Coronavirus could “be even more difficult” next winter, CDC director warns
CDC Director Robert Redfield said Tuesday that a coronavirus outbreak next winter could “be even more difficult” than what the nation is currently facing because it could coincide with flu season.
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post, adding, “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”
If America had to face two respiratory outbreaks at the same time, Redfield said, it would put even more stress on the already overburdened healthcare system. He urged health officials to convince Americans to get their flu shot as early as possible, adding that doing so “may allow there to be a hospital bed available for your mother or grandmother that may get coronavirus.”
If the first coronavirus outbreak had struck earlier and its peak had coincided with the 2019-2020 flu season, “it could have been really, really, really, really difficult in terms of health capacity,” he said.
Retired army doctors answer the call in the fight against coronavirus
As hospitals in the epicenter of New York strain to handle the influx of coronavirus patients, retired members of the military want to help. In our series, “Profiles in Service,” we meet a group of veterans answering the call and bringing their skills to a different kind of frontline — in a different kind of battle.
Colonel Melissa Givens spent two decades as an emergency room physician in the U.S. Army.
“I’m getting choked up thinking about this, but you served 20 years in the military, and now you’re retired, but you’re still serving your country,” CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell told Givens.
“There’s nothing I would rather do and I’m with the people I would choose to do it with for the rest of my life,” Givens replied.
For Givens, it’s about a life of service. In record time, she helped New York-Presbyterian Hospital transform an indoor soccer stadium into a field hospital for COVID-19 patients.
“What led you to this new mission?” O’Donnell asked.
“I really felt the call to serve,” Givens said. “I’m a physician. I had skills I could offer.”
Contact tracing deployed in effort to fight spread of coronavirus
Massachusetts has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S, and the death toll there has nearly doubled in the past week. The hot spot is the first state to launch a large-scale program to track down people who’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
It’s called contact tracing — and the state is deploying an army of disease detectives.
Krysta Cass is a “contact tracer” working from her Boston apartment. She calls at least 20 people a day who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and then anyone they may have exposed.
“There are some people that had no idea they came in contact with someone who was positive,” Cass explained.
Massachusetts has invested $44 million in disease detectives, who will reach at least 120,000 close contacts — all of it critical to bending the curve, according to Partners in Health.
“People are very creative”: Birx discusses social distancing at hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is planning to allow businesses like hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors to open by the end of the week. CBS News’ Steven Portnoy asked Dr, Deborah Birx “how do you safely have hair salons and nail salons and tattoo parlors reopen…where people inherently have to be close together?”
Birx said that for some communities “if their cases are not going down, they need to continue social distancing.”
But she didn’t really have a direct response on Georgia, saying that “if there’s a way that people can social distance and do those things, then they can do those things. I don’t know how, but people are very creative.”
Birx said she wouldn’t “prejudge,” but said that officials have been “very clear about the expectations of Phase One, and she left it to state and local leaders, the governors and the mayors, to communicate “clearly” on the data they’re using to make their decisions to ease preventative guidelines.
Trump says he’s asking Harvard to return PPP money
After Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remarked that some big businesses had received PPP money and said he was “pleased” to see Shake Shack give back the money it had obtained, he was asked whether he’d request money back from other companies.
At that point, President Trump interjected, “Harvard’s going to pay back the money,” though Harvard had not been mentioned during the briefing. Noting that the institution has “one of the largest endowments in the world,” the president said, “They’re going to give it back.”
Harvard’s endowment is about $40 billion. The university received over $8 billion from the CARES Act, according to a report in the Harvard Crimson.
In a statement, Harvard said it had not applied for or received any funds through PPP and it had received funds through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. “Harvard has committed that 100% of these emergency higher education funds will be used to provide direct assistance to students facing urgent financial needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the university said.
Trump announces 60-day pause in immigration
At the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump announced a 60-day pause in immigration into the U.S., as previewed by his tweet Monday night. The measure affects those seeking permanent residency in the U.S.
