Shake Shack to return $10 million in small-business loan money

Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and CEO Randy Garutti announced just before midnight Sunday that the company had been able to access additional capital needed "to ensure our long term stability" and would return the $10 million it was granted through the CARES Act.John Locher / AP

Shake Shack, one of several large restaurant chains that secured federal loans through the coronavirus stimulus law meant to help small businesses, said Sunday night that it is giving all $10 million back.

The New York-based hipster-favorite burger company is among more than a dozen companies with revenues in the hundreds of millions that are reported to have received money from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, which set aside $349 billion in the stimulus law called the CARES Act to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll.

Less than two weeks after it started, the program has already run out of money.

In a statement Sunday night on LinkedIn, Danny Meyer, Shake Shack's founder and CEO of its parent company, CEO Union Square Hospitality Group, and Randy Garutti, Shake Shack's CEO, said they had no idea the money would dry up so quickly, and after they were able to secure separate funding last week, "we've decided to immediately return the entire $10 million" so restaurants that "need it most can get it now."

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CDC chief warns coronavirus second wave this winter could be much worse

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the coronavirus is bound to be much worse next winter.

In an interview with The Washington Post, CDC Director Robert Redfield said, "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."

"And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean," he added. "We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."

Redfield said that having two outbreaks of similar respiratory illnesses will put enormous pressure on the U.S. health care system. He said even just a flu outbreak alone can put big strain on health care facilities.

Tom Brady busted while working out at closed Tampa park

Tom Brady has been working out — but outside in a Florida park that's off-limits because of the coronavirus epidemic.

The person who spotted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' new quarterback in the Tampa park wasn't there for an autograph, she was a city worker telling him it was closed, Tampa's mayor said.

Mayor Jane Castor said in a live Facebook video chat Monday that with city parks closed, park staff have been visiting the sites to ensure that people weren't engaging in contact sports or other activities that violate social distancing measures that health experts say are key to slowing the virus' spread.

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West Virginia plan to test all nursing home residents, staff, begins

West Virginia's effort to test all residents and staff of the state's nursing homes for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 began Monday, the governor said.

The effort has been called the first of its kind in the nation. Gov. Jim Justice issued an executive order mandating the testing Friday.  Nursing home residents can be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Justice said he believes that testing could be completed within a week.

"We’re going to have real, live data that we hope will help us to isolate and treat people, even those who may not have symptoms yet," he said in a statement.

NBC News reported last week that coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities across the country had risen to 5,670, according to state health data. The rise was reported to have been driven by huge increases in hard-hit states like New York, where more than 2 percent of nursing home residents have died of the virus.

New Zealand could pull off bold goal of eliminating virus

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — While most countries are working on ways to contain the coronavirus, New Zealand has set itself a much more ambitious goal: eliminating it altogether. And experts believe the country could pull it off. 

Geography has helped. If any place could be described as socially distant it would be New Zealand, surrounded by stormy seas, with Antarctica to the south. With 5 million people spread across an area the size of Britain, even the cities aren’t overly crowded.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken bold steps, putting the country under a strict lockdown in late March, when only about 100 people had tested positive for the new virus. 

New Zealand has so far avoided a widespread outbreak, and new cases have dwindled from a peak of about 90 per day in early April to just five on Tuesday, leaving the goal tantalizingly close. Only 13 people have died so far.

“We have the opportunity to do something no other country has achieved: elimination of the virus,” Ardern told reporters last week. “But it will continue to need a team of 5 million behind it.”

Ardern on Monday announced the country would stay in lockdown for another week before slightly easing some work restrictions to help restart the economy. Most of the social restrictions will remain in place.

Photo: Healthcare worker cheers on others in NYC

A healthcare worker at the Brooklyn Hospital Center reacts as residents and members of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) cheer at 7:00pm amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brooklyn, New York on April 20, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

L.A. schools have served 10 million meals during lockdown

President says he's halting all immigration to U.S.

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is temporarily suspending immigration to the United States in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the "need to protect jobs."

In a tweet Monday night, the president attributed the suspension to an "attack from the Invisible Enemy" and the "need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens."

He added that he would sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration.

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Increase in poisonings from cleaners, disinfectants likely linked to coronavirus, researchers say

Reports of accidental poisonings from cleaners and disinfectants are up this year, and researchers believe it’s related to the coronavirus epidemic.

Such poisonings were up about 20 percent in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period in 2018 and 2019, according to a report Monday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The authors said they can’t prove coronavirus drove the increase, but said it seems likely the two are linked, given the number of stay-at-home orders and guidance to clean hands and dirty surfaces. They warned against using more cleaner than directed, mixing multiple products together or using them in poorly ventilated areas.

The report was based on more than 45,000 recent calls to 55 poison control centers across the country involving exposures to cleaning chemicals or disinfectants.

Some Southern governors begin lifting restrictions

Some governors in the South have begun loosening restrictions put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday granted businesses across the state permission to reopen later this week, an announcement echoed by a handful of other Republican governors who are beginning to lift stay-at-home orders.

Kemp's decision, which will apply to barber shops, gyms and other businesses that include close contact, comes days after President Donald Trump issued guidelines for the reopening of state economies

Some health experts have expressed concern that it's too early to be backing off lockdown measures.

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Pence: 'We have enough testing capacity for every state' to enter first reopening phase

Vice President Pence described a call he had with governors in which he described each state's lab capacity and equipment in that state and locations where coronavirus diagnostic tests can be performed.

Brooklyn nursing home ravaged by 55 deaths, most in New York during pandemic

EMTs wheel a man out of the Cobble Hill Health Center nursing home in Brooklyn on April 17, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

"Right here, we are doing it alone," Cobble Hill Health Center CEO Donny Tuchman shouted Monday to cheering neighbors outside the nursing home in Brooklyn, New York. "These people right here," he said, pointing to the line of the health care staff members in full protective gear who'd walked out of the facility to accept the applause.

It had been yet another challenging day at Cobble Hill. A report by the New York State Health Department listed 55 deaths presumably caused by the coronavirus at the facility since the outbreak began, the highest toll at any senior care center in New York.

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