CORONAVIRUS:

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  • 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.
  • 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:  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.
  • 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.
  • More than one million people worldwide -- including more than 236,000 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 Thursday, April 2, continue below: County in Alabama received 5,000 rotted masks from national stockpile Update 11 p.m. April 2: More than 5,000 medical masks that Montgomery County received from the national stockpile were rotted, the local emergency management director said Thursday. States and cities are receiving shipments from the National Strategic Stockpile to try to relieve shortages in medical equipment because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Christi Thornton, the city/county emergency management director, said the shipment of 5,880 procedure masks received last week were unusable because of dry rot. The masks had a 2010 expiration date, according to the city’s response to a survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Thornton said they received a replacement shipment Wednesday. Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said Wednesday that he is extraordinarily concerned about hospitals’ dwindling levels of personal protective equipment. He said hospitals are measuring their supplies “in terms of days, not weeks.” Nearly 25% of Hawaii’s workers apply for unemployment Update 9 p.m. April 2: Nearly one-quarter of Hawaii’s workers applied for unemployment benefits last month as social distancing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus socked the economy. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said 160,929 unemployment claims were filed during March. Of those, 10,495 were duplicates. The state’s labor force has generally numbered around 660,000 for much of the past year. U.S. Department of Labor statistics showed initial unemployment claims in Hawaii for the week through March 28 totaled 48,861 people. Washington Gov. Inslee extends stay-at-home order through May 4 Update 8:30 p.m. April 2: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 4. The order was previously set to expire on Monday. Inslee said the order could be extended again, but expressed optimism in the ability for Washington residents to cooperate with the restrictions and make May 4 the final date. The restrictions remain the same: schools will remained closed, gatherings are not permitted and only essential travel and work is permitted. Read more here. Patriots use team plane to help fly 1 million N95 masks from China to US Update 8 p.m. April 2: The New England Patriots private team plane returned to Boston from China on Thursday on a rainy afternoon carrying most of an order of 1 million masks critical to health care providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Standing in front of the plane on the tarmac at Logan International Airport, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker thanked Patriots owner Robert Kraft, officials in China who partnered with the state, and medical workers who need the masks. “This shipment comes at a critical time as we prepare for an anticipated surge in the coming weeks ahead,” Baker said. “What we were able to accomplish with this particular mission will go a long way forward in this fight.” Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers but had no way of getting them to the U.S. Baker said Thursday an earlier order for 3 million masks had been confiscated at the Port of New York and this time he wanted a direct humanitarian delivery to the state. Read more here. Nearly 60 homeless people suspected, confirmed with virus Update 7:20 p.m. April 2: Nearly 60 homeless people have either been suspected or confirmed to have the coronavirus, or have been exposed to someone who has, a North Carolina health director said Thursday. Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris told members of the General Assembly that 58 people — all but one who are homeless — are staying in a hotel leased by the county for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, display symptoms and are awaiting results, or have been exposed to someone with the virus and need somewhere to isolate, The Charlotte Observer reported. Harris said the county is working with shelters to move out people with symptoms and reduce the risk of additional spread. County officials said in late March they had leased hotels to isolate individuals who display COVID-19 symptoms and to reduce crowding in the shelters. Trump admin moves toward promoting broader use of face masks Update 6:45 p.m. April 2: The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The recommendations, still being finalized Thursday, would apply to those who live in areas hard-hit by community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. A person familiar with the White House coronavirus task force’s discussion said officials would suggest that non-medical masks, T-shirts or bandannas be used to cover the nose and mouth when outside the home — for instance, at the grocery store or pharmacy. Medical-grade masks, particularly short-in-supply N95 masks, would be reserved for those dealing directly with the sick. Trump tests negative again Update 6p.m. April 2: President Donald Trump has again tested negative for COVID-19. Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier Update 5:15 p.m. April 2:  The Navy has removed Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the Theodore Roosevelt, according to The New York Times. Crozier raised warnings this week in a memo to his leaders. He said the ship was facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus and he asked permission to isolate the bulk of his crew members on shore, an extraordinary move to take a carrier out of duty in an effort to save lives. Nearly 3,000 sailors aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier where the coronavirus has spread will be taken off the ship by Friday, Navy officials said as they struggle to quarantine crew members in the face of an outbreak. So far, fewer than 100 of the nearly 5,000 sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, now docked in Guam, have tested positive for the virus, but the Navy is moving sailors into various facilities and probably will begin using hotel rooms in the coming days. Navy leaders are talking with government officials in the U.S. territory to identify rooms for the crew members. