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Coronavirus updates from March 30, 2020

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More states lock down amid coronavirus pandemic

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More than 3,000 people have died from coronavirus in the U.S. and more than 164,000 cases have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University.

With intensive care units in New York City overwhelmed, the U.S. Navy on Monday sailed the hospital ship Comfort into New York Harbor. Governor Andrew Cuomo also issued a nationwide call to doctors and nurses to join what he called the "front lines" of the war on COVID-19.

Virginia, Maryland, Arizona and Tennessee issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, joining 28 other states. Three out of four Americans have now been told to stay home as much as possible.

Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.

 

Empire State Building lights honor first responders

One of New York City's most iconic landmarks is putting on a light show to pay tribute to medical workers treating coronavirus patients. The lights at the top of the Empire State Building flashed red and white as they revolved around its famous needle Monday night, to resemble the lights that accompany a siren.

And the upper floors had pulsing red lights, similar to a heartbeat, in what's being dubbed "the heartbeat of America."

The light show will go on until the end of the month and includes a 9 p.m. synchronized performance set to Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind."

By April Siese
 

In reversal, LA sheriff letting gun dealers stay open during pandemic

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who was sued by gun-rights groups after trying to shut down firearms dealers during the coronavirus pandemic, said Monday he's abandoning the effort. The sheriff said he's heeding an advisory issued by the federal Department of Homeland Security Saturday that listed gun and ammunition dealers as "essential critical infrastructure workers."

Villanueva called the non-binding memo "persuasive" and announced that his department won't order or recommend closing businesses that sell or repair firearms or sell ammunition in the nation's most populous county.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has said that each of the state's 58 counties can decide for themselves whether to list firearms dealers as nonessential businesses that should be subject to closure while the state seeks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

— The Associated Press

 

NCAA to give spring athletes extra year of eligibility

The NCAA on Monday voted to allow Division I spring-sport athletes who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus pandemic to have an additional year of eligibility. The extra year of eligibility will be granted to all spring-sport athletes, regardless of their current class.

The decision does not guarantee current seniors will still receive financial aid if they return for the extra year, according to The Associated Press.

Winter sports, such as basketball, were not included in the decision. Although the winter season was cut short — basketball conference tournaments and the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments were notably suspended or canceled — the NCAA Division I Council excluded those sports because athletes had completed most or all of the regular seasons.

— The Associated Press 

 

Lions Tigers & Bears animal rescue offers "virtual visits"

A California animal sanctuary is opening its doors to visitors and offering "virtual visits" this week. Lions Tigers & Bears in Alpine will offer a behind-the-scenes tour streamed on Facebook and Instagram that will be available Wednesday through Friday.

Workers will answer questions any viewers may have about the more than a dozen species that reside at Lions Tigers & Bears. According to a press release, "all of the animals have their own unique rescue story, and all have been victims of the exotic animal trade."

The nonprofit has been closed to the public in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to San Diego PBS affiliate KPBS, the county where Alpine is located has reported 603 confirmed cases and seven deaths.

By April Siese
 

Pandemic takes heavy toll on restaurant owners and employees

With restaurants and bars across the country closed or limited to take-out service, the industry lost an estimated $25 billion in sales in the first three weeks of March. Three million jobs have been lost over the same period.

In the first three weeks of March, restaurant sales were down 47% nationwide. Seven out of 10 owners laid off employees and cut work hours, and, according to industry analysts, 5 million to 7 million people could lose their jobs in the coming weeks.

Server Emily Tucker already lost hers, forcing her to line up for free food in Houston. "If this keeps going on for months and longer, I guess I start looking at another career, which, this has been my whole life, so, I don't want to," Tucker said.

Read more here.

Restaurants and bars lost a total of $25 billion so far due to coronavirus
By Adriana Diaz
 

"I never felt alone": First Washington, D.C., patient on battling coronavirus

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to climb, but there's reason to have hope. Reverend Tim Cole, the leader of the historic Christ Church Georgetown, was the first person in Washington D.C. to test positive for the coronavirus. He was recently released from the hospital after a weeks-long battle with the disease.

"CBS Evening News" host Norah O'Donnell spoke with Cole about his experience with the deadly virus.

Read more here.

Reverend Timothy Cole shares his coronavirus experience
 

More than 5,000 NYPD officers called in sick on Monday

More than 5,000 uniformed NYPD members — 14.4% of the uniformed workforce — called in sick on Monday, according to the department. More than 800 uniformed members and 100 civilian members have tested positive for the virus.

