Coronavirus updates: Another 4.4 million US jobless claims, CDC director warns of second wave
Plus: President Trump halts immigration for 60 days. Also, two pet cats -- and more big cats at the Bronx Zoo -- in New York test positive for COVID-19.
Corinne ReichertSenior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended life across the globe. Health care systems are scrambling to control the virus, and governments are instituting strict social distancing measures to flatten the curve. The situation is constantly evolving as COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, rapidly spreads.
CNET has been tracking the outbreak since it was first traced to a novel coronavirus in early January. Below are the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak each day.
Another 4.4 million Americans file for unemployment
In a fifth week of record jobless claims in the US, 4,427,000 people applied for unemployment insurance in the week ending April 18. That brings the total since mid-March to 26.5 million seasonally adjusted applications, according to the US Labor Department.
Until the coronavirus pandemic brought ordinary life to a halt, the number of new weekly claims in the US averaged around 210,000.
The new figures arrived Thursday morning as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US topped 842,000, and the number of deaths was about to reach 47,000. Worldwide, the number of cases stood at 2.65 million and the number of deaths surpassed 184,000.
Trump signs executive order restricting immigration
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday afternoon temporarily suspending immigration into the United States for the next 60 days. "This will ensure unemployed Americans will be FIRST in line for jobs as our economy re-opens and preserve our health care resources for American patients," the White House tweeted.
Cats, tigers, lions in NY test positive for COVID-19
In addition, four tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The big cats were tested after most of them were showing symptoms of illness. The zoo animals were likely infected by an asymptomatic person who was working at the zoo, the WCS said Wednesday.
Second wave could be even more difficult, warns CDC director
Federal and state officials need to use the coming months to prepare for the likelihood that a second wave of COVID-19 could coincide with the start of flu season, said CDC Director Robert Redfield in an interview with The Washington Post published Tuesday. "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," Redfield said, adding that we could have "the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."
"We will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "What happens is how we are able to contain it when it occurs."
California governor says return to normalcy soon is 'unrealistic'
"You have to radically change the floor plans in the schools, in businesses, private-public institutions, large and small. We're gonna have new protocols and procedures, temperature checks, people wearing face coverings across the spectrum," Newsom said. "Once we get herd immunity and once we get a vaccine, then we could come back and flourish and thrive."
FDA authorizes first at-home coronavirus test
The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized the first COVID-19 diagnostic test with a home collection option. Developed by LabCorp, the test involves a nasal swab that can be self-collected and then sent to one of the company's labs for analysis. Test kits will be available first to health care workers and other first responders, said LabCorp, and should be available to consumers in most states in the coming weeks.
White House announces plan to ease restrictions
The White House announced guidelines about how states, employers and individuals can gradually pull back from restrictions imposed to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The Opening up America Again recommendations are contingent on medical factors like waning cases, sufficient testing abilities and hospital capacity for treating conditions other than COVID-19.
"We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time," President Donald Trump said during a daily briefing on the country's effort to cope with the disease. "Now that we have passed the peak in new cases, we are ... starting rejuvenation of our economy again in a safe, structured and responsible fashion."
With many millions of people suddenly unemployed, restarting an economy hobbled by the coronavirus restrictions is a politically important process. But state governors and medical experts are trying to manage the process to avoid new breakouts of COVID-19 even in areas where new cases are declining.
The guidelines reportedly offer a three-phase reduction in restrictions like going to work or restaurants. Even in the third and loosest phase, though, the guidelines call for people to minimize time in crowded areas. USA Today reported on the guidelines, and CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted details earlier.
Before restrictions should be loosened, states should meet criteria like a downward trajectory for 14 days of flu-like illnesses and COVID-19 cases, said Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House's coronavirus task force. It's up to state and regional leaders to move forward with the plans. "We did not put a timeline on any of the phases," she said.
Phase 3 still advises people to wash hands, keep distance from other people, clean frequently used surfaces often and take other actions to try to fight COVID-19. "We know we still have an issue with asymptomatic spread," where people are infected but don't show it, Birx said.
States will have to ensure there is no COVID-19 rebound before proceeding to new phases of the response, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "There are multiple checkpoints of safety," Fauci said.
Over 5.2 million new jobless claims filed in US
In a fourth week of record jobless claims in the United States, 5,245,000 people applied for unemployment insurance in the week ending April 11. That brings the total since mid-March to 22 million seasonally adjusted applications, according to the US Labor Department.