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, however, made it clear Wednesday that while several thousand will leave the ship, other sailors will remain on board in order to continue to protect the ship and run critical systems. 16 dead at Virginia nursing facility Update 4:25 p.m. April 2: A Virginia long-term care facility with one of the nation’s worst known coronavirus outbreaks announced Thursday that testing conducted on all residents had more than doubled the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to nearly 100 as the number of fatalities increased to 16. The Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in suburban Richmond tested all its residents and staff earlier this week after the virus began sweeping through the facility in mid-March, a time when limited testing supplies and strict policies on who could be tested meant such a response was not possible. Ninety-two in-house or hospitalized residents tested positive, the statement said, up from a total earlier in the week of 41. Only 35 tested negative, and 15 tests were outstanding, meaning approximately two-thirds of the facility became infected with the virus. Of the residents who tested positive, 53, or about 58%, were “asymptomatic carriers showing no sign of being ill,” the statement said. The facility’s administrator, Jeremiah Davis, said in a statement that the findings were consistent with other mass testing studies. “It is also believed that if mass testing were done at other facilities and in communities where there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19, large numbers of asymptomatic and mild cases of the virus would be found as well,” he said. Among the 16 deaths were five over the last 24-hour period, the facility said in a statement. Global coronavirus cases top 1 million Update 3:50 p.m. April 2: The world reached a grim milestone Thursday afternoon when reports of coronavirus infections crossed the one-million mark, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The numbers include 236,339 infections reported in the United States -- the country with the highest number of cases -- 115,242 in Italy and 110,238 cases in Spain. The 2019 novel coronavirus was first detected December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, more than 51,000 people worldwide have died of COVID-19. Most of the deaths, 13,915, have been reported in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins. Passengers on Zaandam, Rotterdam cruise ships to be allowed to disembark in Florida Update 3:45 p.m. EDT April 2: Cruise ships carrying dozens of passengers and crew displaying symptoms of the coronavirus awaited final word Thursday on when they would be able to dock at a Florida port after officials gave their tentative approval and the state’s governor dropped his previously firm opposition. Officials were waiting for a final document, expected to arrive on Thursday, that was required to clear the Zaandam and a sister ship, the Rotterdam, to disembark at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine said on Twitter. For nearly three weeks, passengers have not been able to step on dry land. Four elderly passengers have died on the Zaandam, at least two from COVID-19, said William Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corp., which owns the ships. Nine people have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Burke said. There are 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam, and 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam. The Rotterdam was sent last week to take in some of the passengers and provide assistance to the Zaandam since it was denied permission to dock at ports in South America. About 230 have reported influenza-like symptoms since March 22, including 14 aboard the Rotterdam, while 45 currently are mildly ill, Holland America Line, the company that operates the ships, has said. Coronavirus infections rise above 10,000 in Michigan Update 3:35 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Michigan said Thursday that 1,457 new COVID-19 cases have been reported, bringing the state’s total to 10,791 cases. Officials said 80 new fatal coronavirus infections were reported over the same period. In all, 417 people have died of COVID-19 in the state. Melania Trumps shares well wishes for Canadian first lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau Update 3:30 p.m. EDT April 2: Melania Trump offered well wishes Thursday to Sophie Gregoire of Canada following her recovery from COVID-19. The White House said the first lady expressed “deep appreciation” during Thursday’s conversation with the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for continued cooperation between the U.S. and Canada as they address the coronavirus pandemic. Trump stressed the importance of maintaining strong economic ties following a joint agreement between the countries to ban nonessential travel across their shared border. She and Grégoire also discussed efforts to repatriate Americans and Canadians who have been stranded on cruise ships around the world. Trudeau’s office announced March 13 that his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus after she returned from a trip to London. The prime minister continues to self-isolate at home in Ottawa. Coronavirus stimulus payments expected to go out week of April 13 Update 3:20 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials with the IRS and the Treasury Department told lawmakers Thursday that they expect to begin issuing economic stimulus payments beginning the week of April 13 after Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to help Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Politico reported the timeline was shared Thursday with