Coronavirus updates: U.S. surpasses China with most cases worldwide

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U.S. surpasses China with most cases worldwide

The U.S. now has more coronavirus cases than anywhere in the world. There are now more than 82,400 cases in America, according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s more than China, where the outbreak began.

 

3 migrant children in U.S. custody test positive for coronavirus

Three unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. government custody have tested positive for coronavirus, federal officials said Thursday, highlighting concerns among advocates about the vulnerability of detained immigrants during the global pandemic.

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The three minors, who are housed in a shelter in New York, are the first confirmed coronavirus cases among the 3,600 unaccompanied children in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, or ORR.

Coronavirus is particularly dangerous for older people and those with underlying medical issues, but children and young people can carry and transmit the virus, even if the risk of serious illness is relatively low.

In the addition to the three confirmed cases, ORR has tested 15 other children in its custody as of Thursday. Eleven results came back negative and the rest are pending.

 

Trump tells governors to expect new guidelines on social distancing

In a letter to the nation’s governors on Thursday, President Trump said his administration is working on new guidelines to help state and local policymakers determine whether they should maintain, increase or relax social distancing measures they’ve put in place to mitigate the fallout from the coronavirus.

On March 16, the White House issued guidelines about how Americans can “slow the spread” of the virus over a 15-day period, but governors and local officials have been making decisions about closing businesses and schools for themselves. In Washington, D.C., the mayor has ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses until at least April 24.

Mr. Trump has established a goal of Easter Sunday, April 12, for returning Americans to work and the economy to some version of normalcy, although he concedes that won’t be possible everywhere, and public health experts warn Easter is much too soon to consider relaxing measures to stop the spread of the virus.

“There is still a long battle ahead, but our efforts are already paying dividends,” the president said in his letter Thursday. “As we enhance protections against the virus, Americans across the country are hoping the day will soon arrive when they can resume their normal economic, social and religious lives.”

Read more here.

 

Amy Klobuchar’s husband released from hospital after COVID-19 treatment

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced Thursday that her husband John has been released from the hospital after he was treated for coronavirus.

“Thanks to all who sent kind words & prayers for my husband John. He has coronavirus & has been in the hospital for pneumonia & low oxygen,” Klobuchar wrote. “He took a good turn, was just released & is now recovering at home! Thanks to those who cared for him & for all front line health care workers.”

 

Cheesecake Factory: April rent checks won’t be in the mail

The Cheesecake Factory won’t be paying next month’s rent for its nearly 300 restaurants across the country due to losses from the coronavirus outbreak. The company is among the major restaurant chains that are looking for rent deferrals on properties where business has slowed dramatically or ground to a halt amid efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

David Overton, the chain’s founder and CEO, asked for “patience” and “help” in a letter last week to the company’s landlords, according to a copy obtained by Eater and confirmed by Cheesecake Factory.

“There are many factors that are changing on a daily basis given governmental regulations and landlord decisions to close properties,” Matthew Clark, the company’s CFO, told CBS MoneyWatch in an emailed statement. 

“We have to take both into consideration in terms of understanding the nature of our rent obligations and with respect to managing our financial position,” Clark continued. “We have very strong, longstanding relationships with our landlords.  We are certain that with their partnership, we will be able to work together to weather this storm in the appropriate manner.” 

Read more here.

 

Indianapolis 500 rescheduled for August

The Indianapolis 500 has been rescheduled for August 23, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced in a statement on Thursday. The 104th edition of the annual race was initially scheduled to take place on May 24. 

“The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500,” said IMS owner Roger Penske. 

“However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing.”

 

UN Foundation raises $100 million

The UN Foundation today hit the $100 million mark for their new fund, which was established two weeks ago, that will supply everything from masks to test kits to aid to families, for the most vulnerable countries to deal with coronavirus.

In an interview with CBS News, Elizabeth Cousens, the UN Foundation President and CEO, said that the speed and “extraordinary outpouring of generosity from the private sector” was remarkable.

Cousins said the largest donors who sent funds included Facebook, TikTok, Google, Nike, American Express, Morgan Stanley, Verizon, the Walmart Foundation, H&M Foundation, Microsoft and Cisco.

The funds, Cousens said, will go to the WHO to distribute to “any community with a weak health system.”

“The case for global cooperation could not be clearer – communities everywhere are affected, and people want to contribute. This new fund will create space for people everywhere, together, to fight this virus,” she said.

 

WeWork says it won’t close, claiming office-sharing company is “essential”

Office space-sharing company WeWork is keeping nearly all of its locations open despite the novel coronavirus and mass shutdown orders in New York, Illinois, California and elsewhere. It’s even offering a monetary bonus of $100 a day to employees willing to go to the office, according to an internal memo that has been published online and CBS MoneyWatch has confirmed as authentic.

