Blacks make up as many as 30% of COVID-19 cases, per early CDC figures

Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen(NEW YORK) — More than 2.1 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus worldwide as the pandemic continues to affect every aspect of people’s lives.

The global death toll stands at more than 141,000 people, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to a number of deaths in which a person is not tested for the virus.

Many municipalities have begun counting probable deaths caused by COVID-19, including New York City, the epicenter of the disease in the United States.

The U.S. has more cases and deaths than any country in the world, with more than 653,000 diagnosed cases and at least 30,998 deaths.

Here’s how the news developed Thursday. All times Eastern:

8:53 p.m.: Black Americans have disproportionate number of cases: CDC

Of the novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. in which person’s race was identified, 30 percent of those people were black or African American, according to new nationwide statistics posted online by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s despite being only about 13 percent of the U.S. population.

The federal government has provided very little data on who is getting sick, and this single nationwide statistic still provides a limited look at who is the most vulnerable. Race was identified in only about a quarter of the cases known to the CDC and the agency was expected to provide updated data.

The new data also is limited to positive cases and does not note the outcomes, such as hospitalizations, ICU admissions or deaths.

7:18 p.m.: Birx, Fauci lay out details of reopening guidelines

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, and Dr. Anthon Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, provided more details and insight into the president’s reopening guidelines that were provided to governors earlier today.

Speaking at the Coronavirus Task Force’s daily briefing, Birx said the White House won’t be setting up timelines to scale back their shelter in place orders.

“We want the governors with the data that they have, community by community, to be setting up those timelines,” she said.

Birx added that health officials will be watching vulnerable areas, including nursing homes, during the initial phases.

“When we talked with all of the states that had not had a major metro outbreak, their sentinel surveillances picked up always the first cases in nursing homes,” she said.

Fauci said during the third phase of the reopening it may be conceivable to see things like packed arenas for sporting events, large crowds, and concerts.

“I think there will always have to be attention to making sure that we don’t do all of that packing in together. I think we’ll be able to have sports events in that phase where you actually have participants there,” he said.

Fauci warned this is still “uncharted water.”

“There may be some setbacks that we may have to pull back a little and then go forward,” he said.

6:36 p.m.: NYPD to wear mourning bands

New York Police Department officers will wear black mourning bands on patrol in honor of their fallen members until the pandemic is over, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a message to his members that was obtained by ABC News.

So far, the force has had 27 of its members perish from COVID-19 related complications, which is more than the number of NYPD members who were killed in the 9/11 terror attacks.

The fallen members include six officers, five detectives, five school safety agents, four traffic agents, three 911 operators, two custodians, a police administrative aide and a senior police administrative aide.

“This unprecedented crisis has already taken a significant toll on our NYPD family,” Shea wrote. “We vow never to forget our heroes’ service and sacrifice.”

6:06 p.m.: NYC cancels all permitted May events, will decide on June soon

New York City has ordered that all permitted events in the month of May be cancelled, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office, said.

This includes the Brooklyn half marathon and several Memorial Day parades, such as the annual marches in Queens.

“We are in the process of reviewing June events and will be engaging with key stakeholders,” she said in a statement, adding that the office will have more information by the end of the week.

5:41 p.m.: Navy identifies sailor who died from COVID-19

The U.S. Navy provided more information about the sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt who died from coronavirus complications on April 13.

Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., of Forth Smith, Arkansas, was diagnosed with the virus on March 30, removed from the ship and placed in isolation at the Naval Base in Guam, according to the Navy. The 41-year-old sailor was placed in the ICU on April 9, the Navy said.

Thacker’s spouse, who is an active duty member stationed in San Diego, was flown to Guam the next day and was at his side during his final hours, according to the Navy.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” Capt. Carlos Sardiello, Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer, said in a statement.

5:08 p.m.: Boeing to restart work at Washington facilities

Boeing announced it would restart work at all of its facilities in the Puget Sound region of Washington state next week.