Until the coronavirus pandemic brought ordinary life to a halt, the number of new weekly claims in the US averaged around 210,000.
The new figures arrived Thursday morning as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US topped 639,000, and the number of deaths was about to reach 31,000. Worldwide, the number of cases stood at 2.08 million and the number of deaths surpassed 138,000.
The US is the country with the most confirmed cases -- more than 610,000 -- and the most deaths -- more 26,000. About 3.1 million people in the US have been tested, and nearly 39,000 have recovered from COVID-19.
Trump says US has reached the peak on new cases
President Donald Trump said Wednesday during the White House's daily coronavirus briefing that "the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases. Hopefully that will continue, and we will continue to make great progress."
When a reporter asked what data he based that statement on, Trump said that as many as 29 states are in "very good shape," and that "with few exceptions, every state is either doing better or on the way to do better."
New social distancing guidelines coming Thursday
The White House also said health officials will announce new social distancing guidelines Thursday. Among the changes, CBS News and The Associated Press report their sources say the new guidelines will spell out conditions for who will be able to return to work and under what conditions.
For example, people who are confirmed to have been exposed to someone infected will be allowed back to work if they are asymptomatic, take their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask. The policy, CBS News said, is aimed at people who work in critical jobs.
Trump suspends US funding to World Health Organization
Trump announced he would put a hold on funds from the US to the World Health Organization, pending a review of the organization's actions in the early days of the pandemic. The US provided about 14.6% of the organization's funding in the 2018-2019 fiscal period, according to a WHO statement. According to the Washington Post, the US has promised WHO $893 million during the current two-year fiscal period.
Trump criticized the organization for allegedly not obtaining accurate information about the scope of the problem in China and for recommending that countries not close their borders as a mitigation measure. Trump called the failure to close borders early in the spread of the disease one of the "great tragedies" of the disease's early days.
"The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable," Trump said.
Trump began hinting he might pull the funding the previous week. In response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked Trump not to "politicize this virus," adding, "If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it."
WHO didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's announcement.
California has successfully 'bent the curve,' unveils steps to reopen
California's strict lockdown orders for the last month have been successful in bending the curve, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference. The data models have changed as a result of residents staying at home, he said, adding the news is sober due to a record number of deaths overnight.
Newsom said the state is eyeing reopening. It's regarding six frames of focus "as we make determination of architecting a next phase in this pandemic":
Expand testing, and address the tracking, isolation and quarantine of people, using both tech and a workforce
Maintain protection of the most vulnerable people
Address the ongoing needs of hospitals so they can withstand "potential surges"
Continue working with academia, research partners, companies and universities to ensure they are advancing therapeutics as work towards a vaccine and herd immunity continues over the next year
Make plans for how businesses and outdoor areas can ensure physical distancing when they reopen
Reinstate "more vigorous controls" so enable the state to toggle between stricter to looser guidelines as things change and new data comes in
80M Americans will get stimulus checks this week, says Mnuchin
During a coronavirus task force briefing Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects over 80 million Americans will get stimulus money deposited into their bank accounts on Wednesday. The one-time $1,200 stimulus payments are part of a $2 trillion relief package intended to help people and spur the economy as businesses shutter amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mnuchin said the government aims to distribute most of the funds electronically to keep people from having to physically visit a bank.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is released from hospital
One week ago, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized with a high fever due to the coronavirus and was later transferred to the intensive care unit. But on Easter Sunday, he was discharged from St. Thomas' Hospital in London.
Johnson tweeted a videotaped message from London at 3 p.m. local time/7 a.m. PT. In the message, he repeatedly thanked the doctors, nurses and all the support staff of the National Health Service. Johnson said the NHS "saved my life, no question" and specifically named nurses who stayed by his side the entire time he was hospitalized. He also thanked the citizens of the UK for supporting the NHS by staying home and social distancing.
He "will not be immediately returning to work" based on "the advice from his medical team," the prime minister's office said in a statement.
US has most confirmed COVID deaths worldwide
The United States passed Italy as the country with the world's most confirmed fatalities from the coronavirus. US deaths reached 18,860 early Saturday, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracking tool. Italy's total had hit 18,849.
Global deaths pass 100,000, and US cases top 500,000
By Friday evening, the number of confirmed cases in the US had surpassed half a million.
At 9 p.m. PT, the US cases stood at 501,301, and the number of deaths in the US had reached 18,769. At that point, Italy still accounted for the highest number of deaths in any single country, with 18,849 deaths.
