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More states easing lockdowns as U.S. deaths near 55,000


Paycheck Protection Program resumes lending, but experts say funds won’t last long

The Paycheck Protection Program, the small business relief fund authorized by Congress’s coronavirus aid package known as the CARES Act, resumes lending on Monday.

President Trump signed the bill Friday that authorizes an additional $310 billion in funds for the program, which offers forgivable, 1% interest loans for companies with 500 employees or fewer. That’s on top of the $350 billion that was loaned out in the first round of the program in a mere two weeks. The loans are completely forgivable if the companies use at least 75% of the federally backed money to pay and retain employees.

But the rush to get funds will likely cause the second round of funding to go fast, experts say. The Small Business Administration said over the weekend that it would allow banks to submit complete applications in bulk starting Monday. 

What the future of business could look like after pandemic

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that his bank had $50 billion in applications ready for the second round of PPP funds. JPMorgan Chase also said it has 150,000 applications ready to go, with thousands more in the works. Click here to read more.


12th inmate dies of COVID-19 at Michigan prison where more than half of inmates are infected

A 12th inmate has died from COVID-19 complications at a southern Michigan prison where more than 50% of inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Corrections Department said Monday.

Lakeland prison in Branch County has a large share of the department’s older prisoners and is the first to test everyone.

The department said 785 of roughly 1,400 prisoners at Lakeland have tested positive. Only a fraction of all prisoners have been tested statewide, but the infection rate was 56%.

Among staff, 254 have tested positive and there have been two deaths, the department said. 

Prison in the time of coronavirus

Separately, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit Sunday to try to force the release of immigrants with health problems at the Calhoun County jail. The jail has approximately 130 people who are being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Civil immigration detention should not be a death sentence,” ACLU attorney Eunice Cho said.  


Coronavirus and gun violence: Some U.S. mayors wrestling a “perfect storm” of health crises

A national gun safety advocacy group is offering up new guidelines for mayors now struggling to manage two public health crises at the same time — COVID-19 and gun violence. In guidelines set to be released on Monday, Everytown for Gun Safety is urging mayors to prioritize gun violence intervention programs, which have seen success using outreach teams to stop violence before it starts. Gun violence has for years disproportionately impacted communities of color struggling with health care inequalities, unemployment, poverty and lower levels of education. Now, those same communities are hardest hit by coronavirus, and advocates say the two crises have created a “perfect storm.”

“Systemic structural inequality creates an environment in which a public health epidemic, whether it’s gun violence or COVID, can thrive,” said Michael-Sean Spence, director of policy and implementation for Everytown for Gun Safety. “Even before COVID, there was a lack of investment in social services we now see they need most in times of crisis.”

Activists help minority communities hit hardest by coronavirus


Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson to donate blood for coronavirus treatment research

After testing positive for COVID-19 in March, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson kept the world posted on their journey, becoming symbols of hope when they announced they had recovered in April. Hanks has now revealed that he and his wife are donating blood to aid research on a potential coronavirus treatment.

In an interview for the NPR show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” host Peter Sagal asked Hanks about life post-coronavirus.

“Well, a lot of the question is, ‘What now?’ You know?” Hanks said. “What do we do now? Is there something we can do? And, in fact, we just found out that we do carry the antibodies.”  

Guest host Peter Grosz asked Hanks, “Can we harvest your blood?” 

“Yes,” Hanks replied. “We have not only been approached, we have said, ‘Do you want our blood? Can we give plasma?’ And, in fact, we will be giving it now to the places that hope to work on what I would like to call the Hank-ccine,” the actor joked. Click here to read more.


France plans to have 26 million non-medical face masks available to public by weekend

France plans to have over 26 million non-medical face masks available for purchase by the end of this week as the country prepares to gradually lift its coronavirus lockdown, deputy finance minister Agnes-Pannier Runacher said Monday.

“With the ramped-up production and increased imports, there will be more than 26 million masks for the general public, most of which can be reused 20 times, available each week by end-April,” Runacher said during a conference call.

Nearly half of the masks, made with washable fabrics, will be made in France by some 240 textile companies that stepped up as officials admitted a shortage of surgical masks for health workers. 

Lockdown imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris
Commuters wearing protective face masks make their way along a suburban train platform as they arrive at the Gare du Nord RER station in Paris during a lockdown imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, April 27, 2020.


The masks will have a number indicating how many times they can be washed before losing their effectiveness.

