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Coronavirus updates from April 17, 2020

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Americans look inward to navigate troubled times
Americans look inward to navigate troubled ti... 03:55

Follow along with Saturday's coronavirus live updates.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. topped 700,000 on Friday night. The coronavirus has killed more than 154,200 people worldwide and has sickened over 2.2 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

President Trump's guidelines on reopening the country leave much up to governors, states and businesses as they look to find ways to restart their economies amid the pandemic. 

Here are the latest major stories:

Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.

 

New wave of infections threatens to collapse Japan's hospitals

Hospitals in Japan are increasingly turning away sick people as the country struggles with surging coronavirus infections and its emergency medical system collapses.

In one recent case, an ambulance carrying a man with a fever and difficulty breathing was rejected by 80 hospitals and forced to search for hours for a hospital in downtown Tokyo that would treat him. Another feverish man finally reached a hospital after paramedics unsuccessfully contacted 40 clinics. 

The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine and the Japanese Society for Emergency Medicine say many hospital emergency rooms are refusing to treat people including those suffering strokes, heart attacks and external injuries.

Japan initially seemed to have controlled the outbreak by going after clusters of infections in specific places, usually enclosed spaces such as clubs, gyms and meeting venues. But the spread of virus outpaced this approach and most new cases are untraceable. 

The outbreak has highlighted underlying weaknesses in medical care in Japan, which has long been praised for its high quality insurance system and reasonable costs.

Apart from a general unwillingness to embrace social distancing, experts fault government incompetence and a widespread shortage of the protective gear and equipment medical workers need to do their jobs. 

By Associated Press
 

Beaches in Jacksonville, Florida, reopen with restrictions amid coronavirus pandemic

Some beaches in Florida reopened Friday night, after Governor Ron DeSanits gave the green light as long as social distancing is put in place. Beaches in the north Florida counties of Duval, which includes Jacksonville, and St. John's County opened beaches at 5 p.m. Friday, CBS Jacksonville affiliate WJAX reports

Beaches in Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic beach will now be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Allowed under the guidelines are: 

  • Walking and running
  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Dog walking, which is allowed during all hours the beaches are open
  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Participating in recreational activities consistent with social guidelines

"This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life," said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. "Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors."  

Read more here.

By Victoria Albert
 

More than 450 federal inmates have coronavirus, BOP says

The Bureau of Prisons said Friday that 465 federal inmates and 296 staff members have coronavirus. More than 100 inmates and 25 staff members have recovered.

Eighteen inmates have died from the virus, according to the BOP.

The bureau also announced its first "potential" staff death from the virus on Friday night. Robin Grubbs, who was working at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, was found dead in her home on Tuesday night and posthumously tested positive for the virus, the BOP said. But since there wasn't an autopsy, her cause of death has not been determined.

Read more here.

 

U.S. hits 700,000 confirmed cases

More than 700,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 36,000 people in the U.S. have died of the virus. 

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Medical workers work a night shift outside of a special coronavirus intake area at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City on April 15, 2020.  Getty
By Victoria Albert
 

Coronavirus claims life of 28th NYPD officer

The NYPD announced Friday that School Safety Agent Suzette Facey died Friday of complications related to the coronavirus. Facey had been with the department for nearly 15 years, the NYPD said.

Facey is the 28th NYPD officer to die of the virus, the NYPD added.

More than 5,900 uniformed members — 16.3% — of the NYPD called in sick on Friday, the department said, down from a high of 19.8%. More than 4,200 members of the NYPD have tested positive for the virus, and more than 1,600 have recovered and returned to work.

By Victoria Albert
 

Pence says there's "sufficient amount of testing" for Phase 1 opening by states

Vice President Pence said Friday that there are enough tests for states that are prepared to enter the first phase of reopening.

"Our best scientists and health experts say we have a sufficient amount of testing to meet the requirements of a Phase 1 opening," he told reporters at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's leading infectious diseases expert, discussed two types of tests: one that tests for the infection and one that tests for antibodies. Both are needed, he said, because if an individual tests negative for the infection, it does not mean that every subsequent test they take will be negative.

That's why antibody testing and tracing will be important, he said. Those will show how much the virus has penetrated a population and how long a person has immunity. But testing isn't everything, he warned — mitigation strategies will continue to be necessary. Still, he expressed guarded optimism about having adequate numbers of tests.

"For what we need in the first phase, if these things are done correctly, and I believe they can, we will have and there will be enough tests to allow us to take this country safely to Phase 1," he said.

By Ellen Uchimiya
 

Doctors study possible virus treatment touted by Trump

Hydroxychloroquine, which is usually used to treat malaria, has been championed by President Trump for the treatment of COVID-19. But doctors say it's too early to be sure, and small studies have had mixed results.

Dr. Wesley Self at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is leading a clinical trial to see if it really works. "Hydroxychloroquine may help prevent the virus from entering cells in the body and therefore prevent it from replicating more or growing within the body," Self explained.

Tisha Holt, 42, is one of the first people who enrolled. She's been in the Vanderbilt ICU for four days. She told Self that she feels "weak," and that she has a lot of chest tightness and is "very sick."

"I want it to work," Self said. "I see that it has promise but I also understand most promising drugs that are at this stage of research do not ultimately work."

