CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

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Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection
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Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

More than 5.1 million people worldwide – including nearly 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

Live updates for Friday, May 22, continue below:

Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

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

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

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

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

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

Judge orders Los Angeles to move thousands of homeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick Ewing hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus

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

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

Michigan Gov. Whitmer extends stay-at-home order

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

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

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

Federal prison system to begin moving nearly 7K inmates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nearly 37,000 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana

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

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

Harley-Davidson to restart production

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

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

>> Read more

Pence visits Atlanta for restaurant roundtable

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

>> Read more on WSBTV.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump holding news briefing amid questions about antimalarial drug he touted

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

Voting centers reopen in Washington DC ahead of June 2 primary

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

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

Business owners sue Pennsylvania governor over closure orders

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

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

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

>> Read more on WPXI.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer camps, youth activities allowed to reopen in Florida

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

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

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

>> Read more on WFTV.com

109 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York

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

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

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

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

“I’m confident we’ll get it,” Esper said Friday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. “(The Department of Defense) has the expertise and the capacity of course, to get the manufacturing done and the logistics and i’m confident that we will deliver.”

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

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

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

105 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine ... on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19,” researchers said in a summary of their findings. “Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.”

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

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

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

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

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

3,287 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK

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

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

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

Update 7:44 a.m. EDT May 22: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 333,382 early Friday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,125,612 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,081. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drug smugglers concealed meth shipments in hand sanitizer bottles

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

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

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

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

US coronavirus cases approach 1.6M, deaths near 95K

Update 12:38 a.m. EDT May 22: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.5 million early Friday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,577,287 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 94,702 deaths. 

The hardest-hit states remain New York with 356,458 cases and 28,743 deaths and New Jersey with 151,586 cases and 10,846 deaths. Massachusetts, with 90,084 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,148, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 102,688. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each.

