Top federal health officials will testify in front of a Senate panel Tuesday to outline key points for safely reopening the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci will appear via video before the Senate health committee along with CDC director Robert Redfield and FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. The hearing could be contentious, as Republicans have tended to advocate for reopening the economy faster while Democrats have argued for more testing and contact tracing first.
There are now more than 80,000 deaths and 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the John Hopkins University data dashboard. Worldwide, the virus has killed more than 286,000 people and surpassed 4.1 million infections.
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Here are some of the most significant developments :A high-profile infectious disease researcher warns up to 70 percent of people might become infected by COVID-19 unless a vaccine works.The White House began requiring staff in the West Wing to wear a mask or facial covering.
Overcoming coronavirus: The owners of an Oregon meatpacking plant first had to deal with the fear of losing their business. Then they learned to be nimble by transitioning to new clients and products to keep things going.
What we're talking about today: Coronavirus has shut down the U.S. for two months, but the pandemic is just getting started, according to one expert. Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says the "it surely won’t slow down until it hits 60 to 70%" of the population."
Fauci, other experts to face video questioning from Senators
Some of the leading experts on infectious diseases are due to speak via video link Tuesday at a Senate hearing – a setting where President Donald Trump will not be controlling the agenda. Senators are expected to ask tough questions about the death toll in the U.S., its testing capabilities and perceived administration failures.
Appearing by video link before the Senate committee on Tuesday will be Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, and Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The three are in self-quarantine. They will be joined by Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus “testing czar” at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Boeing CEO predicts pandemic will claim a major U.S. airline
With anemic passenger counts and no signs travel will rebound quickly from the coronavirus pandemic, airlines are fighting for their financial lives. They're looking everywhere but the couch cushions to raise badly needed cash and the threat of major layoffs looms this fall.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun thinks one major U.S. carrier won't survive. Calhoun, who replaced the plane maker's longtime CEO in January in the wake of the prolonged 737 Max crisis, made the prediction to NBC "Today" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.
Guthrie, in an interview scheduled to air on the network Tuesday, asked Calhoun if "there might be a major U.S. carrier that just has to go out of business?''
"Yes, most likely,'' Calhoun said. He didn't name names or define "major" airline in the 22-second snippet NBC shared ahead of the full interview.
– Dawn Gilbertson
Broadway actor Nick Cordero is 'doing simple tracking' in small step to recovery, wife says
Broadway star Nick Cordero is "starting to wake up" after spending more than a month in a medically induced coma over coronavirus complications, says wife Amanda Kloots. She took to Instagram Monday to share the "great news."
"Nick is starting to follow commands and doing simple tracking!" she captioned a picture of Cordero from their Italian honeymoon, which she calls her favorite picture of him. "He is very weak so even just opening his eyes is a struggle, but it is happening. He is starting to wake up!"
The "Rock of Ages" star was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in late March for what was initially thought to be pneumonia, Kloots wrote on Instagram. An initial coronavirus test came up negative, though a subsequent test was positive for COVID-19.
– Cydney Henderson
US closing in on 10 million coronavirus tests, Trump claims
The U.S. is on track this week to pass 10 million coronavirus tests conducted, said President Donald Trump, who announced Monday that states would receive $11 billion in additional funding for testing.
Trump also said daily tests nationwide would increase “substantially’’ from the current amount, which he pegged at about 300,000.
Harvard University researchers have concluded the country would need to conduct 500,000-700,000 daily tests to begin reopening safely, and would require 5 million daily tests by early June.
States will get the funding from the CARES Act to help governors meet their testing goals, the administration said. The money is going to states, territories and tribes, with the states hardest hit by the coronavirus receiving up to $500 million.
The 1.3 million-plus cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. represent one-third of the world total.
– Jeanine Santucci
MLB hoping for games in July but labor issues loom
Major League Baseball is aiming to start its season in July after being sidelined in spring training by the coronavirus. Owners approved a proposal Monday requiring teams to share 50% of their revenue with the Major League Baseball Players Association should plans to play this year proceed, three people with direct knowledge of the proposal told USA TODAY Sports.
The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to discuss details, said the historic revenue-sharing plan is integral in order to to address revenue losses with an 82-game season being played without fans beginning in July.
However, the proposal faces obstacles. Player compensation has never been tied to club revenues, and the union is expected to reject the offer because players are fearful owners would then push to implement a salary cap during negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires Dec. 1, 2021.
– Bob Nightengale
Trump downplays new White House virus cases as he pushes reopening
President Donald Trump’s calls for Americans to go back to work and for life to return to normal amid the coronavirus crisis keep running into an inconvenient reality: Washington itself isn’t ready to move on.
