CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
64°
Mostly Cloudy
H 68° L 62°
  • cloudy-day
    64°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 68° L 62°
  • cloudy-day
    76°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 68° L 62°
  • cloudy-day
    76°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 80° L 65°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

The Latest Business Headlines

    Boeing said Sunday it will continue its shutdown of production indefinitely at its Seattle area facilities due to the spread of the coronavirus. The company in an email to Washington employees said it is extending the planned two-week shutdown rather than reopening Wednesday. The decision affects about 30,000 of Boeing’s 70,000 employees in the state. The company said the decision is based on the health and safety of its employees, assessment of the coronavirus spread, supply chain concerns and recommendations from government health officials. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team, and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community, and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.” A spokesman told The Seattle Times that employees are receiving their regular salaries during the two-week shutdown, but will have to transition to vacation or sick leave after that. The company said that at the end of the day Friday, it had 133 confirmed cases among employees worldwide, up from 118 a day earlier. Of those, 95 employees are in Washington. Washington state has 7,666 confirmed cases of the virus and 322 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally on Sunday afternoon. The coronavirus mainly is spread through coughs and sneezes. For most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
  • How does a traditional German restaurant comply with the untraditional demands of the coronavirus era? Thomas Metzmacher was faced with the prospect of having to shut down his Frankfurt restaurant specializing in a traditional tart hard cider due to German regulations prohibiting groups of people from gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic. So he came up with a novel solution. After toying with the idea of a delivery service, he instead turned his half-timbered restaurant into a makeshift drive-thru. Now he is serving up schnitzel, fried potatoes and other German favorites — of course the tasty Aeppelwoi cider — to customers waiting in a long line of cars. “The restaurant had to close, nobody was allowed to sit inside anymore, so it was either give up or fight,” he said. “And I decided to fight.” Metzmacher’s Zum Lahmen Esel restaurant, which has been in operation since 1807, normally seats 200 people inside and another 200 in an outdoor garden. Now, cars drive up to a small booth in front of the restaurant, where one of Metzmacher’s 36 employees takes their order, and then pushes a plastic tub down a makeshift slide to the car’s window to take payment at a safe distance. Driving ahead, the customer gets their order in another tub pushed to their window. “It’s going great,” says Metzmacher. “My regulars are supporting me, they’re really happy I’m open.” Without people sticking around for a few more of the signature ciders, profit margins are low but Metzmacher says it’s better than nothing. “At least we’re carrying on and we’re continuing to work,” he says.
  • Europe saw further signs of hope in the coronavirus outbreak Sunday as Italy's daily death toll was at its lowest in more than two weeks and its infection curve was finally on a downward slope. In Spain, new deaths dropped for the third straight day. But the optimism was tempered by Britain's jump in virus deaths that outpaced the daily toll in Italy. Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy's Civil Protection agency on Sunday, said there were 525 deaths in the 24-hour period since Saturday evening. That’s the lowest such figure in the country since 427 deaths were registered on March 19. Italy now has a total of 15,887 deaths and nearly 129,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. A day shy of one month under a national lockdown that the Italian government ordered, the lower count of day-to-day deaths brought some encouragement. The number of intensive care unit beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has also showed a decrease in the last few days, including in northern Lombardy, Italy’s most stricken region. Borrelli also noted with a measure of satisfaction that the number of those hospitalized but not in ICU beds also has decreased. Italy recorded 4,316 new cases Sunday. Earlier in the outbreak, daily increases in caseloads topped the 6,000 mark. “The curve, which had been plateauing for days, is starting to descend,″ national health official Silvio Brusaferro told reporters, referring to graphs indicating daily numbers of confirmed cases. But Borrelli warned: “This good news shouldn’t make us drop our guard.' For days, anticipating a possible downward slope in the curve, government and health authorities in Italy have cautioned that restrictions on movement would likely last in some form for weeks. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most people, but for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause severe pneumonia and lead to death. As warm, sunny weather beckoned across Europe, Queen Elizabeth II appealed to Britons to exercise self-discipline in “an increasingly challenging time.' Britain recorded 708 new coronavirus deaths Saturday while Italy reported 631 deaths that day. With 621 more deaths reported on Sunday, Britain has 4,934 virus deaths overall among 47,806 cases. Those coming down with the virus in the U.K. include Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the health secretary, England’s chief medical official and Prince Charles, heir to the British throne. There are wide fears that Johnson’s Conservative government didn't take the virus seriously enough at first and that beautiful spring weather will tempt Britons and others to break social distancing rules. Restrictions on movement vary from country to country. In Germany and Britain, residents can exercise and walk their dogs, as well as go to the supermarket and do other essential tasks. Swedish authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open. Spain announced 6,023 confirmed new infections Sunday, taking its national tally to 130,759 but down from an increase of 7,026 infections in the previous day. Spain’s confirmed new virus deaths dropped for the third straight day, to 674 — the first time daily deaths have fallen below 800 in the past week. “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said. ___ Danica Kirka in London, David Rising in Berlin, and Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Spain, contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Every day, grocery workers are restocking toilet paper, eggs, produce and canned goods as fast as the items fly off the shelves. They disinfect keypads, freezer handles and checkout counters as hundreds of people weave around them, sometimes standing too close for comfort amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some work for hours behind clear plastic barriers installed at checkout counters, bulwarks against sudden sneezes or coughs that can propel germs. They aren't doctors or nurses, yet they have been praised for their dedication by Pope Francis, former U.S. President Barack Obama and countless people on social media, as infections and death counts rise. From South Africa to Italy to the U.S., grocery workers — many in low-wage jobs — are manning the frontlines amid worldwide lockdowns, their work deemed essential to keep food and critical goods flowing. Some fear falling sick or bringing the virus home to vulnerable loved ones, and frustration is mounting as some demand better workplace protections, including shorter hours to allow them to rest, and “hazard” pay for working closely with the public. “Everyone is scared everywhere, here in South Africa and everywhere in the world,' said Zandile Mlotshwa, a cashier at Spar supermarket in the Johannesburg suburb of Norwood. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and the vast majority survive. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can be more severe, even causing pneumonia or death. In the U.S., a handful of states — Minnesota and Vermont were the first — have given grocery workers a special classification that allows them to put their children in state-paid child care while they work. Unions in Colorado, Alaska, Texas and many other states are pressing governors to elevate grocery workers to the status of first responders. “The government's responsibility is to step up in these moments,” said Sarah Cherin, chief of staff for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union in Seattle, the first U.S. epicenter of COVID-19. The union, which represents about 23,000 grocery workers and 18,000 health care workers, won early concessions for higher pay. “We have always been a group of people who come to work when others stay home,' Cherin said. “Our workers need the same protection others get.” U.S. grocery and food delivery workers are insisting employers pay them more and provide masks, gloves, gowns and access to testing. Whole Foods workers called for a recent “sickout” to demand better conditions, including double pay. A group of independent contractors for the Instacart grocery delivery service walked out to force more protections. Some of the biggest employers in the U.S. are responding. Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, said it will give all hourly employees a $2-an-hour “Hero Bonus' through April 18. That follows temporary $2 pay bumps by Walmart, Target and others. Walmart’s raise is just for hourly employees in distribution centers, but it’s also giving bonuses to full- and part-time workers. Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, and Target will provide masks and gloves to front-line workers and limit the number of customers in stores. Walmart is taking the temperatures of its nearly 1.5 million employees when they report to work. “Most will see it as a welcome relief,” Walmart spokesman Dan Bartlett said of the new measures. But that doesn't alleviate the fear when shoppers won't follow the rules, including social distancing. Jake Pinelli, who works at a ShopRite in Aberdeen, New Jersey, said customers don't stay 6 feet (2 meters) away from others and typically don't wear masks or gloves. Staffers have protective gear, but the younger employees often give it to older co-workers or those they know have health conditions. “Most of us are terrified,” Pinelli said. But he stays on because he wants to help. 'I have not only bills to pay, but it's the only way right now I feel like I can do anything for my community and help out,” Pinelli said. Some have fallen sick. The Shaw's supermarket chain told workers last week at six stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont that one of its employees had been diagnosed with COVID-19. The company reminded workers to wash their hands regularly and stay home if they don't feel well. At the Organic Food Depot in Norfolk, Virginia, cash is no longer used. Customers can't bring reusable bags. Children under 16 are banned. “If somebody fell sick in the store, the store is most likely going to shut down,” manager Jamie Gass said. Gass, 47, said his wife has asthma, which means she would be more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Yet he feels pride going to a job that helps ensure people get fed in a crisis. “Am I scared that I could catch this? Absolutely,” Gass said. “But I’m sure everybody is in that position. I’m just taking as many precautions as I can, so I don’t have to worry as much.” In Italy, where more than 14,000 people have died of COVID-19, consumers seem to prefer smaller, family-run stores and markets. One of them, the Innocenzi grocery store in Rome, was established in 1884 by Emanuela Innocenzi’s grandfather. Its wooden shelves, marble entrance steps and cherished custom of clerks waiting on each customer hearken back to another era. The small store now allows in only two customers at a time. A dentist’s office provided masks, which employees wipe down with alcohol each day and reuse. Emanuela Innocenzi shrugged off the pope’s praise. “The doctors, the nurses have special training,' she said. 'This is our work.” ___ Associated Press writers Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia; Michael Casey in Boston; Alexandra Olson and Anne D'Innocenzio in New York; Frances Demilio in Rome; Andrew Meldrum in Johannesburg; and video journalist Rodrique Ngowi in Quincy, Massachusetts, contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • In Montana, a father and son running a small oil business are cutting their salaries in half. In New Mexico, an oil truck driver who supports his family just went a week without pay. And in Alaska, lawmakers have had to dip into the state's savings as oil revenue dries up. The global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the oil industry in the U.S., which pumps more crude than any other country. In the first quarter, the price of U.S. crude fell harder than at any point in history, plunging 66% to around $20 a barrel. A generation ago, a drop in oil prices would have largely been celebrated in the U.S., translating into cheaper gas for consumers. But today, those depressed prices carry negative economic implications, particularly in states that have become dependent on oil to keep their budgets balanced and residents employed. “It's just a nightmare down here,” said Lee Levinson, owner of LPD Energy, an oil and gas producer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Should these low oil prices last for any substantial period of time, it's going to be hard for anyone to survive.' Crude prices recovered some ground, trading at around $28 a barrel Friday, after a week in which President Donald Trump tweeted that he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia will end an oil war and dramatically cut production. On Friday, he met with oil executives but there were no announcements, and prices remain well below what most U.S. producers need to stay afloat. Among the latest casualties is Whiting Petroleum, an oil producer in the Bakken shale formation with about 500 employees that filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday. Schlumberger, one of the largest oilfield services companies, slashed its capital spending by 30% and is expecting to cut staff and pay in North America. And Halliburton, another major oilfield services provider, furloughed 3,500 of its Houston employees, ordering workers into a one-week-on, one-week-off schedule. “You will see a tremendous loss of jobs in this industry,” said Patrick Montalban, owner of Montalban Oil and Gas, based in Montana, who along with his son is slashing his salary in half and plans to cut the his remaining employees’ salaries by 25% and end their health insurance benefits. The impact is far-reaching. In Alaska, lawmakers recently passed a budget that sharply draws down a savings account that had been built up over the years when oil prices were higher. In New Mexico, where a third of the state's revenue comes from petroleum, the governor slashed infrastructure spending and will likely cut more in a special legislative session. In Texas, which produces about 40% of the country's oil and employs more than 361,000 people, the picture is especially bleak. Three weeks ago, Bobby Whitacre, vice president of Impala Transport in Plano, Texas, was looking to hire a well site supervisor for $200 a day with paid time off. Now he’s had to lay off many of his workers. “It’s dead. It’s dead as can be,” he said. While many industries paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic received help from a recent $2 trillion congressional relief package, the energy sector was largely left out. The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's main lobbying group, has maintained its free market philosophy, saying it does not want direct financial assistance from government. But the group did ask the federal government to relax environmental rules. Some smaller producers would welcome financial relief. “If the federal government is going to do something to help small businesses nationwide because of the problem with the coronavirus, we certainly don’t want to be excluded from that,” said Dewey Bartlett, Jr., president of Keener Oil & Gas and former Republican mayor of Tulsa. Many oil producers big and small stopped the costly process of drilling new wells when prices plummeted, leaving all kinds of workers vulnerable to layoffs: drillers, attorneys, truckers who deliver sand or water for fracking and skilled tradesmen who make equipment for rigs, to name a few. It was only two weeks ago when Sergio Chavira, a 33-year-old truck driver in New Mexico, was advertising on Craigslist for other drivers to help him haul crude oil, writing that there was “plenty of work.” Not anymore. The husband and father of an 8 year old and a 5 year old hasn’t driven his truck for a week and is bracing for a drop in pay for what work is left. “Now everything is slowing down,” Chavira said. “They give us less loads to haul every day.” Checkers Inc., which administers drug and alcohol tests for oil industry employees in the heart of North Dakota’s oil patch, has seen its monthly screenings fall by more than half, said owner Janette McCollum, who reduced her full-time employees' hours to part-time in response. Along with the slowdown in clients, “companies are not wanting to pay their bills,” she said. The oil industry was already logging hundreds of bankruptcies before the coronavirus hit, as producers struggled with weak global oil demand and high debt loads. Then the pandemic shut down travel as country after country started restricting flights in an attempt to bring the contagion under control. World oil demand fell 7% in the first quarter, and is expected to fall 14% in the second quarter, according to IHS Markit. If that wasn't enough, OPEC and Russia couldn't agree on production cuts to prop up prices, so Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil. The kingdom slashed oil prices last month and vowed to ramp up production to more than 12 million barrels a day. Many American shale producers feel targeted by Saudi Arabia, which they suspect of trying to put them out of business. And it could be working. “We’re just burning through money down here,' said Levinson, LPD Energy’s owner. 'And how long we can last is anyone’s guess.” __ AP Writers Cedar Attanasio in El Paso, Texas; James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota; Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City and Becky Bohrer in Juneau, Alaska contributed to this report.