Meanwhile, cases worldwide had reached almost 1.7 million by Friday night, and the death toll neared 103,000.
More than 2 million people tested in the US
During a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, President Donald Trump said more than 2 million Americans have been tested for COVID-19. "It's a milestone for our country," he said. Vice President Mike Pence added that more than 100,000 tests are being conducted each day.
Trump also gave an update on the progress of medical treatments being developed to combat the virus. He said 19 therapies are currently being tested and 26 more are in "active planning for clinical trials."
UK prime minister out of ICU
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of the intensive care unit at St. Thomas' Hospital in London. "The prime minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery," a government spokesman said in an emailed statement. "He is in extremely good spirits."
The latest figures for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims in the US grew at an unprecedented rate for the third week in a row. A total of 6,601,000 Americans applied for unemployment insurance in the week ending April 4, according to the US Department of Labor. The department also reported that the previous week's claims were revised upward from 6,648,000 to 6,867,000.
Altogether in the past three weeks, nearly 17 million Americans have applied for unemployment insurance. Before the coronavirus pandemic crippled the US economy, about 210,000 Americans were filing new claims each week for unemployment insurance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, reiterated to CBS This Morning that social distancing may be flattening the curve of infections. One new model based on the current high levels of social distancing now projects 60,000 deaths in the US, compared with last week's estimates of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.
Pompeo: 50,000 Americans repatriated back to the US
During a White House coronavirus task force briefing on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department has brought home 50,000 US citizens from abroad since Jan. 29. He said they were stranded in countries, including Nepal, Honduras and Peru, because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Americans were evacuated from 90 countries in total, Pompeo said. And there are still more people the State Department is trying to bring back. "We still have several thousand people," Pompeo said. "We're working on it, we chip on that number every day."
Thousands of ventilators and masks being shipped to US states
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that thousands of ventilators from the national stockpile will be sent to states in need. To date, the federal government has shipped out more than 8,000 ventilators, he said, and an additional 10,000 are reportedly "ready to go." The president said another 2,200 ventilators will become available on Monday.
The federal government has also ordered 500 million masks to ship to US states, Trump said. He explained that there were two orders, one of 200 million and another of 300 million, and the shipments are scheduled to begin in May and go through June.
More than 400,000 coronavirus cases in the US
Vice President Mike Pence gave a summary on Wednesday of how many people have been infected and killed by the coronavirus in the US. Of the 1.9 million tests that have been administered, Pence said, more than 400,000 people have tested positive for the virus and more than 14,000 people have died. "It's been a tough week for many of us," he said, adding that New York, New Jersey and Louisiana have seen the worst of it.
Trump: 'This will be a painful week'
President Trump on Tuesday encouraged Americans to do their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but warned that "this will be a painful week" for the country.
During a briefing at the White House, the president and other officials talked about efforts to provide medical equipment to health care workers. Trump said 110,000 ventilators are headed to states and cities with the most need in the coming months.
Trump also said he'll be asking Congress for an additional $250 billion to fund the Paycheck Protection Program, which lets small businesses get loans. The program is part of the broader $2 trillion economic relief package and was originally set to have $350 billion.
During the briefing, the president also criticized the World Health Organization's response to the pandemic and said he would consider ending funding to the group.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged, was reopened on Wednesday after being sealed off since January, reported The New York Times. The lockdown ended as only three new cases were reported in the city in the past three weeks, according to the Times. People are now reportedly allowed to leave the city after showing authorities, using a government-sanctioned phone app, that they aren't a contagion risk.
Tough restrictions on individuals and businesses are still in place in Wuhan, according to the Times, and schools remain closed. Officials also reportedly continue to urge everyone to stay home as much as possible.
Pompeo: 45,000 Americans evacuated from other countries
During a press briefing Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department has helped more than 45,000 citizens return to the US amid the coronavirus outbreak. Americans have been evacuated from 75 countries on more than 460 flights, Pompeo said, adding that some of the efforts "could be pulled from a Hollywood script."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly stable
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved into intensive care Monday evening, Number 10 Downing Street spokesperson confirmed via email. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will be deputizing on his behalf where necessary after being asked by the prime minister.
"Since Sunday evening, the Prime Minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas' Hospital in London," the spokesperson said. "Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital."
President Donald Trump offered his best wishes to the prime minister during his daily press conference.