Two administration aides tested positive for coronavirus last week, underscoring that even the White House isn’t immune to the disease. A valet to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, both tested positive for the virus, prompting White House officials to take extra precautions, including daily coronavirus testing for people who come into contact with the president.
At a Rose Garden news conference Monday, Trump downplayed the new cases, saying there are always "tremendous numbers of people" coming into the White House. “I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” he said. "I think we’re really doing a very good job in watching it, and I think it’s very well contained."
– Michael Collins and Maureen Groppe
IRS issues deadline for direct deposit info for coronavirus stimulus payments
Still waiting on your stimulus stash? The IRS has a new deadline to urge you to act soon if you're considering entering direct deposit information online at "Get My Payment."
The Internal Revenue Service wants people to take action by noon Wednesday if they want a shot at receiving stimulus cash more quickly via direct deposit. Bank account information can be entered at "Get My Payment" at IRS.gov.
And in other news, the IRS said automatic payments will be sent soon to those receiving Social Security retirement, disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Veterans Affairs benefits or Supplemental Security Income. No specific timetable was given Friday.
If things go as expected, most eligible Supplemental Security Income or SSI and veterans will spot Economic Impact Payments via their Direct Express card no later than mid-May, according to a fact sheet dated May 5 from Direct Express, which is a prepaid card offered to those who do not have bank accounts.
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAYDisease spread: Coronavirus will rage until it "infects everybody it possibly can."Are movie theaters in danger? Impact for entertainment industry could be far-reaching if lockdown continues.'Feasible' by fall: NFL returning to field possible if things go well. What are the social distancing rules in my state?Here's how America is reopening amid coronavirus outbreak.
Tesla CEO Musk restarts California factory amid lockdown
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Monday that the company has restarted its California factory, a move that defied local government orders involving measures to contain the coronavirus.
In a tweet, Musk practically dared authorities to arrest him, writing that he would be on the assembly line and if anyone is taken into custody, it should be him. State law allows a fine of up to $1,000 a day or up to 90 days in jail for operating in violation of health orders.
The plant in Fremont, a city of more than 230,000 people south of San Francisco, had been closed since March 23. Early Monday, the parking lot was nearly full at the massive factory, which employs 10,000 workers, and semis were driving off loaded with vehicles that may have been produced before the shutdown.
The restart defied orders from the Alameda County Public Health Department, which has deemed the factory a nonessential business that can’t open under virus restrictions. The department said Monday it warned the company was operating in violation of the county health order, and hoped Tesla will “comply without further enforcement measures” until the county approves a site-specific plan required by the state.
– Associated Press
VP Pence keeps his distance in White House
Administration officials on Sunday denied a report that Vice President Mike Pence would self-isolate after his press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, saying he would be back in the White House on Monday.
Indeed he was, but Pence conducted a call with governors from an isolated room, The Associated Press reported, while Dr. Deborah Birx and other staffers participated as usual from a conference room in the Situation Room.
"We are taking the appropriate countermeasures to protect the president’s health,” Pence said of what he called a “slightly different circumstance,” according to a recording obtained by the AP.
Besides Pence's press secretary, a valet for President Donald Trump also tested positive for the virus last week. And three top health advisers, Drs. Anthony Fauci, Robert Redfield and Stephen Hahn, went into quarantine after being in contact with an infected staffer.
On Monday, members of the staff were told anyone going into the West Wing would have to wear a mask or facial covering, although they could remove them if they stayed six feet apart from their colleagues.
Americans' concerns over pandemic easing – but still strong, poll shows
Fewer Americans are now concerned that a family member could contract COVID-19 compared to a month ago, according to a new Monmouth University poll. Forty-two percent of the 808 U.S. adults polled said they were "very concerned" that someone in their family could become seriously ill from COVID-19, and 28% said they were "somewhat concerned." Those numbers were down from 50% and 33%, respectively, in Monmouth's April survey.
"Concern about covid seems to have returned to where it was in the early days of the public response to the pandemic," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
– William Cummings
New York's 'patient zero' back home and feeling much better
The man identified as New York's coronavirus "patient zero" remembers going to the emergency room in February. The next thing he remembers is waking up from a coma. Lawrence Garbuz told NBC's "Today" show he thought he just had a cough. At that point, COVID-19 was not on his radar and New York had not yet taken strict measures to prevent its spread.
“I’m a lawyer. I sit at a desk all day,” he said. “I think at the time we were sort of focusing on individuals who had maybe traveled internationally, something that I had not done.”
But the outbreak in his town of New Rochelle prompted the governor to create a "containment zone," which shut down schools and places of worship before the rest of the state was under stay-at-home orders. Garbuz, 50, said he didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. He is home now and said he feels much better.
Contributing: The Associated Press