The U.S. Death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 100,000 Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. Yet about half of Americans are unsure they would get vaccinated if one becomes available, a new poll shows.
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As of the end of March, the U.S. Had registered about 4,000 deaths. But the figure took a drastic upward turn in April, when the disease killed nearly 60,000 Americans, and has continued at a slower but still devastating pace.
States continue to cautiously reopen their economies while attempting to control the number of new infections, hospitalizations and fatalities. In New York state, where almost 30,000 people have died, Long Island began reopening Wednesday, leaving New York City as the only area remaining essentially locked down. In California, barbershops and hair salons are being allowed to reopen across most of the state.
“We’re making progress,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “We’re moving forward.”.
Globally, Brazil was fast becoming the pandemic’s latest epicenter. There are almost 5.7 million confirmed cases around the world, with nearly 1.7 million in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. More than 355,000 people have died worldwide. The U.S. Has lost more than 100,000 people in a span of less than four months, more than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined.
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Here are a few of the major developments from Wednesday:.
What we’re talking about: In America’s debate over face masks, public ridicule and judgment have become commonplace — for people who selectively cover up and for those who forgo them altogether.
Staying Apart, Together: USA TODAY brings a newsletter about how to cope with these trying times straight to your inbox.
Something to smile about: A man built a giant, laughing kookaburra while he was in lockdown to “cheer us up.”.
US reaches grim milestone of 100,000 deaths due to coronavirus
The U.S., The only country to record anywhere near 1 million cases of the coronavirus, reached another somber milestone Wednesday when it became the first to go over 100,000 deaths from COVID-19.
The path toward 100,000 – more than twice as many fatalities as the next nation on the list, the United Kingdom with more than 37,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data – has been grim and swift. As of the end of March, the U.S. Had registered about 4,000 deaths. But the figure took a drastic upward turn in April, when the disease killed nearly 60,000 Americans, and has continued at a slower but still devastating pace. Some models estimate the death toll could approach 200,000 in early August.
Moreover, epidemiology experts generally agree the actual total of fatalities is larger than the tally reported by the highly respected Johns Hopkins University dashboard, considering there’s no certainty about when the first U.S. Victim of COVID-19 died. In addition, deaths outside a hospital setting might not have been recorded as being due to the coronavirus, especially in the early stages of the outbreak.
Public health officials are keeping a close eye on the case and death counts in hopes of suppressing any major flare-ups stemming from the loosening of social distancing measures throughout the country in May. After Democratic leaders requested that flags at public buildings be flown at half-staff the day the 100,000th death from COVID-19 was recorded, President Donald Trump ordered them flown in that fashion over the Memorial Day weekend to commemorate those killed by the disease.
– Jorge Ortiz.
Fauci says masks could help avert second wave of infections
Americans should wear masks in public to protect each other and to help avert a second wave of coronavirus infections, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. Fauci said that, with adequate safeguards, an uptick in confirmed cases generally expected as states ease stay-at-home restrictions might be avoided. President Donald Trump, however, has declined to wear a mask in public and this week mocked a reporter wearing one for being “politically correct.”.
“I want to protect myself and protect others,” Fauci, the top infectious disease expert on the White House coronavirus task force, said on CNN. “I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that’s the kind of thing you should be doing.”.
Walt Disney World sets July 11 reopening date for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom
Walt Disney World plans to reopen July 11, according to a presentation the company made to an economic recovery task force Wednesday.
The theme park has been closed since March 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and its reopening will follow its Florida rival, Universal Orlando, which is set to reopen June 5.
Disney is planning a phased reopening, with the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opening July 11. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are set to reopen July 15.
Disney World visitors will undergo a temperature check and be required to wear a face mask. The park will provide masks to people who do not bring their own.
Social distancing markers will be visible throughout the park. Disney’s “cast members” will enforce the rules, including the mask requirement, as part of a social-distancing squad. Park capacity will also be limited and not all attractions will reopen right away.