The drug may raise the risk of an irregular heartbeat, but it has generally been a safe medication. Doctors and patients like Holt don't know who is receiving the drug and who is getting a placebo, the gold standard in research. 

Read more here.

Doctors study possible virus treatment touted... 02:05
By Jonathan LaPook
 

Trump: "The governors are responsible for testing"

Trump: "The governors are responsible for tes... 14:38

President Trump on Friday reiterated that governors are "responsible" for testing and said the federal government would be sending out 5.5 million swabs to states in the week ahead. The president on Friday said the U.S has conducted 3.78 million tests.

"The governors are responsible for testing," the president said. 

Mr. Trump's guidelines on reopening the country leave much up to governors, states and businesses, according to a copy of a White House "Opening Up America Again" document. The plan is expected to put much of the onus on states to develop sufficient testing and contact tracing systems.

Read more here.

By Justin Carissimo
 

Passengers sue cruise lines, alleging COVID-19 negligence

Former passengers are suing Carnival-owned cruise lines and accusing company management and crew members of knowingly exposing them to coronavirus. In one case, the decision to continue boarding passengers caused a customer's death, lawyers representing a family said. 

The most recent case, filed this week, involves Susan and Michael Dorety of Texas, who boarded a Princess Cruise Line ship on February 21. Michael Dorety became ill while on board, according to court documents. He later died from coronavirus complications and Susan contracted the disease COVID-19, said Rusty Hardin, a Houston lawyer representing the couple. 

"It is shocking to me that a cruise line that had just discharged coronavirus-infected passengers took on board a new group of passengers to then mingle with others who had been exposed," Hardin said in a statement, referencing the February COVID-19 outbreak on a cruise ship in Japan. "Princess had notice of the dangers. The Doretys did not." 

Virus Outbreak Florida Cruise Ships
People wearing protective masks look out from the Coral Princess cruise ship while docked at PortMiami during the new coronavirus outbreak, Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Miami.  Lynne Sladky/AP

Read more here.

By Khristopher J. Brooks
 

Paycheck Protection Program billions went to large companies and missed virus hot spots

The rush to distribute nearly $350 billion in federal aid from a popular — and now empty — small business relief fund resulted in the government sending billions to areas of the country with relatively few novel coronavirus cases, to companies in industries that have not been the hardest hit by the shutdown, and to companies that are not even small businesses.

So where did the Paycheck Protection Program's ultra-low-interest loans to small businesses go so quickly? Here are early details from the latest available U.S. Small Business Administration data:

  • Businesses in Texas got more PPP loans than any other state, although Texas has nearly 16,500 COVID-19 cases, or the tenth biggest coronavirus disease caseload in the U.S, according to Friday data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York, with about 216,000 cases, by far the most of any state, ranked fourth in the number of PPP loans.

  • The owner of the Ruth's Chris Steak Houses chain got $20 million from the small business loan program, despite having more than 5,000 employees and $468 million in revenue last year. It is one of more than 50 publicly traded companies that have already disclosed nabbing nearly $250 million in PPP funds.

  • Construction businesses received the most aid of any industry from the PPP, more than the Main Street retail stores that have essentially shut down and become the public face of the coronavirus recession. Construction firms, meanwhile, have been deemed an essential business in all but six states, allowing most to continue operating.

Read more here.

By Stephen Gandel
 

Feds go after self-described church selling bleaching agent as virus cure

A federal judge in Florida has ordered the leaders of a self-described church to cease selling a bleaching agent it falsely claims will treat and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The organization, known as the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, is based in Florida and markets its "Master Mineral Solution," or MMS, as a treatment for preventing and treating countless diseases like Alzheimer's disease, autism, brain cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. Prosecutors say that in late March, investigators discovered Genesis began marketing MMS as a cure for COVID-19.

Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Florida filed a request with the U.S. District Court for a temporary restraining order against Genesis II Church and its leaders, arguing that the products are unsafe and that Genesis is a "secular organization," not a church. 

"In the midst of a viral pandemic and national emergency like nothing seen for more than a century, the above-captioned defendants are exploiting the crisis by marketing a powerful industrial bleach to consumers as a remedy for coronavirus, which includes COVID-19, the novel disease that, in its four months of existence, has infected more than 2 million people worldwide and has claimed the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans," the prosecutors explained in court documents. 

"When warned by authorities that their conduct was unlawful, Defendants responded with open defiance, explicitly avowing that they need not — and will 'never' — obey the law."

Read more here.

 

Global death toll surpasses 150,000

More than 150,000 have died from coronavirus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has the most deaths with over 34,500.

Italy has recorded over 22,700 deaths, and more than 19,600 have died in Spain. Hubei, China, where the virus first emerged, has reported over 4,600 COVID-19 related deaths. 

The number of confirmed cases worldwide began to rise dramatically in mid-March, surpassing two million by mid-April. The U.S. leads significantly in the number of confirmed cases, at over 680,000. The next closest country, Spain, has more than 188,000. 

By Audrey McNamara
 

U.K. scientists aim to make a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine available by September

A team of researchers has been working around the clock at Oxford University to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that would protect the world against the virus.  

