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Jun 13
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  • Two cruise ships that have passengers with coronavirus cases and others who have died were granted approval to dock at a Florida port Thursday after nearly three weeks at sea. The Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships, whose passengers on board have become ill, dead or are showing signs of the coronavirus, will be allowed to dock at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Mayor Dean Trantalis said Thursday on social media. The Coast Guard, Homeland Security, state and federal health officials and Broward County reached the decision, Trantalis said. Four people had died aboard the Zaandam before some of the passengers were transferred to the Rotterdam. At least two of the deaths were caused by the coronavirus, ship officials said. “Many residents of our community have been apprehensive about this possibility, fearful that the ships’ arrival here could contribute to the spread of the virus locally,' Trantalis said. “I met yesterday with the president of Holland America to share these concerns. Holland America agreed to a strict set set of protocols if the county decided to allow the ships to dock. They are representing to us that these protocols are intended to protect our community by ensuring there is no contact with local residents.” There are 442 passengers and 603 crew members aboard the Zaandam. There are 808 passengers and 583 crew on the Rotterdam. At least nine passengers have tested positive for the coronavirus and 230 sick with flu-like symptoms. Holland America said 45 passengers who are mildly sick will continue to recover aboard the ship. Ten people need to be taken to a Fort Lauderdale hospital for care. Trantalis outlined the plan for those who disembark: “The vast majority of passengers are not ill and have no symptoms. They will be placed on private chartered buses, taken directly to the airport tarmac and board chartered flights out of our community,' he said. 'A small number of critically ill passengers will go to local hospitals. Others who are mildly ill or have symptoms will be quarantined at sea on the ships until they recover.” Among those on the Zaandam is a couple from Mount Dora, Florida. The son of the man who is on board said his father has been sick with flu-like symptoms on the ship. The Zaandam embarked on a trip on March 7 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the voyage scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on Saturday, March 21. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Boeing has plans to offer buyouts and early retirements to workers in the coming weeks. The aerospace company revealed details of what it is calling “voluntary layoffs” late Wednesday night. “We’re in uncharted waters,” wrote the company’s new CEO, David Calhoun. “We’re taking actions — including offering this VLO plan — based on what we know today.”  It’s been more than a year since two crashes killed 346 people, which led to the eventual grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max fleet. Earlier this year production was halted, before COVID-19 concerns led to a two-week shutdown at production facilities across Puget Sound and other production hubs. Calhoun insisted that commercial, defense and space programs will continue to be a part of the company’s future, while admitting that the size of the aerospace market will be smaller following the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. “When the world emerges from the pandemic, the size of the commercial market and the types of products and services our customers want and need will likely be different,” said Calhoun. Boeing has more than 70,000 workers in Washington and more than 150,000 worldwide.
  • More than one million people worldwide -- including more than 236,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.  Live updates for Thursday, April 2, continue below: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier Update 5:15 p.m. April 2:  The Navy has removed Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the Theodore Roosevelt, according to The New York Times. Crozier raised warnings this week in a memo to his leaders. He said the ship was facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus and he asked permission to isolate the bulk of his crew members on shore, an extraordinary move to take a carrier out of duty in an effort to save lives. Nearly 3,000 sailors aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier where the coronavirus has spread will be taken off the ship by Friday, Navy officials said as they struggle to quarantine crew members in the face of an outbreak. So far, fewer than 100 of the nearly 5,000 sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, now docked in Guam, have tested positive for the virus, but the Navy is moving sailors into various facilities and probably will begin using hotel rooms in the coming days. Navy leaders are talking with government officials in the U.S. territory to identify rooms for the crew members. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, however, made it clear Wednesday that while several thousand will leave the ship, other sailors will remain on board in order to continue to protect the ship and run critical systems. 