– Curtis Tate.
Keep your distance: How to stay safe from coronavirus at the pool and beach
As widely shared videos of packed pool parties and crowded boardwalks over Memorial Day weekend show what to avoid, a trip to the pool or beach can be done safely, public health experts say.
Joseph Khabbaza, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the Cleveland Clinic, said the same practices for going to the grocery store or to a restaurant can also apply at the pool or the beach: Stay in your group and maintain social distancing.
“Distancing in these settings is really the key to minimizing the transmission,” he said.
Khabbaza, who treats coronavirus patients, said sustained, close contact with other people helps transmit the virus. Practices that limit such contact help slow its spread.
“Pools should limit the amount of people who can come in,” he said. “The beach is nice because it’s a lot easier to space out.”.
– Jayme Deerwester, Veronica Bravo, and Curtis Tate.
Only half of Americans definitely want COVID-19 vaccination
Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, according to a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse. Among Americans who say they wouldn’t get vaccinated, 7 in 10 worry about safety. Dr. Francis Collins, who directs the National Institutes of Health, says the agency will test the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates in tens of thousands of people to prove if they work and are safe.
“I would not want people to think that we’re cutting corners because that would be a big mistake,” Collins said. “I think this is an effort to try to achieve efficiencies, but not to sacrifice rigor.”.
Unemployment claims may reach 41 million in 10 weeks as U.S. businesses slowly reopen
Between 2.1 million and 2.4 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week, economists estimate. At the high end, that would match the number who filed claims the week before, but it’s down from the record 6.9 million who sought assistance in late March.
Still, if the latest tally matches that forecast, it will mean roughly 41 million Americans have applied for unemployment in just 10 weeks. The Labor Department will report the number of claims Thursday.
A record 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, according to the Labor Department, spiking the jobless rate to 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression and four times the 3.5% unemployment rate reported in February which represented a 50-year low.
– Charisse Jones.
Look for grocery prices to rise – and stay there for awhile
We’re all about to pay more at the grocery store, at least for the next few weeks or months. Blame the coronavirus. Unprecedented demand, the shutdown of some food manufacturing facilities and a shift to more workers having to assemble orders for pickup and delivery are adding costs into the grocery business, and some of those costs will eventually make their way to the checkout lane, industry-watchers say.
“You will start to see inflation creep into the food supply at the grocery market,” said Rick Shea, president of Shea Food Consultants, a Minneapolis grocery and consumer packaged goods consulting firm. “It’s not going to revert back to (how it was in) January,” before the outbreak.
– Joe Taschler.
Trump, Cuomo discuss ‘supercharge’ for New York’s recovery
Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with President Donald Trump in Washington on Wednesday to discuss pumping money into New York’s slumbering economy. Cuomo is seeking federal funds for infrastructure upgrades, such as the tunnels under the Hudson River, to help “supercharge” the state’s comeback.
“If there is ever a time to actually take on this overdue need of major infrastructure construction, now is the time,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “There is no better time to build than right now. You need to restart the economy, you need to create jobs and you need to renew and repair this country’s economy and its infrastructure.”.
Brazil death toll expected to rise sharply, near US total
Brazil’s reported death toll, now at about 25,000, could exceed 125,000 by early August and continue to increase after that, according to forecasts from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. IHME projects the U.S. Death total at 132,000 by early August, but the U.S. Is forecast to be near the end of the cycle by then. IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said Brazil must follow the lead of Wuhan, China, as well as Italy, Spain, and New York by enforcing measures to reduce transmission of the virus and gain control of the fast-growing pandemic.
“Until then, IHME is forecasting the death toll in Brazil will continue to climb,” Murray said. “There will be a shortage of critical hospital resources, and the peak of deaths may not occur until mid-July.”.
