U.S. suffers deadliest day yet in COVID-19 crisis


“Walking Dead” actor’s test wasn’t processed, but he got billed $9,000

The potential cost of tests and treatments for the coronavirus could cause some people to delay seeking medical care. “Walking Dead” actor Daniel Newman doesn’t know if he had the virus, but he still ended up with a bill for more than $9,000.

Newman said he got sick in early March. “I started to get a fever, just started to feel kind of chills, and I was just like, ‘Oh crap, you know, whatever they had, I think I got it,'” he told CBS News Consumer Investigative Correspondent Anna Werner.

Worried he might need to warn others if he were infected, he called around to find out where to get a test and said he wound up speaking to health professionals at a Georgia hospital’s ER. They told him to come in for a test, but after doctors gave him the coronavirus test, they told him they weren’t allowed to process it.

Read more here.


After week of encouraging slowed growth, Spain sees slight rebound in infections and deaths

Spain recorded on Tuesday 849 new coronavirus deaths, the highest number since the pandemic hit the southern European country, according to its health ministry. With both new infections and deaths up around 11% each, to a total of 94,417 confirmed cases and 8,189 fatalities, Spain is seeing a slight rebound in the outbreak.

That’s despite an overall timid slowdown in its spread for the past week, allowing authorities to focus on avoiding the collapse of the health system. At least one third of Spain’s 17 regions were already at their limit of capacity in terms of intensive care unit usage, while new beds are being added in hotels, exhibition and sports centers across the country.

At least 14% of those infected are much needed medical personnel. Many of them lack proper protective gear.

Associated Press


Immigration lawyers sue feds over risks of in-person coronavirus hearings

A group representing immigration attorneys sued the federal government Monday to stop in-person immigration hearings and to obtain better protection for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said the government has refused to guarantee the safety of their members as well as due process for immigrants.

In a statement, the lawyers and other pro-immigrant groups said they want to “suspend in-person immigration hearings for detained individuals and provide robust remote access alternatives for detained individuals who wish to proceed with their hearings for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

They also want guaranteed “secure and reliable remote communication between noncitizens in detention and their legal representatives,” as well as personal protective gear “for detained noncitizens and legal representatives who need to meet in person” with their clients in government-run facilities.



“9/11-type calls for eight days”: NYC paramedics overwhelmed by virus cases

A video taken outside NYU Langone Hospital in lower Manhattan shows nine ambulances backed up in front of the emergency room, all filled with sick patients. With coronavirus cases in New York City soaring, the city’s first responders are facing a massive increase in casualties. There are more than 260 reported COVID-19 cases in New York City’s fire department, including ambulance mechanic James Villecco, who died from his infection on Sunday. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this before in my career, or my lifetime, to be honest,” said Lilian Bonsignore, chief EMS operator for the city’s fire department. 

“I’ve never seen 7,000 calls in EMS,” Vice President of the FDNY EMS Officers’ Union Anthony Almojera told CBS News’ David Begnaud. “To give you some perspective, that’s more than 9/11. So basically we’ve had 9/11-type calls for eight days now.”  

NYC paramedics stretched thin on front lines of coronavirus outbreak


Egypt’s Great Pyramid glows red to urge everyone to “stay home,” and to thank health workers

One of the world’s most iconic landmarks, the Great Pyramid of Giza, was illuminated Monday night in red with a message of thanks to the health workers battling the coronavirus pandemic, and a plea for people to help slow the disease’s spread.

Photos posted to Twitter by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities showed the ancient pyramid glowing, with a message written in English and Arabic, urging people to “stay home,” and then thanking “those keeping us safe.”


Russian lawmakers approve laws to punish quarantine breakers as virus cases spike

Russia reported 500 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest one-day increase to date in the country of 144 million people. The jump brought the total number of confirmed cases to 2,337, though many cases are believed to remain undetected. Russian authorities have confirmed 17 deaths related to the virus.

The majority of cases are in Moscow, where authorities imposed a partial lockdown starting Monday. Many other regions have already followed the capital’s lead, including the country’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg.  

The State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, rushed to approve a bill Tuesday that would introduce severe punishment for anyone who violates coronavirus quarantine measures, including a possible jail term of up to seven years if a perpetrator is convicted of causing someone’s death. 

Another piece of pending legislation headed for expected approval imposes severe punishment for spreading false information about the coronavirus.

Alexandra Odynova


Philippines sees dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, with 17 front-line doctors among the dead

Coronavirus cases in the Philippines have skyrocketed to 2,084 after the biggest single-day jump of 538.The Department of Health said the number reflected the country’s capacity to test more, after more than 100,000 test kits arrived and more laboratories were cleared to do the tests.

The death toll also rose by 10, making the Philippines’ total of 88 casualties one of the highest death-to-case ratios in the world. The medical community is alarmed, meanwhile, at the rate front-line doctors are dying of the COVID-19 disease. The number stands at 17 as of Tuesday.

In a taped televised address late Monday evening, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged their sacrifices.

“They died helping other people. They are lucky to have died serving the country.”

Many hospitals in and around the capital Manila were caught off guard and did not have enough supply of personal protective gear for their healthcare workers when the outbreak began in early March.  

Barnaby Lo


12-year-old girl in Belgium becomes Europe’s youngest known COVID-19 victim

A 12-year-old girl confirmed infected with COVID-19 has died in Belgium, health officials said Tuesday. Fatality at such a young age “is a very rare occurrence,” said government spokesman Dr Emmanuel Andre, adding that her death “shook us”.