the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., said the timeline remained subject to change, according to Politico. The bill allowed for some 80 percent of U.S. adults to qualify for stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples. The federal government will also include $500 for each child or dependent. The checks will be deposited using the direct deposit information provided to the IRS for 2018 or 2019 tax refunds. Officials are expected to launch an online portal in the next few weeks to allow for people who have not submitted tax returns to give the IRS their direct deposit information, Politico reported. People who are opting instead for paper checks could have to wait for as many as five weeks, according to the news site. Indiana schools to remain closed through school year Update 3 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Indiana announced Thursday that K-12 schools across the state would be closed for in-person classes through the rest of the school year, according to the Indiana Department of Education. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick announced the decision during a news conference Thursday, WRTV reported. Classes will continue virtually. “All high school seniors on track to graduate before school buildings were closed on March 19 will be provided with the flexibility they need to earn an Indiana diploma,” McCormick said Thursday, according to WRTV. “Our goal is to get you across the stage.' Ohio stay-at-home order extended until May  Update 2:50 p.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio announced that a stay-at-home order issued in the state has been extended until at least May 1, WHIO-TV reported. Health officials have recorded 2,902 COVID-19 cases in the state, 802 of which were serious enough to require hospitalization. Authorities said 81 people have died in the state of coronavirus infections. More than 25,000 coronavirus infections reported in New Jersey Update 2:45 p.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said 25,590 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the state as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Officials have also reported 537 deaths in New Jersey. FDA modifies policies to allow more gay men to donate blood amid shortage Update 2:40 p.m. EDT April 2: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced modified rules to its donor eligibility requirements to allow more gay men and people who recently got tattoos and piercings to donate blood amid a shortage caused by COVID-19. Officials with the American Red Cross have previously said they were facing a severe blood shortage as thousands of blood drives were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In a statement Thursday, Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the FDA will now only bar gay men from donating blood if they’ve had sex with another man in the last three months, down from the previous 12-month timeline. Officials also said they will allow people who have gotten tattoos more than three months ago to donate, also down from a previous 12-month period. Louisiana officials report more than 9,000 COVID-19 cases statewide Update 2:25 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Louisiana have reported 9,150 coronavirus infections in the state, more than double the amount reported three days earlier. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 4,025 cases of COVID-19 and 185 coronavirus-related deaths had been reported statewide as of Monday. By Thursday, the number of deaths had risen to 310. 7-week-old dies of coronavirus complications in Connecticut Update 2:15 p.m. EDT April 2: A 7-week-old child in Connecticut has died of complications from the coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday. The unresponsive infant was taken to a hospital last week but could not be revived, WTNH reported. Posthumously, the child tested positive for COVID-19, Lamont said. “This is absolutely heartbreaking,” the governor said in a Twitter post Wednesday. “We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19.” 67 new coronavirus infections reported in DC Update 2 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Washington D.C. said 67 new coronavirus infections have been reported, bringing the total in the district to 653. Mayor Muriel Bowser said one new fatal case was reported Thursday. In all, 12 people have died due to COVID-19 in Washington D.C. COVID-19 not transmissible through food, officials say Update 1:55 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stressed Thursday that no evidence supports fears that COVID-19 might be transmissible through food, CNN reported. “The food supply remains safe for both people and animals,' Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response, said during a call with reporters, according to CNN. “There is no — and I emphasize no — evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Agriculture Food Safety Director Jeff Warner said in a joint statement obtained Thursday by WPXI that “food is safe.” Grocery stores, food manufacturers, and distributors have been provided with guidance to protect their workforce and consumers from COVID-19, WPXI reported. Reports of coronavirus infections leap above 7,000 in Pennsylvania Update 1:50 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Pennsylvania announced a surge of 1,211 new COVID-19 cases in the state Thursday, according to WPXI. The newly announced cases brings the total number of coronavirus infections to 7,016 in the state, WPXI reported, citing the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Sixteen more fatal coronavirus cases were also reported Thursday, bringing the statewide death toll to 90. Public transit systems to get $25B in emergency funding amid COVID-19 outbreak Update 1:40 p.m. EDT April 2: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced public transportation systems across the U.S. will be awarded $25 billion to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. “This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who depend on them,” Chao said Thursday in a news release. Officials said the funds were made