Coronavirus live updates: Model predicts more US deaths as Texas, other states weigh reopening; Blue Angels to honor health workers

A leading coronavirus model has increased its projected number of U.S. deaths from the first wave of the virus as more states move to reopen their economies

Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Help Metrics and Evaluation, told CNN the increased projection is due to longer epidemic peaks and signs of people ending social distancing measures. 

Meanwhile, the Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force’s Thunderbirds will fly over the New York area on Tuesday afternoon to honor essential workers on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak.

The tribute comes a day after President Donald Trump said he “can’t imagine why” there’s been an increase in some states of people ingesting disinfectants. During a press briefing last week, Trump wondered aloud whether disinfectants could be a possible treatment for coronavirus.

When asked whether he takes any responsibility, Trump said, “No, I don’t.”

The coronavirus had killed more than 211,000 people globally as of early Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data, with more than 3 million confirmed cases — including nearly 990,000 in the U.S. More than 56,200 have died in the U.S., a number approaching the 58,220 Americans killed in the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975.

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Coronavirus model increases projected death toll

A leading model projecting the total death toll from the new coronavirus increased the number of Americans predicted to die during the first wave of the virus.

The new projection says 74,073 people in the United States will die from COVID-19, within an estimated range of 56,563 to 130,666 deaths. The previous model, created by researchers at the University of Washington, had the number at 67,641 deaths.

“At least part of this increase is due to many states experiencing flatter and thus longer epidemic peaks,” the researchers wrote. States have also seen deaths not fall as quickly following a peak.

Dr. Chris Murray, the director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Help Metrics and Evaluation, told CNN that signs people are becoming active again also contributes to the increase. “It’s a safer strategy to get the number of infections in the community down to a really low level, and then testing and contact tracing and isolation can work,” Murray told the network.

Donald Trump: ‘Can’t imagine why’ someone would ingest disinfectant

President Donald Trump said he takes no responsibility for a spike in cases of people misusing disinfectants after he wondered aloud last week about possibly injecting them as a treatment for the coronavirus.

When asked Monday about the increase of people in some states ingesting disinfectants Trump answered: “I can’t imagine why.” When pressed about whether he takes any responsibility, Trump said, “No, I don’t.”

Maryland was one state that issued a warning against dangerous disinfectant use, with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency tweeting the agency had received “several calls.” New York City said its poison control center received a higher-than-usual number calls “specifically about exposure to Lysol, 10 cases specifically about bleach and 11 cases about exposures to other household cleaners.” 

– Savannah Behrmann

Poll: Americans support staying at home, Trump immigration halt during virus

A new poll from the Washington Post and University of Maryland shows that roughly two-thirds of Americans support restrictions on businesses and public gatherings in their states. Roughly 1 in 5 say the restrictions do not go far enough.

Similarly, about two-thirds of Americans said they support President Donald Trump’s decision to temporarily halt immigration amid the virus outbreak. Republicans overwhelming support the measure and even about half of Democrats say they do, too.

The poll also found that about 60% of the country is very or somewhat worried about getting the virus and becoming seriously ill.

Asia shares mixed after Dow’s modest gains: ‘It’s a long recovery from here’

Asian shares were mixed Tuesday as governments inched toward letting businesses reopen and central banks step in to provide cash to economies.

This week is full of potentially market-moving events, including meetings for several of the world’s largest central banks. Nearly a third of the companies in the S&P 500 are also scheduled to report how profitable they were in the first three months of 2020 and, more importantly, perhaps talk about how they see future conditions shaking out.

The S&P 500 rose 41.74 points to 2,878.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.5% to 24,133.78, and the Nasdaq climbed 1.1%, to 8,730.16.

“We’re in recession, it’s a long recovery from here,” said Joe Seydl, capital markets economist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

New York cancels presidential primary 

New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary for 2020 as the state’s Democratic election commissioners voted Monday to remove Sen. Bernie Sanders and nine other presidential candidates from the New York ballot.

The election commissioners made use of a new measure in state law allowing them remove a candidate if his or her campaign was publicly suspended.

