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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and health minister test positive for coronavirus

Peter Summers/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The prime minister of the U.K., Boris Johnson, and the most senior lawmaker in charge of the country's health service have tested positive for coronavirus after developing mild symptoms.

In a video posted on his official Twitter page, the prime minister said he was tested for the illness after suffering a hig...

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020

Princess Charlotte and Princes George, Louis clap for medical professionals

Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Princess Charlotte and Princes George and Louis are paying tribute to people on the front lines of the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Kensington Palace shared a video of Prince William and Duchess Kate's three children clapping for first responders and others in the medical field.

The video is p...

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020

Prince Harry and Meghan relocate to Los Angeles, reports say

Samir Hussein/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are reportedly making California their new home.

People magazine and The Sun reported Thursday that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left Vancouver Island, Canada, where they’d been staying since the royal couple announced their decision to step back as members of the royal family...

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020

23 sailors on US Navy aircraft carrier test positive for coronavirus

JSABBOTT/iStock(NEW YORK) -- At least 23 sailors aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have become infected by the novel coronavirus, according to two U.S. officials.

The spike in the number of cases from three earlier this week is leading the Navy to order the ship to stop in Guam, so all 5,000 sailors aboard can be tested for ...

Author: BM
Posted: 03/26/2020

American held by Iran hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms amid worsening outbreak

omersukrugoksu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- An American detained by Iran for over 600 days on spurious charges has been hospitalized with symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus, according to his family's spokesperson.

Michael White, 48, has not yet been confirmed to have the virus, known as COVID-19, but there are deep concerns about his safety as...

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/26/2020

86-year-old Italian woman's recovery from COVID-19 offers glimmer of hope

oonal/iStock(CASALPUSTERLENGO, Italy) -- An 86-year-old woman in the crisis-hit region of Lombardy, Italy, has made a full recovery after being hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, offering a rare glimmer of hope as the country continues to struggle with the pandemic.

The elderly woman, identified as "Gianna" by Elia Delmiglio, the mayor of ...

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/26/2020

Federal prosecutors to announce drug charges against Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro

DNY59/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Federal prosecutors in New York will announce drug charges Thursday against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other government officials, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

The charges include narco-terrorism conspiracy, cocaine importation conspiracy and weapons possession conspiracy. Geoffrey Berman,...

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/26/2020

Retired FBI agent, missing in Iran since 2007, died in captivity: Family

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The family of retired FBI Special Agent Bob Levinson, who vanished in Iran 13 years ago, said Wednesday they are now convinced he died in captivity, though when is not clear.

Levinson's wife Christine and their children said the U.S. government had informed them he was likely dead and they had accep...

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/26/2020

Pompeo pushes 'Wuhan virus' label to counter Chinese disinformation

Oleksii LIskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said he no longer needs to refer to the novel coronavirus as the "Chinese virus," but his top diplomat is continuing to tie the outbreak to the Chinese city where it first exploded, as a way to push back on what he called the Chinese Communist Party's "disinformation campaign."

In brie...

Author: Anthony Ali
Posted: 03/25/2020

Pentagon halts overseas travel of US troops for up to 60 days to mitigate spread of coronavirus

Ivan Cholakov/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon is halting all overseas travel for U.S. troops for up to 60 days in an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a top U.S. official.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the order applies to all servicemembers, Defense Department civilian personnel and their families. Howev...

Author: Anthony Ali
Posted: 03/25/2020

Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus, 'remains in good health'

Tim P. Whitby - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the first member of Britain's royal family to announce a positive test for the COVID-19 virus.

"He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from...

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/25/2020

Spanish soldiers find corpses inside nursing home while disinfecting for coronavirus

JazzIRT/iStock(MADRID) -- Members of the Spanish Armed Forces made a disturbing discovery as they disinfected nursing homes in the battle against the country's rising number of novel coronavirus cases.


Soldiers found corpses left behind in their beds at nursing homes in at least four locations, two government sources told ABC News on Tuesday.

The...

Author: BM
Posted: 03/24/2020

Matt Damon and the 'Contagion' cast reunite "virtually" for COVID PSA

Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Life has unfortunately imitated art for cast of the 2011 film Contagion, which has seen an uptick in streaming since the real-life COVID-19 coronavirus began spreading.

That's why scientists from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health tapped the stars of the film --  Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, and Kate Winslet -- to dispense some real-life advice on how to fight the disease.

"In the movie, I played a guy who was immune to the hypothetical virus that was spreading around the world," Damon says.  "That was a movie. This is real life."

"I have no reason to believe I’m immune to COVID-19 and neither do you, no matter how young you are," he adds. "This is a new virus. It’s gonna take some time for our bodies and our doctors to understand it and understand new ways to protect us."

Damon was joined by fellow Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, who played an epidemiologist in the film.

"To prepare for the role, I spent time with some of the best public health professionals in the world," she says.  "And what was one of the most important things they taught me? Wash your hands like your life depends on it because right now, in particular, it just might."

Touting the importance of social distancing, Damon also said, "We can all do this together just by staying apart. Please do your part."

Similarly, Fishburne talked about the danger of the traditional handshake, noting it was based on showing someone you weren't carrying a weapon.

"Now we may be carrying one, and not even know it," he intoned.

Dr. Ian Lipkin, the director of Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity -- who was a consultant on the film -- revealed this week that he had tested positive for COVID-19.



Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/27/2020

Killing time? 'Killing Eve' launching Season 3 two weeks early

AMC Studios/BBC America(LOS ANGELES) -- While most shows have been delayed by the COVID-19 situation, AMC and BBC America have just given you some new binging to look forward to: they're launching Season 3 of their Emmy winning Killing Eve 2 weeks ahead of schedule. 

Season 3 kicks off Sunday, April 12 at 9 p.m. Eastern on both AMC and BBC America. 

The announcement also came with a new trailer for the brand new season. 

"We know how adored this series is and we know how keen people are for great content right now," noted Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios in a statement.

"This season of Killing Eve digs deep psychologically, and with actors like Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw, the results are nothing short of astonishing." 

Barnett added. "We literally couldn’t wait for fans to see it."

The trailer hints that a death threat is putting Oh's spy Eve and Comer's assassin Villanelle on a collision course yet again -- once Villanelle learns that Eve is still alive, that is.

And since you've got time, if you've never seen the first and second seasons, now's the perfect time to catch up.

Killing Eve season two is available now on BBCAmerica.comAMC.com, and the BBC America and AMC apps. The first two seasons are also available on Hulu, digital download and Blu-ray/DVD.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/27/2020

Aries Spears explains why "nothing's off limit in comedy": "Laughter is pain and pain is laughter"

Courtesy of Aries Spears(NEW YORK) -- Like other comedians around the world, Aries Spears is doing his best to make people laugh even during these trying times.

That's why it's not surprising that the MADtv alum and master impersonator, who recently posted some hilarious impersonations on his Instagram, told ABC Audio that when it comes to comedy, "Nothing's off limits." 

"No, but timing is everything in comedy," Spears clarifies. "If it's some tragic that just happened, you might want to hold up. But at some point, time heals."

"So, you've got to move forward," he continues. "And, you know, that's why the whole thing about laughter is pain and pain is laughter: The two go together."

Spears' thoughts on the importance of laughter definitely ring true for today. Since the news broke of the COVID-19 pandemic, the comedian-actor has been consistently posting funny videos and impersonations to help fans get through the difficult time.

"You know, no matter what goes on in your life, you've got to at some point figure out how to laugh at it to move on," he says. "Or, to take the sting off of it. So, yeah, no, nothing's off limits."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/27/2020

'Jimmy Kimmel', 'Desus & Mero' returning with all new shows -- from home

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Some more late night talk shows are getting back on their feet, but like millions of Americans, under COVID-19 quarantine, they're working from home.

ABC announced on Thursday that Jimmy Kimmel’s ABC late night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! will return to TV with new episodes, taped at his house, on Monday and throughout next week.  Jimmy’s guests will include, Samuel L Jackson, Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Tweedy, Grouplove and more.  Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weeknights at 11:35 ET on ABC…

Also, Showtime announced on Thursday that the late-night series Desus & Mero, will return to air with all-new episodes taped at the hosts’ own homes, starting on Monday at 11 p.m. ET.  The show will continue to air new episodes on Monday and Thursday nights.  The show, features the duo -- Desus Nice, a.k.a. Daniel Baker, and The Kid Mero, a.k.a. Joel Martinez -- chatting with guests about pop culture, sports, music, politics and more

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/27/2020

Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz applaud health care workers -- literally -- amid COVID-19 pandemic

Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage(LONDON) -- Daniel Craig and his wife, actress Rachel Weisz, think health care workers deserve a round of applause, so they took to social media on Thursday to do just that and want others to join them.

In a video clip posted to the James Bond Twitter account, the couple, joined by his No Time to Die co-stars -- Ben Whishaw, Naomi Harris and Rory Kinnear, are seen clapping, along with a message that reads, "Thank you to everyone, everywhere, who is working to keep us safe."

The message is followed by the hashtags, "#ClapForOurCarers #ClapForCarers #ClapForNHS."

No Time To Die’s release date was postponed until November 25 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The royal family also joined in on the applause.  Kate Middleton and Prince William shared a cute video on Thursday of their three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, joyfully clapping on the couple’s social media accounts.

The video was captioned, "To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by #COVID19: thank you," the video was captioned.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry also contributed to the #ClapForOurCarers movement, posting a message to their Instagram Stories that read, "Thank you for all that you continue to do! Applauding you from across the pond," followed by 19 clapping hands emojis.

The royal family also posted a video of applause from Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are currently staying.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/27/2020

Mariska Hargitay pens heartfelt tribute to 'Law & Order: SVU' crew member who died from COVID-19

NBC/Virginia Sherwood(NEW YORK) -- There are less smiles and laughs on the set of Law & Order: SVU as it was announced on Wednesday that a beloved crew member succumbed to COVID-19.

Show star Mariska Hargitay penned a beautiful tribute to Josh Wallwork, a 45-year-old who worked as one of the series' costumers.

"Heartbroken we are. I don’t think I ever saw him without a smile on his face," reminisced Hargitay.  "He brought love and kindness everywhere he went."

The actress revealed just how profound the loss is for those working on the show, writing that Wallwork was "Always ready with the joke. The SVU [sic] Corredor will never be the same."

SVU showrunner Warren Leight was one of the first to announce the crew member's unexpected passing, calling Josh "a beautiful man" and that those working on the show are "heartbroken."

Wallwork previously lent his costuming talents to the productions Madam SecretaryBull and The Get Down.

Those who worked with the beloved costumer, such as Bull's Christopher Jackson, flooded Twitter to grieve Wallwork.  Commemorated Jackson, "He was my friend" who had a "Beautiful Soul."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/27/2020

Ethan Hawke holds adorable family sing along while in self quarantine

Bruce Glikas/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Ethan Hawke showed off his family's musical gifts on Wednesday as they stay indoors to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In a video uploaded by his daughter Maya, whom he shares with ex-wife Uma Thurman, the 21-year old Stranger Things breakout star captioned the four minute video, "To Live is to fly" -- the name of the song by Townes Van Zandt that the family decided to perform together.

Ethan strums his guitar as he sings along with Maya, who is the lead vocalist, as well as his three other children -- 18-year-old Levon, 12-year-old Clementine, and nine-year-old Indiana.   Levon, whom he also shares with Thurman, shows off his guitar skills as he plays across from his dad.