“In order to protect American workers, I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States,” the president said Tuesday. “By pausing immigration, it will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens.”
He went on to say that “it would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor from abroad.
After 60 days, Mr. Trump said that the pause could be extended, “based on economic conditions at the time.”
However, the president stated that the pause would only affect those seeking permanent residency. It “will not apply to those coming into the country on a temporary basis.”
The executive action the president is planning does not appear to change the guidance that already applies to the H-2 visa program, which includes temporary and seasonal agricultural workers. These workers have been deemed by the State Department to be “essential to the economy and food security” of the U.S.
When asked whether there would be exceptions, the president said as an example that some people would still be able to get into the country from a “humane standpoint,” but he did not offer more specifics.
He said he would probably sign the executive action tomorrow.
Americans married to immigrants might not qualify for stimulus checks
The stimulus payments now hitting bank accounts are designed to help most Americans weather the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But some people are excluded from the payments, including some U.S. citizens who are married to immigrants.
The government’s $2.2 trillion economic relief package excludes several groups from the payments, which amount to $2,400 for married couples earning less than $150,000. Among those are nonresident aliens – meaning immigrants without Green Cards. But the IRS now says that American citizens who are married to immigrants without Social Security numbers are also blocked from receiving the payments.
About 1.2 million immigrants are married to U.S. citizens, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The IRS says that only married couples in which both partners have valid Social Security numbers will receive stimulus checks. That effectively excludes legal immigrants who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to file taxes.
It could also prove an unwelcome surprise for some U.S. taxpayers who were counting on the federal payments to help them through the economic downturn.
A criminal past means no Paycheck Protection Program loan
Some small business owners have assailed the Paycheck Protection Program, saying they were unfairly shut out of the federal loan initiative that is aimed at saving jobs as the coronavirus pounds the economy. Yet another group of entrepreneurs faces an even greater barrier to making use of the emergency lending program: small business owners with past criminal convictions.
The PPP, one of the first sources of government aid Congress passed in response to the pandemic, offers businesses forgivable, low-interest loans on condition that they keep workers on the payroll. But the program excludes businesses if the applicant has 20% or more ownership of the company and if that applicant:
- is in jail
- on probation
- on parole
- is under indictment
- will soon be arraigned
- pleaded guilty or no contest or was convicted of a felony in the past five years
The rules barred Quan Huynh from applying for a small business loan. The Anaheim, California, resident was paroled in 2015 after serving prison time for a murder charge. The year after his release, Huynh started a janitorial service that now has seven employees. He was forced to lay them off earlier this month when the state’s shutdown mandate disrupted his business, but had intended to re-hire them with the help of a $15,000 Paycheck loan
Two questions on the loan application asking if the borrower has a criminal history stopped him in his tracks. “When I clicked yes, the form would not let me go further,” Huynh, 45, told CBS MoneyWatch. “It makes us feel like second-class citizens.”
Cuomo says New York doesn’t need the USNS Comfort any more
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said the state no longer needs the USNS Comfort, a ship that docked in New York City on March 30 to help overwhelmed medical facilities. The ship was originally intended to hold non-coronavirus patients, but President Trump announced a week after its arrival that the ship would take coronavirus patients, too.
“The president sent up a Navy ship, the Comfort, a hospital ship which was very good to have in case we had overflow, but I said we don’t really need the Comfort anymore,” Cuomo told MSNBC when asked what he said during his Tuesday meeting with Mr. Trump. “It did give us comfort but we don’t need it anymore, so if they need to deploy it somewhere else they should take it.”
Senate approves $484 billion coronavirus relief package, boosting small business loans
The Senate approved a relief package worth roughly $484 billion to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, ending weeks of stalemate between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
The bill, which passed by unanimous consent, provides an additional $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, the fund that provides loans to small businesses and ran out of money last week. The package also includes $60 billion in disaster relief loans and grants, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to boost coronavirus testing.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the deal on Tuesday. McConnell asked that the measure be approved by unanimous consent, and it passed without formal objection, although Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee voiced their opposition before the request.