  • Home testing for the new coronavirus may sound like a good idea, but U.S. regulators say it's still too risky. They've stopped companies that quickly launched home-testing kits until they can show their products can accurately detect the virus. For now, the only way Americans can get tested is at hospitals, clinics or drive-thru sites, with a doctor's order. After a botched rollout, testing in the U.S. has ramped up thanks to high-volume testing machines and new rapid tests. Last week, federal officials said total tests topped 1.4 million, and labs are processing nearly 100,000 tests daily. That's the threshold many experts say is needed to track the virus. Still, testing continues to be constrained by shortages of medical supplies like gloves, masks and swabs. And the widespread drive-thru testing proposed for parking lots at chains like Walmart, Walgreens and Target has barely gotten off the ground. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is aggressively pushing new options onto the market. FASTER RESULTS Genetic tests are the gold standard for detecting COVID-19 infections. New, quicker ones are replacing the original laboratory tests that have to be manually mixed and developed. The idea behind both tests is the same: chemical solutions are used to isolate the virus from the patient sample, grab its genetic material and then reproduce it millions of times until it's detectable with a computer. New rapid tests such as the one by Abbott Laboratories automate the process, cutting the time from four to six hours to about 15 minutes. “Essentially all of the reactions are squeezed into a little cartridge, so it's a very nice, self-contained system.” said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, lab director at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota The cartridges from Abbott and other companies run on small, portable electronic machines found in thousands of U.S. hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices. That's expected to increase testing beyond large universities, government and commercial labs. Abbott said it plans to begin shipping 50,000 tests per day this month. U.S. officials said they'd go first to remote areas with less access to labs. For now, only a health care professional can order a coronavirus test. Under current guidelines, priority is given to people with COVID-19 symptoms who fall into several high-risk groups, including hospitalized patients, health care workers and the elderly. “If you’re not sick, you don’t need to be tested,” has been the mantra for weeks. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME Accurately testing for coronavirus involves several steps, including carefully swabbing the nose or throat to collect a sample, placing it in a sterile tube, storing it below 46 degrees Fahrenheit and then shipping it to a lab within three days. Health officials warn a number of things could go wrong if consumers try to swab, store and ship their own samples, potentially resulting in testing errors and undetected infections. The FDA is talking to companies working on at-home kits, but they'll be required to show that their results are comparable to those of people under professional care, agency spokesman Jeremy Kahn said in a statement. Many of the proposed at-home tests aren't like home pregnancy tests — they won't provide instant results. The samples still need to go to a lab. After several companies began shipping test kits last month, the FDA quickly intervened. No home tests have been approved and the products sent to U.S. consumers were frauds, regulators said. Several companies were caught off guard including San Francisco startup Nurx, which initially built its business around prescribing birth control drugs via brief online consultations. On March 20, the company announced plans to ship 10,000 testing kits to customers for $181 each. Within 24 hours, the FDA warning went out and Nurx's plan was off. UPCOMING OPTIONS Simpler, cheaper blood tests could also have a role in tracking the virus — and possibly expanding testing to the home. The FDA is permitting companies to launch certain types of finger-prick tests that can detect whether people may have recently been infected. Instead of detecting the virus itself, these tests detect proteins called antibodies that the immune system generates to fight COVID-19. Public health experts hope that mass screening with antibody tests could eventually help track how the virus spreads and who might have built up immunity. “We have this massive epidemic on our hands and if we really want to control it through testing we need to have it more readily available and on a repeated basis — potentially every week to know who is truly positive and negative,” said Harvard University’s Dr. Michael Mina. Because the blood test is easy to perform and can be developed in 15 minutes — without laboratory equipment — some companies think it could become a viable home-testing option. Scanwell Health is seeking approval for a home test using one developed by Chinese manufacturer Innovita and deployed by the Chinese government. People who meet criteria through an online questionnaire would receive a test kit in the mail, take a blood sample and scan the test with a smartphone app. Next is an online consultation with a health professional who will deliver and interpret the results. “The entire testing process happens within the home— nothing needs to be shipped back,” said Scanwell executive Dr. Jack Jeng. ___ AP business writers Tom Murphy in Indianapolis and Anne D'innocenzio in New York contributed to this report. ___ Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP_FDAwriter ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • Americans are seeking unemployment benefits at unprecedented levels due to the coronavirus, but many are finding more frustration than relief. State websites and phone lines across the country have been overwhelmed with applicants — causing sites to crash, phone lines to ring busy and much-needed payments to be delayed. While many states are doing their best to respond — adding staff, updating technology and streamlining the process — it’s tough to keep up with the pace of demand. About 10 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the two weeks ended March 27. “There's no hospital system in the world that's designed to handle what we're dealing with,” Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted told reporters. “Our unemployment compensation system's the same way.” Ohio handled twice as many claims in the past two weeks than it had over the past two years. The state has increased its online capacity for processing claims 20 times, added hundreds of workers, yet users might still encounter delays. New York’s Department of Labor said its phone system recorded more than 8.2 million calls last week, compared with 50,000 in a typical week. Its online filing system received 3.4 million visits during that time, compared to the usual 350,000. The site has crashed several times in recent weeks under the burden. To handle the influx, New York has added 20 servers, hundreds of staff and expanded its hours of operations. It’s also trying to reduce the surge— as are Colorado, Kentucky and Michigan — by asking people to file on different days based on the first letter of their last name. “It is not working as smoothly as I would like to see it,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “It’s compounding people’s stress.” It's a problem playing out across the nation. “Financially stressed Americans should not have to spend hours on the phone waiting for someone to process their application or answer their questions,” Senators Chuck Schumer, Ron Wyden and Bernie Sanders said in a letter Monday to the U.S. Department of Labor. They urged Secretary Eugene Scalia to ensure states get funding quickly for administrative support that they’ve been granted under recent legislation. The Department of Labor did not comment in response. Congress has passed a massive relief package that expanded who is eligible for unemployment benefits — adding gig, contract and other part time workers who wouldn’t normally qualify. Benefits are open to others who've been impacted, such as workers who were quarantined, left work due to risk of exposure or to care for a family member. It’s welcome aid for suffering Americans, but it adds to the volume and confusion for administering benefits. New Mexico’s Workforce Solutions Department said that is was deluged with more than a half-million calls in one day — in a state of 2 million residents — as the government began expanded eligibility guidelines, but