"Americans are all praying for his recovery," Trump said. "He's been a really good friend. He's been really something very special, very strong -- resolute, he doesn't quit, doesn't give up."
US deaths reach 10,000
Coronavirus deaths in the US have surpassed 10,000, according to tracking numbers from John Hopkins. As of 11:30 a.m. PT Monday, COVID-19 fatalities in the US sat at 10,335 with 347,000 cases nationwide. By comparison, deaths in Italy number 16,523, deaths in Spain are at 13,169, deaths in France number 8,093, deaths in the UK are at 5,383, deaths in Iran are at 3,739 and fatalities in China are at 3,335.
Israel on lockdown
A country-wide lockdown will begin in Israel on Tuesday until April 10. Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu imposed a 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew on April 8 to ensure that people stay home for the Seder as Passover begins at sundown.
Social distancing may be working
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top expert on infectious disease and member of the coronavirus task force, offered a bit of hope in the battle against the coronavirus at the White House press conference Monday. He said the extraordinary social distancing measures that Americans have undertaken seems to be having an effect, as hotspots like New York City may soon reach their peak of infections and deaths. He cited Governor Andrew Cuomo, who noted on Monday, that the number of hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units over the past three days has started to level off.
"Everybody who knows me knows I'm conservative about making projections," he said. "But those are the kind of good signs that you look for."
Still, Fauci cautioned about "claiming victory prematurely." But he said these reductions could mean that more good news is on the way. "That's the first thing you see when you start to see the turnaround."
He added that "despite all the suffering and the death that has occurred, what we have been doing has been working."
As for when American life may get back to normal, Fauci said that is unlikely until there is a vaccine that is widely available. He added that getting back to regular societal functions will have to happen gradually.
Also, during the press conference President Trump said that the US has completed 1.7 million tests for the coronavirus in the US. That number is up significantly from the figure given on Friday, which was 1.4 million tests completed.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a White House briefing that mitigation efforts like social distancing are helping in the country. "As sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference," Fauci said.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started testing for antibodies to see if healthy people previously had the coronavirus, The New York Times reported. The tests could help the agency better understand the virus and its spread, indicating how prevalent the virus has been and whether a significant number of people have had it without actually getting sick, the Times said. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have topped 305,000 in the states as of Saturday afternoon Pacific Time, with more than 8,000 deaths, according to the virus-tracking dashboard put together by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
Shifts in Europe
Spain moved past Italy as the European country with the largest number of coronavirus infections: 124,870 Spanish cases versus 124,630 Italian infections as of Saturday afternoon Pacific Time, according to the Hopkins tracking tool. Spain said it would extend its countrywide lockdown until April 25. Meanwhile, some officials in Italy are considering the idea of measuring virus antibodies in people's blood when it eventually comes time to decide who gets to leave lockdown and return to work, The New York Times reported. Such antibodies are a possible sign of immunity.
On Saturday, authorities in Italy, the first country in Europe to announce a nationwide lockdown, on March 9, said the number of coronavirus patients in hospital intensive care units had fallen for the first time, a positive sign. France also had a bit of good news, saying that the rate of coronavirus admissions to ICUs has been slowing. Still, the country's director general of health urged people to "stay at home to save lives," saying that "now is not the time to relax the effort." Across the channel, the UK reported that 708 coronavirus deaths had occurred there overnight, a record for the country.
CDC recommends masks worn outside at all times
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people in the states wear a mask whenever they're outside their homes, President Trump announced Friday afternoon. The CDC says people should use a basic cloth or fabric mask that can be washed and reused, and should leave medical or surgical grade masks for health workers. But Trump emphasized that it's a voluntary recommendation, and he doesn't want to wear one.
"With the masks it's going to be really a voluntary thing … I'm choosing not to do it," Trump said. "It may be good, probably good ... maybe I'll change my mind."
Trump added during Friday's briefing that he's leaving stay at home orders up to each state's governor, with Vice President Mike Pence saying the task force is continuing to target outbreaks in Detroit, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans, as well as in New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Coronavirus treatment will be free for everyone in the US, Pence said, and 1.4 million tests have now been performed across the country. Trump has also invoked the Defense Production Act to prohibit the export of medical equipment to other countries.
The federal stimulus payment will be directly deposited into millions of bank accounts by April 15, the Treasury Department said. However, the Associated Press says people without direct deposit information might not get paid until mid August or later.