The vaccine that the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams are developing is a ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine based on an adenovirus vaccine vector and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Animal tests have been carried out and show that the vaccine induces immune responses against the COVID-19 virus. The next trial they aim to do will be a phase 1 trial testing for safety in healthy volunteers and looking at whether the vaccine generates an immune response in them. They plan to recruit volunteers over the next few weeks.

The team is led by Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, who said a vaccine could be available for use by the general public by the Fall.  She's 80% confident of the vaccine's success. "There is always an unknown, we can never be certain that these vaccines are going to work," she said. "Personally, I have a high degree of confidence. This is my view, because I've worked with this technology a lot, and I've worked on the MERS vaccine trials and I've seen what that can do and, I think, it has a very strong chance of working."

Oxford Vaccine Centre
Sean Elias, Oxford Vaccine Centre

"We have started at risk manufacturing of this vaccine not just on a smallish scale ... but with a network of manufacturers in as many as seven different places around the world," Adrian Hill, a professor and director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, told reporters in an online briefing. Hill said three of the manufacturing partners were in the U.K.,  two in continental Europe, one in India and one in China.

"The aim is to have at least a million doses by around about September when we also hope to have efficacy (trial) results," Hill said.  "And then move even faster from there because it's pretty clear the world is going to need hundreds of millions of doses by the end of this year."  He said a vaccine is the exit strategy for this pandemic. - Lynne Edwards

 

Michael Cohen to be released from prison for home confinement

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, will be released early from prison to serve the rest of his three-year sentence at his home during the pandemic, according to a source familiar with his change in confinement. He is currently incarcerated at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution, which is located about 70 miles outside of New York City.

Before his release, Cohen will need to quarantine for 14 days at the prison. According to the Bureau of Prisons, 14 inmates and seven staff members have tested positive for coronavirus. 

Read more here.

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen testifies in 2019. Getty
By Paula Reid
 

Protesters call for Minnesota governor to end stay-at-home order

For the second day in a row, protesters gathered on Friday outside the governor's mansion in St. Paul, urging Governor Tim Walz to end the state's stay-at-home order.

Dozens of protesters lined the street, holding signs and American flags. The group, calling itself "Liberate Minnesota," said the state's stay-at-home order has gone on long enough and Minnesotans should be able to go back to work.

On Thursday, when another group protested at the governor's residence with the same message, Walz said that while the protesters have a right to demonstrate, he asked them to still abide by social distancing guidelines.

Read more at CBS Minnesota.

Virus Outbreak Minnesota
Protesters gather outside Minnesota Governor Tim Walz' residence on Friday, April 17, 2020, in St. Paul. Jim Mone / AP
 

Texas governor announces plan to reopen economy

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday announced steps to slowly start opening the state's economy back up and to close classrooms for the rest of the school year.

Abbott introduced a "strike force" that will begin the process of safely reopening businesses in the state. The governor issued an executive order that will allow "retail to go" in order for businesses that were forced to shut down to open their doors again. This is expected to go into effect on April 24.

"You will be able to access more retailers while also minimizing contact with others. It sets standards on retailers and insures reducing exposure to COVID-19," Abbott said.

Read more at CBS Dallas/Fort Worth.

Texas State Troopers
Texas State Troopers talk to drivers at a checkpoint at the Texas Travel Information Center on the Louisiana-Texas border April 7, 2020, in Orange, Texas. MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty
 

U.S. to review coronavirus tests of deportees in Guatemala

The Trump administration has tasked an outfit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) personnel with evaluating coronavirus tests of migrants deported to Guatemala, the latest measure to address growing concerns about the U.S. sending infected deportees to the Central American country.

The CDC team is on the ground in Guatemala to "review and validate" coronavirus tests being performed by Guatemalan health officials on recently deported migrants, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Jenny Burke. ICE, which is in charge of deporting people from the U.S., could "re-evaluate current medical procedures" and implement new ones, Burke said, depending on what the team finds.

The Guatemalan government also moved on Thursday to indefinitely suspend deportation flights from the U.S. for a second time this month, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Joaquín Samayoa. Flights had been paused for a week over coronavirus concerns before they resumed on Monday.

Read more here.

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez
 

New Jersey deaths continue to climb

As of Friday, 323 more people have died due to coronavirus-related complications in New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy said Friday that 3,840 people have now died in the state.

Murphy said the state's total death toll is "now more than five times" its loss of life on 9/11. "We mourn with each family who has been directly impacted in the worst way by this pandemic," he said, before sharing some names and stories of the deceased.

Over 8,000 New Jersey residents are currently hospitalized from the virus, 1,961 of which are under intensive care. Murphy said the state received 3,250 new positive test results since Thursday, "bringing the cumulative total of New Jerseyans who have now tested positive to 78,467."

"This is a moral test for us all. The last thing we can do is relax and get complacent," he said. 

By Audrey McNamara
 

General Motors will deliver ventilators to Chicago hospitals

General Motors on Friday will deliver ventilators to hospitals in Chicago. In late March, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to "act, perform, and prioritize contracts or orders for the number of ventilators" deemed necessary by the health and human services secretary.

It took three weeks for General Motors to transform operations at its plant in Kokomo, Indiana. General Motors is under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to make 30,000 ventilators.

Read more at CBS Chicago.