it was too soon at that time for the state to process those claims. The crush on the system is leaving some Americans in need frustrated and empty handed for now. Duane Shepherd, 53, tried to file for unemployment for this week after getting laid off from his oil-and-gas servicing job in rural Vernal, Utah. He gave up after the online system barred him from backing up to fix a minor error. The online-chat function was unavailable and phone calls were rejected because of high volume. He considered visiting a local office in person, but heard he'd be routed back to the phone system. Shepherd plans to try to file again, and hopes to live on his small savings as he looks for work. “The system is broken, it’s absolutely broken. I don’t know how people aren’t climbing the walls with frustration,” he said. Those filing for unemployment are being encouraged to keep at it and be patient. It takes time to process an application, typically two to three weeks, said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. But benefits are retroactive — meaning people will be reimbursed for the full period of unemployment, not just from when their claim is approved. “The unemployment lines (although virtual) now are like the lines for toilet paper have been,' Evermore said. “People are just going to have to keep trying for a while.' The eligibility and process varies by state so workers should check the local rules. In general though, applicants should try to file online unless they must call. And consider trying websites at off-hours when traffic is lower. Be prepared with contact information for all their employers for the past 18 months, as well as proof of income. Double-check all your information as even minor errors can slow a claim. Keep track of your efforts and if you are denied, you can appeal. ____ Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio; Michael Hill in Albany, N.Y. and Lindsay Whitehurst of Salt Lake City, Utah contributed to this report.
  • Saudi Arabia sharply criticized Russia on Saturday over what it described as Moscow blaming the kingdom for the collapse in global energy prices, showing the tensions ahead of an emergency meeting of OPEC and other oil producers. Oil prices sharply fell after the so-called OPEC+ group of countries including Russia failed to agree to production cuts in early March. A price war began soon after, with Saudi Arabia threatening to pump at a record-breaking pace to seize back market share even as the coronavirus pandemic saw demand sharply drop as airlines worldwide halted flights. International benchmark Brent crude fell to around $24 a barrel, compared to prices of over $70 a year ago. Prices slightly have rebounded with President Donald Trump tweeting and talking about the need for a production cut, but rancor between Saudi Arabia and Russia could imperil a deal emerging from a planned teleconference Monday. That anger could be seen early Saturday in two critical statements released by the kingdom's state-run Saudi Press Agency. The first came from Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan under the headline: “ Statements Attributed to One of Russian President’s Media Are Completely Devoid of Truth.” “Russia was the one that refused the agreement, while the kingdom and 22 other countries were trying to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the agreement,” the prince said. He also said an alleged Russian contention that “the kingdom was planning to get rid of shale oil producers” was false as well. U.S. shale producers have made America one of the world's top producers, but they've been hurt badly by the price collapse. Trump has met with concerned producers about that. Prince Faisal did not identify the story, nor the outlet he was critiquing. A second statement came from Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, one of King Salman's sons. The prince criticized Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak by name for suggesting Saudi Arabia wanted to cut out shale producers. The prince “expressed his surprise at the attempts to bring Saudi Arabia into hostilities against the shale oil industry, which is completely false as our Russian friends recognize well,” the statement said. Saudi Arabia's statements likely seek to defuse any possible confrontation between the kingdom and Trump, who tweeted Thursday that Moscow and Riyadh “will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels” without elaborating. Trump's tweets and public comments have affected oil prices in the past.
  • He ran marathons on every continent, including Antarctica — 83 of them in all, many followed by a visit to an obscure craft brewery. Last year, he watched 365 movies — most of them in theaters. And Anick Jesdanun made sure — always — that when millions of people read his coverage of the internet and its ripples, they got all the facts and the context they needed. Jesdanun, 51, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, died in New York City on Thursday of coronavirus-related complications, his family said. For more than two decades, Jesdanun helped generations of readers understand the emerging internet and its impact on the world. And while his work may have been about screens and computers and virtual networks, Jesdanun’s large life was about the world and exploring all of the corners of it that he could, virtual and physical alike. “Before people knew the internet was full of falsehoods, he was the guy who said, `We’d better check that,’” said his colleague, AP technology writer Michael Liedtke. Jesdanun, known as Nick, was the first AP reporter to be given the “internet writer” byline two decades ago, when the world was less than 10 years into using the network widely. His early work focused on how the internet was changing everything: dating, reading, photography, democracy, access to health care. In 2000, he wrote about how internet-connected devices would be tracking our locations — something that was still years in the future. By example, conversation and hands-on editing, Jesdanun, working from a desk renowned for its messiness, taught a generation of AP journalists how to cover technology in ways that were understandable and accessible but unparalleled in their depth. “Nick was the steady bulwark of AP’s tech team for two decades,” said Frank Bajak, AP’s first technology editor. “He had the deepest institutional memory of AP’s tech coverage and patiently educated dozens of novice colleagues in all things digital.” As the internet grew and its pitfalls become more evident, Jesdanun wrote about everything from Facebook’s privacy travails to government regulations. He also found time to cover things closer to his heart, one of which appeared under this headline in February: “How to binge on Oscar movies in cinemas for cheap.” “There’s still no substitute for a movie theater,” he wrote in a first-person story last year. Quick with a smile, Jesdanun sometimes let his sillier side loose in AP’s “Tech Tests.” These often included video shorts in which he would run new gadgets through the paces (and occasionally give his nieces cameo roles). When the iPhone’s face-recognition model came out in 2017, he filmed a mostly deadpan video of him trying to stump it with everything from a Santa beard to a fake nose and mustache. While Jesdanun could seem reserved to those who didn’t know him, his colleagues talked of an embrace of the world that he carried into his work and that ensured his technology journalism was grounded in what people cared about. “His depth of knowledge was unmatched,” said his boss, current AP technology editor David Hamilton. And tech writer Mae Anderson, whose office desk was by Jesdanun's, remembered how they'd visit tech industry events and Jesdanun wouldn't relent until his sources produced the information he was looking for. “He always kept asking questions and pressing people to answer questions,' she said, 'much past the point I ever would. And it made the subsequent stories much better.” Jesdanun’s running, which he embraced “later in life,” was part of that commitment to engaging with his surroundings, said his cousin, Risa Harms. “It was a life force for him, a way for him to see the world and to meet people,” she said. “He’s a doer. He’s not somebody who felt comfortable being a recreational tourist. He visited a place and wanted to have something to do there. So he did a marathon.” She added: “I feel fairly confident that there was nothing on his bucket list. There was nothing he wanted to do that he didn’t have a chance to do.” Jesdanun, a Pittsburgh native who grew up in New Jersey, was a 1991 graduate of Swarthmore