Approximately 27,000 employees will return to production of the 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs as early as April 20, the company said. Extra safety precautions will be administered including staggered shift times, face masks and PPE for employees, markers on the floor that help to indicate 6-feet distances and more hand washing facilities.

“This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers,” Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement.

Boeing closed down its Washington facilities in March as the number of coronavirus cases began surging in the state.

4:30 p.m.: Trump releases guidelines to reopen country

President Donald Trump unveiled his administration’s plans to reopen the American economy in a video conference call with the nation’s governors.

The guidelines, obtained by ABC News, are broken up into three phases. Governors were instructed that they could move through the phases at their own pace, and that the guidelines are not orders from the government, according to a person familiar with call.

The guidelines’ “phase one” calls on employers to telework where possible, have employees return to work in phases, minimize non-essential travel, and make accommodations for vulnerable populations.

In “phase two,” non-essential travel for employers can resume. Schools, gyms and large venues can reopen with proper social distancing measures. Churches can open with social distancing and elective surgeries can resume.

The third phase says bars, gyms and large venues can reopen with limited social distancing and proper sanitation.

4:00 p.m.: 52 veteran residents dead at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Mass.

At the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts, 52 veteran residents have died, including 44 who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the state’s Office of Health and Human Services.

Seven of those residents tested negative for the virus. It was not clear if the final resident contracted the virus.

Ninety-seven veteran residents and 81 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are conducting a joint investigation to determine whether the facility “violated the rights of residents by failing to provide them adequate medical care generally, and during the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a statement from the agencies.

Gov. Charlie Baker has also called for an independent investigation by attorney Mark W. Pearlstein, which will focus on “the events inside the facility that led to” the deaths, and “on management and organizational oversight of the COVID-19 response.”

3:30 p.m.: More NJ coronavirus victims than NJ residents killed in WWI

New Jersey has now lost 3,518 people to the coronavirus — more than the number of New Jersey residents killed in World War I, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Like in many states, coronavirus is disproportionality impacting African Americans in New Jersey.

Of the state’s fatalities, 51.1% are white, 22.5% are American American. Murphy called the percentage of African American fatalities a concern, calling it “50-plus %” higher than the overall representation in the population;

As of Thursday, 8,224 coronavirus patients are in New Jersey hospitals, including  2,014 people in intensive care units, Murphy said.

3:00 p.m.: Facebook canceling events with 50 or more people through June 2021

Facebook is canceling physical events with 50 or more people through June 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

He said some events would be held virtually instead.

Most Facebook employees will work from home through at least the end of May 2020.

“Even after more of our teams can return, if there’s any reason they feel they can’t work in our offices — because they are in a vulnerable population, because with schools and camps canceled they don’t have childcare, or anything else — that they can plan to work from home through at least the summer,” Zuckerberg said.

2:30 p.m.:  Midwest governors form coalition to reopen their states

The governors of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky announced Thursday that they’ll work together to reopen the Midwest economics.

The governors said in a joint statement that they’ll look at four factors to determine when is best to reopen: “sustained control” of infection and hospitalization rates; “enhanced ability” to test and trace; “sufficient health care capacity” for resurgence; and social distancing practice prepared for workplaces.

“This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time,” the governors’ statement said, “But close coordination will ensure we get this right.”

1:35 p.m.: NJ governor ‘outraged that bodies of the dead’ piled up at nursing home

New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer says 68 people have died at the Andover Subacute and Rehab Center, a nursing home in his district.

In a Thursday morning interview with ABC New York station WABC, Gottheimer said he “just got off phone with administrator … they have 68 lives lost, another 76 who are positive, plus over 40 staff members positive, and they lost two nurses. It’s horrific.”

The state of New Jersey said earlier it would begin investigating the nursing home in Sussex County after a number of bodies were removed this week.

According to police, the first clue was a request for 25 body bags.

“When they called Saturday they were desperate for body bags,” Gottheimer said.