Maya starts off the song going solo, but soon encourages her younger sisters to adorably harmonize along as she affectionately plays with their hair.

After the song ends, the 21-year-old actress admits to her dad "I messed with the arrangements a little because I forgot some of my words, but I feel like it worked."

For those craving to hear more of Maya's singing, her debut album Blush drops June 19.

 Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Music News Group
Posted: 03/27/2020

Evangeline Lilly apologizes for insensitive coronavirus comment

George Pimentel/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Evangeline Lilly had a change of heart when it comes to her opinion about COVID-19.

In an Instagram post shared on Thursday, the Lost actress apologized for her March 16 comments about the precautions being taken by the government in an effort to flatten the curve and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Despite the call for social distancing at the time, she declared life as business as usual. Now 10 days later, she's singing a different tune. 

Alongside a photo of some young children playing a monopoly-like board game, Lilly wrote, "I am writing you from my home where I have been social distancing since Mar 18th – when social distancing was instituted in the small community where I am currently living."

"At the time of my Mar 16th post, the directives from the authorities here were that we not congregate in groups of more than 250ppl and that we wash our hands regularly, which we were doing," she explained.

Two days later, her community took on stricter guidelines and while the Canadian actress expressed her "intense trepidation over the socioeconomic and political repercussions," she did realize that her previous statements lacked empathy.  

"I want to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology for the insensitivity I showed in my previous post to the very real suffering and fear that has gripped the world through COVID19," the caption continued. "...the world is rallying to find a way to stop this very real threat, and my ensuing silence has sent a dismissive, arrogant and cryptic message." 

Lilly ended the apology on a positive note, acknowledging the beauty in seeing humanity rally together during this "vulnerable time" and sending well wishes. 

"Sending love to all of you," she wrote. "Even if you can’t return it right now."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Music News Group
Posted: 03/27/2020

Duchess Meghan will narrate Disneynature film 'Elephant'

Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will narrate a new Disneynature film, Elephant, which hits the streaming service Disney+ April 3, the company announced Thursday.

A source close to Meghan tells ABC News that the duchess recorded the voiceover in London last fall and had been made aware of the film through mutual friends of the filmmakers.

This is Meghan's only project in the works with Disney, the source added, despite speculation to the contrary.

To mark the premiere of Elephant, which occurs during Earth Month, Disneynature and the Disney Conservation Fund are supporting Elephants Without Borders, an organization working in Botswana -- a country dear to Meghan and Harry -- to ensure the safety of people and elephants.

Among other goals, Elephants Without Borders is working to protect Botswana's elephants and provide resources to the communities living near them.

Meghan's involvement with Elephants, a documentary about a family of African elephants, marks the first professional endeavor for the duchess since she and Prince Harry announced in February that they were stepping down as "senior members" of the royal family.

Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, vacate their official royal roles on March 31. Their office at Buckingham Palace will close the next day.

Going forward, they will spend the "majority of their time" with their 10-month-old son, Archie, in North America, where they will no longer use their HRH titles. They'll also no longer represent Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, nor will they receive public funds for royal duties.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/26/2020

James Van Der Beek and family in the Christmas (PJs) spirit while self-isolating

ABC/Jeff Niera(LOS ANGELES) -- For many, thinking of the holidays gives them the warm fuzzy feeling that we're sorely needing nowadays.   Some have even re-strung their Christmas lights to feel it

But for James Van Der Beek and his family, they're wearing that warm fuzzy feeling, in the form of matching Christmas pajamas they're sporting while social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Have officially entered the Wear-Christmas-Pajamas-And-Project-Movies-On-The-Dining-Room-Wall phase of the #Quarantine," Van Der Beek posted to Instagram, captioning the cozy snap of his family of five. 

"#StayHome and stream @pixaronward btw… either I’ve gone stir crazy or it’s my new favorite #Pixar movie," the doting dad said of the movie Onward, before giving a shout-out to its voice stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt.

Van Der Beek has been spending some quality time social distancing with his wife Kimberly Brook and their five children -- Olivia, 9, Joshua, 7, Annabel, 6, Emilia, 4, and 21-month-old Gwendolyn.

He recently captured one moment with his youngest on Instagram, calling right now "the perfect excuse to make other connections."

Pixar is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/26/2020

Kim Kardashian receives more sarcasm than advice when asking Twitter how to entertain her kids during quarantine

ABC/Nicole Wilder(LOS ANGELES) -- It goes to show that parents, no matter how wealthy they are, are struggling to keep their kids entertained as households practice social distancing and self-quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kim Kardashian, who is a mother of four, turned to Twitter on Wednesday for suggestions on how to make the quarantine period easier for her little ones.

"What is everyone doing to keep your kids entertained???," the reality star tweeted.  "As a family we are social distancing but need some fun ideas of what to do! Any suggestions would help!"

Unfortunately for the 39-year-old, advice was scarce as most of the replies referenced her ongoing feud with Taylor Swift.

One of the top suggestions, with over 6,000 likes, was a snarky "we are listening to taylor swift."   Others recommended the Kardashian-West clan enjoy a relaxing movie, particularly Swift's documentary Miss Americana on Netflix.

Of course, others encouraged Kim to have her kids "help you, write an apology to Taylor." 

The fans are referencing the recent leak of the complete infamous phone call between Kim's husband Kanye West and Taylor, where he discussed his upcoming track "Famous."  

The leaked audio revealed West never told Taylor he planned on calling her a “b****” in the song, something Taylor claimed since initial portions of the call, which she claimed were "edited," were posted online.  

The leak sparked the trending hashtags #KanyeWestIsOverParty and #TaylorToldTheTruth on Twitter.

Drama aside, fans of Kardashian did eventually come forward with helpful advice, from recommending the family buy a Nintendo Switch and play the new Animal Crossing game to having each child tell a story campfire style.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/26/2020

Lori Loughlin wants college bribery case against her tossed over "government misconduct"

Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Full House star Lori Loughlin -- along with husband Mossimo Giannulli -- face up to 50 years in prison if found guilty of bribing employees of the University of Southern California in order to secure their daughters' enrollment.

Now, they want to have the entire case against them tossed.

Following reports that the government allegedly  pressured& William "Rick" Singer, who has been identified as the ringleader in the college admissions scandal, to name Loughlin and Giannulli as his clients, the couple dispatched their lawyers to dismiss the charges.

"The extraordinary government misconduct presented in this case threatens grave harm to defendants and the integrity of this proceeding," said Latham & Watkins attorneys in a federal court filing on Wednesday, which was obtained by Deadline. The attorneys added "That misconduct cannot be ignored."

Currently, the married couple is set to face trial along with six other defendants in Boston on October 5.

Prosecutors have not responded to Wednesday's filing. A judge has since ruled that the U.S. Attorney's office has until March 27 to present their evidence against Giannulli and Loughlin.

As previously reported, both Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, have been named in an ongoing admissions scandal dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues," and stand accused of paying $500,000 to a sham charity enacted by Singer to get their kids in as recruits of the rowing team despite that their daughters never participated in the spot. 

In all, investigators have identified 53 wealthy individuals --  including Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman -- who used Singer's service to get their kids into prestigious universities by cheating the system.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Stephen Iervolino
Posted: 03/26/2020

EPA to limit enforcement of environmental laws during coronavirus emergency, giving companies more flexibility

Skyhobo/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Environmental Protection Agency will put companies and specific facilities in charge of monitoring their own compliance with environmental laws during the novel coronavirus emergency, according to officials.

This move has led critics to accuse the agency of backing off its role to prevent uncontrolled pollution or other violations.

EPA argued the change was needed because of staffing shortages that facilities, like power plants, said has made it more difficult to keep up with deadlines and accountability requirements.

The agency will still enforce criminal violations as well as follow usual enforcement procedures for some programs like managing Superfund sites, according to guidance on how EPA will use its enforcement discretion.

"We were hearing from a number of facilities around the country where they simply don't have the necessary personnel in their facilities to make those reports in a timely basis," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Wheeler said they will also still enforce instances that could present an imminent public health risk and that the flexibility is more geared toward administrative requirements. Companies will be required to track their own violations, if they occur, and document how the violation was related to COVID-19, through staffing shortages or other issues.

Environmental groups accused the agency of giving polluters a free pass because of the pandemic, saying that without federal oversight companies could skimp on recording information on releases of air or water pollution.

"This EPA statement is essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future," Cynthia Giles, former assistant EPA administrator for enforcement and compliance, said in a statement. "It tells companies across the country that they will not face enforcement even if they emit unlawful air and water pollution in violation of environmental laws, so long as they claim that those failures are in some way "caused" by the virus pandemic."

She added, "And it allows them an out on monitoring too, so we may never know how bad the violating pollution was."

But Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance, said facilities will still face enforcement and possible penalties for environmental violations during the emergency. She noted that the policy will put the burden on facilities to notify EPA and state agencies of any violations.

"If you do have violations of your permit, you're still obligated to meet your permit limits you're supposed to do everything possible, Bodine said. "And after the fact the agency will take that all into consideration but there isn't a promise of no penalties in those kinds of situations."

"If you have an acute risk, if you have an imminent threat ... the facility has to come in and talk to their regulator, their authorized state or come into the agency," she continued. "And the reason for that is that we want to, we want to put all of our resources into keeping these facilities safe keeping communities safe."

Bodine said if entities are struggling, "they have to come in and talk to us."

In response to the outbreak, EPA has stepped up its work to approve disinfectant products that can kill the virus and worked to prevent unapproved products from being brought into the country.

Wheeler said EPA is also working with manufacturers to maintain the supply chain of ingredients to keep up with demand for disinfectants.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/27/2020

Coronavirus economic updates: Markets slip after three-day rally

Sushiman/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The coronavirus pandemic has quickly evolved from a health crisis to a financial one, shuttering businesses, upending entire industries and sending financial markets reeling.

Here's the latest news on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the economy:

IMF chief predicts a 'quite deep' recession for 2020

Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a briefing Friday that the organization representing more than 189 countries is now projecting a recession for 2020.

Moreover, "we are expecting it to be quite deep," she said.

"We are very much urging countries to speed up containment measures aggressively so we can shorten the duration of this period of time when the recession is in standstill," she said. "And also to apply well-targeted measures, primary focusing on the health system to absorb that enormous stress that comes from coronavirus and on people, businesses, and the financial system."

She applauded countries' fiscal and monetary policy responses so far for both their speed and breadth.

LIVE NOW: Press Briefing by @KGeorgieva following a Conference Call of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). https://t.co/ncqFN2epER?

— IMF (@IMFNews) March 27, 2020

In a statement shortly after Friday's briefing, Georgieva and the IMF's Financial Committee Chair Lesetja Kganyago called for increased multilateral action among central banks and other financial institutions.

"We are in an unprecedented situation where a global health pandemic has turned into an economic and financial crisis. With a sudden stop in economic activity, global output will contract in 2020. Member countries have already taken extraordinary actions to save lives and safeguard economic activity. But more is needed," they said in a joint statement.

It continued: "Priority should be afforded to targeted fiscal support to vulnerable households and businesses to accelerate and strengthen the recovery in 2021."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledges $25 million for coronavirus treatment funding


Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Friday that he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, will give $25 million to accelerate the development of coronavirus treatments, saying he hopes to get a vaccine to test developed in "months rather than a year or more."

