The United States is now reporting more than 18,600 deaths from coronavirus across the country and more than 500,000 confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, over 102,700 people have died and nearly 1.7 million have been sickened by COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
For millions across the globe, Easter weekend will be unlike any other in recent memory. Christians are marking Good Friday in isolation. Most Americans continue to think the battle against the coronavirus outbreak is going badly, and few would feel comfortable being out in crowded spaces now, a newfound.
There are encouraging signs, though, that two hard-hit states are starting to turn a corner in their virus fight. The number of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York and California is falling.
Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.
Number of confirmed cases in U.S. tops 500,000
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States has topped 500,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 18,600 people have died of the virus in the country.
Department of Justice investigating veterans home where more than two dozen residents died after testing positive for coronavirus
The Department of Justice announced Friday that it is investigating a veterans home in Massachusetts where over two dozen residents died after testing positive for coronavirus. The Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office will conduct a joint review into whether the residents have been deprived of their rights to medical care at the facility.
"It would be difficult to overstate our obligation to the health and well-being of elderly and disabled military veterans and, by extension, to their families. The federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act specifically protects the rights of those confined in state facilities like the Holyoke Soldiers' Home," U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement.
According to CBS Boston, 32 veteran residents have died as of Thursday, 28 of whom tested positive for the coronavirus. In total, 69 residents have tested positive, as have 68 staff members.
NYPD reports two additional coronavirus deaths
The NYPD announced Friday that two more employees have died of coronavirus. School Safety Agent Joseph Donofrio, assigned to the 113th Precinct School Safety Unit in Queens, and Detective Jack Polimeni, assigned to the Warrant Section, both died Friday of complications related to the virus.
The department also reported that nearly 20% of its uniformed members — 7,096 people — called in sick on Friday. More than 2,300 uniformed members and over 450 civilian employees have tested positive for the virus, the department said.
More than 300 federal inmates have tested positive, BOP says
The Bureau of Prisons announced Friday that 318 federal inmates and 163 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus. Nine inmates have died from the virus, the BOP added.
North Carolina's FCI Butner has reported the most cases among inmates and staff members with 68, according to the BOP. California's USP Lompoc has reported 59, and Connecticut's FCI Danbury has reported 57.
Coronavirus forces Christians to find new ways to celebrate Easter
On this Good Friday, Pope Francis presided over a much smaller than usual "Way of the Cross" procession at St. Peter's Square. For many of the world's two billion Christians, the coronavirus is upending Easter traditions — and while many are finding creative new ways to celebrate, a few are pushing back.
Watch Mireya Villareal's report below.
Farmers devastated by coronavirus pandemic
President Trump said Friday that he wants to speed up help to the nation's farmers and farmers say it can't come soon enough. Dairy farmers in Pennsylvania are pouring milk down the drain because of dried-up demand from closed restaurants and schools, while others stand by helplessly as their crops rot in the field.
At Kern Carpenter's farm in Homestead, Florida, farmhands pick a few pallets but the rest will wither on the vine.
"I'm just a small farm compared to some and I probably have in the neighborhood of 60,000 to 70,000 boxes that I'll leave in the field," Carpenter said.
Watch Manuel Bojorquez's report below.
Justice Department announces arrest in multimillion-dollar COVID-19 scheme
A Georgia man was arrested on Friday for trying to defraud the Veterans Affairs Department out of millions of dollars, in one of the first big coronavirus related fraud cases brought by the Justice Department's new COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging task force.
Christopher Parris allegedly told the VA he had 125 million 3M masks and would sell them for $6.45 each. In fact, the equipment for sale did not exist, and the exchange would have totaled over $750 million. Lawyers for 3M say that these masks are typically sold for $.60 to $1.20 each. Parris is accused of exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to "obtain large upfront payments for scarce PPE that Parris knows he cannot fully obtain or deliver," according to a Justice Department affidavit supporting the complaint.
"We are still investigating," a DOJ official told CBS News. "But we have been able to demonstrate as set forth in the complaint that orders, significant orders of...several million dollars were made by entities to the defendants. And there were attempts that we know of to date to gain money by representations that we allege to be fraudulent, that were in the hundreds of millions of dollars."
