The future of the Coronavirus Task Force? TBD

The future of the Coronavirus Task Force? TBD

As America's COVID-19 death toll surpassed 70,000, the Trump administration is contemplating the future of the Coronavirus Task Force.

It's Ashley with the news to know.

But first, it's 5 o'clock somewhere: Having a margarita on Cinco de Mayo? Before you sip, explore the cocktail's mysterious origin. 🍹(There's no margarita emoji, sorry.)

The Short List newsletter is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe here!

Is this the end of the Coronavirus Task Force?

President Donald Trump's administration is considering plans to wind down its Coronavirus Task Force as early as this month, a major shift in the White House strategy for responding to the greatest health crisis in a century. Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that members of the task force were "having a conversation" about when and how to wind down the group. News of the change drew fire from critics who cited concerns that coronavirus death rates will spike as states roll back social distancing restrictions.

The race for a vaccine raises ethical dilemma

It takes years to produce a vaccine, but in the race against COVID-19, we don’t have years. To speed up the process, some researchers plan to give volunteers experimental vaccines, then infect them with the virus that causes COVID-19. This presents scientists with an ethical dilemma: Is it acceptable to deliberately infect healthy people with a disease that could kill them? Several scientists say the answer is yes.

'Essential worker just means you’re on the death track’

A coronavirus outbreak at a Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in South Dakota infected more than 800 workers and killed at least two. But employees are headed back to work this week despite the danger. These are the essential workers who risk their lives to make sure food is on your table.

Give it to me straight

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 70,000 Tuesday, and there were more than 1.2 million confirmed cases, according to John Hopkins. Worldwide, the virus has killed more than 255,000 people and infected more than 3.6 million.

What everyone’s talking about

Fact check: Does COVID-19 really have a survival rate of 98%, as a social media post claims? No.Congratulations are in order for Grimes and Elon Musk! Their baby boy has arrived.The trailer for Steve Carell's "Space Force" is out, and we can't look away. A man who wore a KKK hood at a California grocery store may be charged with a hate crime.This man has tattooed himself every day while in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Brett Favre received $1.1 million in welfare money for no-show speeches, an auditor says.

Two men arrested in the first fraud case involving PPP loans

Two New England businessmen were charged with trying to take advantage of government aid during a crisis. The men were arrested by the FBI for allegedly trying to access hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (created to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic) by claiming they had dozens of employees earning wages. In reality, they had none. It’s the first fraud case involving the federal government’s coronavirus small-business loan program. We can hope, for humanity’s sake, that it’s the last.

Tensions rise between US and China

President Donald Trump accused China of a coronavirus cover-up and suggested the government may have allowed the disease to spread. Chinese officials charged the United States with willful ignorance and dangerous mismanagement. The blame game between the world’s two biggest economies alarmed national security experts who fear a new “Cold War” is brewing between the two superpowers at a moment of global crisis.

Real quick

A vaccine expert who said he was ousted after raising concerns about a drug Trump touted as a potential treatment for coronavirus filed a whistleblower complaint.Police in Utah pulled over a 5-year-old driver who said he was heading to California to buy a Lamborghini. Anderson Cooper is adjusting to the dad life: "It's extraordinary. It's astonishing." What is Kawasaki disease, and is it linked to the coronavirus?The Phoenix Zoo, struggling like others worldwide during coronavirus closures, found an unlikely savior in a sloth.Frank Gore is back for yet another go in the NFL.

People really like 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist'

In an extraordinary show of support, NBC's "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" was the hands-down winner of USA TODAY's 23rd annual Save Our Shows poll – a record 67% of fans voted to keep the series around for a second season. Voters chose from among 19 endangered shows hovering between renewal and cancellation, weeks before networks decide their fates. Will this poll be enough to save "Zoey"? We could find out as early as this week.

A break from the news

Heads up! Look to the sky this week for a meteor shower with pieces of Halley's comet. ☄️Here's how to stream all the Marvel movies. Because why not treat yourself to a superhero marathon? Show the teachers in your life how much you value them with these 12 thoughtful gifts. Watch this: This baseball dad had the best reaction when his son hit his first home run.

A special shoutout to teachers 🍎

Never has the importance of education been so apparent. To the educators of The Short List on Teacher Appreciation Day: Thank you for everything you’re giving students during this time (and every day). We appreciate you.

Short List reader Beth Wells shared her experience teaching through a pandemic:

"I have delivered marshmallows and toothpicks to students, so we could make 3D shapes. Oreos, so we could learn about the phases of the moon over a Zoom meeting. I would say that this experience has been a roller coaster. My team and I work together a lot. Not just on my assignments, but to remind ourselves that we are all doing the best we can. Teachers, students and parents. We try to remember it is about the big picture of connecting with our students, not the small details of having every assignment turned in that is important. We are all truly in this together."

– Beth Wells, Elrod Elementary, San Antonio

Wait, we've got more teacher shoutouts where that came from. To the following educators, you, too, have our thanks! ❤️

John Edwards, Parkview High School; Bobby Beutelschies, Webbers Falls; Kimberly Ihle, Westview Middle School; Derek Cence, Eli Terry Middle School; Matt Wendell, Penndale Middle School; Melissa Duran, J.B. Alexander High School; Pamela Goldstein, Page Middle School; Donna Wertalik, Virginia Tech; Amy Parker, AHSTW Intermediate; Pete, Columbia U; R. Rodriguez; Cristina Weyer, Duval Charter School at Southside; Katherine Talley, Pinnacle Peak Prep; Courtney Nixon, St. Fabian; Giselle, Dante Alghieri; Lindsy Maxwell, Muncy Jr/Sr High School; Dr. Richard, Johnson C. Smith University; Peter Geiss, Springfield High School/Junior High; Bonnie Burnheimer, Liberty Elementary School; Carrie Mann, Ray D. Corbett Junior High; Tiffany Berman, A Child's Garden; Christopher Rose, Mary A. Fisk Elementary School; Scott Wheeler, Kinard Middle School; Gary Weshalek, Allen Park High School; Christine Schneider, Warren Central High School; Jelani Ellington, Philip Simmons High School; Diana Bright, Cedarwood Waldorf School; Tony Carmody, The King’s Academy; Danielle Zieroff, Auburn Elementary; Chavonne Taylor, Central Montessori Academy; Kailey Sevel, West Potomac High School; and Paul Maloy, Legacy Preparatory Academy.

Were you forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe to The Short List here!

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network.


News Related


Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »