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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Police in Texas arrested an 18-year-old woman who claimed she tested positive for coronavirus and was “willfully spreading it,” authorities said. According to a tweet Sunday by the Carrollton Police Department, Lorraine Maradiaga went on social media and said she tested positive for COVID-19, KTBC reported. Update 10:08 a.m. EDT April 8: Police in Carrollton, Texas, arrested Lorraine Maradiaga, 18, early Tuesday, KTRK reported. Maradiaga, who claimed she tested positive for coronavirus and filmed a video in which she is seen threatening to spread the disease, was charged with terrorist threat, a third-degree felony, the television station reported. According to a news release by the Carrollton Police Department, Maradiaga claimed she had tested negative for COVID-19. Police have not obtained proof whether Maradiaga tested positive at all, the news release said. Police said Maradiaga’s bond was set at $20,000. Under the condition of her bond, Maradiaga was ordered to quarantine for 21 days upon her release, police said. Original report: Police in Texas are investigating an 18-year-old woman’s claim she tested positive for coronavirus and is “willfully spreading it,” authorities said. According to a tweet by the Carrollton Police Department, Lorraine Maradiaga went on social media and said she tested positive for COVID-19, KTBC reported. Authorities said Maradiaga is facing a charge of terroristic threat for her claims, the television station reported. In a follow-up tweet, Carrolltown police said they have not confirmed whether Maradiaga actually has tested positive for the virus. “We are, however, taking her social media actions very seriously,” police said in their tweet. A Snapchat video circulating on social media shows a woman, later identified as Maradiaga, going to what appears to be a drive-thru testing site, KXAS reported. In the video, a nurse tells Maradiaga she needs to go home while awaiting results, the television station reported. In a subsequent video, Maradiaga is shown shopping at a store she claims is a Walmart, KXAS reported. “I’m here at Walmart about to infest every (expletive), because if I’m going down, all you (expletive) are going down,” Maradiaga said. Later in the video, Maradiaga is back in her car, coughing in the direction of the camera, KXAS reported. The video later shows the woman in her car, coughing into the camera. “If you want to get the coronavirus and (expletive) die, call me,” Maradiaga said. “I’ll meet you up and (cough, cough) and I will shorten your life.” A Carrollton Police Department spokesman told the television station officers went to Maradiaga’s home Sunday, but she was not there.
  • Houston rapper Slim Thug, who tested positive for the coronavirus last month, is doing his part to fight COVID-19 in his home city. The 39-year-old rapper, whose real name is Stayve Thomas, donated 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to Houston’s essential workers, including bus drivers and police officers, KTRK reported. “I want our police officers and bus drivers to know that we appreciate their service during this tough time,” Slim Thug told the television station. “They have always been a huge part of keeping Houston going.” The music artist teamed up with his relief team, Smoke Shield, to provide the bottles, KTRK reported. Slim Thug said his team, along with fellow rapper Baby Bash, will donate an additional 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer by April 15, the television station reported. Slim Thug said his team also will provide hand sanitizer to health care workers throughout the month of April, according to KTRK. In a video posted to Instagram last month, Slim Thug warned his fans not to take the coronavirus lightly. “Y’all gotta take this stuff serious,” Slim Thug said on his video. “Sit home, self-quarantine, do not come outside for however long they’re saying. If you have symptoms, you need to go get checked out or whatever.”
  • For many, being stuck at home is no picnic. But one family in England is trying to be the bright spot of their neighborhood -- literally. Fern Taylor and her kids and her partner grabbed some sidewalk chalk and started a rainbow project. But it’s not the same rainbow project that is popping up in many neighborhoods. They colored every single brick of their townhome, ITV reported. They were just going to do just half of the house, but then Taylor’s partner Marco DeFazio grabbed a ladder and kept on coloring after the kids got bored -- all the way up to the roof, the Somerset County Gazette reported. By the time they were all done, 40 jumbo chalks were used over six hours, according to the newspaper. Taylor said she got the idea from a Facebook post and used it to entertain her 4- and 2-year-old daughters, ITV reported. The family isn’t alone in decorating their home with rainbows in unusual ways. Angelica Pollio painted the side of a vacant home she owns, turning it into a house-sized rainbow, Staten Island Live reported. It took her two nights to get it all done. He said the side of her home needed to be painted anyway so why not use the colorful color scheme, the news outlet reported. Once the empty home is remodeled, the outside color will be changed to more traditional paint.
