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Coronavirus updates from April 2, 2020

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is advising residents who go out in public to cover their noses and mouths with bandanas, scarves or masks. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a similar announcement Wednesday. 

As of late Thursday night, there were more than 1 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and over 53,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has been hit hard by the pandemic, with more than 245,000 cases and almost 6,000 deaths.

The latest:

Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Medical workers bring in patients at a coronavirus intake tent at Maimonides Medical Center on April 2, 2020, in New York City.  Getty
 

Bus driver who railed against coughing passenger dies from COVID-19

 A Detroit bus driver who had expressed anger on Facebook about a coughing passenger has died from COVID-19, officials said Thursday.

Jason Hargrove felt ill about four days after posting a passionate video on social media on March 21. He died Wednesday, said Glenn Tolbert, the head of the drivers union.

Hargrove posted a profanity-laced video complaining about a woman he said repeatedly coughed while on his bus. The coronavirus can spread through coughs. The woman wasn't in the video. 

Hargrove said drivers are "public workers doing our job, trying to make a honest living, take care of our families."

"For you to get on the bus ... and cough several times without covering up your mouth and you know (we're) in the middle of a pandemic - that lets me know that some folks don't care," Hargrove said. "At some point in time, we've got to draw the line and say enough is enough. I feel violated."

On March 17, the city eliminated fares, promised more cleaning and told bus riders to enter and exit from the rear door only. The changes occurred after drivers refused to work that day to protest conditions.

Mayor Mike Duggan said "everybody in America" should watch Hargrove's video. 

-- The Associated Press

 

Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine ordered released from prison four months early due to coronavirus concerns

Daniel Hernandez, also known as the rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, was ordered released from prison four months early amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. In the decision, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer cited Hernandez's asthma and the greater risk he would face behind bars. 

"In light of the heightened medical risk presented to Mr. Hernandez by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are extraordinary and compelling reasons to reduce Mr. Hernandez's sentence in the manner requested — to wit, releasing Mr. Hernandez from custody and requiring him to serve his first four months of supervised release in home confinement, on specified conditions," Engelmayer wrote. 

Hernandez was originally sentenced to two years in prison for his ties with the street gang Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. He could have been sentenced for decades for his crimes, but he reduced his sentence by becoming a star witness for the prosecution. 

"We are very happy that the Court allowed my client, Daniel Hernandez, to serve the remainder of his sentence at home," Hernandez's lawyer Lance Lazzaro said in a statement. "Considering today's challenging circumstances as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, inmates are especially vulnerable to contracting the virus. The Court showed great compassion today and my client is very grateful." 

 

Trump says states need to "work out" competing bids for medical equipment for themselves

President Trump on Thursday said states need to work out competing bids for medical equipment among themselves, and continued to blame states for failing to stockpile medical equipment like ventilators. Governors are sounding the alarm that they are bidding against themselves, as well as the federal government, for much-needed medical equipment and supplies. 

"Well they have that, and they have to work that out," Mr. Trump said, when asked about what should be done when states are fighting over orders of medical equipment. 

Mr. Trump said states "should have been building their stockpiles," adding that the federal government is a "backup." 

"We're a backup, we're not an ordering clerk, we're a backup, and we've done an unbelievable job," Mr. Trump said. 

Read more here.

 

2 cruise ships with sick passengers dock in Florida

Two cruise ships carrying passengers stricken with coronavirus have docked in Florida on Thursday. It ends a nightmarish odyssey for some of the passengers, but for others aboard the journey is far from over.

After nearly a month at sea, the Zaandam's grueling voyage ended in Port Everglades. Passenger Val Myntti couldn't wait for it to be over. "We are on pins and needles and we are so excited about it," Myntii told CBS News.

The Rotterdam, which took passengers with no symptoms from the Zaandam, arrived, too. There were a combined 2,300 people on both ships. At one point, the Zaandam reported 200 sick passengers, nine who tested positive for the virus and four deaths.

Read more here.

Cruise ships carrying passengers with coronavirus dock in Florida
By Manuel Bojorquez
 

Child donates vital medical gear to Virginia hospital

Zohaib Begg comes from a long line of doctors and nurses now working to save coronavirus patients.

When his aunt told him her hospital was low on headgear, the 7-year-old got an idea. He went to hotels by his Virginia home to ask for their shower caps. He left with caps, gloves and face masks.

Watch more of the story below:

Child donates vital medical gear to hospital in Virginia
By Kris Van Cleave
 

National parks open during outbreak cause fears

Even as the public is shut out of local parks across the country, many national parks remain open with crowded trails and little social distancing. Some former park employees and outside groups are demanding a shut down of the entire National Park System.

Dustin Stone, who worked at Klondike Gold Rush Park in Alaska, said he quit his job in protest. 

"I wound up walking out of my job," Stone said.

"I had been in contact with peers at parks in the lower 48 [states] that were telling me horror stories about their parks being overloaded with visitors."

Watch more of the story below:

National parks open during outbreak causes fears
By Chip Reid
 

Trump says he's "looking to see" if he can stop states from releasing prisoners

President Trump said Thursday that he disapproves of states freeing "serious criminals" to reduce congestion in prisons during the coronavirus pandemic, and that he's "looking to see" if he has the right to stop them.

"Some people are getting out that are very serious criminals, in some states, and I don't like that. I don't like it." Mr. Trump said at the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing. "But it's a city or state thing in certain cases, as you know."

"We don't like it, the people don't like it, and we're looking to see if I have the right to stop it in some cases," Mr. Trump added.   

By Victoria Albert
 

18% of uniformed NYPD workforce out sick

The New York City Police Department announced that 6,498 members, or 18% of its uniformed workforce, called in sick on Thursday. The department added that 1,354 uniformed members and 169 civilian employees have tested positive for the virus. 

The department also announced the death of school safety agent Roniece Watson, who died from complications due to the virus on Monday. 

By Victoria Albert
 

Wisconsin won't move next week's primary

A federal judge ruled against postponing Wisconsin's April 7 election but is providing voters an additional six days to turn in absentee ballots. In his ruling, Judge William Conley again criticized Wisconsin leaders for not stepping up to delay the election but said it wasn't within his purview to do so.

"The only role of a federal district court is to take steps that help avoid the impingement on citizens' rights to exercise their voting franchise as protected by the United States Constitution and federal statutes," Conley wrote. "That is what the court attempts to do in this opinion and the order below, understanding that a consequence of these measures may be to further the public health crisis in this State. Unfortunately, that is beyond the power of this court to control."

Thursday was supposed to be the final day to request absentee ballots, but Conley is giving Wisconsin voters until Friday at 6 p.m. ET to place those requests. The deadline to turn in the ballots has been extended to 5:00 p.m. ET on April 13. As of Thursday morning, more than 1.1 million absentee ballots have been requested, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC).

Read more here.

By Adam Brewster
 

Jeff Bezos donates $100 million to U.S. food banks

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is donating $100 million to food banks across the U.S. so they can feed needy Americans as the novel coronavirus cripples the economy. 

"Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly," Bezos said on Instagram Thursday. "Millions of Americans are turning to food banks during this time."

The donation will go to Feeding America, a Chicago-based network of more than 200 food banks that feed 46 million people. Forbes ranked Feeding America the second-largest U.S. charity by revenue. The nonprofit generated $2.9 billion in revenue in 2019, most of which went toward sending food to pantries, according to a 2019 financial report. 

Read more here.

By Khristopher J. Brooks
 

Bodies pile up on streets in Ecuador as coronavirus spreads

The novel coronavirus has ravaged the coastal Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, which has struggled to cope with the number of corpses as hospitals, morgues and funeral parlors have been overwhelmed. Some social media videos show unattended bodies lying on the street with nowhere else to go.

The outbreak in Ecuador has sickened at least 3,100 people, according to John Hopkins' latest data map. The epicenter in the country is in Guayaquil, where residents have criticized the government's response.

Because of the strict quarantine measures taken to restrict the spread of COVID-19, people have been limited in what they can do for loved ones or neighbors who die at home. Some, such as Guayaquil resident Stalin Briones, have been sharing disturbing photos or videos to get attention about what's going on. 

Read more here.

By Christopher Brito
 

Navy removes captain who raised alarm about virus on aircraft carrier

The captain of an aircraft carrier hit by the coronavirus was relieved of his command by the Navy on Thursday for going outside the chain of command and circulating a memo pleading for help from Washington, one which quickly became public.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said he relieved Captain Brett Crozier of command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after losing confidence in his ability to lead under the stress of dealing with the viral outbreak.

"Command is a sacred trust that must be continually earned," Modly said at a news conference at the Pentagon. "As I learned more about the events of the past week onboard the Teddy Roosevelt ... I could reach no other conclusion than Captain Crozier had allowed the complexity of his challenge with the COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally when acting professionally was what was needed most at the time."

