happen.” Most observers said that despite the arrests, the rally was peaceful, the newspaper reported. Georgia police: 3 protesters torched squad cars Update 5:08 a.m. June 4: Three protesters in Georgia are accused of setting police cars on fire, WSB-TV reported. According to police, the protesters tracked the officers down at their homes and torched the cars. Ebuka Chike-Morah, Alvin Joseph and Lakaila Mack all face charges for lighting two Gwinnett police cars on fire, according to WSB-TV. Meghan Markle speaks out against George Floyd’s death Update 3:37 a.m. June 4: Meghan Markle spoke out about the death of George Floyd, calling it “absolutely devastating.” The Duchess of Sussex made her comments in a video to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles “George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people’s names we know and names we don’t know,' Markle said. “You’re going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to because most of you are 18, or you’re turning 18, so you’re going to vote. You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says arrests ‘a step toward justice’  Update 3:20 a.m. June 4: Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar told CNN the decision to charge all four former Minneapolis police officers was “a step toward justice.” The NBA legend, who wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday and observed that “racism in America is like dust in the air,” praised Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis MayorJacob Frey for their fast actions. “It’s like, you know, the United States is this wonderful bus with great seats in the front of the bus,' Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “But as you go further to the back of the bus, the seats get worse and the fumes from the exhaust leak in and really wreck with people’s health and their lives. But the people at the front of the bus, they have no complaints. It’s kind of like that. “That dust accumulates in the lives of black Americans, and it eliminates all the mechanics of democracy. Democracy doesn’t work for us.” The former Los Angeles Lakers center said nothing had changed in terms of systematic racism since the Rodney King incident and riots in Los Angeles in 1992. “Something has to be done,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “It’s not enough to say, ‘That was terrible and my thoughts and prayers are with you.’ That’s not getting anything done.” National Guard to assist authorities in San Diego County Update 2:59 a.m. June 4: Two hundred members of the National Guard have been deployed in San Diego County to prevent looting, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet. The Guardsmen will work with local law enforcement agencies to provide security to “critical infrastructures” during protests to prevent looting and arson, the department tweeted. Police use tear gas when protesters try to block Iowa interstate Update 2:33 a.m. June 4: Hundreds of protesters attempting to block an Iowa interstate were met by state troopers and Iowa City police, who fired tear gas, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The crowd attempted to skirt the line of officials who were blocking their path, the newspaper reported. “Disperse immediately,” said a speaker, who was identified as an Iowa State Patrol officer. The voice added that failure to do so would result in the deployment of chemical deterrents. “Quit your job,” the crowd chanted back, the Press-Citizen reported. Huntsville police arrest more than 20 protesters, use tear gas Update 2:13 a.m. June 4: Police in Huntsville, Alabama, arrested more than 20 protesters and used tear gas at the Madison County Courthouse square, WHNT reported. Protests began peacefully earlier Wednesday in a march sponsored by the NAACP and ended around 6:30 p.m. The majority of the crowd stayed and marched from Big Spring Park East to the courthouse, the television station reported. Around 8 p.m., authorities used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd, WHNT reported. The area was cleared within an hour, according to WHNT. Police said more arrests could be pending. New Orleans police fire tear gas at protesters Update 1:33 a.m. June 4: Police in New Orleans fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters near the Crescent City Connection late Wednesday, NOLA.com reported. Police said the action was taken after protesters refused to comply with three orders not to walk across the CCC. “The NOPD deployed tear gas tonight to disperse protesters after the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the CCC,” the department said in a statement. “Escalation and confrontation hurts us all. NOPD is committed to respectful protection of our residents’ First Amendment rights. However, tonight we were compelled to deploy gas on the CCC in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers.” 3 Minneapolis officers charged Wednesday to appear in court Thursday Update 1:15 a.m. June 4: The three former Minneapolis police officers who were arrested Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd will have their first court appearances Thursday afternoon. The former officers -- J. Alexander Keung, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- are set to appear before the judicial officer at 1:45 p.m. EDT, CNN reported. The hearings were pushed up by 45 minutes from their original schedule, according to court records.