WeWork, which has struggled of late after once being among the hottest startups in the world, is also refusing to suspend rent for its tenants.

“I am just really shocked and offended and worried for people that WeWork is refusing to close,” said Jill Raney of consulting firm Practice Makes Progress, which works with non-profits and others on LGBT workplace issues.

Read more here.

 

Pelosi says House will take up coronavirus relief bill on Friday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote Friday on a massive relief package responding to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, after the Senate unanimously passed the measure late Wednesday night. 

The bill, which carries a price tag north of $2 trillion, will likely be approved by a voice vote in the House, which doesn’t require the presence of all members, many of whom are currently in their home states. Two House members have tested positive for coronavirus, and about two dozen others have said they are self-quarantining in case they have been exposed.

Read more here

 

College seniors face uncertain futures

The sudden closure of college campuses and universities across the country has sent millions of students home early, in some cases, before they even had a chance to gather their belongings. For college seniors, that means the loss of cherished senior memories as well as uncertainty for their futures as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the U.S. economy. 

Daniella Medina, a senior at University of Central Florida told CBS News’ Jericka Duncan she “really wanted to walk across that stage” for graduation for both herself and her mother, who worked up to three jobs at a time to get her through college. 

“She’s the reason I’m here, I wouldn’t be sitting in this room at UCF if it weren’t for my mom,” she said through tears. “If they postpone it or if they have a different ceremony later on, it won’t really fill that void… it’s so hard. It’s heartbreaking.”

Read more here.

 

“Most photographed” Wall Street trader tests positive

The Wall Street trader with one of the most familiar faces on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange announced on Instagram Thursday that he has tested positive for coronavirus. Peter Tuchman, dubbed the “most photographed man on Wall Street,” according to his social media account, shared an image of a Corona beer bottle to share the bad news with his 10,000-plus followers. 

“I just thought I’d let you know that I did test positive for corona. I am battling it pretty hard never felt so sick in my life…” he wrote.

Tuchman shared that he has a “great team of doctors” and is breathing fine. He also promised to be in touch when he gets “to the other side” of the disease. He is believed to be in his early 60s. 

Read more here

 

Stimulus checks: How much money will you get, and when?

The $2 trillion stimulus bill passed in the Senate includes help for American families who are hurting financially due to the economic impact of the coronavirus: $1,200 checks for most adults and $500 for each of their children. 

So, who will get a check? The key factor is your household’s annual income, because the package is aimed at helping low- and moderate-income families. Some wealthier families might not receive a stimulus check.  

Read more here.

 

New York governor says ventilator-splitting technology has been approved

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that technology that allows one ventilator to serve two patients – “what they call splitting” – has been approved. It works by adding a second set of tubes to a ventilator, he said, adding, “It’s not ideal, but we believe it’s workable.”

He said anesthesia machines in the state are also being converted to work as venitalors.

The high demand for ventilators is rooted in the high number of COVID-19 patients that need them and the length of time patients use them. Patients who don’t have COVID-19 typically use a ventilator for 3-4 days, but patients with COVID-19 are on ventilators for 11 to 21 days, according to Cuomo.

“So you don’t have the same turnaround in the number of ventilators.”

Cuomo said Wednesday the state needs 30,000 ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re still shopping for ventilators all across the county,” he said Thursday. “We need more.” 

 

New York governor responds to stimulus bill: “I find it reckless.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that the stimulus bill passed by the Senate Wednesday helped unemployment insurance and small businesses but did not help local or state governments.

He said that what’s happening to any state or city government is “a double whammy”: a loss of revenue as less taxes are paid while businesses are closed and people lose their jobs, coupled with an increase in expenses due to the virus. 

The anticipated loss of revenue for the state is estimated to be somewhere between $10 billion and $15 billion, Cuomo said. The New York state government receives $5 billion under the stimulus bill, but it is earmarked only for COVID-19 expenses, he said.

“The congressional action, in my opinion, simply failed to address the governmental need,” he said.

“I’m disappointed,” he said.”I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless.”

“This is an extraordinary time in this nation and it’s an extraordinary time for government,” Cuomo said. “This was the time to put politics aside and partisanship aside. This is the time for governmental leaders to stop making excuses and just do your job. Do your job. We’re one nation.”