Investigators initially discovered five bodies in the facility’s holding area.

In subsequent days they were tipped off to a body being stored in a shed. No bodies were seen in the shed but investigators then found another 12 bodies in the holding area.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday afternoon that he was “heartbroken … that several individuals have lost their lives in a coronavirus outbreak.”

“I’m also outraged that bodies of the dead were allowed to pile up in a makeshift morgue in the facility,” Murphy said. “New Jerseyans deserve to be cared for with respect, compassion and dignity. We can and must do better.”

Murphy said he asked the attorney general to investigate and to also “do a review of all long-term care facilities that have experienced a disproportionate number of deaths” during the pandemic.

A team has been sent to help the residents and staff at the Andover Subacute and Rehab Center, Murphy added.

12:55 p.m.: Trump discusses coronavirus with G-7 leaders

President Donald Trump discussed the coronavirus pandemic with G-7 leaders in a conference call on Thursday, joined by the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.

According to the White House, “The leaders recognized that the G7 nations annually contribute more than a billion dollars to the World Health Organization (WHO), and much of the conversation centered on the lack of transparency and chronic mismanagement of the pandemic by the WHO.”

The White House said the G-7 “leaders called for a thorough review and reform process.” The U.S. was set to host of this year’s G-7, which was to be held at Camp David in June. Trump canceled the gathering in March.

Trump said Tuesday that his administration was halting funding to the WHO, accusing it of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus” and said the organization even “pushed China’s misinformation about the virus.”

“With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Trump said.

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday, “The United States has been a longstanding and generous friend to WHO, and we hope it will continue to be so … We regret the decision of the president of the United States to order a halt in funding to WHO.”

12:30 p.m.: UK will stay on lockdown for next 3 weeks

The United Kingdom will stay on lockdown for the next three weeks, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced Thursday, explaining that relaxing measures at this stage would be a risk to the public.

The U.K.’s lockdown has been in place since March 23. Schools, restaurants and most shops are closed, and people are allowed to leave home only for essential errands or exercise.

Over 13,000 people have died in the U.K.

Raab said five steps must be accomplished before it’s safe to change the current measure: the National Health Service must be able to cope; there must be a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate; there must be a falling rate of infection across the board; need to have more PPE and testing; and need to be certain that a second peak will not happen.

12:05 p.m.: New York shutdown extended to May 15

In hard-hit New York state, 606 lives were lost on Wednesday.

However, intubations are down, the hospitalization rate is down and ICU admissions are down, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

“It means we can control the virus,” he said. “We did not know for sure we could do that.”

Cuomo said New York’s shutdown — in coordination with other Northeast states — will be extended to May 15.

“I don’t want to project beyond that period,” Cuomo said.

“The close down has worked,” he said, “however, we’re not there yet.”

Cuomo announced Monday that seven Northeast states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts — were joining forces to create a reopening plan.

Cuomo said Thursday he needs a “coordinated action plan” with the other states.

Going forward, the phased return to the “new normal” will involve determining how essential a business is and how risky it is for spreading the virus, Cuomo said.

Businesses must have new practices when they reopen, he said, like making sure employees can get to work safely and ensuring the workplace is designed to include social distancing measures.

The governor called testing the “single-best tool to inform decisions.”

Cuomo said New York — home to 19 million people — conducted 500,000 tests in 30 days, which he said was more than California, Florida and Michigan combined.

11 a.m.: 68 dead at NJ nursing home

New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer says 68 people have died at the Andover Subacute and Rehab Center, a nursing home in his district.

In a Wednesday morning interview with ABC New York station WABC, Gottheimer said he “just got off phone with administrator … they have 68 lives lost, another 76 who are positive, plus over 40 staff members positive, and they lost two nurses. It’s horrific.”

The state of New Jersey said earlier it would begin investigating the nursing home in Sussex County after a number of bodies were removed this week.

According to police, the first clue was a request for 25 body bags.