"We're partnering with the Gates Foundation and others to quickly evaluate the most promising existing drugs to see which ones might be effective at preventing and treating the coronavirus," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post Friday morning. "Since these drugs have already gone through clinical safety trials, if they're effective, it will be much faster to make them available than it will be to develop and test a new vaccine -- hopefully months rather than a year or more."

After three-day rally, markets slip Friday

After three days of back-to-back gains, U.S. financial markets slipped Friday as the coronavirus pandemic wages on.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 700 points, or over 3%, when U.S. markets opened Friday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also both dropped approximately 3% Friday morning.

The United States now has nearly 86,000 cases of COVID-19, the highest number in the world. At least 1,300 people have died in the U.S.

Moreover, in New York City -- the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic -- Mayor Bill de Blasio projected Friday morning that "over half the people in this city will ultimately be infected."

Equity markets have seesawed for weeks as the COVID-19 outbreak has sowed uncertainty among investors.

A $2 trillion stimulus package to help lessen the blow of the outbreak on the economy was approved by the Senate earlier this week, leading to the three-day market rally ahead of Friday's tumble.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020

Brands say thank you to health care workers with free shoes, Starbucks and more

HRAUN/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 24,000 people around the world.

With more than 85,000 diagnosed cases, the United States has the highest national total in the world.

Medical personnel around the world have been working hard to help those impacted by COVID-19. They are the front line of defense when it comes to fighting this pandemic.

From shoes to coffee, companies have started giving back to support medical workers during this tough time.

OOFOS

Boston-based shoe company OOFOS is starting a program to help those who are helping others during this time of need.

In the first phase, the company is donating more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to nurses and medical professionals all around the country.

Their shoes are sanitary and have antimicrobial properties so they can be washed between shifts.

"While our company is Boston-based, we have field members all over the U.S. who work intimately with their communities, and who personally know nurses fighting this pandemic bravely on the front lines," Darren Brown, head of marketing at OOFOS, told ABC News' Good Morning America.

"Because of this, we wanted to donate shoes not only to medical professionals in our backyard of Boston with Massachusetts General Hospital, but also wanted to open this opportunity up to our field team, allowing them to reach out to their communities and show nurses that they are seen, supported and thanked for all they are doing," he said.

Allbirds

Allbirds has distributed $500,000 in shoes to health care workers and medical personnel working in the United States.

The company is also starting a "buy-one-give-one" option for people shopping for the products to split the cost of donating a pair of Wool Runners to those in need.

"Health care workers have been our nation’s heroes through this pandemic; we are humbled by their service and simply trying to do what we can to provide comfort to them during this time," a spokesperson told GMA.

KEEN

Family-owner footwear brand KEEN launched the "Together We Can Help" initiative to have people nominate those they felt were most in need of a new pair of shoes.

In less than a week, they gave away 100,000 pairs of shoes to people in need.

"People like nurses working overtime shifts, grocery store clerks re-stocking shelves, and families trying to keep up with their kids now that schools are shut down, all got a boost thanks to a new pair of KEEN shoes," the brand said in a statement.

Crocs


Crocs is donating a free pair of shoes to health care workers fighting COVID-19 through its new program, “A Free Pair for Healthcare."

Starting at 12 p.m. ET every day, these workers can request a pair of shoes until supplies last.

Crocs is also distributing an additional 100,000 pairs of shoes to select health care facilities across the country.

"These workers have our deepest respect, and we are humbled to be able to answer their call and provide whatever we can to help during this unprecedented time," Crocs CEO Andrew Rees said in a statement.

FIGS

Premium scrubs brand FIGS announced it would be donating 30,000 sets of scrubs to hospitals over the next two months.

Pronovias Group

Luxury bridalwear company Pronovias is donating wedding dresses to hospital-employed future brides working on the front lines of this crisis.

Until Aug. 21, brides-to-be who are employed by a hospital and helping with this crisis are eligible for a free wedding dress.

"Using the slogan #LoveConquersAll, Pronovias Group wants to share a message of love and selflessness in these times of uncertainty and distress, hoping that, before long, brides will again be able to celebrate their love," the company said in a statement.

LANO

Australian skincare brand LANO is donating 1,000 bars of their popular soap to hospital staff.

“We have been hearing that hospital staff have been going above and beyond in these trying times and were in need of skincare as the masks have been causing skin damage – acne, bruising - due to wearing them for a long period of time. We are donating 1,000 Lanolin & Egg-White Cleansing Bars as a token of our appreciation,” Kirsten Carriol, CEO and founder of Lanolips, told GMA.

Bliss

The clean beauty brand Bliss is donating thousands of its self-care products to hospitals across the United States.

People can nominate their #healthcareheroes on Instagram to receive a special care package. The brand will pick five winners every Thursday.

FEKKAI

The health and beauty brand FEKKAI is sending 4,000 dry shampoos and over 250 hand creams to hospitals all over the country.

“We have tremendous admiration for all of the healthcare workers fighting in this unprecedented time. When we heard that they needed products to help them through their long days, we were eager to help,” FEKKAI founder Frederic Fekkai told GMA.

Theragun

Massaging device company Theragun is helping hospital personnel alleviate tension by donating their devices to hospitals across the country.

So far, the brand has delivered devices to hospital break rooms in over 30 states.

"We are donating Theraguns to hospitals all across the US to help provide relief for the medical staff and their bodies. These people’s bodies are taking a beating through their service to others. If Theragun can provide them with just a few minutes of relief, then the donation is worth it," Dr. Jason Wersland, founder of Theragun, said.

The company is also donating 100 meals for every device sold through Feeding America.

Starbucks

Until May 3, Starbucks will be giving a free tall brewed coffee to anyone one identifies as a first responder or front line worker supporting our healthcare system.

This includes police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital and medical staff and medical researchers.

The company is also donating money to support the delivery of 50,000 care packages to healthcare workers.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is on a mission to give away 100,000 smoothies to hospital workers across the country.

"In these trying times, it can be comforting to know that we’re #InItTogether, and hope that this campaign inspires others to give back in any way they can and remember that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a significant impact," Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, told GMA.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020

Construction unions call for better safety, health protections during pandemic

flukyfluky/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Working in construction during the coronavirus pandemic has split the industry down the middle, according to advocates and health experts.

On one hand, buildings, roads and utilities need regular maintenance and upgrades, and millions of blue-collar workers need those jobs to support families, construction union leaders said. At the same time, those close-knit worksites and, sometimes, unsanitary work conditions are ripe for exposure to the virus, according to Jeanne Stellman, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, who specializes in workers safety issues.

"The question is, 'What jobs can be done safely?'" she told ABC News. "This is a time when those generally poor standards [at construction sites] need to be addressed."

Stellman and other advocates called on the government to come up with immediate solutions to address both issues before they create a deeper economic and public health problem on the nation.

More than 7.6 million Americans worked in a construction job in February, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For many states, including New York, the hardest hit by the pandemic, construction projects have continued after being deemed essential services.

Ken Rigmaiden, the general president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, which has over 111,000 members in the U.S. and Canada, estimated that half of the construction sites in the country have shut down since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Rigmaiden noted one of his members, Tureka Dixon, a single mother from Philadelphia with a child on the autism spectrum, lost her construction job recently and is desperate to get back to work.

"People need to be aware of that in this industry, if they don’t work and don’t get paid, they are hurt," Rigmaiden told ABC News.

The union leader added that governments should be using the construction workforce to their advantage as the need for new hospital spaces and coronavirus testing centers soar. Rigmaiden acknowledged that some workers would prefer to stay at home to avoid contracting the disease, for which there should be assistance.

The Laborers' International Union of North America, which has half a million members in North America, sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday urging them to come up with relief plans for construction workers. Some of the recommendations the union put forward include family and medical leave for their members, and a new emergency safety standard for work during the outbreak.

"I want to stress the importance of making sure that federal action to address COVID-19 should benefit the workers and families who are bearing the brunt of this crisis," LIUNA general president Terry O’Sullivan wrote.

Stellman said the calls for financial assistance are important for those workers, and at the same time, the government should stress better safety standards. In addition to the number of risks construction workers face while doing their tasks, Stellman said the sanitary hazards are far more concerning.

Things like a lack of clean toilets and sinks to tight lifts and a lack of personal protective equipment raise the chances that the workers will contract COVID-19, she said. Stellman warned that the country should learn the lessons from the excavation and extraction work that took place at Ground Zero after 9/11 when workers were not protected from the poisonous atmosphere.

"We operated there 24/7 without any precautions and we are still paying the price for the brave guys who did all for us," she said.

Carlo Scissura, the president and CEO of the New York Building Congress, a trade group that represents developers and construction companies, said several major companies have instituted stricter health safety policies in the last few weeks. Several companies, he said, are taking the temperatures of their workers when they arrive on site and are asking any employee who feels sick to stay at home.

"A lot of these sites are union sites and unions have clear guidelines for their employees," Scissura told ABC News. "We’re monitoring to see if there are site-specific cases where there are people who aren’t given the opportunity to go home if they’re sick."

Stellman said she hopes the situation will spur elected officials and industry leaders to take a good look at the health safety standards in construction sites concerning pandemics and institute stronger safeguards.

"Construction workers have always stepped up to their responsibilities to provide us with the structures that we need for our lives," she said. "They have shown to do it at great risk and we as a society have to ask that the risk they take is absolutely minimal."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020

Will coronavirus break the Internet? Here's what the experts say.

Jokic/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As the novel coronavirus makes its insidious way around the world, many businesses have mandated that employees whose work does not require their physical presence to work from home -- a real-time stress test of America's internet infrastructure.

Experts are seeing traffic surges in both home broadband Internet and, in some instances, cellular traffic -- specifically, an increase in video conferencing on phones.

Network operators have confirmed the surge. As of this week, AT&T reported, "Wireless voice minutes of use was up 39% compared to an average Monday. Wi-Fi Calling minutes of use was 78% higher than an average Monday. Consumer home voice calling minutes of use were up 45% from an average Monday." The company said its core network traffic, including "business, home broadband and wireless usage," was up 27% on Monday compared with the same day last month.

And in a posting on its website, Verizon said that the company's "wireless and broadband networks handled more than 218,000 terabytes of data this past Monday alone." The company also saw a surge in Virtual Private Network traffic. VPNs allow people to create a secure connection over a public network, such as like the internet, to reach a private network. VPN traffic was up 52% over a typical day on Verizon's network.

Internet broadband and cellular networks have limitations. How sustainable are these networks, especially when no one knows how long coronavirus lockdowns will continue?

Doug Suttles, CEO and co-founder of Ookla, creator of the popular internet speed benchmark application, Speedtest.net said that Internet broadband, mostly, is in good shape.

"There is the core of the internet, which I think is fine," Suttles told ABC News. But his company's data shows problems are popping up in residential communities because "the internet built around them is not built for this usage."

"Everyone's working from home, there's lots of video consumption, video conferencing," he added. "We've seen, in select areas, a much larger degradation in performance, specifically in residential areas -- dense, residential communities. The commuters are all at home."

ISPs prepare for peak consumption in evening, when everyone's typically home, not such an all-day "overdrive," he said.

What's causing that increase in demand? Suttles said it's video conferencing, which "has a much greater impact on upload [speed]," he said.

Paul Carter, CEO of Global Wireless Solutions, said his company has also been keeping track of usage patterns, in particular cellular networks. He likened the current demand for connectivity to Super Bowl Sunday.

