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Coronavirus updates: Star-studded Global Citizens Festival raises funds for COVID-19 response

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Lady Gaga led a star-studded lineup for the eight-hour Global Citizens Festival on Saturday night to raise money for the World Health Organization's pandemic response. The concert came as the global death toll from coronavirus topped 159,000, with more than 38,000 dead in the U.S.

There were other glimmers of hope throughout the U.S. on Saturday. Governors in New York and New Jersey said they were seeing evidence they had flattened the curve as a result of social-distancing measures and stay-at-home orders.

Two realities seemed to exist in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis announced schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Meanwhile, crowds packed the beaches in Jacksonville, which began to reopen Friday and Saturday.

Here are the latest major stories: 

Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.


LA County sees deadliest day yet

Los Angeles County on Saturday reported the highest number of deaths in a single day so far with 81. Officials also said the total number of coronavirus-related deaths almost doubled this past week, CBS Los Angeles reports.

"Today marks a very sad milestone for our county," said Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.

By Jordan Freiman

Federal judge issues limited temporary restraining order on Kansas governor's order banning religious gatherings of 10 or more

A federal judge on Saturday issued a limited temporary restraining order against Kansas Governor Kelly's Laura executive order banning religious gatherings of 10 or more people. The ruling only applies to the two churches that filed the lawsuit, CBS News affiliate WIBW reports.

"This is not about religion. This is about a public health crisis," Kelly said following the ruling. "This ruling was just a preliminary step. There is still a long way to go in this case, and we will continue to be proactive and err on the side of caution where Kansans' health and safety is at stake."

Kelly's executive order was initially blocked by the state's Legislative Coordinating Council. Kelly filed a lawsuit, and the state Supreme Court ruled in the governor's favor, reinstating the ban on the eve of Easter. The oral arguments and the decision in that case were conducted entirely via video teleconferencing software for the first time ever.

By Jordan Freiman

19 more migrants deported by the U.S. to Guatemala have tested positive, president says

Guatemala's president announced Saturday that 19 more migrants deported by the U.S. have tested positive for coronavirus. A spokesperson for Guatemala's public health ministry confirmed the official count of coronavirus cases among deportees now stands at 36.

On Saturday, 22 total new cases were reported in Guatemala. There are currently 257 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. At least 36 — or 14% — of Guatemala's 257 cases stem from tests conducted on people recently deported from the U.S.

On Thursday, Guatemala put an indefinite halt to receiving deportation flights from the U.S.

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

National food supply chain in jeopardy as more workers become infected

National food supply chain in jeopardy as more workers become infected 01:54

Trump and Senate Democrats clash over federal response to coronavirus

Trump and Senate Democrats clash over federal response to coronavirus 02:34

States taking different approaches to reopening the economy

States taking different approaches to reopening the economy 02:16

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some states are already trying to reopen the economy while others are tightening restrictions further. Florida has already reopened its beaches in the northern part of the state, while New York is requiring everyone to wear a face covering in public. 


Birx touts success of U.S. health system

 Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said Saturday that the United States'  mortality rate is about half to a third of any of the other country's.

Birx showed a slide comparing the U.S. mortality rate — 11.4 per 100,000 — is lower than Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Britain and the Netherlands. She said she included China's 0.33 mortality rate to show "how unrealistic this really is." Mr. Trump also interrupted to ask "does anyone really believe" the numbers on Iran. 

Birx called out what she described as a lack of reporting from China. 

"There is never an excuse to not share information," Birx said. "When you're the first country to have an outbreak, you have a moral obligation to talk about it and provide info to the world so they can respond to it."

By Caroline Linton

Trump says he will speak at West Point commencement and goes on anti-media rant

Trump notes "very positive trends" at coronavirus briefing and bashes media 29:17

President Trump said at Saturday's briefing that he would be speaking at the West Point commencement ceremony, which he said would be on June 13.

Mr. Trump gave few facts at Saturday's briefing. He insisted the U.S. has "produced more dramatically better health outcomes than any country with the exception of Germany" and said China is "way ahead of us in terms of death." 

Mr. Trump said there are "some governors who like to complain" about testing, and he said some people "on the other side" were trying to turn it into a "partisan witch hunt." 

Mr. Trump also went on an extended rant about a New York Times report about new chief of staff Mark Meadows. 

By Caroline Linton

Florida schools will be closed for the rest of the year

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Saturday that schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. DeSantis noted there were differing opinions on closing schools, but there currently is "momentum for distance learning." 

"This has had a social cost to it, and I want to look for ways to overcome that," DeSantis said. "I think there are logistical things, and the last thing you want to do is force kids back and only half return. It was an easier decision to make with how we are doing with distance learning."  