Seven other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

• California: 88,031 cases, resulting in 3,583 deaths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Nearly 6 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Saturday, May 30, continue below: US coronavirus cases surpass 1.7M, deaths near 103K Published 12:51 a.m. EDT May 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.7 million early Saturday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,747,085 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 102,836 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 368,284 cases and 29,646 deaths and New Jersey with 158,844 cases and 11,409 deaths. Massachusetts, with 95,512 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,718, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 117,455. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Six other states have now confirmed at least 50,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 106,910 cases, resulting in 4,088 deaths • Pennsylvania: 74,984 cases, resulting in 5,464 deaths • Texas: 61,630 cases, resulting in 1,635 deaths • Michigan: 56,621 cases, resulting in 5,406 deaths • Florida: 54,497 cases, resulting in 2,413 deaths • Maryland: 50,988 cases, resulting in 2,466 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 33,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 21,000 cases; Iowa and Arizona each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 17,000 cases; Mississippi and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 11,131; Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,493; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • More than 5.8 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Friday, May 29, continue below: Virus protection adds new wrinkle to Southwest heat relief Update 11:15 p.m. EDT May 29: Trying to stay safe during a global pandemic is hard enough, but people in Southwest desert cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas where temperatures can soar into the triple digits are also trying to protect themselves from the brutal heat. A 48,000-square-foot hall of the Phoenix Convention Center was being transformed Friday into a daytime heat relief center for homeless people, with city officials offering free transportation to get them there. But with most other government-run spaces like libraries and community centers still closed this week to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Salvation Army and other nonprofit groups were shouldering a big load of the responsibility for ensuring people stay cool and hydrated amid extreme heat warnings for some parts of the southwestern U.S. At a dozen of their sites in metro Phoenix, Salvation Army staff and volunteers Thursday asked people to wear masks, clean their hands with the alcohol-based sanitizer gel provided and stay at least 6 feet away from others as a precaution amid the virus outbreak. UN announces first 2 deaths of UN peacekeepers from COVID-19 Update 10:15 p.m. EDT May 29: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday announced the deaths of the first two U.N. peacekeepers from COVID-19. He made the announcement at a ceremony marking the International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers, saying both peacekeepers, who died Thursday and Friday, were serving in Mali. The U.N. said one was from Cambodia and the other from El Salvador. Guterres said the coronavirus pandemic has changed almost everything, but not “the service, sacrifice and selflessness” of the more than 95,000 men and women serving in the 13 U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world. According to the U.N. peacekeeping department, there have been 137 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in U.N. peacekeeping operations, with the greatest number by far — 90 cases — in Mali. There were 21 cases in the U.N. mission in Congo, 17 in Central African Republic, three each in South Sudan and Cyprus, and one each in Lebanon, the U.N.-African Union mission in Sudan’s Darfur region, and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East. Person tested positive at Lake of the Ozarks Update 9:15 p.m. EDT May 29: Health officials said Friday that they were seeking to “inform mass numbers of unknown people” after a person who attended crowded pool parties over Memorial Day weekend at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks tested positive for COVID-19. Camden County Health Department said in a release that the resident of Boone County in mid-Missouri tested positive on Sunday after arriving at the lake area a day earlier. Officials said there have been no reported cases of the virus linked to coronavirus in residents of Camden County, where the parties seen in videos and photos posted on social media took place. Because “mass numbers of unknown people” need to be notified, the officials released a brief timeline of the person’s whereabouts last weekend, including stops at a bar called Backwater Jacks, a bar and restaurant that has a pool, as well as a dining and pool venue called Shady Gators and Lazy Gators. Backwater Jacks owner Gary Prewitt said previously in a statement that no laws were broken, though the images appeared to show people violating Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s state order requiring social distancing. Parson allowed businesses and attractions to reopen May 4, but the state order requires 6-foot social distancing through at least the end of May. US judge won’t lift 50-person cap on Nevada church services Update 8:10 p.m. EDT May 5: A federal judge rejected a rural Nevada church’s request Friday for an emergency injunction that would allow it to exceed Gov. Steve Sisolak’s 50-person cap on religious gatherings. Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley filed a lawsuit against the governor last week that argued the previous ban on religious gatherings of more than 10 people was unconstitutional. Sisolak raised the limit to 50 people under strict social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus when he announced this week the reopening of several business categories previously considered non-essential. That cleared the way for casinos to open June 4 for the first time since mid-March. Washington DC starts reopening in fits and starts Update 6:50 p.m. EDT May 5: As the nation’s capital took the first tiny steps toward reopening Friday, the continued threat of coronavirus was ever present. Showing IDs was not enough at the Dacha Beer Garden in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood. Would-be customers had to answer a series of questions about any possible exposure to the COVID-19 and whether they themselves had shown any symptoms. “Please keep your mask on when you’re not dining and drinking,” hostess Amy Symonds told the patrons, laying out a series of rules and taking down everyone’s’ phone numbers before they were seated at socially-distanced tables. “It’s good to have some level of normalcy again,” said Jeff Gullo, who was one of the first in line to get in. Fifteen minutes after opening, nearly two dozen people were seated at the popular all outdoor facility. But the gradual reopening of the District of Columbia as a three-month stay-at-home order was lifted came in fits and starts, with not everyone ready for even a limited return to pre-pandemic normality. Barbers and hair salons welcomed back clients grown haggard from months of self-maintenance. Nonessential businesses, shuttered since late March, started offering curbside pickup. And restaurants that have been operating solely on takeout began limited outdoor seating. UK officials report 2,095 new cases of COVID-19 Update 6:20 p.m. EDT May 5: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 2,095 new coronavirus infections early Friday evening, raising the country’s number of COVID-19 cases to 271,222. The previous day, 1,887 new coronavirus cases were reported. Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced that a total of 38,161 have died in the U.K. due to the novel coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins University, which releases its own numbers on a rolling basis, here are the countries with the highest numbers of reported coronavirus cases: 1) United States: 1,743,235 cases 2) Brazil: 438,238 cases 3) Russia: 387,623 cases 4) United Kingdom: 272,607 cases 5) Spain: 238,564 cases 6) Italy: 232,248 cases New Jersey announces reopening of child care centers, youth day camps Update 4:35 p.m. EDT May 29: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans to reopen more businesses and programs across the state. Murphy said child care centers can reopen June 15, and non-contact organized sports activities can resume June 22. Youth day camps can start July 6. “We want our children to be able to enjoy their summer with friends, participating in the activities that create lifelong memories,' he said. 'We know day camp is one of those memory building places.” Horse racing in the state can resume without fans beginning next weekend. Murphy said the data continues to move in the right direction, with new hospitalizations down by 70% since the state’s peak. To date, 11,531 people have died in New Jersey due to COVID-19. New Jersey health officials confirmed 158,844 coronavirus cases Friday. President Trump announces U.S. will pull out of World Health Organization Update 3:05 p.m. EDT May 29: President Donald Trump announced during a news conference Friday that the United States will terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization. The president said the move was made because he does not agree with the way the organization has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly but they have refused to act. Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,' he said. Trump called out China’s role in the spread of the virus. “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency,' he said. New York City to begin opening June 8  Update 2:50 p.m. EDT May 29: New York City is on track to begin reopening on June 8 as the state gradually loosens restrictions put in place during the coronavirus crisis. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made that announcement Friday, saying the nation’s worst pandemic hot spot is meeting goals set for hospital rates and testing. The governor said the city will “stockpile” personal protective equipment like masks, and will focus on infection rates in hot spots by ZIP code. Cuomo made the remarks as a large swath of upstate New York got the go-ahead Friday to reopen hair salons, retail shops and offices under strict guidelines. New York City remains the only region of the state that has not yet commenced economic rebirth. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier Friday that masks or face coverings are necessary for all employees and customers for reopenings to be safe and effective. Connecticut colleges and universities to hold in-person classes this fall Update 2:00 p.m. EDT May 29: Mark Ojakian, the president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, said the university system plans to reopen campuses this fall. CSCU consists of 17 campuses, including UConn and Yale, and will open Aug. 24, the Hartford Courant reported. The first day of classes will be Aug. 26. Ojakian said there will be safety policies and procedures put in place to keep faculty and students safe. “We still have a lot of planning to do and more questions need to be addressed in the coming weeks and months,' he said. Each school will have to prepare and present plans to reopen that meet state health and safety standards. Many classes will have online portions. According to the Hartford Courant, students will be able to attend in-person classes on campuses until Thanksgiving break. Students will be asked to leave campus for the holiday break and will remain off-campus, completing the rest of their courses and final exams virtually. Coronavirus cases continue to drop in New York; city prepares for phase one of reopening Update 12:20 p.m. EDT May 29: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is nearing milestones that would allow the city to begin reopening in the next few weeks. “We are confident that we will be able to go to phase one in the first two weeks of June,' he said during a news conference. “This is going to be based, of course, on the tangible indicators and thresholds from the state and the city. So that’s what will lead the decision. We have to have that factual evidence.' De Blasio said officials have not confirmed which day phase one will begin. He said officials are conducting conversations that will help them determine “the exact right date to start.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of hospitalizations due to the coronavirus are down. De Blasio said Thursday that 5% of New York City residents tested positive for COVID-19. “Every day we’ve seen progress in recent weeks, today the lowest we’ve ever seen,” he said. “Congratulations everyone, this is putting us well on the way to our goal of opening in the first half of June. Well done NYC.' Sen. Bob Casey tests positive for COVID-10 antibodies Update 11:55 a.m. EDT May 29: Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey revealed Friday morning that he received a positive test result from a COVID-19 antibody test, which means that he “likely had COVID-19 at some point over the last several months and [has] since developed an antibody response to the virus,” he wrote in a statement. Casey said he experienced a low-grade fever and mild flu-like symptoms for days and he contacted his physician, but he was never tested for the coronavirus. He said he self-isolated and continued to work remotely, as his symptoms were “mild and manageable.” “I will continue to follow the guidance of public health experts by wearing a mask in public and observing social distancing practices, and I hope that others will do the same to help slow the spread of this virus,' Casey wrote in the statement. Doctors sue for mail access to abortion pill during coronavirus pandemic Update 5:55 a.m. EDT May 29: A group of doctors, in concert with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, challenging a rule that requires patients to visit medical facilities in order to obtain abortion pills. In the suit, the physicians argue patients should be allowed to have prescriptions for the drug mifepristone filled by mail, avoiding direct contact with potentially contaminated health care settings during the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Of the more than 20,000 drugs regulated by the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration,) mifepristone is the only one that patients must receive in person at a hospital, clinic or medical office, yet may self-administer, unsupervised, at a location of their choosing,” the lawsuit states. Tyson Foods shuts down 7th meatpacking facility amid latest coronavirus outbreak Update 2:53 a.m. EDT May 29: Tyson Foods shut down its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant temporarily, following the latest novel coronavirus outbreak to infect the company’s operations. Citing a “delay in COVID-19 testing results” as a partial reason for the facility’s idling, the company issued a statement attributing the shutdown to “team member absences related to quarantine and other factors” as well. According to the Des Moines Register, 555 of the Storm Lake plant’s 2,517 employees have tested positive for the virus. The two-day stoppage is intended to allow for deep cleaning and sanitization with plans to reopen for business next week, the company statement said. Since the onset of the global pandemic, Tyson has shuttered six other facilities temporarily, including facilities in Waterloo, Columbus Junction and Perry, Iowa, as well as Dakota City, Nebraska; Logansport, Indiana; and Pasco, Washington, the Register reported. Iowa has confirmed a total of 18,586 novel coronavirus cases, resulting in 506 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. US deaths near 102K, total cases soar past 1.7M Published 12:49 a.m. EDT May 29: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 1.7 million early Friday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,721,750 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 101,617 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 366,733 cases and 29,529 deaths and New Jersey with 157,185 cases and 11,409 deaths. Massachusetts, with 94,895 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,640, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 115,833. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 53,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 103,813 cases, resulting in 3,993 deaths • Pennsylvania: 74,220 cases, resulting in 5,373 deaths • Texas: 60,395 cases, resulting in 1,611 deaths • Michigan: 56,014 cases, resulting in 5,732 deaths • Florida: 53,285 cases, resulting in 2,364 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Virginia each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 33,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 18,586 and Arizona with 17,877; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 16,000 cases; Rhode Island and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska, Missouri and South Carolina each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Kentucky and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,364; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Universal Orlando has announced that on June 2nd, six of their hotels will be re-opened for their guests. As an additional bonus, those who stay at any of the re-opened hotels will have early access to the theme parks, starting on June 3rd and 4th, ahead of their public reopening on the 5th.  Here are the hotels that will be re-opened on June 2nd:  - Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando  - Loews Sapphire Falls and Royal Pacific Resort  - Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort  - Universal's Aventura Hotel  - Universal's Endless Summer Resort- Surfside Inn and Suites  The reopening of the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Universal's Endless Summer Resort at the Dockside Inn and Suites has yet to be announced.
  • What started out as protests in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd has now spread to several states, including right here in Florida. It started Friday morning after rumors circulated on social media that former officer Derek Chauvin, one of the four involved in the incident, moved to a home in the unincorporated area of Windermere. In response, the Orange County Sheriff's Office released a tweet, saying that they have verified that Chauvin has a home there, but is not there and has no plans to be in that area.  Despite this, protesters have gathered outside the home, holding signs and writing messages on the driveway of the home and the street near the home with chalk. Orange County Sheriff John Mina says that he is proud of the community since the protests have been peaceful and that while they will monitor the situation, there are currently no plans to add security to the home.  Just after 1 p.m., leaders in Minnesota have announced that Chauvin had been taken into custody and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
  • Officers with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday seized a shipment of unauthorized pills to treat COVID-19 at the Port of Seattle. According to a news release, officers seized 360 pills. “The use of unauthorized medications can give consumers a false sense of security and prove fatal in some instances,” officials said. “Unauthorized products that claim to cure, treat or prevent serious illnesses such as COVID-19 may cause individuals to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to serious harm.” CBP is working with the Food and Drug Administration to protect U.S. consumers from fake or harmful medications. “We show vigilance in carrying out our mission to protect the American public, whether it be terrorist weapons or dangerous medications,” Seattle Area Port Director Clay Thomas said. “The men and women of CBP value our enforcement partnerships and are proud to work with the dedicated FDA team to further protect the public.”

