COVID-19 News

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner(LOS ANGELES) -- One of Jennifer Aniston's most famous portraits is heading to the auction block for COVID-19 relief.  So, if you're a fan of her black and white nude portrait that she shot in 1995, you're in luck.

Aniston revealed on Instagram over the weekend that the man who shot the renowned photo, Mark Seliger, is the one who organized the auction.  "My dear friend @markseliger teamed up with @radvocacy and @christiesinc to auction 25 of his portraits - including mine - for COVID-19 relief," the Friends alum announced. 

The picture was taken during the height of Friends mania, when Seliger was tasked to photograph the entire cast of the acclaimed sitcom, which he explained to Christie's.  The nude photograph, where Aniston was directed to try something a little more "provocative and edgy," was a product of that photoshoot and later became one of Seliger's most famous works. The actress, it should be said, has her legs and arms folded in such a way to completely protect her modesty.

While sharing a black and white video of Seliger developing the famed shot, Aniston added, "100% of sales proceeds of this portrait will go to @NAFClinics, an organization which provides free coronavirus testing and care nationwide to the medically underserved." 

She sweetly concluded, "Thank you again to Mark for allowing me to be part of this."

Other photos Seliger is auctioning for Red Carpet Advocacy and Christie's is Julia Louis-Dreyfus' nude shot in which the Constitution is written on her back, Amy Schumer can-canning with stormtroopers, Keith Richards' 2011 cover for GQ Magazine and over 20 others.  

You can bid for the portraits up for auction on RADArt4Aid's website.  As of late Monday, the current bid on Aniston's portrait is at $6,500.

The auction ends June 12.

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iStock/oatjo(LOS ANGELES) -- Hollywood on Monday submitted its plan for restarting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down production in March. 

A copy of the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force guidelines, obtained by Deadline, include, among other things, limiting face-to-face contact with others and regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew.  Along with procedures of cleaning, protection and prevention that other industries have already began implementing as America reopens, the plan also calls for appointing at least one compliance officer to address workplace issues as they arise. 

The task force is now awaiting a response from governors and various state officials.

A similar set of rules were formally submitted more than a week ago by the state of Georgia, which is a hub of shooting activity for movies and TV shows. Its so-called Best Practices guide detailed many post-COVID changes, including forbidding crowded production vans, changing meal distribution, stressing virtual meetings where possible, and even placing limits on background extras and wardrobe.  

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- While the nation is experiencing civil unrest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after police were filmed kneeling on his neck, Doctor Anthony Fauci says his daily meetings with President Donald Trump regarding COVID-19 "have been dramatically decreased" since the protests started.

"As you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately," Fauci told Stat, an American health-oriented news website. "And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased."

Fauci, who is the head of the national Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also confirmed the president hasn't been forthcoming with talks regarding vaccine development.  However, when asked if it is possible that a vaccine will be made available by 2021, Facui said it was  "aspirational, but it’s certainly doable."

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 6.1 million people across the globe and killed over 373,000.  In the U.S., the virus has sickened 1.8 million people, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.  As for the nation's death toll, it is approaching 105,000.

Fauci maintained that the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 striking this fall is likely and encouraged Americans to keep practicing social distancing measures and to wear a mask.

Due to the protests, photos shows crowds of people standing close together with some not wearing masks -- further stoking fears that, should a second wave hit, it could be stronger than the first due to the amount of people rallying for peace.

In addition, health officials believe that high blood pressure -- which affects 45 percent of the American population -- could be a "silent killer" when combined with COVID-19.  It has been noted that high blood pressure is a common thread among hospitalized patients.

One study found that 63 percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 also had baseline hypertension.  Because of that, researchers are looking into how the virus impacts the cardiovascular system and how it increases risk of severe symptoms for those with high blood pressure.

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iStock/Darwin Brandis(LOS ANGELES) -- It would come as no surprise to hear that the box office numbers for 2020 will be greatly impacted by theater shutdowns from the COVID-19 crisis. But now, the research company MoffettNathanson is detailing just how bad Hollywood's bottom line will be bruised.

According to numbers from the Wall Street analyst firm quoted by Variety, ticket sales could be cut by more than half by the time the year's out.

That 52% drop works out to $5.5 billion, compared to the $11.4 billion the box office generated in 2019.

What's more, the red ink could get worse if movies like Chris Nolan's Tenet and Disney's Mulan, scheduled for release on July 17 and 24, respectively, don't actually get their theatrical debuts. Many major cities like New York and Los Angeles have no plans to reopen their theaters.

If we get past the coronavirus crisis, and shuttered productions get back on schedule, however, the analysts predict a "significant bounceback" next year.

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Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As part of his ongoing Reunited Apart series, Josh Gad pulled off an epic reunion befitting an epic trilogy: the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings films. 

The get-together was meant to help support No Kid Hungry, a national campaign focused on ending childhood hunger in America, particularly in the time of COVID-19. 

While Gad has already brought together the much smaller casts of movies like Splash and The Goonies, Gad's latest event left no stone unturned for the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's beloved books.