The girl had had a fever for three days before her death and tested positive for COVID-19, said another spokesman, Steven Van Gucht. No other details were given about her case, including whether she had any underlying health problems.

It was the first death of a child with coronavirus in Belgium and the youngest known fatality in Europe to date from the disease. Last week, France reported the death of a 16-year-old girl from coronavirus in the greater Paris region.

Although serious COVID-19 infections are uncommon among the young, some exceptional cases have been taken to hospital intensive-care wards, as U.S. health authorities have pointed out.



Airbnb promises help for hosts as tourism dries up

Airbnb has promised to devote $250 million to helping its host home owners survive the wave of cancellations prompted by the coronavirus epidemic. 

In an open letter published online Monday, the company said it would use the money to help compensate hosts for guest bookings cancelled “due to a COVID-19 related circumstance” for stays between March 14 and May 31. 

“We will pay you 25% of what you would normally receive through your cancellation policy. This applies retroactively to all COVID-19 related cancellations during this period. This cost will be covered entirely by Airbnb,” the company said.

The San Francisco-based online rental marketing company boasts about 150 million users worldwide.


Sharp LCD TV factory in Japan now churning out thousands of face masks

Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp., which converted its liquid crystal display factory into one churning out medical masks, sent its first shipment Tuesday.

The plant in central Japan is set to make 150,000 masks a day, with production being ramped up later to 500,000 masks a day. The shipment was in response to a Japanese government order, and details were not immediately available on how the masks would get distributed.

The masks will be sold to consumers online later, according to the company, owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn. Masks are in short supply at stores in some parts of Japan because of a surge in demand.

Associated Press


EPA warns Americans to stop flushing wipes as virus reaction threatens sewers

The Environmental Protection Agency has a message for Americans — watch what you flush.

“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging all Americans to only flush toilet paper,” the agency says in a statement.

Americans are using far more disinfecting wipes in the coronavirus outbreak, the EPA noted, but disposing of them improperly threatens plumbing, sewer and septic systems.  

The manager of Hero Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling, Chris Stevens told CBS Minnesota on Monday that his teams were overwhelmed with business as working parents and school age children, all suddenly stuck at home all day, flush “things down the toilet that they shouldn’t be.”

The EPA says it’s critical that the nation have “fully operational wastewater services” to contain the virus and protect against other health risks.



Massachusetts veteran’s home boss on leave after 11 residents die amid COVID outbreak

The superintendent of a home for retired service members in Massachusetts has been placed on leave after the deaths of 11 veteran residents. Five of the vets who died at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, west of Boston, tested positive for COVID-19. Test results on five others were still pending. The cause of one death was unknown.

Eleven other residents at the home and five staff members have also tested positive for the coronavirus. Test results were pending for 25 more veteran residents.

“It is imperative that the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home provide a safe environment for the veteran residents, and the dedicated staff who serve them,” said Massachusetts Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Dan Tsai.

Superintendent Bennett Walsh was placed on administrative leave on Monday. Val Liptak, CEO of Western Massachusetts Hospital, will assume responsibility.

-Reporting by CBS Boston.


Hundreds of stranded Americans leave Nepal on repatriation flight

Hundreds of stranded Americans left Nepal on a repatriation flight Tuesday, days after a complete lockdown was imposed in the Himalayan nation to help fight the coronavirus.

A Qatar Airways flight arranged by the U.S. government flew out 302 Americans from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport to Washington, D.C. The elderly, families with children and people with a medical condition were given priority on the flight.

The U.S. Embassy in Nepal estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 Americans are still in the country, but says that not all of them are seeking to leave. Plans for future flights to evacuate more of the Americans were unclear.

Passengers on board Tuesday’s flight said they paid $1,250 for the seat home.

Virus Outbreak Nepal
Stranded American citizens arrive to board a Qatar Airways flight at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, March 31, 2020.

Niranjan Shrestha/AP


Empire State Building lights flash red to honor first responders

One of New York City’s most iconic landmarks is putting on a light show to pay tribute to medical workers treating coronavirus patients. The lights at the top of the Empire State Building flashed red and white as they revolved around its famous needle Monday night, to resemble the lights that accompany a siren. 

And the upper floors had pulsing red lights, similar to a heartbeat, in what’s being dubbed “the heartbeat of America.”

The light show will go on until the end of the month and includes a 9 p.m. synchronized performance set to Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”


In reversal, L.A. sheriff letting gun dealers stay open during pandemic

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who was sued by gun-rights groups after trying to shut down firearms dealers during the coronavirus pandemic, said Monday he’s abandoning the effort. The sheriff said he’s heeding an advisory issued by the federal Department of Homeland Security Saturday that listed gun and ammunition dealers as “essential critical infrastructure workers.”

Villanueva called the non-binding memo “persuasive” and announced that his department won’t order or recommend closing businesses that sell or repair firearms or sell ammunition in the nation’s most populous county.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that each of the state’s 58 counties can decide for themselves whether to list firearms dealers as nonessential businesses that should be subject to closure while the state seeks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

– Associated Press


NCAA to give spring athletes extra year of eligibility

The NCAA on Monday voted to allow Division I spring-sport athletes who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus pandemic to have an additional year of eligibility. The extra year of eligibility will be granted to all spring-sport athletes, regardless of their current class.

The decision does not guarantee current seniors will still receive financial aid if they return for the extra year, according to The Associated Press.

Winter sports, such as basketball, were not included in the decision. Although the winter season was cut short — basketball conference tournaments and the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were notably suspended or canceled — the NCAA Division I Council excluded those sports because athletes had completed most or all of the regular seasons.

– Associated Press 

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