As coronavirus spreads, people are getting more cautious and creative with their social interactions.


The World Health Organization is holding its annual convention via teleconference for the first time Monday as the group discusses the coronavirus pandemic and a proposal for an independent inquiry into the origin of the virus.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who is expected to represent the U.S. at the meeting, insisted Sunday it was safe to reopen the economy in certain states, while a White House adviser said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s botched early coronavirus testing efforts “let the country down.” 

The U.S. has the largest coronavirus outbreak in the world by far. There are more than 89,000 deaths and almost 1.5 million confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. Worldwide, the virus has killed more than 315,000 people and has infected more than 4.6 million.

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Here are some highlights to know Monday:

  • At least one CDC official is pushing back at White House adviser Peter Navarro, CNN reported, after Navarro said the CDC’s efforts on coronavirus testing “really did set us back.”
  • The Supreme Court will likely issue decisions starting 10 a.m. ET Monday. We may hear more about LGBTQ workers. Almost half of them live in states with no protections, and many are on the front lines of the coronavirus fight.
  • Many scientists believe the pandemic will dissipate over the summer only to return in a second wave that could be worse than the first. Many epidemiologists, economists and futurists say the U.S. is probably ill-prepared.
  • Elvis Presley’s Graceland reopens this week after closing March 20. Tour capacity will be reduced to 25% and temperature checks will be given to guests.

What we’re talking about: A Wyoming strip club reopened this weekend with a ‘masks on, clothes off’ party, as it became one of the first strip clubs in the country to reopen.

Something to smile about: Photos of a 70-year-old priest with a squirt gun trying to give kids a safe blessing have inspired a Reddit photoshop battle and viral memes. The church described it as “pretty clever” in a Facebook post.

Staying Apart, Together: USA TODAY brings a newsletter about how to cope with the coronavirus pandemic straight to your inbox. 📥

Trump Study: Most people didn’t have home office before coronavirus

Most people didn’t have a home office set up for remote work before the coronavirus caused governments to curb non-essential gatherings and sent people to work from home, according to a survey conducted by YouGov in partnership with USA TODAY and LinkedIn.

Almost three in four professionals age 18 to 74 say they’re now working from home, which has caused increased expenses like higher electricity bills and new furniture and computer equipment.

Several states such as California, Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota have laws that require some sort of reimbursement for necessary work-related expenses. That means companies are more likely to cover the cost of hardware that you need to fulfill your job, like a computer or laptop, said Lara Shortz, a labor attorney at Michelman & Robinson.

Upgrades to your home internet typically wouldn’t qualify for reimbursement under state laws, Shortz added.

– Dalvin Brown

Trump UN head: Choosing between saving lives and economy is ‘false dichotomy’ 

The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the World Health Organization’s annual meeting that it was a “false dichotomy” to assume governments would choose between saving their citizens or their economies.

“Unless we control the spread of the virus, the economy will never recover,” he said. 

Guterres comments came Monday at the 73rd World Health Assembly, where leaders worldwide are focusing on the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 315,000 people and infected over 4.7 million across the globe. Among the key issues: Potential development of a vaccine and how to distribute it across the world.

An investigation into the origin’s of the virus is also expected to come up at the meeting. The European Union drafted the resolution for the independent inquiry, which is gaining support from countries around the globe.

Who will be first in line? When a coronavirus vaccine is developed, who would actually get it?

Trump Will US be ready if coronavirus second wave hits? Probably not

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said that if a “big peak” of coronavirus floods hospitals this winter, “we have the potential here to go through days we have not seen since World War II. … As a nation, we will not be ready.”

Many scientists believe the pandemic likely will dissipate over the summer only to return late this year in a second wave that could be worse than the first. While that outlook is no certainty – just one of several plotted by public health experts –  epidemiologists, economists and futurists say the U.S. is probably not ready for what’s to come.

“What we’re experiencing is a massive global destabilization of all our systems,” said Brian David Johnson, a futurist and director of the Threatcasting Lab at Arizona State University. The destabilization described by Johnson is glaringly evident in three realms: Medicine, the economy and emotional damage.

– Dennis Wagner

Trump Report: CDC official rebukes White House advisor for critical comment

A senior officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fired back at White House adviser Peter Navarro, CNN reported. after Navarro said the CDC’s efforts on coronavirus testing “really did set us back.”

“We should remind Mr. Navarro that the CDC is a federal agency part of the administration. The CDC director is an appointed position, and Dr. (Robert) Redfield was appointed by President (Donald) Trump,” the unnamed official told CNN.

“If there is criticism of the CDC, ultimately Mr. Navarro is being critical of the President and the man who President Trump placed to lead the agency,” the official told the network.

The comment comes after Navarro appeared on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday and criticized the CDC for keeping testing for the virus in the early days of the outbreak within the bureaucracy and providing a faulty test.

“The CDC, which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space, really let the country down,” Navarro, the national Defense Production Act policy coordinator, said on the TV show.

Trump ‘Pharma Bro’ request to leave prison to research virus gets denied

A judge ruled that Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive convicted of defrauding investors and known for raising the price of an AIDS drug by 5,000 percent, cannot leave prison to work on vaccine development for the new coronavirus.

A federal judge called Shkreli’s request to leave prison to do lab work in his fiancee’s apartment “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior” that led him to prison in the first place.