College. He worked in AP bureaus in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Washington before moving to New York. When he left Philadelphia for Harrisburg in 1993, he sublet his apartment to a colleague and left behind only a few pieces of furniture and, hanging from the ceiling, a glittering disco ball. “Do what you want with the rest,” Jesdanun told his tenant, “but the disco ball stays.” Barbara Ortutay, an AP tech writer and Jesdanun’s close friend, spent countless nights over the past 15 years hanging out with him at outdoor philharmonic concerts and movies around New York City. He was serious about photography and “was always documenting everything,” she said. “He loved Chinese pork buns and always bought some for the rest of us in the office,” Ortutay said Friday. “One of our last texts was about pork buns, and I thought he’d turned a corner because he said he wanted one.” Jesdanun is survived by his parents, Adisak and Orabhin Jesdanun; a brother, Gary Jesdanun; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. The AP, the only employer Jesdanun ever worked for, is planning a virtual memorial service at some point to give colleagues and friends the opportunity — in an undesired but perhaps appropriate forum — to remember its first internet writer. “Nick was a kind and gentle colleague who was deeply admired by everyone he worked with,” said AP deputy managing editor Sarah Nordgren, who oversees technology news. “He loved the AP and his work, and it showed every day.”
  • President Donald Trump offered assurances of better times and coronavirus tests to oil CEOs at a White House summit Friday, but no firm proposals for easing the industry's way as the coronavirus pandemic and plunging petroleum prices threaten America's yearslong fracking boom. Executives of Chevron, Exxon and other large and medium-size petroleum companies and industry trade groups, as well as Republican lawmakers, met with Trump in hopes of hammering out a U.S. response. Ramped-up oil and gas production from Saudi Arabia and Russia and the economic slump from the coronavirus outbreak have created a global oil glut, dropping oil prices well below $30 a barrel. “We'll work this out,” Trump promised the oil executives. He added later, of Saudi Arabia's and Russia's heavy pumping, “Ultimately, the market is going to get them to stop.' No new action was immediately announced at Friday's gathering. The gathering appeared to be the first meeting where new guidelines were in place in which all attendees of meetings with the president are tested for the virus. The president, however, did not seem to be aware the new policy had been put into place until after the meeting was over. “You know what? I like it. Let’s test these guys,” he said in response to a question about the policy. “Listen: They gave us millions of jobs. If anybody wants to be tested, we’ll test them.” Trump had talked Thursday night of working with Saudi Arabia and Russia to persuade them to ease up on oil pumping, which is helping pull down oil prices and threatens more expensive U.S. shale oil production. The two countries “are fighting over this, and as everybody knows, it’s, you know, really killing an industry,” Trump said then. But at least one oil industry expert is urging the White House and oil company executives to focus instead on dealing with looming domestic problems from the oil market crisis, rather than fixate on the industry's bottom lines. Amy Myers Jaffe, director of the energy security program at the Council for Foreign Relations, pointed to the possibility of U.S. disruptions in diesel fuel for trucking -- trucks that Americans homebound by the pandemic increasingly depend upon — amid the market chaos. “This really requires ... a national coordinated response,” Jaffe said, referring to bottlenecks in U.S. fuel supplies arising from the current petroleum glut. “You have to think about national security.' Oil companies are pitching wildly varying actions for the administration. Some GOP lawmakers and small and medium-size oil companies are asking for measures including an oil embargo on Saudi Arabia or tariffs and other punitive measures to persuade the Gulf kingdom to stop flooding the global market with oil. In attendance Friday was Harold Hamm, executive chairman of the shale oil company Continental Resources, who has asked the Commerce Department to investigate what he contends is illegal dumping of below-cost crude oil onto the market by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Hamm and Continental together donated more than $1.5 million to Trump’s campaign and political action committee. Other big industry players who attended have been donors. Kelcy Warren, chairman and CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, and his wife have given over $2.1 million to Trump, his inaugural committee and his election efforts. Exxon Mobil gave $500,000 to Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee, while Chevron donated $525,000. Small and medium oil producers — who are some of Trump’s and the GOP’s loyalist campaign supporters — want Trump to press global mediation to encourage major oil producers to ease back on pumping. One oil industry regulator in Texas, Ryan Sitton, has been floating the idea of production caps and reaching out to leaders from OPEC and Russia, suggesting that offering to cut production in some way might be a negotiation chip the U.S. could bring to the table. Oil giants, meanwhile — with cash reserves that smaller producers don’t have — have been more willing to let the markets run as they will, knowing they are in better position to ride it out. The American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil and gas producers as well as refineries, said in a letter to Trump that the group does not want the administration to take any steps that would restrict oil supply. Oil companies and Republican oil-state lawmakers rallying to their support deny it’s a matter of oil billionaires seeking bailouts. Hydraulic fracturing unleashed the U.S. shale oil and gas boom over the past two decades, pushing the United States to the top spot among global petroleum producers. Russia and others fault U.S. frackers in the current supply glut. A dozen Republican senators also are asking the Trump administration to reduce or suspend royalty payments on public land leases to ease costs for the industry. Energy Secretary Dan Brouilette, who attended Friday's meeting, agreed this week to fill up the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the underground reservoir of stockpiled U.S. government oil, potentially easing the supply glut and price fall for the industry. The Trump administration has encouraged the U.S. oil and gas industry to dominate the world’s energy market. The past two weeks alone, the administration has pledged to ease up on environmental and public health enforcement for the oil industry and others during the pandemic, and published a final rule rolling back Obama-era mileage standards, locking in increased gas and diesel consumption by drivers for years. The summit has oil companies “sitting before the man asking the man to make a decision. And underneath you have this beehive of conversation and activity and who knows how it will turn up,” said Bill Miller, a longtime Texas lobbyist, political analyst and veteran of past U.S. booms and busts. ___ Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Brian Slodysko contributed to this report.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • More than 1.2 million people worldwide – including more than 312,000 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 Saturday, April 5, continue below:  Third passenger from Coral Princess cruise ship dies Update 10:52 p.m. EDT April 5: A third passenger from the Coral Princess cruise ship has died, CNN reported. The passenger was taken from the cruise ship after it docked to a hospital and later died. Two passengers had died before the ship docked early Saturday morning in Miami. Florida congressman, first to test positive, now rid of virus Update 9:46 p.m. EDT April 5: A U.S. congressman from Florida who was the first representative to test positive, has recovered from the coronavirus. Rep. Mario Daiz-Balart said Sunday he was virus-free. “Today, after being deemed #COVID19 free by my doctor, I was able to reunite with my family in Miami,” Diaz-Balart said on social media. 