available by a $2 trillion stimulus bill signed into law last week. The money will be administered by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. More than 5,000 coronavirus cases reported in Georgia Update 1:30 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Georgia said Thursday that 5,348 coronavirus infections have been reported in the state, WSB-TV reported. A majority of those -- 59% -- were reported in people between the ages of 18 and 59, the news station reported. The cases also include at least 1,056 which required hospitalization. The Georgia Department of Public Health also reported a total of 163 deaths from COVID-19 in the state as of noon, according to WSB-TV. Red Cross trailer stolen from California lot amid COVID-19 pandemic Update 1:25 p.m. EDT April 2: Police are searching for two men suspected of stealing a Red Cross trailer from a lot in Riverside, California, according to the Press Enterprise. Red Cross spokeswoman Brianna Kelly told the newspaper a Red Cross trailer carrying disaster relief supplies, including cots, blankets, first aid kits and a few masks, was stolen March 22. “Maybe they thought there were COVID-19 response items inside,' Kelly said. 'But even with COVID, if we were to have a disaster, we would use these trailers.” The trailer is the second to be stolen in recent weeks, according to the Press Enterprise. Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 50,000 Update 1:05 p.m. EDT April 2: More than 50,000 people have died of coronavirus infections since the beginning of the outbreak late last year, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The numbers include 13,915 deaths reported in Italy -- the country with the highest number of reported deaths -- 10,003 deaths in Spain and 5,316 deaths in the U.S. The 2019 novel coronavirus was first detected December 2019 in Wuhan, China.  The United States has the most number of cornavirus infections in the world with 226,374 reports as of Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins. 760 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in Italy Update 12:55 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Italy recorded 760 new fatal coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the COVID-19 death toll in the country to 13,915. The number is slightly higher than the 727 new fatal cases reported Wednesday, which was the smallest number of single-day COVID-19 deaths reported in the last week in Italy, according to The Guardian. Officials also reported 4,668 new coronavirus infections, slightly less than the 4,782 new infections reported Wednesday. In all, officials said 115,242 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the country. Pelosi moves to set up House panel to oversee coronavirus aid Update 12:35 p.m. EDT April 2: Amid continuing controversy over the best way to rush aid to working Americans, businesses, hospitals and local governments dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she would move to set up a new special panel in the U.S. House to oversee those efforts. Pelosi said Thursday in a press conference by phone that it’s important to have transparency about the massive amount of relief money. “We need to ensure those dollars are spent effectively and carefully,” Pelosi said, adding that Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., would be in charge of reviewing the $2 trillion in aid approved by Congress in March. Reported coronavirus infections top 90,000 in New York Update 12:30 p.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 8,669 new coronavirus infections have been reported, bringing the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 92,381. New York has been the state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo said that as of Thursday, every county in the state had at least one case. “It’s going to march across the country. It is false comfort to say, ‘Well, we are a rural community, we don’t have the density of New York City,’” Cuomo said. “We have counties in New York state where you have more cows than people. ... Upstate New York is a rural community.” Cuomo said that 13,383 people were hospitalized in the state due to COVID-19 as of Thursday morning. The number includes 3,396 infections that were serious enough to require patients be hospitalized in intensive care units. Since New York began tracking its coronavirus cases, 7,424 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, Cuomo said. Democratic National Convention postponed due to coronavirus Update 12:20 p.m. EDT April 2: Organizers announced Thursday that the Democratic National Convention will be pushed back from July to August in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The convention had been scheduled to run July 13-16 in Milwaukee. “In light of the unprecedented health crisis facing our country, the 2020 Democratic National Convention will now be held the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, providing our team more time to determine the most appropriate structure for this historic event,” organizers said in statement posted Thursday on Twitter. 273 new coronavirus infections reported in North Carolina Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in North Carolina on Thursday announced 273 new coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s total to 1,857, WSOC-TV reported. The number includes 184 people who were hospitalized Thursday, according to WSOC-TV. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have reported 16 deaths due to coronavirus. Officials have administered 28,679 tests. Putin extends non-working order through April across Russia Update 12:05 p.m. EDT April 2: President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered most Russians to stay off work until the end of the month as part of a partial economic shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Speaking in a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Putin said he was extending the non-working policy he ordered earlier for this week to remain in force throughout April. He emphasized that all employees should continue earning their regular salaries during the period. Putin said some essential industries will keep operating, and grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. “The threat remains, and experts believe that the epidemic is yet to reach its peak in the world, including our country,” Putin said. New York to begin coordinating with hospitals to redistribute medical supplies as needed Update 11:55 a.