CORONAVIRUS:

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  • More than 1.27 million people worldwide – including more than 337,000 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 Monday, April 6, continue below:  Florida officials report more than 13,000 COVID-19 cases Update 12:20 p.m. EDT April 6: Officials in Florida said Monday that 13,324 coronavirus infections have been reported in the state, WFTV reported. The infections include 1,592 which were serious enough to require hospitalization, according to the Florida Department of Health. Fifteen new fatal coronavirus cases were reported Monday, according to WFTV, bringing the state’s total number of deadly cases to 236. Over 130,000 coronavirus infections reported in New York Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 6: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Monday that 130,689 coronavirus cases have been reported thus far in the state. Cuomo said 4,758 people have died statewide since the coronavirus outbreak began. He noted that the number of reported daily deaths appeared to be slowing over the last two days though he said it was too early to say for certain. “If we are plateauing it’s because social distancing is working,' Cuomo said. 'We have to make sure that social distancing continues.” ‘Jaws’ actress Lee Fierro dies from complications from coronavirus Update 12 p.m. EDT April 6: Lee Fierro, a stage actress best known for her role as Mrs. Kintner in 1975′s “Jaws,' has died of complications from coronavirus, according to CBS News and The Martha’s Vineyard Times. She was 91. Fierro had been living at an assisted living facility in Ohio, the Times reported. Friends remembered her as a dedicated teacher, mentor and performer. “She’s the reason I followed my dreams. That’s such a hackneyed phrase, but it’s true,' novelist Nicki Galland told the Times. 'This is going to stick with me for a long time.” Fierro was survived by her five children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, according to the newspaper. Coronavirus infections top 1,000 in DC Update 11:55 a.m. EDT April 6: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Monday that 99 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, bringing the total number of cases in the capitol to 1,097. Bowser said Monday that two women also died of COVID-19, one who was 67 and the other who was 69. Twenty-four people in Washington D.C. have died of coronavirus, officials said. US Open golf tournament postponed until September Update 11:45 a.m. EDT April 6: Organizers on Monday announced plans to postpone the 120th U.S. Open Championship until September as the country grapples with the impact of the coronavirus. The event had been scheduled to take place June 18 - 21 in New York. Officials said Monday the tournament will instead be held from September 17 - 20. “We are hopeful that postponing the championship will offer us the opportunity to mitigate health and safety issues while still providing us with the best opportunity to conduct the U.S. Open this year,” Mike Davis, CEO of the U.S. Golf Association, said Monday in a statement. Masters Tournament rescheduled for November Update 11:35 a.m. EDT April 6: Organizers on Monday announced the 2020 Masters Tournament has been rescheduled to take place in November. Officials had announced the postponement of the Masters and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament on March 13, citing “the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread coronavirus.” “In collaboration with the leading organizations in golf, Augusta National Golf Club has identified November 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 Masters,” organizers said Monday in a news release. “While more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come, we, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the coronavirus. Along the way, we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport.” New York City considering ‘temporary interment’ for COVID-19 victims Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 6: Mark Levine, chair of the New York City health committee, said Monday that officials are preparing for the possibility that some people may need to be temporarily interred as morgues and funeral homes become overwhelmed during the coronavirus pandemic. “Soon we’ll start ‘temporary interment,’” Levine said Monday in a tweet. “This will likely be done by using a (New York City) park for burials. ... Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line.' In a follow-up tweet, Levine highlighted that officials are only preparing for the possibility and that “if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary.” Earlier Monday, he said the city morgue, hospital morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries had been dealing with “the equivalent of an ongoing 9/11.” “Nothing matters more in this crisis than saving the living,” he said. “But we need to face the gruesome reality that we need more resources to manage our dead as well. Or the pain of this crisis will be compounded almost beyond comprehension.” Allstate to return $600M in auto premiums to customers Update 11:10 a.m. EDT April 6: The Good Hands People plan to put money back in their customers’ hands. Insurance giant Allstate announced Monday that it would return more than $600 million in auto insurance premiums to customers, who have been driving less as states have implemented stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders to battle the coronavirus. 