CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • More than one million people worldwide -- including more than 245,000 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 Friday, April 3, continue below:  Coronavirus cases continue mounting in Brazil, Japan Update 6:56 a.m. EDT April 3: With more than 1 million novel coronavirus cases now recorded worldwide, new – and some old – hotspots are emerging as the pandemic continues its global spread. • Brazil confirmed Thursday its third consecutive day logging at least 1,000 new cases. The South American country now reports a total of 7,910 infections, which have resulted in at least 299 deaths. • Japan confirmed early Friday that 235 additional novel coronavirus cases have brought the East Asian country’s total to 3,329, resulting in at least 63 deaths. • Tokyo reported its largest single-day increase in new cases on Friday with 97. Japan’s capital city has now confirmed a total of 684 cases. Portion of famed Paris market repurposed as makeshift morgue Update 6:33 a.m. EDT April 3: A portion of the Rungis food market on the outskirts of Paris has been converted into a temporary morgue to handle the swelling number of novel coronavirus fatalities reported in the region. According to The Washington Post, the Paris Police Prefecture is converting one isolated building in the world’s largest meat and vegetable market into a makeshift morgue, capable of accommodating between 800 and 1,000 coffins. “This location will permit the coffins of the deceased to be kept in the most dignified and acceptable conditions from a health point of view, pending their burial or cremation in France or abroad,” the prefecture said in a statement, circulated widely among French media. According to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, France has recorded at least 59,929 COVID-19 infections since the global pandemic began, resulting in 5,398 fatalities. Libya confirms 1st coronavirus-related death Update 4:35 a.m. EDT April 3: Libya’s National Center for Disease Control confirmed the country’s first novel coronavirus-related fatality in a statement released Thursday. The patient, who was not diagnosed until after hear death, was an 85-year-old woman. According to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the North African nation has reported a total of 11 infections to date. Lenders question Friday rollout of $349B small business coronavirus relief program Update 4:23 a.m. EDT April 3: The $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program is slated to launch today, but banks tapped to disperse the emergency federal small business loans told The Washington Post they are skeptical the plan is rollout-ready. “Having just received guidance outlining how to implement a $349 billion program literally hours before it starts, we would ask for everyone to be patient as banks move heaven and earth to get a system in place and running to help America’s small businesses and the millions of men and women who work at them,” Richard Hunt, president and chief executive officer of the Consumer Bankers Association, said in a statement. The Paycheck Protection Program, considered a key element of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package approved by Congress one week ago, is intended to deliver a “sharply streamlined, same-day approval process unheard of in the history of federally backed small business lending,” the Post reported. Several participating lenders indicated in interviews with the Post as late as Thursday, however, that they are still awaiting finalized program guidelines from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration before processing any applications despite today’s launch date. Amid coronavirus crisis Disney to furlough employees ‘whose jobs aren't necessary at this time’ Update 3:28 a.m. EDT April 3: Walt Disney Co. has officially notified employees that those “whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time” will be furloughed beginning April 19. The global entertainment empire shuttered all 12 of its theme parks on March 12 and has been paying its employees salaries in the interim. Per the latest announcement, those payments will cease on April 18. The company said in its statement it has been “forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees” because there is “no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses.” All furloughed workers will remain employed by Disney and retain their benefits. Mexico’s Grupo Modelo halts production of Corona beer Update 2:54 a.m. EDT April 3: Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo announced late Thursday it will temporarily halt production of Corona beer as the novel coronavirus pandemic pits essential products against those deemed nonessential. In a news release, Grupo Modelo said the move is in response to the Mexican government’s Tuesday directive that suspends temporarily most industries not deemed “essential” services such as health care and agriculture. In turn, the company plans to cease producing its brews on Sunday with no clear timeline outlined for a return to production. Supplies seized from suspected Brooklyn hoarder donated to medical staffs fighting coronavirus Update 2:32 a.m. EDT April 3: Some New York and New Jersey medical personnel are slightly better stocked after a Brooklyn man’s arrest led authorities to a stockpile of hoarded medical supplies, CNN reported. Prosecutors contend in court documents that Baruch Feldheim, 43, sold N95 masks to doctors and nurses at substantially inflated prices. In turn, the roughly 192,000 in-demand respirator masks and assorted other supplies are being redistributed to medical personnel across New York and New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sony launches $100 million global coronavirus relief fund Update 2 a.m. EDT April 3: Sony is preparing to launch $100 million fund to provide global relief to those affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Sony extends its condolences to the families of those who have passed away as a result of the coronavirus crisis and extends its sympathies to all those who have been impacted,” Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement, adding, “In order to overcome the unprecedented challenges that as a society we now face around the world, we will do all we can as a global company to support the individuals on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus the children who are our future, and those who have been impacted in the creative community.'   