Health officials were urging caution over Memorial Day weekend as millions of Americans were beginning to emerge from stay-at-home orders and get together with friends and family.
Many headed to beaches and parks. President Donald Trump hit the golf course. One photographer commemorated the holiday by using a projector to cast images onto the homes of families who lost veterans to the coronavirus.
More than 97,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, more than a quarter of the 340,000 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. There are more than 5.3 million confirmed cases around the globe, with 1.6 million in the United States alone.
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Here are some highlights to know Sunday:A Missouri hairstylist served 84 clients over eight days while experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, and now a coworker is sick, health officials said.The White House is exempting certain foreign professional athletes from the ban on entry into the U.S. A growing number of studies and data on COVID-19 deaths confirm the link between obesity and increased risk of hospitalization among coronavirus patients.Spain is planning to reopen to international tourism starting in July.
What we're talking about: Taking classes online amid the pandemic is hard enough. Now imagine if you're still learning to speak English.
Some good news: New York state on Saturday reported its lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths – 84 – since late March, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In April, several daily death tolls surpassed 1,000.
Sick hairstylist may have exposed 91 people
A Missouri hairstylist served 84 clients over eight days while experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, and now a coworker is sick, health officials said.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced in a Facebook post Saturday that 56 other Great Clips clients were potentially exposed by the second stylist.
The announcement came one day after the health department’s director, Clay Goddard, said in a news briefing that the first stylist to get sick worked eight days from May 12 to May 20, with only the 18th off. The coworker then worked five shifts from May 16 to 20 while experiencing very mild symptoms.
All of the two stylists’ clients wore masks and will be tested. The owner of the Great Clips said in a statement that the salon will be closed until it goes through sanitizing and deep cleaning.
The two cases come just days after city officials announced plans to relax even more distancing requirements and about a week after the health department started seeing an influx of new travel-related infections.
– The Associated Press
Trump administration exempts foreign athletes from entry ban
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf signed an order Friday that exempts certain foreign professional athletes from the ban on entry into the U.S.
"Professional sporting events provide much needed economic benefits, but equally important, they provide community pride and national unity," Wolf said in a press release. "In today’s environment, Americans need their sports. It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work."
The order also exempts the athletes' staff, team and league leadership, spouses and dependents from entry restrictions.
The order applies to Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the Women's Tennis Association.
Spain to reopen borders in July
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday that the country would be open to international tourism starting in July, Madrid-based newspaper El Pais and Reuters reported.
"Spain needs tourism and tourism needs security," Sanchez said.
According to The Financial Times, tourism accounts for 12% of Spain's gross domestic product. The country welcomes 80 millions tourists each year.
The rest of Europe won't reopen until after June 15 and probably later than that for non-EU citizens.
– Jayme Deerwester
Chief Justice to 2020 graduates: 'You will be tested'
In a virtual commencement address to his son’s high school class, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. told graduates to appreciate their "genuine accomplishments" while preparing to be tested by a "jarring and unexpected world."
"I think the pandemic is the world’s way of saying to mankind, you’re not in charge," he said. "The pandemic has pierced our illusion of certainty and control."
Like the Greatest Generation who fought in WWII, Roberts told students that they were among "one of the most challenged" graduating classes. He encouraged them to proceed with humility, compassion and courage. "The pandemic should teach us at least that," he said.
Amid the sobering warning and advice, Roberts also added a bit of deadpan humor. "Now as for working remotely, I was asked whether the Justices participating in arguments from their homes would wear robes," he said. "I didn’t know if the person was asking judicial or bath."
Public remarks led to Florida data curator's firing
The woman who raised questions about Florida’s COVID-19 data after being ousted as the data’s curator had been reprimanded several times and ultimately fired for violating Health Department policy by making public remarks about the information, state records show.
Rebekah Jones’ comments over the past week and a half in emails to researchers, interviews with a handful of media outlets and blog posts have sought to sow doubt about the credibility of the data now that she is no longer in that role.
State health officials strenuously deny any issue with the information’s accuracy as Gov. Ron DeSantis seeks to make a data-driven case for a step-by-step reopening of the state’s battered economy following safer-at-home orders. The Republican governor lashed out at a news conference earlier this week saying Jones had a pattern of “insubordination” and should have been fired months ago.
– The Associated Press
Obesity increases risk of COVID-19 severity, studies show
The chronic conditions that increase the risk of serious illness and death of COVID-19 are by now well known: diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and being older than 65. Obesity is less well known or understood, but a growing number of studies and data on COVID-19 deaths confirm the link.
The extra weight on people in the 40-plus BMI range who contract COVID-19 increases the chance they will require hospitalization, most likely in the intensive care unit. It also hampers the ability of physicians to treat them, especially with ventilators, doctors say. Read more here.
– Jayne O'Donnell