Florida Keys likely to stay closed to visitors through at least May
It appears the Florida Keys will stay closed to visitors through at least May. Monroe County, Florida, officials say they do not anticipate reopening to visitors next month, and potentially beyond that, given the state of the virus.
The county closed to visitors weeks ago, even going so far as to set up roadblocks to enforce a residents-only mandate, CBS Miami reports.
“The relaxing of protective measures may be considered when there are no new cases or a steady downward trend in the Florida Keys for at least two weeks, and analysis of results as testing becomes more widespread,” said a statement on Friday.
Stay-at-home orders are loosened in some states
Ready or not, businesses in some states are reopening.
Georgia and Alaska started reopening businesses Friday, while Oklahoma and Michigan also had limited reopenings. On Monday, Tennessee, Minnesota and Colorado will join them.
In Nebraska, Governor Pete Ricketts is in the process of greenlighting non-essential businesses so they can operate, but not necessarily as usual, Michael George reported for “CBS This Morning: Saturday.”
“So, the hairstylist will have to wear a mask, the tattoo artist will have to wear a mask, and so will the person who is being served, the customer,” said Ricketts.
Even Governor Jay Inslee of hard-hit Washington state put a crack in his stay-home order. He said officials there found a way for low-risk construction to resume.
But he said,” the day of opening our whole economy certainly is not today.”
“It would be way too dangerous,” he said. “And all of our data shows that if we did this today, this virus would return with a vengeance.”
An overwhelming majority of Americans agree, according to a variety of opinion polls.
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Doctors experiment with unproven stem cell therapy on COVID-19 patients
Doctors are hoping stem cell therapy could be a weapon in the fight against coronavirus. On Friday, regenerative medicine company Mesoblast announced a 300-person trial to determine whether stem cell treatments will work in COVID-19 patients suffering from severe lung inflammation.
One hospital in New York tried it as an experiment with 12 patients, 10 of whom were able to come off of ventilators.
“What we saw in the very first patient was that within four hours of getting the cells, a lot of her parameters started to get better,” Dr. Karen Osman, who led the team at Mount Sinai, told CBS News’ Adriana Diaz.
The doctor said she was encouraged by the results, though she was hesitant to link the stem cell procedure to her patients’ recovery.
“We don’t know” if the 10 people removed from ventilators would not have gotten had they not gotten the stem cells, she said. “And we would never dare to claim that it was related to the cells.”
She explained that only a “randomized controlled trial” would be the only way “to make a true comparison.”
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San Francisco officials warn public to resist urge to break stay-at-home order
San Francisco Mayor London Breed warned on Friday that now is not the time to lose sight of the goal. She said the city’s stay-at-home order would likely be extended weeks, even a month, CBS SF Bay Area reports.
“What we don’t want to see is on nice days like this and other days, people who are out there in the communities, and because they have on a mask, they’re still not social distancing themselves from one another,” said Breed.
San Francisco has seen at least 1,340 positive cases of COVID-19 and 22 people have died due to the coronavirus.
The San Francisco Police Department commended the public for not celebrating 4/20 outdoors on Monday and in public parks as is tradition, but still said there are people and business who continue to flout the stay-at-home order. The department has given out 17 citations and given hundreds of informal warnings.
Judge finds government is violating protections for migrant children
The federal judge overseeing a 1997 court settlement that governs the care of migrant children in U.S. government custody ordered the Trump administration on Friday to promptly release minors from immigration detention, finding yet again that officials are violating the long-standing agreement.
Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which detains migrant families with children, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has custody over unaccompanied minors, are both violating the Flores Settlement Agreement during the coronavirus pandemic, for distinct reasons.
Over the years and throughout different administrations, Gee has found that the government has violated elements of the settlement, primarily its requirement that migrant children be released from custody without “unnecessary delay.” But Friday’s order considered the risks faced by immigrants detained in close quarters during a deadly, global pandemic. In a different order last month, Gee called immigration detention centers “hotbeds of contagion.”
The order applies to the approximately 2,100 unaccompanied minors in ORR custody, as well as the 342 children held with their families at the three ICE family detention centers.
Through Friday’s order, Gee required both ICE and the U.S. refugee agency to “make every effort to promptly and safely” release the children in their custody who have sponsors, don’t pose a danger to themselves or others and are not flight risks. She prohibited the agencies from using certain justifications to continue detaining minors.
Doctor details “torture” of watching her 4-year-old son struggling to breathe
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout the world, countless gut-wrenching stories have emerged of families battling the virus. Some of the most difficult to hear are those which involve children. And Dr. Anna Zimmermann, a neonatologist in Denver, Colorado, just added her son’s story to that list.
“Since March 12th, the kids have not left the house,” she wrote in a blog post on her website, Mighty Littles. “My husband went to Costco once. I went to Target once. My kids never went on a playdate. I wouldn’t let them go across the street to talk to their neighborhood friends. We adopted the stay-at-home recommendations early and stuck to them. We did everything right. But Lincoln got sick.”
Zimmerman said her son, Lincoln, is four years old. He didn’t know what coronavirus was when he was admitted to Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, where his mother works in the NICU.
“At the time of admission, he needed 2 Liters (L) of oxygen. That same night, he progressed up to needing 4L. By the next day, he was on 6L and then 9L,” Zimmermann wrote. “He was working so hard to breathe – using all of the muscles in his chest, abdomen, and neck to help him breathe. As a doctor, I knew he was working hard to breathe. The medical terms used to describe respiratory distress – seesaw breathing, nasal flaring, grunting, retracting, tachypneic – he had them all. As a mom, it was torture watching him struggle.”
Small Business Administration disaster loan program is a disaster, business owners say
The federal government’s disaster loan fund for small employers has drawn far less scrutiny than the infamously deficient Paycheck Protection Program, but it may be just as dysfunctional.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, recently expanded to cover businesses affected by the coronavirus, offers qualified firms emergency cash advances of up to $10,000 on low-interest loans worth up to $2 million that are repayable over 30 years.
It sounds promising, but small business owners who have applied for the loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration describe the process as confusing and complain that the money is slow to materialize.
“We put in our EIDL application right away. First we were told it was for $10,000. About a month later, on April 23, we found money in our account, but it wasn’t anything close to what we thought we were getting,” said K.B. Brown, owner of Wolfpack Promotionals, a print shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Weeks after he applied, Brown said he received a $3,000 advance on the loan, which isn’t enough to cover even one month of business expenses. He doesn’t know if he’ll be approved for a larger disaster loan, noting that he hasn’t received any follow-up information from the SBA.
“Right now, we need at least $25,000 on the low end to get caught up, make sure our vendors are paid, and bring people back,” Brown said.
Coronavirus is spreading fast in states that may reopen soon, study finds
The COVID-19 coronavirus has saturated the United States, and it appears to be spreading quickly in some places that are planning to ease social distancing restrictions soon, a new study shows.
County-level data shows COVID-19 cases in all 306 “hospital referral regions” in the United States, the areas where people go for hospital or specialist care, said study leader Dr. Elliott Fisher, a professor of health policy and medicine at The Dartmouth Institute in Lebanon, N.H.
“We need to be aware that this epidemic is far from over. The number of cases in every region today are higher than they were a week ago,” said Fisher. “We have no place in the country where there are not cases being reported within a region.”
The data also show that COVID-19 cases are growing more rapidly in places that have not been as heavily hit as New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and other early coronavirus hot spots. “The growth rates that are highest are now in the Midwest and in the South,” Fisher said.