  • Nearly 1.5 million people worldwide – including almost 400,000 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 8, continue below:      Georgia governor extends emergency declaration Update 10:15 a.m. EDT April 8: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Wednesday announced the extension of a public health state of emergency as officials work to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The emergency declaration will remain in effect until May 13, WSB-TV reported. “This measure will allow us to continue to deploy resources to communities in need, lend support to front line medical providers and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in our healthcare facilities,' Kemp said Wednesday, according to WSB-TV. “We deeply appreciate the hard work of Georgians who are sheltering in place, using social distancing, and helping us flatten the curve. We are in this fight together.” GM to make 30,000 ventilators under DPA Update 10 a.m. EDT April 8: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday announced General Motors Co has agreed to produce 30,000 ventilators as part of a $489.4 million deal under the Defense Production Act. Officials said that as part of the contract, GM agreed to deliver the ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August. A spokesman for GM told Bloomberg News that production will begin next week. Officials said 6,132 ventilators were expected to be delivered by June 1. The Defense Production Act, which dates back to the Korean War, allows the president to require businesses to support the country in times of need. The act also allows for incentives given to businesses that do step up. Stocks open higher on Wall Street Update 9:45 a.m. EDT April 8: Stocks opened moderately higher on Wall Street following weakness overseas as global trading remains unstable amid deep uncertainty over how bad the economic toll of the coronavirus will be. The tentative climb early Wednesday came a day after a big gain for the S&P 500 vanished suddenly. Investors have been blindly trying to guess how badly the outbreak will hurt corporate profits as travel and businesses shut down across the world. France’s central bank said that country’s economy has entered a recession with a 6% drop in the first three months of the year. Trump continues opposition to mail-in voting over fraud concerns Update 9:35 a.m. EDT April 8: With the coronavirus pushing primary elections back in many states, President Donald Trump reiterated his opposition to mail-in voting Wednesday and urged Republicans to fight such proposals. “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting,” the president wrote in a tweet. “Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.” Primary elections scheduled to take place in April have been rescheduled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in every state except Wisconsin. Voters headed to polls in the state Tuesday after the state Supreme Court overruled an executive order issued by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers which would have pushed the election until June. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson responding to coronavirus treatment, spokesman says Update 9:10 a.m. EDT April 8: Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom is in stable condition Wednesday and responding to treatment of his coronavirus symptoms, according to a spokesman. James Slack said Johnson continues to receive “standard oxygen treatment” and is breathing without any other assistance. Johnson has spent two nights in the ICU of St. Thomas’ Hospital since being admitted Sunday. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26 and still had a cough and fever 10 days later. His spokesman declined to provide further details of Johnson’s treatment, saying Wednesday’s update “was given to us by St. Thomas’ Hospital and it contains all of the information which the PM’s medical team considers to be clinically relevant.” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is standing in for Johnson while he is hospitalized. Social distancing efforts must continue to avoid ‘second wave’ of COVID-19, official says Update 8:45 a.m. EDT April 8: White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx praised Americans for taking social distancing efforts seriously but warned Wednesday that efforts need to continue to avoid the risk of a second wave of COVID-19. “It’s really critical,” Birx said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show. “If people start going out again and socially interacting, we could see a very acute second wave very early, so we are really encouraging every American to follow the guidelines for these 30 days.” The White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged Americans to avoid social gatherings, wash their hands and avoid touching their faces, among other things, to stymie the spread of the coronavirus. Global coronavirus deaths top 83K, worldwide cases near 1.5 million Update 7:43 a.m. EDT April 8: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 83,149 early Wednesday, 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 1,446,557 people worldwide. Five countries – the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany and France – have now confirmed total infection counts well above China’s 82,783 cases. • The United States has reported 399,929 cases, resulting in 12,911 deaths. • Spain has confirmed 146,690 cases, resulting in 14,555 deaths. • Italy has reported 135,586 infections, resulting in 17,127 deaths. • France has