540 federal inmates are currently positive for the coronavirus
More than 500 federal inmates and 323 staff members are currently positive for COVID-19, the Bureau of Prisons said Tuesday. More than 200 inmates and 49 staff members have recovered.
Twenty-three federal inmates have died from the virus, according to the BOP. Ohio’s FCI Elkton has the most open cases among inmates and staff, with 98. California’s USC Lompoc has 90, and Michigan’s FCI Milan has 81.
152 confirmed cases in Maryland correctional system, including 39 inmates
There are now 152 coronavirus cases within the Maryland correctional system, 39 of whom are inmates, state officials said. The first and only death within the system was an inmate. He was in his 60s with underlying medical conditions who had been hospitalized for weeks.
There are 107 officers who have the virus and 14 officers who have recovered. There are six staff members with the virus.
710 sailors on the U.S.S. Roosevelt have tested positive
The U.S. Navy announced Tuesday that 710 crew members on the U.S.S. Roosevelt have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 3,872 have tested negative. More than 4,100 sailors have been moved ashore.
While nine of the sailors have been hospitalized, none are currently in the ICU. One sailor, 41-year-old Charles Robert Thacker Jr., has died, and 42 have recovered, the Navy said.
Senate reaches deal on $484 billion relief package to boost small business loans
Senate leaders announced they had reached agreement on another relief package to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, after weeks of stalemate between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
The bill provides an additional $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to small businesses and ran out of money last week. The roughly $484 billion package also includes $60 billion in disaster relief loans and grants, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to boost coronavirus testing.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the deal on Tuesday, and the upper chamber is expected to approve on the measure later in the day.
“I am pleased to report that we have reached an agreement with the administration on interim emergency relief legislation,” Schumer announced in a letter to Democratic colleagues Tuesday afternoon. Schumer called the deal a “result of bipartisan negotiations with Secretary Mnuchin, the Trump administration, and Speaker Pelosi.”
Crowds gather at North Carolina Capitol to protest stay-at-home order
People in North Carolina have gathered around the state’s Capitol in Raleigh to protest Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order. Protesters, disobeying social distancing guidelines, marched around the governor’s mansion holding signs that read “let us work,” and waving American flags.
The protest on Tuesday was organized by ReOpenNC, whose first protest last week drew hundreds of people into the streets of Raleigh, CBS News affiliate WNCN reports. A Facebook group for ReOpenNC, which describes itself as “peaceful action group,” was created on April 7, about one week after Cooper’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 30.
ReOpenNC co-founder Ashley Smith told WNCN that she believes “North Carolinians are extremely intelligent and could handle this given the chance without sacrificing their entire livelihood.”
North Carolina had its deadliest day from the coronavirus on Tuesday, WNCN reports. State health officials announced 34 new deaths, bringing the state’s total deaths attributed to COVID-19 to 213.
Nurses union holds protest in front of White House
National Nurses United, a union of RNs across the country, held a protest in front of the White House Tuesday to demand a uniform health and safety standard for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as the mass production of PPE for healthcare workers. A group of about two dozen protesters held signs showing the faces of nurses who died and directed their demands to the president, Congress, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the CDC.
Their message was clear: They say the American government is responsible for nurses contracting COVID-19 and dying unnecessarily from treating patients in hospitals that have become infectious environments due to a lack of PPE. “We’re trying our best to take care of our patients with what we’re given, but we’re very fearful that we’re going to- that we’re the biggest risk to our families,” said Erica Jones, a registered nurse who was at the protest.
Lockheed Martin 3D-printing protective gear for health care workers
Lockheed Martin is shifting some of its production to make much-needed protective gear for Colorado health care workers, using the 3D printing technology they use to make parts for spacecraft.