 

National Cathedral finds hidden “stash” of 5,000 medical masks in a crypt

The Washington National Cathedral says a stone mason found 5,000 medical masks in a crypt Wednesday that had been forgotten about for more than a decade. The church is now donating them to medical institutions that are in desperate need of them as they battle the coronavirus pandemic

The National Cathedral, where many American leaders have been eulogized or held prayer services, tweeted about its discovery after an employee found it. The cathedral sent a portion of the masks to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and then the rest to Children’s National Hospital. 

“Seek and ye shall find, apparently,” the Cathedral’s Twitter account said. Today @WNCathedral sent 3000 N95 masks to @MedStarGUH and 2000 to @ChildrensNatl after a stonemason found a forgotten stash in the Cathedral crypt. Certified by manufacturer as still good.” 

 

House expected to vote Friday on coronavirus relief bill

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Friday on a massive relief package responding to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate unanimously passed the measure late Wednesday night. 

The bill, which carries a price tag north of $2 trillion, will likely be approved by a voice vote in the House, which doesn’t require the presence of all members, many of whom are currently in their home states. 

The relief measure passed with a vote of 96 to 0 in the Senate The bill expands unemployment insurance, provides direct payments to most Americans and includes hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and grants to corporations, hospitals, state and local governments and more.  

“Tonight, the Senate voted on legislation which, thanks to the leadership of Congressional Democrats, has been turned upside down from a Republican corporate focus to a Democratic workers-first focus,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement following the Senate vote. “On Friday, the House will take up the legislation with strong bipartisan support.”

 

Germany ramps up COVID-19 testing capacity to 500k per week

Germany has increased its ability to test for the new coronavirus to 500,000 a week. Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s Robert Koch disease control center, says the number of tests being conducted in the country was likely the highest worldwide, both in absolute numbers and per capita.

Christian Drosten, a leading virologist at Berlin’s Charite hospital, says about 6-7% of tests come back positive. So far, there have been 39,500 cases in Germany and 222 deaths. 

The relatively low death rate in Germany — less than 1% — has been attributed by some epidemiologists to the extensive testing in the country, which enables the German health care system to quickly detect cases, isolate and treat them, and conduct the vital contract tracing.

Fewer than 500,000 people have been tested for the new coronvirus in the U.S. since the epidemic began in the country.

CBS/AP 

 

Amazon employees fear COVID-19 exposure: “I was panicking”

At least 10 Amazon warehouse employees across the country have contracted the coronavirus, according to employee and media reports. However, they are part of a select group of professions whose workers continue to serve their communities, often risking their own health to assist people self-isolating. 

“We have to make sure, you know, where we’re working at is safe,” Amazon associate Sahro Sharif told CBS News’ Adriana Diaz. Sharif, who works at the Shakopee fulfillment center in Minnesota, is part of a coalition pushing for better working conditions. Right now that means assuring employee safety as the coronavirus pandemic has many sequestered to their homes for fear of infection. 

“I was scared, I was panicking,” she said about the news of infections among warehouse workers. “When it comes to Amazon, there’s so much more they could do for their employees.” 

Click here to read the full report

Essential workers risk coronavirus exposure to serve their communities

 

“Unethical and selfish” doctors prescribing drug that may help treat coronavirus to family and friends

Some doctors are writing prescriptions for a drug that may help treat coronavirus for their family and friends, one pharmacist said, calling their actions “unethical and selfish.” Hydroxychloroquine has not been clinically proven to be safe or successful in treating coronavirus, and yet the increased demand for it is making it harder for people who need it to control their chronic diseases to get it.

Hydroxychloroquine is a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug. It often treats autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and is sold under the brand name, Plaquenil. 

Pharmacists share warning about over-prescription of potential COVID-19 drugs

Recent data show chloroquine orders spiked 3,000% in March and hydroxychloroquine orders rose 260%. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved these drugs for treatment of the coronavirus, but doctors are allowed to prescribe them.

 

American expats in the U.K. fear coronavirus could leave them in limbo

As American citizens traveling abroad are urged to return to the United States because of the coronavirus pandemic, many who live in the U.K. fear they could soon find themselves stuck in limbo: Ineligible for support from the British government if they lose their jobs, they also have no homes — or health insurance — to go back to in the U.S.

Approximately 174,000 Americans live in the United Kingdom, many of whom don’t qualify for government support under the terms of their visas. CBS News’ Haley Ott spoke to some very anxious Americans in this precarious situation.

 

U.S. jobless claims surge to record 3.3 million as coronavirus slams labor market

An unprecedented number of Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus shuttered businesses nationwide.

Roughly 3.3 million people filed a claim for jobless aid in the week ending March 21, a nearly fivefold increase over the previous record in 1982.

“This represents the single worst one-day piece of labor market news in America’s history,” Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, said in an email.