Coronavirus spurs demand for chicks, raising salmonella concerns
Americans confronted with the rising price of eggs — and sold-out shelves in grocers' egg coolers — during the coronavirus pandemic are turning to another method of sourcing fresh eggs: Raising their own poultry. The downside, experts say, is the risk that some backyard poultry enthusiasts could encounter another pathogen, salmonella.
A decades-long trend of raising chickens and hens for eggs and meat intensified during the pandemic, partly in response to egg prices tripling in some locations as consumers stockpile the breakfast staple. Families living under "stay at home" orders are also looking for activities for their children. As a result, hatcheries across the country are seeing a surge in live chick orders, along with retailers that sell chicks to consumers such as Tractor Supply, which has 1,863 stores in 49 states.
"As an essential retailer, we can say that we have seen increased engagement and sales with current and new customers, and certainly an increase in chick sales during this time," a spokesperson for Tractor Supply said in an email. "Additionally, with more chick sales taking place, we are offering expert advice on how to properly care for chicks."
15-year-old boy from Amazon tribe dies of coronavirus
A teenager part of one of the largest indigenous tribes in the Amazon has died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Brazilian health officials. There are fears the coronavirus, which has already devastated much of the world, could wipe out remote indigenous tribes in South America.
Alvanei Xirizana, 15, died on Thursday in a hospital in the state of Roraima, Reuters reported, citing local health authorities. He belonged to the relatively isolated Yanomami tribe, whose more than 38,000 members occupy rainforests and mountains in northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, according to human rights group Survival International. Advocates say deforestation and development by miners and loggers, encouraged by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's policies, have threatened indigenous people's territory.
So far, two other indigenous people - an 87-year-old woman from Para and a man from Manaus - have died from coronavirus. Brazil has had more than 19,600 confirmed cases and over 1,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Family of Cook County Jail inmate who died files lawsuit
The family of an inmate at Chicago's Cook County Jail who died after contracting the virus has filed a lawsuit against the county and Sheriff Tom Dart, CBS Chicago reports. According to the county sheriff's office, 276 detainees and 172 staffers have tested positive.
Jeffrey Pendleton, 59, died Sunday after being transferred from Cook County Jail to a hospital to be treated for COVID-19. The lawsuit claims Pendleton was shackled by his hands and feet to his hospital bed, despite the presence of an armed guard.
The suit, filed by Pendleton's brothers, claims the sheriff's office has been on notice since at least 2000 that shackling inmates to hospital beds could violate the Fourteenth Amendment. The suit calls for Dart to halt the policy for inmates with COVID-19.
Frustration builds as many Americans still wait for unemployment checks
After Lisa Benincasa lost her job as an accountant in mid-March when her firm laid off all its employees due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, she immediately applied for unemployment. Nearly a month after being approved for benefits, the Wilmington, North Carolina, resident and mother of three is still waiting for a check.
Despite submitting a jobless claim every Friday for the past three weeks as the state requires, she has yet to receive a cent. "It's awful and sad because I know there are so many people in my same situation," Benincasa said.
She couldn't be more right. With 16.8 million Americans having lost their jobs over the past month and applied for unemployment, frustrations are overflowing. Like Benincasa, many people are waiting for benefits to kick in or, worse, struggle even to apply as state benefits systems are swamped by others filing claims.
Brazil becomes first country in southern hemisphere to report over 1,000 deaths
Brazil's ministry of health announced Friday that more than 1,000 people in the country have died of coronavirus. Brazil is the first country in the southern hemisphere to report more than 1,000 deaths.
The country also announced 19,638 confirmed cases of the virus, most of which came from the southeast region.
Trump says he'll announce a council for "opening our country" next week
President Trump said Friday that he'll be announcing a new council next week devoted to "opening our country" as the coronavirus lockdown continues. The panel, separate from the Coronavirus Task Force, will be comprised of doctors and business leaders, the president said. The announcement will likely come Tuesday.