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said officials will ask hospitals to complete a survey about what medical supplies they have on hand with the goal to redistribute supplies as needed amid the coronavirus outbreak. “We’re coordinating the health care system like never before,” Cuomo said Thursday at a news conference. Cuomo said officials are asking hospitals to contribute excess supplies to a central stockpile for distribution to hospitals that need them. “Some hospitals have more supplies than they’re using,” Cuomo said. “We’re saying, ‘Don’t hoard supplies.’” New York has the highest number of reported coronavirus infections in the country, with more than 90,000 people falling ill. Reports of COVID-19 top 8,000 in Florida Update 11:50 a.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Florida announced Thursday that 8,010 coronavirus cases have been reported statewide, up 237 from the 7,773 reports as of Wednesday night, WFTV reported. Officials also reported 27 new fatal COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising the state’s coronavirus death toll to 128. Authorities distributing hoarded medical supplies seized from suspected price gougers Update 11:45 a.m. EDT April 2: Authorities announced Thursday that they are distributing more than 190,000 N95 respirator masks, hundreds of thousands of medical-grade gloves and other medical equipment seized during an investigation into alleged price gouging during the COVID-19 outbreak. Officials with the FBI discovered the supplies, which also included 130,000 surgical masks, N100 masks, surgical gowns, particulate filters and bottles of hand sanitizer, during an enforcement operation on March 30. Authorities alerted the Department of Health and Human Services, which used the Defense Production Act to seize the supplies for distribution to health care workers on the front lines in New York and New Jersey. “This is the first of many such investigations that are underway,” Defense Production Act policy coordinator Peter Navarro said Thursday in a news release. “All individuals and companies hoarding any of these critical supplies, or selling them at well above market prices, are hereby warned they should turn them over to local authorities or the federal government now or risk prompt seizure by the federal government.” Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services will pay the owner for the found equipment at “pre-COVID-19 fair market value.” The supplies will be delivered to the New Jersey Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk dumped amid surplus caused by COVID-19 Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 2: Many dairy processing plants across Wisconsin have more product than they can handle and that’s forced farmers to begin dumping their milk down the drain. That’s the case at Golden E Dairy near West Bend. Farmer Ryan Elbe told WISN-TV they are dumping about about 30,000 gallons (113,562 litres) a day. The coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products as restaurants, schools and food service businesses have been closed. About one-third of the state’s dairy products, mostly cheese, are sold in the food-service trade. The Journal Sentinel reported that Elbe’s cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to pay them for milk that’s being dumped. But like most cooperatives, DFA can only afford to do that for so long. Elbe’s parents started the farm with 80 cows in 1991, an operation that has grown to 2,400 cows today. Amazon to check employees’ temperatures, deploy masks beginning next week, report says Update 11 a.m. EDT April 2: Amazon will begin checking temperatures and handing out face masks for staff members at all its Whole Foods locations and at warehouses in Europe and the U.S. as employees continue working during the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. Company officials told Reuters they would begin checking employee temperatures beginning next week using no-contact forehead thermometers. Anyone determined to have a temperature over 100.4 Fahrenheit will be sent home, the news site reported. Amazon officials also told Reuters its locations will be getting surgical masks by early next week. Michigan suspending in-person classes through end of school year Update 10:45 a.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan on Thursday announced schools in the state would be closed through the end of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Detroit Free Press. “My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19,' Whitmer said in a statement obtained by the Free Press. “For the sake of our students, their families, and the more than 100,000 teachers and staff in our state, I have made the difficult decision to close our school facilities for the remainder of the school year.” The decision will impact about 1.5 million students in Michigan, the Free Press reported. Remote learning will continue for students in the state. Defense Department providing 100,000 body bags to FEMA Update 10:15 a.m. EDT April 2: The Department of Defense is working to fulfill a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 100,000 body bags as the coronavirus death toll rises in the U.S., according to multiple reports. In a statement obtained by CNN, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said the request was being filled in line with a longstanding agreement with FEMA “to procure key commodities from (the Defense Logistics Agency’s) industrial partners during crisis response operations.” “DLA is currently responding to FEMA’s prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies,” the statement said. Stocks open higher after early stumble Update 9:55 a.m. EDT April 2: Stocks opened modestly higher on Wall Street Thursday, a day after dropping 4.4%. Stocks