COVID-19 Daily Update: May 5, 2020


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One in five Wendy’s is out of beef, analyst says

The national meat shortage has come for Wendy’s. The fast food chain says some menu items are unavailable, and one analyst estimates nearly one in five of Wendy’s restaurants are out of beef.

Around 1,000, or 18%, of Wendy’s 5,500 US restaurants are not serving any hamburgers or other meat-based items, according to an analysis of online menus at every location conducted by financial firm Stephens. Wendy’s is “more exposed” to the shortage sparked by the coronavirus pandemic because of its reliance on fresh beef compared with its competitors, the note said.

Wendy’s said some of its menu items might be “temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment.” The company said its delivery schedule remains unchanged, but supply has been tight because beef suppliers across North America face production challenges during the pandemic.
McDonald’s (MCD) CEO Chris Kempczinski said last week it hasn’t experienced a “single supply chain break” and there aren’t any shortages. Burger King didn’t immediately respond to comment.


US trade gap rises to $44.4 billlion as virus slams commerce

The U.S. trade deficit rose in March as the coronavirus outbreak battered America’s trade with the world. The gap between what the United States sells and what it buys abroad rose 11.6% in March to $44.4 billion from $39.8 billion in February. U.S. exports fell 9.6% to $187.7 billion, and imports fell 6.2% to $232.2 billion.

Total trade – exports plus imports – came in at $419.9 billion in March, down 7.8% from February and 11.4% from March 2019. The politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China fell 21.3% to $15.5 billion in March as exports rose slightly and imports fell. The coronavirus and the lockdowns and travel restrictions meant to contain it have hammered the world economy and paralyzed global trade.


Pelosi pushes new virus package as GOP resists big spending

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed ahead Tuesday with the next coronavirus aid, a sweeping $800 billion-plus package that is expected to be unveiled soon even as the House stays closed while the Senate reopens in the pandemic.

Key to any plan to reopen the economy, Democrats say, is robust testing. They are also expected to propose another round of direct cash aid for anxious Americans, funds for states to prevent layoffs and more money to shore up businesses in the stay-home economy.

The contours of the next package are taking shape despite Republican resistance to more outlays and a deepening debate over how best to confront the deadly pandemic and its economic devastation.

President Donald Trump is encouraging states to reopen and Republicans hope the gradual comeback will kick-start the economy, reducing the pressure for more pricey aid.

“Now it’s time to go back to work,” Trump said Tuesday at the White House.

Pelosi outlined the governors’ requests for $500 billion, with the counties and cities seeking as much as $300 billion, which she has said could be spread out over the next several years. On a private conference call with House Democrats on Monday, she also discussed a “paycheck guarantee” for the newly jobless.

Pelosi told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill the new package will be “just very directly related to saving lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy.”


Barack Obama will headline televised prime-time commencement

Former President Barack Obama will deliver a televised prime-time commencement address for the high school Class of 2020 during an hour-long event that will also feature LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai and Ben Platt, among others.

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will simultaneously air the special May 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern along with more than 20 other broadcast and digital streaming partners, according to the announcement Tuesday from organizers.

Several high school students from Chicago public schools and the Obama Youth Jobs Corps will join, as will the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe and H.E.R.

The event is titled “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.” It’s hosted by the education advocacy group XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation and The Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Obama will reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption of school life, especially for seniors who have missed out on their milestone rites of passage.


Nike will donate 30,000 shoes to frontline workers fighting COVID-19

Nike is donating 30,000 pairs of shoes — specifically designed for healthcare workers — to health systems and hospitals in cities across the United States.

The Air Zoom Pulse, which was released in November 2019, is the company’s “first shoe designed for the healthcare athlete, an everyday hero,” Nike said in its announcement on Monday.

The company went to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, to study those in the profession. They took into account the challenges of those on the job — including long hours on their feet and liquid spills — and the comfort needed for long shifts.

Nike partnered with Good360, a non-profit specializing in efficient distribution of product donations, to help deliver the shoes to workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and New York City, and within the Veterans Health Administration, according to Nike.