The president said the task force will be broader than just an economic one. He also confirmed that some mayors and governors could be in the group.
"Everybody would like to be on that council, it's a very important council," he said.
Pences urges places of worship to continue social distancing on Easter
"We know it's difficult this year to avoid gatherings of 10 but we're grateful so many churches, synagogues and places of worship have done just that," Pence said.
Coronavirus Task Force says curve is beginning to level in U.S.
The U.S. is showing signs that the curve of coronavirus cases is beginning to level off, members of the Coronavirus Task Force said Friday. That doesn't mean the U.S. has necessarily reached the peak.
"It's really about the encouraging signs that we see but as encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak. And so every day, we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that," Dr. Deborah Birx told reporters Friday.
Now, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, is not the time to let up on social distancing and other mitigation measures.
Apple and Google announce effort to trace coronavirus contact
Apple and Google are building technology to alert iPhone and Android users if they've been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, the companies announced in a joint statement Friday.
The companies plan to roll out the solution in two parts. First, they plan to release APIs in May that will operate on Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. Second, the company will work to enable a "Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform."
"Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders. We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze," the companies said in the announcement.
Fire-ravaged Notre Dame opens briefly on Good Friday
Catholics were invited into Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Good Friday for the first time since a fire ravaged the church a year ago.
But it was no ordinary service. Just a handful of people were inside the cathedral, and a live broadcast allowed Catholics across France, and the world, to follow the service from their homes during a lockdown.
The archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Michel Aupetit, led the service, and said it was a message of hope at this time of Resurrection that life is stronger than death. The ceremony included the blessing of the crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus on the cross – it was saved from the fire.
Musicians and readers wore white hazmat suits – not because of the coronavirus, but because there are still concerns about lead pollution in the church.
Cases on USS Theodore Roosevelt continue to climb after captain's ouster
The U.S. Navy on Friday confirmed 31 new cases of the coronavirus onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt docked in Guam, bringing the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier's positive cases to 447. The ship's outbreak first gained attention after it was exposed by its captain, who was later fired.
"As of today, 92% of the USS Theodore Roosevelt crewmembers have been tested for COVID-19, with 447 positive and 3,284 negative results," the Navy said in a statement Friday.
According to the Navy, 3,155 of the ship's over 4,000 sailors have now been moved ashore in response to the spread.
The ship's outbreak first gained attention after it was exposed by its captain, Brett Crozier, who was later fired. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on "CBS This Morning" Friday that a reinstatement of Crozier is not off the table, and said no decision will be made until after an investigation is complete.
French chocolatiers make Easter bunnies decorated with surgical masks
French chocolatiers are making Easter bunnies this year decorated with surgical masks. They're also making chocolate nurses in masks, and "eggs" fashioned to look like the novel coronavirus.
With the nation on lockdown, many chocolate shops have offered online orders for delivery. And some top chefs posted recipes online for Easter delicacies to make at home.
Stimulus checks: People who don't file taxes can now give direct deposit info to Treasury
Americans who aren't required to file taxes and are concerned about getting their government stimulus check quickly can now visit a new web portal set up by the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service that lets people enter their bank direct-deposit information. The federal payments — $1,200 for most taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 annually — are expected to hit bank accounts early next week.
The portal — available here — is free to use and is designed for people who haven't filed their taxes in 2018 or 2019, which means they haven't provided their bank account information to the IRS. The agency plans to first send the money to Americans via direct deposit, while others may face a wait of weeks or even months for paper checks to arrive in the mail.
Cuomo: "We are cautiously optimistic that we are slowing the infection rate"
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday officials are "cautiously optimistic" that the infection rate is slowing in the state. He said "we are flattening the curve" and must continue to do so.
The three-day average of hospitalizations has seen a dramatic decline in numbers, Cuomo said, adding that the change in ICU admissions is a negative number for the first time since the pandemic started.
"The bad news is we continue to lose a tremendous number of lives," he said. "I understand, intellectually, why it's happening. It doesn't make it any easier to accept."
