CDC recommends masks, U.S. deaths rise by more than 1,000 in one day

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
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A person wearing protective masks due to coronavirus concerns walks in Philadelphia, on April 2, 2020.Matt Rourke / AP

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended that people wear "cloth face coverings," in places where it is hard to maintain social distancing — like grocery stores. Officials say surgical masks or respirators should be reserved for health care workers.

President Donald Trump announced the recommendations but said he is choosing not to wear one.

The U.S. recorded more than 1,000 deaths between Thursday and Friday, according to NBC News' tally. As of Friday night, more than 7,000 U.S. deaths have been linked to the disease. Globally, the death toll is more than 59,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. economy lost 701,000 jobs in March, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate soared to 4.4 percent from 3.5 percent.

Support on Capitol Hill among both Republicans and Democrats for an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the country’s response to the outbreak appeared to be growing.

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New York City needs 45,000 medical professionals

New York, hit harder by the coronavirus than any other city in the country, needs 45,000 clinical employees for an incoming tidal wave of patients, officials said Friday. 

The outbreak started with 125,000 medical employees in America's largest city, but a massive spike is coming that'll require 45,000 more to join those ranks this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.

About 7,500 of those employees will be needed in traditional, standing hospitals while 37,500 others would work at hastily constructed field hospitals, such at those popping up at the Javits Center, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and hotels.


Lawmaker who forced colleagues to return to DC for coronavirus vote skipped earlier one

The Kentucky congressman who forced lawmakers around the country to return to Washington, D.C., for a vote on the coronavirus stimulus legislation last week skipped out on a vote on the previous aid bill to attend a fundraiser in his home state.

"I would be a 'no' on that bill anyway. I'm not going to sit up there in D.C. and wait for four people in a back room to cook something up that I know I'm not going to vote for," Rep. Thomas Massie told a local radio show of his decision to not show up for the vote on the earlier, $850 billion coronavirus package.

On the day of the March 14 vote, Massie tweeted that he and his wife were organizing their pantry.

Read the full story here.

Wisconsin gov calls back lawmakers to consider delaying election deadline

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Friday that he wants all registered voters in the state to receive an absentee ballot and have until May 19 to return them, which would effectively delay Tuesday’s election amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Democratic governor signed an executive order Friday calling for a special session of the GOP-controlled state Legislature to consider his proposed changes to Tuesday's election, which includes both the Democratic presidential primary between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders and a general election for municipal officers and the state Supreme Court.

"I can't move this election or change it on my own. My hands are tied,” Evers said during a telephone news conference. He said proceeding with the election without changes would be an “unnecessary public health risk.”

Read the full story here.

Influencer Arielle Charnas faces more backlash

Arielle Charnas attends YAGP's 20th Anniversary Gala at Lincoln Center on April 18, 2019 in New York.Jared Siskin / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images file

Social media influencer Arielle Charnas, who sparked outrage in March when she disclosed she tested positive for COVID-19 after being screened by a friend, is facing renewed backlash for retreating to the Hamptons.

Charnas, based in New York City, said in a lengthy statement Thursday to her 1.3 million Instagram followers that she wanted to "share the truth" and "above all else," express her sincerest remorse.

Charnas said she was speaking out, in part, to address accusations she had falsified her test results, which she said was "unequivocally untrue." She also claimed to have received death threats against her entire family, including her two young daughters.

Read the full story here

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First TSA employee dies from COVID-19

Francis "Frank" Boccabella III in 2015 with his previous canine partner, Zmay.TSA

A employee at Newark Liberty International Airport became the first TSA employee to die from complications of COVID-19, authorities said Friday.

Francis Boccabella III, 39, handled a bomb-sniffing dog that screened air cargo going aboard  passenger aircraft, the TSA said.

His canine partner was Bullet, a 6-year-old German Short-haired Pointer.

With unemployment surge, millions expected to lose insurance, turn to Medicaid

If unemployment continues to grow, an additional 10 million to 20 million Americans could enroll in Medicaid and millions could live without health care coverage altogether, a study published Friday found. Insurance provided by employers could drop by 11 million to 23 million.

This could prove to be a huge burden on state Medicaid programs as enrollment grows, the cost for coronavirus treatment proves to be costly and state revenues continue to plummet. 

The study, published by research firm Health Management Associates, looks at three scenarios — unemployment at 10 percent, 17.5 percent and 25 percent — and the effects it would have on insurance coverage.

If unemployment rose to 25 percent, Medicaid enrollment nationally would grow from 70 million people to 94 million, employer-sponsored coverage could drop by 35 million people and the number of uninsured Americans would jump from 29 million before the outbreak to nearly 40 million people.

Medicaid enrollment will expand by roughly 5 million even without any increase in unemployment because the states that take funding from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act aren't able to unenroll people from the program. 

Read the more about the issue here

Supreme Court cancels courtroom argument for rest of the term

The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it will scrap the oral argument schedule for the rest of the term amid the coronavirus pandemic but left open the possibility that it might hear a few cases before the term ends in late June.

Nine cases were to be argued during the two-week session beginning April 20, including one of the most important of the term — a challenge to the current system used for electing the president

The court earlier canceled oral argument in March as measures like stay-at-home orders and social distancing directives were implemented across the country to slow the spread of the virus.

Read the full story here

A reassuring message in the sky over Los Angeles

Photo: Lining up for groceries in Johannesburg

Shoppers wait outside a store in Johannesburg on Friday. South Africa is in a 21-day nationwide lockdown. Jerome Delay / AP

Making your own face mask? Some fabrics work better than others

Sewing machines across the U.S. are whirring to life now that the federal government is expected to recommend that people living in coronavirus hot spots cover their face to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

But if you are making your own covering, new research finds that some fabrics are better than others at filtering out viral particles.

Read more.