They will manufacture medical face shields and gowns at their plant in Littleton. Employees there said they’re more than happy to do their part.
The protective gear has been sent to more than 25 hospitals in six states.
More deaths, no benefit from malaria drug in Virginia virus study
A malaria drug widely touted by President Trump for treating the coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported.
The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment. But with 368 patients, it’s the largest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19, which has killed more than 171,000 people as of Tuesday.
The study was posted on an online site for researchers and has been submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, but has not been reviewed by other scientists. Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia paid for the work.
Researchers analyzed medical records of 368 male veterans hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infection at Veterans Health Administration medical centers who died or were discharged by April 11. About 28% who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too, but the difference between that group and usual care was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival.
Hydroxychloroquine made no difference in the need for a breathing machine, either.
Researchers did not track side effects, but noted hints that hydroxychloroquine might have damaged other organs. The drug has long been known to have potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death.
FDA approves first at-home coronavirus test
The Food and Drug Administration has announced it approved the first authorized at-home coronavirus test. It is expected to go on sale for consumers in most states within weeks.
The test is a nasal swab kit developed and sold by LabCorp. People will collect their own samples using a special sterile swab provided in the kit and then send it in to one of the company’s labs for analysis.
The FDA said it granted the company emergency approval to get the tests out sooner. The test will first be made available to health care workers and first responders.
Stacey Abrams says there’s “no legitimate reason” for Georgia governor to lift virus restrictions
Former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called it “deeply problematic” that the state’s Republican governor would be lifting coronavirus lockdowns on some businesses as early as Friday. She joined “CBS This Morning” to announce “Project 100,” an initiative aimed at helping low-income families who are struggling through the pandemic.
“There’s no legitimate reason for reopening the state except for politics, and I think it’s deeply disingenuous he would pretend otherwise,” she said of the Governor Brian Kemp’s decision.
Kemp announced that businesses such as hair salons and fitness centers could begin to reopen Friday, while some dine-in restaurants and movie theaters may open the following week.
First day of fall semester will be virtual at Cal State Fullerton
The first day of classes this fall will still be virtual at Cal State Fullerton, reports CBS Los Angeles.
Even with some restrictions easing in Ventura and Riverside counties, and plans for reopening the state in the works, Cal State Fullerton will start its fall semester remotely, with an eye on gradually easing restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Based on what we know, we are planning to go to a virtual course delivery in the fall semester. But we will monitor the notices from the various health agencies so we can pivot to other modalities,” Cal State Fullerton spokesman Chi-Chung Keung said in an emailed statement.
Governor Baker orders Massachusetts schools stay closed for rest of academic year
Massachusetts students will not return to in-person learning this school year, Governor Charlie Baker announced Tuesday.
Baker initially announced in March that schools would be closed through April 7, but later extended the order and said schools would open no sooner than May 4.
That changed again on Tuesday. Baker determined that Massachusetts schools will finish the school year by learning remotely, CBS Boston reports.
“At this point in time, there is no authoritative guidance or advisories with respect to how to operate schools safely, and how to get kids to and from schools safely,” said Baker.
Munich’s Oktoberfest canceled over coronavirus
Oktoberfest will not take place this year due to the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday. The risk during the pandemic is “simply too great” and it is not possible for people to keep enough distance from each other on the festival grounds, the Minister President of Bavaria, Markus Söder, said.
The cancellation of Oktoberfest, which usually runs from September to early October and draws six million people to Munich annually, is a heavy blow for the local economy. It not only impacts staff and contributors, but also hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers and retailers who typically benefit from the event.
According to the city, Oktoberfest last year had an economic value of around 1.23 billion euros (about $1.34 billion.)
Söder and Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter, said they “normally have a great interest in this festival taking place” but since since the federal and state governments in Germany decided to ban all major events until at least the end of August, it was clear that the world’s largest folk festival would be canceled as well.
Oktoberfest was canceled in the 19th century due to an epidemic. It was canceled in 1854 and 1873 due to cholera.