There were 777 deaths in New York on Thursday, Cuomo said. That brings the total death toll in the state to more than 7,800.
New Jersey to release some low-risk inmates to "temporary home confinement"
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced he is signing an executive order to release some of low-risk inmates to "temporary home confinement" to reduce density at correctional facilities. The order will not apply to anyone convicted of a serious crime such as murder or sexual assault, he said.
Individuals who are transferred to home confinement will be subject to supervision, Murphy said. The executive order will also grant parole to some inmates whose sentences are set to expire in the coming months.
The governor noted that several other states such as California and Illinois, as well as the federal government, have issued similar actions in an effort to dampen the spread of COVID-19 inside correctional facilities. Murphy said social distancing has been "extremely hard to accomplish in a prison setting."
According to the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Marcus Hicks, 129 correctional staff members and at least 20 inmates have been infected by the coronavirus. One inmate has died as a result of it, he said.
The state suspended inmate visits in March and has eliminated communal dining "to the extent that we can," Hicks said.
U.S. Postal Service warns it could run out of money by October
The U.S. Postal Service is warning it could run out of cash by October due to a "devastating" drop in business caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In video testimony to members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Postmaster General Megan Brennan said Thursday that the USPS could run out of cash this fiscal year, which ends in September, according to a statement from the panel. The postal agency forecasts it could see a $13 billion drop in revenue.
Brennan said the drop in mail volumes during the coronavirus outbreak "is steep and may never fully recover," according to a separate statement issued by the USPS. The financial crunch threatens the Postal Service's ability to operate, she added.
Universal Studios parks in Orlando, L.A. to stay closed through May
Universal Studios announced it has extended the closures of its theme parks in Orlando and Los Angeles, CBS Miami reports.
Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood will now remain closed until May 31. This includes the theme parks and the Universal City Walks at both locations.
Universal Orlando Resort hotels will also suspend operations through this time.
"For now, we must make the health and safety of our guests and team members our top priority and we will continue to take guidance from health agencies and government officials," the company said in a statement.
Small business loans from SBA may not come fast enough
The Small Business Administration began offering forgivable loans to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic a week ago. But, some desperate companies say the promised relief is not coming fast enough.
Evan Obsatz, whose family has run Butterfield Market, a New York City grocery and catering company, for 45 years, said business has slowed substantially during the coronavirus crisis.
"We had 2,000 customers a day walking in," Obsatz told CBS News chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod. "Now we're averaging just a couple hundred."
Philadelphia's black communities disproportionately hit
Philadelphia health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley shared new data Thursday that said African Americans are the most at-risk for COVID-19 as the city raised alarm bells over its mounting virus cases. The White House said the city could be a new pandemic hot spot, and city leaders are working to flatten the curve disproportionately affecting minority neighborhoods.
"This problem is affecting people who have disadvantages even more," Farley said in a Thursday press conference.
Socioeconomic barriers in some Philadelphia neighborhoods make it difficult to spread awareness of coronavirus precautions. Roughly half the people in one North Philadelphia area have no internet access, and most of them live below the poverty level, forcing city leaders to rely on other methods to make sure every community is as safe as possible.
Yemen has 1st confirmed virus case
Yemen's internationally recognized government announced the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the war-torn country, a uniquely dangerous place for the coronavirus to spread. The case is a 73-year-old Yemeni national who works at the port of al-Shahr in Hadramawt province, Yemen's Minister of Health Nasser Baoum told The Associated Press.
Repeated bombings and ground fighting over five years of war have destroyed or closed more than half its health facilities. Deep poverty, dire water shortages and a lack of adequate sanitation have made the country a breeding ground for disease.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels declared a cease-fire on Thursday on humanitarian grounds, to prevent the spread of the pandemic. However, fighting continued unabated on Friday, diminishing hopes of a truce that could open doors for peace talks.
The U.N. has described Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Cholera outbreaks are the worst in modern history. Over 24 million people in the country require humanitarian assistance, many of them on the brink of starvation.