GM CEO Mary Barra Holds Press Conference On Ignition Switch Recall
This 2014 photo shows the General Motors logo in Warren, Michigan. Getty
 

Organizers cancel San Diego Comic-Con

The organizers behind San Diego Comic-Con have canceled this year's event, which was scheduled for July 23-26. Major production companies like Marvel Studios use the event to showcase upcoming films, TV shows, comic books and video games. 

The convention has been rescheduled for July 22-25, 2021.

"For the first time in its 50-year history San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), the organizers behind the annual pop-culture celebration, announced today with deep regret, that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020," Comic-Con said in a statement. 

Read more at the ViacomCBS-owned site ComicBook.com.

San Diego Prepares For 2012 Comic-Con
This 2012 image shows the San Diego Convention Center ahead of Comic-Con. Jerod Harris / Getty
By Justin Carissimo
 

Trump and Cuomo spar over coronavirus response

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he needs funding from the federal government in order to ramp up testing and restart the state's economy.

He called out President Trump for the federal government's lack of financial support to the states, while simultaneously urging them to reopen their economies. "That is passing the buck without passing the bucks," Cuomo said at his daily press conference.

President Trump appeared to be watching, and responded to the governor's criticism on Twitter during the briefing.

"Governor Cuomo should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining'. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!" the president wrote. 

"We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn't need or use, gave large numbers of Ventilators that you should have had, and helped you with ...testing that you should be doing. We have given New York far more money, help and equipment than any other state, by far, & these great men & women who did the job never hear you say thanks. Your numbers are not good. Less talk and more action!"

In response to the tweet, Cuomo asked "how many times" he had to thank the president for doing his job. 

"Thank you for participating in a modicum of federal responsibility in a national crisis," he said.

"This is an important moment," Cuomo said. "He's saying he doesn't want to provide funding to the states."

Debates over stay-at-home orders across the U... 04:53
By Audrey McNamara
 

Three inmates test positive in Mississippi

Three additional inmates in state custody have tested positive for coronavirus in Mississippi, the state's Department of Corrections said Thursday. Approximately 20 inmates have been tested. 

On Monday, an inmate who died at the state penitentiary in Parchman later tested positive for the virus, the department said. His cause of death has not yet been determined. 

Two of the inmates who tested positive are housed at a regional facility, while the other is housed at Parchman, the department said. 

"The MDOC is working diligently to keep inmates and staff safe," Interim Commissioner Tommy Taylor said in a statement. "Inmates who were in close proximity to any inmate testing positive are being quarantined and are receiving enhanced screening and protection, including being issued masks. We are requiring all staff to wear masks and gloves."

Fatal Prison Fight
In this May 19, 2010, file photo, traffic moves past the front of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. Rogelio V. Solis / AP
By Justin Carissimo
 

Cuomo says states and federal government aren't coordinating on testing: "This is mayhem"

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that efforts to expand testing have been hampered by competition from other states — and the federal government. 

According to Cuomo, a major obstacle in expanding coronavirus testing has been obtaining a specific chemical reagent necessary for the test. The governor said the highly sought-after chemical, which is produced in China, is being clamored over by states and the federal government, causing confusion and delaying any expansion of testing. 

"I don't do China relations, I don't do international supply chain, and that's where the federal government can help," he said.

"This is mayhem. We need a coordinated approach between the federal government and the states."

Cuomo said President Trump should financially support states taking on plans to test an unprecedented number of people. 

"We need to support the states because the states are the ones who are doing this," he said.

"That is passing the buck, without passing the bucks." 

Cuomo: States need federal help on coronaviru... 03:28
By Audrey McNamara
 

What will the "new normal" look like?

With President Trump announcing a three-phase plan to reopening the economy, many Americans are wondering what a post-lockdown life might look like. Senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula joined "CBS This Morning" to answer questions sent in by viewers about what the "new normal" will be, and what coronavirus precautions we should continue to take.  

Watch here:

What does reopening the U.S. look like? 07:03
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

UN chief pleads with world financial leaders to allocate funds to offset downturn

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is pleading with global financial leaders to allocate 10% of global GDP to a fund to offset the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.

"To help address the devastating economic and social consequences, I have been … asking for a comprehensive global response package amounting to a double-digit percentage of global Gross Domestic Product," he said in an address to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, in a virtual meeting.

"Alleviating crushing debt is absolutely crucial," he said.

The leaders of the two major financial institutions were meeting to discuss what they call the "worst economic downturn since the Great Depression."

Guterres said the IMF needs to allocate greater resources to developing nations. He focused principally on the financial downturn in Africa, saying the continent could end up suffering the most from a crisis that is not of its making.

By Pamela Falk
 

New York City expanding COVID-19 testing

New York City is expanding its coronavirus testing capacity, specifically in hot-spot communities. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city initially tested severely ill patients, health care workers and first responders. Now, as CBS New York reports, testing will expand to include the communities of color that have been hit the hardest. 

Priority will still be given to senior citizens and people with underlying conditions. 

Three new community-based testing sites were slated to open Friday, and two more on Monday. The walk-up sites are expected to process at least 2,400 tests per week. Patients can call 311 to set up an appointment.

The mayor said in addition to the testing sites, the city plans to increase education in at-risk areas and free up 11,000 hotel rooms for people to safely quarantine.