"When it's time for the Super Bowl, operators spend millions of dollars [to meet demand]. Now, it's like the whole country is kind of like the Super Bowl," Carter said to ABC News.

He said COVID-19 has placed unique demands on carriers.

"Now, all of a sudden, everything has been turned on its head. There is a lot less mobility, people are sheltering at home, often in suburban areas. People are spending more time on their devices," he continued. "There's a blur between personal and work use. Currently, people are starting their day maybe earlier, so that the workday is longer. You are at home for the whole time, so you are doing more activities on your phone."

Carter said network operators are seeing a spike in voice communications, particularly with Wi-Fi calling, in some cases a "75 to 100% increase."

"You are using your home broadband to make the initial connection, and then it's forwarded by your cellular service provider," Carter added.

But he said he's optimistic carriers can meet the demand.

"They have been preparing for 5G, not just on the front end but on the back end, the core network," he said. "So they have been building capacity into the network. Wireless network operators are working hard to fill [performance] holes, but it's a testament to them that the networks are holding up so well already."

In the case of dense residential areas that may not get the same performance as larger, urban areas, Suttles suggested operators may resort to throttling bandwidth, as was done recently in the EU.

Zoom, a video conferencing platform, has seen such an increase in demand that its stock rose earlier this month, despite Wall Street's rollercoaster performance.

“We are confident that our architecture is built to handle these growing levels of activity. Our unified communications platform is architected from the ground up to address the most technologically difficult aspect of communications: video,” Zoom said in a statement to ABC News.

In the meantime, non-commuters can take steps to bolster their bandwidth while working from home. Suttles suggested using a combination of cellular and home broadband, especially since cellular networks are seeing less of a surge in demand.

"Tether your laptop, or one of your devices to [cellular], then [other devices to broadband] to spread the load," he advised. "Perhaps if Zoom works great over [cellular], use that one computer connected to your phone for that Zoom call. Figure out which of your connections are best."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Anthony Ali
Posted: 03/27/2020

A third report a job loss, half a pay cut as coronavirus crisis grips the economy

JLGutierrez/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis are gripping the nation: One in three Americans in an ABC News/Washington Post poll say they or an immediate family member have been laid off or lost their job as a result of the pandemic, and more – half – report a cut in pay or work hours.

Beyond those stark realities, worries for the future are profound. A nearly unanimous 92% expect a recession because of the outbreak, with 59% calling this not just likely, but very likely. If one occurs, two-thirds think it will be as bad as the Great Recession, or worse. Already, in interviews Sunday through Wednesday, 43% say the economic impacts on their own community are severe.

The survey’s result on job losses is reflected in the unprecedented level of new unemployment claims reported today by the federal government. But the claims data don’t reflect the broader public fears. Among those who haven’t yet experienced a job loss in their immediate family, 58% are concerned about it occurring. And 53% are concerned their family will be hit with pay cuts or reduced work hours.

The net totals mean that 71% of Americans either have had a layoff or job loss occur as a result of the pandemic, or are concerned about this; and 76% either have lost pay or work hours, or are concerned that this may happen.

Further, the survey finds higher levels of job losses and pay cuts among the most economically at-risk Americans: those with lower incomes, racial and ethnic minorities and, specifically in terms of job losses, women who lack a four-year college degree.

On another front, the public expresses broad support for some elements of the economic stimulus package approved unanimously by the Senate last night. Eighty-six percent back cash payments to most Americans and 90% support billions in aid to small businesses, with bipartisan views on both. Assistance for large corporations is far less popular, with support dropping to 46%.

Most interviews for this national survey were conducted Sunday and Monday in order to avoid potential call center shutdowns; the results are a portrait in time in the fast-moving crisis. While this report focuses on economic impacts, further results tomorrow morning will look at personal impacts and other issues related to the pandemic. The survey was produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Who's hit?

As noted, economic impacts differ among groups. While 33% of Americans overall say they or someone in their immediate family has been laid off or lost a job as a result of the crisis, it’s four in 10 among ethnic and racial minorities (including 41% of Hispanics and 39% among blacks) vs. 29% among whites.

Similarly, among those with household incomes less than $50,000, 39% report a layoff or job loss, compared with 30% of those in the $50,000-$100,000 bracket and 21% of those with incomes of $100,000 or more.

The gender division also is significant, with reports of job losses or layoffs higher among women than men, 37 vs. 28%. That’s entirely due to the high level of job loss experiences among women who don’t have a college degree, 41%.

Reflecting these demographic differences, the job loss number is lower among Republicans, 25%, than among independents or Democrats, 35 and 34%, respectively.

There also are gaps among these groups – generally not as large – in who’s sustained a pay cut or a reduction in work hours. Here the big hit is among younger adults: Among those age 18-29, a broad 66% say they or someone in their immediate family has had their pay or work hours cut. It’s 59% among adults in their 30s and 47% among those age 40-64.

Differences are especially profound, moreover, in terms of who’s worried about a job loss in their immediate family (excluding those who’ve already experienced it): Seventy-one percent of racial and ethnic minorities have this worry, vs. 51% of whites; 63% of those with incomes less than $100,000 vs. 43% of those with higher incomes; and 70% among Democrats vs. 44% among Republicans (with independents in the middle in terms of this worry, 59%.) Results in concerns about a pay cut are generally similar.

Further, concern about job loss is higher in harder-hit states, reaching 64% of those in states with 1,000+ diagnosed cases as of Sunday (when interviewing began), declining to 47% among those in states with fewer than 200 cases at that time.

Recession?

Recession fears reflect local impacts. As noted, 43% say the coronavirus already has had a severe economic impact on their community (including 16% who say it’s very severe). Those who report a severe economic impact are far more likely than others to see a recession as very likely (71 vs. 47%), and more than twice as likely to think it’ll be worse than the Great Recession (47 vs. 22%).

Reports of severe economic impacts of the crisis peak in urban areas, at 51%, declining to 40% in the suburbs and 35% in rural areas. More people in the West reported severe economic impacts at the time of these interviews, 51%, vs. a low of 38% in the Midwest.

There also are political and racial or ethnic divisions on local impacts. Nearly half of Democrats and independents alike report severe economic impacts in their communities, vs. 32% of Republicans; and 51% of racial and ethnic minorities see severe impacts, vs. 39% of whites.

Beyond differing perceptions, this could reflect a difference in the distribution of virus impacts – greater in urban areas, as noted, where more Democrats and minority group members reside – as well as greater economic vulnerability in those groups. Indeed, 44% of Democrats live in one of the states with mandatory business closures at the start of these interviews, compared with 33% of independents and 23% of Republicans.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone March 22-25, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-24-37%, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling and data collection by Abt Associates of Rockville, Md. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: BM
Posted: 03/26/2020

Small businesses hit by coronavirus: 'Shark Tank' star Barbara Corcoran answers common questions to help

Good Morning America(NEW YORK) -- As the novel coronavirus spreads across the country, the financial impact of the pandemic continues to devastate workers and small businesses.

A record number of workers -- 3.28 million -- filed for unemployment claims in the week ending March 21, according to U.S. Department of Labor data released Thursday. Average weekly claims total 200,000.

The Senate passed a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that will provide expanded unemployment insurance for workers, emergency loans for small businesses and $1,200 to taxpayers earning $75,000 or less per year.

“Good Morning America” asked "Shark Tank" star and financial guru, Barbara Corcoran, to answer questions from small business owners on how to weather the storm.

Corcoran said it's time to pinpoint where your money is going and prioritize rent, mortgage payments and essentials.

“There are a lot of people that feel like they’re going to get great benefits from the government, and it’s good to have help from the government … but, it’s not a lot of money. You haven't won the lottery,” said Corcoran. "You're going to have to learn how to spread out your money. Make the rent and mortgage payments as your No. 1 priority and you do that because it's simply easier to replace a credit card than it is to replace a home."

She continued, "Comb through all of your bills, all of your credit card statements to see where you're actually spending your cash and then decide to only spend it on essentials. Because this is a time for self-restriction and discipline."

With all of this uncertainty, Corcoran answered questions from small business owners. Read on to get her expert advice below:

1. I own a catering company and we are in some crazy times right now. What would be the best way to use this stimulus money that we're being promised without falling deeper into debt - because you know, Uncle Sam is going to want his currency back. - Millie

Well, I think, Millie, you’re in the spot of every small business owner. If you’re going to save your business, it’s not going to be with a stimulus package. It’s going to be through hard work and making really tough decisions. If you decide to take the stimulus package loan, which is very favorable to small business, you’re going to need to keep your employees on the payroll, whoever they are. Rehire the people you’ve already let go, if you’ve already let go, and if you don’t, that loan is not going to be forgiven. You’re going to have to work like crazy to pay it back. I would think long and hard before taking any money if you’re not sure your business is going to [be able to] pay it back.

2. I own a small online luxury jewelry business. Every month, we spend money on Facebook and Instagram ads. We're wondering if we should turn all of our ads off and save our money or if we should pivot our message to speak about what's going on now. What do you think? - Jennifer

Well, Jennifer, lucky for you that you’re in the luxury market. In the luxury market, the customer has time on their hands, like everybody else does [now]. Everybody wants a great deal, so you have to make sure what you’re offering is not your usual stuff, but a really great deal. If you have the advertising dollars to still spend, consider yourself lucky -- a lot of people don’t. You should really be staying on top of Facebook and Instagram analytics and reporting to yourself daily, “What kind of return am I getting? Am I getting that bang for my buck that I deserve if I’m spending these advertising dollars?” But if you hustle, give a discount and stay on top of your analytics, you are one of the lucky people that should really sail through this hard time.

3. [Since] the corona virus outbreak, several events we had planned over the next few weeks and months have been postponed and canceled. I'm concerned about my employees who are paid on a 1099 basis, based on the hours that they work at each event. How can I look out for them? - Mary Grace

Well, Mary Grace, it sounds like you're a phenomenal boss and I understand and I get it. I’ve thought of all my people who have ever worked for me as my kids! I felt responsible for them. But here’s what I learned: you can only do so much. What you can do is that you can be honest and direct with your employees -- just tell them like it is. The good news for you, which you may not be aware of yet, is that you have help coming your way with the new stimulus package. Most people are included, including independent contractors, and that’s never happened before. You should stay on top of what qualifies [your employees] for what benefits and keep them totally informed. Last, so importantly, you should stay in touch with [your employees]. You don’t always have to give employees the answers they want to hear, but they want to be loved, they want to be cared for and they want to be in touch with you. You’re going to want to keep their morale up. You sound just the kind of person who is able to do that.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: BM
Posted: 03/26/2020

Coronavirus economic updates: 3.28 million unemployment filings shatter 1982 record

glegorly/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The coronavirus pandemic has quickly evolved from a health crisis to a financial one, shuttering businesses, upending entire industries and sending financial markets reeling.

Here's the latest news on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the economy. For more on financial resources available during the pandemic, click here.

Markets continue to rally

U.S. financial markets marched higher on Thursday despite the soaring unemployment numbers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up more than 1,350 points, or 6.3%, while the S&P 500 gained 6.2% and the Nasdaq rose 5.6%.

The equities rally Thursday builds off of back-to-back gains on Wednesday and Tuesday. Lawmakers announced on Wednesday they'd reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package to help buoy the economy.

