Coronavirus updates: Mall of America to reopen retail shops on June 1 – National News

Written by on May 15, 2020


Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 300,000 people worldwide.

More than 4.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 85,194 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

6:20 p.m.: Delaware to open beaches, pools Memorial Day weekend

Delaware will open beaches and pools at 5 p.m. on May 22, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Gov. John Carney announced Thursday.

Beaches will be limited to 20% of regular capacity. Beachgoers must follow social distancing requirements, such as keeping 6 feet away from anyone not in their household and wearing face coverings when on the boardwalk.

Nonresidents will only be allowed to use the beaches after a 14-day quarantine. Police will be stationed at routes typically used by out-of-state travelers to question visitors, the governor’s office said.

Restaurants and bars will remain limited to delivery and takeout only.

A ban on short-term rentals also remains in effect.

4:40 p.m.: More than half of LA County deaths in institutional settings

Los Angeles County has lost at least 1,709 residents to the coronavirus — and 51% of those deaths were among people living in institutional settings, mostly nursing homes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The county is slowly reopening.

Facilities like tennis courts and equestrian centers can reopen on Friday, as long as people maintain social distancing.

4:05 p.m.: Meditation app giving free subscription to unemployed Americans

The meditation and mindfulness app Headspace is offering a free, one-year subscription to all Americans who are unemployed amid the pandemic, the company said Thursday.

“While meditation and mindfulness can’t change our circumstances in life, it can help us change our perspective on those circumstances,” Rich Pierson, CEO and co-founder of Headspace, said in a statement Thursday.

“Now more than ever, that’s an incredibly powerful skill to learn,” he said.

Approximately 36 million Americans have filed for jobless aid.

2:30 p.m.: 17 states reporting cases of kids with COVID-associated illness, Cuomo says

In New York state, a phased reopening can begin on May 15 in five regions: North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The state’s remaining four regions — New York City, Long Island, Mid Hudson, Capital District and Western New York — have not met the metrics to begin reopening, he said.

“Phased reopening does not mean the problem has gone away — it means we have controlled the problem because of what we did,” Cuomo said. “I would urge local governments to be diligent about the business compliance and about individual compliance. And if you see a change in those numbers — react immediately.”

Cuomo again mentioned the “serious and concerning” cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19, an inflammatory syndrome, which has features that overlap with Kawasaki disease.

There are 110 cases in New York state, the vast majority of which are in New York City. Three young people in the state have died.

Sixteen other states, as well as Washington, D.C. and six countries in Europe, have reported cases, Cuomo said.

New York state is leading the national effort “to understand and combat this new syndrome,” Cuomo said.

1:30 p.m.: Mall of America will reopen retail stores June 1

The largest mall in the U.S., Minnesota’s Mall of America, will open the doors of its retail stores on June 1.

While retail in the state is permitted to reopen on May 18, mall officials said waiting the rest of the month will allow them time to implement new cleaning and sanitation measures and also allow the stores enough time to rehire and train staff.

“All dining and attractions will remain closed until further guidance from state officials is provided,” mall officials said. “Food establishments may still operate through curbside and delivery.”

1:15 p.m.: Jersey Shore will open in time for Memorial Day weekend

The Jersey Shore can open on Friday, May 22, though the number of beachgoers will be restricted and visitors must follow social distancing guidelines, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday.

Boardwalk restaurants must be takeout and delivery only and amusement park rides, games and playgrounds must stay closed, Murphy said.

It’s highly recommended that visitors wear a face covering, Murphy said.

New Jersey has over 142,000 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus and 9,946 deaths.

Meanwhile, New Jersey’s nursing homes have been particularly hit hard by the virus. The state now has over 27,000 cases at long-term care facilities, including 5,168 deaths, Murphy said.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working to assist the state, providing five, 10-person health care strike teams who will join the staffs at long-term facilities until June 30, Murphy said.

The New Jersey attorney general’s office started investigating the state’s long-term care facilities in April.

The state has asked the public to report any misconduct anonymously through an online portal.

11:45 a.m.: Minnesota’s stay-at-home order to lift on Monday

Minnesota’s stay-at-home order will be lifted on Monday, allowing retail stores and malls to open with 50% capacity and social distancing plans in place.

Bars and restaurants will remain closed and gatherings must be limited to 10 people.

“With the capacity that we built while you stayed home, we can chart a new way forward. We can take a measured, Minnesota approach that protects public health and improves economic stability,” Gov. Tim Walz tweeted Wednesday. “This means cautious, strategic steps forward. And it means clear measures for determining if and when we need to pull back.”

“We are not flipping a switch and all going back to normal at once,” stressed. “We are slowly moving a dial.”