“Disappointed but not unexpected,” said Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.

Trump Eric Trump says Biden ‘thrilled’ outbreak is halting campaign rallies

President Trump’s son Eric says Democrats and their presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden are discouraging efforts to begin reopening the country because that would allow Trump to conduct campaign rallies. After Election Day, the political foes will determine that the coronavirus threat has “magically” gone away, the younger Trump said on Fox News.

“Biden loves this. Biden can’t go on stage without making some horrible blunder,” Trump said. “They think they’re taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time.”

Trump Elvis Presley’s Graceland reopens Thursday after coronavirus closure

Graceland, Elvis Presley’s Memphis mansion, will reopen Thursday for the first time since March 20. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic that closed it will change the way visitors see the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Staff will be required to wear face coverings, and visitors will be encouraged to. Visitors and employees will have their temperature checked, and no one with a temperature of 100.4 degrees will be permitted to enter.

Employees will be required to take regular hand-washing breaks, and hand sanitizer will be available for employees and visitors. Commercial-grade cleaning will take place continuously, including with UV light sanitizer wands.


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Trump HHS Secretary says it’s safe to reopen, downplays need for vaccine

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar defended the push to reopen the U.S. economy by championing testing and said that “everything does not depend on a vaccine.”

Azar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “almost half of our reporting counties haven’t had a single death” and added that more than 60% of confirmed coronavirus cases are in only 2% of reporting counties.

But as several states have lifted stay-at-home restrictions, images of crowded bars, restaurants and public outdoor areas have led to concerns that there could be a resurgence of new cases.

“In any individual instance you’re going to see people doing things that are irresponsible,” Azar said. “That’s part of the freedom we have here in America.”

Azar lamented every death as tragic, but said “we have maintained our healthcare burden within the capacity” to treat the outbreak. When pressed further on the death toll, as the U.S. approaches 90,000, Azar pointed to “significant unhealthy comorbidities” that make minority communities “particularly at risk.”

Trump It’s a massive reopening day all across America

Auto plants in Michigan. Restaurants in Maine. Malls in Minnesota. Gyms in South Carolina. Monday is a big day for reopening in America. State and localities are easing stay-at-home restrictions across the country but encouraging social distancing and face masks by residents. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who say they are social distancing has dropped since late March, according to a Gallup poll released last week. But the drop isn’t just from individuals who live in states where they can now dine in restaurants, get haircuts at barbershops or visit parks. More people in states that still have stay-at-home restrictions are also no longer social distancing. 

Trump Gov. Cuomo gets COVID-19 test during his press conference

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was tested for cornavirus during his press conference Sunday to show how quick and easy it is to receive the nasal swab screening. Cuomo interrupted his own news conference to have a physician stick a nasal swab deep into his nose, though the test result was not immediately available. Cuomo had previously expressed resistance to being tested for COVID, arguing that he had not displayed symptoms nor been directly exposed to anyone who has tested positive. But he urged state residents with symptoms to get tested, saying it’s so easy that “even a governor can do it.”

– Jon Campbell

Trump NASCAR returns to track at Darlington Raceway

NASCAR became the latest professional sports league to resume competition, following in the footsteps of German Bundesliga soccer restarting its season with matches this weekend.

The Real Heroes 400 NASCAR Cup Series race was held Sunday at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Kevin Harvick won the race, which was his 50th career victory. Drivers received health checks upon arriving at the facility, and various crew members have been wearing face masks and other protective coverings. The race was held without fans and social distancing directives are required. 

An aggressive schedule calls for four more races to be held in the next two weeks as the series attempts to get back on schedule after being stopped in March with just four of its 36 events held.

Trump More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY

Trump Vaccine for millions by January? ‘If everything goes in the right direction”

A vaccine for the novel coronavirus is possible by the end of the year “if everything goes in the right direction,” the director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said Sunday. Dr. Tom Inglesby, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said the timeline is far from normal, but that these are not normal times. President Donald Trump said last week he hopes to have a vaccine widely available by January.

“There are many ways that it might not work,“ Inglesby said. “So, I don’t think we should bank on it.”

Trump Judge blocks North Carolina governor’s virus-related orders on churches

Churches in North Carolina were free to hold indoor services Sunday without the severe restrictions imposed by Gov. Roy Cooper after a federal judge sided with conservative Christian leaders. Two Baptist churches, a minister and a Christian revival group filed a federal lawsuit claiming the restrictions violated their rights to worship freely and treated churches differently from retailers and other secular activities. The ordered had limited the services to 10 people while businesses were limited to 50% capacity and funeral services up to 50 people. Cooper said he would not appeal Saturday’s ruling but urged religious leaders to voluntarily follow the guidelines.

Trump 73-year-old woman survives coronavirus after 51 days in intensive care

When Paula Eaton was wheeled on a gurney out of Baptist Hospital East, more than a dozen nurses created a tunnel to clap and cheer for her as the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” played in the background. 

Paula holds the record for the hospital’s longest amount of time a COVID-19 patient has spent in the Intensive Care Unit before being discharged.

When she was admitted to Baptist East Hospital on March 27, there were only 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky. She was within the first 20 people to test positive in the state. 

After 51 days, several rounds of pneumonia, a blood infection, and weeks on a ventilator and tracheal tube, the 73 year old was released. 

Trump More headlines from USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press


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