Starting with Sean Astin, who claimed he was hoping for a Rudy reunion, one by one, the fellowship is joined, until the entire cast -- Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Andy Serkis, Sir Ian McKellan, John Rhys-Davies, Karl Urban, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean, Miranda Otto, and director Peter Jackson and co-writer/producer Phillipa Boyens -- pop up on screen.

"I remember when we all said goodbye 30 years ago, we said we'd have reunions," McKellan noted. "Have you been having reunions without me?"

For over 50 minutes, the group reminisces about what it took to make the beloved trilogy, shows off their matching tattoos they got on set, reenacts scenes and divulges secrets -- like Rhys-Davies' contract mandating that he have a La-Z-Boy recliner near him on set, even if the set was on the side of a mountain.

Eventually, Jackson's fellow New Zealander, Taika Waititi, joins the fun with trivia questions.

Bernard Hill, King Theoden himself, gets the last laugh. He joins the call after everybody had left. "Bugger," he says, realizing his mistake.

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iStock/Robert Kirk(NEW YORK) -- As a result of shutdowns, lockdowns, and losses of jobs from COVID-19, many big-city dwellers found themselves moving elsewhere, but some experts tell the Washington Post many of these people are deciding to make their moves permanent.

Suburban Jungle, a company dedicated to helping city folk find homes away from the urban jungle, has seen a 300% increase in inquires since the pandemic began, the paper reports.

With telecommuting, employees are learning they no longer need to live close to work, in an expensive, smaller place. What's more, the "always on" aspect of living in a big city is also becoming a victim of the disease -- cool bars and restaurants that bore the brunt of the shutdowns may shutter forever.

All these aspects are forcing city dwellers to question, "Is it worth it?" And many, the Washington Post says, are deciding it isn't.

"Before this, everyone was like, 'I don't need a big house. I don't want a lot of land. I want to be lifestyle rich,'" Suburban Jungle chief executive Alison Bernstein told the paper. "Now all these homes that have more land, are larger. That's what people are craving."

While LinkedIn reports more people than ever are looking for remote work, real estate company Redfin said page views of homes in small towns more than doubled in April, compared to the same time last year.  

"It's no longer temporary. People are saying, 'I'm not going back. This could happen again and we don't know when it's going to end,'" said Suburban Jungle's Bernstein.

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DutcherAerials(LOS ANGELES) -- With parts of the country opening back up, but many summer mainstays like sleep-away camps cancelled, parents say they're going to have their hands full keeping their kids entertained during the summer of COVID-19.

The non-scientific survey on 2,000 American parents, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ally Financial, revealed eight in ten parents predicted their summer plans would be dashed by the virus, with 75% saying they were concerned about how they were going to keep their kids occupied.

Sixty-four percent said they feel guilty that their children won’t have a typical summer this year.

Those polled also said they've already cancelled plans they had made prior to the crisis, with 49% saying a trip to the beach was shelved, 48% a vacation trip, 39% a summer party, 38% a special birthday, and 34% canceling a family reunion.

In fact, the average parent surveyed already spent $125.63 on those now-cancelled plans.

For those parents whose kids have summer birthdays, 87% are worried about how to make that day special for them.  Fifty-five percent of those said they plan on having a "just family" get-together to commemorate, while 19% plan to host some type of virtual party.

The survey wasn't all bad news, however. Seven in ten parents say they're looking forward to this locked-down summer to slow down and spend more time with family.

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(NEW YORK) -- Here's the latest information on the COVID-19 coronavirus as of 9:20 a.m. ET.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 6,193,548
Global deaths: 372,479.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 104,383.
Number of countries/regions: at least 188
Total patients recovered globally: 2,656,267

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 1,790,191 diagnosed cases in 50 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 104,383.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 29,784.
U.S. total patients recovered: 444,758
U.S. total people tested: 16,936,891

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in New York, with 370,770 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 19.5 million.  That is the most reported cases than in any other single region in the world.  New Jersey is next, with 160,445 reported cases out of a total population of 8.88 million.

Latest reported deaths per state
Visit https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html for the latest numbers.

School closures
For a state-by-state interactive map of current school closures, please visit the Education Week website, where numbers are updated once daily.

There are 98,277 public schools and 34,576 private schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Those schools educate almost 50.8 million public school students and 5.8 million private school students.

The latest headlines
Over six million reported COVID-19 cases worldwide
Another grim milestone was surpassed over the weekend, when the number of reported COVID-19 cases exceeded six million worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  As of Friday morning, the number of reported cases worldwide was 5,837,541.  Monday morning, it was 6,193,548.  Taking into consideration inconsistent tracking and reporting methods, the time lag in reporting coronavirus deaths and the suspected number of deaths that go unreported, medical experts concur the number of COVID-19 deaths is likely far higher than what is reported.  The global fatalities milestone comes just days after the U.S. posted its own similarly disheartening statistic that COVID-19 deaths had exceeded 100,000, with that number also believed to be higher than reported.  It was just 11 days ago that the number of global COVID-19 fatalities crossed the five million deaths threshold.  With 1,790,191 reported cases as of Monday morning, the U.S. accounts for roughly 28% of global COVID-19 infections.