Americans aren't doing enough to flatten the curve
Dr. Deborah Birx, a doctor advising the administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, noted that the curve depicting infections over time in parts of the US has been steep, which indicates the coronavirus isn't under control. That's because not everyone is following recommendations to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, stay at least six feet apart and wash their hands. People falling sick now were infected after the US issued those guidelines, Birx said.
"We're all trying to protect each other, and we have to adapt to this new reality we're in right now," she added. "Trying really, really hard for this next 28 days ... will make a tremendous difference."
The US will likely recommend everyone wear masks
Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says members of the general public don't need to wear face masks unless they're sick or caring for someone who is ill. But many outbreaks and infections are being caused by people who are infected but show no symptoms.
Vice President Mike Pence said new mask-wearing guidelines could be issued in the next several days. It's likely the new recommendation will say that all people should wear cloth masks outside their homes, whether they're sick or not. At the same time, people wearing masks should exercise the same caution and social distancing steps as if they weren't wearing masks.
The president to announce plans to pay for uninsured coronavirus patient care
The White House has declined to re-open Obamacare health coverage enrollment to help people afford medical bills without going bankrupt. Instead, Pence on Thursday said President Trump will soon announce plans to directly reimburse hospitals for expenses related to uninsured coronavirus patients. The money likely will come from a $100 billion fund set up to help hospitals during the pandemic, Pence said. He said Trump will make a decision about the plan on Friday.
In addition to using the legislation last week to compel GM to make ventilators, Trump has announced invoking the Act to ensure manufacturers including General Electric, Hill-Rom, Medtronic, ResMed, Royal Philips, and Vyaire Medical can "secure the supplies they need to build ventilators needed to defeat the virus." More than 100,000 ventilators are being built right now or soon to be started, Trump said during the White House coronavirus task force briefing. 3M is also working on face masks as part of the Defense Production Act, and GM will begin production of ventilators "very soon," Trump added.
The new figures for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims in the US grew at a jaw-dropping rate in just one week. A total of 6,648,000 Americans applied for unemployment insurance in the week ending March 28, according to the US Department of Labor.
That figure blows away last week's record-breaking 3.3 million initial claims. And they both look nothing like the figures from earlier in March before the brunt of the pandemic hit the US economy. For the week ending March 14, the number of new claims was 282,000.
As the unemployment figures were released on Thursday morning, the number of US coronavirus cases had topped 216,000. And the number of deaths in the US had surpassed 5,100.
Watch this: Coronavirus lockdown: Why social distancing saves lives
More states announce lockdown as US cases hit 200,000
As of 2:00 p.m. PT, there were more than 200,000 cases in the US.
White House warns of heavy possible death toll in US
As many as 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus pandemic even with measures like social distancing, a model presented by the White House showed. But the model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, is based on data from Italy, New York and New Jersey, which have suffered serious outbreaks, and doesn't necessarily reflect what will happen elsewhere. "Models are only as good as the assumptions you put into them. As we get more data, you put it in, and that might change," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The dire projections would come to pass if there were major outbreaks in big cities like Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles, said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator. "I don't believe that's going to happen," she said, basing her view on early favorable developments in cities like Seattle and Los Angeles. Even in Italy, "they're beginning to turn the corner in terms of new cases."
Even with social distancing showing some positive results, though, President Trump warned it's "going to be a very bad two or three weeks." The US federal government has nearly 10,000 ventilators, a key piece of medical equipment for treating the respiratory problems caused by COVID-19, but it's withholding most of them now. The government has sent 400 to Michigan, 300 to New Jersey, 150 to Louisiana and 50 to Connecticut, Vice President Mike Pence said. Another 450 each are being sent now to New York and Illinois.
US deaths outnumber China's
The US, Italy, Spain and France all have more deaths than China, according to tracking numbers from John Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. As of 2:00 p.m. PT on March 31, Italy is sitting at 12,428 deaths; Spain at 8,269 deaths; the US at 3,606 deaths; France at 3,532 deaths; and China at 3,309 deaths.
Apple reportedly planning to pay hourly contractors
Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor and brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he's been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is quarantined and working from his home basement. "I will do my shows from here," he wrote in a statement. "We will all beat this by being smart and tough and united." Andrew Cuomo has been a highly visible figure in the crisis and Chris Cuomo has covered the pandemic extensively on his daily news show, Cuomo Prime Time.