16 dead at Virginia nursing facility Update 4:25 p.m. April 2: A Virginia long-term care facility with one of the nation’s worst known coronavirus outbreaks announced Thursday that testing conducted on all residents had more than doubled the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to nearly 100 as the number of fatalities increased to 16. The Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in suburban Richmond tested all its residents and staff earlier this week after the virus began sweeping through the facility in mid-March, a time when limited testing supplies and strict policies on who could be tested meant such a response was not possible. Ninety-two in-house or hospitalized residents tested positive, the statement said, up from a total earlier in the week of 41. Only 35 tested negative, and 15 tests were outstanding, meaning approximately two-thirds of the facility became infected with the virus. Of the residents who tested positive, 53, or about 58%, were “asymptomatic carriers showing no sign of being ill,” the statement said. The facility’s administrator, Jeremiah Davis, said in a statement that the findings were consistent with other mass testing studies. “It is also believed that if mass testing were done at other facilities and in communities where there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19, large numbers of asymptomatic and mild cases of the virus would be found as well,” he said. Among the 16 deaths were five over the last 24-hour period, the facility said in a statement. Global coronavirus cases top 1 million Update 3:50 p.m. April 2: The world reached a grim milestone Thursday afternoon when reports of coronavirus infections crossed the one-million mark, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The numbers include 236,339 infections reported in the United States -- the country with the highest number of cases -- 115,242 in Italy and 110,238 cases in Spain. The 2019 novel coronavirus was first detected December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, more than 51,000 people worldwide have died of COVID-19. Most of the deaths, 13,915, have been reported in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins. Passengers on Zaandam, Rotterdam cruise ships to be allowed to disembark in Florida Update 3:45 p.m. EDT April 2: Cruise ships carrying dozens of passengers and crew displaying symptoms of the coronavirus awaited final word Thursday on when they would be able to dock at a Florida port after officials gave their tentative approval and the state’s governor dropped his previously firm opposition. Officials were waiting for a final document, expected to arrive on Thursday, that was required to clear the Zaandam and a sister ship, the Rotterdam, to disembark at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine said on Twitter. For nearly three weeks, passengers have not been able to step on dry land. Four elderly passengers have died on the Zaandam, at least two from COVID-19, said William Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corp., which owns the ships. Nine people have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Burke said. There are 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam, and 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam. The Rotterdam was sent last week to take in some of the passengers and provide assistance to the Zaandam since it was denied permission to dock at ports in South America. About 230 have reported influenza-like symptoms since March 22, including 14 aboard the Rotterdam, while 45 currently are mildly ill, Holland America Line, the company that operates the ships, has said. Coronavirus infections rise above 10,000 in Michigan Update 3:35 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Michigan said Thursday that 1,457 new COVID-19 cases have been reported, bringing the state’s total to 10,791 cases. Officials said 80 new fatal coronavirus infections were reported over the same period. In all, 417 people have died of COVID-19 in the state. Melania Trumps shares well wishes for Canadian first lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau Update 3:30 p.m. EDT April 2: Melania Trump offered well wishes Thursday to Sophie Gregoire of Canada following her recovery from COVID-19. The White House said the first lady expressed “deep appreciation” during Thursday’s conversation with the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for continued cooperation between the U.S. and Canada as they address the coronavirus pandemic. Trump stressed the importance of maintaining strong economic ties following a joint agreement between the countries to ban nonessential travel across their shared border. She and Grégoire also discussed efforts to repatriate Americans and Canadians who have been stranded on cruise ships around the world. Trudeau’s office announced March 13 that his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus after she returned from a trip to London. The prime minister continues to self-isolate at home in Ottawa. Coronavirus stimulus payments expected to go out week of April 13 Update 3:20 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials with the IRS and the Treasury Department told lawmakers Thursday that they expect to begin issuing economic stimulus payments beginning the week of April 13 after Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to help Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Politico reported the timeline was shared Thursday with the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., said the timeline remained subject to change, according to Politico. The bill allowed for some 80 percent of U.S. adults to qualify for stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples. The federal government will also include $500 for each child or dependent. The checks will be deposited using the direct deposit information provided to the IRS for 2018 or 2019 tax refunds. Officials are expected to launch an online portal in the next few weeks to allow for people who have not submitted tax returns to give the IRS their direct deposit information, Politico reported. People who are opting instead for paper checks could have to wait for as many as five weeks, according to the news site. Indiana schools to remain closed through school year Update 3 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Indiana announced Thursday that K-12 schools across the state would be closed for in-person classes through the rest of the school year, according to the Indiana Department of Education. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick announced the decision during a news conference Thursday, WRTV reported. Classes will continue virtually. “All high school seniors on track to graduate before school buildings were closed on March 19 will be provided with the flexibility they need to earn an Indiana diploma,” McCormick said Thursday, according to WRTV. “Our goal is to get you across the stage.' Ohio stay-at-home order extended until May  Update 2:50 p.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio announced that a stay-at-home order issued in the state has been extended until at least May 1, WHIO-TV reported. Health officials have recorded 2,902 COVID-19 cases in the state, 802 of which were serious enough to require hospitalization. Authorities said 81 people have died in the state of coronavirus infections. More than 25,000 coronavirus infections reported in New Jersey Update 2:45 p.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said 25,590 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the state as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Officials have also reported 537 deaths in New Jersey. FDA modifies policies to allow more gay men to donate blood amid shortage Update 2:40 p.m. EDT April 2: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced modified rules to its donor eligibility requirements to allow more gay men and people who recently got tattoos and piercings to donate blood amid a shortage caused by COVID-19. Officials with the American Red Cross have previously said they were facing a severe blood shortage as thousands of blood drives were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In a statement Thursday, Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the FDA will now only bar gay men from donating blood if they’ve had sex with another man in the last three months, down from the previous 12-month timeline. Officials also said they will allow people who have gotten tattoos more than three months ago to donate, also down from a previous 12-month period. Louisiana officials report more than 9,000 COVID-19 cases statewide Update 2:25 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Louisiana have reported 9,150 coronavirus infections in the state, more than double the amount reported three days earlier. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 4,025 cases of COVID-19 and 185 coronavirus-related deaths had been reported statewide as of Monday. By Thursday, the number of deaths had risen to 310. 7-week-old dies of coronavirus complications in Connecticut Update 2:15 p.m. EDT April 2: A 7-week-old child in Connecticut has died of complications from the coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday. The unresponsive infant was taken to a hospital last week but could not be revived, WTNH reported. Posthumously, the child tested positive for COVID-19, Lamont said. “This is absolutely heartbreaking,” the governor said in a Twitter post Wednesday. “We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19.” 67 new coronavirus infections reported in DC Update 2 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Washington D.C. said 67 new coronavirus infections have been reported, bringing the total in the district to 653. Mayor Muriel Bowser said one new fatal case was reported Thursday. In all, 12 people have died due to COVID-19 in Washington D.C. COVID-19 not transmissible through food, officials say Update 1:55 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stressed Thursday that no evidence supports fears that COVID-19 might be transmissible through food, CNN reported. “The food supply remains safe for both people and animals,' Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response, said during a call with reporters, according to CNN. “There is no — and I emphasize no — evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Agriculture Food Safety Director Jeff Warner said in a joint statement obtained Thursday by WPXI that “food is safe.” Grocery stores, food manufacturers, and distributors have been provided with guidance to protect their workforce and consumers from COVID-19, WPXI reported. Reports of coronavirus infections leap above 7,000 in Pennsylvania Update 1:50 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Pennsylvania announced a surge of 1,211 new COVID-19 cases in the state Thursday, according to WPXI. The newly announced cases brings the total number of coronavirus infections to 7,016 in the state, WPXI reported, citing the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Sixteen more fatal coronavirus cases were also reported Thursday, bringing the statewide death toll to 90. Public transit systems to get $25B in emergency funding amid COVID-19 outbreak Update 1:40 p.m. EDT April 2: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced public transportation systems across the U.S. will be awarded $25 billion to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. “This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who