The news comes as DeSantis said he will release more details on a task force on reopening the state. 

DeSantis said Florida had screened 22,000 people coming from New York and New Orleans. As of Saturday, there have been more than 25,000 people diagnosed with coronavirus in Florida and more than 700 have died. According to the state Department of Health, 24,577 cases were Florida residents and 692 were non-Florida residents.

By Caroline Linton

One World: Together At Home concert kicks off

 The One World: Together At Home concert started at 2 p.m. ET with a montage of people under lockdown in the U.S., U.K., France and Spain. "To all of our frontline healthcare workers, we are with you. Thank you for being there for us," read an on-screen caption, according to BBC News

The main concert will air in the U.S. on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ViacomCBS Networks, ABC, NBC, iHeartMedia and Bell Media networks platforms in Canada. In the U.K., BBC One will air the concert Sunday. The show will also be streaming on multiple global platforms, including: Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube. 

Actress Jameela Jamil introduced the event, saying "we are here for a moment of respite and hopefully joy as we celebrate our true heroes." Singer Andra Day was up first with a performance of her song, "Rise Up." 

In between performances and celebrity cameos, testimonials from health care workers are shown. The president of the UN General Assembly also joined with a video message thanking essential workers.

Proceeds generated from the concert will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.

By Caroline Linton

New Jersey governor pleads for Congress to help states

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said Saturday that his state needs immediate money from the federal government to battle coronavirus. The money would allow the state to eventually reopen its economy.

"There is not momentum right now in Congress to put significant amounts — or any amount of money — into direct state aid," Murphy said at his daily press briefing Saturday. "That would lead unequivocally to a national disaster."

The governor said that in addition to flexibility from the federal reserve, New Jersey needs assistance from the federal government, but it is being held up in Congress. "I'm not going to get political here, but there's one part of Congress that doesn't see the wisdom to put direct money into states," he said. 

"Let me just tell you what the alternative will be… we will have layoffs that will be historic — in the history of our state, at the state level, at the county level and at the local level. That's what's at stake."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the National Governors Association have called for Congress to appropriate an additional $500 billion to meet the states' budgetary shortfalls brought on by the pandemic. 

"This is not either or," Murphy said Saturday. "We need both direct financial assistance to states from a bill passed by Congress — and signed by the president — and we need bonding flexibility in either case."

Murphy said he is pleading "with people on both sides of the aisle to get to that reality sooner rather than later."

By Audrey McNamara

Crowds flock to Jacksonville beaches

Jacksonville, Florida Re-Opens Beaches After Decrease In COVID-19 Cases
Crowds are seen at the beach on April 17, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, despite social distancing warnings.  Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Mayor Lenny Curry reopened beaches and parks in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday, after Governor Ron DeSantis gave the green light for them to reopen, despite the state hitting a record number of coronavirus cases. When they opened at 5 p.m., crowds flooded the area, ignoring social distancing warnings. 

Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach are now open from 6-11 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. for "essential activities." They are closed during all other times. 
More than 25,000 people in Florida have been infected with COVID-19, and schools, business and public events are all closed or canceled to try to slow its spread, according to the state Department of Health

Read more here

By Sophie Lewis

N.J. governor on why coronavirus is a "different enemy" than the flu

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy took time during his daily press briefing Saturday to dispel incorrect comparisons between the coronavirus and the flu. Murphy said that equating the two viruses "is wrong." He called the virus a "different enemy."

What most distinguishes the coronavirus from the flu is its mortality rate, according to the governor. New Jersey has lost 4,070 people to the coronavirus in just six weeks. "That's more than the CDC statistics show that we have lost over the past three flu seasons in their entirety combined," Murphy said. 

"The everyday, run-of-the-mill flu — which itself can be a big challenge and virulent — is in a completely different category than what we're talking about here," he said.

By Audrey McNamara

49-year-old recovers from coronavirus after 32 days on life support

Jim Bello, at 49, was a healthy father of three kids with no underlying conditions when he contracted coronavirus. "He was in the best shape going in [to this]," his wife, Kim, told CBS Boston. 

Then, while he was on a ski trip in early March, Jim got sick. First, he had a fever. He went to his primary care doctor at South Shore hospital. After a few tests and treatments, he was sent home. Then, according to his wife, he soon woke up and couldn't breathe. He eventually tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. 

A few days ago, the day the Bello family had been waiting for finally came. Read the full story.

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin

New Jersey reports more people are now leaving hospitals than entering

New Jersey governor: If you think coronavirus is "just the flu," you're "wrong" 14:12

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy reported Saturday that the state is now seeing more people with COVID-19 walk out of hospitals than enter them. 

