COVID-19 Daily Update: April 26, 2020

FILE – In this April 24, 2020, file photo House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., takes a question from a reporter during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pelosi shelved a proposal for proxy voting this week after Republicans objected. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File).

Pelosi: US governors are right to feel impatient about financial help from Congress

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the nation’s governors are rightfully feeling impatient about getting financial help from Congress during the coronavirus outbreak and insists the aid will come.

The California Democrat tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that governors “should be impatient. Their impatience will help us get an even bigger number” in the next congressional relief package. Pelosi has already pledged to provide them billions in aid.

Several governors, including Democrat Andrew Cuomo of New York, say federal aid should have been approved in the last relief package. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has since expressed opposition to providing more local help.

But Pelosi says people should judge the latest federal aid package “for what it does. Don’t criticize it for what it doesn’t, because we have a plan for that. And that will happen.”

Cuomo: Virus deaths drop below 400 for 1st time this month

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says 367 more people have died from the coronavirus in New York state. Cuomo during his daily news conference Sunday called the number “horrific” but it was less than half the daily number recorded at the height of the health crisis. He also reported that the number of hospitalizations topped 1,000 on Saturday, but was still falling from the day before.

And he said the number of individuals put on a ventilator had dropped as well. The deaths recorded Saturday and reported Sunday included 349 patients who died in hospitals and 18 individuals who died in nursing homes.

Global death toll from coronavirus surpasses 200,000

Johns Hopkins University researchers say the global death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 200,000. A tentative easing around the world of restrictions is gathering pace with the reopening in India of neighborhood stores that many people rely on for basic goods. India’s relaxation did not apply to hundreds of quarantined towns or shopping malls. The U.S. states of Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska also began loosening lockdown orders on their pandemic-wounded businesses. Italy said free protective masks will be distributed to nursing homes, police, public officials and transport workers, preparing for the return to work of millions when restrictions are eased from May 4.

Trump deems nightly press briefings “not worth time and effort”

President Donald Trump says his press briefings are “not worth the time & effort” as his administration prepares to adjust his public presence amid the coronavirus pandemic toward addressing the nation’s economic woes.

Tweeting on Saturday, one of the few days in which he has not held a daily briefing since the start of the outbreak, Trump says: “What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately.”

The president’s tweet comes two days after he used a briefing to muse about the injection of chemical disinfectants, drawing warnings from manufacturers and the nation’s top medical professionals. The White House claimed Friday that Trump was misinterpreted, though the president later asserted he was speaking “sarcastically.”

Heat wave drives thousands of people outdoors in California

A spring heat wave drove an uptick of people to California beaches, golf courses and trails, leading to the closure of one coastal park as authorities warned people not to swarm recreational areas for fear of igniting a deadly coronavirus surge.

Temperatures soared into the 80s and 90s in many areas from Sacramento to San Diego on Saturday.  “We’re seeing a summer day crowd,” said Brian O’Rourke, a lifeguard battalion chief in Newport Beach in Orange County, which saw an estimated 40,000 people on Friday. A similar crowd was expected Saturday as the fog burned off.

Police in Pacific Grove said they had to close the picturesque Lovers Point Park and Beach at the southern end of Monterey Bay because of a lack of social distancing.

Los Angeles city and county beaches, trails and playgrounds were closed, and officers on horseback were patrolling those areas to enforce social distancing rules. The city also opened cooling centers for people “who might not be able to survive the heat wave at home,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Hawaii to remain shutdown through May

Gov. David Ige on Saturday extended Hawaii’s stay-at-home order and the mandatory quarantine for visitors through May 31.

“This was not an easy decision. I know this has been difficult for everyone. Businesses need to reopen. People want to end this self-isolation and we want to return to normal,” Ige said in a statement. “But this virus is potentially deadly, especially for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.”

In his statement, Ige warned of undoing Hawaii’s progress in containing the virus if public places open up too early. Hawaii has 601 cases of coronavirus and 13 deaths from the illness.

“Thanks to our residents, we are flattening the curve, saving lives, and avoiding a resurgence of this virus by not reopening prematurely,” Ige said.

Officials in South Carolina expressed appreciation Sunday for the 1.5 million surgical masks sent from China that are needed to stem the new coronavirus outbreak.

But U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham also called for a lessening of U.S. reliance on China.

“We want the masks made in the United States,” Graham said during an availability on the tarmac of the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport. He watched the unloading of the masks from a Boeing aircraft.

“We don’t want to ever have to rely on China or anyone where for our basic health care needs.”

Throughout the new coronavirus outbreak, Graham has repeatedly called for a draw-down of U.S. reliance on China. He tweeted earlier this month he wanted the U.S. response over the outbreak “so overwhelming China will change its behavior.”

The Republican also told Fox News he felt the U.S. “should send China a bill for the pandemic.”

Noting he expected a resurgence of the virus in the fall, Graham said Sunday he wanted the U.S. to be “much better prepared” in terms of needed supplies by the time that happens.

“The medical supply chain is coming back to America,” he said.

Montana churchgoers return to in-person services with changes

Montana took its first, halting step toward reopening as churchgoers returned to services after a month-long hiatus and a general stay-at-home order expired.

Roughly 100 people streamed into St. Anthony Catholic Church in Laurel on Sunday, where ushers tried to keep families separate from one another and large bottles of hand sanitizer were on offer at the sanctuary’s entrance. Church member Jack Auzqui says being unable to attend had been spiritually difficult for him and his wife. Returning, he said, was akin to a family being reunited.