The company said health care workers in New York City and Los Angeles will also receive about 95,000 pairs of soccer socks offering mild compression.
“The effort is led by messages of gratitude to healthcare professionals,” Nike said in its release. “From one athlete to another, Nike athletes recognize the physical and mental resilience of healthcare athletes.”


The Blue Angels are headed to Texas and New Orleans

After two joint flyover missions with the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, the US Navy’s Blue Angels are going solo this time.

On Wednesday, the Blue Angels have a planned flyover mission over New Orleans, Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area to salute frontline workers.

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, the US military’s flight demonstration squadrons, previously flew together over New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, Baltimore and Atlanta. The flyovers were conducted as a sign of support for health care workers and first responders fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The Thunderbirds are returning to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and there are no plans for any additional joint flyover missions, according to the US Navy.


Democratic Gov. John Carney says he will allow small businesses in Delaware to resume limited operations starting Friday

The announcement is aimed at gradually lifting restrictions that Carney imposed on individuals and businesses more than seven weeks ago in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Retailers such as department stores, tobacco shops, book stores and thrift stores will be allowed to do business using curbside pickup as long as social distancing can be maintained. Jewelry stores will be allowed to conduct business by appointment only.


Americans are getting fewer robocalls because of the pandemic

One of the biggest consumer headaches has eased up at least in part due to the pandemic.

Americans experienced a drop in the amount of robocalls flooding their phones in April, helped by international call centers being shut down during the global pandemic and government efforts to stop Covid-19-related scams.

The number of robocalls made to US phone numbers last month was the lowest in two years, according to new data provided to CNN Business from YouMail, a robocall-prevention service that tracks robocall traffic across the country. This includes both scam and legitimate calls, such as payment reminders from banks.

YouMail said Americans received about 2.86 billion calls in April, a 30% drop from the month before and down 40% from February. At their peak in October 2019, about 5.66 billion robocalls were placed to the US in a one-month period.

The decline coincides with the shuttering of call centers in countries such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines, where workers who are placing unwanted robocalls don’t own laptops to support working from home and some have lost their jobs or been furloughed.


The Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers are set to offer refunds or credits for unplayed regular-season games at their shared arena because of the coronavirus pandemic

While neither the NHL or NBA has officially canceled the remainder of the season, or decided when and where the season may resume, both organizations on Tuesday decided to address the ticket status for games scheduled for the Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers’ season ticket holders will receive a credit for the six unplayed home games, to be applied to their 2020-21 season payment due in June. They may also opt to receive a refund. Fans who bought single-game tickets will receive an automatic refund. All fans who purchased tickets through a secondary website, such as Stubhub, will need to contact that site for refund options.

The Flyers policy is on their website.

The Sixers outlined a similar process for their 10 unplayed games. There are rollover and refund options for season ticket holders and single-game holders can request a refund. The Sixers had suspended season-ticket payments during the pandemic and will resume payments on June 12. The team will work with any ticket holders affected with financial difficulties.


States attempt to reopen amid new models showing growing threat



An array of states relaxed coronavirus-related restrictions, as the country accelerated its fitful efforts to return to normalcy from a pandemic that continues to claim hundreds of lives each day.

At least nine states — including Florida, Colorado, Missouri and Arkansas — took some steps toward reopening, though they did so gingerly. Florida, for example, opened more of its beaches, along with restaurants and retail stores in much of the state, but at a reduced capacity, with patrons spaced six feet apart. Arkansas reopened gyms but required those coming to first be screened for symptoms of the virus.

Health officials have warned that the coronavirus crisis is far from over and that a rushed resumption of business and social activity could spark a new wave of infections and death.

President Trump on Sunday said the final death count could be as high as 100,000 — a significant increase from his prior prediction of 65,000.

A draft government report revealed Monday suggested an even more grim figure — projecting coronavirus cases will surge to about 200,000 per day by June 1, accompanied by more than 3,000 daily deaths. But the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quickly disavowed the report, and its creator said it was not complete.


California governor says some business may reopen this week

With more local governments moving ahead with their own plans for reopening, California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state will begin gradually allowing clothing stores, florists, bookstores and sporting goods shops to open their doors after a nearly seven-week coronavirus shutdown.