"Happily, for the 24 hour period ending last evening, 814 residents were discharged from our hospitals," Murphy said at his daily press briefing. 

"We're now reporting more people leaving the hospital than entering — please God it stays that way."

The governor credited residents following the state's stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines for "flattening the curve," but said those efforts cannot be let up on. As of Saturday, there are still 7,718 people hospitalized from COVID-19 in New Jersey, 2,024 of whom require critical or intensive care, he said. 

"We just have to stay at it — and not forever — but we have to stay at it for now."

By Audrey McNamara

Rival gangs in South Africa call unprecedented truce to help people

Warring gangs in South Africa are working together in an unprecedented truce to deliver much-needed food to people living under lockdown

The country has seen a 75% decrease in violent crime since it imposed strict restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic, and normally dangerous streets in Cape Town now see sworn enemies meeting up to collect essential goods to distribute throughout hungry communities. 

"What we're seeing happen here is literally a miracle," pastor Andie Steel-Smith said to BBC News

Preston Jacobs, a member of the "Americans" gang, told CBS News' Debora Patta it "feels nice" to take on a new role and communicate with those in need. 

Watch the full story:  

South African gang rivals work together to help people amid pandemic 02:42

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin

Longstanding issues put Native American communities at high risk

Longstanding issues such as overcrowded housing and inadequate health care within Native American communities make them one of the most at-risk groups as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the U.S. 

Although $10 billion from the federal CARES Act has been set aside for direct finding to tribes and federal Native American programs, a new fight has emerged over how the federal government should distribute the money.

"We're worried that the money won't get right to the tribes," Kevin Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians, told "CBS This Morning" co-host Michelle Miller.

With limited resources, tribes leaders are improvising ways to stop the virus' spread. The Navajo Nation has imposed strict curfews, requiring people to stay home or face arrest. Other tribes have set up physical road blocks to keep outsiders from potentially infecting people on the reservation.

Allis said that despite the best efforts of tribal leaders, the circumstances in which Native American communities exist already predispose them to risks.

"All the dominoes are in place to fall in a very coordinated fashion, if we don't get the attention we need, we don't get the resources we need. That's why this relief funding is so important," he said.   

Watch the full story: 

Native American tribes struggle with coronavirus crisis 04:53
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin

Iran lets some Tehran businesses reopen

Iran allowed some businesses in the capital and nearby towns to re-open Saturday after weeks of lockdown aimed at containing the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.

Iran was slow to respond to the pandemic and held off on imposing widespread restrictions even after other countries in the region with far fewer cases forced most businesses to close. Iran has reported more than 80,000 confirmed cases and over 5,000 deaths.

Gyms, restaurants, shopping malls and Tehran's grand bazaar will remain closed. Shrines and mosques are also shuttered, and a ban on public gatherings remains in place. Government offices have reopened with a third of employees working from home, and schools and universities are still closed.

Traffic was heavy in Tehran early Saturday, the first day of the work week. Authorities allowed businesses outside the capital to reopen a week ago.

By The Associated Press

Cuomo reports 540 new deaths in New York state

Cuomo says nursing homes are "feeding frenzy" for coronavirus outbreaks 03:05

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday the state still has about 2,000 new COVID-19 hospitalizations every day.

"Happy days are not here again," he said. "That is still an overwhelming number every day."

He said that 540 people died of the virus on Friday.

Read more here.

By Grace Segers

Food bank in Texas sees need double

The Tarrant Area Food Bank in Texas opens its distribution center for people in need once a month. People went to the Tarrant County College Northwest campus to pick up food on Friday, and organizers said 600 families were there – a 100% increase over the normal 300 people who go to that location, CBS DFW reports.

Families lined up in their vehicles in the parking lot of the college to pick up boxes with bread, produce and other items for their families. The boxes were assembled at a warehouse with the help of the Texas Air National Guard.

Some people said they can't express how much they need the assistance, including a grandmother who was in line with her five grandchildren.

"Oh my God you don't know," said Lugenia Houston. "I tried to thank every single person I see. I'm so appreciative of what they're doing."

"The families today, some of them are living in their vehicles," said Lisa Benedetti of Tarrant County College.

CBS 11 spoke to some people in line who said they only have about five days worth of food, and that this is just a small sample of what's going on across North Texas due to job losses and shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Canada and U.S. extend border restrictions for 30 more days

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the U.S. and Canada have agreed to keep their border closed to nonessential travel for another 30 days. Trudeau said Saturday the move will keep people on both sides of the border safe amid the pandemic.

The U.S. and Canada agreed last month to limit border crossings to essential travel amid the pandemic, but that agreement was due to expire this coming week. Nearly 200,000 people cross that border daily in normal times.

