U.S. likely to see 50,000 COVID-19 deaths by weekend



California governor allows hospitals to resume elective surgeries in 1st slight easing of lockdown

California Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxed his stay-at-home order on Wednesday to let hospitals resume elective surgeries, a move that will send many thousands of idled health care employees back to work as the state takes a cautious first step toward restarting the world’s fifth-largest economy.

While only a narrow opening, it was a significant milestone because just three weeks earlier Newsom had the same hospitals preparing for a worst-case scenario that could see them overwhelmed to the point that tens of thousands of additional beds would be needed to handle the overflow of patients. 

California recommends COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people as coronavirus death toll soars

Cases continue to grow in California. But it’s at a manageable pace as the state’s 40 million residents live under a stay-at-home order that has closed schools, beaches, parks and most businesses while canceling things like concerts and sporting events to prevent the spread of the disease.

Newsom’s order took effect immediately and left it up to local governments and individual hospitals to determine how and how soon to resume elective surgeries for heart and cancer patients, among others.  


Americans prioritize staying home and majority worry restrictions will lift too fast

Health concerns still take precedence over economic concerns by a wide margin for Americans in their views on when to re-open the economy — both in what they want for the nation, and in what they’d do themselves. Many say they need to be confident the outbreak is over before returning to public places, and big majorities of all partisans agree the stay-at-home orders are effective.

The health concerns may be so salient that even for those whose finances have been impacted and even for those concerned about job loss, most of them still worry the country will open up too fast.

Sixty-three percent of Americans are more worried about restrictions lifting too fast and worsening the outbreak —than worry about lifting restrictions too slowly and worsening the economy.



Bipartisan support for financial aid for ailing local news outlets amid pandemic

Charges of “fake news” and “enemy of the people” may still emanate from the White House, but at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, there’s a groundswell of support for a news industry that now finds itself grappling with drastic cuts spurred by a loss in advertising revenue thanks to the COVID-19 crisis.

As newsrooms across the country undergo mass furloughs, layoffs and pay reductions, lawmakers on Capitol Hill from both parties are trying to ensure that news organizations large and small, local and national, have access to federal assistance.

“Just like people say, ‘I hate Congress but I love my congressman,’ in a similar way, politicians will say, ‘I hate the media’ but they also very much care about the health and well-being of their local news publisher, because they know the role it plays in the community and the need to get quality and reliable information to the public,” David Chavern, president and CEO of the News Media Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 news organizations in the U.S., told CBS News. Click here to read more.

Senate approves new coronavirus aid package


Almost 50 crew on Italian cruise ship docked in Japan have COVID-19, amid fears of spread onto land

Authorities in the southwest Japanese city of Nagasaki were continuing to test crew members aboard the Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica on Thursday. So far 48 of the 623 crew members on the ship have tested positive for COVID-19. 

All of the crew, except a Japanese translator, are foreign nationals, hailing from about 30 countries. The 86,000-ton Costa Atlantica has no passengers aboard and has been docked in Nagasaki since January 29. It was there for repairs when the first crewman tested positive on Tuesday.

While the company that owns the vessel originally said crew members had been confined to the dry dock area around their ship, immigration records have shown dozens disembarked over the last month, and an additional 40 new workers joined the vessel to start their tours of duty.

An aerial view shows Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica in Nagasaki, Japan

An aerial view shows Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica, which had confirmed 33 cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection, in Nagasaki, southern Japan April 21, 2020. 


Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have been called in to help with testing. The infection cluster is the second such shipboard eruption of cases since 712 passengers and crew were infected two months ago, aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in Yokohama.


As toll nears 47,000, U.S. COVID-19 death rate still climbing fast

The U.S. has recorded at least 46,785 deaths from the new coronavirus as of Thursday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

Each of the past four days has seen more than 1,600 deaths added to that tally. While the most dramatic outbreak, in the New York City region where more than 15,000 have died, has been slowed, there are many states where the number of new cases is still climbing at or near 10% daily.

At the current rate, which shows no sign of changing significantly yet, the U.S. death toll will likely hit 50,000 by Friday evening or Saturday morning. 


A chart provided by the British government on April 22, 2020, compares the death tolls in various countries hit hard by the new coronavirus from the time those nations confirmed their first 50 deaths from COVID-19.