'Though still a bit weak, I feel well, & I applied to participate in the (Red Cross) plasma donation to help those with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.” He later stressed the importance of social distancing. “I want to reiterate the seriousness of this sickness, and I encourage everyone to continue to follow the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines,” he said. Italy sees lowest death rate in weeks Update 8:56 p.m. EDT April 5: Health officials believe the curve is flattening in Italy where the country recorded its lowest death rate in nearly two weeks. Italy’s Civil Protection Service said Sunday 525 people died in a 24-hour period, the lowest since March 19 when 427 people died, The Associated Press reported. “The curve, which had been plateauing for days, is starting to descend,' health officials Silvio Brusaferro said Sunday. More than 15,800 people have died from the virus in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins virus tracking site. There are more than 128,000 confirmed cases. The country recorded more than 4,300 new cases Sunday. However, that number is a decrease from earlier in the outbreak when daily cases topped 6,000.The country has been on lockdown for nearly four weeks. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Washington sending 400 ventilators from national stockpile to New York Update 7:56 p.m. EDT April 5: Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday that Washington will be returning more than 400 ventilators from the federal government to help the state of New York, which is experiencing a higher number of coronavirus cases. 'I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together. This should guide all of our actions at an individual and state level in the coming days and weeks,' Inslee said. The ventilators were sent from the Strategic National Stockpile, KIRO-TV reported. Washington recently purchased more than 750 of its own ventilators that will arrive over the next several weeks. “Thanks to the mitigation efforts the governor has put in place and the cooperation of Washingtonians, we have seen fewer infections in our communities than anticipated. Our current status allows us to help others who have a more immediate need,' said Raquel Bono, a former vice admiral and director of Washington state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management. There are more than 7,400 confirmed cases and 319 deaths in Washington state, according to The New York Times. In New York state, there are more than 122,500 confirmed cases and 4,159 deaths. Boris Johnson admitted to hospital with virus Update 6:06 p.m. EDT April 5: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday because of the coronavirus. He went to the hospital because he still has symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, The Associated Press reported. Officials said the move is a “precautionary step,” the BBC reported. Johnson is expected to stay overnight. Johnson, 55, has been quarantined since testing positive March 26. Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for virus  Update 4:56 p.m. EDT April 5: A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus. It is believed the big cat was exposed to the virus by an employee at the zoo, accoridng to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Several lions and tigers were showing symptoms of the virus March 27, but only the one tested positive. All of the big cats are expected to recover. The zoo has been closed to the public since about mid-March. Other animals in the zoo are not showing signs of the virus. Death Valley National Park temporarily closes Update 3:26 p.m. EDT April 5: Death Valley National Park has been temporarily closed, effective Saturday due to public health concerns surrounding the spread of the coronavirus, the National Park Service said on its website. The National Park Service said Daylight Pass and California highway 190 will remain open at the park, which is located in California and Nevada. The order means all park facilities, restrooms, viewpoints, trails, roads, and campgrounds are closed until further notice, according to the website. Fauci says coronavirus could become seasonal Update 3:11 p.m. EDT April 5: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. said there is a very good chance the new coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature” because it is unlikely the disease will be under control globally. “Unless we get this globally under control, there’s a very good chance that it will assume a seasonal nature,” Fauci, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,' said Sunday. “We need to be prepared, that since it unlikely would be completely eradicated from the planet, that as we get into (the) next (flu) season, we may see the beginning of a resurgence.” Trump approves disaster declarations for Delaware, South Dakota Update 2:06 p.m. EDT April 5: President Donald Trump approved disaster declarations for Delaware and South Dakota, according to CNN. The president has now approved disaster declarations for 42 states, the U.S. Virgin islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Navy captain relieved of aircraft carrier command tests positive Update 12:46 p.m. EDT April 5: Brett E. Crozier, the Navy captain removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for COVID-19, The New York Times reported, citing who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, The New York Times reported, citing two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family. A Navy spokesman declined comment on the captain’s status, the newspaper reported. Crozier was removed from the warship Thursday. He was fired after the San Francisco Chronicle reported Crozier emailed a letter to Navy leaders that listed failures in providing necessary resources to disinfect the ship as the virus spread through it, the Times reported. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” there were 155 confirmed coronavirus cases among sailors aboard the aircraft carrier. “There is an investigation ongoing,” Esper said on “State of the Union.” “All the services at times relieve commanders without the benefit of an investigation up front because they’ve lost confidence in them. It’s certainly not unique to the Navy.” NJ governor says state has secured 500 ventilators Update 12:14 p.m. EDT April 5: In a tweet Sunday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said his state has secured about 500 additional ventilators after having “multiple” conversations with the White House. “Ventilators are our No. 1 need right now,” Murphy tweeted. “I won’t stop fighting to get us the equipment we need to save every life we can.” Queen Elizabeth II: 'History will remember your actions’ Update 10:44 a.m. EDT April 5: Queen Elizabeth II, making a rare address to the nation, is expected to urge citizens in the United Kingdom to exercise discipline and resolve during the coronavirus crisis. Normally the queen, now 93, makes one speech annually, but this will be the second in two months, the BBC reported. 'I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,” she said, according to excerpts obtained by The Associated Press. “A time of disruption in the life of our country; a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.” The queen has given an address like this on only three other occasions, according to the AP: After the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, before the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997, and during first Gulf War in 1991. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” the queen said in remarks that will be broadcast Sunday night. “Those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.” ‘Hardest and saddest’ week ahead, surgeon general says Update 10:26 a.m. EDT April 5: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the upcoming week will be the “hardest and the saddest” for Americans. Adams, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” characterized the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic as a “Pearl Harbor moment” and a “9/11 moment.” “I want Americans to understand that as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Adams said on the news program. DC, Maryland, Virginia see increase in cases Update 10:10 a.m. EDT April 5: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise in the area around Washington, D.C. Sunday morning, there were 6.422 cases in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, The Washington Post reported. There were 3,126 cases in Maryland, 2,410 in Virginia and 906 in the District of Columbia, the newspaper reported. The total of virus-related deaths stood at 126 -- 52 in Virginia, 53 in Maryland and 21 in D.C. Pastor at Falwell’s church tests positive Update 8:59 a.m. EDT April 5: Charles Billingsley, worship leader