depend on them,” Chao said Thursday in a news release. Officials said the funds were made available by a $2 trillion stimulus bill signed into law last week. The money will be administered by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. More than 5,000 coronavirus cases reported in Georgia Update 1:30 p.m. EDT April 2: Officials in Georgia said Thursday that 5,348 coronavirus infections have been reported in the state, WSB-TV reported. A majority of those -- 59% -- were reported in people between the ages of 18 and 59, the news station reported. The cases also include at least 1,056 which required hospitalization. The Georgia Department of Public Health also reported a total of 163 deaths from COVID-19 in the state as of noon, according to WSB-TV. Red Cross trailer stolen from California lot amid COVID-19 pandemic Update 1:25 p.m. EDT April 2: Police are searching for two men suspected of stealing a Red Cross trailer from a lot in Riverside, California, according to the Press Enterprise. Red Cross spokeswoman Brianna Kelly told the newspaper a Red Cross trailer carrying disaster relief supplies, including cots, blankets, first aid kits and a few masks, was stolen March 22. “Maybe they thought there were COVID-19 response items inside,' Kelly said. 'But even with COVID, if we were to have a disaster, we would use these trailers.” The trailer is the second to be stolen in recent weeks, according to the Press Enterprise. Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 50,000 Update 1:05 p.m. EDT April 2: More than 50,000 people have died of coronavirus infections since the beginning of the outbreak late last year, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The numbers include 13,915 deaths reported in Italy -- the country with the highest number of reported deaths -- 10,003 deaths in Spain and 5,316 deaths in the U.S. The 2019 novel coronavirus was first detected December 2019 in Wuhan, China.  The United States has the most number of cornavirus infections in the world with 226,374 reports as of Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins. 760 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in Italy Update 12:55 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Italy recorded 760 new fatal coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the COVID-19 death toll in the country to 13,915. The number is slightly higher than the 727 new fatal cases reported Wednesday, which was the smallest number of single-day COVID-19 deaths reported in the last week in Italy, according to The Guardian. Officials also reported 4,668 new coronavirus infections, slightly less than the 4,782 new infections reported Wednesday. In all, officials said 115,242 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the country. Pelosi moves to set up House panel to oversee coronavirus aid Update 12:35 p.m. EDT April 2: Amid continuing controversy over the best way to rush aid to working Americans, businesses, hospitals and local governments dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she would move to set up a new special panel in the U.S. House to oversee those efforts. Pelosi said Thursday in a press conference by phone that it’s important to have transparency about the massive amount of relief money. “We need to ensure those dollars are spent effectively and carefully,” Pelosi said, adding that Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., would be in charge of reviewing the $2 trillion in aid approved by Congress in March. Reported coronavirus infections top 90,000 in New York Update 12:30 p.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 8,669 new coronavirus infections have been reported, bringing the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 92,381. New York has been the state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo said that as of Thursday, every county in the state had at least one case. “It’s going to march across the country. It is false comfort to say, ‘Well, we are a rural community, we don’t have the density of New York City,’” Cuomo said. “We have counties in New York state where you have more cows than people. ... Upstate New York is a rural community.” Cuomo said that 13,383 people were hospitalized in the state due to COVID-19 as of Thursday morning. The number includes 3,396 infections that were serious enough to require patients be hospitalized in intensive care units. Since New York began tracking its coronavirus cases, 7,424 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, Cuomo said. Democratic National Convention postponed due to coronavirus Update 12:20 p.m. EDT April 2: Organizers announced Thursday that the Democratic National Convention will be pushed back from July to August in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The convention had been scheduled to run July 13-16 in Milwaukee. “In light of the unprecedented health crisis facing our country, the 2020 Democratic National Convention will now be held the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, providing our team more time to determine the most appropriate structure for this historic event,” organizers said in statement posted Thursday on Twitter. 273 new coronavirus infections reported in North Carolina Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in North Carolina on Thursday announced 273 new coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s total to 1,857, WSOC-TV reported. The number includes 184 people who were hospitalized Thursday, according to WSOC-TV. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have reported 16 deaths due to coronavirus. Officials have administered 28,679 tests. Putin extends non-working order through April across Russia Update 12:05 p.m. EDT April 2: President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered most Russians to stay off work until the end of the month as part of a partial economic shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Speaking in a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Putin said he was extending the non-working policy he ordered earlier for this week to remain in force throughout April. He emphasized that all employees should continue earning their regular salaries during the period. Putin said some essential industries will keep operating, and grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. “The threat remains, and experts believe that the epidemic is yet to reach its peak in the world, including our country,” Putin said. New York to begin coordinating with hospitals to redistribute medical supplies as needed Update 11:55 a.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said officials will ask hospitals to complete a survey about what medical supplies they have on hand with the goal to redistribute supplies as needed amid the coronavirus outbreak. “We’re coordinating the health care system like never before,” Cuomo said Thursday at a news conference. Cuomo said officials are asking hospitals to contribute excess supplies to a central stockpile for distribution to hospitals that need them. “Some hospitals have more supplies than they’re using,” Cuomo said. “We’re saying, ‘Don’t hoard supplies.’” New York has the highest number of reported coronavirus infections in the country, with more than 90,000 people falling ill. Reports of COVID-19 top 8,000 in Florida Update 11:50 a.m. EDT April 2: Health officials in Florida announced Thursday that 8,010 coronavirus cases have been reported statewide, up 237 from the 7,773 reports as of Wednesday night, WFTV reported. Officials also reported 27 new fatal COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising the state’s coronavirus death toll to 128. Authorities distributing hoarded medical supplies seized from suspected price gougers Update 11:45 a.m. EDT April 2: Authorities announced Thursday that they are distributing more than 190,000 N95 respirator masks, hundreds of thousands of medical-grade gloves and other medical equipment seized during an investigation into alleged price gouging during the COVID-19 outbreak. Officials with the FBI discovered the supplies, which also included 130,000 surgical masks, N100 masks, surgical gowns, particulate filters and bottles of hand sanitizer, during an enforcement operation on March 30. Authorities alerted the Department of Health and Human Services, which used the Defense Production Act to seize the supplies for distribution to health care workers on the front lines in New York and New Jersey. “This is the first of many such investigations that are underway,” Defense Production Act policy coordinator Peter Navarro said Thursday in a news release. “All individuals and companies hoarding any of these critical supplies, or selling them at well above market prices, are hereby warned they should turn them over to local authorities or the federal government now or risk prompt seizure by the federal government.” Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services will pay the owner for the found equipment at “pre-COVID-19 fair market value.” The supplies will be delivered to the New Jersey Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk dumped amid surplus caused by COVID-19 Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 2: Many dairy processing plants across Wisconsin have more product than they can handle and that’s forced farmers to begin dumping their milk down the drain. That’s the case at Golden E Dairy near West Bend. Farmer Ryan Elbe told WISN-TV they are dumping about about 30,000 gallons (113,562 litres) a day. The coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products as restaurants, schools and food service businesses have been closed. About one-third of the state’s dairy products, mostly cheese, are sold in the food-service trade. The Journal Sentinel reported that Elbe’s cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to pay them for milk that’s being dumped. But like most cooperatives, DFA can only afford to do that for so long. Elbe’s parents started the farm with 80 cows in 1991, an operation that has grown to 2,400 cows today. Amazon to check employees’ temperatures, deploy masks beginning next week, report says Update 11 a.m. EDT April 2: Amazon will begin checking temperatures and handing out face masks for staff members at all its Whole Foods locations and at warehouses in Europe and the U.S. as employees continue working during the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. Company officials told Reuters they would begin checking employee temperatures beginning next week using no-contact forehead thermometers. Anyone determined to have a temperature over 100.4 Fahrenheit will be sent home, the news site reported. Amazon officials also told Reuters its locations will be getting surgical masks by early next week. Michigan suspending in-person classes through end of school year Update 10:45 a.m. EDT April 2: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan on Thursday announced schools in the state would be closed through the end of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Detroit Free Press. “My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19,' Whitmer said in a statement obtained by the Free Press. “For the sake of our students, their families, and the more than 100,000 teachers and staff in our state, I have made the difficult decision to close our school facilities for the remainder of the school year.” The decision will impact about 1.5 million students in Michigan, the Free Press reported. Remote learning will continue for students in the state. Defense Department providing 100,000 body bags to FEMA Update 10:15 a.m. EDT April 2: The Department of Defense is working to fulfill a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 100,000 body bags as the coronavirus death toll rises in the U.S., according to multiple reports. In a statement obtained by CNN, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said the request was being filled in line with a longstanding agreement with FEMA “to procure key commodities from (the Defense Logistics Agency’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,” the statement said. Stocks open higher after early stumble Update 9:55 a.m. EDT April 2: Stocks opened modestly higher on Wall Street Thursday, a day after dropping 4.4%. Stocks had been headed for an even higher open until the Labor Department reported that more than 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, double the record high set just one week earlier. It was the latest sign that large numbers of Americans are losing their jobs as the economic damage from the coronavirus accelerates. The U.S. and other large economies are widely believed to have sunk into severe recessions as businesses shut down the world. The price of crude oil jumped 8% to about $22 a barrel. Still unclear why some COVID-19 patients get sicker than others, Fauci says Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 2: The nation’s top infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Thursday that officials are no closer to figuring out why some seemingly healthy people infected by the new coronavirus develop only mild or no symptoms but others become very sick. During an interview Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show, Fauci said he’s been “puzzled from the beginning” about the coronavirus pandemic. “It is very strange how one individual can get infected and have either mild or no symptoms and another individual could rapidly deteriorate with viral pneumonia and respiratory failure,” Fauci said. “There’s something in mechanism, whether it’s genetic, whether it’s immune response.” Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He said on “Today” that it’s “very strange” how the virus can be “completely devastating” and lead to “viral pneumonia and respiratory failure” in one person and be “absolutely nothing” in another person. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s been working in infectious diseases for almost 50 years but doesn’t “fully understand exactly what the mechanism of that is.' He said finding the answer is going to require natural history studies, which follow people over time while collecting their health information. Officials report 569 new fatal coronavirus cases in the UK Update 9:30 a.m. EDT April 2: Officials in the United Kingdom recorded 569 new fatal COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the country’s coronavirus death toll to 2,921. Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced 4,244 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. In all, officials said 33,718 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in the U.K. New England Patriots jet flying medical supplies from China to Boston Update 9:20 a.m. EDT April 2: A private plane owned by the New England Patriots will land Thursday in Boston with needed medical supplies to help in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports. Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said Thursday that the plane, was carrying more than one million N95 masks from China, according to ABC News. A source told CNN that Baker coordinated with the Patriots and the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, to get the supplies to the state. “Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen,” Baker wrote Thursday. Fauci: There’s still time to avoid 100,000 deaths from coronavirus in US Update 9:05 a.m. EDT April 2: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized Thursday that Americans still have time to avoid the 100,000 to 200,000 deaths predicted in the U.S. from the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s within our power to modify those numbers,” Fauci said in an appearance Thursday on “CBS This Morning.” On Sunday, President Donald Trump said that if his administration can keep deaths from the virus to 100,000, that would be a “good job.” The number was based on a model which showed that “even with considerable mitigation, you still could anticipate between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths,” Fauci said Thursday. “We shouldn’t give up and accept it and say, 'OK that’s going to happen,” Fauci told 'CBS News This Morning.” “We need to push and push with the mitigation to try to get that number lower than the projected number by the model.” Record 6.6 million seek US jobless aid Update 8:40 a.m. EDT April 2: More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus. The job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close across the world. The figure for last week is much higher than the previous record of 3.3 million reported for the previous week. The surging layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April. The unemployment rate could spike to as high as 15% this month, above the previous record of 10.8% set during a deep recession in 1982. Boeing offering employees voluntary layoffs Update 8:25 