By Victoria Albert
 

First U.S. service member dies of coronavirus

A New Jersey member of the National Guard died of coronavirus on Saturday, according to a Monday release from the Department of Defense, becoming the first known U.S. service member to die of the virus. The patient had been hospitalized since March 21. 

"Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member — active, reserve or Guard — to Coronavirus," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in the statement.  

"This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community.  The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19."

By Victoria Albert
 

Fauci believes coronavirus will return in the fall, but it will be a "totally different ballgame"

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday that he "would anticipate" the coronavirus will return in the fall — but that it will be a "totally different ballgame" if that happens. 

"There will be several things that would be different," Dr. Fauci said. "Our ability to be able to go out and test, identify, isolate, and contact trace will be orders of magnitude better than what it was just a couple of months ago." 

"In addition, we have a number of clinical trials that are looking at a variety of therapeutic interventions..." Dr. Fauci added. "And importantly, as I've mentioned to you many times at these briefings, is that we have a vaccine that's on track and multiple other candidates." 

"What we are going through now is going to be more than just lessons learned," Fauci concluded. "It's going to be things that are available to us that we did not have before." 

By Victoria Albert
 

"It's a war without bullets": First-hand accounts from health care workers

On this "National Doctors' Day," there are urgent calls for help on Monday from doctors and nurses who are risking their lives while treating coronavirus patients. President Trump said Monday that he's considering hazard pay for health care workers, but gave no details.

The endless echo of sirens, a warning about the state of our nation's hospitals. From Illinois to Arizona and in the worst-hit state: New York.

"It's a war without bullets," said Dr. Joaquin Morante, an ICU doctor at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, where six people died overnight. "Being covered in COVID —  it's walking into the hospital and feeling like every part of the hospital is a dirty zone."

Read more accounts here.

By Jonathan Vigliotti
 

167 inmates and 114 staffers at NYC jails test positive

As of Monday morning, 167 inmates and 114 staffers at New York City jails have tested positive for coronavirus, a Department of Corrections spokesperson said in a statement. They have been advised to self-quarantine and officials were working to identify who may have had close contact with them. 

"The health and well-being of our personnel and people in custody is our top priority," the statement said.

New York City Rikers Island
A view of the Rikers Island prison complex on May 17, 2011, in New York City. Getty
By Justin Carissimo
 

Trump says the FDA has approved a kit that can disinfect N95 masks

President Trump announced Monday that the FDA has approved a sterilization kit from the company Battelle that can disinfect N95 masks, which many hospitals have said are in short supply. 

"Each machine can disinfect 120,000 masks per day," Mr. Trump said. "It will be just like a new one. It can go up to about 20 times for each mask."

He continued: "So each mask can go through this process 20 times. And they have two in Ohio, one in New York, and one will soon be shipped to Seattle, Washington. And also to Washington, D.C. So that's going to make a tremendous difference on the masks."

By Victoria Albert
 

Abortion in Texas will resume, despite attorney general's orders

A federal judge halted Texas's temporary ban on abortion on Monday afternoon, allowing the procedure to resume despite the state's suspension of "non-essential" procedures, which explicitly included pregnancy termination. Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in the nine-page court filing that Texas's directive to ban the procedure would cause patients to "suffer serious and irreparable harm."

Last Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered all abortion services immediately halted, with the limited exception of those that are "necessary to preserve the life or health" of the patient. Those in violation faced "penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time."

Read more here.

By Kate Smith
 

Over 1 million Americans have been tested, Trump says

President Trump announced Monday that more than 1 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar added that the U.S. is now testing approximately 100,000 samples per day, which Azar described as "a level no other country has reached." 

By Victoria Albert
 

D.C. mayor issues stay-at-home order

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a stay-at-home order on Monday, barring residents from leaving their homes for all but essential purposes or limited recreational activity. The mayor also said that those who willfully violate the order and are convicted of a misdemeanor will be subject to a maximum of 90 days in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

"Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19," Bowser wrote on Twitter. "Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how – by staying home."

By Victoria Albert
 

Florida pastor arrested after church seen packed for Sunday service

A Florida pastor was arrested Monday, one day after his church was packed with worshippers, despite a local "safer-at-home" order that was designed to help curb the spread of coronavirus, according to CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP-TV. A live-stream of the service at The River at Tampa Bay Church showed its crowded main sanctuary.