533 new coronavirus cases reported in Indiana Update 11:05 a.m. EDT April 6: Officials in Indiana announced 533 new reported coronavirus cases Monday, raising the state’s total number of cases to 4,944. Officials also reported a dozen new fatal COVID-19 cases. Statewide, 139 people have died of coronavirus. British Open Championship golf tournament canceled for 1st time since WWII Update 11 a.m. EDT April 6: Organizers on Monday announced the cancellation of golf’s oldest championship tournament due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The R&A announced the decision to cancel The Open Championship based on guidance from the U.K. government, health officials and others. Officials said the 149th Open will be played July 11 - July 18, 2021. Coronavirus cases among active duty military members tops 1,000 Update 10:35 a.m. EDT April 6: The Pentagon said the number of COVID-19 cases in the active duty force topped 1,000 over the weekend. There are a total of 1,132 confirmed cases as of Monday morning. The total was 978 on Friday. There also have been 303 cases among members of the National Guard. Among the military services, the Navy has the most cases, with 431. That includes more than 150 among the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to take applications beginning Monday Update 10:25 a.m. EDT April 6: The National Restaurant Association has set up the Restaurant Employee Relief fund to give grants of $500 full- or part-time restaurant employees struggling as the coronavirus pandemic shutters restaurants nationwide. Officials with the National Restaurant Association said the fund was supposed to open for applications earlier, but the server hosting the application process was overwhelmed shortly after opening. “We are deeply humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to provide support to restaurant employees. Almost immediately after opening the application process, extremely high user volume overwhelmed the application platform. We are continuing to upgrade our system to improve site functionality and expand capacity,' the group said on the application website. Stocks rise on signs of progress battling COVID-19 Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 6: Stocks jumped in markets around the world Monday after some of the hardest-hit areas offered sparks of hope that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may be on the horizon. U.S. stocks climbed more than 3% in the first few minutes of trading, following similar gains in Europe and Asia. In another sign that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy’s path, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was headed for its first gain in four days. Oil prices fell after a meeting between Russia and OPEC aimed at defusing a price war was pushed back a few days. Wells Fargo closes application window for Paycheck Protection Program Update 9:35 a.m. EDT April 6: Officials with Wells Fargo announced Monday that the bank will no longer be accepting applications for a new federal program aimed at helping small businesses retain and pay workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.  In a statement Sunday, bank officials said they aimed to distribute $10 billion in loans under the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Funding for the program was included in a $2.2 billion economic relief package to help Americans struggling in the pandemic.  Wells Fargo officials said Monday in a statement that they expected to “fill the company’s capacity to lend under the program” with the applications they’ve already received. The application window had opened Friday.  “Given the exceptionally high volume of requests we have already received, we will not be able to accept any additional requests for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program,” company officials said in a notice posted Monday. “We will review all expressions of interest submitted by customers via our online form through April 5 and provide updates in the coming days.” Without precautions ‘we could have another peak in a few weeks,’ US official says Update 9:10 a.m. EDT April 6: Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Monday that people need to continue to take social distancing and other measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “Everyone is susceptible to this and everyone needs to follow the precautions that we’ve laid out,” Giroir said during an appearance on NBC’s “today” show Monday. “If we let our foot off the gas and start doing things that are ill-advised, we could have another peak in a few weeks. ... We have to completely keep our efforts going.” Officials recommend that Americans stay home as much as possible and keep at least 6 feet of distance from other people. They’ve also urged that people wear cloth face masks in public to stymie the spread of the virus. UK prime minister says he’s in ‘good spirits’ after hospitalization Update 8:55 a.m. EDT April 6: Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom said in a tweet Monday morning that he’s “in good spirits” after being hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms. Ten days before his hospitalization, Johnson had tested positive for COVID-19. “Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms,” Johnson said. “I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.” Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, out of isolation Update 7:55 a.m. EDT April 6: Britain’s Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is no longer in self-isolation, ITV and other news outlets are reporting. Although the 72-year-old, who is married to Prince Charles, tested negative for coronavirus, she went into self-isolation for two weeks because her husband had tested positive for COVID-19. Charles, 71, spent seven days in quarantine after displaying mild symptoms and left self-isolation March 30. Camilla and Charles have been staying in Scotland, ITV reported. Death rates in Spain, Italy appear to be slowing Update 7:21 a.m. EDT April 6: The rates of coronavirus deaths in Spain and Italy, the two European countries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, appear to be slowing. According to CNN, Spanish health officials said Monday that 637 people died from the virus in the past day, an increase of 5.1% from the number of deaths reported Sunday. That marks “the lowest daily rise, percentage-wise, since early March,” CNN reported. Meanwhile, Italian officials on Sunday reported that 525 people died from the virus in the past 24 hours, marking the country’s “lowest death rate in two weeks,' according to CNN. As of Monday morning, Spain had reported the second-highest number of infections worldwide, with 131,646 cases and 12,641 deaths, while Italy had reported the third-highest number of infections, with 128,948 cases and 15,887 deaths, Johns Hopkins University reported. Only the United States had reported more overall cases. London’s West End theaters cancel all shows through May 31 Update 6:23 a.m. EDT April 6: London’s West End theaters are canceling all shows through May 31 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Society of London Theatre announced Monday. The theaters previously had announced a shutdown through April 26, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “We are now canceling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen,” the society said in a statement. As of Monday morning, at least 48,440 coronavirus cases and 4,943 deaths had been reported in the United Kingdom, according to Johns Hopkins University. Read more here. FedEx pilots removed from duty following ‘inconclusive’ COVID-19 test results Update 5:14 a.m. EDT April 6: FedEx flew some pilots back to the United States after they received inconclusive test results for COVID-19. According to WHBQ in Memphis, Tennessee, the pilots were removed from service and are self-isolating while follow-up testing and evaluation is being performed, according to FedEx. The exact number of pilots removed is unclear. The company released a statement Sunday: “Some FedEx pilots were flown back to the U.S. after receiving inconclusive test results for COVID-19. They have been removed from duty and are self-isolating while follow-up testing and evaluation is performed. All areas where these team members worked are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The safety and well-being of our employees remains our first concern. FedEx continues to take all necessary precautions and follow guidance from the FAA, CDC and other public health organizations related to reporting and containment of COVID-19. We continue our operation in China and remain committed to providing the best possible service to our customers.“ Dozens of Massachusetts firefighters test positive for COVID-19 Update 4:32 a.m. EDT April 6: At least 87 firefighters in Massachusetts have tested positive for coronavirus as of Sunday, according to The Professional Fire Firefighters of Massachusetts. Boston’s WFXT reports that 1,814 firefighters have a documented exposure to COVID-19, 831 have been tested for the virus and 583 are currently under quarantine. In Taunton, nine firefighters have tested positive for coronavirus. “These numbers are alarming, but firefighters across Massachusetts and the United States will continue to answer your calls for service,” the labor union posted on Twitter on Sunday night. “Please help us help you – Stay home.” >> See the tweet here The numbers encompass 201 locals representing 11,106 members, which account for 97% of the union’s membership. On Sunday, a coronavirus testing site for only first responders opened at Gillette Stadium. Duran Duran’s John Taylor recovers after testing positive for COVID-19 Update 3:30 a.m. EDT April 6: Duran Duran’s John Taylor is feeling better weeks after he tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he wrote Sunday in a post on the band’s Facebook page. According to USA Today, the 59-year-old bass player said he was diagnosed three weeks ago and has since recovered. “After a week or so of what I would describe as a ‘turbo-charged flu,’ I came out of it feeling OK – although I must admit I didn’t mind the quarantine as it gave me the chance to really recover,” he wrote. “I am speaking out in answer to the enormous amount of fear being generated by the pandemic, some of it entirely justified, and my heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with real loss and pain. But I want to let you know that it isn’t always a killer, and we can and will beat this thing.” >> See the post here Taylor added that he “cannot wait to be back onstage again, sharing new music, love and joy.” Singer-songwriter Christopher Cross tests positive for COVID-19 Update 2:35 a.m. EDT April 6: Singer-songwriter Christopher Cross has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he said in an Instagram post Friday. “I’m sorry to report that I am among the growing number of Americans who tested positive for the COVID-19,” he wrote in the post. “I’m not in the habit of discussing medical issues on social media, but I do so in the hopes that this will help other people to understand how serious and how contagious this illness is. Although I am fortunate enough to be cared for at home, this is possibly the worst illness I have ever had.” >> See the post here Cross, 68, also urged his fans to take the virus seriously and stay home, wash their hands and avoid touching their faces. “For those of you who still do not believe the COVID-19 virus is real, or think it is a ‘hoax’ or part of some conspiracy, my advice to you is to understand right now that this is a deadly illness spreading like wildfire throughout the world,” the Grammy Award winner wrote, encouraging followers to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. He