PC sales double as people work from home
PC sales have doubled compared to this time last year, according to data from analyst firm NPD Group. Computer monitor sales are up twofold, mice and keyboard sales have grown by 10% and notebook sales are also up 10%. "Even as we are all stuck in our homes, sheltering in place or under quarantine, work demands continue," Stephen Baker, VP and industry advisor of NPD's Technology and Mobile, said. "The shift to working from home has also breathed new life into categories that were in decline, such as web cameras."
States extend lockdown orders
With the federal social distancing guidelines extended through the end of April, several states and counties have announced longer lockdowns for residents.
In an effort to prevent clogging plumbing during the coronavirus, the US Environmental Protection Agency is urging people to only flush toilet paper. "Preventable toilet and sewer backups can pose a threat to human health and present an extra challenge to our water utilities," EPA said. "Flushing anything other than toilet paper, including disinfecting wipes, can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems."
US crosses testing milestone
The US has tested 1 million samples for the coronavirus and has ramped up its testing capacity to 100,000 samples a day, US President Trump said at the White House's daily briefing. The administration also said that the US has developed 20 different emergency testing options and that tomorrow Abbott Laboratories will begin shipping a rapid test that can return a positive result in as quickly as five minutes.
Federal guidelines extended to April 30
President Trump has extended federal guidelines advising social distancing to the end of next month. The guidelines ask Americans who are older or have underlying health conditions to stay home, as well as anyone who is sick. The guidelines were released on March 16 and were originally expected to last 15 days.
Last week, Trump had said he would like to see people attending services on Easter, which falls on April 12. At a press conference announcing the extension of the guidelines, Trump said his comments about packing churches for the holiday were "an aspiration." Based on current models, he added, ending the guidelines now could lead to a situation where death numbers go down and then spike up again. "We don't want that to happen," Trump said.
Later Saturday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instead issued a domestic travel advisory, urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut not to travel for 14 days. This unusual move led Trump to tweet that a "quarantine will not be necessary."
Separately, Cuomo said the death toll in the state had reached 728, with the total number of cases climbing above 52,000. New York City itself has over 29,000 cases, with more than 500 deaths as of Saturday morning, officials said. Cuomo also tweeted that New York would move its presidential primary to June 23. It was originally set for April 28.
Tragic new milestones
Two days ago, the US reached 1,000 deaths due to coronavirus. On Saturday, that figure crossed 2,000. And a baby in Chicago became the first infant in the US to die from coronavirus, according to CNN.
Under an emergency-use authorization, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a coronavirus test that can offer results within minutes. "You can get a positive result in five minutes and a negative result in 13 minutes. You can walk into a clinic and literally get results while you are there," an executive at Abbott Laboratories, which developed the test, told Reuters. Abbott said it plans to begin distributing the test next week and will increase manufacturing to 50,000 tests per day, the news agency reported. A week ago, the FDA approved a coronavirus test with a detection time of about 45 minutes.
US hits 100,000 cases
After surpassing China on Thursday, the US now has more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases. According to tracking numbers from Johns Hopkins University, the US is sitting at around 101,657 cases as of 3:30 p.m. PT. Italy has overtaken China in the last 24 hours, at 86,498 cases compared with China's 81,897.
Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to force General Motors to make ventilators, he said during a coronavirus task force briefing. It came after Trump tweeted earlier Friday that GM must "start making ventilators now." After signing agreements with other private companies, Trump said there'll be 100,000 more ventilators in the next 100 days -- and said any excess units will be given globally to countries that need them most.
Boeing is also pitching in, and will make thousands of plastic face shields each week and supply three planes to carry supplies, Trump said.
US House passes $2 trillion stimulus package
The House of Representatives approved a $2 trillion relief bill meant to respond to economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The bill expands unemployment insurance, provides direct payments to many Americans and includes hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for businesses and for local and state governments.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced. The 55-year-old has been displaying mild symptoms since Thursday, but will remain in charge of the government's handling of the crisis, his office stated.
"I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus," Johnson said in a tweet, which included his video tribute to the UK's National Health Service.
Within hours, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced his positive test.
Trump pushes new guidance as US tops global cases
The US now has the most coronavirus cases globally at around 82,400, surpassing China's 81,700. Trump called it "a tribute to our testing." The president said he spoke with the governors of all 50 states and US territories on his idea to classify counties as either low, medium and high risk in an effort to update guidance on social distancing. "Our country has to go back to work," he said during a White House coronavirus task force briefing.
Trump also spoke to G20 world leaders, including Germany, Australia, Russia, China, Japan, India and Saudi Arabia, as well as organizations like the UN, European Commission, WHO, World Bank and the IMO, to discuss how each are dealing with the pandemic.
