Number of U.S. cases reaches 1.1 million as misinformation crosses social divides

Here are the latest updates on the global pandemic.
People sit maintaining social distancing as Frontier Corps (FC) personnel distribute food on a street during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Quetta, Pakistan on May 2, 2020.Banaras Khan / AFP - Getty Images

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As the coronavirus pandemic lingers in the U.S., its social implications are just starting to emerge, but the spread of misinformation has crossed divides on social media, unexpectedly gaining traction with both white conservatives and black liberals.

Meanwhile, scientists are working to find a vaccine for the virus, which has infected more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. and killed nearly 65,000. There are 14 potential coronavirus vaccines under development in the Trump administration's program to fast-track one for use as early as January, according to senior administration officials.

But the personal toll of coronavirus might never be recouped for million of Americans. Aging grandparents are being robbed of spending precious time with their families while millions of people are forced to adjust to life without a stable income for the foreseeable future.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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'Extraordinary' effort to disinfect NYC subways includes workers in hazmat suits

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Metropolitan Transit Authority leaders spoke in Queens on Saturday about the unprecedented decision to shut down the New York City subway system each night as an effort to disinfect trains every 24 hours.

Due to the pandemic, ridership is at its lowest in a century, Cuomo said, which gives the state an opportunity to shut down subways between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. when the fewest number of people ride in order to deep-clean each car. A team of 900 cleaners are working each night, and additional contractors are being hired to help. 

"I just viewed the operations on how they’re doing it," Cuomo said. "It’s smart, it’s labor intensive. People have to wear hazmat suits; they have a number of chemicals that disinfect. You have to go through the whole train with a misting device."

"This has never been done before, and it's an extraordinary effort," the governor said in a tweet.

Cuomo has received some criticism for the decision because homeless people at times find refuge on subway cars, but the governor said an "unprecedented" amount of funding has been directed to help the homeless population. 

“You do not help the homeless by letting them stay on a subway car and sleep on a subway car in the middle of a global pandemic," he said.

Photo: New York City hospital workers and NYPD pose with American flag

Masked medical staff from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City pose holding an American flag with members of the NYPD Mounted Unit during the nightly #ClapBecauseWeCare event honoring coronavirus responders on May 1, 2020.Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Number of deaths in New York remains fairly steady

The number of coronavirus deaths in New York state remains fairly steady, with 299 on Friday compared to 289 the day before, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

But he said 299 deaths is still an "obnoxiously and terrifyingly high" number.

The state is also seeing about 900 new coronavirus cases each day, which Cuomo said is still "unacceptably high."  

The governor said New York is attempting to collect more data via antibody testing and by asking hospitals to provide more demographic data on those who are seeking treatment, which will allow the state to specifically address the needs of communities seeing high rates of infection. 

Antibody tests are meanwhile showing an infection rate of 19.9 percent among New York City residents, and 12.3 percent statewide. Experts say it is too early to come to any strong conclusions based on antibody testing, particularly when making decisions about easing the state's lockdown. 

A curse for most, a 'blessing' for some. How unemployed Americans are getting by during pandemic

First, the coronavirus took her job, and then breast cancer threatened to take her mother. In less than a month, Naomi Jaramillo's entire world changed.

The eyebrow stylist spent February traveling from New Mexico to New York for fashion week and then visiting Washington state to help open a brow bar outside Seattle. Shortly after returning to her native Las Cruces, the 31-year-old visited her brother and her sister in Austin, Texas.

While Jaramillo was crisscrossing the Southwest, the coronavirus was shutting down states and infecting thousands of people. Businesses were being forced to close, including the brow bar where she worked. The bad news didn’t stop there. Her 57-year-old mother was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in March. “It was really hard to hear it,” she said. “My mom is my everything.”

With Jaramillo out of work, life is now divided between taking care of her mother and figuring out how to pay her own bills. She is just one of 30 million Americans who have found themselves suddenly unemployed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here.

Africa surpasses 40,000 reported cases

The number of reported coronavirus cases on the continent of Africa surpassed 40,000 on Saturday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The reported death toll is 1,689, and more than 13,000 people have recovered from COVID-19 as of Saturday.

South Africa has the continent’s highest number of coronavirus cases — 6,000, the Africa CDC report showed, followed by three North African countries, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

Only one African country has no reported cases as of Saturday — the small kingdom of Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa.

Dressing up and staying in: Coronavirus' effect on fashion is more than skin deep

Matthew von Nida lives to get dressed up. So when he turned 27 in quarantine last month, there was no question that he would get dolled up with his roommate to celebrate the big day.

“I dress up a lot in general, and it’s not particularly a new thing for this moment in quarantine. I think it’s something that brings more of a sense of normalcy,” von Nida said.

Although he knew he couldn’t leave his Brooklyn home, he dressed as if he were going out on the town. His look consisted of an olive-colored bodysuit from Alice and Olivia paired with leather pants, heels and a matching olive bandana tied neatly around his neck. On his eyes, he wore glimmering ochre eyeshadow.

Read the full story here.

Spain's death toll surpasses 25,000 as lockdown restrictions lifted

People exercise in Seville, Spain on Saturday for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease.Cristina Quicler / AFP - Getty Images

Spain's coronavirus death toll surpassed 25,000 on Saturday after 276 people died overnight, the health ministry said. The total number of coronavirus cases rose to 216,582 on Saturday from 215,216 the day before.

Spain has had one of the worst outbreaks in the world, but appears to be past its peak and gradually easing strict lockdown restrictions.

Also on Saturday, the Spanish government allowed citizens to do outdoor exercise once a day for the first time in seven weeks. This comes after children under the age of 14 were permitted to do so last weekend. 

China's Hubei province, where virus was first detected, eases lockdown

China’s central province of Hubei, where the coronavirus was first detected, lowered its emergency response level on Saturday in the latest relaxation of lockdowns.

The level was dropped from the highest to the second-highest on Saturday at midnight, the province’s government said. Hubei is the last province to lower its provincial emergency response level, a major milestone in China’s fight against the pandemic, according to Reuters.

This comes a week after Chinese health officials said that the city of Wuhan had no remaining coronavirus cases in its hospitals after months of strict lockdown. 

Malls to reopen around the U.S. as some state lockdowns lifted

Pakistan records highest single day increase of new infections

Pakistan recorded its highest single day increase in new infections on Saturday with 1,297 new cases reported, bringing the total in the country of 220 million people to 18,114. The increase also coincides with a growing number of daily tests being carried out.

Even as the number of new cases grows in the country, pictures in local newspapers show large numbers of the faithful attending some of Pakistan’s mosques with only sporadic signs of the social distancing rules imposed by the government when it refused to shut down mosques during Ramadan — Islam’s fasting month.

Doctors in several parts of the country have pleaded for stricter lockdowns, warning an explosion of infections would overwhelm the country’s struggling health care facilities that count barely 3,000 intensive care beds countrywide.