By The Associated Press

L.A. County officials "extraordinarily worried" about coronavirus spike at nursing homes

Health officials in Los Angeles County expressed concern on Friday about the drastic increase in coronavirus cases and deaths at nursing home facilities across the county, CBS Los Angeles reports. 

L.A. County public health director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, reported that there are now 2,183 confirmed COVID-19 cases at 228 "institutional settings," defined as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, jails, prisons, homeless shelters, treatment centers and supporting living facilities. Of those, there are now 177 deaths from the disease, Ferrer said, and they're primarily in skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Ferrer said there are 20 nursing homes and assisted living facilities countywide in which at least 20 residents have tested positive for coronavirus. Of those, four homes have at least 40 residents who have tested positive.

"We are extraordinarily worried about the outbreaks that continue to happen across the many institutional settings," Ferrer said.


Singapore sees huge surge in new virus cases

Singapore reported 942 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, a single-day high for the tiny city-state that pushed its total number of infections to 5,992, including 11 deaths.

The number of cases in Singapore has more than doubled over the past week amid an explosion of infections among foreign workers staying in crowded dormitories. This group now makes up around 60% of Singapore's cases.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Saturday that it will take time to break the chain of transmission in the dorms. He wrote on Facebook that the vast majority of cases among migrant workers were mild, as the workers are young. Although cases in the dorms are expected to continue to rise amid ongoing virus testing, Lee said the government is building up its health care and isolation facilities to handle the load.

More than 200,000 migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and other Asian countries live in dormitories in Singapore that house up to 20 people per room with shared facilities. 

By The Associated Press

As some states slowly reopen, others face pressure to ease restrictions

Some states are starting to relax stay-at-home orders, as others brace for the virus to hit its peak. From Florida to Texas, a few select parks are reopening or will be reopened soon, but carefully, Michael George reports for CBS.

"We still have to be cognizant of the six-foot distance between people, the ten people gathering," said Charlie Latham, the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, where some beaches reopened on Friday.

In Minnesota, golf courses will reopen. But right-wing protesters there weren't impressed. They want the state's Democratic governor to list all stay-at-home orders. 
President Trump claims sufficient testing capacity has been built to allow states to reopen. But some public health experts dispute that and say the country is still not ready to track and control the spread of COVID-19.  

Governors in many states are standing up against the pressure to ease their orders, as deaths and cases continue to rise. 

"It's not over. We've a lot more to do," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. 

"The last thing we can do is relax," said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. 

In Virgina, Governor Ralph Northam reported 600 new cases on Friday - an 8% single-day rise. 

'We're still seeing more cases each day. Not Fewer," he said. "So we are not there yet."

In San Francisco, the first city to shut down, the mayor on Friday ordered masks to be worn in public for the foreseeable future. 

Watch the full story: 

Some states unveil plans to reopen while others maintain lockdown 03:31

Food banks see surging demand across U.S.

Desperation is growing by the day for Americans who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis. An estimated 17 million people could now be facing hunger, in addition to those who already battle it every day.

Feeding America, the national organization linking U.S. food banks, estimates it will need an additional $1.4 billion to meet increased needs over the next six months.

In New Orleans, Troy Riles and Caroline Caston went to a small church pantry after the couple became newly unemployed, CBS News' Mireya Villarreal reports. They said they had saved up just enough to keep up with essential bills for a few months, are they are starting to ration their own food.

"Right now, it's survival mode," Riles said.

The National Guard has been deployed across the country to help with the increased demand in food banks.

Watch the full story:

Food banks see growing lines and surging demand amid pandemic 02:19


U.N. headquarters extends telecommuting for diplomats and staff until May 31

The U.N. Secretary General told all U.N. staff members in a letter this week that "the current telecommuting arrangements at United Nations Headquarters shall be extended through May 31, 2020."

"We will continue to review such arrangements, as subsequent extensions may be necessary," he said. 

 He said his decision was based on a "a conservative and pragmatic approach" in consultation with senior management and our medical services, after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state's shutdown will be extended to May 15. 

 The U.N. has been closed to visitors for several weeks, and the Security Council's meetings and consultations have been conducted by video conference. But the U.N. chief has made regular visits to the U.N. building in New York for video messages.

By Pamela Falk

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 The Associated Press

Beaches in Jacksonville, Florida, reopen with restrictions

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 United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 36,000 people in the U.S. have died of the virus.   

People wearing face masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus stand in line outside of a COVID-19 testing site at the Gotham Health aiming at low income communities, targeting people over 65 or with preexisting conditions on April 17, 2020 in East New York.  ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images
By Victoria Albert
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