confirmed 110,070 infections, resulting in 10,343 deaths. • Germany has reported 107,663 cases, resulting in 2,016 deaths. • China has recorded 82,809 cases, resulting in 3,337 deaths. • Iran has recorded 67,286 cases, resulting in 4,003 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 55,957 cases, resulting in 6,171 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 34,109 cases, resulting in 725 deaths. • Belgium has confirmed 23,403 cases, resulting in 2,240 deaths. Michigan officials order 4 portable refrigeration units to store bodies as coronavirus deaths climb Update 7:16 a.m. EDT April 8: As coronavirus-related deaths continue to outpace space, officials in Wayne County, Michigan, have ordered at least four portable refrigerated units to boost storage capacity Wayne County Spokesman Bill Nowling told CNN that the county’s morgue can hold about 300 bodies and, if fulfilled, the request will increase capacity about 450. “Based on current projections of the number of expected cases and potential deaths, we think this will be enough,” Nowling told the network, adding, “We monitor daily and will order more portable units as necessary.' According to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Michigan has confirmed a total of 18,970 coronavirus cases to date, resulting in 845 deaths. Excluding Detroit, Wayne County has recorded at least 3,513 infections, resulting in 180 deaths Tesla plans pay cuts, furloughs amid coronavirus crunch Update 5:22 a.m. EDT April 8: Electric carmaker Tesla announced plans late Monday to cut pay for all of its salaried employees and furlough hourly employees until production resumes May 4, multiple media outlets reported. The pay reductions are slated to remain in place until the end of the second quarter, CNBC reported. The news comes one week after Tesla informed staffing agencies it was halting all contract work indefinitely, resulting in the immediate dismissal of hundreds of temporary workers, CNBC reported. Fauci bobblehead raises $100,000 for American Hospital Association as coronavirus crisis deepens Update 4:54 a.m. EDT April 8: Sales of a bobblehead likeness of Dr. Anthony Fauci have raised more than $100,000 to provide protective masks for healthcare workers, The Washington Post reported. Five dollars from each $25 sale of the infectious disease expert’s bobblehead will fund the American Hospital Association’s 100 Million Mask Challenge. Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and has become the public face of the U.S. response to the mounting novel coronavirus crisis, has also broken a record in the process. Phil Sklar, co-founder of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, said the more than 20,000 pre-orders placed in less than one week, means the polyresin likeness of Fauci will “dethrone” that of Jean Dolores “Sister Jean” Schmidt, whom the Post described as “the court-side superstar and now-100-year-old chaplain of the Loyola University of Chicago men’s basketball team, which powered improbably to the NCAA tournament’s Final Four in 2018.” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in stable condition amid coronavirus treatment, junior health minister says Update 4:13 a.m. EDT April 8: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains hospitalized in stable condition following a worsening of his novel coronavirus symptoms, junior health minister Edward Argar told Sky News. “I understand the Prime Minister is in a stable condition. He’s comfortable and in good spirits. He has, in the past, had some oxygen, but he’s not on ventilation,” Argar told the network. On Tuesday, Johnson’s spokesperson told CNN the prime minister is receiving “standard oxygen treatment” and is breathing without assistance, a day after he was transferred to intensive care. More than 1K Veterans’ Affairs health workers test positive for coronavirus Update 3:50 a.m. EDT April 8: At least 1,000 health care workers who service veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to Task and Purpose, a military and veteran-focused digital media company, 1,007 Veterans’ Health Administration employees have contracted the virus and have been placed in isolation. Read more here. California governor brokers deals for 200M masks per month to fight coronavirus Update 3:15 a.m. EDT April 8: Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out plans Tuesday for his state to acquire more than 200 million protective masks per month for health care workers battling the novel coronavirus. Newsom, who discussed the plans while appearing on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” said action needed to be taken at the state level. 'In the past 48 hours, we have secured through a consortium of nonprofits and manufacturers here in the state of California upwards of 200 million masks on a monthly basis that we’re confident we can supply the needs of the state of California and potentially the needs of other western states,” Newsom said, adding, “We inked a number of contracts in the last few days that give me confidence in being able to say that.” Specifically, he told Maddow he expects to receive more than 150 million N95 masks and more than 50 million surgical masks per month. 2nd US coronavirus vaccine trial administers first dose Update 1:40 a.m. EDT April 8: The first dose of a second experimental novel coronavirus vaccine was administered this week to a subject at the University of Pennsylvania. Biotechnology firm Inovio began its Phase 1 clinical trial with the first dose delivered Monday and the trial expected to enroll as many as 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri, according to a news release.  