As the world reached 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said he can’t guarantee whether a second round of lockdowns is coming as a possible second wave of the virus looms.
Also Thursday, the Labor Department said another 2.4 million people filed initial unemployment benefit claims last week, and President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen will be released from a New York federal prison because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world surpassed 5 million early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. The United States accounts for over a fifth of them with more than 1.5 million confirmed cases. More than 328,000 people have died globally, with 93,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.
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Here are some highlights to know Thursday:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus “does not spread easily” on contaminated surfaces or objects, nor by animal-to-human contact, or vice-versa.
- President Donald Trump wants to bring G-7 Summit gathering of world leaders back to Camp David for in-person meeting next month.
- Victoria’s Secret plans to permanently close approximately 250 stores in the U.S. and Canada and Bath & Body Works plans to shutter 50 stores in the U.S. and one in Canada, parent company L Brands announced.
As states reopen, we’re answering your questions: Can your kids and grandkids visit? It’s not safe until community transmission has been eliminated in both areas and the groups getting together have no illness and have had no outside exposures for a week to two weeks.
Some good news: A dedicated runner in New York did not let the coronavirus quarantine stop him from achieving his goal to complete his first marathon. Instead, Luis Muñoz ran 5,100 laps from his porch to make it happen.
Staying Apart, Together: USA TODAY brings a newsletter about how to cope with these trying times straight to your inbox. 📥
CDC director ‘can’t guarantee’ another round of lockdowns in winter
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield told the Financial Times that he “can’t guarantee” whether or not a second round of stay-at-home orders is coming for the United States in the winter as the new coronavirus may see a second wave that coincides with cold weather and a flu season.
“I can’t guarantee; that’s kind of getting into the opinion mode, we have to be data driven. What I can say is that we are committed to using the time that we have now to get this nation as overprepared as possible,” Redfield told the newspaper in an interview Wednesday.
Redfield said the spread of the virus in the southern hemisphere gives him concern about a second wave at the end of 2020 in the northern hemisphere.
“We’ve seen evidence that the concerns it would go south in the southern hemisphere like flu (are coming true), and you’re seeing what’s happening in Brazil now,” Redfield said. “And then when the southern hemisphere is over I suspect it will reground itself in the north.”
Redfield also addressed the United States’s preparedness in fighting the virus. The CDC and Trump administration have faced criticism for not having adequate testing capacity in the pandemic’s early days.
“This simple respiratory viral pathogen has really brought my nation to its knees, and the reality is, it’s no one particular person’s fault,” Redfield said. “This nation has been unprepared for that for decades.”
Another 2.4M file jobless claims
About 2.4 million Americans filed initial unemployment benefit claims last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as the health and economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus ruptures a growing number of industries.
In just nine weeks, more than 38 million have sought jobless benefits that represent the nation’s most reliable gauge of layoffs.
The latest claims tally was down from the 3 million who filed claims the week before, and the record 6.9 million who sought assistance in late March. Initial applications for unemployment insurance have now steadily declined seven weeks in a row.
– Charisse Jones
Fauci to new doctors: We need you ‘now more than ever’
Speaking at a virtual graduation ceremony for medical students, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said new doctors’ contributions will be needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This challenge is exactly what you trained for, and a successful response requires the training that you have received,” Fauci said. “Now more than ever, we need your talent, your energy, your resolve and your character.”
Fauci described how the discovery of HIV virus shaped his early career as a physician. He also noted that some of the graduates would be treating COVID-19 patients while others would be working on researching the virus and how to stop its spread.
“The road to some form of normality will be neither fast nor easy. I am confident, however, that you will be in the vanguard to overcome this challenge,” Fauci added.
Will Belmont Stakes winner be remembered forever?
For better or worse, Kentucky Derby winners rarely get forgotten. Belmont Stakes winners? Not so much.
As the traditional third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont is either one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year or something that barely registers beyond horse racing die-hards.
But given Tuesday’s announcement that the Belmont will lead off the Triple Crown on June 20 — with its distance reduced to 1⅛ miles — this year’s winner may be remembered for a long, long time.
Though some hard-core horse racing traditionalists expressed some social media displeasure with the new-look Belmont, we all have to accept that 2020 is going to be a one-off and we can’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
– Dan Wolken
Global coronavirus cases top 5M
At least 5 million people are known to have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard, showing the massive global reach of the pandemic.
Epidemiologists say the number of cases around the world may actually be far higher than what is known as testing capacity lags, some countries may not be fully reporting data and people sick with the virus may not seek a test or may be asymptomatic.
The virus first broke out late last year in Wuhan, China, before it traveled to Europe, ravaging Italy and Spain, then heading to the United States, where New York City became the new epicenter.
The nation’s top infectious disease specialists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned that a second wave may be coming in the fall and winter if the United States reopens too quickly and without the proper testing and contact tracing infrastructure in place.
Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to be released amid coronavirus fears
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer who is serving a three-year sentence, is set to be released from a New York federal prison Thursday to serve the remainder of his term at home amid coronavirus fears, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
Cohen, who had been held at a prison camp in Otisville, New York, is due to be released on furlough pending a formal placement in home confinement, said the source, who is not authorized to comment publicly.