According to WTSP, the sheriff told church leaders they were in direct violation of the order that was issued by Hillsborough County officials and went into effect Friday. It requires that businesses and organizations considered essential abide by social distancing guidelines and keep people 6 feet away from each other or shut down.

"We received an anonymous tip that Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne refused a request to temporarily stop holding large gatherings at his church," said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Instead, he was encouraging his large congregation to meet at his church."

Read more here.

 

World Trade Center will light up red, white and blue Monday night

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the World Trade Center will be lit up in red, white and blue on Monday night to honor the nation's collective effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are dealing with a deadly serious situation right now, and it is more important than politics and more important than partisanship," Cuomo said in a statement. "This is a war and if there is division at this time, the virus will defeat us."

"This virus doesn't discriminate - it attacks everyone, and it attacks everywhere," Cuomo added. "There are no red states, and there are no blue states, and there are no red casualties, and there are no blue casualties. It is red, white and blue. If there was ever a moment for unity, this is it." 

By Victoria Albert
 

Rural-state governors tell Trump they need tests and medical supplies

Governors in several states told President Trump on Monday that they're having trouble acquiring vital supplies to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, warning that despite the worsening situation in New York and other urban areas, more sparsely populated parts of the country need help, too.

In response to requests for more testing kits, Mr. Trump said, "I haven't heard about testing in weeks," according to an audio recording of the call between the president and governors obtained by CBS News.

During the hour-long call, Democratic and Republican governors detailed how they are struggling to obtain the protective equipment doctors and nurses will need to treat the sick and the test kits needed to determine whether sick residents are suffering from COVID-19.

Read more here.

By Ed O'Keefe
 

Coronavirus "could wipe out" tribal nations, New Mexico governor warns

Several rural-state governors alerted President Trump during a Monday phone call that they are struggling to obtain urgently needed medical supplies and testing equipment. On the call, New Mexico Governor Michele Lujan Grisham flagged "incredible spikes" of infection in the Navajo Nation, according to audio obtained by CBS News. 

"We're seeing incredible spikes in the Navajo Nation," she said, adding, "The rate of infection, at least on the New Mexico side, although we've got several Arizona residents in our hospitals, we're seeing a much higher hospital rate, a much younger hospital rate, a much quicker go-right-to-the-vent rate for this population. And we're seeing doubling in every day-and-a-half."

"Wow. That's something," Mr. Trump replied, according to the audio.

"And it could wipe out those tribal nations," she warned.

"We'll build you that hospital as quickly as we can," the president said.

By Ed O'Keefe
 

Senior Italian Cardinal tests positive

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Pope Francis' vicar for the archdiocese of Rome, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Reuters news agency. De Donatis is now the highest-ranking Catholic official to announce a positive diagnosis for the virus. 

The 66-year-old has not had contact with Pope Francis recently, Reuters reported. The virus has killed more than 11,000 people in Italy and infected over 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

VATICAN-POPE-CONSISTORY
Angelo De Donatis on June 28, 2018. Getty
 

5 MTA workers die from coronavirus

New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority announced Monday that five of its employees have died from complications due to coronavirus. The MTA identified the five workers as track worker Scott Elijah, cleaner Caridad Santiago, bus operator Ernesto Hernandez, supervisor Victor Zapana, and bus mechanic Warren Tucker. 

"We are heartbroken at the passing of five heroic members of the New York City Transit family," the organization said in a statement. "Scott, Caridad, Ernesto, Victor and Warren were all inspiring and valued colleagues, well-loved and well-respected by their co-workers."

"They dedicated their lives to serving the public and keeping New Yorkers moving. This is a tragic loss for the city. Their families and friends are in our prayers during this incredibly difficult and painful time."

US-HEALTH-VIRUS
A near-empty subway station in downtown Brooklyn on March 17, 2020, in New York.  Getty
By Victoria Albert
 

Virginia governor issues statewide stay-at-home order

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Monday issued a statewide stay-at-home order in response to the pandemic. The order, which is effective immediately, will remain in place until June 10, his office said in a statement. 

All residents must stay home unless they are going to work, seeking medical attention, or obtaining groceries or prescriptions. 
 
"We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly," Northam said in a statement. "Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that's why it's so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing."

With Northam's announcement, at least 29 states have issued similar orders across the country.