-The Associated Press
Face mask mandate goes into effect in Los Angeles
A mandate to wear face masks and coverings is now in effect at all Los Angeles essential businesses, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Non-medical grade masks or face coverings are now required in order to visit an essential business, such as a grocery store. The order also applies to frontline workers who continue to work at restaurants and other businesses that remain open during the coronavirus outbreak.
Under the order, people must cover their noses and mouths while still keeping a distance of 6 feet from others. Business may refuse entry to anyone not wearing a face covering as of Friday. The CDC, however, says children under the age of 2 should not wear cloth coverings on their faces.
The use of masks, even non-medical grade ones, has become more widespread as health experts have found COVID-19 continues to spread because many people are infected, but are asymptomatic.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to "rest up," his father says
British Prime minister Boris Johnson needs time to recover from the new coronavirus and is unlikely to be back at work soon, his father said Friday. Stanley Johnson said the prime minister needs to "rest up."
"He has to take time," Stanley Johnson told the BBC.
He said his son "almost took one for the team."
Boris Johnson was diagnosed with COVID-19 two weeks ago, the first world leader confirmed to have the illness, and initially was said to have mild symptoms including fever and a cough. He was admitted to the hospital on Sunday and moved the next day to the ICU, where he received oxygen but was not put on a ventilator.
The 55-year-old U.K. leader spent three nights in the intensive care unit at St. Thomas' Hospital in London. He was moved back to a regular ward on Thursday evening, and his office said he was in "the early phase of his recovery."
-The Associated Press
Doctors in Russia can now diagnose coronavirus based on symptoms, official says
Doctors in Russia can diagnose the coronavirus based on symptoms and start treatment without test results to confirm the diagnosis, according to the country's Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko.
The country's coronavirus testing system has been widely criticized as results often take too long to get and are not always accurate.
"We see that the disease sometimes progresses so fast, and it has a specific clinical picture. So a diagnosis can be made without a lab confirmation, based on the clinical picture," Murashko said in an interview with the state Rossiya-1 TV.
A newly formed Moscow committee of leading doctors acknowledged Thursday that most pneumonia cases currently detected are caused by the new coronavirus.
Russia reported 1,786 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 11,917.
Denis Protsenko, the lead doctor at Moscow's central coronavirus hospital, noted on Thursday that "the currently existing tests confirming COVID-19 are 70-80 percent accurate."
Americans fear coronavirus outbreak will leave U.S. in recession - CBS News poll
Americans have an increasingly negative view of the economy's financial health, according to a new, and their prognosis is not upbeat: Only a third expect the current coronavirus-fueled downturn to be temporary.
As often happens, many are interpreting the nation's economic fate through their own experience. Those most concerned about losing work, including those who already have, are the most likely to say the U.S. is headed for a recession, or even a depression.
Fear in salons and barber shops as Japan deems haircuts "essential"
The Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, announced on Friday a long list of businesses included in an official closure "request" for the coming month, as the world's most populous city fights to contain a. A long list of businesses and private institutions are being asked to close, including universities, nightclubs, dance halls, bars, karaoke studios, driving schools, pools, bowling alleys, mahjong parlors, off track betting, pachinko parlors, theatres, internet cafes, athletic facilities, museums, art galleries and libraries.
Only select businesses are permitted to stay open: Supermarkets, drug stores, public transit, health care providers… and hair salons. Prime Minister Abe has singled these out as services "essential… to securing a stable life for citizenry."
The decision to keep salons and barber shop open has raised eyebrows. Only this week a cluster of five coronavirus cases was traced to a beauty salon in the city of Buzen; those testing positive included a baby and his mother.
Online, stylists and barbers say they're scared, and they don't understand why they have to keep working..
Views of Trump's handling of coronavirus crisis slip again - CBS News poll
Most Americans continue to think the battle against the coronavirus outbreak is going badly, and few would feel comfortable being out in crowded spaces now. There's a collective uncertainty about where things are headed next, since just as many think things will get better as get worse, but that nonetheless reflects more optimism than Americans had last week, when their outlook was even more dire.
response have ticked down for the second consecutive week. The president is seen doing a good job by 47%, down four points from 51% last week and 53% the prior week. Now is the first time more say he's doing a bad job than a good one.