More than two dozen inmates and officers have been infected with the virus at the prison facility.
– Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips
It just got a little easier to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask😷
Having trouble unlocking your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a face mask? Apple’s latest iPhone software update, iOS 13.5, released Wednesday, will make it easier for you to unlock your phone when you have a mask on.
Install the update and you will no longer have to wait for Face ID to fail several times before being prompted to enter your passcode. After Face ID fails for the first time, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and enter your passcode to unlock your phone or approve an Apple Pay transaction. Or, as soon as you lift up your phone, you can swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen right away.
As the coronavirus spread prompted recommendations from health officials to wear masks in public, many covered their eyes, nose and mouth, which must be visible for Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition software, to recognize you.
If Face ID is still too annoying, you can turn it off altogether.
– Jessica Guynn
‘Not how his story ends’: Nick Cordero’s wife shares emotional update
Broadway star Nick Cordero’s wife Amanda Kloots is sharing an emotional update on her husband’s recovery from coronavirus.
Kloots took to her Instagram Story on Wednesday to ask her followers for “mega-prayers” after sharing that Cordero’s recovery has taken a turn for the worse.
“Nick has had a bad morning,” Kloots said in a video from her car. “Unfortunately, things are going a little downhill at the moment. So I am asking again for all the prayers, mega-prayers right now.”
Cordero was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in late March and, over the course of seven weeks, has faced several coronavirus complications, including a leg amputation and the insertion of a temporary pacemaker.
– Rasha Ali
Cities close streets to allow restaurants additional space for outdoor seating
As states continue to reopen, some cities are closing down streets to allow restaurants to have al fresco dining.
The city of Cincinnati closed 25 streets in Over-the-Rhine and the Downtown area so restaurants can have additional space when they reopened last week. Indoor dining will resume Thursday in Cincinnati with some restrictions like tables being 6 feet apart and physical barriers.
In California, Long Beach was one of the first cities in Los Angeles County to approve a plan that will close streets for outdoor dining. Similar to Cincinnati, the city’s Open Streets Initiative will close down streets in the next two weeks to allow restaurants to use, including sidewalks and parking lots, for outdoor dining.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor created a similar program that began May 5, and has recently announced that it will extend through May 26 because of its popularity, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Many other cities, like Chicago and Indianapolis, will also follow suit in the upcoming days.
CDC publishes new guidelines for swimming pools amid coronavirus
Looking forward to hitting the local public swimming pool for the first time this summer? Prepare to put a face mask in your tote bag, although you won’t need to wear it in the water.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines for operating swimming pools during the coronavirus pandemic. The documentation arrives just a few days before Memorial Day weekend, when many outdoor pools typically open for the summer season.
“There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas,” the CDC said on its website. “Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”
Nevertheless, the agency said, “While there is ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is important for individuals as well as owners and operators of these facilities to take steps to ensure health and safety.” Here are the guidelines.
– Jayme Deerwester
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY:
Reopening America: Indoor dining begins again in Ohio, West Virginia
Ohio and West Virginia will reopen restaurants for indoor seating on Thursday, one day after Connecticut took its initial reopening steps and Delaware reopened retail businesses by appointment only.
More changes are coming on Friday: Alaska will resume life as it was “prior to the virus,” with a full reopening of the economy without restrictions; Iowa will reopen movie theaters, museums and zoos; and Kentucky will allow restaurants to operate at 33% capacity indoors with unlimited outdoor seating. Find the latest news in your state
CDC: Coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ by touching surfaces or objects
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has always warned that “it may be possible” to become infected with coronavirus by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. It just “does not spread easily” in that manner, the agency now says, nor by animal-to-human contact, or vice versa.
“COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads,” says the CDC’s recently updated guidelines. “It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.”
Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer for the healthcare website WebMD, told Fox News that the CDC’s slight update brings clarity and helps to reduce fears. “Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case. Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious,” Whyte was quoted.
The CDC still warns that the main way the virus is spread is through person-to-person contact, even among those who are not showing any symptoms.
Donald Trump says he’s nearly done with hydroxychloroquine regimen
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will complete his regimen of hydroxychloroquine “in a day or two.”
Trump said Monday he was taking the drug, which he has repeatedly touted as a treatment for the coronavirus despite warnings about its effectiveness and side effects, to prevent contracting COVID-19.
Trump, who according to the White House has tested negative for the disease, stirred up a storm by saying he had been taking the drug daily for about a week and a half as an added measure to avoid being infected by the virus.
– Savannah Behrmann
College football, basketball players get OK to practice on campus
Football players as well as men’s and women’s basketball players will be allowed to resume voluntary on-campus workouts beginning June 1 after getting the OK from the NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday.
The move lifts a prohibition that has been in place since March, when the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a variety of actions shuttering college sports, including the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments.
– Dan Wolken and Steve Berkowitz
More headlines from USA TODAY:
- Online programs used for coronavirus-era school promise results. The claims are misleading.
- For Instacart shopper, the chance to earn money outweighs coronavirus safety risk.
- After scientist fired, Florida governor calls coronavirus data manipulation charge a ‘nonissue’
Contributing: The Associated Press