U.S. equity markets have seesawed for weeks as the COVID-19 outbreak has sowed uncertainty among investors. All three major U.S. indices plunged into bear market territory amid the pandemic.

Orange juice prices skyrocket

Orange juice futures have spiked more than 20% over the past month, as the global health crisis possibly has people seeking more doses of vitamin C.

"Industry sources suggest that demand has improved as consumers are returning" to frozen concentrated orange juice, Jack Scoville, vice president at the Price Futures Group, wrote in a memo Thursday. "The increased demand has really turned the market around."

"Crop yields and quality should be high for Florida this year," he added.

Record number of Americans file for unemployment

A record number of workers -- 3.28 million -- filed unemployment claims in the week ending March 21, according to U.S. Department of Labor data released Thursday.

That's an increase of 3 million from the previous week.

Among the hardest hit sectors was the service industry, particularly accommodation and food service. Nearly every state cited COVID-19 as the reason for skyrocketing claims.

Health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing or manufacturing industries were also heavily impacted, the Labor Department said.

Thousands of businesses have been forced to close amid government-mandated stay-in-place orders.

The staggering figure comes as the unemployment rate was near a 50-year low just weeks ago.

The previous record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982. Thursday's total is three times the combined number of people employed by Apple, Target, General Motors, Boeing and McDonalds.

"The coronavirus outbreak is a truly unprecedented event in American economic history, flash-freezing the economy by forcing businesses to shut down and putting millions of American workers out of jobs," Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor's senior economist, said in a statement Thursday.

"Most historical comparisons of this scale are inadequate. The closest would be natural disasters like major hurricanes," he added. "However, as today's report shows, the coronavirus outbreak is economically akin to a major hurricane occurring in every state around the country for weeks on end."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/26/2020

Coronavirus may have devastated the theater world. Artists are adapting

fergregory/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Last Monday, when the governor of Vermont issued an order banning gatherings of 50 or more people, the leadership team at Northern Stage in White River Junction knew what they had to do.

They had been planning for this incredibly tough moment as COVID-19 spread across the country.

The team called a full company meeting with all the actors, staff and stagehands and alerted the group of 45 that the theater would shut its doors immediately.

"It was just heartbreaking," production manager Jess Johnston said. "It was the worse day of most of our lives … we have all poured so many years into this organization. The company is a linchpin for our town."

Similar scenes have played out on stages across the country over the last two weeks.

The financial losses to the art and theater community are hard to calculate, with so many different business models. The art world is a hodgepodge of nonprofits and commercial enterprises of all shapes and sizes. A study last week from Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization, estimated that the theater and arts industry has already lost $3 billion in the wake of the current public health and economic crisis.

Much of the discussion in Washington has focused on the economic impact on restaurants, bars, travel companies and hotels. But the latest stimulus package passed in the Senate this week did include $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well an additional $75 million in grants available through the National Endowment for the Arts.

"Theater is about being together, being in community together, experiencing stories together," Simon Godwin, the artistic director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., told ABC News.

The only remedy prescribed to fight this virus -- so far -- has been an end to socializing.

Like Northern Stage, thousands of theaters closed shows midweek and canceled remaining productions. They suspended upcoming seasons indefinitely. Subscriptions and ticket sales have been refunded and there have been massive lay-offs in all 50 states.

"Basically everyone I know has lost their jobs. All of my loved ones are out of work," Johnston said. "The unemployment in my industry across the country is hard to wrap my brain around."

Johnston's theater is a mid-sized regional nonprofit with about a $4 million annual operating budget. The world premiere of "Citrus," a play about African-American history, debuted at the theater this month.

Johnston and others made the decision to pay the actors in "Citrus" through the end of the show’s scheduled run, but they canceled the contracts for the actors who had already been cast in the next production. The playhouse’s senior staff and department heads took a pay cut. A few other people were kept on, mainly for part-time administrative work. Other than that, all staff stagehands and crews -- dozens of carpenters, electricians, prop masters and dressers, who keep the lights on and get the each shows onstage each week -- were furloughed and advised to file for unemployment with the state.

In a normal year, most of those men and women earn a rather modest salary of about $30,000 from the theater. Many are younger professionals, and, according to Johnston, have left Vermont and scattered across the country to move back in with their parents.

Others who have roots in the community are hunkering down and relying on a sense of togetherness that is unique and profound among artists.

"No one is immune right now and in a way there is something beautiful in that," Johnston said.

Johnston worried about one staff member who had just bought a house.

"People have a good attitude right now, but I worry so much about people on my team who live paycheck to paycheck ... in three weeks, how are they going to be able to afford to eat?" she said.

Artists and theater employees know that convincing theatergoers to come back to see a show could take time.

"If people are scared to be in a room together, you can't just snap your fingers and tell people it is safe," Johnston said.

Jeannie Naughton lives in New Jersey but has worked on Broadway for more than 25 years as a dresser. She maintains costumes for some of Broadway’s biggest stars and executes the complicated costume changes backstage. She recently took a leave from the Broadway production of "Hamilton" to dress Patti LuPone in her revival of "Company," which was set to open on Broadway last Sunday. Like her colleagues, she is in a holding pattern.

Her husband is an actor and while they have some savings, she is worried he may not qualify for unemployment with the state of New Jersey. Her family is hoping New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy might be able to work out a deal with banks to put mortgage payments on hold.

"There is a residual feeling of being overwhelmed," she said. "We are following everything we have been told to do the best we can, but the uncertainty prays on your head and stress comes out."

Like thousands of other artists who work in theaters across the country, Naughton receives health insurance benefits through her union, New York’s Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 764. As is common practice in the industry, artists must work a certain number of weeks per quarter to qualify and be eligible for benefits. With production schedules so uncertain right now, there is added anxiety for all union members.

Naughton’s union worked alongside several others to negotiate a deal last week with the Broadway League of producers and theaters to guarantee a few weeks of emergency wages and health insurance benefits for those who were instantly out of work.

She said her "Ham Fam," a group of colleagues who worked together on "Hamilton," has started a conference call at midnight to gather and talk and offer support.

Amber White, the production stage manager on "Hamilton," said theater people are used to weird hours as well as the inherent uncertainty in their work.

"We are freelancers at heart ... independent contractors, paid for work we do, hours we work -- that’s it," she told ABC News.

While White has worked on "Hamilton" for the last several years, she said this moment has been a reminder of a deep truth all artists know well: paid work can come and go.

"No matter how secure you feel, anything can happen any moment," she said. "If this has had happened to me 20 years ago, I don't know where I wold be. I am very fortune we have been doing this for long enough to have a little savings."

At best, most people in theater work show-to-show, season-by-season. Long-term employment can be rare. There is a sensibility and mindset that comes with the business that she and Naughton agree will help artists weather this moment.

"It’s the trick of being an artist: balancing making art with making a living," White said. "We have to figure out how to feed ourselves our way."

"Once we get out of our cloud of fear and anxiety, out of our bouts of depression, which we always do," White added. "We gravitate towards creating life and work for ourselves. We are malleable."

At home, Naughton has put her sewing skills toward a new mission: making surgical masks for a local hospital to extend the lives of disposable masks that doctors and nurses desperately need right now.

"I want to have a purpose, if I can help our people feel on the front lines .... plus, people in theater have a wellspring of creativity and troubleshooting and problem-solving skills," she said.

The Shakespeare Theater Company is experimenting with moving some of its programming online. It is hosting virtual happy hours and will likely offer lectures in the coming weeks. Other artists have launched online dance classes and workshops teaching crafts to kids.

Those artists fortunate enough to work on productions as popular as “Hamilton” can at least expect their shows will reopen and their incomes will return as soon as people can gather safely again. But many others in the business are just not that lucky. Some productions, even ones slated for the big lights of Broadway, are completely up in the air right now.

On Tuesday, the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ nonprofit announced that more than 20 producers had offered a $1 million challenge to match donations to a new COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund for those in the business.

"With every passing day that theaters remain dark, entertainment professionals face unprecedented health and financial challenges requiring immediate attention and resources," the announcement read.

"The anxiety level across city and country is intense," Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares, said. "We are all looking at an uncertain future that could last months down the road."

He said he worries about the ushers, bartenders and people who sell merchandise in the lobbies.

"Some of the best work we do is help people navigate intense bureaucracy that exists around hospitals and government services," he said.

Back in Vermont, Johnston said her theater could really suffer if donations dried up. More than half of the theater's revenue comes from grants and contributions.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company has found success by asking supporters to give now rather than later. "It’s an act of faith from supporters and a promise from us," Godwin said.

Godwin noted that William Shakespeare's own theater was often closed during the plague.

"He would go to the countryside to write. His vaccine was poetry," Godwin noted. "We have to keep the faith and be creative … there will be a renewed appetite soon enough for a shared experience, that feeling of being present alongside other human beings."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/26/2020

As unemployment claims see record high, hear from those affected

Gwengoat/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As the number of people infected with the COVID-19 virus continues to climb, so does the number of unemployment claims made in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday morning 3.28 million unemployment claims were filed in the United States between March 15 and March 21, the largest number on record. That number is the equivalent of the entire city of Chicago being out of work -- and doesn't even include those who were not able to file immediately, those who work off the books for their livelihood, or undocumented immigrants who now find themselves out of work. 

With mandatory shutdowns of various businesses across the country, businesses are struggling to keep their employees on the payroll. The number of Americans out of work in the blink of an eye shows just how damaging this virus has been to the U.S. economy.

Here are some stories of those who have had their financial life upended by this global pandemic:

Jamie Gabel and Christina Liberatore Gabel, New York

Last week, Jamie Gabel worked as a physician’s assistant until he was abruptly laid off.

“It's honestly been a disaster,” said Christina Liberatore Gabel, who lost her job as a hairstylist the week prior. “Both of us have lost our jobs -- and so now we're scrambling to figure out how we can pay our bills, pay the mortgage ... kind of trying to figure out how long is this going to last – is it going to get worse?”

Christina says they’re mostly worried about their children, and how much longer they will have to wait out this pandemic.

“We have two children, one has autism, and all of his programs are shut down,” she told ABC News. “And he's regressing right now.”

Christina and Jamie are hoping things return to normal as soon as possible for the sake of their family.

“I think they need to really figure out how to get the city up and running as fast as possible,” said Christina.

Anonymous undocumented immigrant, diner chef in Long Island, New York

An undocumented chef at a local Long Island diner, who agreed to speak with ABC News on the basis of anonymity, says he’s been working there for almost eight years.

“I wasn’t prepared for this,” he said. “And I can’t apply for unemployment.”

He tells ABC News he’s worried about paying his bills.

“There's no money coming every week,” he said. “How I could pay my rent? How I could pay my bills? And how I could take care of my family?”

He noted other undocumented immigrants who’ve found themselves in the same position. Some of them, he added, are more afraid than most of getting sick.

“I know some people who are afraid to go to a hospital if they get sick,” he said. “Because, you know, ICE – they are very afraid of ICE.”

He told ABC News that some of these immigrants will be afraid to share their financial struggles during this pandemic.

“People are afraid to let their voices out,” he said. “I hope my voice counts.”

Carlton Oakes, inventory supervisor at a global inventory and data collections company in Arkansas

Oakes was midway through job training when he was abruptly laid off. The same day, he sought to apply for unemployment with the help of his wife, Michelle. They first attempted to apply for unemployment online via the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS) website, but immediately encountered difficulties.