By Justin Carissimo
 

Cuomo to health care workers across the country: "Please come to New York"

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday called on health care workers across the country to help the state respond to the virus. "I am asking healthcare workers across the country: If things are not urgent in your own community, please come to New York," Cuomo said in a news conference.

Cuomo said the state would return the favor to other communities affected by the pandemic. "We need relief for nurses. We need relief for doctors," he said on Twitter.

As of Monday afternoon, there were more than 60,000 coronavirus cases in New York state, and over 1,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

Cuomo urges health care workers from other states to come help New York
By Justin Carissimo
 

Five states face legal challenges over abortion bans

In a sweep of legal filings on Monday, a coalition of abortion rights advocates brought challenges in four states — Alabama, Iowa, Ohio and Oklahoma — over directives to temporarily ban the procedure amid the coronavirus outbreak. State officials claim the orders are intended to preserve much-needed medical resources, but abortion-rights activists say the orders are an "excuse to attack essential, time-sensitive medical procedures like abortion."

The organizations, which include Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, ask district courts across the South and Midwest to block states from halting abortion services as part of directives to suspend "non-essential" medical procedures. 

Last week, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights also filed litigation against Texas for its temporary halt on all abortion services "not medically necessary to preserve the life or health" of the patient. Those in violation of the state's order face "penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time."

Read more here.

By Kate Smith
 

300 ventilators heading to New Jersey

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday said his state is receiving 300 ventilators from the national stockpile. "Ventilators are our number one need right now. I won't stop fighting for the equipment we need to save every life we can," Murphy tweeted. 

By Justin Carissimo
 

Macy's to furlough most of its 130,000 workers

Macy's Inc. on Monday said it will furlough the majority of its 130,000 employees this week in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak, which has forced the company to close all of its 839 Macy's, Bloomingdale's and BlueMercury stores, has taken "a heavy toll" on business, the company said in a statement. 

Macy's Inc. still relies heavily on brick-and-mortar store sales. "While the digital business remains open, we have lost the majority of our sales due to the store closures," the company said. 

Read more here.

Coronavirus Macy's
Macy's department store is shown with an empty parking lot at the Roosevelt Field Mall on March 20, 2020, in East Garden City, New York. Getty
By Megan Cerullo
 

Experts: GM already moving fast when Trump triggered Defense Production Act

Twelve days ago, General Motors put hundreds of workers on an urgent project to build breathing machines as hospitals and governors pleaded for more in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But President Trump, claiming the company wasn't moving fast enough, on Friday invoked the Defense Production Act, which gives the government broad authority to direct companies to meet national defense needs.

Peter Navarro, Trump's assistant for manufacturing policy, said Saturday that invoking the act was needed because GM "dragged its heels for days" in committing to the investments to start making ventilators at an automotive electronics plant in Kokomo, Indiana.

It was only a few days earlier that Trump had been holding up GM and Ford as examples of companies voluntarily responding to the outbreak without the need for him to invoke the act. Then on Friday, he slammed GM on Twitter and during his daily briefing for foot-dragging. On Sunday, he was back to praising the company during another briefing: "General Motors is doing a fantastic job. I don't think we have to worry about them anymore."

But GM says it had been proceeding on the same course all along.

— The Associated Press

By Tucker Reals
 

Pregnant women in New York will no longer be forced to give birth alone due to coronavirus

Last week, some hospitals in New York said they would ban spouses, partners, birthing coaches and other visitors from labor and delivery rooms as a coronavirus safety measure — sparking fear and outrage from expectant mothers and their families.

At least two New York hospital systems planned to implement the restriction, but on Saturday, the state government stepped in to ensure that hospitals could not force women to give birth alone. "In no hospital in New York will a woman be forced to be alone when she gives birth. Not now, not ever," Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted on Saturday. 

By Caitlin O'Kane
 

Maryland becomes 28th state to face strict stay-at-home order

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has issued a stay-at-home order for his state, citing the fast-growing coronavirus outbreak in his state and the region surrounding Washington D.C.

"Sadly the number of deaths here in Maryland has tripled, from 5 to 15, over the weekend," Hogan said. "This virus is spreading rapidly and exponentially." He specifically cited the cluster at a nursing home in Mount Airy, where he said 67 residents had tested positive and 27 staff members were showing symptoms.

From 8 p.m. on Monday, Hogan said "no Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it's for an essential job or an essential reason such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or for other necessary purposes."