Runacher added that French production of surgical and the more protective FFP2 or N95 filtering masks has increased to 10 million a week from just 3.5 million before the COVID-19 outbreak in the country in March. 



France introduces AI-based national helpline to streamline COVID-19 diagnoses

France launched a new COVID-19 helpline on Monday that uses artificial intelligence to help residents determine whether they should seek medical help for a possible infection. 

Callers to the “AlloCovid” line speak to an AI-enhanced computer that guides them through a series of diagnostic questions, with simple yes or no answers. The machine then suggests followup action if required.

It takes just three minutes and doctors hope it will allow even more people to easily check symptoms, and add to France’s data on the spread of the coronavirus.


Doctor says “I don’t think we know” yet if it’s possible to get COVID-19 twice

The World Health Organization has warned there’s currently no evidence that people who’ve recovered from the coronavirus are protected from a second infection. More than 260 patients in South Korea have retested positive after it was thought they’d recovered, according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raising questions about whether the virus can be reactivated.

Colorado nurse practitioner Lisa Merck tested positive for coronavirus in March. As a health care worker, Merck gets repeat tests, so she knows when she can safely return to work. On day 21 of isolation, she tested negative. But just seven days later, she got a retest and was shocked to learn she was again positive for COVID-19.

“This is really scary to me,” she told CBS News senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula. “It’s really confusing. It’s very frustrating.” 

Merck said she suspects the negative test was a false negative, but said “there’s no way to tell” if it was for sure, or whether she might have become infected again. Click here to read more.

No evidence antibodies protect people from second COVID-19 infection, WHO says


Drones used in effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 raising privacy concerns

All over the world, public health and safety officials are employing drones to monitor public spaces and enforce social distancing rules aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus.

“We’re not telling people to get out. We’re not enforcing as far as having them go. We’re just making the announcement for public safety reasons,” said Sergeant Tim Ehrenkaufer of efforts to use the technology in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

The Daytona Beach Police Department is one of 43 agencies in 21 states to receive a donations from drone manufacturer DJI, which gave away 100 of the devices as part of its disaster relief program. 

The efforts, while widespread, are raising some concerns about personal privacy. Click here to read more.

Drones monitoring public spaces raise privacy concerns


Restoration work to resume at fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral after COVID-19 lockdown delay

Restoration work on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was set to resume Monday, more than a year after it was heavily damaged by a fire that gutted the Gothic building.  

Restoration work on the cathedral was halted in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic gripped France and virtually all business was halted. Now it’s resuming, albeit slowly.

Several large companies have donated hand sanitizer, food and lodging for the crews working on the structure, who will stay in nearby hotels to avoid having to use public transport.

The first job is to redo access areas so workers can adhere to social distancing rules while showering and changing into hazmat gear, because the virus isn’t the only worry; there’s still considerable lead pollution on site.

One year after devastating fire, coronavirus delays Notre Dame’s restoration

France has started to see progress in reining in one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks, but nationwide lockdown measures are to remain in place until May 11.


India to return 500,000 faulty COVID-19 rapid test kits to two Chinese companies

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the government body tasked with coordinating the massive nation’s coronavirus testing in efforts, has advised state governments to stop using COVID-19 rapid test kits procured from two Chinese companies, Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics.

Last week the ICMR put use of the kits on hold after several complaints that they were giving inaccurate results. The ICMR then evaluated the test kits and found “wide variation in their sensitivity despite early promise of good performance for surveillance purposes.” 

A letter from ICMR to state authorities tells them to “stop using these kits… and return them to be sent back to the suppliers.” 

The government confirmed that it had cancelled the order for the 500,000 test kits, which would be returned to the two companies, and said payments had not yet been made for them.

ICMR told state authorities to rely instead on the “RT-PCR throat/nasal swab test” to diagnose COVID-19 cases.


Millions join national work day as leader of Belarus continues to scoff at “coronapsychosis”

Belarus held a national community day of civic labor over the weekend, with millions of people joining efforts despite concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in the country. President Alexander Lukashenko, a hardliner who has ruled the country for a quarter of a century has dismissed the pandemic and refused to institute any control measures as it continues to spread.

Belarusian officials have confirmed at least 11,289 cases and 75 deaths from COVID-19 as of Monday, though critics say the real numbers are unknown.