Newsom says the threat of the virus spreading has leveled off to a point where certain retail businesses could again serve customers starting as early as Friday, but with curbside pickups and other restrictions. Requirements for operation won’t be released until Thursday and Newsom warns that signs the virus has started spreading rapidly might force him to reimpose tighter restrictions.

On Monday, the state hospital association said California hospitals have lost up to $14 billion by postponing elective surgeries and other procedures to clear space in anticipation of a flood of coronavirus patients that never came.


L.A. Mayor: We’re not ready to reopen

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that he does not expect the city to reopen Friday despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that some retail stores could open by the end of the week.

As many cities and states throughout the county work to reopen shuttered businesses and return to some ways of life before the coronavirus pandemic, Garcetti said he’s in no rush.

“We won’t be rushing back to something we once knew for some time,” Mayor Garcetti explained.

“Our timing on opening may vary from other parts of the state,” Garcetti said, noting that the city is more dense than other parts of the state where there’s much more outdoor space. “It’s going to be different and sometimes it will be slower.”

Garcetti plans to take some steps to reopen retail and recreation spots by May 15, when the county’s safer at home deadline expires.


3 charged in killing of store security guard over virus mask

A woman, her husband and adult son have been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a security guard who refused to let her daughter enter a Family Dollar store in Michigan without a face mask. Calvin Munerlyn was killed Friday at the store in Flint. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Monday that Munerlyn told Sharmel Teague’s daughter that she had to leave unless she put on a mask. Teague argued with Munerlyn before leaving. Two men later came to the store. One of the men shot Munerlyn. Teague has been arrested. Police are seeking her husband and son.


Shopper wore KKK hood at California store

Authorities are looking into whether a man who they say wore a Ku Klux Klan hood while grocery shopping in a San Diego suburb could face criminal charges. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says the unidentified man was photographed at the store in the town of Santee on Saturday, a day after the county required people to wear masks outside to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Store clerks asked him to take off the hood or leave the store. He removed the hood, paid for his groceries and left. Deputies were not called to the scene.



Louisiana women’s prison: Virtually everyone tests positive 


Nearly every woman in a Louisiana prison dormitory has tested positive for COVID-19, and two-thirds of them had no symptoms, state figures show.

155 women without symptoms at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center were tested after 39 became ill with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

As of Monday, 192 of the 195 inmates had tested positive. The women’s dorm inmates make up 64% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 at all of Louisiana’s state prisons.


Carnival Cruise Line says it’s canceling Alaska sailings

Carnival Cruise Line is canceling its sailings to Alaska this summer.

The announcement referred only to Carnival Cruise Line and not the other brands under the umbrella of Carnival Corp.

Last month, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, which also fall under Carnival Corp. announced dramatically reduced sailing plans for Alaska.

Tourism is a major industry in Alaska, with cruise ships bringing large numbers of visitors during the typically busy summer months. The number of people visiting the state on cruise ships went from 480,000 in 1996 to almost 1.4 million last year.



French president: Confident the U.S. will join global vaccine efforts

French president Emmanuel Macron said he is confident the United States will join a global pledge for research to find a vaccine against the new coronavirus.

World leaders, organizations and banks on Monday pledged to give 7.4 billion euros ($8 billion) during a videoconference summit hosted by the European Union. The U.S., along with Russia, were notably absent from the event.

Macron, who donated 500 million euros on behalf of France, noted that the U.S. “are on the sidelines” but added that it doesn’t compromise or slow down the initiative.

Macron added that his government is in a permanent dialogue with the Trump administration and with American companies.


COVID brings car enthusiasts to Times Square

Most people who own new, expensive cars are leery about driving them around in New York City traffic. But now that the traffic in Midtown has been cut dramatically because of the coronavirus, people who own Corvettes, Mercedes, Mustangs and BMWs can be seen cruising around Times Square, where they pretty much have the area to themselves – especially after dark. One reason they do so is for the awesome photo-ops. Look for glamour shots of cars reflecting the lights of abandoned Times Square landmarks to show on of social media sites.


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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