of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, tested positive for the coronavirus, Pastor Jonathan Falwell told WDBJ. Falwell posted the announcement on his Facebook page Saturday. He says Billingsley’s symptoms are mild and he is getting better each day. Legendary NFL kicker Tom Dempsey dies from complications Update 8:42 a.m. EDT April 5: Former NFL placekicker Tom Dempsey, who set an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in 1970, died Saturday from complications from the coronavirus, his family said. He was 73. Dempsey contracted COVID-19 in March during an outbreak at a New Orleans retirement home, NOLA.com reported. He is one of 15 residents at the home to die from the virus. Dempsey was born without fingers on his right hand and wore a small, flat shoe on his kicking foot, the website reported. His record-setting field goal, on the last play of the game against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 8, 1970, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, helped the Saints rally to a 19-17 victory. His field goal beat the previous mark by seven yards. NBA, Knicks, Nets work with Chinese official to donate 1M surgical masks to New York Update 7:50 a.m. EDT April 5: The NBA and two professional basketball teams are working with a Chinese official to provide 1 million surgical masks to “essential workers” in New York. According to Reuters, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the donation – a collaborative effort involving the league, the New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets and Chinese Consul General Huang Ping – Saturday on social media. “New York thanks you,” Cuomo tweeted Saturday afternoon. “We are beyond grateful for this gift of critically needed PPE.” >> See the tweet here As of Sunday morning, New York had reported at least 114,174 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 3,565 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass without public Update 6:52 a.m. EDT April 5: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis took a different approach to his Palm Sunday Mass, typically celebrated outside in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City with tens of thousands of people looking on. According to The Associated Press, the pope celebrated the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Only a few prelates, nuns and guests were invited to attend, the AP reported. As of Sunday morning, Italy had reported 124,632 COVID-19 cases – the third-highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Italy also had logged at least 15,362 deaths, more than any other country. Oprah Winfrey donating $10 million to relief efforts Update 5:45 a.m. EDT April 5: Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is donating $10 million amid the coronavirus pandemic, she said last week. In an Instagram post Thursday, Winfrey praised America’s Food Fund, a donation drive started by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, Apple and the Ford Foundation. According to the initiative’s GoFundMe page, it is currently benefiting two food charities: Feeding America and World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés. “I was struck by the work these organizations are doing, and while everyone’s priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us looking for ways to help,” Winfrey wrote. “I believe that America’s Food Fund will be a powerful way to make a difference for our neighbors in need and am committing $1 million to this fund to support those facing food insecurity.” She added that she is “donating $10 million overall to help Americans during this pandemic in cities across the country and in areas where I grew up.” >> See the post here As of Sunday morning, America’s Food Fund’s crowdfunding campaign had raised more than $13 million toward its $15 million goal. Tokyo to report 143 new cases, breaking city’s single-day record Update 4:43 a.m. EDT April 5: Tokyo on Sunday will report 143 new coronavirus cases, topping the city’s single-day record, the Japan Times is reporting. Japan’s capital city has reported more than 1,000 cases of the virus, according to the newspaper. On Sunday morning, Johns Hopkins University reported 3,139 confirmed coronavirus cases and 77 deaths in Japan. BBB warns of fake coronavirus stimulus check, other scams Update 3:40 a.m. EDT April 5: Scammers across the United States continue to trick people in an attempt to steal their money or information, WHBQ-TV is reporting. The Better Business Bureau said that most of the recent scams reported involves the stimulus checks that the government will be sending out to citizens. Here are some of the scams reported to the BBB this week: A phone call saying that student loans qualify you for immediate COVID-19 relief. The woman who reported this scam said she doesn’t have any student loans. Two Facebook messages from someone posing as a government official that that says you qualify for an immediate COVID-19 grant. Both targets were offered grants of $50,000 to $300,000 if they paid an upfront fee by gift cards or wire. One victim said the person communicating with her was posing as William Barr, U.S. Attorney General. A Facebook message from a “friend” that asks you to call a specified number and give your Social Security Number so you can find out when you’ll get your government relief check. The woman who reported this scam said several of her church members had told her about it thinking it was real. A text message asking for your Social Security Number to see if you qualified for $50,000 from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The money was for seniors affected by coronavirus. A text message stating that if you confirmed your bank account information and paid $50, you could get your stimulus check immediately. The FBI has warned of a text message scam that appears to be from Costco offering you $100 to spend there. The FBI says if you click on the link, malware will be downloaded to your device. The Better Business Bureau said to remember: The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get the stimulus money. No fees. No charges. No nothing. The government does not need you to provide your personal information in order to receive your payment. They will deposit money into the account you gave on your tax return last year or send you a check. Anyone asking for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number is a scammer. The checks are not in the mail … yet. Anyone who tells you they can expedite your check for a fee is a scammer. Never give your bank account information to someone you don’t know. Scammers will call and pressure you to divulge your bank account information so they can steal the money in the account. Look-alikes and sound-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the a caller claims to be with the government doesn’t mean he is. Scammers make up official-sounding names to fool you. Phone numbers can deceive. Con artists “spoof” their phone numbers to change what you see in caller ID. They could be calling from anywhere. If you spot a scam, please report it to the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/scamtracker. HIV drug showing signs of successfully treating coronavirus patients Update 1:44 a.m. EDT April 5: A drug used to treat HIV and cancer patients has shown success in treating some of the most severe coronavirus patients and was just cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start a phase two clinical trial. Much of the work behind the drug is happening in Washington state. The drug was developed by a company called CytoDyn in Vancouver, Washington. It is manufactured by a company in Bothell, Washington, AGC Biologics, which makes a special molecule that is the key ingredient in the drug, KIRO-TV reported. Scientists at CytoDyn figured out it could work to treat COVID-19, and the first severely sick patients who’ve tried it have shown improvement. The drug is called leronlimab, comes in a vial and is a two-shot-per-week dose over two weeks. It is being tried on 10 of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The patients are on ventilators, and some are barely conscious. “The first four patients who were intubated, two were extubated. One of them self-extubated and became alert,” said Nader Pourhassan, the CEO of CytoDyn. Now the two patients are out of the intensive care unit. Pourhassan said when he heard the results, he had to stop what he was doing. “And cried for about five minutes. It was very, very emotional,” Pourhassan said. He said studies show that in the U.S., 85% of COVID-19 patients who end up