 

Mississippi governor extends state's shelter-in-place

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said Friday "we are still in the eye of the storm" and announced he is extending the state's shelter-in-place order by 7 days, meaning it will now be in effect until April 27.

"I made a vow to protect the people of Mississippi," he said, according to a news release. "I have to do what the best information and wisdom I have tells me. Right now, it tells me I have to ask you to stay vigilant for one more week."

He also announced, however, that the state's lakes and beaches can re-open for "individual fishing and relaxing," and that non-essential businesses can begin curbside, delivery and drive-thru sales.

"No business is non-essential to those who rely on its paycheck for food, supplies, and shelter. I cannot sit by while Mississippians are driven into poverty, without doing everything in my power to give them some greater ability to take care of themselves," he said.

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

May events canceled in New York City; June is under discussion

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that no "non-essential, city-permitted events" in New York City will be allowed during the month of May. All previously scheduled events are now canceled. 

Non-essential events such as concerts, races and street fairs will not be allowed, but de Blasio said any gathering providing food, such as farmers markets, or medical treatment can continue to take place. 

"We love those events, but what do we know about those events? It inherently means large numbers of people crowded together in a pretty small space. That's New York City – that's who we are," he said. "But guess what? That goes against everything that we need to do to fight back the coronavirus."

The mayor said he is in discussion with organizers of June events. When asked if he believes large June gatherings — such as the city's beloved Pride Parade — will be permitted, de Blasio said he "can't see it," and will make an announcement soon.  

"We have to be smart. We love those things, we'll miss them when we don't have them, but they will be back," de Blasio said. "And by knowing when it's time to temporarily let them go so we can get to a greater goal, we're going to actually look back and say that was the smart thing to do."

By Audrey McNamara
 

London police accused of hypocrisy for joining crowds in apparent violation of anti-virus measures

London's Metropolitan Police are responding to criticism over videos posted online that appear to show officers disregarding the U.K. government's social distancing guidance. 

In a one of the videos, viewed millions of times on Twitter, officers are seen standing among a large crowd on Westminster Bridge, clapping for medical workers and others on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. The Thursday evening round of applause for Britain's first responders has become a popular show of solidarity across the U.K.

But the videos have brought sharp criticism, with critics accusing the police of hypocrisy for standing too close to one another after members of the public have been reprimanded and fined for flouting the U.K.'s lockdown, which has just been extended for another three weeks. 

"Officers, along with other emergency service workers, came together last night on Westminster Bridge to celebrate the work of all key workers," the police said in statement. "We regularly remind our officers of the importance of social distancing where practical, and will continue do so."

Since the outbreak, U.K. authorities have advised people to stay at least 2 meters (about 6 ½ feet) apart to prevent the spread of the virus.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan conceded on Friday that the officers didn't appear to be observing the social distancing rules. 

"Clearly the advice isn't optional," he told London-based radio station LBC, "and it doesn't appear to have been followed."

The U.K. Prime Minister's spokesman also called on everyone to follow the guidance, saying: "We would ask that in showing their appreciation for those who are working so hard as carers, they do so in a way which adheres to the social distancing rules."

By Roxana Saberi
 

Almost half of France's flagship aircraft carrier crew test positive

Almost half of the 2,300-strong crew of France's flagship aircraft carrier fleet have tested positive for COVID-19. France's armed forces minister, Florence Parly, said 545 of them were showing symptoms, and 24 were hospitalized. 

Parly, addressing a closed hearing of the French Senate, said it was too soon to say if the virus was on board the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier before a mid-March stopover in Brest, a port city in western France.

The director of the French military's health service said she was still awaiting more test results. Dr. Maryline Gygax Généro said the navy did not have enough tests to check everyone before they were deployed. 

Gygax Généro also said not enough masks were available for the armed forces, because protective masks were reserved for medical personnel. She also admitted it was difficult for sailors on the aircraft carrier and its escort to fully comply with recommended guidelines for social distancing while carrying out their duties.

An inquiry is underway into how the virus got on board and spread.

By Elaine Cobbe
 

Chefs sue insurers over denied claims: "We need help"

A group of chefs who said they have paid millions in insurance premiums over the years are organizing to lobby for their claims to be paid. They say their insurance companies have denied claims amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Famed Chef Thomas Keller said his insurance company turned down his claim for the "Business Interruption Insurance" he opted for, even though the pandemic has forced his three restaurants to close. Business Interruption Insurance is coverage designed to replace business income lost in a disaster, according to Investopedia.

"Our revenue source was cut off immediately," Keller told CBS News' Anna Werner. "One day, you are doing business. You have revenue. And the next day, there is nothing."

"This is a time of crisis right now. And we need help," he said.

Read more here.

Chefs say insurers aren't paying virus claims... 04:49
 

Speeding spikes during lockdowns

Wide-open streets are bringing out the worst in some drivers during coronavirus lockdowns. States nationwide have reported spikes in speeding, and police say crashes are more often severe.

In Minnesota, traffic deaths have more than doubled. California's average speed is up 30%. And Virginia state troopers caught a driver doing 111 mph on Interstate 95, which is usually one of the most gridlocked roads in the country. 

