Some states are moving slowly towards reopening their economies while others are moving more quickly to reopen.
A new report out Thursday claims the Trump administration shelved the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s detailed guide for slowly reopening the nation as the coronavirus continues to hammer the U.S. economy.
And the nation is reopening. Shopping malls in Hawaii can accept customers. Construction and real estate operations can resume in Michigan. Montana will permit schools to restart “in-classroom teaching” at the discretion of local school boards.
There were more than 73,500 deaths and 1.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. on Thursday, according to the John Hopkins University data dashboard. The latest daily death toll was almost 2,400, with more than 24,000 newly confirmed cases reported. Worldwide, the virus has killed over 264,000 people and infected more than 3.7 million.
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Here are some of the most important developments Thursday:
Almost 3.2 million Americans filed new jobless claims last week, pushing the total to an astonishing 33 million in less than two months.An ICE detainee in Southern California died from the coronavirus, the first death reported in a U.S. immigration detention center.The meatpacking industry has more than 10,000 coronavirus cases, according to USA TODAY and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting tracking.
Good news to share today: People in Ireland are donating to Native Americans grappling with the coronavirus, saying they were inspired by a 173-year-old act of kindness: In 1847, members of the Choctaw Nation gave $170, which would be roughly $5,000 today, to the Irish during the famine.
What we’re talking about: Coronavirus antibody tests are available around the country. Here’s why they may provide a false sense of security.
Report: White House shelves CDC plans for reopening nation
A step-by-step guide from top federal health officials to help local leaders decide when and how to reopen public places has been buried by the Trump administration, the Associated Press reports. The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team was designed to help faith leaders, business owners, educators, and state and local officials determine how to bring back mass transit, day care centers, churches and restaurants.
Federal public health officials have generally counseled patience in re-opening the economy while the White House has been urging a faster pace, despite no indications the pandemic is slowing nationwide. Agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” a CDC official told AP. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
A person close to the White House’s coronavirus task force told AP the CDC documents were never cleared by CDC leadership for public release.
Trump valet tests positive – but not Trump
A member of the U.S. military who serves in the White House has tested positive for the coronavirus, but President Donald Trump has since tested negative, the White House said in a statement. CNN reported that the person served as a valet for the president and that the individual was tested after starting exhibiting symptoms Wednesday morning.
“We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for coronavirus,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said. “The president and the vice president have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
Four McDonald’s workers hurt in shooting
Four employees at a McDonald’s in Oklahoma City were injured in a shooting after a confrontation with a customer who refused to leave the restaurant’s dining area, which was closed because of the coronavirus restrictions, police said. An altercation took place Wednesday when Gloricia Woody, 32, was forced out of the restaurant, and one employee suffered a head injury, police said. Woody returned with a handgun and fired about three rounds, police said. Three employees, shot and/or injured by shrapnel, and the employee with the head injury were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said. Woody was taken into custody.
– The Oklahoman
Chamber of Commerce sides with insurers on small business losses
Efforts to force insurance companies to cover coronavirus losses faced by small businesses are drawing fire from an unexpected source: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The national organization claims to represent “the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions.” But the Chamber sent a letter to Congress last week claiming that allowing Congress or states to rewrite contracts to cover coronavirus losses is unconstitutional.
“Bankrupting the insurance industry wouldn’t help the situation at all,” said Tom Quaadman, ad Chamber executive vice president.
– Nick Penzenstadler
Treasury wants stimulus payments issued to dead people returned
The Treasury Department is asking people who received a stimulus payment on behalf of someone who is deceased to return the money immediately. Reports of dead people getting stimulus payments started to surface last month when the IRS began making direct deposits of up to $1,200 into taxpayers’ bank accounts.
“A payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned to the IRS,” Treasury said in a statement.
– Michael Collins
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAYWHO warns virus could ‘boomerang’ from poor nations back to rich
A top United Nations official warned of a looming COVID-19 crisis in poor countries that could “boomerang” back to rich nations unless they help contain it.
Mark Lowcock, the U.N. under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said many low-income countries could see coronavirus infections peak in the next three to six months. They will need an infusion of emergency aid to keep the pandemic from decimating their already fragile health systems and struggling economies, Lowcock said.
“No one’s safe until everybody’s safe,” he said.
GOP senators lobby Trump to stop issuing guest worker visas
Four Republican senators asked President Donald Trump to halt the issuance of guest worker visas until next year or “until employment has returned to normal levels.” The senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, argued in a letter dated May 7, first reported by Politico, that the visa suspensions would be “critical to protecting American workers as our economy gets back on its feet.” Trump signed an executive order last month creating immigration restrictions but provided exemptions for agriculture, health care, public safety and other industries.
– Nicholas Wu
Stocks rise despite gloomy unemployment report
U.S. stock opened higher Thursday despite the latest grim weekly employment figures. The Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ composites were all more than 1% higher. Asian shares were mixed Thursday after U.S. stocks fell Wednesday.
Almost 3.2 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department reported today, down from the roughly 3.8 million people who filed claims the week before and the all-time high of 6.86 million applications filed in late March. Still, the latest total means 33 million Americans have applied for unemployment in just seven weeks, a number that exceeds all the jobs created since the Great Recession by more than 12 million.
The 10th Amendment protects state powers and puts a hamper on presidential powers. Here’s how the fight for control is playing out today.
