478 New Yorkers died Sunday
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday said 478 New Yorkers died yesterday from the virus, a third consecutive day of a dropping death toll. “That number is still horrific,” Cuomo said of the number of lives lost.
French case raises questions over how easily children can spread COVID-19
A nine-year-old who contracted COVID-19 in eastern France did not pass the virus on to any other pupils at three ski-schools, according to new research that suggests infants are not large spreaders of the disease.
The child was infected in France’s Haute-Savoie region in one of the first coronavirus clusters in the country, which saw 12 people catch the disease after a British man returned from Singapore and went on a ski holiday.
A study published this month in the U.S. journal Clinical Infectious Diseases looked at the case of the child, who continued to attend three ski clubs while unknowingly infected.
Doctor Henri Metzger examins a resident and her daughter at a specialized accommodation center managed by social aid association Aleos for COVID-19 patients on April 17, 2020, in Mulhouse, eastern France.
Through rapid intervention by health authorities, it was ascertained that the child, who only displayed mild symptoms, came into contact with 172 people while sick. All of them were placed in quarantine as a precaution, but none of them contracted COVID-19, not even the child’s two siblings.
Authors of the study said the case could “suggest that children might not be an important source of transmissions of this novel virus.”
Contact tracing efforts expand nationwide to track coronavirus, but will it be a “hard sell”?
Success in the fight against the coronavirus may depend in part on two things: learning who has the disease, and who could get it.
Health officials use a method called contact tracing to find out who infected patients may have met. After a person who tests positive tells the health department with whom they’ve been in contact, the health department then alerts those people and asks them to monitor their symptoms and to quarantine if needed.
Right now it is up to city, county and state health departments to coordinate efforts. Health departments are expanding their rosters of tracers, and some of the world’s biggest tech companies have also stepped in to help.
But as contact tracing efforts expand fast across the country, CBS News national correspondent Jericka Duncan looks at why those efforts could meet some resistance in a country where personal privacy is so cherished. Click here to read more.
Health departments stepping up coronavirus contact tracing
Psychiatric hospital a “haven” for spread of coronavirus, say employees
The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on nursing homes, but it’s also hitting patients and staff at psychiatric facilities across the U.S.
There have been 34 confirmed cases (28 staff and 6 patients) at Western State Hospital, just outside Tacoma, Washington — one of the largest psychiatric hospitals west of the Mississippi. The state’s epidemiologist called the outbreak at Western State “serious,” but gave the hospital credit for taking early action to try to slow infections.
It’s one of nearly 2,000 inpatient psychiatric facilities in the U.S., and caring for this population brings unique challenges in a pandemic.
“We are a hospital, too,” said social worker Maria Claudio, who works at Western State. It’s the state’s largest psychiatric hospital, with over 800 beds. “We are not a medical hospital, but these are patients, and just because they have a mental condition and some of them are violent, they’re still human beings.”
CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge asked if there were any special measures being taken to protect patients on the high-risk wards?
“No,” Claudio replied. “Nothing.” Click here to read more.
Psychiatric hospitals face potential coronavirus outbreaks amid unique challenges
It’s back to business for thousands of businesses in Germany – but not as usual
The first relaxations of Germany’s coronavirus lockdown came into effect Monday, with all stores with a sales area of 8,600 square feet or less being permitted to reopen. Car dealerships, bicycle shops and bookstores are also permitted to open their doors again in some parts of Germany, regardless of size.
Book and bike shops in Berlin were always excluded from the shutdown.
Restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels remain closed and major events are still prohibited until at least the end of August. Hairdressers are allowed to reopen from May 4, provided they adhere to strict hygiene rules.
Even in the re-opened stores, shopping will be far from “back to normal,” with protective face masks, social distancing measures and entrance controls implemented widely.
A shopping window of a shoemakers store is seen, during the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Berlin, Germany, April 20, 2020.
Representatives of religious communities and churches hope to work with the government on a way for services to resume in the coming days. The eastern state of Saxony wants to allow public worship services with a maximum of 15 participants, under certain conditions, to resume this week, but no decisions have been finalized.
Police clash with residents in locked-down Paris suburbs
Police fought running battles in at least five suburbs of Paris overnight with residents who accused officers of using heavy-handed tactics to enforce France’s strict coronavirus lockdown.
Residents burnt cars and shot fireworks at police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas in the northern suburbs of Villeneuve-la-Garenne and Aulnay-sous-Bois, witnesses and police said on Monday. The violence began on Saturday when a motorcyclist was injured during a police check in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, prompting a crowd to gather.
A police statement said the group targeted officers with “projectiles” in a near two-hour standoff.
French CRS anti-riot police officers walk in a street in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, in the northern suburbs of Paris, early on April 20, 2020.
GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty
By Monday morning, calm had returned to Villeneuve-la-Garenne after a second night of standoffs with police, according to an AFP journalist. There were also standoffs in nearby Aulnay-sous-Bois, where police claimed they were “ambushed” by residents in a district of dense, high-rise social housing of mainly immigrant occupants.
Police said they arrested four people after being targeted by residents using fireworks as projectiles.
Criminals are targeting federal stimulus check recipients for scams, officials warn
Criminals are targeting the federal stimulus payments being distributed to tens of millions of Americans left cash-strapped by the coronavirus crisis. Word that the money would soon land in bank accounts and mailboxes across the country has led to a surge in scam phone calls, text messages or emails, with some fraudsters falsely claiming people have to provide personal information to collect the government money.
The FBI is now seeing about 3,000 to 4,000 complaints every day through its internet portal, up from about 1,000 complaints pre-coronavirus, the agency’s deputy assistant director in the cyber division, Tonya Ugoretz, said during an Aspen Institute virtual event. As many as 150 million households are eligible for the full or partial stimulus checks, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center.
In one coronavirus con making the rounds, people are sent a message or see a social media post about an “economic impact check.” Click here to read more.
Criminals look to exploit coronavirus anxiety with fake tests, online scams
Iran eases COVID-19 restrictions in bid to rescue economy already crippled before the pandemic
Iran’s president has announced a second-phase easing of coronavirus control measures. From Monday, some businesses deemed lower risk, including large shopping centers and most services, are allowed to open back up for business.
President Hassan Rouhani said highway travel between cities would also be allowed to resume, but higher-risk businesses including restaurants, sports clubs and wedding and funeral services were to remain closed until further guidance.
Iranian authorities, including Rouhani, have said the Islamic Republic’s enemies want to see its economy remain shut down. They have not blamed any specific enemies, but the term generally refers to the U.S. Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
Iran has condemned the U.S. for refusing to lift devastating economic sanctions during the virus crisis, which it claims have prevented it from acquiring medical equipment to fight COVID-19. The Trump administration has rejected those claims, insisting the sanctions in no way impede necessary medical imports and noting that the U.S. has even offered to send medical assistance to Iran.
Iran has rejected any help from the U.S. and even suggested the country could is become a supplier of medical supplies to other countries.
Iranians, some wearing protective masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, walk past closed shops at the Grand Bazaar market in Tehran, April 18, 2020.
Iran’s economy, already suffering under the weight of sanctions, has been hit hard by the business closures, leading Iranian economists to warn the government about potential consequences and urging it to let business resume.
Having “flatten the curve quite well,” Jordan starts easing lockdown, sending supplies to U.S.
The Jordanian government has said it will start gradually easing the country’s strict, month-old coronvirus lockdown. Some parts of the economy will be allowed to go back work from Tuesday.
Last week large supermarkets were permitted to operate, and now this will be extended to other parts of the economy as long as they follow strict social-distancing and hygiene measures. Businesses including auto repair shops, electricians, stationery shops, and cell phone and computer repair shops will be allowed to open this week. Other retail outlets including clothing and home furniture stores, will be allowed to deliver goods but remain closed for walk-in business.
The stay-at-home order will also be eased in three southern regions, but residents must remain within the borders of their own governate, or state.
Jordan’s King Abdullah says country will export medical equipment to U.S. to fight coronavirus
The changes come amid signs that the spread of COVID-19 has been brought under control in Jordan. The Jordanian Ministry of Health reported fewer than 10 new cases per day for the past week, and no deaths.2
“We acted quite early on, and that helped us flatten the curve quite well,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. He also said Jordan would soon export medical equipment to the U.S. to help fight the coronavirus.
– Amjad Tadros
Brooklyn nursing home without single confirmed case could be one of nation’s biggest COVID-19 clusters
As residents at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, began dying in late February from a coronavirus outbreak that would eventually take 43 lives, there was little sign of trouble at the Cobble Hill Health Center, a 360-bed facility in an upscale section of Brooklyn.
That quickly changed. By the middle of March, the CEO began sending increasingly alarmed emails about banning visitors, screening staff, confining residents, wiping down all surfaces, and having all-hands-on-deck meetings to prepare everyone for the coming coronavirus “freight train.”
“I’ll be darned if I’m not going to do everything in my power to protect them,” Donny Tuchman wrote before things got worse. More than 100 staffers, nearly a third of the workforce, went out sick. Those left began wearing garbage bags because of a shortage of protective gear. Not a single resident has been able to get tested for the virus to this day.
