Coronavirus live updates: Senate reconvenes; California counties defy stay-at-home order; Pence regrets not wearing mask

Coronavirus live updates: Senate reconvenes; California counties defy stay-at-home order; Pence regrets not wearing mask

The U.S. Senate will reconvene Monday to start the next coronavirus relief bill as states across the country continue to reopen their economies.

While California isn't one of those states — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday he would make an announcement this week on plans to ease coronavirus restrictions — two more counties in the northern part of the state aren't waiting for the green and plan to reopen Monday with some restrictions.

Our live blog is being updated throughout the day. Refresh for the latest news, and get updates in your inbox with The Daily Briefing.

Here are the most important developments from Sunday:

President Donald Trump predicted that 80,000 to 90,000 Americans could eventually die from the virus, which has killed more than 67,000 in the U.S. so far.The Department of Homeland Security released a report that says Chinese leaders hid the severity of the coronavirus pandemic to hoard personal protective equipment.Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said it was "devastatingly worrisome'' to watch anti-lockdown protesters fail to practice social distancing at demonstrations.

Good news: Amid a pandemic, teachers are finally getting the respect they deserve. "How most teachers are being viewed right now is right up there with health care workers," said Ruth Faden, a professor of biomedical ethics at Johns Hopkins University. Here are a few of their stories.

A question you might have: Did the Obama administration send $3.7 million to aWuhan lab? No, here are the facts.

Two more California counties set to reopen despite stay-at-home order

Sparsely populated Modoc County, in California's northeast corner, reopened on Friday against the state's stay-at-home order. Two other northern counties will do the same on Monday.

Yuba and Sutter counties will allow businesses including restaurants, retail operations, gyms, hair salons and public spaces like parks and libraries to reopen, as long as people can follow social distancing guidelines.

Businesses that will remain closed include schools, places of worship, movie theaters, museums, bars and nightclubs that do not provide food, mass gatherings and more. Social gatherings with more than 10 people are also banned.

“The purpose is to continue to mitigate the spread of the virus to the greatest extent possible while addressing the need to gradually reopen the economy in order to ensure vital services are resumed in a safe manner," said Dr. Phuong Luu, public health officer for both counties, in a press release issued Friday.

Yuba and Sutter counties have reported a combined 50 coronavirus cases and three deaths as of Sunday afternoon.

Police: Woman licked hands before touching things at store, sub shop

A South Carolina woman is the latest person to be arrested after she allegedly licked her hands and touched things inside a grocery store, according to the Sumter Police Department.

Shenir Gibson Holliday, 38, was arrested Saturday, the department said in a Facebook post. According to police, Gibson licked her hands and touched food and pulled on freezer doors in the store. She also licked her hands before touching things in the dry food area of the store, police said.

Holliday was charged with aggravated breach of peace and food tampering and was issued a citation for violation of the state home or work order. Holliday also faces charges from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, which was seeking a woman who licked her hands and touched items at a local sub shop.

Multiple people have been arrested in connection with licking and coughing on items in stores since the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States. A few have done so while recording their actions for social media videos. A Pennsylvania grocery store had to throw out tens of the thousands of dollars in groceries after a woman went through the store coughing on things.

– Jordan Culver

Vice President Mike Pence on Mayo Clinic visit: 'I should have worn a mask'

Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that he should have worn a face mask when he visited the Mayo Clinic last week.

“I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic,” Pence said during a Fox News virtual town hall with President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Pence’s acknowledgement comes after he was roundly criticized for failing to don one of the protective coverings – in an apparent violation of clinic policy – when he visited the Minnesota medical center last week to meet with staff and patients.

Mayo Clinic policy requires "all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face covering or mask while at Mayo Clinic to guard against transmission of COVID-19." A post on the Mayo Clinic’s Twitter account indicated that Pence had been informed of the masking policy prior to his arrival. That tweet has since been deleted.

– Michael Collins

Uber to require drivers, riders to wear face masks as part of new safety plan

It's not just airlines requiring masks for passengers. Soon, Uber riders – and drivers – will need to wear face masks or some kind of face covering in post-shutdown America.

The policy, approved by the ride-hailing giant's executives in a meeting last week, is expected to become official in the coming weeks.

Uber confirmed the plan, first reported by CNN Business, to USA TODAY.

“As countries reopen, Uber is focused on safety and proceeding with caution," the company said in a statement. "Today, we continue to ask riders to stay home if they can, while shipping safety supplies to drivers who are providing essential trips."

Uber is still operating in most markets globally. While emphasizing to potential riders to stay at home – with TV ads and reminders in its mobile app – Uber already suggests that all drivers and riders wear masks. But it is not a requirement.