UK government handout


Chinese journalist reappears almost 2 months after being seized amid online reporting from Wuhan

A former state- media news anchor-turned-citizen journalist has reappeared in China after going missing for nearly two months. The 25-year old had posted videos from Wuhan’s front lines during the coronavirus outbreak, interviewing residents and filming funeral homes and college campuses.  

Re-emerging into public view for the first time since February 26, Chinese journalist Li Zehua said he was detained by police and quarantined because he had visited “sensitive epidemic areas.”

The last videos he had posted online showed him being chased by a white SUV in Wuhan, then a nearly four-hour YouTube Live stream of himself locked in his apartment, eventually being taken away by people identifying themselves as police. 

In a new video posted Wednesday, Li said he was treated well, given three meals each day, was able to watch Chinese news and that the police “really cared about me.” 

Journalists documenting Wuhan coronavirus outbreak disappear

Two other prominent citizen journalists are still missing: Lawyer Chen Qiushi, who interviewed people at Wuhan hospitals during the height of the city’s epidemic, and Wuhan native Fang Bin, whose videos of corpses piled up at a Wuhan hospital went viral. 


Mitch McConnell says he’d rather let states declare bankruptcy than receive more federal aid

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he would rather let state governments declare bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic than receive more federal funding. He suggested Republicans should oppose additional aid for state and local governments in future coronavirus relief bills.

State governments cannot declare bankruptcy, but radio host Hugh Hewitt asked McConnell in an interview Wednesday if “we need to invent” a bankruptcy code so that states facing financial fallout from the pandemic “can discharge some of these liabilities that were put in place by previous governors.”

“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” McConnell replied. “It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.” Click here to read more.


Spain’s death toll tops 22,000, third highest in the world behind U.S. and Italy

Spain said Thursday 440 people died in the past 24 hours from the new coronavirus, a slight increase for the third day running, bringing the overall death toll to 22,157.

The country has suffered the third-highest number of deaths in the world from the pandemic after the United States and Italy, with infections now more than 213,000 cases, health ministry figures showed. 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Ronda

A child wears a protective face mask while his sister plays on a ball in the balcony of their house, as they wait for the daily applause in support of healthcare workers during the lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Ronda, southern Spain, April 22, 2020.



Trump targets immigrant visas he’s long sought to limit in new coronavirus proclamation

President Trump on Wednesday signed a proclamation to temporarily suspend certain visas for foreigners seeking to move permanently to the U.S., decreeing that the admission of new immigrants would hurt American workers already struggling in an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 60-day restriction, which will take effect Thursday night, applies to people overseas seeking to become U.S. permanent residents through petitions filed by their family members or employers in the U.S. The order also pauses the diversity visa lottery, a frequent target of Mr. Trump’s ire. Since it restricts family-based immigration, the main way people move permanently to the U.S., the proclamation is expected to block the entry of tens of thousands of people, according to experts. Read more here

Trump to suspend most U.S. immigration for 60 days


New model shows most states should not reopen businesses until end of May

Researchers say most of the U.S. should keep stay-at-home orders until the end of May, later than previously suggested. This comes as protests to reopen the country continue to grow nationwide.   

New model shows most states should not open until end of May


Trump says he doesn’t know vaccine expert who says he was removed after questioning hydroxychloroquine

President Trump said Wednesday that he has no knowledge of Dr. Rick Bright, the Health and Human Services vaccine expert who said he was removed from his post because he insisted on an aggressive vetting of the use of drugs the administration, including President Trump, touted as potential “game changers” in the treatment of COVID-19.

Asked about Bright at the task force briefing, the president replied, “I’ve never heard of him.” 

“You just mentioned a name. I’ve never heard of him,” Mr. Trump told the reporter. “When did this happen?”

The president shrugged and said, “Guy says he was pushed out of a job — maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t … I don’t know who he is.”

Doctor in charge of vaccine research says he was fired over questioning drug touted by Trump


Atlanta mayor says Georgia governor’s reopening of state will be “deadly”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday expressed her disagreement with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to re-open the state, claiming it will be “deadly” for many people in her community.

“It concerns me deeply that we are still seeing an upward trend in our state and we are rushing to reopen businesses,” she said on CBSN.

“What I’ve said is I hope the governor is right and I’m wrong because if he’s wrong more people will die,” Bottoms added. Read more here.

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