a.m. EDT April 2: Boeing will offer employees voluntary layoffs in a bid to offset the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to KIRO-TV and CNBC. “We’re in uncharted waters,” the company’s new CEO, David Calhoun, wrote in a memo sent to employees, according to KIRO-TV. “We’re taking actions — including offering this (voluntary layoff) plan — based on what we know today.” Boeing has more than 150,000 employees worldwide. >> Read more on KIRO7.com: Boeing announces it will be cutting workers Global coronavirus deaths near 50K, worldwide cases approach 952K Update 7:24 a.m. EDT April 2: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 48,284 early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 951,901 people worldwide. • The United States has reported 216,722 cases, resulting in 5,137 deaths. • Italy has confirmed 110,574 cases, resulting in 13,155 deaths. • Spain has reported 110,238 infections, resulting in 10,003 deaths. • China has recorded 82,431 cases, resulting in 3,322 deaths. • Germany has reported 77,981 cases, resulting in 931 deaths. • France has confirmed 57,780 infections, resulting in 4,043 deaths. • Iran has recorded 50,468 cases, resulting in 3,160 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 29,872 cases, resulting in 2,357 deaths. • Switzerland has confirmed 18,117 cases, resulting in 505 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 15,679 cases, resulting in 277 deaths. Spain’s coronavirus death toll tops 10K after highest single-day increase Update 6:56 a.m. EDT April 2: At least 10,003 people have died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Spain, the country’s health ministry announced Thursday. The latest figures include 950 fatalities recorded in the past 24 hours alone, representing the European nation’s largest single-day increase since the pandemic began. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, Spain has reported a total of 110,238 infections and trails only Italy in terms of virus-related fatalities where 13,155 people have died. New unemployment claims could hit 3.1 million Update 6:44 a.m. EDT April 2: Economists anticipate an additional 3.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to force business closures, layoffs and financial uncertainty. According to The Wall Street Journal, a record 3.3 million people sought jobless benefits two weeks ago, and the 3.1 million surveyed economists believe filed last week comprise more claims than those which have been processed in the past six months.  British docs receive guidance on parsing out ‘scarce lifesaving resources’ amid coronavirus Update 5:49 a.m. EDT April 2: The British Medical Association has issued new ethics guidelines dictating which patients should be saved if the United Kingdom’s health system becomes overwhelmed by the novel coronavirus pandemic. ]Per the new guidelines, ventilators could be removed from treatment protocols for older patients with a low survival probability if the machines mean healthier patients might survive. 'As such, some of the most unwell patients may be denied access to treatment such as intensive care or artificial ventilation,' the BMA’s ethics guidance note states, adding, “This will inevitably be indirectly discriminatory against both the elderly and those with long-term health conditions, with the latter being denied access to life-saving treatment as a result of their pre-existing health problems.' The guidance note was updated April 1. ‘Unruly’ coronavirus quarantine violators could be shot, Philippine president says Update 3:16 a.m. EDT April 2: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned during a Wednesday address that citizens who disregard the nationwide novel coronavirus quarantine and become unruly could be shot by authorities. Duterte’s remarks came during a televised address, covered by CNN Philippines. “My orders to the police, the military and the barangays: If they become unruly and they fight you and your lives are endangered, shoot them dead!” Duterte said. Israel’s health minister tests positive for coronavirus Update 2:52 a.m. EDT April 2: Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, 71, has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. The health ministry confirmed Litzman’s illness in a statement issued Thursday. Litzman has held the position for nearly a decade. To date, Israel has confirmed 6,092 coronavirus cases, resulting in 26 deaths. Coronavirus pandemic fueling gun sale background check surge, FBI says Update 2:39 a.m. EDT April 2: The FBI reported a record-setting number of gun purchase background checks during the month of March as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the globe. According to data released by the bureau, the 3.7 million checks conducted in March represent a 41 percent month-over-month surge and the most processed during a one-month period since the FBI began tracking the information in 1998. Illinois led the nation in March with more than half a million federal firearm background checks conducted, followed by Texas, Kentucky, Florida and California, CNN reported. Click here to see the FBI data. Boeing preps to offer buyouts, early retirement amid coronavirus cash crunch Update 2:10 a.m. EDT April 2: Aerospace giant Boeing could soon begin offering early retirement and buyout packages to employees as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues pummeling the aviation industry, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read more here. Biden says Democratic National Convention likely to be postponed amid coronavirus crisis Update 1:28 a.m. EDT April 2: The Democratic National Convention will likely be shelved for several months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said during a Wednesday night webcam interview on “The Tonight Show.”The “I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July, early July,” Biden said, adding, “I think it’s going to have to move into August.” The convention is currently slated for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jazz icon Ellis Marsalis Jr., 85, dies from coronavirus complications Update 1:12 a.m. EDT April 2: Jazz legend and patriarch of a musical dynasty Ellis Marsalis Jr. died on Wednesday from complications associated with the novel coronavirus. He was 85. 'Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement, adding, “He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world.”  