U.S. sees worst unemployment numbers in over 50 years

 

Japan warned of “highly likely” surge in new coronavirus cases

The Japanese capital registered 47 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, its biggest single-day rise, as the metropolis of 13.9 million people prepares for a weekend indoors. The worrying jump in infections prompted Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to ask her counterparts in neighboring prefectures to help the greater Tokyo region to isolate itself.

Six prefectures responded quickly, asking citizens to avoid all nonessential trips into the capital, or even to stay home altogether. The region is home to about 40 million people — about a third of Japan’s total population. 

Disease experts are concerned not just about Japan’s rising case numbers, but their inability to trace the routes of infection. Koike said Tokyo “is now at a critical juncture.”

People, some wearing face masks, walk through a park as they enjoy cherry blossom season on March 26, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Carl Court/Getty

Compared to Manhattan or other big cities with tens of thousands of cases, Japan’s total of 2,000-plus infections — about a third of them from the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship — might seem insignificant. But the spiraling stats are so troubling an expert government panel released its most dire analysis ever Thursday, saying it is “highly likely” Japan will see “rampant” infections.     

 

Renowned chef Floyd Cardoz mourned after dying of coronavirus complications

Chef Floyd Cardoz, who competed on “Top Chef,” won “Top Chef Masters” and operated successful restaurants in both India and New York, died Wednesday of complications from the coronavirus, his company said in a statement. He was 59.

Cardoz had traveled from Mumbai to New York through Frankfurt, Germany, on March 8. He was admitted a week ago to Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, New Jersey, with a fever and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, the statement said.

The committed advocate of making the food industry more sustainable began his hospitality training in his native Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. He later moved to Switzerland, where he honed his skills in French, Italian and Indian cuisine before moving on to the kitchens of New York City.

– CBS/AP

 

Trump under fire for pushing arbitrary coronavirus deadline

Economists, health experts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have criticized President Trump for saying he would like to reopen thousands of businesses closed in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus by Easter.

Mr. Trump’s own top medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned against arbitrary deadlines for resuming normal activities. 

Trump under fire for suggesting April virus lockdown deadline

Mr. Trump, however, is accusing the media of wanting to keep the country shut down to hurt his re-election chances. Watch the video above for Paula Reid’s full report on the discord within the White House.  

 

Restaurant workers already living “tip to mouth” face more hardship in shutdown

Restaurant servers who rely on customers’ tips to make ends meet have seen their livelihoods vanish virtually overnight. The restaurant industry is reeling from the financial impact of coronavirus shutdowns, and so are the workers who kept it running

Surviving an Unlivable Wage

Click here for the full report, part of the new CBSN Originals documentary series REVERB. Watch the latest episode, “Surviving an Unlivable Wage,” in the video player above. It premieres on CBSN Sunday, March 29, at 8 p.m. ET.  

 

For 1st time since WWII, France uses specially-equipped train to move critically ill

For the first time since World War II, hospital patients have been transported across France by train. 

Twenty critically-ill COVID-19 patients, all on life support, were boarded onto a specially-kitted out high-speed TGV train in Strasbourg, eastern France early Thursday destined for hospitals in the Loire region and Brittany in the west.

Thirty doctors accompanied them. Some 200 rail workers were mobilized to help adapt the five cars, and to assist with embarking and disembarking the patients.

FRANCE-HEALTH-VIRUS-epidemic Ambulances stand by to load patients affected with coronavirus (Covid-19) aboard a medicalised TGV (high-speed train) in Strasbourg, France on March 26, 2020. FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty

Eastern France was one of the first areas hit by the new coronavirus. It was the site of the first major cluster, after people who attended a Lenten religious service caught the virus and spread it through the community before the alarm was raised.

Almost half of the more than 1,300 people who have died in the pandemic in France were in the Greater East region.

 

India announces $22.6 billion to help the poor survive world’s biggest COVID-19 lockdown

India’s government has announced a $22.6 billion plan to help the country’s poor get through a 21-day lockdown ordered to try to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The lockdown in the nation of 1.3 billion is the biggest in the world prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, and it presents a particular challenge for the impoverished.

The financial aid will provide direct cash transfers and food subsidies. It’s expected to give much needed relief to millions of daily wage earners and migrant workers who have been put out of work by the lockdown.

“No one will go hungry,” India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while announcing the relief. 

Thursday is the second day of the three-week lockdown. Most businesses and transport links are shut down across the country. Police have set up check points on major streets to look for any rule breakers.