Initial jobless claims surpass anything in US history
"In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level," the Labor Department said. "This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982."
Worldwide, the number of deaths has hit 21,100 and the number of cases has topped 463,000.
US Senate passes $2 trillion stimulus package
The Senate passed a sweeping $2 trillion aid package 96-0 on Wednesday night. Four senators were absent because they have either tested positive for coronavirus or are self-isolating. The House may pass the legislation this week on a voice vote, allowing representatives to remain away from the Capitol as fears of infection rise. According to CBS News, the package includes:
Direct payments of $1,200 to most adults making up to $75,000, or $2,400 for couples making up to $150,000. Each dependent child increases the amount by $500. The amount decreases for individuals with incomes above $75,000, and payments cut off for those above $99,000.
Expanded unemployment benefits that boost the maximum benefit by $600 per week and provide laid-off workers their full pay for four months. Eligibility is extended to independent contractors and the self-employed.
$130 billion for hospitals.
Hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for businesses and for local and state governments.
Apple donates millions more masks worldwide
Apple CEO Tim Cook provided an update on the tech giant's efforts to help the world through COVID-19, saying Apple has now "sourced, procured and is donating 10 million masks to the medical community in the United States." This is in addition to "millions more" donated to the hardest hit European regions. "Our ops teams are helping to find and purchase masks from our supply chain in coordination with governments around the world," Cook tweeted.
1 million Californians have filed for unemployment in the last 12 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. He added California has now distributed 24.5 million N95 masks, and has ordered 100 million new masks. Newsom also secured commitments from Wells Fargo, Citi, JPMorgan and US Bank to waive mortgage payments for the next 90 days for people impacted by the coronavirus. Bank of America only agreed to a 30-day period.
Prince Charles tests positive, self-isolates in Scotland
Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a spokesperson for the royal family. He's been "displaying mild symptoms" of COVID-19 but is otherwise in good health and working from home, his office said in a statement.
His wife, Camilla, has tested negative, and the couple is self-isolating at home in Scotland.
"It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks," his office said.
Charles last saw his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on March 12, the BBC reported, but the 93-year-old British monarch "remains in good health."
Senate, White House agree on $2 trillion stimulus package
US senators and the White House reached a deal to deliver a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package, according to The New York Times. The stimulus bill is the largest in US history and is expected to provide financial aid to individuals as well as struggling businesses. A Senate vote is expected Wednesday.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal," said Eric Ueland, White House legislative affairs director, at approximately 10 p.m. PT Tuesday.
The legislation, according to The Washington Post, will send many American adults $1,200 and children around $500. It will also boost small businesses with a $367 billion loan program, and hospitals are set to receive $150 billion in funding.
India in total lockdown
The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, ordered the entire country -- 1.3 billion people in total -- to stay home for 21 days starting March 25. The extreme measures were announced late Tuesday, with Modi stating that "the only option is social distancing, to remain away from each other. There is no way out to escape from coronavirus besides this."
Worldwide cases are approaching 420,000, but India has so far reported just over 500 cases, with 10 deaths.
Apple donates 9 million masks
Vice President Mike Pence said 9 million masks have now been donated by Apple. The remarks came during a White House briefing Tuesday afternoon, where Trump added that coming soon to hospitals around the nation are medical supplies including 8 million respirators, 14 million masks, 2.4 million face shields, 1.9 million surgical gowns, 13.5 million gloves and more than 4,000 ventilators.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said randomized tests are being done on a number of drugs, which are "queueing up to go to clinical trial."
Trump hopes to have US open by Easter
During a town hall hosted by Fox News on Tuesday, President Trump said he would love to have the US "opened up and raring to go by Easter," which is on April 12. The president added that people will still have to practice social distancing, but reiterated that the cure cannot be worse than the problem.
"I gave it two weeks and we'll assess at that time," said Trump, referencing his 15-day timeline to slow the spread. "But we have to open this country up."
Speaking further on the Easter plan during the White House briefing Tuesday afternoon, Trump conceded that some sections of the country may have to be opened one at a time.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed
The Olympic Games, originally set for this summer in Tokyo, have been postponed due to the coronavirus. In a joint statement Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said the decision was made to protect athletes and everyone else involved in the sporting event.
The Games will be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but no later than summer 2021, said the IOC. The Olympic flame will remain in Japan, and event leaders say they hope it will serve as a "light at the end of the tunnel" for the world.
