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Coronavirus updates from April 25, 2020

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Why was America unprepared for coronavirus?
Why was America unprepared for coronavirus? 08:05

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The global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, with more than 50,000 of those deaths in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control added six new symptoms to its list of possible signs of the coronavirus.

Latest major developments:

Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.

 

Florida governor says he's in "no rush" to lift restrictions

Virus Outbreak Florida
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the Cleveland Clinic Florida during the new coronavirus pandemic, on Saturday, April 25, 2020, in Weston, Florida. AP

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Saturday that he is in no rush to lift restrictions on the state's businesses shut down due in his executive order that is set to expire Thursday, CBS Miami reports. But he's also seeking guidance from the Re-Open Florida Task Force, which is expected to submit recommendations to him in the next week.

"If you look at that Phase One that the president has laid out, it's not terribly different from what we're doing now," he said at Saturday's press conference at the Florida Cleveland Clinic in Weston. He drew some clear lines between his preferred approach and the White House's plan, which includes guidance on social distancing in restaurants, theaters and sports venues.

"We're not doing in-person sports yet no matter what," DeSantis said. "That's just not going to happen in May. Another thing in Phase One, they say movie theaters with social distance. I'm not there yet on the movie theaters. It's an enclosed environment. You're much better off being outdoors."

By Caroline Linton
 

Restaurants with outdoor seating in Colleyville, Texas, reopen

Restaurants with outdoor seating reopened Saturday in Colleyville, Texas, one of the first towns in North Texas to reopen, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth reports.

The proclamation from Mayor Richard Newton allowing the reopening raised questions earlier in the week about possibly being in opposition to the most recent order from Governor Greg Abbott.

In a video posted to YouTube Friday, Newton said he had spoken to the office of the attorney general, and that it did not require him to make any changes.

In guidance posted online by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, a document states in bold and underlined print, that dining "inside" is what Abbott's order prohibits.

Specific language of the order also indicates that it only supersedes local orders that restrict businesses that should be allowed to operate. It does not mention how it affects local orders that expand those services.

Colleyville's order also allowed salons and gyms to re-open by appointment, and with customers maintaining distancing.

Few if any of those establishments appeared to be open in the city Friday. One gym owner told CBS Dallas / Fort Worth there were still too many variables and requirements to safely re-open.

Customers drove in from the Mid-cities, Irving and Dallas to support the decision, leading to hour-long waits for lunch in some places.

By Caroline Linton
 

White House does damage control after Trump's comments about injecting disinfectant

President Trump didn't take questions during a Friday night briefing at the White House, cutting it short after about 20 minutes. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Saturday that it's not necessarily a sign of things to come.

"I leave that to the president and that's entirely his decision but I believe the president is at his best when he's speaking directly to the American people," McEnany said. 

Watch the full report below: 

White House doing damage control 02:43
By Nikole Killion
 

"We're doing what we got to do": Coronavirus' toll on NYC's EMTs

The coronavirus continues to keep New York City paramedics busy, accounting for a majority of 911 calls, including this call that EMT Andrew Brock responded to, a middle-aged man with COVID-19-like symptoms.

"It was high risk," Brock said. "The family doesnt think they'll see him again."

New York City's 911 calls peaked at nearly 7,300, almost double what used to be a normal day. There's nothing normal about this.

"I've been, I've been with the fire department for 18 years and I've never in life told so many people in one day, that their family member has passed," Brock said. 

Watch the full report below:

NYC emergency workers struggle amid coronavir... 02:02
 

Trump tweets coronavirus briefings are "not worth the time & effort!"

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-BRIEFING
US President Donald Trump looks on during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 24, 2020, in Washington, D.C.  Getty

There was no public White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Saturday, the first day without a public briefing since Easter. President Trump tweeted at 6 p.m., around the time the briefings usually take place, that the "news conferences" are "not worth the time & effort!"

The full tweet reads: "What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!"

The White House has been doing damage control since Thursday, when Mr. Trump speculated at the briefing about ingesting disinfectant to treat coronavirus. On Friday, he told CBS News' Weijia Jiang in the Oval Office.that he was "asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen."

But hours later, Mr. Trump left Friday's briefing without taking any questions. 

By Caroline Linton
 

CDC adds six new possible coronavirus symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added six new symptoms to its list of possible signs of the coronavirus. Previously, the CDC only noted fever, cough and shortness of breath as symptoms.