Small wineries staggered by impact of COVID-19
The nation’s $30 billion wine industry stands to lose nearly $6 billion this year, with smaller wineries getting hit the hardest, according to a report prepared for the Wine Institute by Jon Moramarco, editor and partner with the Gomberg-Fredrikson Report. Wineries producing 1,000 to 5,000 cases a year could lose 47.5% of their revenue in 2020 due to tasting room and restaurant closures. Those producing fewer than 1,000 cases could see a 66% plunge. The industry’s salvation could become the e-sales, as stay-at-home orders propel online wine purchases, says e-commerce expert Paul Mabray, CEO of Emetry.Io.
“We are the last industry not to be changed by the internet in a meaningful way. Now wineries are learning on the fly,” Mabray says.
– Jessica Guynn.
School daze: Taking attendance an online challenge
Participation in teacher-led live video chats, signing on to online learning platforms and submitting assignments are a few of the ways schools across much of the country are tracking students’ “attendance,” or more importantly, their participation in learning while school buildings remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Education told schools they will not be required to report attendance information during the crisis, but schools are still trying to keep track of their students — not to report truancies but to make sure kids are doing OK and able to keep learning in this brave, new world of education.
“The honest truth is we don’t, yet, know how to best monitor when kids are showing up,” said Hedy Chang, executive director and president of Attendance Works, a national initiative aimed at addressing chronic absence.
– Arika Herron and MJ Slaby, Indianapolis Star.
Nevada to reopen casinos with social distancing restrictions June 4
Nevada will soon welcome tourists again as casinos are set to open June 4 with social distancing restrictions, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced late Tuesday.
“We welcome the visitors from across the country to come here, to have a good time, no different than they did previously, but we’re gonna be cautious,” Sisolak told reporters.
Sisolak said the state will be prepared to close down again if there’s a spike in cases. He shut down the casinos 10 weeks ago in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. The governor also announced the second phase of reopening that will begin Friday. Gyms, fitness studios, movie theaters, shopping malls and bars will reopen with restrictions. In-person religious services with up to 50 people will also be allowed, he said. Brothels, night clubs and strip clubs are excluded.
Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli reveals COVID-19 infection
Andrea Bocelli is the latest star on a long list of celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19. In a video shared by Italian newspaper La Stampa and translated by French outlet France 24, the opera singer, 61, confirmed to a group of journalists that both he and his family had experienced the novel coronavirus.
“My whole family was contaminated,” he said in an English translation. “We all had a fever — though thankfully not high ones — with sneezing and coughing.”.
He continued, “I had to cancel many concerts … It was like living a nightmare because I felt like I was no longer in control of things. I was hoping to wake up at any moment.”.
– Sara M Moniuszko.
Los Angeles opens largest coronavirus testing site in US at Dodger Stadium
The city of Los Angeles opened its biggest testing site at Dodger Stadium, which can test up to 6,000 people daily for free. It’s the largest site in the U.S., According to Community Organized Response Effort, a non-profit organization that helps vulnerable communities during a crisis.
“Dodger Stadium is a place where Angelenos usually rally around a common goal of victories on the field — and today, it is uniting us around a mission to save lives,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
CORE has worked with state and city officials to open 12 sites in Los Angeles, and 28 sites across the nation. Los Angeles was the first U.S. City to offer free testing to all residents, whether they had symptoms or not.
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY
More than 100 Apple Stores scheduled to reopen this week across US
Some Apple Stores will reopen this week, with 100 of the 271 U.S. Outlets opening their doors again. However, shopping won’t resume like it used to do pre-coronavirus. In most of the stores, customers won’t be allowed to enter the premises, and instead will only be able to pick up products in front of the store or via a dedicated curbside location. Apple will be setting up Genius Bar appointments in front of the stores as well.
The Genius Bar is where customers go to get free tech support, or to have data moved from Apple devices. However, some stores will allow customers to come in and shop, including locations in the San Diego and Santa Barbara areas in California, Las Vegas, Houston, Texas, and Boca Raton, Florida.
– Jefferson Graham.
Contributing: The Associated Press.