The International Labor Organization and Belarusian trade unions had called for the authorities to cancel the traditional Saturday “subbotnik” — a Soviet-era practice of unpaid civic labor — amid concerns over the escalating outbreak in the country. Nevertheless, 2.3 million state employees, including health care professionals, took part in the work. The president himself planted trees at a national park with his dog.

People take part in "Subbotnik", a day of volunteer community work on Saturday, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Minsk
People take part in “Subbotnik,” a day of volunteer community work, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Minsk, Belarus, April 25, 2020.

Vasily Fedosenko/REUTERS

In remarks posted online, Lukashenko dismissed most of the world’s reaction to the pandemic as “coronapsychosis.” The same day, Belarus reported 817 new virus cases, its record one-day increase.

While neighboring Russia and European countries have been introducing strict lockdown measures in recent weeks, Lukashenko has continued to scoff at the disease and insisted nobody was going to die of coronavirus in his country. He has blamed the reported deaths on underlying causes.


One New Mexico mayor defying state shutdown orders to let small businesses reopen

The mayor of Grants, New Mexico, a city with a population of about 9,000, has told small businesses they can reopen from Monday, defying the governor’s order for all non-essential businesses to remain shuttered amid the coronavirus crisis.

Mayor Martin Hicks said last week that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham had given his city no choice because her state health order was hurting the city so badly economically. CBS News affiliate KRQE said Hicks issued his order after 81 Grants businesses signed a petition calling for the reopening.

Virus Outbreak-New Mexico
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks during a news conference on the floor of the state House of Representatives in Santa Fe, N.M., March 18, 2020.

Morgan Lee/AP

“There will be a confrontation down here. I guarantee you,” Hicks told The Associated Press on Friday. “I’ve ordered the police to stop any State Police officer who comes into town and tries to shut them down.”

But Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace later told KRQE that while he sides with Hicks, he would not stand in the way of state police citing local businesses. He said he would only ask that state officers be compassionate with business owners. Click here to read more.


Trump urged to scale back daily coronavirus briefings after last week’s tumult

President Trump did not appear in public over the weekend to address the nation about the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but he did speak out on Twitter, bashing his political enemies and accusing the media of wrongly characterizing his initial response to the epidemic in the U.S.   

A senior adviser has told CBS News that some of the president’s aides and allies outside the White House have urged him to scale back the daily White House briefings on the virus. Those calls came as Mr. Trump suggested during the Thursday briefing at the White House that scientists should look into the possibility of injecting COVID-19 patients with “disinfectant,” which he later claimed was sarcasm.    

Watch the video below for Ben Tracy’s report on what members of the coronavirus task force are saying now.

Trump urged to scale back on virus briefings after contradictions by health experts


Spain authorities warn residents to keep social distancing as families enjoy limited new freedom

Health authorities in Spain are urging parents to be responsible and abide by social distancing rules a day after some beach fronts and city promenades filled with families eager to enjoy the first stroll out in six weeks.
Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s health emergency coordination center, said Monday that rules to keep a 6.5-foot distance from other families and for going outdoors only once a day, for one hour, and at most three children at a time accompanied by one adult, were generally respected on Sunday.
But he said that some images of crowds were “concerning.”
“The impact in the epidemic can be a step backwards that can be much harder than what we have seen until now,” Simón warned.

Family members walk at promenade of Las Canteras beach after restrictions were partially lifted for children for the first time in six weeks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak on the island of Gran Canaria
Family members walk at promenade of Las Canteras beach after restrictions were partially lifted for children for the first time in six weeks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak on the island of Gran Canaria, Spain, April 26, 2020.



Afghan leader orders release of more than 12,000 prisoners to help curb spread of COVID-19

To help control the spread of the coronavirus, Afghanistan‘s President Ashraf Ghani ordered the release Monday of 12,399 prisoners from prisons across the country. The release will happen as soon as possible, with prisoners being identified for release based on their crimes.

Those eligible will have been convicted of crimes including corruption and other offenses that are deemed to make them a minimal threat to the public, according to Rashid Totakhil, Afghanistan’s prisons director. He urged the soon-to-be released detainees and their families to quarantine themselves for 14 days following the releases.

The Afghan government is also taking precautionary measures to prevent major outbreaks inside prisons, including testing prisoners to identify any possible COVID-19 patients. According to Totakhil, a 50-bed hospital will be inaugurated soon inside Kabul’s central prison to treat any COVID-19 patients. He said more hospitals for prisoners are under construction and will soon be available.