needing ventilators will die. But the patients who’ve gotten shots of this drug have shown strong results. “All eight patients we’ve analyzed so far – the first eight patients – saw immunological benefits. The FDA immediately allowed us to have a phase two randomized trial. We are initiating that today,” Pourhassan said Friday. He said the results were even seen in COVID patients who only got the shots three days, though it takes two weeks for the drugs to take full effect. Read more here. U.S. cases soar past 312,000, including nearly 8,500 deaths Update 12:53 a.m. EDT April 5: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 312,000 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 312,146 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 8,496 deaths. Worldwide, there are 1,203,099 confirmed cases and 64,774 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 126,168 reported in Spain and the 124,632 confirmed in Italy. Of the confirmed deaths in the U.S., 3,565 have occurred in New York, 846 in New Jersey, 540 in Michigan and 409 in Louisiana. In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 114,174 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 34,124, Michigan with 14,225 and California with 13,878. Five other states have each confirmed at least 10,000 novel coronavirus cases, including: • Louisiana: 12,496, including 409 deaths • Massachusetts: 11,736, including 216 deaths • Florida: 11,545, including 195 deaths • Pennsylvania: 10,444, including 139 deaths • Illinois: 10,359, including 244 deaths Meanwhile, Washington state has confirmed at least 7,500 novel coronavirus infections, while Texas and Georgia have confirmed at least 6,000 cases each. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Seminole County deputies said they found trafficking amounts of heroin and cocaine after detectives found a stolen car Thursday morning at a Florida home. Deputies said cash and several handguns were also seized at the home in unincorporated Lake Mary. A baby alligator was also being kept illegally in the home, deputies said. Four suspects are facing several felony charges. “Make no mistake, any criminals thinking they can use our coronavirus emergency to take advantage know that our dedicated men and women are keeping our neighborhoods safe,” said Sheriff Dennis Lemma.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday that Washington will be returning more than 400 ventilators from the federal government to help the state of New York, which is experiencing a higher number of coronavirus cases. “I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together. This should guide all of our actions at an individual and state level in the coming days and weeks,” Inslee said. The ventilators were sent from the Strategic National Stockpile. Washington recently purchased more than 750 of its own ventilators that will arrive over the next several weeks. “Thanks to the mitigation efforts the governor has put in place and the cooperation of Washingtonians, we have seen fewer infections in our communities than anticipated. Our current status allows us to help others who have a more immediate need,' said Raquel Bono, a former vice admiral and director of Washington state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management. There are more than 7,400 confirmed cases and 319 deaths in Washington state, according to The New York Times. In New York state, there are more than 122,500 confirmed cases and 4,159 deaths.
  • Police in a Louisiana city blared a siren signaling the start of curfew -- unknowing that it sounded similar to the alarm in the horror movie “The Purge.” Crowley police sounded the siren Friday night, prompting complaints from residents familiar with the horror franchise, KATC reported. Chief Jimmy Broussard said he was not familiar with the movies. The department will no longer use any type of siren to note curfew hours, KATC reported. The siren sounded eerily similar to the alarm in the movie “The Purge,” where it signaled all crimes, including murder, were legal for a 12-hour period. The Acadia Parish sheriff distanced his department from the noise. “Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew,” K.P. Gibson said in a statement. “We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ’Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose.”
  • A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus. This is the first known infection in an animal or a tiger anywhere, The Associated Press reported. It is believed Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, was exposed to the virus by an employee at the zoo, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Several lions and tigers were showing symptoms of the virus March 27, but only the one tested positive. All of the big cats are expected to recover. The zoo has been closed to the public since about mid-March. Other animals in the zoo are not showing signs of the virus. The zoo on Tuesday shared video on social media of the tigers enjoying a swim. Agriculture officials are warning people infected with the coronavirus to avoid their pets, like they would other people. “Anyone sick with COVID-19 should restrict contact with animals, out of an abundance of caution including pets, during their illness, just as they would with other people,” agriculture officials said in a statement. “Although there have not been reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Washington Insider

  • President Donald Trump this weekend bluntly warned Americans to prepare for what his team said could be one of the roughest weeks yet against the Coronavirus, as the U.S. has now had four consecutive days with over 1,000 new deaths related to the virus outbreak. 'This will be probably be the toughest week,' the President told reporters at a Saturday briefing. 'There will be a lot of death, unfortunately.' Top federal health officials agreed with that assessment. 'Right now, we're seeing - as well all said correctly - that this is probably going to be a really bad week,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert for the U.S. government. Fauci joined the President in again urging Americans to do what they can to limit their social activities, and thus limit the spread of the virus. 'The only tool - but the best tool that we have - is mitigation,' Fauci told reporters at a Sunday night White House briefing. Fauci reminded reporters that the measures being taken by Americans in terms of social distancing take about two and a half weeks to show up in terms of fewer cases, and a drop in the number of deaths. 'People really understand the responsibility they have for themselves, their family and for the country,' Fauci said at the White House. Fauci's colleague, Dr. Deborah Birx, told reporters that health officials continue to see the most problems in the New York City metro area, as well as in New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole. Birx also name-checked Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington State, Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. - where there have been rumblings in recent days about a possible broader spread of the virus. 'We do see hopeful signs in Spain and Italy. They have completed nearly four weeks of mitigation,' Birx said, telling Americans they should follow the lead of those nations in terms of social distancing, as a way to stop the spread of the virus. During Sunday's briefing, the President repeated his endorsement of the use of hydroxychloroquine - a drug often associated with malaria treatment - to be used against the Coronavirus. 'What really do we have to lose?' the President asked reporters at one point, encouraging people to use the drug, even though it has not been specifically found to stop the virus. 'It may not work, in which case, hey - it didn't work,' the President said at one point. 'And it may work, in which case, it may save a lot of lives.' 'If it does help, great,' Mr. Trump added. 'If it doesn't help, we gave it a shot.' The President's promotion of hydroxychloriquine has drawn concerns from Fauci - who has noted the lack of broader trials - but Mr. Trump has pressed forward with the idea, bolstered by support among GOP lawmakers and conservative media. On Sunday, when one reporter tried to ask Fauci his opinion, the President stepped in and did not let Fauci answer. 'You know how many times he's answered that question?' the President said to a reporter from CNN. '15 times. You don't have to ask that question. He's answered that question 15 times.' The death toll from the Coronavirus in the U.S. will go over 10,000 people on Monday.