New York Governor Cuomo to speak with Trump about testing capacity
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily press briefing Tuesday that he will talk to President Trump about states’ testing capacities during their meeting at the White House later in the day.
Cuomo said that while he agrees with Mr. Trump’s assertion that states should be in charge of testing, the coronavirus’ unprecedented scale necessitates federal assistance.
According to the governor, New York’s 211 labs have been unable to meet demand because they cannot get the raw materials needed for the test. Those materials, such as chemical reagents, are produced overseas, requiring international diplomacy in order to ramp-up production, he said.
“You shouldn’t expect all these governors to put together an international supply chain,” Cuomo said of the president.
National Spelling Bee canceled for first time since World War II
This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee was canceled Tuesday, the latest beloved public event to be scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bee, which began in 1925 and was last canceled from 1943-45 because of World War II, will return next year.
“My heart goes out to every one of those kids affected. As a former speller, all I can say is I can only imagine, and my heart breaks for them,” said Paige Kimble, the bee’s longtime executive director and the 1981 champion. “Our eighth-grade spellers are much like the class of 2020 high school seniors, in the ranks of many enduring heartbreak as a result of these pandemic circumstances.”
New York to allow outpatient treatment in certain hospitals, counties
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the state will resume elective outpatient treatments in select areas of the state that do not have a “significant risk” of a coronavirus resurgence in the “near future.”
No hospitals or counties with current COVID-19 outbreaks are affected. The move excludes New York City, as well as Erie, Albany, Dutchess, Westchester, Rockland, Suffolk, and Nassau County.
The change is in line with the governor’s plan to eventually re-open the state on a “regional basis.”
Cuomo said Tuesday that his office will work with local governments, and is “open to making a region by region determination” based off hospitalization and infection rates, as well as hospital capacity.
“Manhattan is not Buffalo,” he said.
Mayor says New York City to stockpile medical supplies as it “cannot depend on the federal government”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the city would assemble its own strategic reserve of face shields, surgical gowns, test kits and ventilators.
“We have learned the hard way that we cannot depend on the federal government in the future – I hate saying that, but it’s quite evident – we certainly cannot depend on the global market,” he said. “We can’t depend on our nation to produce products that tragically are not being produced enough in this nation, as we’ve seen in hour of need.
“I hope that will change. I hope our country gets the message that we have to start producing these things all over the country again and be self-sufficient as a nation,” he continued. “But until that day comes, New York City, we will protect ourselves.”
The mayor said the reserve would include 3,000 locally made so-called “bridge” ventilators.
“Nothing like this was being made in New York City just two months ago, even one month ago,” said de Blasio. “But extraordinary entrepreneurs came together for the good of all New Yorkers and said, ‘we can do it, we can do something, whether it seems possible or not, we’re going to find a way.'” Click here to read more from CBS New York.
New York City mayor promises “biggest, best” ticker-tape parade for health workers, 1st responders
New York City will throw the “biggest, best” ticker-tape parade for its health care workers and first responders once the city reopens after the coronavirus crisis, the mayor announced Tuesday.
“We will honor those who saved us,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “The first thing we will do, before we think about anything else, is we will take a time, as only New York City can do, to throw the biggest, best parade to honor these heroes.”
“This parade will mark the beginning of our renaissance,” he added. “But it will also be, most importantly, a chance to say thank you to so many good and noble people, so many tough, strong people.” Click here to read more from CBS New York.
Broadway star Danny Burstein recounts “scary moment” hospitalized with coronavirus
Broadway veteran Danny Burstein has earned six Tony nominations with his performances in shows including “South Pacific,” “Cabaret” and “Fiddler On The Roof.” He was tipped to earn another this year for his performance in “Moulin Rouge: The Musical.”
But in mid-March, the coronavirus closed Broadway, and a week later, attacked the actor himself. In the beginning, Burstein said, “I felt like I had a little bit of allergies.”