"Only essential businesses are allowed to remain open in Maryland. And those businesses must make every effort to scale down those operations in order to reduce the number of required staff, to limit in-person interactions with customers as much as they are able to and to institute telework for as much of staff as is practical."

Maryland is the 28th state to impose such an order in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

By Tucker Reals
 

Navy hospital ship arrives in New York City

A Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds arrived Monday morning in New York Harbor to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping the city's hospitals. The USNS Comfort, which was sent to New York City after 9/11, will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. 

In addition to the 1,000 beds, the Comfort has 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours. 

The ship's arrival comes as New York state's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed Sunday above 1,000, less than a month after the first known infection in the state. Most of those deaths have occurred in just the past few days.

On the other side of the country, the U.S. Navy's only other full-fledged hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, was "open for business" on a virtually identical mission and with a very similar capacity. 

Vice Admiral Matt Nathan told CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti last week that both ships' main role "would be to decompress current land-based hospitals in those cities of non-COVID patients who still need hospital attention."  

-CBS/AP

 

Britain's Prince Charles out of self-isolation week after positive COVID-19 test

Britain's Prince Charles is out of self-isolation, seven days after he was first diagnosed with the coronavirus, his office confirmed Monday. The heir to the throne tested positive last week, making him one of the most high-profile global figures to contract the virus. 

Prince Charles was self-isolating in Scotland at the royal Balmoral estate, according to BBC News. He was displaying mild symptoms. His wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, did not test positive. She is still self-isolating as a precaution until the end of the week. 

"Having consulted with his doctor, the Prince of Wales is now out of self-isolation," according to a statement provided by Charles' official residence, Clarence House, on Monday. The 71-year-old is the father of Prince William and Prince Harry and is the first in line to succeed his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

By Caitlin O'Kane
 

U.S. military says almost 600 active duty troops now positive for COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Defense has now confirmed more than 1,000 cases of the new coronavirus among military personnel, staff and family members.

Among those infected are 569 active duty service members, 220 civilian staff, 64 contract workers employed by the Pentagon and 190 military family dependents.

The Navy has been the branch most severely affected, with more than two dozen cases confirmed on a single aircraft carrier alone.  

 

Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum that is closed to stop spread of coronavirus

A Dutch museum that is currently closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus said Monday a painting by Vincent van Gogh on loan for an exhibition was stolen in a raid overnight. The Singer Laren museum east of Amsterdam says "Spring Garden" by the Dutch master was taken in the early hours of Monday.

Museum director Evert van Os said the institution that houses the collection of American couple William and Anna Singer is "angry, shocked, sad" at the theft of the painting.

The value of the work, which was on loan from the Groninger Museum in the northern Dutch city of Groningen, was not immediately known. Police are investigating the theft.

-Associated Press

Virus Outbreak Netherlands Museum Break-in
Two people look at the glass door which was smashed during a break-in at the Singer Museum in Laren, Netherlands, Monday March 30, 2020.  Peter Dejong / AP
By Tucker Reals
 

Hungary's controversial leader gains right to rule by decree amid coronavirus crisis

Hungary's parliament endorsed a bill on Monday giving nationalist premier Viktor Orban sweeping new powers he says he needs to fight the new coronavirus pandemic. Critics at home and abroad have condemned the "anti-coronavirus defence law", saying it gives Orban unnecessary and unlimited power in a ruse to cement his leadership rather than battle the virus.

After declaring a state of emergency on March 11, the new bill will give Orban the power to largely rule by decree indefinitely until the government decides the pandemic crisis is over. 

The bill removes the current requirement for MPs to approve any extension to time limits on the decrees. It also introduces jail terms of up to five years for anyone spreading "falsehoods" about the virus or the measures against it, stoking new worries for press freedom.

Trump praises far-right Hungarian leader in White House meeting

Nicknamed the "Viktator," Orban was sued by the European Union in 2012 for anti-democratic measures and saw his political party, Fidesz, suspended by the international voting bloc earlier this year. In 2016, former President Bill Clinton said Hungary wanted to become an "authoritarian dictatorship" under Orban. President Trump, however, has welcomed Orban to the White House.

-CBS/AFP

 

Face mask shortage in stockpile becomes political issue in an election year

For more than 15 years, "Project BioShield" has guided the federal government's plan for threats and global health crises like COVID-19, amassing vaccines and other critical supplies in the Strategic National Stockpile.

