Fauci joins CDC chief on growing White House quarantine list

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Recovered Coronavirus Patient Reunites With Family After 5 Weeks In The Hospital
Isaias Perez Yanez, 59, is cheered on by hospital staff as he is released from Sharp Coronado Hospital after battling COVID-19 for five weeks, on May 8, 2020, in Coronado, California.Mario Tama / Getty Images

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Three members of the White House coronavirus task force will quarantine for two weeks after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is expected to self-quarantine for 14 days following exposure to an unidentified White House aide who tested positive for coronavirus. Food and Drug Administration Director Stephen Hahn is already self-quarantining, he told staff Friday.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he will follow a "modified" quarantine for the next two weeks after a "low-risk" exposure at the White House.

The news comes after two other people with access to the White House tested positive for COVID-19, including Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk filed a federal lawsuit Saturday against Alameda County in California challenging its precautionary shutdown of the company's main factory. The suit seeks to overturn the county's health orders, which continue to keep businesses like Tesla's plant closed despite the governor's gradual reopening of the state.

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

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Yes, there is less pollution, and a map shows it

A London-based remote sensing engineer used air pollution data to create an interactive map visualizing the impact of coronavirus-related shutdowns on the environment.Simon Andersson

An engineer used air pollution data to create an interactive map visualizing the impact of coronavirus-related shutdowns on the environment.

Simon Andersson, a London-based engineer who works at the earth observation company ICEYE, says he started his efforts as a “weekend project” after he came across a post about air pollution from the European Space Agency.

His application, which uses the Google Earth Engine, shows the stark differences in air pollution from last year to this year. The changes are especially notable for cities like Paris, New Delhi, Madrid and London. Fewer cars on roads and reduced production from factories during the pandemic have led to unintended climate benefits such as cleaner air and clearer water.

“I hope that we can learn from this that a drastic change in pollution and emissions is possible, which is what is needed in order to mitigate the climate crisis,” Andersson said in an email. “I hope that we continue to see fewer cars on the road, but really I hope that we can replace a significant amount of travel in cities with cycling.”

Andersson plans to participate in a joint hackathon hosted by NASA and other space agencies scheduled for the end of the month devoted to finding coronavirus solutions.

Photo: Undertaker waits for body of COVID-19 victim

An undertaker awaits the arrival of the body of a COVID-19 victim at the Caju cemetery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 8, 2020. Brazil has registered more than 135,000 cases of the coronavirus, with 9,146 deaths so far -- by far the highest figures in Latin America.Mauro Pimentel / AFP - Getty Images

FDA approves new coronavirus antigen test with fast results

U.S. regulators have approved a new type of coronavirus test that administration officials have promoted as a key to opening up the country.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday announced emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. The test can rapidly detect fragments of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs swiped inside the nasal cavity, the FDA said in a statement.

The antigen test is the third type of test to be authorized by the FDA.

Currently, the only way to diagnose active COVID-19 is to test a patient’s nasal swab for the genetic material of the virus. While considered highly accurate, the tests can take hours and require expensive, specialized equipment mainly found at commercial labs, hospitals or universities.

Click here to read the full story 

Churches to help New York with coronavirus testing for communities of color

New York state is partnering with churches to ramp up coronavirus testing for communities of color, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

"We must address the racial disparities of this pandemic, and meet the need where it is," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Saturday morning.

The state is working with nonprofit health care network Northwell Health to open more than 20 temporary testing sites in churches located in predominantly low-income areas as well as in communities of color starting on May 12.

While the overall number of coronavirus hospitalizations and intubations continue to decline in New York, the majority of new cases have been reported in minority communities, Cuomo said.

Black people make up 28 percent of new coronavirus hospitalizations in New York City, although they are 23 percent of the population, the governor said.

"Of the 21 zip codes with the most new COVID-19 hospitalizations, 20 have greater-than-average black and/or Latino populations," he said.

Face mask rules lead to violent confrontations

They became parents during the pandemic — but can't show their new babies the world

Jamal Gathers Sr., seen with his son Henry, has weekly Zoom sessions with his therapist to cope with the challenges of having a newborn in a pandemic. "Bourbon helps, too," Gathers joked.Sarah Cohan

When Emily LaCosse gave birth to twins, she knew her world had changed. What she didn’t expect was that at the same time, the coronavirus pandemic would alter everyone else’s, too.

LaCosse, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, had her babies March 9. When she went to the hospital to deliver them, the coronavirus still felt like a vague threat: A nurse downplayed the health risks of it, and her hospital had no restrictions on visitors.

But during the five days that LaCosse and her newborns were in the hospital, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to fight the growing outbreak. Schools shuttered and grocery stores began running low on essentials.

Soon, there was a statewide lockdown, too.

Read the whole story here.

Hospitals move to let families visit people dying of the coronavirus

Rinat Vita Dishlo says goodbye to her mother, Vita Bat Sheva, dying of coronavirus at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel.Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center

More than a quarter of a million people around the world have died from the coronavirus — many without a loved one by their side due to hospitals' precautions against the spread of the deadly infection.

Now some hospitals are reconsidering such policies in order to allow the dying and their family members the comfort of spending some final moments together.

"We can’t change the fact that people will die from this virus, but at least we can give these moments of compassion to family members and their loved ones,” said Avi Shushan, spokesman for the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel.

Read the full story here.

More than 1,000 line up for food in Switzerland amid shutdown

More than 1,000 people lined up on Saturday to get free food parcels in Geneva, underscoring the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the working poor and undocumented immigrants even in wealthy Switzerland.

The line of people stretched for more than 1 km (half a mile) outside an ice rink where volunteers were handing out around 1,500 parcels to people who started lining up as early as 5 a.m.

"At the end of the month, my pockets are empty. We have to pay the bills," said Ingrid Berala, a Geneva resident from Nicaragua who works part-time. "This is great, because there is food for a week, a week of relief...I don't know for next week."

Swiss bank UBS has calculated that Geneva is the second-most expensive global city for a family of three to live in, behind only Zurich. While average incomes are also high, that helps little for people struggling to make ends meet.

Coronavirus cases have been relatively low in Switzerland but mostly attributed to poor and overcrowded housing in cities.

Slovenian cyclists stage anti-government coronavirus protest

Thousands of cyclists took over streets in the center of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, on Friday evening to protest coronavirus restrictions put in place by Prime Minister Janez Jansa's government. 

The cyclists sounded horns and carried banners reading: "Raise workers' wages," "Careful, the government is falling," and "Stronger together." 

The protest, organized by civil society groups, was the largest in recent weeks. Police fenced off parliament while a police helicopter flew above the protesters.

Slovenia imposed a wide-ranging lockdown in mid-March, but the government began lifting restrictions on April 20 when car service centers and some shops reopened, while bars and restaurants have been allowed to serve food outdoors since Monday.

So far Slovenia has confirmed 100 deaths.

Russia records more than 10,000 new cases for seventh consecutive day

Russia recorded 10,817 new virus cases on Saturday, according to health officials, topping 10,000 cases for the seventh day in a row. 

The new cases pushed the nationwide tally to nearly 200,000. The country also recorded 104 deaths, bringing the national total to 1,827.

The country's capital Moscow and other regions have observed lockdowns since late March to try to stem the spread of the virus. The number of cases overtook French and German infections this week to become the fifth-highest in the world.

Food bank lines grow across the U.S. as unemployment soars