Coronavirus in NC: Live updates for May 25, 2020

— Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus from North Carolina and across the globe showing the pandemic’s impact on health, jobs, schools and more:

At least 24,013 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, at least 778 people have died and another 625 or so remain in the hospital. State officials estimate 14,954 people have recovered from coronavirus infections.

Latest updates

11:45 p.m.: South Korea has reported 19 new cases of the coronavirus, most from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been actively tracing transmissions linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday also reported two more deaths, bringing national totals to 11,225 cases and 269 fatalities. Officials linked three of the new cases to international arrivals.

South Korea has been reporting around 20 new cases per day over the past two weeks after health workers found hundreds of infections linked to club goers who went out in early May as the country eased social distancing measures.

10:00 p.m.: Dozens of COVID-19 cases and two deaths are being reported at the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Fayetteville.

Cumberland County health officials have confirmed 36 cases at the nursing home, which is up from 19 cases just this past Thursday.

“I think they let their guard down,” said Linda Hillman, whose father was one of the residents at the facility to get the coronavirus. “I think they felt like all the other rest homes were getting it, no one was getting it here.”

COVID-19 outbreak at Fayetteville veterans nursing home

8:50 p.m.: A U.S. biotechnology company began injecting a coronavirus vaccine candidate into people in Australia on Tuesday with hopes of releasing a proven vaccine this year.

Novavax will inject 131 volunteers in the first phase of the trial testing the safety of the vaccine and looking for signs of its effectiveness, the company’s research chief Dr. Gregory Glenn said.

About a dozen experimental vaccines against the coronavirus are in early stages of testing or poised to start, mostly in China, the U.S. and Europe. It’s not clear that any will prove safe and effective. But many work in different ways, and are made with different technologies, increasing the odds that at least one approach might succeed.

8:45 p.m.: Georgetown basketball coach and former NBA great Patrick Ewing has been released from the hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home, his son said Monday.

The 57-year-old Hall of Famer, who played for the Hoyas in college and the New York Knicks in the NBA, announced Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated at a hospital.

Patrick Ewing Jr. said three days later on Twitter that his father was getting better after receiving treatment and thanked the doctors and nurses who looked after him during his hospital stay. He also thanked fans for their thoughts and prayers after his father’s announcement.

7:50 p.m.: A ban on foreign travelers arriving in the U.S. from Brazil due to the surge in coronavirus cases there will now take effect late Tuesday, two days earlier than previously announced.

The ban had been set to go into effect late Thursday. The White House announced the change Monday without explanation.

Brazil is second to the U.S. in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, and has seen cases surge in recent days.

5:55 p.m.: Cumberland County Schools has altered its graduation schedule after receiving feedback from graduating seniors, parents and high school administrators. Graduating seniors will now be able to “walk across the stage” and receive their diplomas between June 12 and June 19 at their high schools. Smaller schools that don’t have auditoriums will have the option to distribute diplomas at the district’s Educational Resource Center if needed.

The events will be conducted in shifts, with small groups of students and their guests arriving at scheduled times. Graduates may have up to four guests, including children. Face masks must be worn by all attendees, with the exception of children under age 2.

“I’ve heard a consistent message – students are ready to graduate and move forward with their post-secondary plans,” Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr. said in a statement. “We have learned that social-distancing limitations would likely remain in place for events such as graduation ceremonies even in July. We have also heard from students who are leaving for college or the military in June and would not be able to attend a graduation in July.”

5:45 p.m.: Cumberland County has reported its 17th coronavirus-related death, a person over age 70 with underlying health conditions.

The county also is dealing with a larger outbreak at the N.C. State Veterans Nursing Home in Fayetteville, where 36 people have been infected and two have died. The number of infections there has nearly doubled in the last week.

4:45 p.m.: Coronavirus may be damaging pregnant women’s placentas, according to a new study. Researchers studied the post-partum placentas of 16 women who tested positive for the virus and found signs of injury, including abnormal blood flow between the mother and fetus and blood clots in the placenta. The scientists say all but one of the babies were delivered full-term and stressed that more research is needed.

4 p.m.: State officials estimate that nearly 15,000 people have recovered from coronavirus infections, up more than 3,300 from last week’s estimate.