The agency has updated its list to include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Shortness of breath has also been changed to "shortness of breath or difficulty breathing." The full list now is:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Read more here.

By Audrey McNamara
 

State Department says coronavirus samples from China "critical" for developing vaccine; Experts say that's not the case

As the coronavirus continues to devastate the U.S., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been ramping up rhetorical pressure on China this week, accusing the country of standing in the way of international efforts to develop a vaccine and treatments.

The pressure campaign comes as the U.S. and China wage an information war over the origins and blame for COVID-19, and race to develop a vaccine. But some medical experts interviewed by CBS News question some of the administration's claims about whether China's lack of transparency is actually blocking the world from developing a vaccine. In a series of interviews, Pompeo reeled off a list of accusations against Beijing including that it had deliberately destroyed early samples of the virus rather than share them with the world. 

"It covered up how dangerous the disease is. It didn't report sustained human-to-human transmission for a month until it was in every province inside of China," he told State Department reporters on Wednesday. "It censored those who tried to warn the world, it ordered a halt to testing of new samples, and it destroyed existing samples." 

Read more here.

By Margaret Brennan
 

Boston restaurants can now sell grocery items and paper products

Restaurants in Boston will now be allowed to sell grocery items, including produce and paper products, as people continue to social distance during the coronavirus crisis, CBS Boston reports.

Mayor Marty Walsh said this has been requested by both restaurants and customers and could cut down on essential trips outside the home.

Restaurants will have to follow strict safety guidelines, limit occupancy to 10 people at any given time, and maintain six feet between staff and customers.

"By allowing restaurants to also sell grocery and other essential items, we can help address social distancing concerns in grocery stores while supporting restaurants and food businesses during these unprecedented times," Walsh said.

The new temporary policy will allow the grocery items to be sold via delivery, curbside pickup, and takeout

"I think it's been a tough time for every restaurant in the city," said Lynn MacDonald, the regional manager of Earls Kitchen and Bar. "We are extremely grateful for Mayor Walsh's decision."

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Chicago launches homemade cloth mask drive

The City of Chicago is collecting donations of homemade masks for people who need them, and they still need help making them, CBS Chicago reports.

The city has launched a campaign called "Chicago Together! Make a Mask, Give a Mask, Wear a Mask." The donated masks will be given to homeless shelters, community health clinics, essential public sector workers and other organizations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the city's high risk residents. 

According to the city's website, data has shown the most high risk resident to be "vulnerable residents on Chicago's South and West Side communities."

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Board votes to cancel 2020 California State Fair over virus

The California State Fair has been canceled over coronavirus concerns, CBS Sacramento reports. This will be the first time since World War II that California won't have a state fair. 

It was scheduled to take place from July 17 to August 2 at Cal Expo.

"Canceling this summer's California State Fair is the right thing to do, and is in line with the measured, scientific approach that's been implemented by the governor and health officials to fight COVID-19," said Cal Expo General Manager and CEO Rick Pickering in a statement.

Cal Expo generates more than $300 million a year into the local economy and the state fair is a large portion of that. It's a major financial loss, but Pickering says the emotional loss is worse.

"There's hundreds of thousands of participants that enjoy coming out and making memories that last a lifetime," Pickering said.

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Death toll passes 200,000 worldwide

The global death toll from the coronavirus passed 200,000 on Saturday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. More than 52,000 deaths were in the United States. 

SPAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS-PANDEMIC-EMERGENCY
Healthcare workers of the Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia (SEM) arrive to attend a patient in distress on April 24, 2020, in Sabadell.  Getty
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Jersey City, N.J., to let people back into some parks

Jersey City, New Jersey, will start reopening five city parks on Monday, taking a first step toward reopening after the coronavirus pandemic shut down public gathering spaces, businesses and schools. Among the locations with limited access from dawn until dusk will be Enos Jones Park, Berry Lane Park, Audubon Park, Leonard Gordon Park and Pershing Field, CBS New York reports.

The move on April 27 will be followed by more park reopening in mid-May.

Although open to people for walking and jogging while observing social distancing and wearing masks, city parks workers will be on-site to watch for overcrowding and prohibited activities such as organized sports. The city is also asking people to wear gloves while in the parks.