India Imposes Nationwide Lockdown As The Coronavirus Continue To Spread Indian shopkeepers and customers are seen in a crowded market place in New Delhi, India, on March 26, 2020, amid a nationwide lockdown over the highly contagious novel coronavirus. Getty

There are more than 650 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India and 13 deaths, but there are fears those numbers could be set to rise sharply. In spite of the lockdown, at least one wholesale vegetable market was densely packed with buyers in Delhi Thursday morning.   

– Arshad R. Zargar

 

U.S. Navy vet freed from Iranian prison with coronavirus symptoms wants to come home

A Navy veteran released from an Iranian prison last week on a medical furlough says he’s sick with coronavirus symptoms and is requesting a humanitarian evacuation to the United States for medical treatment.

Michael White was hospitalized Wednesday in a ward for coronavirus patients in Iran and has experienced fever, fatigue, a cough and shortness of breath since his furlough last week, according to a statement from Jon Franks, a family spokesman.

White, of Imperial Beach, California, “is an immunocompromised cancer patient and his situation is urgent,” Franks said. White has been tested for the coronavirus but the results haven’t come back.

U.S. Navy vet sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison

CBS/AP

 

Va. governor asks Liberty University President Jerry Falwell to reconsider welcoming students back

Virginia’s governor is asking Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. to reconsider his decision to welcome students back to the Lynchburg campus this week after their spring break. 

Governor Ralph Northam criticized Liberty at a news conference Wednesday in Richmond. He said Liberty was sending “mixed messages” about the COVID-19 disease. Liberty told students they’re “welcome” to return to campus after last week’s spring break. The school is among the nation’s largest and most prominent evangelical colleges.

Many colleges nationwide have announced campus closures, but Liberty initially planned to continue on-campus instruction. Last week, after Northam restricted gatherings of more than 100, Liberty said it would transition most classes online from Monday.

However, residential students were told they were “welcome” to return to campus, according to an email sent to students. The move was at odds with many other institutions of higher education, including the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, which has said only students who have “no other options” can remain on campus, and William & Mary, which closed its residence halls.  

Associated Press

 

Desperate American woman finally gets flight out of Peru amid pandemic

A 33-year-old American woman running out of her life-saving medication to treat her auto-immune disease finally boarded a flight home Wednesday after being stuck in Peru for about 10 days, but hundreds of other U.S. citizens remained stranded after the South American nation closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I could not be happier,” Anna, who requested that her last name not be made public due to privacy concerns related to her medical condition, said after getting on the plane in Cusco.

At the same time, it was bittersweet. On the way to the airport, Anna and her husband saw a long line of Americans hoping to get on the flight. Her husband told The Associated Press that some people have been “sitting outside the airport for a week.”

– Associated Press

 

Marine becomes first person stationed at the Pentagon to test positive

A U.S. Marine stationed at the Pentagon tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, the Department of Defense said in a Wednesday statement. The patient, who is now in isolation, last visited the Pentagon on March 13. 

“The Marine followed U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines and DoD directives by isolating himself when an immediate family member began to show symptoms,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “Once he became ill, he contacted his assigned medical facility.”   

The statement added that the marine’s workspace has been cleaned by a Pentagon response team, and that a contact investigation is ongoing. 

 

Atlanta hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus patients

At Atlanta’s Grady Hospital, all 100 beds in the intensive care unit were full. Then COVID-19 hit. Patients are now quarantined wherever the hospital finds space.

“The stress is not just capacity,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Jansen told CBS News. “It’s not just stress of supplies, but on the individuals taking care of the patients. Because so much is not known.”

At all of Atlanta’s four major hospitals, every ICU bed is taken. At one rural hospital in Georgia, 12 COVID-19 patients have died. The hospital is overwhelmed.

“They’ve asked for help, but we can’t give it,” Jansen said.

Read more here.

ICU units are at “full capacity,” Atlanta mayor warns

 

Mnuchin says Senate stimulus package will keep economy running for 3 months

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he anticipates the Senate stimulus package will keep the economy afloat for about three months, as the nation deals with the catastrophic economic fallout from the novel coronavirus. Senate leaders of both parties have agreed on a sweeping $2 trillion financial relief package to help American workers, businesses and the strained health care system survive the virus outbreak, although some senators are threatening to delay the bill.

Mnuchin told reporters at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing Wednesday that small business retention loans would cover roughly 50% of private payroll, making loans that would supply eight weeks of salaries, as long as they keep workers employed, and overhead. The loans would be forgiven at the end of the eight-week period if the businesses keep their employees.

President Trump said he will sign the bill “immediately” after it reaches his desk. But it’s not yet completely clear when those payments to Americans will reach their wallets.

Read more here.

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