How does coronavirus enter the body, and why does it become fatal for some compared to just a cough or fever for others?


More than 100 people in Indiana have died from coronavirus as of Friday, according to the state’s daily tally of cases and deaths. The state Friday reported 408 new cases, for a total of 3,437.

Friday’s increase of 24 reported deaths, for a total of 102 deaths, represents the largest day-over-day rise so far.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is holding a press conference on the state’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. Watch live here:

State health officials have said, however, that because of a lag in test results, not all newly reported deaths have necessarily occurred in the past day or even two.

According to the state dashboard, six people died yesterday. Late last week saw the highest number of daily deaths so far, with 10 people passing away each day from March 26th through 28th.

Marion County, which has a total of 1,429 cases, saw nine new deaths reported Friday with 33 total coronavirus deaths. While Marion County had the most new reported cases with 126, that number was significantly less than the previous day’s new case tally of 192.

Lake County surpassed Hamilton County for the second highest number of cases. It had 244 cases with seven deaths, one new, compared with Hamilton’s 220 cases and four deaths.

Hendricks and Johnson Counties were the only others with more than 100 cases, with 138 and 136 cases respectively.

Fayette, Decatur and Franklin counties in the southeastern part of the state have seen more than a dozen deaths between them. Madison County has had seven deaths.

About two-thirds of the state’s deaths have occurred in those over 70. About 60 percent of those who have died have been men.

At Thursday’s press briefing, state health officials said that more than 700 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

About 40% of intensive care unit beds in the state were available. Of the beds being used, about half were being used by COVID-19 patients. 

More than 1,500 new test results were reported to the state health department for a total of 17,835, compared with Thursday’s 16,285.

— Shari Rudavsky

Teddy Bear hunts make for fun outdoor activity

In recent weeks, neighborhoods in cities around the world have participated in teddy bear hunts, encouraging residents to place their favorite stuffed teddy in the front window of their home as part of a scavenger hunt. Indianapolis is up next.

As of Thursday afternoon, dozens of stuffed animals had been added to the map, many of them concentrated near Meridian Kessler and Broad Ripple.

The hunts are inspired by a 1989 children’s book by Michael Rosen that starts with the lines: “We’re going on a bear hunt/We’re going to catch a big one/What a beautiful day!/We’re not scared.”

The goal, according to, is to provide children and families an opportunity to get outside while practicing safe social distancing.

To join the fun, just place a teddy bear in your front window, add your bear to the online map and take your family on a bear hunt this weekend.

Read the full story here.

Holly Hays

Simon Property Group cuts executive pay

Simon Property Group has slashed the base salaries of top executives, a sign of the toll forced business closures stemming from the global coronavirus pandemic is extracting on the company.

According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, CEO David Simon and several other executives have agreed to the pay cuts, spurred by the pandemic’s impact on the company’s business operations.

Simon has not responded to repeated inquiries from the IndyStar. However, CNBC, citing a source familiar with the situation, reported earlier this week that Simon has furloughed about a third of its staff, following other companies in the retail sector that are grappling with mandated closures of nonessential businesses.

The closures, directed by state governments, are aimed at reducing person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus. Simon announced on March 18 the temporary closure of its U.S. malls and outlets.

Read the story.

— Alexandria Burris

IU Health to offer coronavirus tests to health care workers and first responders statewide

Indiana University Health is now offering coronavirus testing for healthcare workers and first responders around the state, whether or not they work for the hospital system, IU Health officials said in a press release Friday.

Until now, the hospital system has been offering the test for healthcare workers in its own facilities, as well as patients who are critically ill.

Now, the IU Health laboratory will run the tests for workers at hospitals and healthcare facilities, especially those in rural areas, to assist them with testing. Smaller hospitals are more likely to rely on private labs for testing, which can result in a long lag time between doing the test and getting the result.   

Currently IUH has about a 22-hour turnaround time for its tests.

Individual hospitals will follow their own criteria for who is eligible to be testing, IU Health officials said. In general, hospital officials want to be able to test workers who have been exposed to the virus to keep those who test negative on the job.