Read more here.

25071683323-bc5ac6b90e-c.jpg
Captain Brett Crozier conducts a remembrance ceremony for the 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami victims on March 11, 2016. U.S. Navy / MC3 Cody Hendrix
By Stefan Becket
 

Americans with direct deposit on file with the IRS will get checks within 2 weeks, Mnuchin says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that Americans with direct deposit on file with the IRS will get their economic relief payments within the next 14 days. 

"Within two weeks, the first payments will be direct deposit into taxpayers' accounts," Mnuchin said. 

Mnuchin added that the government will be putting up a "web portal" to collect information from Americans who don't currently have their direct deposit information on file. 

"It is a very large priority, the president has made clear, we want to get this money quickly into your hands."

By Victoria Albert
 

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio urges residents to wear facemasks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday urged residents to wear facemasks but cautioned that wearing one isn't a substitution for other prevention measures.

"We're advising New Yorkers to wear a face covering when you go outside and near other people," de Blasio said at a news conference. "It can be a scarf. It can be something you create at home. It can be a bandana."

NYC mayor urges sick New Yorkers to stay off subways during coronavirus outbreak
By Justin Carissimo
 

231 inmates and 223 staffers test positive in NYC jails

As of Thursday morning, 231 inmates and 223 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus in New York City jails, according to the city's Department of Corrections.

Those inmates and staffers have been asked to self-quarantine. "The health and well-being of our personnel and people in custody is our top priority," the department said in a statement. 

By Justin Carissimo
 

President Trump tests negative for coronavirus

President Trump has again tested negative for coronavirus, according to a memorandum released by his physician on Thursday. 

Dr. Sean Conley wrote that Mr. Trump was tested with one of the new rapid point-of-care tests and that his negative result came back in 15 minutes. "He is healthy and without symptoms," Dr. Conley wrote. 

 

Another BOP inmate dies of coronavirus

The Bureau of Prisons announced Thursday that another inmate has died from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of inmates who have died of the virus in federal prison to four. 

All of the deaths have occurred in Louisiana's FCI Oakdale. But in a Thursday statement, the bureau announced the death of a patient from Ohio's FCI Elkton who may have had the virus, too.  

The bureau identified the latest Oakdale patient as David Townsend, a 66-year-old who was incarcerated on a meth and marijuana conviction. Townsend, who had preexisting conditions, went into respiratory failure on Saturday before he was taken to the hospital, the bureau said.

The Elkton patient was identified as Woodrow Taylor, a 53-year-old who was incarcerated on a cocaine conviction. Taylor, who also suffered from preexisting conditions, was brought to the hospital earlier in the week and died before his coronavirus test results came back, the bureau said. 

By Clare Hymes
 

Ohio extends stay-at-home order

On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that his state's stay-at-home order has been extended until May 1, 2020.

"We understand that this is tough — it is very difficult. But, I would not be making these decisions if it wasn't a matter of life and death," DeWine said in a statement. "We have to keep this monster down. It's not dead — it's very much alive." 

US-HEALTH-VIRUS
A health professional walks out of a drive-through coronavirus testing site at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, on March 17, 2020. Getty
By Justin Carissimo
 

Oprah Winfrey donates $10 million to relief efforts

Oprah Winfrey has joined the growing list of celebrities who are making personal contributions to aid in the fight against the coronavirus. "I am donating $10 million overall to help Americans during this pandemic in cities across the country and in areas where I grew up," Winfrey announced Thursday.

Her generous commitment includes a $1 million donation to America's Food Fund, who are working with Feeding America and celebrity chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen.

Read more here.

By Chevaz Clarke
 

Amazon says all warehouse workers will have face masks by next week

Amazon says it will provide face masks to all its warehouse workers globally by early next week and broaden its use of temperature checks as it tries to slow the spread of coronavirus amid its vast logistics workforce.

The announcement comes 10 days after CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged the company was having trouble filling orders for masks amid a widespread shortage of protective equipment. After workers in several warehouses across the U.S. complained of not having sufficient protective equipment and shared reports of colleagues coming to work sick, the bottleneck appears to have cleared.

"The millions of masks we ordered weeks ago are now arriving, and we're distributing them to our teams as quickly as possible. Masks will be available as soon as today in some locations and in all locations by early next week," Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations, said on a company blog on Thursday. 

Read more here.

By Irina Ivanova
 

French president says he will loosen lockdown restrictions on people with autism

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday, World Autism Awareness Day, that he will loosen lockdown restrictions on people with autism and on families with autistic children.