Slowly, the 55-year-old developed a fever, listlessness and crushing headaches, he told “CBS This Morning” co-host Anthony Mason.
“It felt like a migraine on steroids, but it got worse and worse and worse over the days,” Burstein said. At one point, he said he was coughing up blood. Click here to read more.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says deal reached in Senate to boost small business loans
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that congressional Democrats and the Trump administration had reached a deal for an interim relief package to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, after weeks of stalemate between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Schumer said the Senate could approve the measure later Tuesday.
“There’s still a few more i’s to dot and t’s to cross. But we have a deal. And I believe we’ll pass it today,” Schumer said in an interview with CNN. He said that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi negotiated the deal with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a phone call that stretched “well past midnight.”
“I know that Mnuchin and Meadows were in good touch with Leader McConnell and with the president as we went through this, so, yes, I believe we have a deal,” Schumer said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
A senior White House adviser told CBS News Tuesday that the general framework for the deal was well understood by all sides, but final details on money for coronavirus testing were still being hammered out. Schumer said the deal includes funding for a national coronavirus testing program, a key demand from Democrats.
Democrats blocked an additional $250 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) earlier this month, arguing that it didn’t do enough to assist hospitals and state and local governments.
Trump promises financial help for “the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry”
President Trump said Tuesday that he had ordered the U.S. energy and treasury secretaries to draw up a federal government plan to provide financial aid to the American oil and gas industries as global demand for petroleum products dries up.
“We will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet as the price of U.S. crude languished in unprecedented negative territory for the second day. “I have instructed the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Treasury to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future!”
U.S. stock markets opened down Tuesday morning as the routing of oil prices dragged on share prices around the world.
Already Congress has approved well over $2 trillion in federal aid for U.S. businesses and tax payers, but more federal stimulus money is already being negotiated.
Cornavirus on top of oil price war “a double whammy” for the economy in Midland, Texas
With people staying home and not traveling during the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for oil has plummeted. A key benchmark determining crude oil prices fell below zero for the first time ever Monday.
Low oil prices can be disastrous for regions that rely on drilling and fracking for jobs and tax revenue.
In Midland, part of West Texas, Kris Dokey, a fourth-generation Midland oil field worker, was laid off last week like so many Americans. But, unlike others, coronavirus isn’t the main culprit.
“We got hit with a double whammy … between the Saudi and Russia price war that started right about the same time the coronavirus hit,” he told CBS News correspondent Janet Shamlian. “Kind of unprecedented times for us out here.” Click here to read more.
What the negative oil price means for consumers and the economy
The world is awash in oil as demand drops from businesses and consumers alike amid the coronavirus pandemic. We’re also running out of places to store it.
That in a nutshell explains Monday’s strange and unprecedented action in the market for crude oil futures contracts, where traders essentially offered to pay someone else to deal with the oil they were due to have delivered next month.
The price of U.S. benchmark crude that would be delivered in May was selling for around $15 a barrel Monday morning, but fell as low as -$40 per barrel during the day. It was the first time that the price on a futures contract for oil has gone negative, analysts say. So what will it mean for the stock markets, the broader economy, and your wallet when you next go to fill up? Click here to read more.
Why you might not be able to track delivery of your federal coronavirus stimulus check
About 80 million Americans got their stimulus checks last week, slightly more than half of the country’s 150 million taxpayers. That means millions are still waiting for their payments, with many of them looking to the IRS’ “Get My Payment” service for an update on when the money will land.
The rollout of the “Get My Payment” service on April 15 wasn’t entirely smooth. Dozens of consumers reached out to CBS MoneyWatch to complain that they were unable to find information about their checks. Many said they’d received statements reading: “Payment status not available.” Others said their payments had been sent to the wrong bank accounts.
The IRS and U.S. Treasury Department have provided more information in the last few days about why some consumers haven’t been able to track the progress of their checks. While it might not clear up every problem, it could explain why many taxpayers are still in the dark. Click here to read more.