Last month, New York City saw speed camera tickets more than double.

Police are now trying to slam the brakes on the sudden spike in drivers racing to over 100 mph, CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports.  

Read more here.

 

Jacksonville, Florida, to open beaches and parks, with restrictions

The city of Jacksonville, Florida is reopening beaches on a limited basis, reports CBS Miami. Mayor Lenny Curry said he is encouraged by the data that shows the curve of COVID-19 cases in his city is flattening.

Beaches will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jacksonville parks will also reopen on Friday, but an order to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people will be in effect.  

 

Coronavirus screening website promised by Trump expands

A month after the White House coronavirus task force promised a national screening website made by Google would facilitate COVID-19 testing, the site built by the internet giant's sister company is expanding from its introductory locales in California to four cities in Pennsylvania and a pair of towns in New York and New Jersey.

In a March 13 Rose Garden news conference, officials indicated the site would be a national resource. President Trump said at the time that a site made by Google "is going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location."

White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said the administration expected the website to ultimately streamline the process for Americans to determine if they should be tested and where they should go for testing. But the site was not yet ready, and a few days later it made a very limited debut in just two California counties.

Just over a month later. the site, created by Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Google's parent company, has added four Pennsylvania cities to a list that previously included eight cities in California. Click here for the full story.

By Graham Kates
 

Japan to open new domestic abuse hotline as government asks everyone to stay home

Japan's government Minister of Women's Empowerment announced Friday that a new hotline for victims and survivors of domestic abuse would be opened next week amid concerns over a potential rise in violence due to isolation measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Japan expanded its state of emergency to cover the whole country this week as coronavirus cases rise sharply, asking people to stay home.

The government also said it would work more closely with private groups to provide emergency accommodation to people who needed to flee domestic abuse, Kyodo News said.

The new hotline will offer 24-hour support by the end of April, and multilingual support by the start of May. 

An already existing hotline, which connects people to local consultation centers, will continue working alongside the new service, Kyodo reported.  

By Haley Ott
 

U.K. death toll tops 14,000 as nationwide lockdown extended for 3 more weeks

While some countries in Europe are lifting coronavirus restrictions, British leaders are still worried the outbreak hasn't peaked in the U.K. The country's acting prime minister has extended the nationwide lockdown for another three weeks. On Friday, British officials confirmed the death toll from the coronavirus had reached 14,576.

"The worst thing that we could do right now is to ease up too soon," said Britain's Secretary of State Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from COVID-19. 

U.K. extends virus lockdown by three weeks 01:52

Raab said keeping the country closed is necessary to protect a health system still convulsing under the strain of so many coronavirus cases. 

Imtiaz Tayab

 

German health chief says COVID-19 "under control" as restrictions set to ease

The coronavirus epidemic in Germany is "under control" thanks to a month of national lockdown, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Friday.

Now Chancellor Angela Merkel is moving forward with plans to slowly start returning life to normal in Germany, allowing some smaller businesses to reopen next week and children to gradually begin returning to school in early May.

Some stores, including hair dresser and car dealerships, will be allowed to open their doors again soon, too, as long as they can demonstrate clear plans to maintain hygiene.

Germany set to ease some restrictions 02:03

But Merkel urged German citizens to continue adhering to social distancing guidelines, and she strongly advised people to wear protective face masks in public.

Large events will stay banned until at least the end of August, and bars, restaurants and cinemas also remain shut.  

By Anna Noryskiewicz
 

Britain's Prince William and Kate discuss coronavirus anxiety, fear for elder royals

Britain's Prince William and wife Kate say the coronavirus crisis hit home for them when the prince's father, Prince Charles, was diagnosed with the disease.

"I have to admit, at first, I was quite concerned. He fits the profile of somebody at the age he's at, which is fairly risky, and so I was a little bit worried," William told the BBC about his father. 

With much of the world being told to stay home and facing serious anxiety, the royal couple said people need to make mental health a priority.

"I think very carefully of my grandparents who are at the age they're at, and we're doing everything we can to make sure that they're isolated away and protected from this. But it does worry me," William said.

Imtiaz Tyab

 

Italian police investigating nursing home where 190 reportedly died of COVID-19

A nursing home in Milan where nearly 200 residents have reportedly died from the coronavirus is at the center of an investigation into possible negligence by managers, Italian police have revealed. 

Tax police seized documents this week in the offices of the Lombardy regional government in a probe centered on the Pio Albergo Trivulzio rest home in Milan where, according to Italian daily La Repubblica, 190 seniors have died since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, although official numbers are not available. 

The investigation also involves other care homes in Milan and across the region, where directors are suspected of culpable negligence.

"We are working to fight the virus and protect Lombards," regional governor Attilio Fontana told Italian news agency ANSA.

Health and hygiene police said they carried out inspections at 600 nursing homes across Italy this week, and found "irregularities" at 17% of the facilities. The police said 15 of the homes had to be closed down. 

This month CBS News filed an exclusive report from inside a nursing home in Lombardy where doctors reported 33 COVID-19 deaths, but none of the deceased were tested for the disease nor included in Italy's official death toll.

Italy’s virus deaths likely underreported 03:10

Doctors there said they were unaware of any police investigation into their facility.