Democratic commissioner Doug Kellner said it was “a very difficult decision,” but holding the primary would have been “unnecessary and frivolous” in the age of the coronavirus outbreak. New York will still hold its congressional and state-level primaries on June 23 and voters have been encouraged to vote by absentee ballot. 

– Jon Campbell

CVS to offer self-swabs starting in May

Certain CVS Pharmacy stores will begin offering coronavirus testing in their parking lots and drive-through pharmacy lanes. CVS Health has announced, it will “offer self-swab tests to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.”

The move comes in addition to large-scale testing the company has been offering at some locations in five states since March. The new self-swab testing will take place at up to 1,000 CVS locations by the end of May, which equals more than 1 in 10 of the company’s stores. Patients will schedule tests online.

– Nathan Bomey

Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, other states contemplate reopening strategies

States big and small are evaluating when they can restart their economies after weeks in lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus, and they’re taking different approaches.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he will let his stay-at-home order expire Thursday as the state begins a phased reopening that will permit malls, restaurants and movie theaters to operate starting Friday, with occupancy limitations.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a partial reopening beginning Friday, with some openings delayed until May 12. 

However, New Jersey is not ready to take those steps, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. The state ranks second to New York for the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the country, and Murphy suggested a phased reopening may not take place until Memorial Day weekend. He did not commit to a timeline.

Olympics in 2021 without vaccine would be ‘difficult’

A top Japanese medical expert worries that without a coronavirus vaccine widely available, the Olympics, already delayed to 2021, may be “difficult” to hold.

Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura said Tuesday infections of the virus need to be under control globally, not just in Japan, to safely host the Olympics. “In my view, it would be difficult to hold the Olympics unless effective vaccines are developed,” Yokokura said.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo Games until July 23, 2021.

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France, Greece detail reopening plans; Brazil could be next hot spot: World news

European nations are looking at schools and children first as they begin to reopen their countries after coronavirus lockdowns.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants schools to start reopening May 11, though some teachers, parents and local officials worried that may be too soon.

Greece’s Health Ministry’s virus spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras said his country’s schools would reopen “gradually, with conditions” but did not set a recommended date.

In Spain over the weekend, children under 14 were allowed to go outside and play for the first time in six weeks.

Meanwhile, in South America, Brazil has emerged as a potential new hot spot for the virus, health officials worry. Overwhelmed hospitals and poor testing infrastructure are among “all the conditions here for the pandemic to become much more serious,” said Paulo Brandão, a virologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to ‘be smart’ about stay-at-home order

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he will extend New York’s stay-at-home restrictions – which had been set to expire May 15 – in the most severely-impacted regions of the state but will consider lifting them in ones that have mitigated the outbreak.

“You have to be smart about it,” Cuomo said. “Because if we are not smart, you will see that infection rate go right back to where it was.”

Cuomo said New York would continue to follow CDC guidelines that encourage states to reopen when there has been a 14-day decline in cases, consider requiring social distancing and face masks to be worn, monitor the healthcare system for possible spikes and emphasize testing and tracing.

Cuomo’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has gained him record approval ratings from New York voters, a poll Monday found. The Democratic governor’s job performance rating in his 10th year in office hit a high of 71%, up eight percentage points from last month, the Siena College poll said.

– Lorenzo Reyes and Joseph Spector

Chuck Schumer wants to keep Donald Trump’s name off stimulus checks

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is not pleased President Donald Trump’s name will appear on stimulus checks being sent out to millions of Americans – and he is planning to put forward legislation to stop it from happening again. 

The No Politics in Pandemic Recovery Act, or No PR Act, proposed by Schumer would prohibit the use of any taxpayer funds “for any publicity or promotional activity that includes the names, likeness, or signature” of Trump or Vice President Mike Pence. 

The Treasury Department said there was “no delay whatsoever” in getting out the checks, which included up to $1,200 per American taxpayer. The statement came after The Washington Post cited IRS officials who believed adding the president’s name was sure to slow down the process. 

– William Cummings

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Contributing: The Associated Press

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