"We closed the parks early on to keep people safe, which helped slow the spread of the virus," said Mayor Steven Fulop. "After nearly two months of quarantine, there's also a mental and physical health aspect that needs to be considered, and we know we can't ask our residents, who rely on parks for outdoor access, to stay inside indefinitely."

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

There's "no evidence" coronavirus survivors can't be reinfected, WHO says

The World Health Organization said there is "no evidence" that survivors of COVID-19 cannot be reinfected with the virus. In a statement Saturday morning, WHO warned that antibodies may not adequately protect survivors, leaving them vulnerable to a second coronavirus infection. 

The warning came as several countries, including the United States, are considering allowing people who have recovered to carry "immunity passports" or "risk-free certificates." That documentation would allow survivors to return to work and other activities under the assumption that they are immune from the virus. 

Read more here.

By Sophie Lewis
 

Tens of thousands descend on beaches amid Southern California heatwave

Lifeguards in Huntington and Newport Beach, California, say more than 50,000 people flocked to their beaches on Friday, and more are expected on Saturday when temperatures surpass 90 degrees Fahrenheit, CBS Los Angeles reports.

"It's hot out, and we're seeing the crowds increase, doubling every day," said Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brian O'Rourke. "Yesterday we had about 20,000 people. Today I would expect almost double that."

Orange County is the only county in the area where beaches remain open, as counties north and south of it have shut down their public spaces in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. California Governor Gavin Newsom has temporarily closed some of the state's parks and beaches to the public, and closed vehicle access at all 280 state parks. People aren't restricted from going to beaches that remain open under the states stay-at-home order issued back in March.

Read more here.

Huntington Beach In Southern California Remains Open During Coronavirus Lockdown
People gather on Huntington Beach, which remains open amid the coronavirus pandemic, on April 23, 2020, in California. / Getty Images
By Audrey McNamara
 

Cuomo says independent pharmacists will be able to conduct diagnostic tests

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will sign an executive order Saturday allowing independent pharmacists to conduct diagnostic coronavirus tests. Around 20,000 tests are being conducted in the state per day, but Cuomo said the goal is to increase the number of tests to 40,000 daily.

Cuomo also said he is expanding the criteria for a person to obtain a diagnostic test.

Cuomo said the state was conducting antibody testing for health care workers in four New York City hospitals. Next week, transit workers and state and city police will also receive antibody testing.

He also during his daily briefing that the number of new coronavirus cases ticked down on Friday, with around 1,100 new cases. "Only in this crazy reality would 1,100 be relatively good news, right?" Cuomo said.

He also announced that 437 people died on Friday, a slight uptick from Thursday's death toll. "Just when you think you're going to have a good day, this reality slaps you in the face," Cuomo said.

By Grace Segers
 

Boeing looks to restart production in three states with safety protocols in place

Signs were hung at a Boeing plant in Washington state to welcome back some of its 27,000 employees as the aerospace giant looks to resume production at facilities there and in Ohio and Pennsylvania after they were forced to shut due to the coronavirus. Boing officials told "CBS This Morning" that the health and safety of employees and their families is their priority, and their precautionary measures are based on federal and state guidance.

"I am glad that the Boeing company is committing to very robust social distancing protocols and use of PPE," Washington Governor Jay Inslee said, according to CBS News' Kris Van Cleave. 

Some of the other protocols in place include temperature checks, enhanced cleaning procedures and staggered shifts to reduce crowding when people arrive and leave. The company will also be issuing masks for workers who must be close together.

Boeing said it would be using contact tracing should an employee come down with COVID-19.

Watch the full report: 

Boeing cautiously opening some facilities 02:21
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Ballots in Maryland's special congressional election will be quarantined before they're counted

Ballots cast in person in Maryland's special congressional election between Democrat Kweisi Mfume and Republican Kimberly Klacik will be quarantined for about 24 hours after poll close before being counted, to give any potential germs a chance to die to help protect election workers.

It's one of the safety measures being taken in an unprecedented Maryland election on Tuesday that will only have three places for in-person voting out of concern for the coronavirus, as election officials are strongly urging eligible voters to mail in their ballots in a single race to decide who will serve the rest of the term of the late U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, who died in October.

In hopes of avoiding the lines seen in this month's Wisconsin primary, roughly 484,000 ballots were mailed to registered voters in the district. More than 77,000 already have been turned in. More than half of the vote could be released on the state elections board website shortly after the 8 p.m. poll close on Tuesday.