By Chris Livesay
 

Navy ID's sailor who was 1st active-duty U.S. service member to die of coronavirus

The crew member of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who died of the coronavirus was a sailor from Arkansas, the Navy disclosed on Thursday. In a statement, the Navy said Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, died on April 13 at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

He died 11 days after his captain was fired for pressing the Navy for greater action to safeguard his crew from the virus. Thacker was the first active-duty military member to die of COVID-19.

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

Virus Outbreak Aircraft Carrier Sailor Dies
A photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, of Fort Smith, Ark., assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who died from the coronavirus Monday, April 13, 2020, at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. AP

Thacker had tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30 and was taken off the ship and placed in "isolation housing" along with four other sailors at the Guam Navy hospital. On April 9, he was found unresponsive during a medical check and was moved to the Navy Hospital's intensive care unit. Click here to read more.

-CBS/AP

 

Scientists in U.K. launch "by far the largest trial in the world" of potential COVID-19 drugs

What's being billed as the world's biggest clinical trial of drugs to treat COVID-19 reportedly kicked off in the United Kingdom on Friday.

According to Britain's Guardian newspaper, the trial involves 5,000 patients in 165 hospitals across the country.

"This is by far the largest trial in the world," Peter Horby, a professor of infectious disease and global health at Oxford University, who is leading the trial, told the Guardian.

The "RECOVERY" trial will test potential treatments of COVID-19, including the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, the steroid dexamethasone, and lopinavir-ritonavir, which is used to treat HIV, according to the trial's website.

The information gathered will be reviewed regularly, so if an effective treatment is identified it can be made available to patients as quickly as possible, according to the website.

In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health launched a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine last week, amid a growing controversy over President Trump's touting of the drug as a potential "game-changer" in the fight against COVID-19 even before any clinical data on its safety or efficacy as a therapy for the disease is available.

Effort underway for coronavirus treatments 02:00
By Haley Ott
 

South Carolina bed manufacturer answers call to help make PPE for medical workers

A bed manufacturer is helping answer the call to get more personal protective equipment into the hands of South Carolina's medical workers.

"It continues to be a challenge for a lot of facilities," Schipp Ames, of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, told CBS News. "We have worked through every channel at our disposal. We are talking to traditional suppliers, logistic companies, manufacturers, [and] we have local businesses we're partnering with."

Just outside South Carolina's capital, in the small town of Irmo, a Sleep Number factory answered the call. The bed maker didn't have surgical masks or elastic bands, so it offered to supply sewing machinery and labor if materials were made available.

Sleep Number restoring thousands of masks 02:39

"Typically, improving lives for us is improving people's sleep," said Hunter Mottel, director of manufacturing at the Irmo facility. "We saw this and I saw the pandemic going on, and said, you know this is — talking about improving lives — this is a different way now for improving the health and safety of our frontline health care workers."

By LaCrai Mitchell
 

Japanese government to offer every resident about $930 cash to ease economic pandemic pain

Japan will offer a cash payment of 100,000 yen ($930) to every resident, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday, as measures to contain the coronavirus decimate the world's third-top economy.

"We are moving quickly to deliver cash to all people," Abe said in a televised news conference to explain his decision to expand a state of emergency nationwide.

An initial plan to provide three times as much money to households, which have seen incomes slashed because of the coronavirus, was ditched and Abe apologized for the confusion.

Japan has seen relatively few cases and deaths compared to hotspots in Europe and the United States but a recent spike in Tokyo — which logged a daily record 201 new cases on Friday — has sparked concern.

Japan expanding state of emergency 01:47

Abe initially declared a state of emergency in seven regions of the country but expanded this on Thursday to include the entire country.

-AFP

 

Weak, apparently COVID-19-positive immigrant forced to call in for Louisiana hearing

A detained immigrant who said he tested positive for COVID-19 was required to call in for a court hearing even after a guard said he was too weak to talk, his attorney said Thursday.

When the judge asked Salomon Diego Alonzo to say his name, the guard responded that Alonzo "does not have the lung capacity," said his lawyer, Veronica Semino, who was listening by phone. The call lasted about two hours, though Judge Mary Baumgarten eventually agreed to delay Alonzo's final asylum hearing, the attorney said.

Speaking to The Associated Press on Wednesday, the 26-year-old from Guatemala responded to most questions with one- or two-sentence answers, often interrupted by coughing. Alonzo says he has headaches, diarrhea and severe exhaustion that made it difficult for him to get out of bed. He's confined with one other person in a dorm at an immigration detention center in rural Louisiana, where medical staff check his vital signs twice a day. Click here to read more.

Detained migrants speak out on coronavirus fe... 06:21
By Associated Press
 

China's Wuhan hikes virus death toll 50%, to almost 4,000

The number of people who were infected and died from the new coronavirus in China's central city of Wuhan, where the world's first infections were reported, has been revised upwards significantly. CBS News correspondent Ramy Inocencio says China now admits that about 50% more people died of the disease in Wuhan than previously reported.

The revision comes just a week and a half after the city celebrated the lifting of an unprecedented 76-day lockdown imposed to stop the disease's spread. The vast majority of China's infections and deaths were recorded in Wuhan. In real numbers, an additional 1,290 deaths were recorded with Friday's admission, bringing the total for Wuhan to 3,869. The number of infections was revised up by 325 to 50,333.
 