had been headed for an even higher open until the Labor Department reported that more than 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, double the record high set just one week earlier. It was the latest sign that large numbers of Americans are losing their jobs as the economic damage from the coronavirus accelerates. The U.S. and other large economies are widely believed to have sunk into severe recessions as businesses shut down the world. The price of crude oil jumped 8% to about $22 a barrel. Still unclear why some COVID-19 patients get sicker than others, Fauci says Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 2: The nation’s top infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Thursday that officials are no closer to figuring out why some seemingly healthy people infected by the new coronavirus develop only mild or no symptoms but others become very sick. During an interview Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show, Fauci said he’s been “puzzled from the beginning” about the coronavirus pandemic. “It is very strange how one individual can get infected and have either mild or no symptoms and another individual could rapidly deteriorate with viral pneumonia and respiratory failure,” Fauci said. “There’s something in mechanism, whether it’s genetic, whether it’s immune response.” Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He said on “Today” that it’s “very strange” how the virus can be “completely devastating” and lead to “viral pneumonia and respiratory failure” in one person and be “absolutely nothing” in another person. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s been working in infectious diseases for almost 50 years but doesn’t “fully understand exactly what the mechanism of that is.' He said finding the answer is going to require natural history studies, which follow people over time while collecting their health information. Officials report 569 new fatal coronavirus cases in the UK Update 9:30 a.m. EDT April 2: Officials in the United Kingdom recorded 569 new fatal COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the country’s coronavirus death toll to 2,921. Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced 4,244 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. In all, officials said 33,718 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in the U.K. New England Patriots jet flying medical supplies from China to Boston Update 9:20 a.m. EDT April 2: A private plane owned by the New England Patriots will land Thursday in Boston with needed medical supplies to help in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports. Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said Thursday that the plane, was carrying more than one million N95 masks from China, according to ABC News. A source told CNN that Baker coordinated with the Patriots and the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, to get the supplies to the state. “Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen,” Baker wrote Thursday. Fauci: There’s still time to avoid 100,000 deaths from coronavirus in US Update 9:05 a.m. EDT April 2: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized Thursday that Americans still have time to avoid the 100,000 to 200,000 deaths predicted in the U.S. from the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s within our power to modify those numbers,” Fauci said in an appearance Thursday on “CBS This Morning.” On Sunday, President Donald Trump said that if his administration can keep deaths from the virus to 100,000, that would be a “good job.” The number was based on a model which showed that “even with considerable mitigation, you still could anticipate between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths,” Fauci said Thursday. “We shouldn’t give up and accept it and say, 'OK that’s going to happen,” Fauci told 'CBS News This Morning.” “We need to push and push with the mitigation to try to get that number lower than the projected number by the model.” Record 6.6 million seek US jobless aid Update 8:40 a.m. EDT April 2: More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus. The job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close across the world. The figure for last week is much higher than the previous record of 3.3 million reported for the previous week. The surging layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April. The unemployment rate could spike to as high as 15% this month, above the previous record of 10.8% set during a deep recession in 1982. Boeing offering employees voluntary layoffs Update 8:25 a.m. EDT April 2: Boeing will offer employees voluntary layoffs in a bid to offset the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to KIRO-TV and CNBC. “We’re in uncharted waters,” the company’s new CEO, David Calhoun, wrote in a memo sent to employees, according to KIRO-TV. “We’re taking actions — including offering this (voluntary layoff) plan — based on what we know today.” Boeing has more than 150,000 employees worldwide. >> Read more on KIRO7.com: Boeing announces it will be cutting workers Global coronavirus deaths near 50K, worldwide cases approach 952K Update 7:24 a.m. EDT April 2: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 48,284 early Thursday, 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 951,901 people worldwide. • The United States has reported 216,722 cases, resulting in 5,137 deaths. • Italy has confirmed 110,574 cases, resulting in 13,155 deaths. • Spain has reported 110,238 infections, resulting in 10,003 deaths. • China has recorded 82,431 cases, resulting in 3,322 deaths. • Germany has reported 77,981 cases, resulting in 931 deaths. • France has confirmed 57,780 infections, resulting in 4,043 deaths. • Iran has recorded 50,468 cases, resulting in 3,160 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 29,872 cases, resulting in 2,357 deaths. • Switzerland has confirmed 18,117 cases, resulting in 505 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 15,679 cases, resulting in 277 deaths. Spain’s coronavirus death toll tops 10K after highest single-day increase Update 6:56 a.m. EDT April 2: At least 10,003 people have died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Spain, the country’s health ministry announced Thursday. The latest figures include 950 fatalities recorded in the past 24 hours alone, representing the European nation’s largest single-day increase since the pandemic began. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, Spain has reported a total of 110,238 infections and trails only Italy in terms of virus-related fatalities where 13,155 people have died. New unemployment claims could hit 3.1 million Update 6:44 a.m. EDT April 2: Economists anticipate an additional 3.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to force business closures, layoffs and financial uncertainty. According to The Wall Street Journal, a record 3.3 million people sought jobless benefits two weeks ago, and the 3.1 million surveyed economists believe filed last week comprise more claims than those which have been processed in the past six months.  British docs receive guidance on parsing out ‘scarce lifesaving resources’ amid coronavirus Update 5:49 a.m. EDT April 2: The British Medical Association has issued new ethics guidelines dictating which patients should be saved if the United Kingdom’s health system becomes overwhelmed by the novel coronavirus pandemic. ]Per the new guidelines, ventilators could be removed from treatment protocols for older patients with a low survival probability if the machines mean healthier patients might survive. 'As such, some of the most unwell patients may be denied access to treatment such as intensive care or artificial ventilation,' the BMA’s ethics guidance note states, adding, “This will inevitably be indirectly discriminatory against both the elderly and those with long-term health conditions, with the latter being denied access to life-saving treatment as a result of their pre-existing health problems.' The guidance note was updated April 1. ‘Unruly’ coronavirus quarantine violators could be shot, Philippine president says Update 3:16 a.m. EDT April 2: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned during a Wednesday address that citizens who disregard the nationwide novel coronavirus quarantine and become unruly could be shot by authorities. Duterte’s remarks came during a televised address, covered by CNN Philippines. “My orders to the police, the military and the barangays: If they become unruly and they fight you and your lives are endangered, shoot them dead!” Duterte said. Israel’s health minister tests positive for coronavirus Update 2:52 a.m. EDT April 2: Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, 71, has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. The health ministry confirmed Litzman’s illness in a statement issued Thursday. Litzman has held the position for nearly a decade. To date, Israel has confirmed 6,092 coronavirus cases, resulting in 26 deaths. Coronavirus pandemic fueling gun sale background check surge, FBI says Update 2:39 a.m. EDT April 2: The FBI reported a record-setting number of gun purchase background checks during the month of March as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the globe. According to data released by the bureau, the 3.7 million checks conducted in March represent a 41 percent month-over-month surge and the most processed during a one-month period since the FBI began tracking the information in 1998. Illinois led the nation in March with more than half a million federal firearm background checks conducted, followed by Texas, Kentucky, Florida and California, CNN reported. Click here to see the FBI data. Boeing preps to offer buyouts, early retirement amid coronavirus cash crunch Update 2:10 a.m. EDT April 2: Aerospace giant Boeing could soon begin offering early retirement and buyout packages to employees as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues pummeling the aviation industry, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read more here. Biden says Democratic National Convention likely to be postponed amid coronavirus crisis Update 1:28 a.m. EDT April 2: The Democratic National Convention will likely be shelved for several months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said during a Wednesday night webcam interview on “The Tonight Show.”The “I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July, early July,” Biden said, adding, “I think it’s going to have to move into August.” The convention is currently slated for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jazz icon Ellis Marsalis Jr., 85, dies from coronavirus complications Update 1:12 a.m. EDT April 2: Jazz legend and patriarch of a musical dynasty Ellis Marsalis Jr. died on Wednesday from complications associated with the novel coronavirus. He was 85. 'Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement, adding, “He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world.”  US coronavirus deaths hit 5,119, total cases top 216K Update 12:20 a.m. EDT April 2: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 216,000 early Thursday 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 216,515 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 5,119 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including more than twice the 110,574 reported in Italy and the 104,118 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 1,941 – or roughly 40 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 355 in New Jersey and 337 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 83,712 confirmed cases – or more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 22,255 and Michigan with 9,334. Five other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 8,155, including 171 deaths • Massachusetts: 7,738, including 122 deaths • Florida: 7,495, including 100 deaths • Illinois: 6,980, including 141 deaths • Louisiana: 6,424, including 273 deaths Meanwhile, Washington and Pennsylvania each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections, trailed only slightly by Georgia with 4,748 cases; Texas, Connecticut and Colorado each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio 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.