Rev. Bart Stevens opened with an instruction for attendees “not to linger” after the Mass to minimize social interactions.

At Christ the King Lutheran Church in Billings, Pastor Ryan Wendt said the church was mixing faith with common sense precautions. Every other pew was kept empty to comply with social distancing guidelines, while elderly and medically-vulnerable members of the congregation were advised to stay home.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says she’s reached a deal that could resolve a lawsuit brought by two churches challenging her order banning religious gatherings of more than 10 people to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the deal, the two churches and the Democratic governor agreed to the extension of a federal judge’s temporary restraining order that allows those churches to disregard the 10-person limit as long as they complied with social-distancing measures.

The extension essentially allows the two Kansas churches to continue their in-person services while the governor finalizes her plans for new re-opening restrictions that would take effect May 4.

Kansas has traced five coronavirus clusters that resulted in seven deaths to church gatherings.

The chairman of the company that includes the Expedia travel business says the coronavirus outbreak has done catastrophic damage to the U.S. economy and a lack of leadership from Washington is hampering the response.

Expedia Group Chairman Barry Diller says business bankruptcies will be widespread and that President Donald Trump’s prediction that the economy will begin to rebound by summer is unrealistic.

“The damage that’s being done is catastrophic,” Diller said.

He added that he expects Americans will begin to return to work in large numbers by Labor Day in early September. He said the summer would be a “big mess” as companies try different approaches to reopening.

He said the federal government has to step up its response with clear, science-based instructions about whether Americans can resume normal activities and under what restrictions.

“Unfortunately, we have a witch doctor as president and he ain’t gonna tell us,” Diller said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Mayor imposes curfew, then entertains fellow bored residents

When a curfew goes into effect each night for a county in Hawaii, the mayor gets bored. Just like other residents stuck at home obeying the curfew he put into effect to curb the spread of coronavirus, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami turns to social media for entertainment.

He’s been posting videos on social media doing things like dancing and dyeing Easter eggs. And people are loving it. Even before Gov. David Ige issued a statewide stay-at-home order, Kawakami implemented a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for his county, which includes the islands of Kauai and Niihau.

Census delay could put off new voting districts, primaries

The U.S. Census Bureau needs more time to wrap up the once-a-decade count because of the coronavirus, opening the possibility of delays in drawing new legislative districts that could help determine what political party is in power, what laws pass or fail and whether communities of color get a voice in their states.

A delay could have big implications for states with legislative elections next year — New Jersey and Virginia.

The New Jersey Constitution requires a commission to adopt new maps within 30 days of receiving census data and candidates to run in those new districts that same year. The state’s primary elections are scheduled for June 8, 2021, seven weeks before the Census Bureau’s new deadline for turning over the population figures.

In Detroit, grief runs deep as city grapples with COVID-19

The virus has disproportionately impacted black Americans across the country, including Detroit, where more than 8,500 infections have been reported, with black people accounting for more than 64% of them.

And nearly 77% of the city’s residents who have died from coronavirus-related complications have been African American. The losses have shattered the city, compounded by a heightened economic uncertainty.

Among those lost: community pillars, dedicated public servants and Michigan’s youngest victim, 5-year-old Skylar Herbert, whose parents, LaVondria and Ebbie Herbert, have served Detroit for decades — as a police officer and a firefighter.

A poll shared exclusively with The Associated Press, conducted in early April by the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study, found 35% of Detroiters employed full time or part time before March 1 have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. The study surveyed 1,020 residents across demographics.

Boris Johnson returns to face growing virus divisions in UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is returning to work after recovering from a coronavirus infection that put him in intensive care, with his government facing growing criticism over the deaths and disruption the virus has caused.

Johnson’s office said he would be back at his desk in 10 Downing St. on Monday, two weeks after he was released from a London hospital. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has been standing in for the prime minister, said Sunday that Johnson — the only world leader to be diagnosed with the coronavirus — was “raring to go.”

Johnson, 55, spent a week at St. Thomas’ Hospital, including three nights in intensive care, where he was given oxygen and watched around the clock by medical workers. After he was released on April 12, he recorded a video message thanking staff at the hospital for saving his life.

Parisians defy lockdown by dancing, briefly, in the street

The itch to dance, to break out of coronavirus lockdown and bust a few moves in the fresh air, out on the street, has proved too strong for some to resist in Paris after weeks of staying home.

Video of Parisians dancing in the street this weekend, some wearing face masks, triggered buzz and criticism on social networks and an apology Sunday from the out-of-work theater technician who blasted the music from his balcony.

Nathan Sebbagh has been thanking medics and trying to keep people’s spirits up with half-hour hip-shaking musical selections on Saturday evenings.

But his goodwill gesture, which he dubs @discobalcons in his Instagram postings, this weekend became a victim of its own success.

Police knocked at his door and gave him a talking to after a small but frisky crowd gathered and danced under the balcony of his apartment in Montmartre.

“There were a lot of people. The square was quite full. Some people were far too close,” Sebbagh acknowledged somewhat sheepishly in a phone interview Sunday.

The police “said that music on balconies is a very good idea but not like this, it’s too dangerous,” he said.

What You Can Do to Keep Yourself and Your Family Healthy

  • Take everyday preventive actions to stay healthy.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

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