"I can imagine your worry at this time, the emotions you must be feeling," he said in a televised address.

Macron noted the nationwide lockdown marked a sudden end to the routines that many autistic people rely on by restricting movement and access to family members, friends and schools. Under the lockdown, people are only allowed to leave home for essentials such as grocery shopping and medical visits, and for one exercise period of just one hour a day, within a radius of one kilometer from their home.

"For some of you, staying home is hard, and can cause you anguish," Macron said, as he announced that people with autism will be allowed to go out for longer periods and more often, and will be able to travel farther than 1 kilometer in order to go to places they find comforting.

The president of Sésame Autisme, an association of parents of people with autism, welcomed the move.  

It is expected the new guidelines will go into effect in the coming days.

By Elaine Cobbe
 

Pelosi announces new House committee to oversee coronavirus response

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her intention to create a bipartisan House committee to oversee the federal response to the coronavirus crisis, led by Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the majority whip.

Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference Thursday that the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis would oversee the dispersal of funds from the $2.2 trillion relief bill signed by President Trump last week, and "ensure the taxpayers dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent."

"The panel will root out waste, fraud and abuse. It will protect against price-gouging, profiteering and political favoritism," Pelosi told reporters, adding that the panel will wield subpoena power. "We need transparency and accountability."

Read more here.

By Grace Segers
 

6-week-old baby's death linked to coronavirus, believed to be one of the youngest fatalities

A 6-week-old baby who tested positive for the coronavirus died last week in Connecticut. Governor Ned Lamont confirmed the death on Wednesday, and said that it is likely one of the youngest deaths from the disease "anywhere." 

"It is with heartbreaking sadness today that we can confirm the first pediatric fatality in Connecticut linked to [COVID-19]," Lamont wrote on Twitter. "A 6-week-old newborn from the Hartford area was brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived. Testing confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive. This is absolutely heartbreaking. We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19."

Read more here.

By Audrey McNamara
 

New Jersey cases top 25,000

More than 25,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in New Jersey, officials announced Thursday. 

"We've lost another 182 New Jerseyans to #COVID19, bringing our total to 537 deaths," Governor Phil Murphy tweeted. "537 reasons to stay home and do your part to #FlattenTheCurve."

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

More than 1,000 people in the U.S. died of coronavirus in a single day

More than 1,000 people in the U.S. died from coronavirus in a 24-hour period, making Wednesday the deadliest day of the pandemic in America so far.

Wednesday marked the first time the U.S. reported more than 1,000 deaths from the virus in a single day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — a dramatic increase in the daily death toll. 

Read more here.

By Sophie Lewis
 

Louisiana reports spike in confirmed cases

Louisiana's health department has reported an additional 2,726 COVID-19 cases, which raises the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 9,150.

"While extremely upsetting, this increase in COVID-19 cases appears to be less a sign of new exponential growth and more a sign of a logjam from commercial labs," Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement Thursday. 

He said officials believe the disease is spreading "in every parish in Louisiana."  

"The situation remains concerning, but every Louisianan has the power to change the path we are on," he said. "Think of your neighbors, and please stay at home."  

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Democratic National Convention postponed until August

The Democratic National Convention has been postponed to August, the party announced Thursday.

The move comes after nearly four dozen party officials told CBS News that Democratic leaders should either scale back, postpone or rethink the convention. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, also said Tuesday it was "hard to envision" the event moving forward as planned.

The convention was slated to kick off July 13 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and end July 16, but is now expected to begin the week of August 17. The event, which brings together thousands of Democrats from around the country, will still take place in Milwaukee.

Read more here.

By Melissa Quinn
 

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on his battle with coronavirus: "It's gonna be a long slog"

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, said Thursday that he's "doing pretty well, all things considered."

"This is very tough. I get it now," he said, joining his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, via video during a press conference.

He said he had a fever as he spoke to the governor from his basement, where he is self-isolating while battling the virus, and that he has had hallucinations, including seeing his late father.

"It's gonna be a long slog," he said. "Now that I know the fight that I'm in for, I'm more comfortable."

He also said he can't imagine having to fight it alone.

"We're in a real fight and we really do have to remember our connections to each other because otherwise there would be no way through," he said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and brother Chris talk coronavirus
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

New York has enough ventilators in stockpile for about 6 days, governor says

New York state has 2,200 ventilators in its stockpile, enough for about six days at the "current burn rate," Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. He said the state is still looking to acquire more ventilators. 