Trump says US will be open for business 'soon'
During a White House briefing, President Trump said the US "wasn't built to be shut down," and he is hoping local data can be used to advise areas of when they can "cautiously" resume normal activities. "America will be open for business a lot sooner than three or four months," the president said. "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself."
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said self-collected nasal swabbing is going to be made available later this week at clinics and drive-through sites. Birx added around 250,000 people have been tested in the last week.
Also during the press conference, Attorney General William Barr said people hoarding essential medical supplies like face masks and hand sanitizer will "hear a knock at the door." New laws prohibit both hoarding and price gouging.
The UK is on lockdown
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a lockdown for the UK starting Monday night, with gatherings of more than two people banned unless they're from the same household, and all non-essential stores and most public places closing. People are allowed to leave home only for essential shopping, medical needs, one form of exercise per day and travel to and from work only when absolutely necessary.
"From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home," Johnson said. Visiting friends and family from other households is banned. Police have been given the power to enforce the new rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Amazon will be delivering and picking up coronavirus test kits in Seattle, with the program part of the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) backed by the Gates Foundation. If a person tests positive after the test kit is analyzed, they will be contacted by a health care worker. "Responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis must be a community effort and requires support from both the private and public sectors," Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care, said. "We ... are eager to leverage Amazon Care's infrastructure and logistics capabilities to support this local effort."
US surgeon general warns things will get worse
Dr. Jerome Adams, the US surgeon general, warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak in the US will get worse before it gets better. "We really need everyone to understand this is serious, to lean into what they can do to flatten the curve," Adams told CBS This Morning. He added that it will be awhile before "life gets back to normal" and stressed that Americans must take steps "right now" to help stop the spread.
Congressman with coronavirus hospitalized
Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, was hospitalized on Friday after experiencing a "severe shortness of breath." McAdams said Sunday that he's feeling better and expects to be released once doctors determine it's appropriate. In his message, the Democratic congressman also urged people to follow advice from the CDC and Utah Department of Health to stop the spread of the virus.
Weinstein reportedly tests positive
Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Deadline. Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in March on sexual assault and rape charges and recently transferred to Wende Correctional Facility in New York. Deadline reports he has been placed in medical isolation, but public relations representatives of Weinstein have no knowledge of the positive diagnosis.
GameStop backflips on decision to stay open
Days after defending its decision to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, claiming it was providing "essential retail," video game giant GameStop is closing stores to customers. It will allow curb-side pickups and continue to handle online orders.
"This is an unprecedented time and each day brings new information about the COVID-19 pandemic," George Sherman, GameStop's CEO, said in a press release announcing the change. "Our priority has been and continues to be on the well-being of our employees, customers and business partners."
Australian lockdown measures in place
The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that stricter lockdown measures will now be enforced and that the country's pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms and other "nonessential" services will be shut from midday on Monday, March 23. Morrison also requested all Australians stay home unless travel is essential.
"Those holidays that you may have been planning to take interstate over the school holidays are canceled," Morrison noted in a press briefing on March 22.
Australia's states and territories have also begun closing borders and will enforce 14-day quarantines for any domestic travelers. South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all announced any incoming travelers would be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival by air, land or sea.
Another sport gets postponed: Australian Rules Football
In light of the new lockdown measures in Australia, the Australian Football League -- the country's preeminent professional sporting competition -- has decided to postpone the season indefinitely. The AFL had planned to forge ahead with the first round of the season, playing in empty stadiums, but the new measures have made playing on untenable.
Gillon McLachlan, AFL CEO, said it would be an understatement to call the coronavirus pandemic "the most serious threat to our game in 100 years." At the earliest, the AFL will continue its season in June, but a decision on its fate will not be made until the end of April.
Rand Paul tests positive
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican of Kentucky, has tested positive for coronavirus. In a tweet Sunday, Paul's account revealed the results and is in quarantine. According to the tweet, Paul is "asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events," with a followup tweet noting that his staff has been operating remotely and that he "expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends."
Paul is the first US senator to test positive for the virus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel in quarantine
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has entered quarantine after being told that a doctor who gave her a pneumonia vaccine Friday has tested positive for coronavirus. According to the Associated Press, Merkel was put into quarantine shortly after a press conference on Sunday where she announced some "new measures to curb the spread of the virus." The country has added a ban on gatherings of more than two people in a bid to slow the pandemic.