Austria to continue lifting coronavirus lockdown, let restaurants open mid-May
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says Austria intends to go ahead with plans to open all shops at the beginning of May and restaurants in mid-May.
Austria allowed small shops to open a week ago. Kurz said Tuesday that coronavirus infections have continued to drop, so the government can move ahead with the reopening plan it already sketched out. He said the government will review the situation at two-week intervals, “so as always to have the opportunity to pull the emergency brake if that is necessary.”
The plan calls for the remaining shops, along with services such as hairdressers and manicurists, to open at the beginning of May. Schools are scheduled to start opening in May and religious services resuming May 15.
The government also plans to allow the catering industry to restart on May 15, with all staff required to wear masks. There will be restrictions on how many customers can be present.
Kurz advised Austrians against “prematurely” expecting unlimited freedom to travel around Europe. He said that he will take his summer vacation in Austria, and “can only recommend to Austrians that they do the same.”
World Food Programme warns coronavirus could double the number of starving people in the world
Without urgent intervention, the number of people who are facing starvation across the globe could more than double from 130 million to 265 million because of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Food Program (WFP) warned Tuesday.
“COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread. It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat if they earn a wage,” WFP Senior Economist Arif Husain said in a statement.
“Lockdowns and global economic recession have already decimated their nest eggs. It only takes one more shock – like COVID-19 – to push them over the edge. We must collectively act now to mitigate the impact of this global catastrophe,” he said.
The statement came alongside the release of the 2020 Global Report on Food Crises, which outlines the levels and causes of food insecurity around the world.
“While COVID-19 does not discriminate, the 55 countries and territories that are home to 135 million acutely food-insecure people in need of urgent humanitarian food and nutrition assistance are the most vulnerable to the consequences of this pandemic as they have very limited or no capacity to cope with either the health or socioeconomic aspects of the shock,” the report says, warning that such countries “may face an excruciating trade-off between saving lives or livelihoods or, in a worst-case scenario, saving people from the coronavirus to have them die from hunger.”
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to work together to address the potentially catastrophe.
“We have the tools and the know-how. What we need is political will and sustained commitment by leaders and nations. This report should be seen as a call to action,” he wrote in the report’s forward.
California governor says no return to normalcy any time soon
California Governor Gavin Newsom says it’s “unrealistic” to think life as we knew it before the coronavirus pandemic will get back to normal anytime soon. He empathized with frustrated California residents protesting his stay-at-home orders, but urged them to think of their loved ones and others as they wrestle with fatigue over the precautions.
Newsom told “CBS This Morning” co-host Tony Dokoupil in an exclusive interview that he feared the worst might not be over for California if the state’s residents don’t comply with social distancing and other restrictions. Click here to read more.
Spain cancels this summer’s world-famous running of the bulls in Pamplona over COVID-19 fears
Spain’s best-known bull running festival in the northern town of Pamplona, held annually between July 6 and 14, has ben cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, city hall said Tuesday.
Over one million people attend the centuries-old San Fermin celebration, which sees half-tonne fighting bulls chase hundreds of daredevils, many wearing traditional white shirts and scarves, though the narrow streets of the city each morning.
Tom Brady booted from Florida park during coronavirus-lockdown workout
NFL superstar Tom Brady was found exercising in a Florida city park closed due to the coronavirus and was kicked out, the local mayor said. Brady, 42, moved to Tampa recently after signing a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, closing a successful two-decade stint with the New England Patriots.
During a daily update Monday on the virus, Tampa mayor Jane Castor said a warden spotted someone exercising alone in one of the city’s parks, which are closed to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
“She went over to tell him that it was closed and it was Tom Brady,” she said. Click here to read more.
Italian leader says lockdown will ease from May 4, but total reopening “would be irresponsible”
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday confirmed that Italy can start reopening on May 4, but he doused any hopes of a total loosening of some of the strictest lockdown measures in a western democracy.