– Mike Snider

Donald Trump revises US coronavirus death estimates to 80,000 to 90,000

President Donald Trump is upping his estimates of the number of Americans who could die from the coronavirus.

At an event at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, Trump predicted that as many as 80,000 to 90,000 Americans could eventually die from the virus, which already has killed more than 67,000 Americans.

“It’s going to go up,” Trump said of the death toll during a virtual town hall on Fox News.

Trump noted that in the past he has predicted the disease could kill 65,000 Americans. “Now, I’m saying 80 or 90 (thousand),” he said.

Trump insisted the death toll would have been exceeded one million had he not acted on Jan. 31 to restrict travel to the U.S. from China. “We did the right thing, and I really think we could have saved a million and a half lives,” he said.

Trump insisted U.S. mitigation efforts have been successful – "if you call losing 80 or 90,000 people successful."

– Michael Collins and David Jackson

DHS report: China hid extent of coronavirus outbreak to buy PPE

Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the coronavirus pandemic in early January so they could load up on supplies to fight it, an intelligence report from the Department of Homeland Security says. The four-page report, dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press, also says China declined to reveal how contagious the virus that originated in its soil really was.

The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its attacks on China while critics accuse the federal government of responding too slowly and ineffectively to the pandemic. The U.S. has recorded 33% of the world's 3.5 million cases of coronavirus – over 1.15 million as of Monday morning – and 27% of the deaths, with more than 67,000. No other country comes close in either category.

The analysis says that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad – and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.

State reopenings: Arkansas, Montana, Kansas take steps toward normalcy

Monday will bring a flurry of reopenings across the country, including gyms, fitness centers and indoor athletic facilities in Arkansas and restaurants, bars, casinos, breweries and distilleries in Montana.

Also, Kansas will begin a three-phase reopening strategy upon the expiration of its statewide stay-at-home order and Colorado and Minnesota will begin opening nonessential businesses. Find the latest on your state here.

More coronavirus headlines from USA TODAY

Straight-talking Dr. Anthony Fauci is the voice Americans want to hear right now.So, who is he?'Death is our greeter':Doctors, nurses struggle with mental health amid ongoing coronavirus crisis.Going back to the office?Workers face 'uphill battle,' and here's why.Are governors' stay-at-home orders bad for your health? We checked the facts.Tracking coronavirus: Mapping the outbreak, state by state.

Potential COVID-19 treatment remdesivir will be available this week

Remdesivir, the first possible scientifically proven treatment for battling COVID-19, will become available for U.S. hospitals in the coming week, says the CEO of the biotech company producing the drug.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday morning, Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O'Day said the company had donated 1.5 million vials to the U.S. government, enough to treat 150,000 to 200,000 patients.

Federal health officials will outlay the drug "based on things like ICU beds, where the course of the epidemic is in the United States," O'Day said. "They will begin shipping tens of thousands of treatment courses out early this week.”

Last week, early results from a global study conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found patients given the experimental drug remdesivir recovered faster and may be less likely to die. Patients who received remdesivir had a 31% faster recovery time than those who received a placebo, the study found.

– Mike Snider

Britain PM Boris Johnson: Doctors discussed announcing my death

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent three days in the intensive care unit during his week-long hospitalization battling the coronavirus in April, said his condition was so critical that at one point doctors discussed how to announce his death to the nation.

"The bad moment came when it was 50-50 whether they were going to have to put a tube down my windpipe," Johnson said in an emotional interview with the British newspaper The Sun. "That was when it got a bit . . . they were starting to think about how to handle it presentationally."

Johnson, 55, was diagnosed with the virus on March 26 but acknowledged he was initially "in denial'' about its seriousness. He was admitted to a London hospital April 5 and moved to the ICU the next day, getting "liters and liters of oxygen.''

"It was hard to believe that in just a few days my health had deteriorated to this extent," said Johnson, who named his newborn son after two doctors who helped save his life. He left the hospital April 12.

Johnson's administration has been criticized for a lack of urgency in its response to the pandemic, which has killed 28,446 Brits. Only the U.S. (67,447) and Italy (28,884) have suffered more deaths.

The prime minister is expected to announce a plan to reopen the country and restart the economy this week.

– Jorge Ortiz

More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY

Where's the beef ... and the chicken:Should we worry about a meat shortage?'Stop pretending tests are perfect': Antibody tests have yet to live up to promise.Fact check: Are smokers at less risk for contracting the coronavirus?What states are opening up, and when?Here's the list.No sex, please, we're in a pandemic:Who can be intimate, who shouldn't while in coronavirus quarantine?

Contributing: The Associated Press

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/05/04/coronavirus-live-updates-senate-masks-dhs-china-donald-trump/3075203001/

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