  • More than 6.4 million people worldwide – including more than 1.8 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, June 4, continue below:  MLB players reaffirm pay stance, no deal with teams in sight Update 11:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games. More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after the union’s offer was rejected by Major League Baseball. “Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon. This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward.” “Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions,” Clark added. Players originally were set to earn about $4 billion in 2020 salaries, exclusive of guaranteed money such as signing bonuses, termination pay and option buyouts. The union’s plan would cut that to around $2.8 billion and management to approximately $1.2 billion plus a $200 million bonus pool if the postseason is completed. MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn. Seattle to offer free citywide coronavirus testing Update 9:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that the city will offer free citywide coronavirus testing in partnership with the University of Washington Medicine. Testing will be performed at two locations. Drive-up sites will be located in north and south Seattle. Those sites are former emissions testing sites, which will allow for up to 1,600 tests per day, officials said. However, the testing will only be for those who drive through and book ahead. Outbreak reported at Tyson food plant in North Carolina A COVID-19 outbreak was reported at the Tyson Food plant in Claremont, where town leaders said more than 700 people work. Tyson sent WSOC-TV an email saying it doesn’t plan on doing widespread testing there because the number of COVID-19 cases is less than 2%. Family members of the plant workers said that 10 workers have been infected with the virus. The company makes frozen prepacked sandwiches and biscuits. The news comes after 570 people tested positive at the Tyson chicken plants in Wilkesboro, NC. California Gov. says protests may lead to spike in virus cases Update 7:30 p.m. EDT June 4: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday he’s concerned about the spread of coronavirus as thousands of people gather for protests across the state, and he said the state should prepare for higher rates of positive tests because of both the protests and the reopening of businesses that’s underway. “If you’re not (concerned), you’re not paying attention to the epidemiology, to the virulence of this disease,” he said during a visit to Stockton, California, where he met with Mayor Michael Tubbs and business owners to discuss systemic racism and injustices. Newsom added he’s particularly concerned about the disproportionate deaths from the virus among black Californians. Still, California has no plans to halt its reopening efforts, though Newsom hasn’t announced any new guidance for businesses this week. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, said the state is in a “range of stability” on cases and hospitalizations and is “working hard” on more guidance. California has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, nail salons, churches and other businesses with restrictions. But highly anticipated guidance on schools has not been released, nor have details on the resumption of professional sports, possibly without fans. Ghaly acknowledged it will be weeks before the effects of the protest on public health are fully known. He highlighted the “importance of the freedom and liberty to protest” but added, “it does create infectious disease concern that we weren’t contending with before.” Telehealth expansion could become permanent after pandemic Update 6:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The temporary expansion of telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic would become permanent under a bill endorsed Thursday by a Senate committee. As passed by the House in March, the bill would allow reimbursement for medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders conducted via telehealth. But an amendment recommended by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee would also make permanent the provisions of Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency order on telehealth, which allowed all health care providers to offer services remotely and required insurers to cover them. Officials representing hospitals, community health centers, dentists and mental health providers all told the committee that telehealth has been a valuable tool during the pandemic and should continue. “As many experts have predicted, telehealth is here to stay, which is why this legislation is so important to ensure patients are able to get the right care at the right time in the right setting, which ultimately may be in the safety of their own homes,” said Paula Minnehan of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. Ken Norton, director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said telehealth has greatly expanded access to mental health treatment. “We can’t go back,” he said. Study on safety of malaria drugs for coronavirus retracted Update 4:50 p.m. EDT June 4: Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists. Thursday’s retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown. The study leaders also retracted an earlier report using the same company’s database on blood pressure drugs published by the New England Journal of Medicine. That study suggested that widely used blood pressure medicines were safe for coronavirus patients, a conclusion some other studies and heart doctor groups also have reached. Even though the Lancet report was not a rigorous test, the observational study had huge impact because of its size, reportedly involving more than 96,000 patients and 671 hospitals on six continents. Its conclusion that the drugs were tied to a higher risk of death and heart problems in people hospitalized with COVID-19 led the World Health Organization to temporarily stop use of hydroxychloroquine in a study it is leading, and for French officials to stop allowing its use in hospitals there. “Not only is there no benefit, but we saw a very consistent signal of harm,” study leader Dr. Mandeep Mehra of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told The Associated Press when the work was published. The drugs have been controversial because President Donald Trump repeatedly promoted their use and took hydroxychloroquine himself to try to prevent infection after some White House staffers tested positive for the virus. The drugs are known to have potential side effects, especially heart rhythm problems. The Lancet study relied on a database from a Chicago company, Surgisphere. Its founder, Dr. Sapan Desai, is one of the authors. Dozens of scientists questioned irregularities and improbable findings in the numbers, and the other authors besides Desai said earlier this week that an independent audit would be done. In the retraction notice, those authors say Surgisphere would not give the reviewers the full data, citing confidentiality and client agreements. Cases, testing hit single-day highs in NC Update 3:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of new coronavirus infections and daily testing figures on Thursday, WSOC-TV reported. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 1,189 new COVID-19 cases have been reported statewide. WSOC-TV reported that the previous highest one-day increase in cases was 1,185. State officials also reported having conducted 19,039 tests, the highest number reported in a single day so far and well over the state’s goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests per day. Officials have reported 31,966 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. At least 960 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1,805 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,805 new coronavirus infections Thursday, raising the country’s total number of infections to 281,661. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 39,904 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. NBA season to resume from Orlando in late July, reports say Update 2:35 p.m. EDT June 4: The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a plan to restart the season after it was suspended three months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press and other media outlets reported. The 2019-2020 season will be played in Orlando at Walt Disney World’s ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex starting in late July, the AP reported. 603 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 603 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 162,530. “We still have work to do,” Murphy said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Let’s keep pushing these numbers down. When we do, (we’ll) get through Stage 2 that much sooner.” Officials also reported 92 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,970 people have died statewide of COVID-19. CDC chief urges Americans to be vigilant on coronavirus Update 1:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Worried by photos of large gatherings of people which could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases, the head of the Centers for Disease Control used testimony before Congress on Thursday to plead with Americans to wear masks in public and continue to engage in social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus. “We’re very concerned that our public health message is not resonating,” Redfield told a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee. 104 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in Washington D.C. said Thursday that 104 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 9,120. Officials also announced that two more people, aged 76 and 89, had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 475. 52 new fatal COVID-19 cases reported in New York Update 11:55 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 52 more people have died of COVID-19 in the state. The number is slightly higher than the 49 new fatal coronavirus infections reported one day before and lower than the 58 deaths reported Tuesday and the 54 deaths reported on Monday. Ohio State University to resume in-person classes in fall Update 11:10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Ohio State University announced plans Wednesday to reopen its campus in Columbus, Ohio come the fall, WHIO-TV reported. University President Michael V. Drake announced the decision at a board of trustees meeting and in a message to the university community, according to WHIO-TV. Specific guidelines will be announced in the coming weeks based on guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force. >> Read more on WHIO.com Stocks open slightly lower after 4 straight days of gains Update 10:05 a.m. EDT June 4: Stocks eased back in early trading Thursday on Wall Street as a four-day market rally cooled off. The stretch of gains had brought the S&P 500 back to where it was just one week after reaching an all-time high in February. The index fell 0.4%. In more grim news on the economy, nearly 1.9 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but that marked the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March. European markets were mostly lower after the European Central Bank said it now expects the region’s economy to shrink by 8.7% this year and increased its stimulus program. RNC to meet Thursday with officials in NC to discuss future of convention Update 10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, plan to meet Thursday with members of the Republican National Committee to discuss plans for the Republican National Convention, WSOC-TV reported. The meeting comes after President Donald Trump said he was looking into moving the convention, which is scheduled for August, from Charlotte due to the safety precautions put in place statewide to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1.9 million seek jobless aid even as reopenings slow layoffs Update 8:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March, a sign that the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the loss of jobs. The diminishing pace suggests that the job market meltdown that was triggered by the coronavirus may have bottomed out as more companies call at least some of their former employees back to work. The total number of people who are now receiving jobless aid rose only slightly to 21.5 million, suggesting that rehiring is offsetting some of the ongoing layoffs. Though applications for benefits are slowing, the latest weekly number is still more than double the record high that prevailed before the viral outbreak. It shows that there are limits to how much a partial reopening of the economy can restore a depressed job market mired in a recession. Prince Charles says he was ‘lucky’ symptoms were mild Update 7:45 a.m. EDT June 4: Britain’s Prince Charles said he considered himself “lucky” after he contracted mild symptoms of the coronavirus, and had “got away with it quite lightly.” The prince told UK broadcaster Sky News that his brush with COVID-19 increased his commitment to advocating environmental causes. “It makes me even more determined to push and shove and shout and prod, if you see what I mean. Whatever I can do behind the scenes sometimes ... I suppose