Dr. Pablo Tebas, an infectious disease specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the study’s principal investigator, said in the release his team anticipates “rapid enrollment” in the early-stage trial, expected to continue through late summer.  “There has been tremendous interest in this vaccine among people who want to do what they can do to help protect the greater public from this pandemic as soon as possible,” Tebas said in the release.  Meanwhile, biotechnology firm Moderna launched its Phase 1 coronavirus vaccine testing in March. US coronavirus deaths hit 12,895, total cases near 400K Published 12:28 a.m. EDT April 8: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 398,000 early Wednesday morning 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 398,809 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 12,895 deaths. U.S. cases now nearly triple the 141,942 reported in Spain and the 135,586 confirmed in Italy. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 5,489 – or roughly 43 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 1,232 in New Jersey and 845 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 139,876 confirmed cases – more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 44,416 and Michigan with 18,970. Six other states have now confirmed at least 13,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 17,585, including 450 deaths • Louisiana: 16,284, including 582 deaths • Massachusetts: 15,202, including 356 deaths • Florida: 13,629, including 250 deaths • Pennsylvania: 14,956, including 296 deaths • Illinois: 13,553, including 380 deaths Meanwhile, Texas and Georgia each has confirmed at least 9,000 novel coronavirus infections, followed closely by Washington state with 8,696 cases and Connecticut with 7,781 cases; Indiana and Colorado each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases; Ohio, Maryland and Tennessee each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Arizona, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Nevada each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • If cleanliness is next to godliness, an Alabama church is on the right track. As a way to help slow down the coronavirus pandemic, River City Church in Montgomery has installed a portable shower and laundry trailer for the city’s homeless population, WSFA reported. The “Clean Machine” made its debut Sunday. The future schedule will have services available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the television station reported. People are limited to one load of laundry per day, and the church will provide free towels, washcloths, soap, shampoo and conditioner, AL.com reported. Patrick Aitken, missions and outreach director for the church, said good hygiene for the homeless population is crucial in keeping the coronavirus under control. “We’re encouraged to wash our hands for 20 seconds multiple times a day, but what about the individual that’s sleeping out on the streets that have no access to wash their hands more or less their clothes or even their whole body,” Aitken told WSFA. “God has been good by providing this to us, and we are gonna make the most use out of it that we can.” Aitken and River City Church Senior Pastor Justin Todd borrowed the “Clean Machine” from a church in the small town of Eclectic, located several miles northeast of Montgomery. Church staffers in Eclectic lent the trailer to Aitken and Todd, who will use it until early May, AL.com reported. “I remember when I saw it. I went to Justin and I was drooling. I said, ‘Pastor, we need this bad,’” Aitken told the website. “Of course, a month ago, I didn’t know how badly we were going to need it.” After getting a plumbing issue fixed, the “Clean Machine” was ready for use. Todd said the need for a place for the homeless to clean up was large, especially since other facilities in the area have been closed. “We’ve heard that there are some places that are limiting the showering capabilities and hygiene capabilities because of fear of the virus,” Todd told WSFA. “All of them are living out in the woods or under awnings and things like that, and so I feel like this will help out a good bit.

Washington Insider

  • A day after President Donald Trump asked Congress for $250 billion more in emergency small business loans to deal with the negative economic impact of the Coronavirus, Democratic leaders in Congress said they would agree to that money if the President would also add aid for emergency food assistance, state and local governments and public health needs nationwide. 'The heartbreaking acceleration of the coronavirus crisis demands bold, urgent and ongoing action from Congress to protect Americans’ lives and livelihoods,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer in a joint statement issued Wednesday morning. The Democratic request includes: + The $250 billion for small business loans + $100 billion in emergency health funding + $150 billion in aid to state and local governments + Extra emergency food aid (food stamps) The White House said Tuesday that it wants action on the extra $250 billion in aid by Thursday - when the Senate holds a scheduled session. Most lawmakers are not on Capitol Hill this week, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would seek to pass the plan by unanimous consent, or on a voice vote. The House meets next on Friday. No actual legislation has been unveiled by either party at this point.