Precautions due to the virus in this special election have thrust the candidates into unknown campaign territory in the time of a pandemic.

Fundraising has been tough. Candidates haven't been able to reach voters with traditional techniques like door-to-door campaigning or large events. Both candidates say they have been trying to reach voters more through social media.

By Associated Press
 

Texas expands interactive COVID-19 testing site map

Texas has expanded its online interactive map of COVID-19 testing locations throughout the state to include mobile and walk-in locations, both public and private.

A search feature allows Texans to locate test collection sites near them and includes important details such as contact information and hours of operation for each location, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth reports.

"This mapping tool will help Texans locate test collection sites in their communities and it is part of our commitment to expanding COVID-19 testing throughout Texas," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. "By using this map, Texans will have access to pertinent information on a variety of test collection options that will help fulfill testing needs in communities across the Lone Star State."

More than 340 test collection sites are currently listed on the map and additional locations will be added as more sites are identified across the state.

Texans can submit updated information about a test collection site or suggest additional sites by filling out an online form. Officials will then verify the information and update the map accordingly.

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

U.S. COVID-19 death toll tops 52,000

The death toll from the coronavirus in the United States passed 52,000 on Saturday morning, accounting for more than 25% of COVID-19 deaths reported globally, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 900,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S.

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Fight doesn't end for patients after getting off ventilators, speech pathologists say

Ventilators have been a key resource in the coronavirus pandemic, but they take a toll on patients' vocal chords.

"When someone's on a ventilator, there's a tube that's been passed through their mouth through their vocal chords and into their airway," Dr. Marissa Barrera, director of the Speech Pathology Graduate Program at Yeshiva University, told CBS New York.

Barrera said prolonged ventilator use can strain vocal folds, which affects communication, swallowing and breathing.

"For individuals who have a respiratory disorder like COVID-19, and you add on the addition of prolonged ventilator use, we're seeing a new type of rehabilitation necessary to help them get back those essential functions," she said.

Typically speech pathologists and a team of specialists use a variety of exams to monitor a patient's vocal recovery, but like the rest of the health care system right now, they're strained for resources.

"The taxing part on the speech pathologists right now is we're somewhat limited in some of the tools that we typically use," said Dr. Luis Riquelme, a speech pathologist in a Brooklyn hospital.

He said to keep up with the effects of COVID-19 and the influx of patients on ventilators, his colleagues have to rely on clinical exams versus more precise testing.

 

Pandemic could affect Florida's hurricane response

Florida officials are considering adjusting the state's hurricane-response plans to prepare for the possibility of an early storm season coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, CBS Miami reports

The state's Division of Emergency Management director, Jared Moskowitz, said they are considering using hotel rooms instead of school or mass shelters to allow people to continue social distancing. People there would be given masks and other protective gear, while also having their temperatures monitored. 

The director said the state might want to talk about ride-share companies providing transportation to those facilities to avoid the problems that buses or shuttles could create. 

 

Trump retweets CDC guidance on safe use of disinfectants

President Trump retweeted a tweet by the CDC warning people about health problems associated with improper use of disinfectants and household cleaners. 

The president suggested at his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday that health experts look into the possibility of using disinfectant for coronavirus patients, perhaps by injection. 

"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute," the president said Thursday. "One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So that, you're going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me."

Mr. Trump later claimed he was being sarcastic. Hours earlier, the White House press secretary had given a different explanation for the remarks, saying they were taken out of context. 

"I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen," the president told CBS News' Weijia Jiang in the Oval Office.

The idea of using disinfectant products in that way was met with quick rebuke from the medical community. 

In a statement on its website, RB, the makers of Lysol and Dettol, said: "As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information."

By Grace Segers
 

Easing of lockdowns around the world gathers pace

A tentative easing around the world of coronavirus lockdowns gathered pace Saturday with the reopening neighborhood stores in India that many there rely on for everything from cold drinks to mobile phone data cards.

The relaxation did not apply to hundreds of quarantined towns and other hotspots that have been hit hardest by the outbreak that has killed at least 775 people in India and terrified its multitudes of poor who live in slum conditions too crowded for social distancing. Shopping malls also remained closed across the country.

Last week, India also allowed manufacturing and farming activities to resume in rural areas. The country's stay-home restrictions have allowed people out of their homes only to buy food, medicine or other essentials.

The global death toll climbed Saturday toward 200,000, according to a tally compiled by John Hopkins University.