3 p.m.: The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange will reopen Tuesday after being closed for nine weeks because of coronavirus concerns.

Only a quarter of the traders will be allowed back in, and they will have to wear masks on the floor and will be separated by plexiglass barriers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Traders also are being told to avoid taking public transportation to and from work.

12:55 p.m.: Burger King is helping people stay 6 feet apart by giving them a giant social distancing crown. For now, the large crowns are available only in Burger Kings in Germany, and it’s not known yet if or when they will come to American restaurants.

12:45 p.m.: The World Health Organization has temporarily halted studying hydroxychloroquine as a potential COVID-19 treatment in its Solidarity Trial due to safety concerns, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing in Geneva on Monday.

The decision was made after an observational study was published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday, which described how seriously ill COVID-19 patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die.

Tedros said that an independent executive group is now reviewing the use of hydroxychloroquine in WHO’s Solidarity Trial, which involves actively recruiting patients from more than 400 hospitals in 35 countries in an effort to find safe and effective therapeutics for the illness.

12:40 p.m.: Investigators in the Netherlands think they’ve found what they believe to be a second case of a human becoming infected with coronavirus after coming in contact with an infected mink. In April, the Dutch government reported mink on a farm had been found to have the disease, prompting a wider investigation of farms where mink are bred for their fur. Last week, the Netherlands reported its first suspected case of mink-to-human transmission.

12:15 p.m.: President Donald Trump says he has “just finished” taking a two-week course of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, the medication he has vigorously promoted as a preventive treatment or cure for coronavirus, even as evidence piles up that the drug may cause more harm than good, according to NBC News.

11:15 a.m.: The state has already paid out more than $8.8 million in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, an extra 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for people who have exhausted their state benefits. The Division of Employment Security started taking applications for the PEUC on Friday.

Altogether, more than $2.6 billion in state and federal jobless benefits have been paid to nearly 585,000 people statewide since mid-March, according to DES. The people who have received payments are only 62 percent of the 943,000 who have filed unemployment claims in that period, however.

11 a.m.: The number of coronavirus infections in North Carolina continues to grow, topping 24,000 as of Monday, but the percent of positive tests as the state expands its testing remains stable at 7 percent.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness associated with the virus, reached a new high at 627.

A Wake County resident is one of the latest deaths attributed to the virus. Statewide, 778 people have died during the pandemic.

10:05 a.m.: The Charlotte Hornets will open the Novant Health Training Center inside Spectrum Center to voluntary individual player workouts on Tuesday. The on-court workouts will be based on NBA guidelines and include strict protocols to ensure a safe and healthy environment:

  • Access is to allow players to participate in on-court activities, such as shooting, that cannot be done at home.
  • The practice court is the only area that will be available to players and coaches. The locker rooms, weight rooms, medical/training areas, offices and the remainder of Spectrum Center will remain closed.
  • Up to four players will be allowed in the facility at a time, and each player is allowed to work with one coach.
  • Staff members will wear masks and gloves at all times when in the building. Players will wear masks at all times except when they are working out.
  • Symptom and temperature checks will be performed by team medical personnel prior to anyone entering the building.
  • New cleaning procedures, including an increased sanitization process, will be implemented on all spaces and equipment used in the workouts, including the basketballs.

9:55 a.m.: North Carolina State University and Novozymes are combining forces to produce hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer each day to help keep students, faculty and staff members safe.

9:45 a.m.: Fewer people are traveling for Memorial Day this year – so few, in fact, that AAA didn’t issue a holiday weekend travel forecast for the first time in 20 years. Experts say that’s because the pandemic has made it difficult to estimate.

Still, AAA says its online bookings have been rising modestly, a sign that American’s confidence is slowly improving.

9:30 a.m.: Franklin County officials have approved plans for mass testing of residents and staff at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities for coronavirus. Testing will start next week, and Health Director Scott LaVigne said in a statement that the effort wouldn’t be possible without the county’s increased contact tracing capacity.

Louisburg Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center has reported 56 residents and 13 staffers infected with coronavirus, and 19 of those residents have died. Louisburg Manor, a senior living facility, has reported two residents and one staffer infected.