"The website won’t accept my Social Security [number], it pops up as invalid -- and I’ve had friends who say they’ve had the same problem," Oakes told ABC News.

He turned to the department’s phone lines, which he says were constantly busy.

As a last resort, Michelle Oakes went to the department’s office in hopes of submitting a written application. She was in disbelief when she found out getting into the office wasn't even a possibility.

"You can’t even get into the office, you have to walk into a plastic walled room," said Michelle. "You can’t stand 6 feet apart [from other people], it's maybe 10’ by 10’ if that -- and there's that dropbox that you have to put your application in."

On Wednesday, the Oakes received an updated notice from ADWS regarding filing for unemployment.

“They’re referring us to the internet and the phone line,” said Michelle. “But as soon as the phone picks up, there’s a message that says, ‘heavy call volume,’ and you become disconnected immediately.”

Carlton Oakes has still been unable to file for unemployment.

Julianna Calderon, server at a local restaurant in Long Island, New York

Calderon worked at a local restaurant in Long Island, New York, before she was laid off last Tuesday.

“I’ve been working since I was 15 years old,” Calderon, 24, told ABC News. “I never thought I would go through something like this – especially at such a young age.”

Calderon says she’s in the middle of paying her student loans, and she just adopted a three-month-old puppy.

“I can't imagine being unemployed for longer than a month,” said Calderon. “I just can't do it.”

Calderon was one of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who visited the New York State Department of Labor's website last week to apply for unemployment.

“You’d get through about two pages of paperwork, and the website would just crash,” Calderon said. “It took me two days alone to create an account.”

Once she was able to create an account, the website prompted her to call the department.

“Sometimes I would call and it would just be like a dial tone – or it would just hang up on you midway through the automated message,” she said. “It makes you just want to stop trying, but you can't… because you need money.”

Calderon still hasn't been able to apply for unemployment, as she says her calls to the NYS Department of Labor have been fruitless. She plans to wake up early Thursday morning, the next day she’ll be able to apply, and attempt to be one of the first people to call the department.

Ryan Connolly, a software developer in Tampa

Connolly worked at RDK Truck Sales until last Tuesday. He sensed something was off when his managers contacted him via Google Hangouts. His premonition proved correct, as he was soon laid off without notice of when to return.

“I was completely on my own at that point -- they told me sales were down, phones weren’t ringing ... and they had to let go of 10 people," Connolly said. “For a company of around 50 people, that’s pretty big.”

Connolly hoped to be one step ahead of unemployment filing, immediately looking for available jobs and tried applying for unemployment on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) website.

"I was hoping at that point that I would kind of get ahead of the big unemployment wave, but I was probably just put right in the middle of it,” Connolly told ABC News. "It would try to load, load, load, and I would get failure messages in my browser, so at that point, reality hit, I was definitely not the only one in this boat."

Connolly still has not been able to apply for unemployment, but remains focused on finding new work by contacting recruiters and reaching out to his personal network. Weary of an overloaded phone line and malfunctioning website, Connolly hopes that the stimulus plan will make a difference, and those currently affected will see greater unemployment benefits in the near future.

Elizabeth Mejias, server at a restaurant in Los Angeles

Elizabeth Mejias was a server at a restaurant inside LAX airport in Los Angeles. Mejias was told not to come into work until further notice last Friday. Her manager informed her that the restaurant would soon cut staff and hours following a hard financial hit to their business from growing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was told to stay at home, stay safe, and that H.R. will let us know if anything happens regarding layoffs,” she continued. For now, she continues to live in limbo.

Mejias’ husband, who works as a mechanic at LAX, also worried about being laid-off as rumors swirled about the possibility of an airport closure. She and her family have a small amount of savings that could keep them afloat for a few weeks, but they worry about being able to provide for their elderly parents who depend on them financially.

She has also been homeschooling her two children following school closures mandates.

“I am worried, but I just can't show that to my kids,” Mejias said. “I can’t let them see that I'm scared and that I have no control of anything. They look up to us. We are the parents. And what’s the point of panicking if they will make other family members panic more.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/26/2020

Small businesses face 'nightmare' cash crunch from coronavirus pandemic

Kameleon007/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Comedy clubs, bookstores and cocktail makers are among the millions of American small businesses facing a race against time in an unprecedented financial battle for survival.

"It's not funny. You know, that needs to be clear," said Allyson Jaffe, co-owner of DC Improv, which closed its theater and laid off nearly all of its staff this month because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. "It's been a nightmare. The word I keep saying is 'horrific.'"

Businesses that employ fewer than 500 workers are a key pillar of the U.S. economy and uniquely susceptible to an abrupt economic shock.

"Half the people who work in this country own or work for a small business. So that's half our jobs," said Karen G. Mills, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and former administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration during the Obama administration.

"They have very low cash buffers. On average, they have about 26 days of cash," Mills said.

Congress this week is expected to approve a major infusion of cash -- more than $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses that include a big perk: owners won't have to pay back the government, if they use the money to cover rent or worker wages.

"I would take that deal any day to allow us to do that, if those loans could therefore be forgiven," said Pia Carusone, CEO and co-founder Republic Restoratives Distillery in Washington, D.C., which produces craft vodka, bourbon and brandy.

"Our bills don't just stop. We have a working capital loan that we've got so much debt on and a large rent bill every month from our landlord," Carusone said. "So, we're not in a good position to have nearly zero revenue coming in to our wholesale business."

Adam Waterreus, who owns Lost City Books in D.C., has seen a steep 75% decline in sales since the pandemic hit. He's laid off four employees and is struggling to keep three others on payroll.

"It seems like (financial relief) might be happening, which I think is important, that they’re giving certain provisions to small businesses," he said of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package.

Waterreus said he is nervous about taking on more debt with new loans but is optimistic financial aid might keep him afloat for the short-term.

"We're not meant to be a place where we're online marketplaces; we're like your local bookstore," Waterreus said of the desire to keep his doors open.

At the comedy club, Jaffe laid off 50 employees this month -- including her husband -- but still managed to find humor in the situation.

"He said, 'Well, this is the first time I got laid this month,'" she said with a grin as she recalled the conversation with her spouse. "Laughter will bring us together and help us get through it."

"We'll apply for loans," Jaffe added. "And obviously, if it's a forgivable loan, that would be a better option for us as a business and would help us weather the storm even more."

While many business owners and advocates have praised the government's relief package, there is widespread concern federal funds won't get distributed quickly enough.

"We will be lucky if most small businesses see any assistance in less than two months," wrote finance lawyers Adam Levitin and Satyam Khanna in a New York Times op-ed. "That is time they -- and their employees -- do not have."

Senate staff involved with drafting the plan say they've tried to streamline the loan process as much as possible, allowing business owners to apply for aid at one of more than 800 lenders nationwide that partner with the Small Business Administration.

"Considering it is a 100% guaranteed loan, it shouldn't be overly complicated," one senior Republican aide involved in the process told ABC News.

"These local banks across the country should very quickly be in the position to start moving money into the hands of small businesses, not-for-profits and others," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a video message. "We feel it's going to make a big difference especially for the cafeterias, the cafes, the small restaurants, the bakeries that have closed down."

The financial support is not unlimited. The congressional proposal would only cover about two to three months of rent, utility and payroll expenses for many small businesses.

The White House and some economists are pushing to lift the local shutdowns as soon as possible to jump-start the economy. President Donald Trump has set a goal of Easter -- April 12 -- weeks ahead of what many public health experts say may be safe.

"People are going to flow freely and re-infect each other and spread the virus. So I, as a small business owner who is suffering, would be very, very glad to make sure that we continue to shut down until we kill this thing," said Carusone, a former chief of staff to then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords of Arizona and former top Department of Homeland Security official.

In the meantime, Carusone has transitioned her business to producing hand sanitizer. The distillery is churning out small bottles of homemade alcoholic gel, filling a 1,000-gallon order just this week from local government to equip police and medical workers.

Waterreus said he also opposes a rush to reopen before public health officials give the all-clear.

"That’s not, I think, responsible for me as a business owner," he said, acknowledging that crowds of browsing book buyers in his shop could create a dangerous situation if the virus is still spreading. "I would rather hear from the city or hear from Mayor (Muriel) Bowser and other health officials than I would (President Trump)."

Jaffe says she is trying to ride out the crisis by giving back to the community through what she does best -- making people laugh. The improv club is experimenting with virtual stand-up shows and online comedy classes.

"We want to give you a place to kind of -- even if it's your own place in your own little home and your office or living room or whatever," Jaffe said. "I don't want to charge people for it."

"It's also not healthy to just be in total fear and panic, you know? That's going to do more damage to you," she said. "Yes, the virus is going to hurt you, but that feeling is going to hurt you, too."

In other words: don't forget to laugh.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/26/2020

Former Twitter CEO teams with San Francisco chef to feed those in need

David Nayfeld/Facebook(SAN FRANCISCO) -- When the coronavirus swept through San Francisco, closing businesses and forcing people to stay in their homes, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo knew he had to do something.

So Costolo, a partner in the popular San Francisco eatery Che Fico Alimentari, called up the restaurant's chef, David Nayfeld.

“I just called David and said, look, is there some way I can donate a bunch of money for a day for you guys to make a bunch of meals and pay for them for families who either are, you know, really economically struggling right now or haven't had time to prepare for the shelter in place?” Costolo told ABC News. “Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone to keep some of your staff employed and some of these families fed.”

Costolo threw in the first $2,000 and other investors quickly anted up and a post on Facebook was made along with a video announcing the Costolo Family Meal Fund.

“PLEASE ONLY USE THE PROMO CODE IF YOU ARE IN NEED,” the Facebook post read. “If you are in good shape and feel like buying someone else’s dinner you can also add a $50 to your bill to pay it forward to someone else in need.”

The first night the restaurant was able to serve 80 free meals.

Since then, the initiative quickly took off. Nayfeld reported they successfully served more than 1,500 meals for free.

While feeding people who might not have means during the COVID-19 outbreak, the meal making is also keeping some of Nayfeld’s 90 employees working with full-time benefits. Nayfeld said that he is able to keep about 17 staff members on and/or rotating on available shifts, rather than furloughing them.

“David and his team are working nonstop over there,” Costolo said. “I think they did about 320 meals last night. Feeding in upwards of 960 people.”

Nayfeld said he is only offering free meals to those in need, but is working on the honor system to determine eligibility.

“If someone tells me they need a meal, I’m going to go out on a limb and say 90% of the time they are telling me the truth,” Nayfeld said.

The Costolo Family Meal Fund drive donations, as of Wednesday, have topped $30,000, Nayfeld said. With no end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, both men are committed to continuing this for as long as the lockdown is in effect.

“There's a social contract between, you know, people of means in a community and everybody else,” Costolo said. ”And that social contract entails that when the going gets tough, you step up and help out.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/26/2020

Peyton Manning drops by University of Tennessee online class to surprise students

iStock(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- Football legend Peyton Manning surprised University of Tennessee students in an online class Thursday.

Students in a communication studies senior Capstone class were shocked to see Manning suddenly appear on their Zoom chat after their professor, John Haas, said, "Mr. Thompson, I think you're late for class."

The former professional football player, a two-time Super Bowl champion, then responded, "I'm sorry Dr. Haas. It's been a while. It's been at least since 1996 or 7 since I've been in a class."

Manning graduated from UT in 1997 and often shows off his pride for the Vols.