US coronavirus deaths hit 6,053, total cases top 245K Update 12:30 a.m. EDT April 3: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 245,000 early Friday 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 245,540 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 6,053 deaths. U.S. cases now more than double the 115,242 reported in Italy and the 112,065 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 2,374 – or roughly 40 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 537 in New Jersey and 417 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 92,720 confirmed cases – or more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 25,590 and California with 11,042. Seven other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • Michigan: 10,791, including 417 deaths • Louisiana: 9,159, including 310 deaths • Florida: 9,008, including 144 deaths • Massachusetts: 8,966, including 154 deaths • Illinois: 7,695, including 163 deaths • Pennsylvania: 7,268, including 90 deaths • Washington: 6,588, including 271 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia and Texas each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections; Connecticut, Colorado and Indiana each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • The Walt Disney Company has announced it will furlough “employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time” beginning April 19, a spokesperson said Thursday. It is the world’s largest single-site employer, with more than 75,000 people working for them in Central Florida. It is the second major theme park in Central Florida to announce mass furloughs, following SeaWorld last week. Walt Disney World has been paying most of its employees for weeks since the parks shut down March 16, and the hotels March 20. Disney employees have received full pay and benefits until April 19, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation. Furloughed employees will remain Disney employees during the furlough, and will receive full health care benefits. Those enrolled in Disney Aspire will have continued access to the education program. “I thought I was safe from it all and then today I’m just sitting there and then this pops up and then instantly like, ‘What am I going to do?’” said Caroline Suddeth, a Disney employee who is set to be furloughed. In an internal letter WFTV obtained from a cast member, the company said it is instituting a temporary, short-term furlough for executive, salaried and non-union hourly cast members. Suddeth falls in that category. “I instantly was like, 'OK, well, how am I supposed to pay my rent because I just signed a lease on a new apartment,” she said. Employees with available paid time off can elect to use some of it at the start of the furlough period, the spokesperson said. Once furloughed, they are eligible to receive an extra $600 per week in federal compensation through the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance. Disney said in the internal letter that “the furlough allows us to preserve the jobs of cast members who are and will continue to be an important part of the Disney family, and provide an easier return to work when our communities recover from the impact of COVID-19.” Suddeth said she plans to file for unemployment immediately. “I guess I am just playing the waiting game at this point, just hoping they are going to call us back in a month or so and let us know that we have to go back to work,” she said. “It’s all just waiting now.” Disney is set to have a meeting with unions today. Additionally, starting Sunday, April 5, 2020 Disney will stop automatic payments for annual passholders on the monthly payment plan.  This will continue while the parks are closed.  Payments will continue once the parks re-open but Disney will not extend the expiration dates. Disney says guests can instead choose to extend the expiration date on the pass by the number of days the park remains closed. Passholders will be able to select their preferred option on the passport account or by calling 407-939-7277.
  • After weeks at sea and being turned away from other countries, two cruise ships were given the OK to dock in Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon. The Zaandam and Rotterdom both docked Thursday afternoon. Among the passengers on the Zaandam were Jim Wing and his wife Mount Dora, who were traveling for her birthday. “It was supposed to be a birthday celebration of my stepmother Colleen, and it’s turned into a nightmare,” said Nate Wing, Jim Wing’s son, from his home in Windermere. Passengers who aren’t sick were given the OK to be escorted off but not allowed to have contact with other people. Those who do have symptoms are not allowed to leave, including Jim Wing of Mount Dora. His family’s cruise ship was turned away in Chile, and was nearly kept from passing through the Panama Canal. Four people aboard have died from COVID-19, and passengers have been quarantined. Jim and Colleen live in Mount Dora. The cruise ship is looking to dock Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, but there is uncertainty if the ship will even be allowed to come in. On Tuesday, Gov. Ron. DeSantis expressed concern about stress on local health care resources, saying, “I think these are mostly foreign nationals that would use resources we need for Floridians.” On Wednesday, DeSantis said, “Clearly we’re going to be willing to accept any Floridians on board. My understanding is most passengers are foreign nationals.” President Donald Trump weighed in as well, saying we must show humanity. “There are people who are sick on the ships,” Trump said. The 77-year-old has a heart condition and has been sick with flu like symptoms for about a week and is believed to have COVID-19. “It’s really tough. My father’s been really sick, and they happen to be in an inside stateroom, too,” Nate said. Nate has started a petition that he said will hopefully lead the governor or Broward County officials to make the call to allow the ship in so he can see his parents get home, and so his father can get the medical attention he needs. “These are real people, real lives, not just them, but everyone on that boat,' Nate said. The ship, owned by the world’s biggest cruise operator, Carnival, was turned away from Brazil and other South American ports nearly two weeks ago. The company said it had 6,000 passengers stuck at sea. And yet another cruise ship is still at sea waiting for permission to dock in Fort Lauderdale. Princess cruise line’s Coral Princess was turned away from Brazil and other South American ports nearly two weeks ago, 12 people on board are have tested positive for COVID-19. The company said it had 6,000 passengers stuck at sea, all are self-isolating in their rooms.