"The burn rate of ventilators is troubling, and six days of ventilators in the stockpile is troubling," he said, but added, "we have all these extra measures that I believe if push comes to shove will put us in fairly good shape."

He said the measures include transporting ventilators from hospitals that don't need them at the moment to others that do, using anesthesia machines as ventilators, and splitting one ventilator between two patients. 

"I don't want to say yet I'm confident, and it depends on how many we need, but I can say with confidence we have researched every possibility, every idea. Every measure you can possibly take to find ventilators, this state has done. That I can promise you."

Governor Cuomo: Ventilator stockpile may last 6 more days
By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Death toll in New York rises to 2,373

The death toll in New York state from the coronavirus is now 2,373, up from 1,941 a day earlier, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

More than 92,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the state – more than half of them in New York City. 

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Speaker of Iran's parliament becomes highest-ranking official with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis

Iran's parliament says speaker Ali Larijani has tested positive for the new coronavirus and is in quarantine. Larijani is the highest-ranking official within Iran's government to test positive for the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.

Parliament announced Larijani's illness on Thursday on its website, saying he was receiving treatment in quarantine.

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, speaks with media, during a press conference, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011.
In this file photo, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, speaks with media, during a press conference, in Tehran, Iran, on Monday, September 19, 2011. AP

Iran has one of the world's worst outbreaks of the virus with more than 50,000 cases confirmed by the government and more than 3,100 deaths. Many inside and outside of Iran believe those officially confirmed figures are considerably lower than the true toll, however.

— CBS/AP

 

Pentagon confirms it's working to provide 100,000 body bags to FEMA

The Defense Department is working to provide 100,000 body bags to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Thursday.

FEMA requested the body bags from the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Defense Department spokesman, said the department and the DLA "have a longstanding arrangement with FEMA to procure key commodities from DLA's industrial partners during crisis response operations."

"DLA is currently responding to FEMA's prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies," he said in a statement. 

Read more here.

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Putin extends Russia's business shutdown until April 30 as coronavirus cases mount

President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that the Russian government was extending the nationwide shutdown of non-essential businesses until April 30 to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

The move came as Russian officials reported a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 771 more people testing positive over the last day, bringing the country's total up to 3,548.

"We have not passed the peak of the epidemic in the world and in our country yet," Putin said in a televised address, urging the vast majority of Russians to stay home.

He said that the measures had already bought more time in the fight against the virus. Dozens of the country's regions, including capital Moscow and the surrounding area, have also imposed lockdowns this week, ordering residents to remain in their homes for all but essential outings.

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask rides in a metro train in Moscow
A woman rides in a largely empty metro train in Moscow, Russia, after the city authorities announced a partial lockdown ordering residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus on March 30, 2020. Reuters

Moscow authorities have threatened to impose fines of between about $51 and $6,300 on residents and businesses found to be violating the stay-at-home orders.

-Alexandra Odynova

 

Iranian students try to deliver coronavirus "aid" packages to "unprivileged American people"

A hard-line organization of Iranian college students says it has attempted to deliver "humanitarian aid" including coronavirus test kits, disinfectants, face masks and gloves to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, ostensibly to be delivered to the U.S. The group's leader said the aid was to help the "unprivileged American people" fight one of the world's deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Student Basij is the youth division of the pro-regime Basij militia. Video on Iranian state media showed the student group trying to deliver what appeared to be two truckloads of the purported supplies to the Swiss Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Iran. The embassy refused to receive the packages, but has not said why.

iran-aid-trucks-coronavirus.jpg
Video broadcast by Iran's state-run IRIB news network shows a truck purportedly carrying "humanitarian health aid" supplies intended for the U.S. to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. The embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Iran, refused to accept the April 2, 2020 delivery, but would not say why.  Still from video on IRIBnews.ir

Relations between Washington and Tehran have been strained for months, and Iranian leaders have blasted the Trump administration for harsh economic sanctions they claim are hindering their response to the country's own COVID-19 outbreak.

American officials - and some Iranians - suspect Iran has hidden the extent of the outbreak in the Islamic Republic and exaggerated its capacity to fight it.

Amid shortages of personal protective equipment like masks and gloves for American medics, the U.S. has sought supplies from abroad - including from another international rival, China.

-Seyed Bathaei

 

Human impact on the environment may make pandemics more likely, experts warn

About two-thirds of all infectious diseases in humans have their origins in animals. Scientists say the ability of a virus to mutate and adapt from animals to the human system is very rare, but the expansion of the human footprint is making that rare event much more likely. 