8:50 a.m.: President Donald Trump is threatening to pull the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte if Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper doesn’t soon give the go-ahead to hold the event amid the pandemic.

Cooper “is still in Shutdown mood,” Trump tweeted Monday morning, and doesn’t seem ready to guarantee that the convention, scheduled for the week of Aug. 24 in Charlotte, can go forward.

“Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied,” Trump wrote. “If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”

8:30 a.m.: COVID-19 didn’t discourage crowds from flocking to the beach or lake for Memorial Day weekend. Images of crowded beaches brought up concerns of social distancing guidelines. However, some people who were at the beaches said the angle of the image doesn’t show how carefully distanced groups were from one another.

Still, In the Tampa area along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.

In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation spot popular with Chicagoans, over the weekend. One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers lounged close together without masks, St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported.

On the Sunday talk shows, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend.

“We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can’t social distance and you’re outside, you must wear a mask,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

8:20 a.m.: Nearly two weeks after the White House urged governors to ensure that every nursing home resident and staff member be tested for coronavirus within 14 days, the goal has gone unmet. A review by The Associated Press found that at least half of the states aren’t going to meet White House’s deadline, and some aren’t even bothering to try.

Only a handful of states, including West Virginia and Rhode Island, have said they’ve already tested every nursing home resident. Many states said the logistics, costs and manpower needs are too great to test all residents and staff in a two-week window.

8:15 a.m.: The Trump administration is promising to help states expand their ability to test for coronavirus. In a report delivered to Congress, the White House pledged to buy and distribute 100 million test swabs by the end of the year. However, the report doubles down on the administration’s stance that individual states should be mostly responsible for carrying out coronavirus tests.

8 a.m.: Teen unemployment in the U.S. is at the highest it’s been since 1948. Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 reached an unemployment rate of 32 percent in April, as many summer jobs have dried up due to the pandemic and business shutdowns.

7:30 a.m.: Japan has completely lifted its state of emergency after the number of reported COVID-19 cases has trailed off.

7 a.m.: The pandemic has changed how many holidays are celebrated, including Memorial Day.

Durham County will be honoring fallen heroes on a virtual Memorial Day event that starts at 8 a.m. It will be streamed on Durham County’s Facebook page.

6:30 a.m.: As Memorial Day weekend draws big crowds, deaths from COVID-19 are closing in on 100,000.

Over 1.5 million people have tested positive for coronavirus in the United States. Over 23,000 of those people are in North Carolina.

According to officials, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in America is expected to reach 100,000 sometime Monday.

6 a.m.: Comments made on social media ahead of Monday’s ReOpen NC march raised concerns of safety​ and violence.

Adam Smith, the husband of ReOpen NC co-founder Ashley Smith, said reopening businesses to protect constitutional rights is an issue some should be willing to kill over.

“We want to pick up arms? Do we want to kill anybody? Of course not, nobody wants to take lives. We don’t want to kill anybody. But are we willing to kill people, are we willing to lay our lives down? Yes. We have to say yes,” Adam Smith said in a Facebook Live video.

Social media has been buzzing about his statement; however, he said his words were taken out of context.

“It wasn’t like I was saying, ‘Let’s go out and start taking up arms now.’ We have to have a mindset or willingness to if the cause arises or if we get to that point. Nowhere do I say we’re at that point now, by any means,” he said.

5 a.m.: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has repeatedly urged residents to cover their faces in public during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Democrat didn’t heed his own plea when he posed mask-less for photographs alongside residents during a weekend beach visit.

A spokeswoman for Northam said Sunday that the governor should have brought a face mask with him during his visit on Saturday to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, news outlets reported. “He was outside yesterday and not expecting to be within 6 feet of anyone,” Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said in a statement. “This is an important reminder to always have face coverings in case situations change — we are all learning how to operate in this new normal, and it’s important to be prepared.”

4:30 a.m.: Experts on a special government panel have approved a plan to remove a coronavirus state of emergency from Tokyo and four other remaining prefectures, paving the way for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare entirely ending the measure to allow businesses to gradually resume.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters that experts on a government-commissioned panel approved the plan to end the state of emergency that has lasted for more than a month and a half.

Published at Tue, 26 May 2020 03:49:12 +0000