Washington Insider

  • The feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated on Friday after the President used the social media platform to threaten the use of force against rioters in Minneapolis, as Twitter slapped a warning label on the President's tweet, saying Mr. Trump had violated rules on 'glorifying violence.' 'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,' the President wrote, referring to the black man who was suffocated to death when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his head and neck for an extended period of time earlier this week. The President then spoke of sending in National Guard troops to restore order, warning that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.' That was evidently too much for Twitter, which placed a warning on the President's tweet. In the President's mind, the warning label from Twitter was the latest indignity against him by the social media giant, as Mr. Trump tore into Twitter early on Friday morning. 'Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,' the President tweeted soon after 7 am. 'They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.' Earlier this week, Twitter added a link to a couple of the President's tweets about mail-in voting, giving a link for more information about the issue. The President was incensed, leading to his executive order on Thursday, and a direct threat to close down the company, which experts said he had no power to do. On Capitol Hill, the two parties saw the developing events on Twitter much differently. 'Twitter is censoring the President of the United States,' said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Democrats in Congress said the President was overreacting, and acting like an authoritarian. “Trump’s behavior is growing increasingly unhinged, authoritarian, and outright violent and is designed to inflame and divide America further,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). “This is vile behavior,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).  “The President should not be encouraging violence.” “(T)he President’s executive order is a shameless attempt to use the power of his office to silence his critics and intimidate his perceived enemies,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).