China's state-run Xinhua news agency released a "notice of correction" on Friday, citing "late or missed reporting" of deaths, and overloaded medical staff and sick residents who died at home and were thus not counted in the original tally.

China raises Wuhan virus death toll 50% 01:17

President Trump has ramped up his attacks on China's transparency in dealing with the disease, saying its official numbers "seem on the light side," and U.S. intelligence agencies are still investigating how the virus jumped into the human population — including the possibility of an accident at an infectious disease laboratory in Wuhan.

In response to the criticism, China's Foreign Ministry insisted Friday that the country's government has never covered up the truth about its coronavirus outbreak.

By Ramy Inocencio
 

Japanese hotel chain offers "evacuation space" for fed-up spouses to avoid "corona-divorce"

A new phrase is trending in Japan: "corona-divorce." With couples suddenly forced to share quarters nonstop, many in cramped Japanese apartments, the shelter-in-place decrees are taking a toll on matrimonial harmony. 

It's led Japanese hotel chain Kasoku to market "temporary evacuation space" for fed-up spouses. The term has traditionally been applied to shelters used during natural disasters, but now, for $40 a day, fleeing spouses can find sanctuary in one of the company's 500 fully-furnished, WiFi-equipped rooms. 

Of the 28 customers who've taken refuge so far, about two-thirds are disgruntled wives, Kasoku spokesman Kosuke Amano told CBS News, adding that interest in the marital escape scheme has "exceeded expectations."

corona-divorce-japan.jpg
An image from Tokyo-based hotel chain Kasoku shows advertising for the firm's "corona-divorce" refuge rooms, offered for about $40 per night to spouses who need a break from round-the-clock exposure to their partners. Kasoku

For those who "want to avoid corona-divorce at all costs," the firm's website lightheartedly advises, "take advantage of temporary evacuation! Before resorting to a corona-divorce, giving yourself some space is important."

The service was prompted by reports of surges in divorce and domestic violence in other countries, as residents endure weeks of lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19. 

The strain of prolonged life at home turned deadly for a Tokyo couple earlier this month. Kazuo Makino, 59, was arrested on suspicion of murdering his 57-year-old wife, apparently after she complained he wasn't earning as much because of the epidemic. 

With Japan's official state of emergency now extended to cover the entire country, corona-divorce hotels might, sadly, be a growth industry here.

By Lucy Craft
 

Prince Harry and Meghan volunteer to deliver meals in L.A. amid pandemic

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are wasting no time in starting to volunteer in their new city of residence.
 
ET confirms the couple joined Project Angel Food to deliver meals on Wednesday in West Hollywood, California, to 20 clients living with critical illnesses.

ET has learned that the duchess was aware of Project Angel Food's work from growing up in the area and has always been inspired by the incredible impact they have on the community. Her mom, Doria Ragland, who is a frontline worker herself, had mentioned that they were in great need of support during this unprecedented time. Click here to read the full story

 

London mayor pushes U.K. government for "consistent" guidance on face coverings

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says wearing face coverings, such as bandannas and scarves, could provide people with another layer of protection against the coronavirus and is lobbying the British government to change its advice.

Khan told BBC radio that the evidence he has seen is that wearing a non-medical facial covering "reduces the chances" of those who have the virus of giving it to somebody else. However, he did concede that it "doesn't necessarily limit your changes of catching the virus."

He said changing the advice would be helpful for those in public transport or in shops, where some people may find it difficult to abide by the social distancing guidelines of staying two 6 feet apart.

Cuomo issues executive order on face masks 02:38

Khan said it's important that there's a "consistent approach" across the country and that's why he's lobbying the government and its advisers. 

The government's chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, said Thursday that the evidence around masks being helpful in preventing the spread of the coronavirus is "weak," while conceding it was a "live issue." 

By Associated Press
 

Philippines' Duterte threatens martial law-like virus crackdown

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened a martial law-like crackdown to stop people flouting a virus lockdown in the nation's capital.

Duterte spoke a day after authorities reported an upsurge of cars on Manila's roads, which had been nearly deserted since a sweeping lockdown was imposed a month ago on about half the country's 110 million people.

"I'm just asking for a little discipline. If not, if you do not believe me, then the military and police will take over," Duterte said in a televised speech late Thursday. "The military and police will enforce social distancing at curfew... It's like martial law. You choose."

Duterte has repeatedly threatened to impose nationwide military rule over the Philippines, where the mere words evoke the worst rights abuses of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship.

The closest Duterte has come is the imposition of martial law over Mindanao, the nation's southern third, in response to Islamic State-inspired militants' siege of the city of Marawi. 

- AFP

 

China suffers worst economic drop since '70s in virus battle

China suffered its worst economic contraction since since at least the 1970s in the first quarter as it fought the coronavirus, and weak consumer spending and factory activity suggest it faces a longer, harder recovery than initially expected.

The world's second-largest economy shrank 6.8% from a year ago in the three months ending in March after factories, shops and travel were closed to contain the infection, official data showed Friday.

That was stronger than some forecasts that called for a contraction of up to 16%, but still China's worst performance since before market-style economic reforms started in 1979.

By Associated Press
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