For most people, up until the novel coronavirus took over the headlines, the possibility of a new disease emerging out of nowhere and spreading around the world at a breakneck pace seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. But some members of the scientific community have been sounding the alarm for decades, warning that it was not a matter of if, but when another pandemic would threaten humanity. 

Read more here.

By Jeff Berardelli
 

Bill Gates calls for nationwide social isolation policy to slow coronavirus spread

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has been warning about the threat of a global pandemic since 2015. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $100 million to fighting the new coronavirus

On Thursday, Gates spoke to "CBS This Morning" co-host Anthony Mason in a wide-ranging conversation in which he called for a nationwide social isolation policy to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease and for the federal government to "set the priorities" on testing.  

Click here to read a portion of the interview.

 

After Zoom calls hacked with racial slurs and pornography, CEO admits "mistake"

Hackers target Zoom videoconference calls amid coronavirus pandemic

The FBI is warning about reports of people intruding on Zoom calls with pornographic or hate images. The popular app said its number of users has ballooned from about 10 million to hundreds of millions with people isolated at home under coronavirus precautions. 

But, attackers have discovered Zoom, too, as one Long Island mother found out earlier this month.

Michelle, who asked that her last name not be used because she fears more online attacks, said her 14-year-old daughter was online in an "Ask the Rabbi" class for her private girls' Modern Orthodox high school when some boys "Zoom-bombed" it.

"First, the screens were completely black and they were saying all these anti-Semitic things, cursing them out, saying you f***ing Jews, et cetera," Michelle told CBS News Consumer Investigative Reporter Anna Werner. "And then one boy suddenly stripped and was naked."

Click here to read the full story.

 

Record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

April opened with millions of people out of work and stock markets slumping after the White House this week acknowledged that the coronavirus could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. It's a preview of the carnage to come.

Some 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Department of Labor said Thursday, double the number of applications last week and 10 times the previous weekly record set in 1982. As many as 20 million people could be out of work this summer, according to separate estimates from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute and Bank of America.

"We haven't, in my lifetime, my parents' lifetime, seen this. This is truly unprecedented," said Bill Rodgers, a fellow at The Century Foundation, a think tank.

Over 6 million people file for unemployment as coronavirus crisis deepens
By Irina Ivanova
 

New England Patriots plane flying medical masks to Boston from China

The New England Patriots plane is flying much-needed coronavirus crisis medical supplies to Boston from China, CBS Boston reports. A Patriots spokesperson told the station the team's Boeing 767 went to Shenzhen, China Wednesday to pick up 1.2 million N95 masks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker struck an agreement two weeks ago to acquire the critically needed masks from a "collection of Chinese manufacturers," but he had no way to get them back to Massachusetts.

So he turned to Patriots president Jonathan Kraft — a longtime friend of President Trump — for help. Owner Robert Kraft also got involved, as did the State Department.

 

150 bodies removed from homes in Ecuador as COVID-19 crisis strains public resources

Ecuador said Wednesday the bodies of 150 people were retrieved from homes in the port city of Guayaquil after the coronavirus crisis put a strain on resources.

A joint military and police task force created to deal with the emergency removed the bodies in the past three days, government spokesman Jorge Wated said.

Authorities have not confirmed how many COVID-19 victims were among the 150 dead. As of Thursday morning there were still fewer than 100 confirmed coronavirus deaths in Ecuador, and about 2,750 cases.

Authorities had registered 537 deaths and 20,081 cases across Latin America by Wednesday afternoon.  

— CBS/AFP 

 

Engineer intentionally derailed train near Navy hospital ship in LA for virus response, feds say

A train engineer intentionally drove a speeding locomotive off a track at the Port of Los Angeles because he was suspicious about the presence of a Navy hospital ship docked there to help during the coronavirus crisis, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. 

The locomotive crashed through a series of barriers and fences before coming to rest about 250 yards from the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Mercy on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release. 

Nobody was hurt. Eduardo Moreno, 44, was charged with one count of train wrecking, prosecutors said. 

— CBS/AP

Feds: Man intentionally derailed train near hospital ship
 

Dr. Anthony Fauci to receive additional security following threats

Federal officials are ramping up security for Dr. Anthony Fauci after threats were made against him, multiple officials from the Department of Justice confirmed to CBS News. The increase in security came at the request of the Health and Human Services Inspector General (HHS IG), the officials said.

