Coronavirus live updates: Global cases top 5M; new pool rules ahead of Memorial Day; Ohio, West Virginia reopen indoor dining

Economists estimate the Labor Department on Thursday will report an additional 2.8 million unemployment claims from last week, just shy of the 3 million claims a week ago. While the number of jobless claims is dropping, economists say the labor market will continue to struggle despite states gradually reopening their economies.

Also Thursday, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen will be released from a New York federal prison because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world surpassed 5 million early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. The United States accounts for over a fifth of them with more than 1.5 million confirmed cases. More than 328,000 people have died globally, with 93,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.

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Here are some highlights to know Thursday:

As states reopen, we’re answering your questions: Can your kids and grandkids visit? It’s not safe until community transmission has been eliminated in both areas and the groups getting together have no illness and have had no outside exposures for a week to two weeks, said Greg Poland of the Mayo Clinic.

Some good news: A dedicated runner in New York did not let the coronavirus quarantine stop him from achieving his goal to complete his first marathon. Instead, Luis Muñoz ran 5,100 laps from his porch to make it happen.

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Global coronavirus cases top 5M

At least 5 million people are known to have been infected with the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard, showing the massive global reach of the pandemic.

Epidemiologists say the number of cases around the world may actually be far higher than what is known as testing capacity lags, some countries may not be fully reporting data and people sick with the virus may not seek a test or may be asymptomatic. 

The virus first broke out late last year in Wuhan, China, before it traveled to Europe, ravaging Italy and Spain, then heading to the United States, where New York City became the new epicenter.

The nation’s top infectious disease specialists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned that a second wave may be coming in the fall and winter if the United States reopens too quickly and without the proper testing and contact tracing infrastructure in place.

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to be released amid coronavirus fears

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer who is serving a three-year sentence, is set to be released from a New York federal prison Thursday to serve the remainder of his term at home amid coronavirus fears, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Cohen, who had been held at a prison camp in Otisville, New York, is due to be released on furlough pending a formal placement in home confinement, said the source, who is not authorized to comment publicly.

More than two dozen inmates and officers have been infected with the virus at the prison facility.

– Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips

It just got a little easier to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask😷

Having trouble unlocking your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a face mask? Apple’s latest iPhone software update, iOS 13.5, released Wednesday, will make it easier for you to unlock your phone when you have a mask on.

Install the update and you will no longer have to wait for Face ID to fail several times before being prompted to enter your passcode. After Face ID fails for the first time, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and enter your passcode to unlock your phone or approve an Apple Pay transaction. Or, as soon as you lift up your phone, you can swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen right away. 

As the coronavirus spread prompted recommendations from health officials to wear masks in public, many covered their eyes, nose and mouth, which must be visible for Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition software, to recognize you.

If Face ID is still too annoying, you can turn it off altogether. 

– Jessica Guynn

‘Not how his story ends’: Nick Cordero’s wife shares emotional update

Broadway star Nick Cordero’s wife Amanda Kloots is sharing an emotional update on her husband’s recovery from coronavirus.

Kloots took to her Instagram Story on Wednesday to ask her followers for “mega-prayers” after sharing that Cordero’s recovery has taken a turn for the worse.

“Nick has had a bad morning,” Kloots said in a video from her car. “Unfortunately, things are going a little downhill at the moment. So I am asking again for all the prayers, mega-prayers right now.”

Cordero was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in late March and, over the course of seven weeks, has faced several coronavirus complications, including a leg amputation and the insertion of a temporary pacemaker.

– Rasha Ali

Cities close streets to allow restaurants additional space for outdoor seating

As states continue to reopen, some cities are closing down streets to allow restaurants to have al fresco dining.

The city of Cincinnati closed 25 streets in Over-the-Rhine and the Downtown area so restaurants can have additional space when they reopened last week. Indoor dining will resume Thursday in Cincinnati with some restrictions like tables being 6 feet apart and physical barriers.

In California, Long Beach was one of the first cities in Los Angeles County to approve a plan that will close streets for outdoor dining. Similar to Cincinnati, the city’s Open Streets Initiative will close down streets in the next two weeks to allow restaurants to use, including sidewalks and parking lots, for outdoor dining.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor created a similar program that began May 5, and has recently announced that it will extend through May 26 because of its popularity, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Many other cities, like Chicago and Indianapolis, will also follow suit in the upcoming days.

CDC publishes new guidelines for swimming pools amid coronavirus

Looking forward to hitting the local public swimming pool for the first time this summer? Prepare to put a face mask in your tote bag, although you won’t need to wear it in the water.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines for operating swimming pools during the coronavirus pandemic. The documentation arrives just a few days before Memorial Day weekend, when many outdoor pools typically open for the summer season.

“There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas,” the CDC said on its website. “Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”

Nevertheless, the agency said, “While there is ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is important for individuals as well as owners and operators of these facilities to take steps to ensure health and safety.” Here are the guidelines.

– Jayme Deerwester

More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY:

Reopening America: Indoor dining begins again in Ohio, West Virginia

Ohio and West Virginia will reopen restaurants for indoor seating on Thursday, one day after Connecticut took its initial reopening steps and Delaware reopened retail businesses by appointment only.

More changes are coming on Friday: Alaska will resume life as it was “prior to the virus,” with a full reopening of the economy without restrictions; Iowa will reopen movie theaters, museums and zoos; and Kentucky will allow restaurants to operate at 33% capacity indoors with unlimited outdoor seating. Find the latest news in your state

CDC: Coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ by touching surfaces or objects

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has always warned that “it may be possible” to become infected with coronavirus by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. It just “does not spread easily” in that manner, the agency now says, nor by animal-to-human contact, or vice versa.

“COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads,” says the CDC’s recently updated guidelines. “It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.”

Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer for the healthcare website WebMD, told Fox News that the CDC’s slight update brings clarity and helps to reduce fears. “Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case. Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious,” Whyte was quoted.

The CDC still warns that the main way the virus is spread is through person-to-person contact, even among those who are not showing any symptoms.

Donald Trump says he’s nearly done with hydroxychloroquine regimen

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will complete his regimen of hydroxychloroquine “in a day or two.”

Trump said Monday he was taking the drug, which he has repeatedly touted as a treatment for the coronavirus despite warnings about its effectiveness and side effects, to prevent contracting COVID-19.

Trump, who according to the White House has tested negative for the disease, stirred up a storm by saying he had been taking the drug daily for about a week and a half as an added measure to avoid being infected by the virus.

– Savannah Behrmann

Millions more expected to file jobless claims, as coronavirus layoffs wind on

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims will likely continue to drop, but it’s still expected to reach the millions as the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic ticks on.

Between 2.3 million and 2.8 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week, economists estimate. That’s down from the 3 million who filed claims the week before and the record 6.9 million who sought assistance in late March.

But if the latest tally, which the Labor Department reports on Thursday, matches estimates, it will mean roughly 39 million Americans have applied for unemployment in just nine weeks, a staggering number that reflects a jobless rate that is the highest since the Great Depression. 

– Charisse Jones

College football, basketball players get OK to practice on campus

Football players as well as men’s and women’s basketball players will be allowed to resume voluntary on-campus workouts beginning June 1 after getting the OK from the NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday.

The move lifts a prohibition that has been in place since March, when the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a variety of actions shuttering college sports, including the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments.

– Dan Wolken and Steve Berkowitz

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Contributing: The Associated Press

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