The priorities paved the way for hundreds of millions of dollars in new smallpox vaccines and anthrax antibiotics, but as coronavirus has spread globally, the U.S. stockpile had only 30 million masks for health care professionals — nowhere near the amount needed.

U.S. stockpile of medical supplies "very stressed"

Now in an election year, political leaders are denying responsibility, as the public tries to understand what led to the nationwide shortage of the relatively cheap N95 face masks, the protection recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A review by CBS News finds that for the past decade, a combination of differing priorities, underfunding and slow responsiveness all contributed to the shortfall of masks, leaving thousands of medical professionals now at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.  

By Bo Erickson
 

Top U.K. epidemiologist says lockdown measures helping, epidemic "just about slowing"

One of the scientists advising the British government on the coronavirus pandemic says there are signs the effective lockdown of much of the country is working. 

Professor Neil Ferguson told BBC Radio that the number of new hospital admissions across the U.K. led him to believe the epidemic was "just about slowing" as a result of the social distancing measures the government has imposed over the past couple weeks.

"It's not yet plateaued so the numbers can be increasing every day but the rate of that increase has slowed," he said.

Ferguson, who had to self-isolate himself a couple weeks ago after showing signs of the COVID-19 illness, said the number of deaths would continue to rise daily as it is a lagging indicator. At least 1,228 people in the U.K. who have tested positive for the virus have died.

The epidemiologist thinks that between 3% to 5% of people in London may have been infected, and between 2% and 3% in the country as a whole. 

-CBS/AP

 

German state finance chief apparently commits suicide, citing fear over virus response

The Finance Minister of the German state of Hesse, Thomas Schäfer, has been found dead after apparently committing suicide. He was reportedly worried about the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Schäfer was a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) party and had been Hesse's Finance Minister for 10 years. In a suicide note he described his fears over his government's handling of the health crisis, and whether it would be possible to meet the public's expectations in terms of financial relief. 

thomas-schafer-germany-coronavirus.jpg
The Finance Minister of the German state of Hesse, Thomas Schäfer, is seen in a 2016 file photo. Schäfer was found dead after an apparent suicide on March 29, 2020. An alleged suicide note was found citing fears over the German government's coronavirus response. REUTERS

His body was found on train tracks near the city of Wiesbaden on Sunday. He leaves behind his wife and two children.  

-Anna Noryskiewicz

 

U.S. Army has to help staff field hospitals while also remaining ready for war

The United States Army is opening the first field hospital for civilians in New York City Monday. The new medical facility at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan is designed to handle non-COVID-19 patients, freeing existing New York hospitals to expand their fight against the coronavirus.

That fight against COVID-19 is unlike any other Army chief of staff General James McConville, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has seen. "You're in a war against an invisible threat," he told medics at the Javits Center. 

Starting Monday, the hospital will be running can help save about 1,000 lives at a time. By next week, there will be 3,000 beds.

McConville told "CBS This Morning" co-host Tony Dokoupil the playbook could be used nationwide. Click here to read more

Inside the Army's coronavirus field hospital in New York City
 

Largest U.S. medical supply stockpile "very stressed," former director says

The former director of the largest U.S. stockpile of medical supplies says we may not have enough masks, gowns and ventilators to meet the needs of doctors and nurses fighting the coronavirus.

"The system is very stressed," said Greg Burel, who retired in January after 12 years as director of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), the nation's $8 billion supply of medical equipment, drugs and protective gear.

"The Strategic National Stockpile is that very last lifeline," Burel told CBS News' Catherine Herridge. "It doesn't have everything in unlimited resources that people would like it to have."

The U.S. began tapping the stockpile earlier this month, shipping supplies across the country from government warehouses.

"It would never have been possible, even with virtually unlimited funds, to supply everything that's going to be needed for this event, from the Strategic National Stockpile," he said.

 

New dates announced for delayed Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games.

Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.

Last week, the IOC and Japanese organizers postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on August 9. The near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on August 8.

-Associated Press

Tokyo issues stay-at-home order as coronavirus cases surge
 

New York still America's virus epicenter, but other states' also seeing a sharp rise

More than 143,000 coronavirus cases have been reported across the United States, and more than 2,500 people have died. New York has the most cases by far with more than 59,000, but the numbers are going up rapidly in other states, too, including Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois and California. 