The Department of Health and Human Services requested that U.S. Marshals deputize a group of agents in the office of the HHS IG to handle the doctor's protection, and the request was approved by the Department of Justice, according to the officials.

The officials did not expand on the nature of the threats, or provide detail on the extent of physical protection Dr. Fauci will receive.

Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses the latest in the fight against coronavirus

Dr. Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is one of the most prominent and respected voices in the nation's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and appears regularly at the White House's daily Coronavirus Task Force briefings.

Although he has occasionally stepped in to correct or dial back claims President Trump has made about the nation's effort to stop the virus, Dr. Fauci has emphasized that he and Trump are working together well.

Asked Thursday on "CBS This Morning" about the threats and pressure he is under, Dr. Fauci told co-host Gayle King: "It's my job. This is the life I've chosen, and I'm doing it. I mean, obviously there's a lot of pressure. I would be foolish to deny that. But that's what I do. I've been through crises like this before. Dating back, you know, 37 years from the very beginning of the HIV epidemic. It's a job to do, and we've just got to do it."    

By Paula Reid
 

CBS News Poll: Half of Americans expect coronavirus outbreak to get worse over next month

Americans are bracing for a difficult April. 

Fifty-one percent say they expect the coronavirus outbreak to get worse in the next month; another 21% expect it to continue as it is now and 28% say they think things will get better in the coming weeks. A solid majority of Americans, 77%, say they don't believe doctors and nurses have the supplies they'll need.

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Marks for President Trump's handling of the outbreak remain mixed and have not dramatically changed from last week, with 51% saying he's doing a good job — down two points since last week — and 49% a bad one.

Click here to read more from this CBS News Poll.

 

LA mayor urges city's residents to wear masks when not home in bid to curb virus spread

The mayor of Los Angeles has urged 4 million residents to wear masks to combat the spread of the new coronavirus when they walk out in public, even as state health officials shy away from requiring the measure

Homemade cloth masks, or even a "tucked-in bandanna," will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the nation's second-largest city and remind people to practice safe social distancing, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday as he donned a black cloth mask to make his point.

"I know this looks surreal," Garcetti said. "We're going to have to get used to seeing each other like this. ... This will be the look."

But he urged people not to use medical-grade masks, such as N95 or surgical masks, which are in short supply and needed for health care workers and first responders.

Health officials clarify guidelines on wearing face masks

— CBS/AP

 

Spain sees record 950 coronavirus deaths in a single day

Spain saw a new record in virus-related fatalities Thursday, with 950 deaths in 24 hours. The total number of deaths in Spain was 10,003 on Thursday.

New coronavirus infections rose by nearly 8% overnight to 110,238, placing Spain on par with Italy, the country that has seen Europe's worst outbreak to date.

Health authorities have been saying the pace of new cases confirmed daily in Spain was dropping from an average of 20% up to March 25, to less than 12% after that date, more than 10 days after Spaniards were ordered to stay at home. 

The government has acknowledged that the real number of new infections could be much higher because Spain only has the capacity to process between 15,000 and 20,000 tests per day. 

— CBS/AP

 

Social Security recipients will automatically get stimulus checks, Treasury says in reversal

The Treasury Department said late Wednesday that Americans on Social Security will not be required to file a "simple tax return" to receive a stimulus check from the U.S. government. The announcement reversed an earlier statement from the Internal Revenue Service that participants in the federal retirement program would need to file such a return to get the funds. 

The IRS directive would have impacted about 15 million people, including millions of seniors on Social Security, who aren't required to file tax returns, according to Chuck Marr, senior director of federal tax policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Seniors who rely on Social Security for their sole source of income don't have to file tax returns. 

By Aimee Picchi
 

China insists U.S. "lying" and shifting blame with accusations of COVID-19 cover-up

The Chinese government is hitting back at U.S. officials and lawmakers accusing it of suppressing and hiding information about the coronavirus outbreak. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday that "the words and actions of individual American politicians are really despicable and immoral" and that they should focus their energies on what they can do to protect their citizens and save as many lives as they can.

"We have said many times that to stigmatize, blame and shift responsibility to others cannot make up for the lost time," she said. "Continued lying will only waste more time and cause more loss of life."

American lawmakers and officials have publicly accused China of a cover-up of the seriousness of the initial outbreak that allowed it to spread more widely, and U.S. officials have told CBS News the American intelligence community believes China has been under-reporting both the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country. 