it did partly, I mean I was lucky in my case and got away with it quite lightly,” he told Sky News in a video call from Scotland. “But I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through. And I feel particularly for those, for instance, who have lost their loved ones but were unable to be with them at the time. That to me is the most ghastly thing.” Civil unrest forces at least 70 testing sites to close Update 5:33 a.m. EDT June 4: Looting and civil unrest nationwide have forced at least 70 coronavirus testing sites to close, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Post. Agency officials said most of the sites were located in private pharmacies in “socially vulnerable” neighborhoods, the newspaper reported. “We shouldn’t feel comforted if we don’t see an uptick,” Leana S. Wen, Baltimore’s former health commissioner, told the Post. “There may be a reason why the numbers aren’t being captured.” South Korea confirms 39 new cases Update 4:56 a.m. EDT June 4: South Korea health officials confirmed 39 new cases of COVID-19onn Thursday -- 33 of which are locally transmitted. According to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the news cases are related to several clusters in Seoul and surrounding areas. Yoon Tae-ho, an official with the South Korean Health Ministry, warned that locally transmitted cases may become tougher to trace, CNN reported. Confirmed cases top 6.5 million worldwide Update 4:10 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases worldwide topped 6.5 million early Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to the tally kept by the university, there are at least 6,514,639 confirmed cases of the virus, and there are at least 386,111 deaths. The United States remains the leader in confirmed cases with 1,851,520 and 107,175 deaths. Pakistan has more confirmed cases than China Update 2:50 a.m. EDT June 4: Pakistan has passed China in confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday, Pakistan had 85,264 confirmed cases and 1,770 virus-related deaths. China has reported 84,160 coronavirus cases and 4,638 deaths. US coronavirus cases climb past 1.85M, deaths top 107K Update 12:50 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.85 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 1,851,520 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 107,175 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York with 374,085 cases and 30,019 deaths and New Jersey with 162,068 cases and 11,880 deaths. Massachusetts, with 101,592 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 7,152, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 123,830. Six other states have now confirmed at least 54,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 117,215 cases, resulting in 4,305 deaths • Pennsylvania: 77,225 cases, resulting in 5,667 deaths • Texas: 67,310 cases, resulting in 1,716 deaths • Michigan: 57,731 cases, resulting in 5,553 deaths • Florida: 57,447 cases, resulting in 2,530 deaths • Maryland: 54,175 cases, resulting in 2,597 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington, Arizona and Iowa each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Alabama and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 16,041 and Rhode Island with 15,112; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 12,415; Utah and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia, Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department says it has crews working to put out a ship fire at Blount Island. JFRD has said this is an auto hauler, not a cruise line.  Thursday evening, JFRD reported an explosion on the ship that has injured firefighters. WOKV is working to get more details.  THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY. CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES.
  • Voters who turn out for local elections may find some changes made in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Social distancing is definitely an issue,” said St Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes.  Oakes said they are preparing for much larger and busier elections this year but not in-person  “We’ve had a lot happen in the last 32 years but nothing like this,” explained Oakes.  Oakes said to follow social distancing rules, there may be fewer voting machines and limits on how many voters can be in one polling precinct at a time which may cause long lines.  “Once you put the workers in the rooms six feet apart you only really have room for 3 voters,” Oakes said.  Oakes says normally they have six early voting sites for elections. But this year they will need at least eight for the primaries.  Her office is also reaching out to both parties to recruit volunteers to work the polls.  Last month Oakes says all 67 supervisors of elections made a request to Governor Desantis to increase the time periods for early in-person voting which could help long lines of voters on election day,  “We still heard nothing so there was no money tied to that at all,” Oakes said.  In addition to that Oakes says supervisors are still waiting for federal money from the Cares Act grant which is available through congress.  “Nobody has told us how much that is going to be,” Oakes said.  Oakes says while each county will be different, voters are likely to see poll workers with masks, social distancing requirements, sanitizers, and more polling locations.
  • The City of Jacksonville is offering free COVID-19 antibody testing for adults at Lot J outside of TIAA Bank Field. The drive-through site will offer up to 125 tests per day. Results will be provided on-site.  Anyone 18 years or older can get tested at Lot J; you do not have to live in Duval County. You are required to bring a photo ID and provide additional information on-site.  Action News Jax Reporter Elizabeth Pace got tested Thursday to show the process. From start to finish, it took nearly two hours before she got her results. She went at about 2 p.m. and mostly waited in line, while remaining in her car at all times. She was asked to give some of her personal information: full name, address and date of birth.  Health care workers asked her if she could have come in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, if she traveled outside of her county or internationally, and her occupation.  Pace was given a throat swab test and gave a small blood sample. Results for the blood sample took approximately 15 minutes.  This tests checks your blood for COVID-19 antibodies. If a person is infected with the virus, the body produces antibodies, which will show up on the test.  Lot J is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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