While the total number is still lower than in those hard-hit states, Texas saw the largest single-day increase in cases Sunday, with a 38% jump bringing the tally to 2,823, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Connecticut, and South Dakota where there are now at least 90 cases, also saw jumps Sunday of greater than 30%.

Watch the video below for David Begnaud's report on how bad experts believe the outbreak in the U.S. could get.

How bad could the coronavirus outbreak get?
 

U.S. aircraft carrier stuck in Guam as 2 dozen crew test positive for COVID-19

The Navy is the U.S. military service hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis, and it's been forced to sideline a symbol of American sea power.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt was docked in Guam after being hit by a wave of infections following a port visit in Vietnam. The carrier has a crew of more than 5,000 sailors and Marines. At least two dozen have tested positive for the virus. The setback may be short-lived, but it highlights the Navy's vulnerability to the global-circling disease. It also may be a harbinger of setbacks ahead for a sea service that cannot avoid close-quarters training and operations.

In a statement published Thursday, the U.S. Pacific Command said the Roosevelt's crew would be limited to the pier, to which no personnel from the major American base on the island would be given access.

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In this file photo, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the South China Sea, March 16. U.S. Navy/MCSN Kaylianna Genier

"We're taking this day by day. Our top two priorities are taking care of our people and maintaining mission readiness. Both of those go hand in glove," Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday said in the statement. "We are confident that our aggressive response will keep USS Theodore Roosevelt able to respond to any crisis in the region."

-CBS/AP

 

Florida church jammed for Sunday service despite pandemic

A Florida church was packed with worshippers Sunday despite a local "safer-at-home" order designed to help curb the spread of COVID-19, reports CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP-TV. A live-stream of the service at The River at Tampa Bay Church showed its crowded main sanctuary.

WTSP says the sheriff told church leaders they were in direct violation of the order, which was  issued by Hillsborough County officials and went into effect Friday. It requires that businesses and organizations considered essential abide by social distancing guidelines and keep people six feet away from each other or shut down.

Attorneys for local officials and the church were working to resolve things as quickly as possible, WTSP reported.

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A grim milestone passed, but a glimmer hope for COVID-19-battered Spain

Spain has become the third country to surpass China in coronavirus infections after the United States and Italy. With a population of 47 million, the country's tally of infections reached 85,195 on Monday, a rise of 8% from a previous day.

Monday also saw 812 new fatalities confirmed, bringing the country's toll to 7,300 since the outbreak started in earnest in early March, Spain's Health Ministry said in a statement.

Despite the grim milestone, it was the first decline in deaths reported in a 24-hour period that Spain had seen in several days. Even the 8% rise in new infections represented a slower growth rate, and brought hope that the peak of Spain's outbreak could be approaching.

At least six of Spain's 17 regions are at their limit of ICU beds and three more were close to it, authorities said, while frantic construction of field hospitals continues.  

-CBS/AP

Coronavirus spreading fast and well beyond China and Europe
 

U.K. health service asks furloughed airline cabin crew to help in makeshift hospitals

Britain's health service is asking airline cabin crew who have been furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic to go to work in temporary new hospitals being built to treat COVID-19 patients. The National Health Service says easyJet and Virgin Atlantic are writing to thousands of staff — especially those with first aid training — asking them to work at hospitals being built inside convention centers in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

It said those who sign up will perform support roles under the supervision of doctors and nurses. Under the U.K. government's coronavirus financial rescue plan, most salaried workers on furlough, across all sectors, will be given up to 80% of their usual pay for a three month period.

EasyJet announced Monday it was grounding all of its 344 planes amid a collapse in demand due to the COVID-19 crisis. It said there was "no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights." Virgin Atlantic has cancelled most of its flights and has urged the British government to help keep struggling airlines aloft.

CBS/AP

Airline industry in historic freefall as traveling comes to a halt
 

Co-writer of "I Love Rock and Roll" dies of coronavirus complications

Alan Merrill — who co-wrote the song "I Love Rock and Roll" that became a signature hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett — died Sunday in New York of complications from the coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 69.

Laura Merrill said on her Facebook account that he died in the morning.

"I was given 2 minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out. He seemed peaceful and as I left there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn't be a ticker on the right hand side of the CNN/Fox news screen," she wrote. "By the time I got in the doors to my apartment I received the news that he was gone."

Merrill said her father was in good spirits recently. "He played down the 'cold' he thought he had," she said. "I've made a million jokes about the 'Rona' and how it'll "getcha"... boy do I feel stupid." 