added that everyone should “be kind to one another.' “Only if we work together can we defeat COVID-19,' he wrote. Several other celebrities, including Pink, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba and CNN’s Chris Cuomo, have tested positive for the virus. Delta announces changes to SkyMiles, Medallion programs Update 1:49 a.m. EDT April 6: The coronavirus pandemic has brought the airline industry nearly to a halt. In March, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines announced that its revenue fell by $2 billion due to the spread of COVID-19 and a drop in demand for air travel. On Sunday, Delta Air Lines has begun notifying its flyers about changes to its well-known SkyMiles program due to the sudden drop in air travel. “On behalf of all of us at Delta, I want to thank our customers for your continued loyalty during these unprecedented times. While our focus is on keeping customers and employees safe and healthy today and always, you are a part of the Delta family and we know how important these benefits are to you,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty, and CEO of Delta Vacations. “That’s why as coronavirus continues to dramatically impact travel across the globe, you don’t have to worry about your benefits – they’ll be extended so you can enjoy them when you are ready to travel again.” Here are the changes: Medallion Members: All Medallion Status for 2020 will be automatically extended for the 2021 Medallion Year. All Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) from 2020 are being rolled over to 2021 to qualify for 2022 Medallion Status. Delta Sky Club Individual and Executive memberships with an expiration of March 1, 2020, or later will receive six additional months of Delta Sky Club access beyond their expiration date. Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members: If you have one of the following in your SkyMiles profile “My Wallet” that is valid now or has expired since March 1, 2020, we are extending the expiration dates to give you additional time to enjoy your benefits: SkyMiles Members: If you have one of the following in your SkyMiles profile “My Wallet” that is valid now or has expired since March 1, 2020, we are extending the expiration dates to give you additional time to enjoy your benefits: The updates will happen automatically over the coming weeks, with no action needed from customers, Delta said. “We are continuously monitoring how coronavirus impacts travel and will make additional adjustments to support our customers’ needs as the pandemic evolves,” said Dube. Read more here. U.S. cases soar past 337,000, including more than 9,600 deaths Update 12:43 a.m. EDT April 6: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 337,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Monday. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 337,620 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 9,643 deaths. Worldwide, there are 1,274,923 confirmed cases and 69,479 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 131,646 reported in Spain and the 128,948 confirmed in Italy. Of the confirmed deaths in the U.S., 4,159 have occurred in New York, 917 in New Jersey, 617 in Michigan and 477 in Louisiana. In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 123,160 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 37,505, Michigan with 15,718 and California with 15,154. Five other states have each confirmed at least 10,000 novel coronavirus cases, including: • Louisiana: 13,010, including 477 deaths • Massachusetts: 12,500, including 231 deaths • Florida: 12,350, including 221 deaths • Pennsylvania: 11,589, including 151 deaths • Illinois: 11,259, including 274 deaths The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The Associated Press is working with Johns Hopkins to track exactly where the COVID-19 hot spots are. The map below shows how many confirmed cases of coronavirus there have been in each state, broken down by county. The AP says the data, courtesy the John Hopkins University COVID-19 tracking project, is updated throughout the day, at 45 minutes after the hour.
  • An Indiana judge denied the release of a pregnant inmate late last month after the woman’s mother testified that her daughter’s long history of substance abuse was a threat to her unborn child. “That baby will end up dying, I guarantee it,” Deborah Vivian testified in Porter County Superior Court on March 25, The Northwest Indiana Times reported. Vivian was testifying against her daughter, 29-year-old Alysha Ramos. Vivian said she already has custody of two of Ramos’ other children, the newspaper reported. Another child is in the custody of someone else, the newspaper reported. Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer issued the order to deny Ramos’ release, according to The Associated Press. Ramos has been incarcerated since Feb. 14, the Times reported According to court records, Ramos allegedly violated her probation by testing positive on Jan. 24 for methamphetamine use and of falling behind in paying probation user fees and clerk costs. Vivian testified her daughter had shown little interest or concern for her children, the newspaper reported. She also said she was concerned where her daughter and children would be living if she had been released. “She sees her children as a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Vivian told the court. Ramos’ attorney, Mark Worthley, told the court his client has tested fine with other repeated drug tests and characterized Vivian’s claims as “family issues.” Ramos has had legal issues since her first offense in 2008, when she was charged with driving while drunk and causing a crash that resulted in the death of 17-year-old Alisha Purnick, the Times reported.
