CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A Charlotte, North Carolina, mother who was desperately trying to protect her twin baby boys just learned her entire family was exposed to the coronavirus by a Spectrum technician. “He told me the tech that had been at our house had just tested positive for COVID-19, and my heart just stopped,” said Emily Beaty. The mother said she has been protecting her twin baby boys since they were born 26 weeks premature. She called Spectrum last week to have her internet serviced. She said she asked the customer service representative the steps that the company was taking to protect customers from exposure to COVID-19. 'They were taking this situation very seriously. They were prescreening their employees, and all of their employees were healthy,” she said. She said the tech arrived at her home and started doing work outside. Her husband saw him cough briefly outside. Eventually, the tech came inside to quickly finish up before leaving, she said. Four days later, she said Spectrum called her and said the tech tested positive for COVID-19. 'I just don't feel like they were doing a proper screening. I mean, they sent a tech out to my house that had a cough and not two days later, he is being tested for coronavirus,' Beaty said.A spokesperson for Spectrum sent WSOC-TV the following statement: “We have confirmed that one of our Charlotte-based technicians has tested positive for COVID-19. We immediately contacted the customers recently served by this technician, as well as the technician’s co-workers. “We learned this technician was not feeling well on March 25 (Wednesday) and sent the technician home immediately. The technician sought medical attention and was subsequently tested. When we confirmed the positive test on March 27 (Friday), we began contacting customers served by this technician and co-workers. “We are continually communicating and educating our staff on best practices according to the CDC health and safety guidelines, such as proper hygiene and social distancing. We are encouraging all technicians to take their temperature at home before reporting for work. We have made clear, including in a message directly from our chairman and CEO to all employees that any employee who is sick, or who is caring for someone who is sick, should stay home. If an employee needs to self-quarantine, they will not need to use their paid sick leave, but will continue to be paid and receive full benefits while under quarantine. The company also has given every worker an additional 15 days of COVID-19-related paid time off, and hourly workers who do not use this time during the COVID-19 pandemic will be paid out the remaining unused days at the end of the year.
  • More than 860,000 people worldwide -- including more than 189,000 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 Wednesday, April 1, continue below: Captain of embattled aircraft carrier requests Navy evacuation as coronavirus infects sailors Update 3:17 a.m. EDT April 1: In a letter dated March 30, U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Crozier requested the military evacuation of 90 percent of the 4,000-member crew aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, besieged by the novel coronavirus. Specifically, Crozier asked that the evacuees be moved into isolation on Guam, The Washington Post reported. “Decisive action is required. Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure,” Crozier wrote, adding, “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.” Read more here. China announces 1,367 asymptomatic coronavirus cases Update 3:03 a.m. EDT April 1: China’s National Health Commission confirmed on Wednesday it is monitoring a total of 1,367 asymptomatic novel coronavirus infections. According to the commission, 130 of those total cases were diagnosed on Tuesday, alone, while 302 were released from quarantine. To date, China has confirmed a total 82,294 cases nationwide, but it was not immediately clear if that figure includes the asymptomatic cases. Kroger announces $2-per-hour ‘hero bonus’ for employees on coronavirus front lines Update 2:44 a.m. EDT April 1: U.S. supermarket chain Kroger announced early Wednesday it will pay staff members still working amid the worsening novel coronavirus outbreak an additional $2-per-hour “hero bonus.” “Our associates have displayed the true actions of a hero, working tirelessly on the front lines to ensure everyone has access to affordable, fresh food and essentials during this national emergency,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement announcing the bonuses. The pay bump – benefitting all front-line grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center staff – applies to all hours worked between March 29 and April 18. UN Secretary-General: Coronavirus ‘attacking societies at their core’ Update 2:21 a.m. EDT April 1: Citing the “human crisis” created by the novel coronavirus pandemic, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the collective global response the “greatest test” since World War II. Guterres’ insights were published in a new report released Tuesday. “COVID-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations,” Guterres stated in the report, adding, “This human crisis demands coordinated, decisive, inclusive and innovative policy action from the world’s leading economies – and maximum financial and technical support for the poorest and most vulnerable people and countries. But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human crisis. The coronavirus disease is attacking societies at their core.' Read the full report here. US coronavirus deaths hit 4,076, total cases top 189K Update 12:31 a.m. EDT April 1: By early Wednesday morning, the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States neared 200,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 189,510 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 4,076 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including the 105,792 reported in Italy and the 95,923 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 1,550 – or nearly half of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 267 in New Jersey and 259 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 75,795 confirmed cases – or roughly four times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 18,696 and Michigan with 7,615. Three other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 6,932, including 150 deaths • Florida: 6,732, including 84 deaths • Massachusetts: 6,220, including 89 deaths Meanwhile, Illinois, Louisiana and Washington state each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections; Pennsylvania and Georgia each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Texas and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s complete state-by-state breakdown.
  • 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.”  
  • A musician in Central Florida who has no gigs for the foreseeable future is trying to raise thousands of dollars for other musicians who are also out of work. “I figured this will be the perfect opportunity for me to give back, versus making a big deal about myself,” said singer and guitarist Theo Moon. Moon has been playing music full-time in the Central Florida area for about three years, frequenting places such as Crooked Can Brewing, Tin Roof and Dead Lizard Brewing. Moon said the first week of March was the last time he played shows.  The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the rest of his March gigs, and April’s not looking good either. “Who knows, this could go into June or July,” Moon said.  “The biggest thing is the hospitality industry is very linked to musicians.  We play at the restaurants. We play at the hotels. With those shutdown, a lot of musicians including myself have no place to make money.” Moon said he’s wanted to do something for other musicians for several years, and he’s decided to act now.  Moon created the “Covid-19 Artists Relief Fund” on Facebook.  He set a goal of raising $10,000 by the end of his birthday, which is Monday, April 6.   (App users tap here) Any musicians or bands in Central Florida who wish to possibly receive some of the donated money should email their story to Theo Moon at theomoonmusic@gmail.com.  Moon said he wants to send out $300 to $500 checks to the artists who need the money. (App users tap here)
  • 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.

Washington Insider

  • The White House on Tuesday released new estimates of a staggering death toll associated with the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States, predicting anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths even if Americans do their best to avoid social interactions, as President Donald Trump warned the nation of a difficult road ahead. 'This is going to be a very painful, very, very painful two weeks,' the President said at the White House. 'This is going to be a rough two week period.' In the White House Briefing Room, Mr. Trump fully embraced scientific models championed by experts which show many thousands of Americans are likely to die in the month of April from the virus. 'I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,' the President said. 'We're going to go through a very tough two weeks.' The blunt warning came on the deadliest day yet in the United States as a whole, as nearly 800 deaths had been announced on Tuesday by the time the President reached the podium at the White House. 'It's a matter of life and death, frankly,' Mr. Trump said, as he urged Americans to follow the federal request for people to hold back on their social actions. By his side again at the White House, both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx laid out the figures from a series of studies, which predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die - many in the next few weeks. Birx and Fauci repeatedly emphasized that if Americans do their part to hold down the spread of the virus, that will in turn allow many people to survive. Asked about deaths of 100,000 or more, health officials did not mince words as to whether it might or might not happen. 'The answer is yes,' said Dr. Fauci. 'As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.