US coronavirus deaths hit 5,119, total cases top 216K Update 12:20 a.m. EDT April 2: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 216,000 early Thursday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 216,515 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 5,119 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including more than twice the 110,574 reported in Italy and the 104,118 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 1,941 – or roughly 40 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 355 in New Jersey and 337 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 83,712 confirmed cases – or more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 22,255 and Michigan with 9,334. Five other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 8,155, including 171 deaths • Massachusetts: 7,738, including 122 deaths • Florida: 7,495, including 100 deaths • Illinois: 6,980, including 141 deaths • Louisiana: 6,424, including 273 deaths Meanwhile, Washington and Pennsylvania each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections, trailed only slightly by Georgia with 4,748 cases; Texas, Connecticut and Colorado each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Zoom, the virtual meeting app that has become a communications lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic, is addressing concerns many users have expressed over the program’s security. Zoom’s chief executive, Eric Yuan, told readers of his blog that he never expected that the platform would take off so suddenly. The company had 10 million users at the end of December. By last month, it had 200 million. “We did not design the product with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying and socializing from home,” Yuan wrote. But while the program has become the go-to for connecting with colleagues and friends, the company has also been sending user data to Facebook, the BBC reported. Company officials also said it had end-to-end encryption, which apparently it did not. It also allowed meeting hosts to track those who were in meetings. A former National Security Agency hacker found issues, one in which allowed the remote control of webcams and microphones on Macs by hackers, Tech Crunch reported. There has also been an alarming trend where someone will get access to a Zoom video call and either shout abusive or racist comments or share porn. The process is called “zoombombing,” USA Today reported. The FBI is investigating the issues, according to USA Today. Instead of adding upgrades to the program, Zoom is now focusing on fixing the vulnerabilities it has in the program. Tech Crunch reported there were also issues where hackers could steal Windows passwords.
  • A centenarian World War II veteran recovered from the coronavirus earlier this week, then celebrated his 104th birthday. William “Bill” Lapschies tested positive for the coronavirus March 5, KOIN reported. He was one of the first residents at the Edward C. Allworth Veteran’s Home confirmed to have the virus. Since then, 15 residents tested positive and two others have died. Lapschies was isolated in his room after showing symptoms. Staff members, wearing personal protective equipment, cared for him while he recovered. Things seemed grim at one point. “It seemed like he just made this wonderful recovery,” daughter Carolee Brown told KOIN. “We were like shocked that he was kind of sitting in his wheelchair waving at us through the window and we were like, ‘He’s gonna make it!'” After meeting the requirements to be considered recovered, his family surprised him Wednesday for his birthday. “We celebrated his 101 and had over 200 people. So trying to keep our social distancing and do what Gov. (Kate) Brown has asked us to do. But we’re so thrilled he’s recovered from this and we just had to do something for him,” Brown told KOIN. “We hope that this will inspire some of the other people that are going through this. And we’re really excited and looking forward to 105.” How does Lapschies feel? “Pretty good. I made it,” he told KOIN. “Good for a few more.”
  • A sky show may be just the thing we need in a few weeks and Comet Atlas is expected to deliver. A tail is starting to develop on the comet, which is officially called C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS), and it’s expected to be bright enough to be visible to the naked eye in a few weeks, Forbes reported. The tail is made up of dust and gas that glow thanks to the sun. Right now the comet can be seen through binoculars and telescopes as it goes through Ursa Major and Camelopardalis, Forbes reported. The comet was first seen in late December. As of last month, it was as bright as an eighth magnitude star, EarthSky said. Comet C/2019 (ATLAS) will get close to Earth on May 23. It will get close to the sun on May 31, according to EarthSky.