“Many citizens are tired of the efforts that have been made so far and would like a significant loosening of these measures, or even their total abolition,” Conte said in a Facebook post, adding that “a decision of that kind would be irresponsible.”
Conte indicated that moves to relax the restrictions would be announced by the end of the week, and that they would take into account the different circumstances among regions.
Italy’s north, hardest-hit by the virus and the country’s economic engine, has been straining to restart industry after a shutdown of nonessential manufacturing on March 26 — even as some have received permission to reopen with a much-reduced workforce in recent days.
Georgia’s governor to allow many businesses to reopen from Friday
Georgia’s governor announced plans Monday to restart the state’s economy before the end of the week, saying many businesses that closed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus could reopen as early as Friday.
The governor in neighboring Tennessee planned to let businesses in most of his state begin reopening as soon as next week.
Georgia’s timetable, one of the most aggressive in the nation, would allow gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen as long as owners follow strict social-distancing and hygiene requirements. Elective medical procedures would also resume. By Monday, movie theaters may resume selling tickets, and restaurants limited to takeout orders could return to limited dine-in service.
WHO car used to ferry COVID-19 test swabs attacked in Myanmar
A car used by the World Health Organization to transport swab samples to be tested for the COVID-19 disease has been attacked in western Myanmar, killing the driver and wounding a passenger.
The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported Tuesday that the vehicle bearing a U.N. license plate was attacked in Rakhine State en route to Yangon late Monday afternoon.
Rakhine has been the scene of bitter fighting between the government and the Arakan Army, an ethnic guerrilla group fighting for autonomy in Rakhine State. Each side blamed the other for the Monday attack.
The newspaper account said the driver and the passenger, a health worker, were taken to a nearby hospital. The father of the driver, 28-year-old Pyae Sone Win Mg, said his son died Tuesday morning.
Trump says he will sign executive order temporarily banning immigration
President Trump tweeted late Monday that amid the coronavirus pandemic, he will be signing an executive order that will temporarily halt immigration.
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS News.
Camilo Montoya-Galvez and Caroline Linton contributed reporting.
3 million Americans are not making mortgage payments right now
The number of Americans struggling to pay their mortgages has skyrocketed as the economy reels from the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 3 million Americans behind by at least one month on their mortgage payments in the week ending April 12, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Nearly 6% of all mortgages were in forbearance, the industry term for being behind on payments. The week before, 3.7% of home loans were past due by at least a month. The first week of March, just 0.25% of such loans were past due by a month.
This high a figure on a nationwide level is unprecedented, said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.
“You might have seen this high of a share in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, but it was always a local phenomenon,” he said. “What’s different this time is it’s national. To have 6% of mortgage loans in forbeareance, that’s about 3 million homeowners saying they can’t make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19.”
Democratic governors ask White House for help calling off protesters
Democratic governors under political pressure to ease stay-at-home restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 on Monday asked the White House to help encourage Americans to adhere to those local guidelines.
The request comes after President Trump this weekend tweeted support for small bands of conservative protesters that rallied in the state capitals of Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia and elsewhere against restrictions put in place by Democratic governors.
On the Monday call, Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer told Vice President Mike Pence that “any help on the national level to reiterate the importance of stay-at-home orders would be helpful,”, according to audio of the meeting obtained by CBS News.
Acknowledging weekend protests against her stay-at-home orders at the State Capitol in Lansing, Whitmer said, “I know that people are getting frustrated, certainly, and want to do the wonderful American tradition of dissent and demonstration, but it’s just so dangerous to do that.
“This is a phenomenon that’s nationwide and to the extent there might be some help on the national level to reiterate the importance of staying home until we get these numbers down and we can start to reopen would be incredibly appreciated,” she added.
“Governor, we will certainly do that,” Pence told Whitmer, adding later: “We will make a point today and going forward to continue to reiterate that.”