Two ambulances sit parked outside the Cobble Hill Health Center on April 18, 2020 in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Now listed with 55 deaths it can only assume were caused by COVID-19, among the most of any such facility in the country, Cobble Hill Health Center has become yet another glaring example of the nation’s struggle to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes that care for the most frail and vulnerable.
Thailand alcohol sales bans extended in bid to keep coronavirus epdemic trending downward
Authorities in the Thai capital Bangkok have extended a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages to the end of April as efforts continue to contain the spread of COVID-19. A ban was originally imposed for April 10-20, when Thais would normally celebrate the annual Songkran Lunar New Year festival with drinking-fueled merrymaking at large public gatherings. Official celebrations of the holiday were postponed until a date to be decided.
Sales bans were separately ordered in all 76 of Thailand’s provinces with different ending dates, according to the Interior Ministry.
Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, a spokesman for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, announced the extension, and said other provinces were expected to follow suit. He also said people with alcohol dependency problems could be treated for free at the city’s medical facilities.
A woman walks past a COVID-19 warning poster, April 17, 2020, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Health officials on Monday confirmed 27 new cases of the disease, bringing the nation’s total to 2,792, including 1,999 recoveries and 47 deaths. New cases have dropped from a March 22 high of 188 per day to 45 or less for the past 10 days.
Queen Elizabeth’s husband issues rare statement in praise of medical and scientific workers
Queen Elizabeth II’s husband has made a rare public statement praising those tackling the new coronavirus pandemic and keeping essential services running.
Prince Philip, who turns 99 in June, said he wanted to recognize the “vital and urgent” work of medical and science professionals.
He also gave thanks to key workers including people working in food production, garbage collection, and postal and delivery services.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The royal, who retired from public duties in 2017, signed off simply with “Philip.”
Philip has been staying with the queen at Windsor Castle with reduced staff for their safety.
Chinese lab boss insists “there’s no way this virus came out from us” amid mounting U.S. speculation
The director of a Chinese government infectious disease research center that U.S. officials, including President Trump, increasingly point to as a possible origin of the coronavirus pandemic says, “there’s no way this virus came out from us.”
U.S. intelligence officials told CBS News last week that the possibility the virus accidentally slipped out of the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory was still among the theories being investigated. Thus far, U.S. officials have pointed only to circumstantial evidence to back the theory, which was initially dismissed — and still is to some degree — by disease experts as scientifically baseless.
The first known cases of the disease were reported in Wuhan, just several miles from the lab, which has worked with other coronaviruses, including those found in bats.
U.S. explores theory virus spread started in Chinese lab
“I can tell you for sure that none of our retirees, students or any of our staff has been infected,” lab director Yuan Zhiming told China’s state-run CCTV in a recent interview.
“There’s no way this virus came out from us — we have a strict regulatory regime and a code of conduct for research, so we are confident of that,” he said.
Yuan called the propagation of “rumors” by American officials “horrifying” and accused some, specifically naming Republican Senator Tom Cotton of “deliberately trying to mislead people.”
Singapore sees spike in COVID-19 infections as tiny city-state becomes Southeast Asia’s hotspot
Singapore’s confirmed number of coronavirus cases shot up to nearly 8,000 after 1,426 infections were reported Monday, a single-day high for the tiny Southeast Asian city-state.
Singapore now has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia at 7,984, a massive surge from just 200 on March 15. Authorities say most of the new cases were again linked to foreign workers.
More than 200,000 low-wage workers from Asia live in tightly packed dormitories that became virus hotspots after they were overlooked earlier by the government. Officials have said that cases are expected to rise as testing continues at the dorms, but are hoping that a partial lockdown until May 4, mandatory wearing of masks and strict social distancing measures will help curb the spread of the virus.
Residents queue for their food at Tuas South foreign workers dormitory that has been placed under government restriction as preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore on April 19, 2020.
Florida police patrolling beach to enforce social distancing end up arresting homicide suspect
The day after coronavirus restrictions were eased to allow a Florida beach to reopen for physical activity, police patrolling to ensure social distancing guidelines were being followed ended up arresting a Pennsylvania homicide suspect. CBS affiliate WJAX-TV reported Jacksonville Beach police came across Mario Matthew Gatti loitering near the dunes.
Officers learned there was a warrant out for Gatti on criminal homicide charges in Arnold, Pennsylvania, according to Sgt. Tonya Tator. The department posted a photo of the arrest on its Twitter account, with the comment, “This morning while officers patrolled the beach proper they captured a Fugitive from Justice, wanted in Arnold, Pennsylvania for Homicide. Good job!”