  • The lights in the windows of Disney’s Contemporary Resort form the shape of a heart and a Mickey is shaped on the Bay Lake Tower. The photos captured by Thomas Radzak were shared on his twitter page. This photo of a heart standing tall over downtown Orlando was captured by News 96.5 WDBO’s own Joe Kelley.  The show of love and solidarity is lighting up the night skies across the nation as Americans creatively reach out to each other in this new world of social-distancing. On social media #aworldofhearts is trending with pictures of hearts in all sizes and colors posted in the windows of houses, hospitals, apartments and nursing homes.  A public Facebook group called Heart Hunters has nearly 700,000 members who are “trying to spread a little love and compassion.”  Both were inspired by a post suggesting people put hearts in windows for kids to see while out walking and also give them a craft to work on at home.  People are being encouraged to post their messages online so everyone, even those who cannot go outside, can see them.  Be prepared to smile and possibly shed a tear if you take an hour or so to scroll through some of the heartfelt inspiration, which doesn’t always come in the form of a heart - but from the heart. Take a look at this post from Nancy Ray who thought her 11-year-old son was just practicing on his trumpet, then noticed he played The Star Spangled Banner at 6:30 p.m. each day.  When she finally asked him why, she said his answer “melted my heart.” He told her he played to show hope and let everyone know we will be okay.
  • Six time Super Bowl winning quarterback Brady has arrived in Tampa Bay and is moving his family into a lavish, 30,000-square foot mansion on Davis Island built by former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the home features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, an entertainment room and billiards room that wraps around a pool with two boat lifts providing access to Tampa Bay.  Jeter is now part owner of the Miami Marlins and has been living and working in south Florida for the past couple of years.  Brady recently signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneer's that includes nearly $9 million in performance incentives.

Washington Insider

  • The regular White House briefing on the U.S. response to the Coronavirus aired slightly differing views on the path of the White House effort to convince Americans to sharply curtail their social activities, as the President on Thursday saw a glass half full with progress being made, while a top health official publicly pressed Americans to do more to limit the spread of the virus. 'I can tell by the curve, as it is today, that not every American is following' the President's social distancing guidelines, said Dr. Deborah Birx, as she chided people for holding dinner and cocktail parties. 'So, this is really a call to action,' Birx told reporters. Taking a different approach, President Trump tried to emphasize the positive, talking up states where no rush of Coronavirus cases had been seen, and seemingly suggesting that Dr. Birx do the same. 'I think that's what you meant,' the President said to Birx at one point. Like a teacher expressing her displeasure with the behavior of her students, Birx repeatedly made clear at Thursday's briefing that she was not pleased with how some Americans have responded to the President's call for action. 'What I expected when the President put out guidelines, that said don't go to bars, don't be in groups of 10 people,' Birx told reporters, 'that was serious.' 'But Debra, aren't you referring to just a few states?' the President said, standing next to her. 'We have states doing incredibly well,' the President said a few minutes later. The back and forth played out for reporters - and a nationwide television audience - in real time from the White House Briefing Room. 'I think that everybody would have to be thrilled with the way most states are doing,' the President said at one point. 'I am passionate about everyone following the guidelines,' Birx added a minute later, as she warned that other states seem ready to follow the bad path of New York and New Jersey. While the President acknowledged growing virus problems in Louisiana and Michigan, he again returned to his overall assessment. 'We have states that have been really incredible, by the fact they have kept so low,' Mr. Trump added. 'I think they've done a good job,' the President said. 'We've done on average really phenomenally as a country.' Mr. Trump's remarks came as the U.S. recorded over 1,000 deaths from the Coronavirus in a day for the first time, as over 2,000 people died in just two days, sending the overall U.S. death toll to almost 6,000 on Thursday evening.