CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

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Latest from Katrina Scales

    The University of Central Florida east Orlando campus will open Orange County’s second drive-thru testing site for COVID-19. From UCF: A drive-through site where members of the community with an appointment can be tested for COVID-19 will open at UCF on Monday, April 6.  The site is a partnership between UCF and Aventus Biolabs, a private genetics testing lab owned and operated by Aventus Health, a healthcare company with headquarters in Orlando. Individuals must have an appointment in order to receive a test, which will be administered in UCF’s Garage A, located at 12491 University Boulevard, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (appointments may end before 5 p.m. if the daily appointments are filled earlier). Those who do not have an appointment will be turned away. To secure an appointment and have a test ordered for them, individuals must contact Aventus by calling 855-282-4860. Providers will screen patients for symptoms and issue an order form if they qualify for testing. UCF students can obtain an ordered test from Student Health Services telehealth by calling 407-823-2701. UCF faculty and staff members can obtain their ordered test from their primary care provider by contacting UCF Health at 407-266-3627. After the patient has been screened by a provider, Aventus’ client services team will reach out to complete all necessary paperwork and schedule an appointment for testing. Upon arrival during a scheduled time, individuals will drive through and receive the testing with a swab designated specifically for them. The average test takes about 10 minutes or less from the start of the appointment. The efficiency of this process will allow for individuals to receive their test results in about 24 to 48 hours. However, it is critical that appointments are made ahead of time, as this process does not allow for unscheduled testing.  Aventus has capacity to test about 250 people per day. The individuals who qualify for testing at UCF may not meet all of the criteria required by the Florida Department of Health in order to be tested at a county testing site, but still have been prescreened for symptoms and advised by healthcare providers to be tested. To learn more about COVID-19 and how testing is performed, visit Aventus’ site at https://www.aventushealth.com. UCF is regularly sharing information about COVID-19’s impact to university operations here: https://www.ucf.edu/safety/coronavirus/.
  • The Brevard Zoo is welcoming a baby giraffe. Zoo officials say the giraffe was born on Sunday in Melbourne. The calf weighed 125 pounds and was 6-feet tall at birth. In a statement the zoo said it's the sixth consecutive male calf born there. App users, tap here to see a video! It was the ninth birth for the calf's 20-year-old mother, Johari. The calf's father is 21-year-old Rafiki, who has sired all 14 giraffe born at the zoo. The veterinary staff says the calf is in good health and nursing well.
  • Right now, it’s more important than ever to limit your exposure inside public places like grocery stores. But we still need essential items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies! The last thing you want to do is trek to Walmart—only to find the shelves empty. Check out InStok.org. You type in the search bar the item you’re looking for and your zipcode (to find the store nearest you.) There is a disclaimer saying, 'If an item is not on the shelf, it is possibly at the back or someone must've bought the item since inventory was last updated. This is just a tool to guide you in the right direction instead of randomly trying different stores. If you really need an item, call and speak to a store associate in advance. Please do not buy more than you need.'  ABC News reports InStok was created by two teenage University of Austin students in March to help consumers find products nearby.  You can compare prices from various stores, as well as get text alerts for when products are back in stock. 
  • Governor Ron DeSantis announced he will issue a 30-day stay-at-home order for Florida, set to begin early Friday morning. The order will “limit movements and personal interactions outside the home,” DeSantis said. READ THE ENTIRE EXECUTIVE ORDER HERE. Only essential services will be allowed to operate.  The governor outlines them as follows: Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship Participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming Taking care of pets Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend. Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce detailed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security  -- WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE. ^That’s a long list that includes 16 different industries deemed “essential critical.” DeSantis said some businesses can be added to the list if they are deemed essential. The order will begin at midnight on Thursday (Friday morning)and will last for the next 30 days. DeSantis said construction on Sand Lake Road will be accelerated.
  • Less than two weeks after Orange County’s rent assistance program was announced, it’s being suspended after receiving more than 20,000 applications. Here’s the county’s news release: Orange County Government will close its COVID-19 Rental Assistance Hotline and online application effective 5 p.m. on April 1, 2020. The launch of the local program was meant to function as a stopgap measure to help Orange County residents until federal and state funding was available. Orange County Government intends to fully process all applications and vet them appropriately. The Orange County COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program was launched by Mayor Jerry L. Demings on Friday, March 20, 2020. This was a one-time benefit for one month’s rent assistance for Orange County residents only with specific qualifications. The program, which is taxpayer funded, was initially set up to help 1,500 families with a budget of $1.8 million. “We ask for residents’ patience as we process their applications and appointments,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “We have increased our staff and our facilities to accommodate the demand. We will bring the program’s additional funding needs to our Orange County Board of County Commissioners at an upcoming Board meeting.”  