Japan’s plan to revive the virus-battered economy: Give every single man, woman and child $927
Japan is moving to adopt an emergency package worth a whopping $1 trillion — equal to one-fifth its GDP — to cope with economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Despite pushback within the conservative ruling party, Tokyo dumped a more targeted relief plan at the eleventh hour in favor of one-off, universal cash handouts of ¥100,000 ($927) for each of its 126 million citizens, including children.
“The package is huge in size, and will be fast-implemented,” said Martin Schulz, chief policy economist for Fujitsu Research Institute, hailing the decision.
If parliament enacts the plan as expected around May 1, money could start flowing by the end of the month. “Those who need it will get it, and better-off households will spend also,” Shulz said, adding that “later on, it will be clawed back in tax hikes.”
The emergency relief program includes subsidies for sole proprietors and medium-sized firms that have taken a significant hit because of COVID-19. Local governments will receive money to compensate businesses closing down under the nationwide state of emergency, which runs through May 6.
Japan expanding state of emergency as number of coronavirus cases soar
Shulz said the most critical element of re-starting the economy is ramping up testing for the disease and enabling companies to do contact tracing.
“Government can shut down the economy,” he said, “but only companies can re-start it.”
Shake Shack returning $10 million virus-linked small business loan
The burger chain Shake Shack says it has obtained new funding and will return a small-business loan it got to help weather the coronavirus crisis.
Shake Shack has laid off or furloughed hundreds of its employees and needed the assistance, its CEO, Randy Garutti, and its founder, Danny Meyer, said in a statement seen Monday.
But the company said it was able to get extra funding late last week through an “equity transaction” and decided to “immediately return” the $10 million paycheck protection loan it obtained through the CARES Act. Click here to read more.
Head of U.S. Chamber of Commerce expects deal in Congress on small business loans
India records sharp spike in cases as lockdown begins to ease
India recorded its biggest single-day jump in coronavirus cases on Sunday, with 1,553 new patients, government data show. India’s Health Ministry said the spike brought the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 17,265.
The number of deaths rose by 36 to 543. The government also said more people were overcoming the disease, however, with the overall rate of recoveries rising from 10% last week to 14%. More than 2,500 patients have recovered from the illness so far.
Experts believe the outbreak will peak in India between May and June.
India, under a strict nationwide lockdown since March 25, eased several restrictions Monday in areas least affected by the virus. Agriculture, along with some industries and businesses, are now allowed to resume in these select areas until May 3, when the lockdown is scheduled to end.
Police personnel stop motorists at a checkpoint during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Allahabad on April 20, 2020.
There’s no relaxation on the restrictions yet in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai.
Across India’s 14 states, 54 districts have reported no new COVID-19 cases in two weeks, officials said Sunday. Even when the nationwide lockdown ends, the government says restrictions will be lifted gradually.
Congress, White House near deal on $350 billion in additional small business aid
The Trump administration and Congress expect an agreement Monday on an aid package of up to $450 billion to boost a small-business loan program that has run out of money and to add funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing.
As talks continued, President Trump said there’s a “good chance” of reaching a bipartisan agreement with Democrats. “We are very close to a deal,” Mr. Trump said Sunday at the White House.
Along with the small business boost, he said the negotiators were looking at “helping our hospitals,” particularly hard-hit rural health care providers.
The Senate is scheduled for a pro forma session Monday, but no vote has been set. The House announced it could meet as soon as Wednesday for a vote on the pending package, according to a schedule update from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Click here to read more.
Ventura County in California easing restrictions in modified stay-at-home order
Ventura County is extending its stay-at-home order until May 15, but the county is starting to ease its restrictions in hopes of reopening soon, CBS Los Angeles reports.
The new order, which went into effect Sunday, allows some business that were formerly considered “nonessential” to operate with 10 employees. This includes bike shops, car dealerships and golf courses.
All businesses, according to the order, must maintain social distancing inside. In addition, social gatherings are now being allowed with up to five people. Click here to read more.
CBS News presses Trump over coronavirus response in February
At Sunday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House, CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang pressed President Trump on his remarks earlier this week that China should have warned the U.S. sooner.
“Many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you: That you should have warned them the virus was spreading like wildfire through the month of February instead of holding rallies with thousands of people,” Jiang said. “Why did you wait so long to warn them and why did you not have social distancing until March 16?”
CBS News presses Trump on February response to coronavirus
Mr. Trump did not directly answer her question, instead insisting “that if you look at what I did in terms of cutting off China,” he was “very early” in response.
Jiang pushed him on how coronavirus was already in the states when the president issued the ban and on March 23, he said he knew it was going to be a pandemic. When she asked “so do you acknowledge you didn’t think it would spread,” Mr. Trump said “keep your voice down.” He continued by saying “I believe there were zero deaths at the time I closed up the country, nobody was there, and you should say thank you very much for good judgment.”