10:45 a.m.: NYC has 100 kids with COVID-associated illness

Mayor Bill de Blasio said it’s “deeply troubling” that New York City is now reporting 100 cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19, an inflammatory syndrome which has features that overlap with Kawasaki disease.

Of those 100 young people, 55 tested positive for the coronavirus or antibodies. One New York City child has died, the mayor said.

There will be weekly webinars with up to 700 pediatric providers to discuss ways to combat the disease, the mayor said.

10:25 a.m.: NYC expands testing criteria

New York City is expanding its criteria for who can get tested for the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his Thursday briefing.

New Yorkers can get tested if they: have symptoms — regardless of age, chronic conditions or occupation; came in close contact with someone who was confirmed to be positive, regardless of symptoms; work in a congregate residential setting like a nursing home or shelter, regardless of symptoms.

There are 23 walk-in testing sites in the city and five more are opening, the mayor said.

De Blasio said it’s “deeply troubling” that New York City is now reporting 100 cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19, an inflammatory syndrome which has features that overlap with Kawasaki disease.

Of those 100 young people, 55 tested positive for the coronavirus or antibodies. One New York City child has died, the mayor said.

There will be weekly webinars with up to 700 pediatric providers to discuss ways to combat the disease, the mayor said.

De Blasio called it a “very good day” as he reported all three daily tracking progress indicators moving in the right direction.

On Tuesday, 59 people were admitted to city hospitals with suspected COVID-19 symptoms — down from 78 admissions on Monday.

On Tuesday, 517 patients were in intensive care units with symptoms — down from 561 patients on Monday.

And 11% of people tested citywide Tuesday were positive — down from 13% on Monday.

“Perfect day, New York City!” the mayor said. “Let’s now put together a bunch of them.”

As New Yorkers wait to return to their local restaurants, de Blasio told CNN on Thursday that city officials are talking to restaurant and bar owners about the right way to reopen “in stages, to do this carefully.”

“There is interesting talk about focusing on outdoor [seating] rather than indoor,” de Blasio said. The mayor added, “but it has to be with social distancing and it has to be with a safety first mentality.”

9:28 a.m.: Typhoon takes aim at Philippines during coronavirus lockdown

A powerful typhoon barreled toward the Philippines on Thursday as local authorities work to evacuate tens of thousands of people from their homes while trying to avoid the coronavirus-related risks of overcrowding emergency shelters.

Typhoon Vongfong was packing maximum sustained winds of 96 mph and gusts of up to 158 mph, according to the latest data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. The storm, the first typhoon to hit the archipelagic country this year, is expected to make landfall on eastern islands later Thursday.

The Philippines remains under a lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The country has reported nearly 12,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 with at least 790 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Harry Roque, spokesperson for the president of the Philippines, said local officials must ensure that social distancing is observed by families as they seek temporary shelter in evacuation centers. He said the government’s disaster preparedness protocols would be in full force amid the country’s continued fight against COVID-19.

“We have enough relief foods, our evacuation centers are ready and social distancing will be observed on a per-family basis,” Roque said during a virtual press conference Thursday.

8:56 a.m.: France warns pharmaceutical giant against reserving first doses of vaccine for US

The French government warned Thursday that it would be “unacceptable” for Sanofi, a Paris-based multinational pharmaceutical company, to reserve the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for the United States.

Speaking to Sud Radio, France’s Deputy Finance Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said she contacted the firm on Wednesday after its CEO told Bloomberg News he would likely supply a vaccine to the U.S. government first because “it’s invested in taking the risk.”

“For us, it would be unacceptable for there to be privileged access to such and such a country for financial reasons,” Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio on Thursday.

Pannier-Runacher said she spoke to the head of Sanofi’s French division who confirmed that its vaccine, when ready, would be available in every country, including France.

“Not least because [Sanofi] has production capacity in France,” the deputy minister said.

Last month, Sanofi signed a letter of intent with England-based multinational pharmaceutical firm GSK to jointly develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The companies stated in the letter that they plan to initiate the first phase of clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful, aim to complete the development required for availability by the second half of 2021.

8:09 a.m.: American pilot dies in plane crash while trying to deliver tests to Indonesia

An American pilot died when her plane crashed while she was on her way to deliver COVID-19 test kits to a remote village in Indonesia earlier this week, officials said.

Joyce Lin departed from the airport in Sentani in Indonesia’s Papua province on Tuesday morning, flying alone in a Kodiak aircraft. Lin, a missionary with Mission Aviation Fellowship, was attempting to bring much-needed supplies to the village of Mamit in the Papua highlands that included COVID-19 test kits for the local clinic.