-CBS/AP

As thick as thieves daddy. You were more than a father...you were one of my best friends. We spoke EVERYDAY. We’ve...

Posted by Laura Merrill on Monday, March 30, 2020
 

Governor lauds FDA for approving wide use of Ohio firm's face mask sterilization system

Ohio's governor said Sunday that federal regulators had cleared the way for wide use of a Columbus-based company's services to sterilize the vital N95 masks that are in short supply around the country.

Battelle, a private research lab, says its process, which involves the use of hydrogen peroxide under pressure, can refurbish a single mask up to 20 times before the mask has to be discarded.

Governor Mike DeWine thanked the Food and Drug Administration and President Trump for hurriedly granting the company approval "to sterilize masks without a daily limit," saying the move "will save lives!"

DeWine had called it reckless that Battelle was only authorized by the FDA to sterilize 10,000 per day until Sunday. The company has said it can handle up to 80,000 masks per day and that it is working to set up sterilization systems in other parts of the country.

-CBS/AP

 

Instacart workers set to go on strike over coronavirus concerns

A possible strike by Instacart workers highlights the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the grocery delivery business, where workers are worried about their safety as they try to meet a surge in demand for online groceries.

A group called the Gig Workers Collective is calling for a nationwide walk-out Monday. They've been asking Instacart to provide workers with hazard pay and protective gear, among other demands. Instacart said Sunday it would soon provide workers with a new hand sanitizer upon request and outlined changes to its tip system. The group said the measures were too little too late.

While some workers say they intend to join the strike for at least a day — or have stopped filling orders already for fear of getting the virus — other, newer workers are content to have a paying job at a time of mass layoffs in other industries.

The San Francisco-based delivery app is trying to hire 300,000 more workers — more than doubling its workforce — to fulfill orders it says have surged by 150% year-over year in the past weeks.

Associated Press

By Tucker Reals
 

Twitter removes tweets by Brazilian president questioning virus quarantines

Two tweets by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro in which he questioned quarantine measures aimed at containing the novel coronavirus were removed Sunday, on the grounds that they violated the social network's rules.

The far-right leader had posted several videos in which he flouted his government's social distancing guidelines by mixing with supporters on the streets of Brasilia and urging them to keep the economy going.

Two of the posts were removed and replaced with a notice explaining why they had been taken down.

-AFP

 

U.S. counties with no coronavirus cases largely rural, and poor

As the coronavirus rages across the United States, mainly in large urban areas, more than a third of U.S. counties have yet to report a single positive test result for COVID-19 infections, an analysis by The Associated Press shows. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19, out of 3,142 counties nationwide. 

Of the counties without positive tests, 85% are in rural areas — from predominantly white communities in Appalachia and the Great Plains to majority Hispanic and Native American stretches of the American Southwest — that generally have less everyday contact between people that can help transmit the virus.

At the same time, counties with zero positive tests for COVID-19 have a higher median age and higher proportion of people older than 60 — the most vulnerable to severe effects of the virus — and far fewer intensive care beds should they fall sick. Median household income is lower, too, potentially limiting health care options.

- Associated Press

 

Oklahoma governor orders anyone traveling from 6 states to self quarantine

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on Sunday issued an executive order requiring anyone traveling to the state from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Louisiana or Washington state to self quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. 

The order comes one day after the CDC issued a travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott issued a similar order Sunday, requiring anyone driving to Texas from Louisiana or flying to Texas from Miami, Detroit, Chicago, California or Washington state. Abbott had already ordered those traveling to Texas from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut to self-quarantine for 14 days beginning March 26. 

 

Already struggling farmers hit hard by coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected America's farmers, who were already facing financial hardships, worsened by a trade war and labor shortages.

In the heart of Dallas, Bonton Farms planted roots in an often-forgotten neighborhood that's long been a food desert with no grocery store nearby. Daron Babcock started the small urban farm and 40-acre extension to solve a health crisis in the region.

"We have over double the rate of cancer, double the rate of stroke, double the rate of heart disease, double the rate of diabetes and double the rate of childhood obesity than the county we're in," he explained.

The farm provides fresh fruits and vegetables for the community and restaurants across north Texas. However, their two years of successful growth has become stunted by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

"Just day one, when they announced they were gonna quarantine, business dropped 90%," Babcock told CBS News.

Read more here.

Already struggling farmers hit hard by coronavirus


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