  • For the first time since 1945, the British Open tournament will not be played, as the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of one of professional golf’s four majors. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club confirmed the decision Monday. The 149th version of the Open Championship had been scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England. The R&A said the 2021 tournament would be held at St. George’s, ESPN reported. The announcement comes less than a week after Wimbledon, the oldest professional tennis tournament, was canceled until 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns. That tournament also was last canceled because of World War II. The Claret Jug had been awarded continuously for the past 74 years. The 1945 Open was canceled because of World War II. The Open, the oldest golf tournament, hosted its first event in 1860. The Old Course at St. Andrews, which was to host the 2021 event, will be the tournament venue in 2022, Golf Digest reported. Two of golf’s other major tournaments -- the Masters and PGA Championship -- have been postponed, while the U.S. Open is also expected to be delayed. “I can assure everyone that we explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible,” R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said in a statement. “Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in the Open. “We care deeply about this historic championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world, but this pandemic is severely affecting the U.K. and we have to act responsibly. It is the right thing to do.” Slumbers said all tickets and other hospitality packages will be shifted to 2021, or fully refunded Shane Lowry won the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
  • Many people have complained about the trouble they have had filing for unemployment benefits on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website. Some say the site kept crashing on them, or if they tried to use the phones, they would spend hours on it to no avail. In response to this, DEO director Ken Lawson has issued an apology during a virtual town hall meeting this week and has said they will now use paper applications to help work through the backlog. However, one thing they stress on the website is that if you do choose to use the paper application process, it could take even longer to process than the online application.  You can access the paper application in three different languages, along with the mailing address here.

Washington Insider

  • President Donald Trump this weekend bluntly warned Americans to prepare for what his team said could be one of the roughest weeks yet against the Coronavirus, as the U.S. has now had four consecutive days with over 1,000 new deaths related to the virus outbreak. 'This will be probably be the toughest week,' the President told reporters at a Saturday briefing. 'There will be a lot of death, unfortunately.' Top federal health officials agreed with that assessment. 'Right now, we're seeing - as well all said correctly - that this is probably going to be a really bad week,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert for the U.S. government. Fauci joined the President in again urging Americans to do what they can to limit their social activities, and thus limit the spread of the virus. 'The only tool - but the best tool that we have - is mitigation,' Fauci told reporters at a Sunday night White House briefing. Fauci reminded reporters that the measures being taken by Americans in terms of social distancing take about two and a half weeks to show up in terms of fewer cases, and a drop in the number of deaths. 'People really understand the responsibility they have for themselves, their family and for the country,' Fauci said at the White House. Fauci's colleague, Dr. Deborah Birx, told reporters that health officials continue to see the most problems in the New York City metro area, as well as in New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole. Birx also name-checked Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington State, Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. - where there have been rumblings in recent days about a possible broader spread of the virus. 'We do see hopeful signs in Spain and Italy. They have completed nearly four weeks of mitigation,' Birx said, telling Americans they should follow the lead of those nations in terms of social distancing, as a way to stop the spread of the virus. During Sunday's briefing, the President repeated his endorsement of the use of hydroxychloroquine - a drug often associated with malaria treatment - to be used against the Coronavirus. 'What really do we have to lose?' the President asked reporters at one point, encouraging people to use the drug, even though it has not been specifically found to stop the virus. 'It may not work, in which case, hey - it didn't work,' the President said at one point. 'And it may work, in which case, it may save a lot of lives.' 'If it does help, great,' Mr. Trump added. 'If it doesn't help, we gave it a shot.' The President's promotion of hydroxychloriquine has drawn concerns from Fauci - who has noted the lack of broader trials - but Mr. Trump has pressed forward with the idea, bolstered by support among GOP lawmakers and conservative media. On Sunday, when one reporter tried to ask Fauci his opinion, the President stepped in and did not let Fauci answer. 'You know how many times he's answered that question?' the President said to a reporter from CNN. '15 times. You don't have to ask that question. He's answered that question 15 times.' The death toll from the Coronavirus in the U.S. will go over 10,000 people on Monday.