Manning then shared a message of hope and positivity for the students, who are completing their courses from home for the duration of the semester due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm just wanting to drop in and say hello to all the fellow communication students there, [I] realize this is a unique time and probably not the ideal way you guys expected to spend your senior year," Manning told the students.

"But I just encourage you to keep a positive attitude, keep working like you're doing and try to take advantage of the little bit of the extra time you have to accomplish something else or help out somebody in need -- a lot of people are hurting out there during this time," he continued.

He also encouraged students to "be thankful" for their blessings and reminded them that, "the University of Tennessee is proud of you and going to support you every way they can, and Dr. Haas and his department are going to do the same thing."

Ireland Rowe, a senior at UT, said she felt "like a 10 year old on Christmas morning."

"When you think of UT, one of the first things you think of is Peyton Manning," she said in a statement to Good Morning America. "He has remained connected to the university over the years which is inspiring to see. Him joining our Zoom class session was the boost of confidence we needed to finish the rest of our semester."

She added, "It's incredible to be able to witness moments of encouragement during a time like this, especially from a hero of every Volunteer."

Another student in Haas' class, Rachel Katzara, also expressed her thanks for Manning's surprise and her professor's part in it.

"All of us have adjusted to the online format and are trying to stay focused on the semester, and finishing strong," she shared. "That being said, I know a lot of us are sad. We are missing our friends and professors, and navigating through the crisis like all Americans, the best we can. Our faculty at the University of Tennessee has been outstanding in this time, and the fact that they are taking time out to think of ways to keep us all smiling has been just amazing!"

Manning and his former professor have a bond that goes way back.

In 2018, the former pro donated $1 million to his alma mater to create the John Haas Student Experiential Learning Endowment in honor of Haas.

"Exceptional teachers transform your way of learning by challenging and motivating you while teaching more than just a subject," Manning said in a statement at the time. "For me and so many others, that teacher was Dr. John Haas."

The respect is definitely mutual. Haas told GMA that Manning "truly represents what it means to be a Volunteer in every sense of the word."

"He’s always the first to step up and come to the aid of those who need assistance," Haas said in a statement. "As an alum, he has stayed connected to the University of Tennessee for more than 20 years now. He has such a positive impact on our students and campus community."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/27/2020

Katelyn Ohashi teams up with gym to help gymnasts work out at home

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- While many fitness centers have closed their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, one gym in the New York City borough of Brooklyn is taking to social media to keep many of their members active at home.

When Gotham Gymnastics, a facility for aspiring young gymnasts, was forced to temporarily close due to government mandates, its CEO and co-founder Daniel Miranda as well as team director and co-founder Ana Nunes came up with the idea to take their workout sessions to Instagram.

"We did this for our girls first," Miranda told ABC News in an interview on Good Morning America.

"We realized with all the posts out there," he continued, "all the girls sharing comments of ideas about what to do, we came across the idea of getting other girls from other gyms to join too. And this thing just grew in two days, it was an incredible response.”

Last week, the two coaches launched #Quaranteams, which they’re calling the largest gymnastics web camp in the world to keep athletes motivated.

It was also their way of responding to the many events and meets that were cancelled amid the pandemic which gymnasts had worked hard preparing for.

"When we saw the championships being cancelled, we thought, oh my gosh, these girls worked really hard to be able to go to the championships, and some of them have senior years, some of them are preparing for the Olympics," Miranda said.

For six days each week, Gotham Gymnastics has scheduled workouts on Instagram live with coaches and professionals who help bring lessons to gymnasts at home. Not only has it sparked interest among gymnasts in Brooklyn, but elsewhere around the world too.

One of the professional gymnasts they asked to join this week's workouts is star gymnast, Katelyn Ohashi, who last year scored perfect 10s for her energetic, viral floor routine while competing for the University of California, Los Angeles.

"To know that these coaches at Gotham are extremely invested in their gymnasts and support them throughout this pandemic is incredible and super cool to see," Ohashi told GMA. "The creativity behind it and to know that they’re working on so many different ways to stay involved and to encourage everyone -- and it’s not just about their gymnasts, it’s also about the world, so that’s even cooler."

"There's just kind of a lot of stuff happening within our world, so we are just trying to be as positive as possible through these times and teach them [gymnasts] as much insight as we can on what to do during our days locked inside the house in quarantine," she added.

Ohashi's workout session, which took place Thursday on Instagram, included a variety of lower body workouts and stretches.

On Sunday, Ohashi, Miranda and UCLA head coach and fellow Gotham Advisory Board Member Valorie "Miss Val" Kondos Field took part in a Q&A that was live streamed on Instagram, where they offered tips for gymnasts on how to stay motivated while self-isolating at home.

"Right now, while it’s a stressful time -- I feel it myself -- we can look at the positive," Miss Val told GMA, regarding working out at home. "You [young athletes] have a time right now to really work on your strengths, but also your weaknesses."

Ohashi also shared that even though it is important to stay active, she also advised that this is a time that many should use to rest. During her Q&A on Sunday, she spoke about the importance of the Sabbath and taking the time to reflect.

"Sabbath rest is extremely important just because, it is OK to let down during this time and have a little bit of relaxation and self-reflection and do things that you don't always get to prioritize," she said. "Really focusing on what you enjoy outside of the sport right now and the things that you can do at home and getting creative and doing certain things -- I just think can help set them up for the future even more so."

While Gotham Gymnastics is one of many gyms across the country who have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic of the novel coronavirus, Miranda has made it a point to focus on the positive during this time and he hopes athletes will do the same.

"It’s a big hit for not just athletes, but you know for the economy and everything else," Miranda said. "But the message is, you’re not alone. We’re together -- we’re together in this … instead of the internet being a vehicle of posting hate, we should be using it to bring people together in this moment."

"This is going to pass," he added.

You can check out Gotham Gymnastics’ #Quaranteams schedule for the week on their website here.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020

NBA star Russell Westbrook details how he's helping LA families hit hard by coronavirus

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- As the NBA season remains at a standstill, one of its star players has found a way to lend a helping hand to those most in need amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Los Angeles native Russell Westbrook joined Good Morning America via Skype from his home to discuss how he and his wife Nina have joined forces with Mayor Eric Garcetti's office through their Why Not? Foundation to launch the Angeleno Campaign.

"I'm excited about it. It's a campaign that's something that will be from my foundation finding ways to give cash and give access to families and people that's in need, especially in a time like this," he explained. "Obviously in times like this, you have to find ways to immediately impact as many people as possible, and I think this is the best way to do it thus far."

He added that being able to use his platform to give back to his hometown is "a blessing."

Join me in helping Angelenos in need by donating to https://t.co/ctyZmewWnJ We’re all in this together. #LALove #nbatogether #actsofcaring pic.twitter.com/NAVeWByWvQ

— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) March 24, 2020

For people who want to help, Westbrook said "text LA Love to 21000. You can donate there, text it there, and it's very easy and very simple to do."

"My biggest thing now is to impact and inspire as many people as possible," he reiterated. "I'm trying to find more ways to give people hope, confidence, a sense of swagger to themselves that they can do and put their mind to do anything they want to do."

With the NBA season on an indefinite hiatus, Westbrook said he has enjoyed the time to be home with his wife and children.

"It's been great. My kids, I'm pretty sure they enjoy it so much. It's something that I really enjoy getting a chance to wake up with them every morning," the Houston Rockets point guard said.

He added that he's been able to help his wife, who is a former UCLA basketball star, "with the daily duties that she's always been doing."

"[She's been] doing an amazing job of raising our children while I'm away, and so I'm excited, I'm blessed to be home with the family, and I'm enjoying myself," he said.

Westbrook has also found fun and inventive ways to train at home with his family as they stay home amid the pandemic.

He took on the viral pushup challenge on Instagram and leveled up with some added weight, courtesy of his 3-year-old son Noah.

"[I'm] finding ways to be able to bring all of us together, and if that's the push-up challenge with your kid on your back, I think we should all try it and kind of see what happens," he said with a laugh. "My son's pretty big and pretty heavy, but we managed it."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/26/2020

How Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte reacted to Tokyo news and what he's doing to train

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- After four Olympics, 12 medals and another four years of training, Ryan Lochte will have to wait a bit longer to jump back into the swimming pool after the International Olympic Committee announced the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the six-time gold medalist said this is bigger than any of the athletes and they will adjust their training and be ready to compete when the time comes.

"Training will never be perfect, and there's always going to be something like a bump in the road, and that's how us athletes train, and this is just another bump in the road," Lochte told ABC News' Good Morning America via Skype from his home in Florida on Wednesday.

"The Olympics are not canceled. They're just postponed. So now you have to adjust your training for another year, and just -- trust the process," he continued. "Everything happens for a reason."

The games, which were originally set to kick off in Tokyo on July 24, "will be held by the summer of 2021," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.

"As soon as I saw it I was disappointed. I mean, I have trained four years for this moment, and this is probably one of my biggest Olympics -- that I have ever had in my career," Lochte said. "But this is bigger than me, this is bigger than the Olympians. This is affecting the entire world. And right now our main thing is staying safe and staying healthy."

Until the COVID-19 crisis is resolved, Lochte, 36, said he is spending lots of time "deep cleaning the house," adding more dry land training to his routine and enjoying time with his family during this stay-at-home period.

"We're going on family walks, and since all the pools are closed, I can't be swimming right now, but I'm doing a lot of ab workouts and stuff like that," he said.

The IOC said the historic first-time move to postpone the games was made to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/25/2020

Tokyo Olympics postponed, will be held 'by the summer of 2021': Japanese PM

Carl Court/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee have agreed that the Tokyo Olympics "will be held by the summer of 2021," the prime minister's office tweeted Tuesday.

Abe pushed hard for Tokyo's selection as the host city during an International Olympic Committee meeting in 2013.

Japan appears to have successfully slowed the spread of the respiratory virus on home soil so far, with just 1,140 diagnosed cases as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

But as the health crisis deepens in other parts of the world, including Europe and North America, a growing number of Olympic teams and athletes called on organizers to postpone or cancel the upcoming Games.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board on Sunday said it would assess the worldwide situation over the next four weeks and make a decision that could include the scenario of postponing the Games. The board, however, emphasized that it has no current plans to outright cancel the 2020 Summer Olympics as such a scenario "would not solve any of the problems or help anybody."

Just hours after the International Olympic Committee said it would consider delaying -- but not canceling -- the Tokyo Games, Canada became the first country to announce it won't be sending athletes to this year's Olympics due to risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee called on organizers to delay the Games for one year.

"While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community," the committees said in a joint statement Sunday. "This is not solely about athlete health -- it is about public health."

Australia followed suit Monday. After deciding unanimously not to send a team, the Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement that "our athletes now need to prioritize their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families."

Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll said athletes should prepare for the Tokyo Games in 2021.

"The athletes desperately want to go to the games," Carroll told reporters in Sydney on Monday, "but they also take onboard their own personal health."

"We need to give our athletes that certainty," he added, "and that's what we've done."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/24/2020

Report: Patriots agree to one-year deal with quarterback Brian Hoyer

33ft/iStock(NEW YORK) — In the wake of Tom Brady’s departure from the team, the New England Patriots have reportedly added veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer to its roster.

A source tells ESPN the Patriots and Hoyer have agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.05 million.

Hoyer, 34, played for the Indianapolis Colts last season, appearing in four games and throwing for 372 yards with four touchdowns. He was released by the team on Saturday.