“When they called Saturday they were desperate for body bags,” Gottheimer said.

Investigators initially discovered five bodies in the facility’s holding area.

In subsequent days they were tipped off to a body being stored in a shed. No bodies were seen in the shed but investigators then found another 12 bodies in the holding area.

“We need to figure out what went on here,” Gottheimer said to WABC.

Gottheimer pledged there would be “a very deep” investigation.

10:30 a.m.: NYC expected to lose $7.4 billion in tax revenue

In New York City — hit the hardest by the pandemic in the U.S. — 386 people suspected of having coronavirus were admitted to hospitals on Tuesday, which was up from 370 on Monday.

The city’s ICUs had 887 patients on Tuesday, up from 868 Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

And of the New Yorkers tested for the coronavirus on Tuesday, 55% were positive — up from 53% on Monday.

De Blasio warned Wednesday that New York City is expected to lose $7.4 billion in tax revenue over the current and next fiscal year.

De Blasio urged President Donald Trump to help New York City get “back on our feet” by providing funds through the next government stimulus.

“If you lead, the Senate will follow,” de Blasio said in a message to Trump.

Meanwhile, the mayor said 11,000 free hotel rooms are being provided for New Yorkers who need to quarantine.

The rooms will be open to health care workers, the homeless and some living in overcrowded households who cannot socially distance.

Referrals will begin on April 22 through hospitals and community health providers.

9 a.m.: Japan declares nationwide state of emergency

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday expanded a state of emergency from seven prefectures to all 47 prefectures in the nation in an attempt to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further.

Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures had been under a state of emergency since April 7.

Japanese authorities plan to ease restrictions on May 6.

Japan has 8,626 diagnosed COVID-19 cases and 178 fatalities, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins. This includes figures from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was forced to dock in Japan when an outbreak on the ship spread.

8:20 a.m.: 17 bodies found at NJ nursing home hit by virus

The state of New Jersey will begin investigating the Andover Rehabilitation nursing home in Sussex County after a number of bodies were removed this week.

According to police, the first clue was a request for 25 body bags.

Investigators initially discovered five bodies in the facility’s holding area.

In subsequent days they were tipped off to a body being stored in a shed. No bodies were seen in the shed but investigators then found another 12 bodies in the holding area.

6:38 a.m.: CDC to tour processing plant where hundreds tested positive

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are on the ground in Sioux Falls and will tour a Smithfield Foods plant Thursday “in partnership with state and local officials,” Noem said.

There’s been 518 Smithfield employees who have tested positive for novel coronavirus as well as 126 cases of nonemployees that became infected due to an employee, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.

Noem said the state is “aggressively testing” employees and those they have come into contact with “and as soon as possible getting them into isolation.”

The governor added she’s working with federal officials and Smithfield leaders “on a plan to safely reopen the plant to get it back online to bring some relief not only to our egg producers, but to make sure we’re continuing to secure our nation’s food supply.”

5:01 a.m.: Trump to discuss coronavirus with G-7 leaders

President Donald Trump is set to discuss the coronavirus pandemic with G-7 leaders in a conference call on Thursday morning.

He will be joined by the leaders of the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.

Trump last spoke with the group as a whole on a conference call on March 16. Much has changed in the world since then, when fewer than 100 people had died in the U.S.

The U.S. was set to host this year’s G-7, which was to be held at Camp David in June, before Trump canceled the gathering three days after that last videoconference in March.

3:55 a.m.: Harry, Meghan help at LA nonprofit

Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry spent a second day helping out at Project Angel Food, a charity in Los Angeles that feeds people too sick to do so themselves.

Those facing a hard time during the coronavirus pandemic are being helped with food by the nonprofit.

The nonprofit was founded by former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson originally to deal with helping those with HIV/AIDS.

Meghan decided to help on Easter Sunday, and then again on Wednesday, after her mom, Doria Ragland, said the group was in need of volunteers.
 
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