Images show mass burials at NYC public cemetery as city shortens deadline for claiming dead
As New York City deals with a mounting coronavirus death toll and dwindling morgue space, the city has shortened the amount of time it will hold unclaimed remains before they are buried in the city's public cemetery. Under the new policy, the medical examiner's office will keep bodies in storage for just 14 days before they're buried in the city's potter's field on
Voting in a pandemic: Officials sound the alarm about November election
The legal and political battles in Wisconsin, along with the gripping images of voters in face masks and gloves standing in hours-long, socially-distanced lines to cast ballots Tuesday, could be just a preview of what lies ahead as states across the country anticipate the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the presidential election in November.
Election officials from both parties are already sounding the alarm about the need for more resources to ensure health safety and expand alternatives to in-person and day-of voting. They also anticipate protracted partisan fights over what the general election could and should look like in the age of coronavirus.
"We cannot let our Democracy be causality of the current health pandemic. We cannot wait until October to gear up for alternative methods to vote. We have to get ahead of it, we have to start now," said Alex Padilla, California's secretary of state. "There is an urgency here."
Malaysia to extend lockdown but let some industries begin to reopen
Malaysia will extend its lockdown for another two weeks but let selected industries reopen in stages.
Nonessential businesses and schools have been shuttered for a month until April 14 but Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced Friday the restricted movement order will be extended until April 28. Even though the country has reported a reduction in cases in recent days, he said it was premature to lift the control measures as "the war on COVID-19 is not yet over."
Malaysia reported 118 new infections on Friday, bringing its total to 4,346, the highest in Southeast Asia.
Muhyiddin said selected economic sectors can reopen in phases but must follow strict hygiene guidelines and movement restrictions.
He warned the lockdown could stretch up to a few months for the government to be entirely sure that the chain of transmission has been broken.
- Associated Press
Spain sees lowest daily toll in 17 days with 605 deaths, falling behind U.S. in total deaths
Spain recorded its lowest daily death toll from coronavirus in 17 days, with 605 people dying, the government said on Friday.
The update raised the overall number of fatalities to 15,843 in Spain, which has suffered one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the world, and where the total number of cases now stands at 157,022.
The new toll in Spain leaves the U.S. behind only Italy for overall deaths from the coronavirus.
Big changes in Good Friday observations due to virus
Christians are commemorating Jesus' crucifixion without the solemn church services or emotional processions of past years, marking Good Friday in a world locked down by the coronavirus pandemic.
A small group of clerics are to hold a closed-door service in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. The torch-lit Way of the Cross procession in Rome has been canceled, and Pope Francis will preside over a ceremony in St. Peter's Square with only around a dozen people.
Also, folk rituals featuring real-life crucifixions have been called off in the Philippines.
- Associated Press
Videoconferencing skyrockets on Microsoft's Teams software
The number of calls made using Microsoft's Teams videoconferencing software surged 1,000 percent last month as people collaborated online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Thursday. It also said a new record of 2.7 billion "meeting minutes" in a single day had been reached on the platform.
Videoconferencing has become the go-to platform for work and social life as people around the world hunker down at home to avoid spreading the deadly virus.
Teams competes with online video and meeting services hosted by competitors including Google, Cisco, Facebook and Zoom.
Judge rejects release of vulnerable Cook County Jail inmates, orders coronavirus testing
A federal judge on Thursday denied a request to release medically vulnerable inmates at Chicago's Cook County jail, but ordered officials to step up coronavirus testing and sanitation protocols for detainees. The facility is experiencing one of the largest outbreaks from a single location in the country.
Last week, attorneys for two detainees with pre-existing medical conditions filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The suit names Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart as a defendant and demands improved conditions inside the facility, as well as the release or transfer of all medically vulnerable inmates inside the facility.
In a 37-page opinion, Judge Matthew Kennelly found the plaintiffs did not go through all their legal options at the state level for the release of the inmates. Kennelly, however, ordered Dart to promptly test all inmates who display symptoms of the virus or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.