He will join the Patriots for the third time in his NFL career — he played for the team from 2009 to 2011 and again from 2017 to 2018.

Hoyer’s addition to the roster comes a week after Brady announced he was leaving New England following a 20-year run with the team.

The 42-year-old quarterback later announced he was joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/23/2020

Tom Brady confirms he's headed to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Tom Brady confirmed he's headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a statement posted to Instagram Friday.

"Excited, humble and hungry ...if there is one thing I have learned about football, it’s that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that...you earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day," Brady wrote. "I’m starting a new football journey and thankful for the @buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do."

"I look forward to meeting all my new teammates and coaches and proving to them that they can believe and trust in me," Brady continued. "I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I’m gonna not gonna say much more - I’m just gonna get to work."

On Tuesday morning, the star quarterback announced he was leaving the New England Patriots.

"I don't know what my football future holds, but it is time for me to open a new stage of my life and career," Brady said Tuesday.

"I cherished every opportunity I had to be a part of our team," he said of his 20-year run in New England.

Monday marked the official start of free agency, when teams are permitted to negotiate with free agents from other clubs.

Free agent players, including Brady, were free to sign with any team once the new league year officially began at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

In the 2000 NFL draft, Brady was the 199th pick overall. 

The 42-year-old leaves New England with 41 playoff starts since 2001. He has played in nine Super Bowls, won six and notched four Super Bowl MVP awards.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/20/2020

Lions trade cornerback Slay to Eagles

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- The Lions have traded pro bowl cornerback Darius Slay to the Eagles for a third round and fifth round pick in this years draft, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. 

Slay's agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN the two sides have agreed to a three year, 50 million dollar deal.

The 29 year-old will become the highest paid cornerback in the league based on the annual average of the deal, which is 16.67 million dollars. His contract just beat out Miami’s Byron Jones, who signed a five year, 82.5 million dollar deal that averages 16.50 million dollars a year. 

A star cornerback was one of the biggest needs for Philadelphia this offseason.

Last year, the Eagles allowed 15 pass plays of 40 yards of more, the second most in the NFL. 

Slay was drafted by Detroit out of Mississippi State in the second round in 2013. 

He recorded 19 interceptions and 103 passes defended during his seven years with the team and made the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Leighton Schneider
Posted: 03/19/2020

Olympic flame to arrive in Japan as plans for Tokyo Games forge ahead despite pandemic

ARIS MESSINIS / AFP / Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- After being lit at a sparsely attended ceremony in Greece, the Olympic flame is slated to arrive in Japan on Friday amid growing calls for the upcoming Tokyo Games to be postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee announced last week it was cancelling the Olympic torch relay around Greece "in order to contribute to the containment of the virus." The handover ceremony to Japanese Olympic officials was carried out as planned at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Thursday, but with no public in attendance.

Bringing the flame to Japan takes organizers one step closer to their goal of staging the 2020 Summer Olympics as scheduled on July 24, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 25. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed hard for Tokyo's selection as the host city during an International Olympic Committee meeting in 2013.

But a global outbreak of the novel coronavirus has shrouded the games in doubt, even as organizers maintain they are forging ahead with the events as planned and encourage athletes to continue training.

More than 222,000 people around the world have been diagnosed with the new respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, since it was first detected in China back in December. Last week, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic.

A number of Olympic athletes have voiced concerns on social media about the games still being held as scheduled this summer amid the global health crisis.

Greek Olympic champion pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi wrote on Twitter that the International Olympic Committee's advice for athletes to keep training is "risking our health, our family's health and public health."

"This is not about how things will be in 4 months. This is about how things are now," Stefanidi tweeted Tuesday. "You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months."

This is not about how things will be in 4 months. This is about how things are now. The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.https://t.co/cICKVQ4qsZ

— Katerina Stefanidi (@KatStefanidi) March 17, 2020

I understand that sport isn’t everything and there are more important issues sourrounding coronavirus but thought I would speak out purely on what my situation of it has been. Hope the UK, France and the rest of the world stay safe and look after each other in these crazy times❤️ pic.twitter.com/0zxECDetpM

— KJT (@JohnsonThompson) March 17, 2020

British Olympic heptathlete wrote on Twitter that she feels "under pressure to train and keep the same routine which is impossible."

“We’re trying to follow information with how to continue safely whilst reducing the risk to everyone around us and the information of the IOC and local government are at odds with one another,” Johnson-Thompson tweeted Tuesday.

"The IOC advice 'encourages athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games as best they can’ with the Olympics only four months away, but the government legislation is enforcing isolation at home with tracks, gyms and public spaces closed," she continued.

Just under 1,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Japan, and a top Olympic official is one of them. Kozo Tashima, the president of the Japan Football Association and vice-chairman of the Japan Olympic Committee, revealed that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday.

"I pray that the Olympics and all sports can be performed safely in Japan and around the world," Tashima said in a statement.

With the Tokyo Olympics just four months away, Japan is scrambling to prevent further spread of the disease on home soil. The Japanese government has established the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters, while the Tokyo metropolitan government has set up an internal task force. The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee has also established its own task force.

Meanwhile, the Japanese prime minister has ordered all elementary, middle and high schools to stay closed until spring holidays begin in late March.

More recently, Abe announced that travelers from dozens of European nations and other countries, including Egypt and Iran, will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in Japan. He said an entry ban will also be imposed on visitors from Iceland as well as virus-hit areas of Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

After last week's symbolic lighting of the Olympic flame in the ancient Greek site of Olympia, the International Olympic Committee confirmed its "full commitment to the success" of the upcoming games and said it would continue to follow the advice of the World Health Organization.

"We remain absolutely in line with our Japanese hosts in our commitment to delivering safe Olympic Games in July this year," the International Olympic Committee said in a statement on March 12.

"At the same time, the world is facing challenges that are also impacting sport. But with 19 weeks before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the many measures being taken now by authorities all around the world give us confidence and keep us fully committed to delivering Olympic Games that can bring the world together in peace," the statement continued.

The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee's CEO, Toshiro Muto, reiterated to reporters Tuesday night that "everyone is committed to having the games as scheduled."

"Our point of view, our stance is that as scheduled the Olympic games will take place in a safe and secure manner," Muto said at a press conference in Tokyo. "We will continue to make efforts for that to happen. That is our stance."

A spokesperson for Tokyo Olympic organizing committee told ABC News Thursday that their stance has not changed since the CEO spoke.

One employee at the headquarters for the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games acknowledged the doubts surrounding the games but, when asked how he felt about it, he simply shrugged and said, "I have no choice but to believe the games will happen."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/19/2020

Chicago Trade's For Jacksonville Quarterback Nick Foles

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago Bears have traded a compensatory fourth round pick to the Jacksonvile Jaguars for quarterback Nick Foles. 

Foles signed a four year, 91 million dollar contract, including just over 50 million guaranteed, with the Jaguars as a free agent last offseason. 

The money was the most guaranteed money in franchise history. 

Foles has already re-structured his contract with Chicago. It is now 3 years and 21 million dollars left on it, but he has the option to void it after this season or next, depending on the quality of his play. 

Last season did not go the way either the quarterback or the team wanted. Foles played just four games the entire season because of a broken collarbone he sustained on the 11th snap of the year. 

He missed the next eight games and returned in mid-November, but played poorly, throwing just two touchdowns in three games, before being benched for rookie Gardner Minshew.

In Chicago, Foles will battle with fourth year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky for the starting spot. 

Trubisky threw for 3,148 yards and had 17 touchdown passes with 10 interceptions last season. His stats were a step back from the previous year when he threw for just over 3,200 yards and 24 touchdowns. 

Foles was drafted by the Eagles in 2012 before being traded to the Chiefs in 2015. In 2017, he re-signed with Philadelphia and won the Super Bowl MVP after leading the team to a title over New England after starting quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL in week 14.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: Leighton Schneider
Posted: 03/19/2020

As states crack down on gatherings, some religious exemptions could keep pews full

iStock(NEW YORK ) -- Despite repeated warnings from health experts about the risk of social interaction over novel coronavirus, governors in at least three states have exempted houses of worship from statewide bans on mass gatherings, and this wee...

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/29/2020

New 3D printing techniques could ease medical supply shortages in coronavirus fight

iStock(NEW YORK) -- As health care providers across the nation continuing testing for the novel coronavirus, many medical supplies are in high demand and short supply. In particular, there's a dire shortage of nasal swabs used for testing.

A team a...

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/29/2020

Louisiana researchers studying monkeys for a coronavirus vaccine face challenges as state cases spike

iStock(NEW ORLEANS) -- In Louisiana, amid skyrocketing rates of the novel coronavirus and a statewide stay-at-home order, scientists are finding themselves face-to-face with the virus they hope to develop a vaccine for.

At the Tulane National Prima...

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/28/2020

At-home coronavirus test kits are still not in the hands of consumers: Here's why

iStock(NEW YORK) -- As government and health care officials plead for expanded access to high-speed COVID-19 tests, health care companies across the country began mobilizing their resources to meet the growing demands with direct-to-consumer kits....

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/28/2020

'It's a mess': Coronavirus pandemic exposes New York City's vulnerabilities

iStock(NEW YORK) -- When Dr. Darien Sutton saw what was happening in Italy, he braced himself.

Sutton, an emergency medicine physician in Queens, New York, anticipated that the reality in Italy during the novel coronavirus pandemic -- not enough ho...

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/28/2020

What we know about coronavirus' long-term effects

iStock(NEW YORK) -- In the months since the novel coronavirus exploded into a pandemic, we have heard a range of stories about those who have been stricken by the disease -- the vast majority with mild symptoms, but an increasing number needing to...

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/28/2020

Website allows people to report coronavirus symptoms, track spread

iStock(NEW YORK) -- As health experts and public officials have warned that confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus are likely nowhere near the actual number of people infected, medical professionals in Boston have created a website to help close...

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/28/2020

Can recovered coronavirus patients help combat the disease?

narvikk/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It's a critical, urgent question in the battle to save American lives -- and one that a growing number of institutions, including one of New York's preeminent medical centers, will attempt to answer.

Dr. David Reich, the...

Author: Anthony Ali
Posted: 03/27/2020

Iran confronts deadly alcohol crisis in midst of dealing with coronavirus

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Iran, already struggling to fight the growing spread of novel coronavirus, is now coming to grips with an alcohol poisoning problem that has killed hundreds of people this year.

In the wake of the deaths, officials initially bla...

Author: Dana Schaeffer
Posted: 03/27/2020

What to know about the Navy hospital ships coming to New York and California

The USNS Comfort takes on fuel and supplies in preparation to deploy in support of the nation's coronavirus outbreak, March 25, 2020. (U.S. Navy) (NEW YORK) -- To help medical professionals focus on treating novel coronavirus patients, the Navy ha...

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/27/2020

What to do if you think you have coronavirus symptoms

Halfpoint/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As more people across the United States test positive for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, it's important to know what to do if you think you have the virus.

If you develop mild flu-like symptoms, call your doctor o...

Author: CJC
Posted: 03/27/2020

COVID-19 has been compared to the flu -- Experts say that's wrong

FilippoBacci/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Even with businesses closed, travel restricted and shelter-in-place orders issued around the world, many still wonder if such extremes are needed to battle the novel coronavirus.

Some people, including the president...

Author: JTP
Posted: 03/27/2020
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