Afghan prisoners prepare to be released from Pul-e-Charkhi prison, in Kabul, Afghanistan, in a June 14, 2018, file photo.

Rahmat Gul/AP

President Ghani had previously ordered the release of 10,000 prisoners to stop the spread of the virus, and 6,000 have already been released.

According to the director of prisons, there are about 36,000 people detained in Afghan prisons. None of the prisoners set to go free are among the 5,000 detainees set to be released under the separate U.S.-Taliban peace agreement.

Ahmad Mukhtar


Almost 2 million chickens to be slaughtered but not eaten due to staff shortages at plants

Coronavirus-related staffing shortages at chicken processing plants will lead farms in Maryland and Delaware to destroy nearly 2 million chickens. 

The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that the plants are unable to keep pace with the number of birds that are ready for harvest. They had been placed into poultry houses as chicks several weeks ago. The chickens will not be processed for meat. 

The trade group the Delmarva Poultry Industry said that every poultry plant on the Delmarva Peninsula has struggled with a reduced worker attendance. The reasons include workers being sick with the virus and people following guidance to stay home if sick.  

The Perdue Wellness Center is seen in Georgetown, Delaware, within walking distance of a Perdue chicken processing plant.



Migrants deported by U.S. make up 20% of Guatemala’s coronavirus cases

When it unveiled an unprecedented order last month to swiftly expel virtually all unauthorized migrants from the U.S. southern border, the Trump administration said potentially infected foreigners could spread the coronavirus in the U.S., prompt outbreaks in immigration jails and strain public health resources along border communities. But in a paradoxical twist, Guatemala fears the U.S. is exporting the virus there through its deportation policy.

Guatemala has been the largest source of migration to that border in recent years.  

At least 99 migrants recently deported to Guatemala by the U.S. had tested positive for coronavirus as of Sunday, according to the nation’s public health ministry. Deportees from the U.S. make up nearly 20% of the 500 coronavirus cases in Guatemala, which has had 15 pandemic-related deaths. Click here to read more.

Virus Outbreak Guatemala
A man is disinfected by a health worker at the site where Guatemalans returned from the U.S. are being held in Guatemala City, April 17, 2020.

Moises Castillo / AP


Chinese officials say epicenter city of Wuhan has no more COVID-19 patients in hospitals

Wuhan, the city at the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak, has no more hospitalized patients after the last 12 were discharged Sunday, the Hubei province health commission said.

Hubei’s remaining patients were all in Wuhan, the provincial capital where the outbreak took the heaviest toll in China. The 3,869 people who died in the city account for more than 80% of the country’s reported deaths.

“It is a historic day,” said a report in a newspaper owned by the Wuhan government and posted on the city’s website.

Hubei has no more suspected cases in its hospitals, though 1,728 people who had close contact with an infected person remain under medical observation, the province’s health commission reported Monday.

Patients remain hospitalized elsewhere in China, including 67 in Shanghai and three in Beijing. Many cities have seen an influx of cases from overseas, prompting the government to curtail international flights and entry sharply.

New coronavirus infections in Asia spur fears of resurgence


Volkswagen Group, world’s biggest automaker, slowly ramping back up after a month of shutdown

After seeing its plants across Europe and North America shuttered for almost a month and a half amid the coronavirus pandemic, Volkswagen Group is slowly resuming vehicle production at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The world’s largest automaker has been burning through about 2 billion euros every week in costs with its factory floors  silent. But on Monday it brought 8,000 employees back to work in Wolfsburg after reworking its production line to allow for social distancing.

The manufacturing site, which is the size of Monaco and is usually staffed by almost 70,000 people, will initially operate at just 10% to 15% of its capacity, with only about 1,400 vehicles expected to come off the assembly lines this week.

Volkswagen Resumes Automobile Production At Wolfsburg Plant During The Coronavirus Crisis
An employee wears a face mask on the production line at the Volkswagen Group Wolfsburg Plant, April 27, 2020 in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Swen Pförtner/Pool/Getty

Employees have been asked to take their temperatures every morning before coming to work, and several hundred hand washing facilities have been installed throughout the plant.

Volkswagen’s decision to restart production will be a boost to the wider European auto industry, as some 2,600 supplying companies, most of them also German, ramping up their own facilities to provide parts for VW.  


Some Midwest states set to reopen some businesses, but it will be a “new normal”

Deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. continue to climb, but things are slowly improving. As CBS News’ Dean Reynolds reports, at least 20 states are set to bring back business in some way in the coming days — but it will be far from business as usual. 

Some Midwest states are set to reopen workforce in the coming days in what will be the “new normal”


Girl Scouts of Alaska get federal recovery loan as cookie sales crumble

Selling Girl Scout cookies is normally a foolproof business model, but the coronavirus outbreak cooled sales of the treats in Alaska.

The Girl Scouts of Alaska sought assistance, and the organization got a federal recovery loan to help compensate for lost cookie sales.

First National Bank Alaska facilitated the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

Leslie Ridle, head of one of two Girl Scouts councils in Alaska, said fears of girls becoming infected with COVID-19 forced the organization to cut its six-week sales season in half. Click here to read more.

Girl Scout cookies


Aspiring NFL player writes powerful letter after father survives battle with COVID-19

Ellis McKennie III’s dream of becoming a professional football player didn’t come true this weekend, but his prayers had already been answered. His father, Ellis McKennie Sr., was discharged from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) after fighting the coronavirus for nearly a month.

The man McKennie describes as his superhero was wheeled out of the hospital to thunderous applause, then took his first steps after surviving COVID-19. Click here to read more.


Almost 3 million people have contracted COVID-19 globally, about a third of them in the U.S.

The latest data from Johns Hopkins University researchers shows that as of Monday morning, more than 2.98 million people have tested positive for the new coronavirus disease across the globe, with almost a third of those cases — 965,933 patients — recorded in the United States.

The death toll in the U.S. also dwarfs those reported by all other countries, at 54,877 as of Monday morning. While the true number of fatalities from COVID-19 is feared to be much higher in virtually every corner of the world, the overall global death toll confirmed as of Monday morning was 206, 640.   

Of the nearly 1 million people to test positive for the virus in the U.S., Johns Hopkins says more than 107,000 are known to have recovered.

Outbreak Science: Using artificial intelligence to track the coronavirus pandemic


U.K. leader Boris Johnson returns to work after bout of COVID-19, tells country end is in sight

The prime minister of Great Britain returned to work Monday after fighting off COVID-19 to deliver his country a message of hope as it endures its fifth week of lockdown.

“Everyday I know that this virus brings new sadness and mourning to households across the land and it is still true that this is the biggest single challenge this country has faced since the war,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said outside his office at 10 Downing Street in London. 

He said the virtually complete shutdown of Britain’s economy had helped deliver the nation close to “the end of the first phase of this conflict,” successfully preventing a crippling epidemic like the ones seen in Italy and Spain, where national health services were overwhelmed.

Prime Minister Returns To Downing Street After Suffering With Covid-19
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in Downing Street as he returns to work following his recovery from COVID-19, April 27, 2020 in London, England.

Chris Ratcliffe/Getty

“We have so far collectively shielded our NHS” from such an inundation of COVID-19 cases, Johnson said, adding that Britons had “collectively flattened the peak” of the outbreak in the country.

He warned the nation, however, that everyone must continue to respect the lockdown measures set to remain in place for another two weeks, or risk facing a new wave of disease that could quickly undo all the gains made over the last month.


Expert advice on how to enter the workforce altered by coronavirus

With millions of people filing for unemployment due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, many are looking for jobs and wondering where they might find them.

Essential services, remote jobs and quick gigs are prevailing right now as millions of furloughed employees search for work, CBS New York reports.

“Temporarily, you should be willing to take a job below your level,” career counselor Eileen Sharaga told the station.

Sharaga said now more than ever, finding work is about tailoring the skills you already have to the jobs that are available.

“The important thing is how to translate your area of expertise so that it lends itself to a teleconferencing remote situation,” Sharaga said. “You need to revisit your LinkedIn profile because that LinkedIn profile needs to be adjusted to the world out there.”

Read more here.  


Ecuador suffers one of the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks

Ecuador is seeing one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, with possibly thousands dead. But that hasn’t been enough to convince the president of Latin America’s largest country, Brazil, to take the threat seriously.

Manuel Bojorquez reports in the video below:

Ecuador suffers one of the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks


Members of the Coronavirus Task Force to hold briefing Monday

The White House released a schedule Sunday night that shows there will be an on-camera Coronavirus Task Force briefing at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, April 27.

It’s unclear if President Trump will be in attendance.

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