IU Health will courier the specimens from the hospitals to its lab and then direct bill the hospital for the cost of the test. How to handle the billing will be left up to the individual non-IU Health hospitals, IU Health officials said.

As of Friday, IU Health’s laboratory had performed more than 5,000 tests for COVID-19.

— Shari Rudavsky

Carmel to offer testing for all nursing homes and assisted living facilities

The city of Carmel will be coordinating testing for all of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Carmel, Mayor Jim Brainard announced Friday.

“Our residents in nursing homes and assisted living homes are the most vulnerable citizens to COVID-19 and that is why we want to move quickly to help coordinate testing of their staff and residents,” Brainard said in a statement. “If this is done quickly it will save lives.”

Local private lab Aria Diagnostics, which is also testing all Carmel employees, will be providing the nursing home tests. The city will not be paying, but according to the city the nursing homes should be able to get reimbursed.

Yesterday Indiana health officials reported that 76 people at 29 nursing homes across the state have tested positive for COVID-19.

— Kaitlin Lange

Indiana SNAP recipients to get maximum benefits in April 

More than 152,000 Indiana households will receive additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits when April distributions begin Sunday, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced Friday.

SNAP is a federal aid program that provides food assistance to low and no-income people and families.

The additional funds are meant to help Hoosiers have access to food and support for their families while the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full story. 

— Elizabeth DePompei 

Coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on economy

Total nonfarm payroll employment in the United States fell by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from February’s rate of 3.5%, a 50-year low, according to the latest employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The job losses are attributed to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. economy.

March had the largest month-over-month increase — 0.9 percentage points — in the unemployment rate since January 1975, the bureau said. But while the numbers seem sobering, the report doesn’t tell the whole story of the pandemic on the nation’s labor market.

The report is based on statistics from two monthly surveys: a household survey that measures labor force status and the establishment survey measuring nonfarm employment, hours and earnings by industry. The reference periods for both surveys predate coronavirus-related business and school closures in the second half of the month, the bureau said in a news release.                        

“We cannot precisely quantify the effects of the pandemic on the job market in March,” it noted. “However, it is clear that the decrease in employment and hours and the increase in unemployment can be ascribed to effects of the illness and efforts to contain the virus.”

April’s report, which will be released next month, is expected to offer a more comprehensive picture of the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed persons in the U.S. rose by 1.4 million to 7.1 million in March. Unemployment rates rose among all major worker groups, according to the bureau. Those include the following:

  • Adult men: 4%
  • Adult women: 4%
  • Teenagers: 14.3%
  • Whites: 4.0%
  • Blacks: 6.7% 
  • Asians: 4.1% 
  • Hispanics: 6%

The number of unemployed persons who reported being on temporary layoff more than doubled in March to 1.8 million. Permanent job losers increased by 177,000 to 1.5 million.

Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000 — mainly in food services and drinking places. Other industries with notable declines include health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade and construction.

See the full report.

— Alexandria Burris

What to know for Friday

All of Indiana’s school children will finish the 2020 academic year at home to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials announced Thursday. Previously, schools had been closed through May 1. Schools will have to provide some kind of at-home instruction, whether paper packets or eLearning. Read more on how schools and families are responding to the news

More than 3,000 people in Indiana have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the state’s daily tally Thursday. The state also reported 13 new deaths for a total of 78 people.

This number will be updated about 10 a.m. Friday. 

More headlines from across Indiana:

Headlines from across the country

  • There were 6,057 reported deaths and more than 245,500 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. early Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. Worldwide, the death toll topped 53,000 and the virus had infected more than 1.6 million people. 
  • President Donald Trump confirmed Thursday that his administration is close to providing recommendations on whether or not Americans should don face masks to ward off the coronavirus, but said that whatever guidance is offered wouldn’t be mandatory. Some cities, including Los Angeles, have already asked citizens to wear cloth masks outside the home. 
  • The Navy fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, four days after he pleaded for help as the coronavirus ravaged his crew.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said many Americans reeling from the financial impacts caused by the coronavirus outbreak can expect to see their one-time stimulus payments of up to $1,200 show up in their bank accounts in about two weeks.


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