In Europe, Belgium sketched out plans for a progressive lockdown relaxation, starting May 4 with the resumption of nonessential treatment in hospitals and the reopening of textile and sewing shops so people can make face masks. Bars and restaurants would be allowed to start reopening June 8, although Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes cautioned that a surge in infections could alter the timeline.

In France, the government is preparing to gingerly ease one of Europe's strictest lockdowns from May 11.

Denmark has reopened schools for the youngest grades. And kids in Spain will get their first fresh air in weeks on Sunday when a total ban on letting them outside is relaxed. 

By Associated Press
 

Florida Keys likely to stay closed to visitors through at least May

It appears the Florida Keys will stay closed to visitors through at least May. Monroe County, Florida, officials say they do not anticipate reopening to visitors next month, and potentially beyond that, given the state of the virus.

The county closed to visitors weeks ago, even going so far as to set up roadblocks to enforce a residents-only mandate,  CBS Miami reports.  

"The relaxing of protective measures may be considered when there are no new cases or a steady downward trend in the Florida Keys for at least two weeks, and analysis of results as testing becomes more widespread," said a statement on Friday. 

 

Stay-at-home orders are loosened in some states

Ready or not, businesses in some states are reopening. 

Georgia and Alaska started reopening businesses Friday, while Oklahoma and Michigan also had limited reopenings. On Monday, Tennessee, Minnesota and Colorado will join them.  

In Nebraska, Governor Pete Ricketts is in the process of greenlighting non-essential businesses so they can operate, but not necessarily as usual, Michael George reported for "CBS This Morning: Saturday."

"So, the hairstylist will have to wear a mask, the tattoo artist will have to wear a mask, and so will the person who is being served, the customer," said Ricketts. 

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-ECONOMY-GEORGIA
Surin Nguyen, wearing protection gear, works on the nails of a customer at Allure Nail Bar in Atlanta, Georgia on April 24, 2020.  Getty

Even Governor Jay Inslee of hard-hit Washington state put a crack in his stay-home order. He said officials there found a way for low-risk construction to resume.

But he said," the day of opening our whole economy certainly is not today."

"It would be way too dangerous," he said. "And all of our data shows that if we did this today, this virus would return with a vengeance."

An overwhelming majority of Americans agree, according to a variety of opinion polls. 

Watch the full report: 

Poll: Most Americans back stay-at-home orders... 04:10
 

Doctors experiment with unproven stem cell therapy on COVID-19 patients

Doctors are hoping stem cell therapy could be a weapon in the fight against coronavirus. On Friday, regenerative medicine company Mesoblast announced a 300-person trial to determine whether stem cell treatments will work in COVID-19 patients suffering from severe lung inflammation.

One hospital in New York tried it as an experiment with 12 patients, 10 of whom were able to come off of ventilators.

"What we saw in the very first patient was that within four hours of getting the cells, a lot of her parameters started to get better," Dr. Karen Osman, who led the team at Mount Sinai, told CBS News' Adriana Diaz.

The doctor said she was encouraged by the results, though she was hesitant to link the stem cell procedure to her patients' recovery.

"We don't know" if the 10 people removed from ventilators would not have gotten had they not gotten the stem cells, she said. "And we would never dare to claim that it was related to the cells."

She explained that only a "randomized controlled trial" would be the only way "to make a true comparison."

Watch the full report:

Could stem cell therapy help treat COVID-19? 03:04
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

San Francisco officials warn public to resist urge to break stay-at-home order

San Francisco Mayor London Breed warned on Friday that now is not the time to lose sight of the goal. She said the city's stay-at-home order would likely be extended weeks, even a month, CBS San Francisco Bay Area reports.

"What we don't want to see is on nice days like this and other days, people who are out there in the communities, and because they have on a mask, they're still not social distancing themselves from one another," said Breed.

San Francisco has seen at least 1,340 positive cases of COVID-19 and 22 people have died due to the coronavirus. 

The San Francisco Police Department commended the public for not celebrating 4/20 outdoors on Monday and in public parks as is tradition, but still said there are people and business who continue to flout the stay-at-home order. The department has given out 17 citations and given hundreds of informal warnings.

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Pedestrians walk by a closed Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park on April 20, 2020 in San Francisco, California.  Getty
 

Judge finds government is violating protections for migrant children

The federal judge overseeing a 1997 court settlement that governs the care of migrant children in U.S. government custody ordered the Trump administration on Friday to promptly release minors from immigration detention, finding yet again that officials are violating the long-standing agreement.

Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which detains migrant families with children, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has custody over unaccompanied minors, are both violating the Flores Settlement Agreement during the coronavirus pandemic, for distinct reasons.

Over the years and throughout different administrations, Gee has found that the government has violated elements of the settlement, primarily its requirement that migrant children be released from custody without "unnecessary delay." But Friday's order considered the risks faced by immigrants detained in close quarters during a deadly, global pandemic. In a different order last month, Gee called immigration detention centers "hotbeds of contagion."

The order applies to the approximately 2,100 unaccompanied minors in ORR custody, as well as the 342 children held with their families at the three ICE family detention centers.

Through Friday's order, Gee required both ICE and the U.S. refugee agency to "make every effort to promptly and safely" release the children in their custody who have sponsors, don't pose a danger to themselves or others and are not flight risks. She prohibited the agencies from using certain justifications to continue detaining minors.

Read more here.

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez
 

Doctor details "torture" of watching her 4-year-old son struggling to breathe

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout the world, countless gut-wrenching stories have emerged of families battling the virus. Some of the most difficult to hear are those which involve children. And Dr. Anna Zimmermann, a neonatologist in Denver, Colorado, just added her son's story to that list.

"Since March 12th, the kids have not left the house," she wrote in a blog post on her website, Mighty Littles. "My husband went to Costco once. I went to Target once. My kids never went on a playdate. I wouldn't let them go across the street to talk to their neighborhood friends. We adopted the stay-at-home recommendations early and stuck to them. We did everything right. But Lincoln got sick."

Zimmerman said her son, Lincoln, is four years old. He didn't know what coronavirus was when he was admitted to Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, where his mother works in the NICU.

"At the time of admission, he needed 2 Liters (L) of oxygen. That same night, he progressed up to needing 4L. By the next day, he was on 6L and then 9L," Zimmermann wrote. "He was working so hard to breathe - using all of the muscles in his chest, abdomen, and neck to help him breathe. As a doctor, I knew he was working hard to breathe. The medical terms used to describe respiratory distress — seesaw breathing, nasal flaring, grunting, retracting, tachypneic — he had them all. As a mom, it was torture watching him struggle."

Read more here.

4-year-old boy with COVID-19 battles virus 02:19
By Christina Capatides
 

Small Business Administration disaster loan program is a disaster, business owners say

The federal government's disaster loan fund for small employers has drawn far less scrutiny than the infamously deficient Paycheck Protection Program, but it may be just as dysfunctional.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, recently expanded to cover businesses affected by the coronavirus, offers qualified firms emergency cash advances of up to $10,000 on low-interest loans worth up to $2 million that are repayable over 30 years. 

It sounds promising, but small business owners who have applied for the loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration describe the process as confusing and complain that the money is slow to materialize.  

"We put in our EIDL application right away. First we were told it was for $10,000. About a month later, on April 23, we found money in our account, but it wasn't anything close to what we thought we were getting," said K.B. Brown, owner of Wolfpack Promotionals, a print shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Weeks after he applied, Brown said he received a $3,000 advance on the loan, which isn't enough to cover even one month of business expenses. He doesn't know if he'll be approved for a larger disaster loan, noting that he hasn't received any follow-up information from the SBA. 

"Right now, we need at least $25,000 on the low end to get caught up, make sure our vendors are paid, and bring people back," Brown said. 

Read more here.

By Megan Cerullo
 

Coronavirus is spreading fast in states that may reopen soon, study finds

The COVID-19 coronavirus has saturated the United States, and it appears to be spreading quickly in some places that are planning to ease social distancing restrictions soon, a new study shows.

County-level data shows COVID-19 cases in all 306 "hospital referral regions" in the U.S., the areas where people go for hospital or specialist care, said study leader Dr. Elliott Fisher, a professor of health policy and medicine at The Dartmouth Institute in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

"We need to be aware that this epidemic is far from over. The number of cases in every region today are higher than they were a week ago," said Fisher. "We have no place in the country where there are not cases being reported within a region."

The data also show that COVID-19 cases are growing more rapidly in places that have not been as heavily hit as New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and other early coronavirus hot spots. "The growth rates that are highest are now in the Midwest and in the South," Fisher said.

Read more here.

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