Step away from that antibody test – until you’re sure it’s accurate
Medical experts have some advice for Americans thinking about getting coronavirus antibody tests: Don’t. That’s the recommendation until the questionable ones can be weeded out, and scientists know whether people who have survived COVID-19 are immune from the virus.
Some researchers say manufacturers should stop advertising the antibody tests, for as little as $25, that many Americans are using to decide if they can safely stop social distancing or return to work.
“This is as close to the Wild West as I’ve ever seen in terms of laboratory tests,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “Even the good tests will likely give results that are virtually meaningless.”
– Kevin McCoy and David Heath
Graduates, start your engines: Florida seniors will cross finish line at Daytona
The coronavirus pandemic has spoiled graduation plans for thousands of families across the country, but seniors at two Florida high schools – Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas – will be crossing high school’s finish line in style. They will be taking a lap at the home of the Daytona 500. Each graduate’s family will be allowed one car at Daytona International Speedway, and everyone must stay inside their vehicle. They’ll line up, drive over the finish line to accept their diploma and take a victory lap.
“We’re going to be able to make a memory for all of these seniors who are being robbed of this rite of passage,” speedway President Chip Wile said.
– Cassidy Alexander, Daytona Beach News-Journal
Report: Blood thinners could help more severely ill
Blood thinning drugs could help save some patients who are the most severely affected by the coronavirus, doctors at a New York City hospital reported. The findings from a team at Mount Sinai Hospital could help with a troubling problem that has shocked and horrified doctors treating coronavirus patients around the world – blood clots throughout the body that complicate an already hard-to-treat disease.
“The patients who received anticoagulants did better than those who didn’t,” Dr. Valentin Fuster, physician-in-chief at the hospital, told CNN.
First ICE detainee dies from coronavirus at California facility
A 57-year-old man who was being held at Otay Mesa Detention Center, a federal immigration detention center in San Diego, died Wednesday morning from complications of the coronavirus, according to Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director for San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency’s Epidemiology and Immunization Services Branch.
The man appears to be the first detainee in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to die of complications of COVID-19. He had been hospitalized since late April, McDonald said during the county’s daily coronavirus briefing.
ICE has not confirmed the death to the USA TODAY Network. The detention center has the largest COVID-19 outbreak among any ICE facility in the country, with 132 confirmed cases – or about 19% of the 705 total cases – as of Wednesday afternoon, according to ICE.
– Rebecca Plevin, Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun
California to get $247M refund after failed deal for protective masks
California will be refunded $247 million it paid to a Chinese company under a major deal for protective masks after the company failed to meet a deadline for federal certification of the masks, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said Wednesday.
Newsom announced the contract last month to fanfare, saying California had inked a nearly $1 billion deal for 200 million protective masks per month amid the coronavirus pandemic. Most were set to be tight-fitting N-95 respirator masks, while the rest would be looser-fitting surgical masks.
Millions of the surgical masks already arrived, but the company missed an April 30 deadline outlined in the contract for certification of the N95 masks by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
States reopening: Hawaii, Michigan, Montana take steps toward normalcy
Hawaii and Michigan took significant steps toward reopening on Thursday; some shopping malls opened again in The Aloha State and construction and real estate operations resumed in The Great Lakes State.
Also Thursday, Montana will permit schools to resume “in-classroom teaching” at the discretion of local school boards. Friday will bring the end of statewide stay-at-home orders in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Find the latest news from your state.
Gap Inc. plans to reopen up to 800 stores by the end of this month
Gap Inc. plans to reopen hundreds of stores this month, including some as soon as this weekend, another sign that the economic freeze spurred by the coronavirus may be slowly starting to thaw.
The retailer said it intends to reopen up to 800 locations under its various brands, including Old Navy, Banana Republic and Gap, by the end of May.
A small number of stores in Texas will be back in business this weekend. Like many companies, Gap shuttered its stores amid mandates that all but the most essential businesses close to foot traffic to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
– Charisse Jones
Last SlideNext SlideUSA TODAY tracking: More than 10,000 COVID-19 cases in meatpacking plants
The meatpacking industry hit a grim milestone this week with the number of coronavirus cases tied to outbreaks at its beleaguered plants reaching more than 10,000, according to USA TODAY and Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting tracking.
At least 170 plants in 29 states have had one or more worker test positive for the coronavirus. Some of those workers also have infected others, which is included in the count. At least 45 workers have died. The outbreaks have prompted the closure of at least 40 meat slaughtering and processing plants – lasting anywhere from one day to several weeks – since the start of the pandemic.
The shutdowns sparked meat shortages in some parts of the country and triggered an executive order by President Donald Trump to keep plants open. But more than a week after Trump’s order, closures have continued unabated, the media outlets found.
Federal government has thousands of ventilators for national reserve
Thousands of new ventilators, the life-saving machines in limited supply during the early stages of the pandemic in the U.S., are pouring into the federal government’s reserve. This week was the deadline for the first set of ventilators that President Donald Trump compelled companies to produce after invoking the Defense Production Act on April 2. The move came after coronavirus-stricken patients inundated hospitals and tapped their supplies.
More than 4,400 of the breathing machines had been produced for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategic National Stockpile, according to Stephanie Bialek, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In all, the government ordered 187,000 from nine companies that it expects to receive in batches throughout the year.
– Erin Mansfield
More coronavirus headlines from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press
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