Aircraft from China with medical supplies arrives in New York City

Hua insisted that China has released the relevant information in a timely manner every day. 

"We understand the current plight of the U.S. and the pressure facing some American officials," she said. 

— CBS/AP

 

Concern mounts in India as first COVID-19 death reported in Asia's biggest slum

A 56-year-old man living in Mumbai's Dharavi slum, the largest slum in Asia, has died of COVID-19.

The victim had no travel history and owned a garment shop in the impoverished area, one of India's most densely populated with about 1 million people crammed into only about two square miles. The authorities have quarantined the man's family and sealed the building in which he lived, which consists of about 300 apartments in a redeveloped part of the slum, according to Indian news agencies. 

Authorities were working to trace and test everyone who had come into contact with the victim for COVID-19 on Thursday. 

Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai
Health workers prepare to shift a man suspected of coronavirus to a hospital at Shahu Nagar in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, during a lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai, India, April 2, 2020. Reuters

The death has raised concern among Indian authorities as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the country continues to rise. There are more than 2,000 cases and 58 deaths from the disease in India so far. 

Maharashtra state, where the Mumbai slum is located, has been the hardest-hit with more than 300 cases. India is currently under a 21-day lockdown that began on March 25. All non-essential business and transport has been banned.  

-Arshad R. Zargar

 

New York City hospitals now too swamped to try to resuscitate many cardiac arrest patients

Paramedics in New York City have been given temporary new guidelines instructing them not to bring any "adult non-traumatic or blunt traumatic cardiac arrest" patient to a city emergency room unless their heart can be restarted in the field, because hospitals are too overwhelmed with coronavirus cases.

EMS workers should now only bring such cases — virtually any adult whose heart has stopped for any reason — to a hospital if there is "a direct order from a medical control physician," or the ambulance crew itself is facing "an imminent physical danger" at the scene. 

The dire directive was issued by the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City on Tuesday. Previously, ambulance crews would have delivered such patients to emergency rooms for further resuscitation efforts. CBS New York confirmed the story, first reported by the New York Post, and CBS News has obtained a copy of the advisory sent to EMS workers.

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Medical workers handle a patient at Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus epidemic in New York City, April 1, 2020. Spencer Platt/Getty

New York City is the epicenter of the U.S. COVID-19 epidemic with at least 1,374 of the total 5,137 deaths in the country as of Thursday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  

The Tuesday advisory took effect immediately, telling EMS crews that, "in the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of NYPD. 

By Tucker Reals
 

North Korea insists it's coronavirus-free

North Korea remains totally free of the coronavirus, a senior health official in Pyongyang insisted Thursday, despite mounting skepticism overseas as confirmed global cases near one million.

The already isolated, nuclear-armed North quickly shut its borders in January after COVID-19 was first detected in neighboring China, and imposed strict containment measures.

Pak Myong Su, director of the anti-epidemic department of the North's Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Headquarters, insisted the efforts had been completely successful. "Not one single person has been infected with the novel coronavirus in our country so far," Pak told AFP.

Nearly every other country has reported coronavirus cases. Experts have said the North is particularly vulnerable to the disease because of its weak medical system, and defectors have accused Pyongyang of covering up an outbreak.

— AFP

 

Ellis Marsalis Jr., famed jazz family's patriarch, dead at 85 of COVID-19 complications

One of the sons of New Orleans jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. says the patriarch of the New Orleans clan that includes famed musician sons Wynton and Branford has died after battling pneumonia brought on by COVID-19. The jazz patriarch was 85.

Ellis Marsalis III said Wednesday his father had been hospitalized while battling the new coronavirus. 

The elder Marsalis opted to stay in New Orleans most of his career, gaining attention when his sons became famous and brought him the spotlight.

Four of his six sons are musicians: Wynton, the trumpeter, is America's most prominent jazz spokesman as artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

— The Associated Press

 

New York City paramedic documents "battlefield triage"

Health care workers are on the frontline of the pandemic. At Jackson South Medical Center, near Miami, staffers started their shift Wednesday with a group prayer, asking for guidance and protection.

In New York City, more than a thousand paramedics and firefighters have tested positive for the coronavirus. FDNY paramedic Megan Pfeiffer shared a video diary of what she calls "battlefield triage" on the frontlines in Queens.

"There's a lot of hospitals that are running low on oxygen tanks and only have the big ones. They are sharing ventilators. We have never seen anything like this before," Pfeiffer says.

Watch more in the video below:

New York City paramedic documents "battlefield triage" during coronavirus outbreak
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