David K. Li and Ali Gostanian
56m ago / 8:50 PM UTC
A North Carolina woman active in a movement demanding that businesses in her state be allowed to reopen was reportedly in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.
Audrey Whitlock, a moderator on the Facebook page “Reopen NC,” missed the group’s first two rallies in Raleigh, fellow organizer Ashley Smith told NBC affiliate WRAL.
Whitlock tested positive three weeks ago, according to Smith.
Kristen Welker, Geoff Bennett, Carol E. Lee and Lauren Egan
1h ago / 8:40 PM UTC
Trump to order meat processing plants to stay open amid coronavirus pandemic
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected to use the Defense Production Act on Tuesday to compel meat processing plants to stay open amid the coronavirus pandemic and will provide liability protections, according to three sources familiar with the plan.
“The reason for this EO is there were discussions among certain processing companies (Tysons, for example) to keep only 20% of facilities open. The vast majority of processing plans could have shut down, reducing processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%,” an administration official explained to NBC News.
1h ago / 8:29 PM UTC
NYC creates pet hotline to help owners affected by coronavirus
New York City launched the COVID-19 Pet Hotline on Tuesday, designed to provide support for pet owners who may need help due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The hotline is managed by the mayor’s office for animal welfare and the city’s emergency management department, according to a press release. New York City has partnered with nonprofits to provide residents with necessities to care for their furry friends, including subsidized emergency veterinary care and supply distribution services.
Christine Kim, with the mayor’s office of animal welfare, thanked New York City’s animal task force for their work to create the resource.
“During this time of uncertainty and fear, we understand people need the comfort of their companion animals more than ever,” Kim said. “In order to keep people and their animals together, we have ensured that animals are included in the safety net we have created for all New Yorkers.”
2h ago / 7:53 PM UTC
Pence flouts Mayo Clinic policy by touring facility without a mask
Vice President Mike Pence went on a tour of the Mayo Clinic’s coronavirus testing labs Tuesday — and ignored the prestigious Minnesota hospital’s rules that all occupants wear a mask.
“Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today,” the clinic tweeted while Pence was still inside meeting with doctors and patients. The tweet was later deleted.
The clinic referred press questions to the vice president’s office, which had no immediate comment.
2h ago / 7:51 PM UTC
France set to loosen lockdown restrictions from May 11
France’s parliament voted in favor Tuesday of the government’s plan to loosen the country’s lockdown restrictions next month.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said that as of May 11 all stores and shops will be able to open excluding cafes and restaurants. Some students within elementary schools will be able to return as of May 11, with older students and high schools slated to return later.
However, businesses have been encouraged to continue remote working for at least three more weeks.
Philippe also warned that if by May 7 the number of daily coronavirus cases recorded surpassed 3,000, then the loosening of restrictions in France would be postponed.
2h ago / 7:31 PM UTC
17-year-old Texas girl dies of coronavirus
A 17-year-old girl died in Lancaster, Texas, after contracting the coronavirus, the city announced on Tuesday.
The unidentified teen died of complications from COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus. She was the first death within Lancaster, according to a tweet from the city’s official account.
“It is devastating to see the havoc this virus has put on our community both young and old,” Lancaster Mayor Clyde Hairston said. “We will continue to pray for the family and safety of our residents during this difficult time.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he will allow many businesses to begin reopening on Friday, a day after the state’s stay-at-home order is set to expire. Texas has more than 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and at lest 663 deaths.
It is with a heavy heart that we are informing you of the loss of a 17-year-old female from our community due to COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/0y6QGNa1nq
— City of Lancaster (@Lancaster_TX) April 28, 2020
3h ago / 6:27 PM UTC
New Jersey sees record single-day high of coronavirus deaths
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that an additional 402 people have died from the coronavirus, a record single-day high. Meanwhile, fatalities in neighboring New York continued to drop.
The total number of deaths for New Jersey is now 6,442 with 113,856 positive cases, Murphy announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his news conference that 335 residents have lost their lives to the virus, bringing the state’s confirmed virus deaths to 17,638.
Last Wednesday, Cuomo reported 438 deaths. In the days since that number has continued to drop. On Monday, there were 337 deaths.
“Every day, I think maybe today is the day that the nightmare will be over — but maybe not,” Cuomo said.
While we’re seeing progress in some key metrics, there is one number which always gives us pause.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 28, 2020
3h ago / 6:22 PM UTC
Postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be canceled
The 2020 Olympics, which have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, could still be canceled if the outbreak continues into next year, according to the president of the Tokyo Games.
The Olympics were rescheduled to begin on July 23, 2021 from this summer. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori made his comments in an interview Tuesday with Japanese newspaper Nikkan Sports when asked whether another postponement would be considered if the virus continued into 2021.
“No. It will be canceled then,” Mori said. “The Olympics were canceled in the past for problems like war. We are fighting against an invisible enemy now.”
Mori said organizers are still working towards holding the Games, but his comments about a potential cancellation are in stark contrast with the continued messaging from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who have said canceling the Games isn’t an option they’re considering. The IOC did not respond to a request for comment.
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Mori was clear about the significance of these Games, saying they’d be “much more valuable than any Olympics in the past if we could go ahead with them after winning this battle.”
4h ago / 5:47 PM UTC
Tripadvisor is laying off 900 employees as coronavirus continues to hammer travel industry
Tripadvisor is laying off 900 employees, or one-quarter of its global workforce, the company announced Tuesday.
With hotel vacancy rates running at 100 percent in many parts of the world, and airline booking at record lows, the travel company said it had little option but to reduce headcount.
It is also asking some remaining staff to take a temporary 20 percent pay cut and work a four-day week.
Co-founder and CEO Stephen Kaufer said the company would also close some of its 52 offices around the world, including Boston and San Francisco, and re-evaluate its need for real estate.
“We have been and will continue to more fully embrace a remote work culture,” Kaufer said in a memo to staff on Tuesday, suggesting the success of work-from-home could affect the company’s future real estate footprint.
4h ago / 5:43 PM UTC
‘Out of touch’: Pelosi, Schumer blast McConnell’s bankruptcy remarks
Democratic leaders on Tuesday doubled down on their calls for the next major coronavirus relief package to include financial aid to state and local governments and they blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for suggesting that states should instead declare bankruptcy.
“Really? Really?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said about McConnell’s bankruptcy comments during a press call. Pelosi said that McConnell must have been referencing Illinois, which she said made mistakes under its previous Republican governor.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called McConnell “out of touch” for suggesting that states crushed by the coronavirus go bankrupt. He warned that McConnell’s idea would lead to “hundreds of thousands” of state and local government employees being potentially fired or furloughed.
“What did they do Leader McConnell? Why are you suggesting that they should lose their jobs?” he said. “The McConnell plan will only drive up unemployment even higher.”
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