But she reported an emergency within minutes of takeoff and the aircraft plunged into Lake Sentani. An Indonesian search and rescue team later confirmed Lin did not survive as they recovered her body from the lake, according to a statement from Mission Aviation Fellowship. The Idaho-based Christian organization said its staff in Indonesia are working with local authorities to investigate the incident.

Lin, who was raised in Colorado and Maryland, had worked in Indonesia for Mission Aviation Fellowship for two years, serving as both a pilot and an information technology specialist. Prior to joining the organization, she worked for over a decade as a computer specialist after receiving Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to her biography on the Mission Aviation Fellowship’s website.

She is survived by her parents and two sisters.

7:24 a.m.: Japan lifts state of emergency in 39 prefectures

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that he had decided to lift the state of emergency in 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures.

The decree remains in place for urban regions, including the capital, Tokyo, and the large port city of Osaka. Abe said his government will consider lifting the state of emergency for the remaining prefectures next week.

The prime minister declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7 as Japan reported a surge in COVID-19 cases. Abe later expanded the declaration to cover the entire country and last until May 31. Under the order, prefectural governors asked residents to stay home and for some businesses to temporarily close, but public cooperation was voluntary. There were no penalties for failure to comply.

Abe credited the recent decline in the rate of new infections to the efforts of residents staying at home and practicing social distancing. However, he warned that the state of emergency may have to be reimposed if infections increase.

More than 16,000 people in Japan have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 678 have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

7:03 a.m.: Italy approves $60 billion stimulus package

Italy’s government has approved a $60 stimulus package to help businesses and families reeling from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Your cry of alarm didn’t escape us,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a national address Wednesday night following a cabinet meeting.

Under the package, hotel owners won’t have to make the next payment of real estate taxes, while parents would receive money to pay for babysitting or summer recreation centers since schools won’t reopen in Italy until September.

Once the worst-hit country in Europe, Italy was the first nation in the world to impose a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 222,000 people in Italy have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 31,106 have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Last week, Italy began to slowly lift the strict lockdown by easing some restrictions. The country’s economy is forecast to contract by at least 8% this year as a result of the epidemic.

6:09 a.m.: Russia reports just under 10,000 new cases

Russia reported 9,974 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the first time in 12 days that the country’s daily tally was under 10,000.

The new cases confirmed over the past 24 hours bring Russia’s total to 252,245, according to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters.

Russia has the second-largest national tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind the United States. The country reported a record 11,656 new infections on Monday.

Russia also has one of the world’s fastest rates of new infections in the coronavirus pandemic, second only to the U.S.

However, the country’s death toll from the disease remains relatively low with just 93 new fatalities reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 2,305, according to the coronavirus response headquarters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared an end to a partial economic shutdown across the country due to the outbreak, but he said that many restrictions will remain in place. For instance, wearing face masks and gloves is mandatory for people using public transportation in Moscow.

5:42 a.m.: China to ramp up testing amid fears of a resurgence

China reported three new locally-transmitted infections of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, raising concerns of a rebound of the epidemic in the country’s mainland territories.

The three new cases of COVID-19 were reported across two northeastern provinces on the Chinese mainland that have seen an increase in domestic infections in recent days, although the country’s daily tally has plummeted from the height of the outbreak in February.

Song Shuli, a spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission, said at a press conference Thursday that the country will ramp up COVID-19 testing and screening nationwide to prevent a resurgence in cases.

The announcement comes just days after health authorities in Wuhan, the Chinese city that was ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, declared they would test the city’s entire population of 11 million people after detecting a cluster of new locally-transmitted infections there for the first time in over a month.

Overall, the Chinese mainland has reported 82,929 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4,633 deaths so far. There are still 101 people in hospitals being treated for the disease, while another 712 people with asymptomatic cases remain isolated under medical observation, according to the National Health Commission.

3:45 a.m.: California police arrest woman for selling non-approved test kits

A woman was recently arrested in Southern California for allegedly selling non-approved COVID-19 test kits, police said.

The Los Angeles Police Department took 39-year-old Ying Lien Wang into custody Tuesday afternoon after serving a search warrant at her home in Santa Monica, west of downtown Los Angeles. Authorities recovered 61 COVID-19 at-home test kits that had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Prior to her arrest, investigators went undercover and bought test kits from the woman on three occasions. She was allegedly selling the kits for $50 on Craigslist, according to police.

“None of the Covid-19 test kits recovered had been tested to meet United States safety standards and could pose a risk to anyone using them,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement late Wednesday. “Residents are reminded that Los Angeles is offering free coronavirus testing to all residents.”

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