  • It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel.  In the year 2020, there was no need to stand in line or wait for a sweaty employee to strap you into a seat. The roller coasters were ‘virtual,’ enjoyed on a living room couch.  Visit Orlando is out with a compilation of virtual experiences just in time for weary parents working from home and antsy kids. “We recognize that now, more than ever, we all want to escape from reality, even if it’s just for a moment,” said George Aguel, President & CEO of Visit Orlando. “Whether you like floating down a lazy river in one of our resort pools or immersing yourself into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we hope these experiences provide a much-needed break from everyday life.”  Experience all of Orlando  Try riding the tallest roller coaster, ziplining over alligators,or standing on Main Street in front of Cinderella Castle. The Orlando Virtual Tour takes viewers into 85 experiences throughout Orlando, from theme parks and hotels to dining and shopping hot spots, with a 360-degree perspective.  Even More of the Theme Parks  Walt Disney World – Watch a sneak peek of new rides like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, enjoy character meet-and-greets and much more exclusively from the Disney Parks YouTube channel. Universal Orlando Resort – Travel to different worlds virtually like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alleyand experience the parks with 360-degree videos of some of the most popular roller coasters, explore holiday events and take a closer look into the restaurants that make up Universal CityWalk from the Universal Orlando Resort’s YouTube channel.  LEGOLAND Florida Resort – Explore the LEGOLAND® Florida Resort Castle virtually through the twists and turns of The Dragon, an indoor/outdoor steel roller coaster.  Virtual Relaxation  Relax and virtually float through by yourself down the winding lazy river that is part of the 5-acre waterpark located in the luxurious grounds of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.  Explore a lake on a giant swan-shaped boat, through the swan boat ride in downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park.  Float down the river with gushing geysers at Aquatica’s Roa’s Rapids at the Aquatica Orlando water park, in a virtual action river experience with high tides and gushing geysers.  Animal Interactions  From Gatorland’s School of Croc, a Facebook live every day at 10 a.m. every showcases animals and adventures. In the afternoon, their YouTube channel shares live-action encounters with animals including Burmese pythons, crocodiles, alligators and monitor lizards.  Peak into animal habitats through a new daily video series on Facebook live, from the Central Florida Zoo.  Explore a penguin colony at SeaWorld’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.  High-Speed Thrills  Virtually experience indoor skydiving at iFLY Orlando inside of their high-energy vertical wind tunnels that allows visitors to float on a column of air.  Get in the driver’s seat for a virtual race through Andretti Indoor Karting & Games’ indoor track of turns and high-speed chases.  Virtual Learning – Making Education Fun  You can now stream educational IMAX films typically shown in the cinedome of the Orlando Science Center. Enjoy MacGillivray Freeman IMAX films by streaming, America's Musical Journey on YouTube; and Dream Big, Humpback Whale and National Parks Adventure on Vimeo on Demand.  Learn about living in space, Mars and rocketry or tour Space Shuttle Atlantis during a new series of Facebook lives from Kennedy Space Center.  From Disney Imagineers, learn real-world case studies and even design a theme park experience through interactive activities and lessons in theme park design and engineering. This free online program is created in partnership with the Khan Academy and Pixar.  Learn to draw Mickey Mouse as Disney shares a complete series of how-to tutorials on how to draw the famous figure on the Disney Parks YouTube channel. Cast member Stephen Ketchum provides expert tips on how to draw Mickey over the years, from vintage 1920s Mickey to the more contemporary “pied-eyed” version.  Music, Movies and Museums  Listen to intimate musical performances at the Timucua Arts Foundation, set in the home grounds of the former music director for Cirque du Soleil. The foundation will post daily videos of previously recorded live performances on its Facebook page, also host a Digital Music Flea Market to help local musical artists.  Get a daily move recommendation and insider info on the film from a cinematic expert on the Enzian Theater’s Facebook page. Explore the museum galleries of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art via the museum's website, with PDF versions of the object guides that are normally placed in each gallery. Learn the history behind the museum through two films available for streaming: A Legacy for the Community and The Tiffany Chapel: A Masterpiece Rediscovered.
  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The City of Kissimmee implemented a modified Foreclosure Prevention and Rental Assistance/Eviction Prevention Program to assist very low-income and low-income residents impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to start on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Participants can apply online at www.kissimmee.org under the Resource section. The program offers a maximum amount for housing assistance not to exceed $1,200.00 or one month of rent, whichever is less. Funding for these programs is available through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program. A household must meet the following criteria to qualify:  Must be a City of Kissimmee resident. Household income must be less than 80% of the average median income (please visit the website for the chart). Must have a documented loss of income related to COVID-19 impacts due to health, employment, or school/child care closures.  For more information about the City of Kissimmee and the Foreclosure Prevention and Rental Assistance/Eviction Prevention Program, contact Osceola Council on Aging at 407-933-9530, as this is the lead agency to process all the requests.  To apply for the program, go here.  
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing a near-record number of Americans into financial uncertainty due to unemployment or health concerns.   On Friday, Katrina Scales from Orlando’s Evening News spoke with Nikia Crawford, a payroll specialist at PayPros, Inc. based in Brevard County. (App users tap here to listen to the full interview) She recommends reading the Families First Coronavirus Response Act sheet, which requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Here’s a link to more information about FFCRA. For a FAQ about applying for unemployment benefits, tap here for a sheet from the Department of Economic Opportunity. “Anyone who does need help or assistance with their payroll or unemployment, we are actually offering some relief discounts to anybody who needs our services,” says Crawford. To learn more about this Brevard County-based PayPros, Inc. tap here.
  • Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he has issued a stay-at-home order for all of Orange County and the cities within it, lasting from 11 p.m. Thursday until 11 p.m. April 9. People will still be allowed to leave their home to buy groceries, to order takeout, to buy supplies to work from home, to get exercise and to visit the pharmacist or doctor’s office, so long as they practice social distancing. To read the entire Stay-At-Home order for Orange County residents, tap here. Still have questions? Read this release from the county answering FAQs. If you missed it, Mayor Jerry Demings joined Scott Anez on Orlando’s News at Noon.  App users tap here to listen to the full interview.
  • The Kissimmee Police Department is looking for a woman with a felony warrant who is thought to be somewhere in the Orlando area. According to a tweet, 29-year-old Keisha Vandemaat is wanted for “multiple crimes.”  If you know her whereabouts, please contact KPD (407-847-2821) or your local authorities.
  • Katrina Scales

    Reporter

    Katrina Scales is a reporter for News 96.5 WDBO. After graduating from Florida Atlantic University, she moved back to central Florida to be an intern at WDBO and was later hired as an afternoon reporter in December 2018. A native of Merritt Island, she most enjoys covering space news and local government.

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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:  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.