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North Carolina anti-lockdown activist stuck inside with coronavirus

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North Carolina anti-lockdown activist stuck inside with coronavirus

David K. Li and Ali Gostanian56m ago / 8:50 PM UTCProtesters with ReOpen N.C. are blocked by police outside of the governor’s mansion in Raleigh on April 28, 2020.Gerry Broome / APA 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…

North Carolina anti-lockdown activist stuck inside with coronavirus

David K. Li and Ali Gostanian

56m ago / 8:50 PM UTC

Protesters with ReOpen N.C. are blocked by police outside of the governor’s mansion in Raleigh on April 28, 2020.Gerry Broome / AP

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.

Read the full story here. 

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

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., in the Oval Office on April 28, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP

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.

Read the full story here. 

Doha Madani

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.”

Dareh Gregorian

2h ago / 7:53 PM UTC

Pence flouts Mayo Clinic policy by touring facility without a mask

Vice President Mike Pence tours Mayo Clinic facilities supporting the coronavirus disease research and treatment in Rochester, Minn., on April 28, 2020.Nicholas Pfosi / Reuters

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.

Read the full story here. 

Nancy Ing

2h ago / 7:51 PM UTC

France set to loosen lockdown restrictions from May 11

Residents applaud in support of healthcare workers in Paris on April 14, 2020.Martin Bureau / AFP – Getty Images

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. 

Doha Madani

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.

— City of Lancaster (@Lancaster_TX) April 28, 2020

Minyvonne Burke

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.

Sadly, we must report 402 additional deaths. We’ve now lost a total of 6,442 members of our New Jersey family to #COVID19 related complications.

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 28, 2020

Ahiza García-Hodges

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.” 

Claire Atkinson

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.

Rebecca Shabad

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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