Poll finds Americans remain hesitant to resume pre-pandemic activities
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that despite record unemployment and a deepening economic recession, a majority of Americans -- 57% -- feel it’s more important to halt the spread of COVID-19 than to re-start the economy.  This, despite the poll finding 79% of Americans saying their lives have been disrupted by the pandemic, and an increasing number of people reporting significant negative economic impacts to their community – 59% when the poll was taken compared to 43% two months ago, with 24% of those polled reporting they’ve been laid off or furloughed since the pandemic began.  Sixty-three percent of respondents said they remain concerned about being infected with COVID-19, with 68% also worried about a second wave of infections in the months to come.  Hispanics and blacks are more concerned about contracting the virus than are whites: 81% of Hispanics and 75% of blacks, compared to 58% of whites.  And 42% of Americans now say they know someone personally who’s been infected by COVID-19, up from just 11% in late March.

Front line health workers facing mental health crisis due to COVID-19
With doctors comparing hospital emergency rooms to war zones, health officials say healthcare workers are exposed to combat-like conditions that can have a damaging effect on their psyche.  A JAMA Network Open article published in March says over half of the more than 1,200 medical workers in China developed signs of clinical depression and anxiety.  Over a third of respondents developed insomnia while roughly 70 percent claimed to feel distressed.  Survey participants in Wuhan, China -- the epicenter of the country's outbreak -- had the most severe symptoms.  Studies have found that those working in the medical industry traditionally have a higher risk of suicide than the general public, with male doctors 40% more likely to die by suicide while female doctors are 130% more at risk.  However, COVID-19 presents a new difficulty, which is a helplessness in not being able to save tens of thousands of lives.  In addition, some doctors and nurses are choosing to isolate away from their families to reduce the risk of spreading the illness, which further increases the mental and emotional burdens on them.

Good news!
New Zealand reports ten consecutive days without a new COVID-19 case
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health on Monday reported the nation has gone ten consecutive days without a new reported COVID-19 infection, according to Radio New Zealand.  Additionally, they’re reporting only a single active case of COVID-19 infection “receiving hospital-level care.”  Johns Hopkins University reports 1,504 reported cases in New Zealand as of Monday morning.  New Zealand acted early and aggressively to fight the pandemic, closing its borders to non-citizens and non-residents on March 23, when infections in the island nation numbered about 100, and mandating 14 days of self-isolation upon entry.  They also closed almost all businesses, instituted national contact tracing and offered free COVID-19 testing.  Experts note the fact New Zealand is an island with a relatively low population density helped them more successfully battle the pandemic, and that their approaches might not be as effective in less-isolated, more densely populated areas.

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Tero Vesalainen/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As if the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't affecting enough aspects of our lives during the day, now it's even invading our minds when we sleep.

A new survey commissioned by Sleep Standards finds that out of 1,000 Americans polled aged 18 and older, a remarkable 87.3% reported having "unusual dreams" since the pandemic began, with 16.7% of respondents also reporting their dreams during quarantine have become more vivid.

So what kind of dreams are we having?  Most of them, 48.8%, involve a job or work situation.  About 42% of dreams are sexual or romantic in nature, while 30% involve social distancing and isolation, or an ex partner.  Twenty-four percent reported having dreams involving demons, zombies and spirits or that were otherwise supernatural in nature, with just over 19% reporting dreams about sick people, hospitals or patients.

Speaking of those folks who dreamed about their exes, 21.2% admitted to having those dreams while sleeping with their current partner, with more women than men having those dreams by a nearly two-to-one margin: 64.4% of women compared to 35.6% of men.

Interestingly, the survey finds those who get seven hours or more of sleep daily overwhelmingly experience more vivid dreams than those who sleep four hours or fewer, 60.6% to a mere 2.4%.

What does it all mean?  We'll leave that to the experts to decide.  In the meantime, sleep tight!

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iStock/Halfpoint (NEW YORK) -- With a third of Americans developing symptoms of anxiety and depression during COVID-19, a number that is twice as high as the amount before the pandemic, experts say healthcare workers are facing a crisis.

With doctors comparing hospital emergency rooms to warzones, health officials say doctors exposed to combat-like conditions can have a damaging effect on their psyche.  

While it is too early to quantify the damage such conditions have had upon healthcare workers, a JAMA Network Open article published in March says over half of the more than 1,200 medical workers in China developed signs of clinical depression and anxiety.

Over a third of respondents developed insomnia while roughly 70 percent claimed to feel distressed.  Survey participants in Wuhan, China -- the epicenter of the country's outbreak -- had the most severe symptoms.

Health officials say that there are dire consequences of ignoring the mental health of nurses, doctors and other medical officials. 

Tragically, a New York doctor who served as the medical director to one of the city's hardest-hit hospitals died by suicide in April at the age of 49.  Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Lorna Breen had no history of mental illness.

Dr. Jessica Gold, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, explained "Health care workers are not starting with a baseline of zero. They had super elevated depression, suicide rates and burnout prior to COVID."

Studies have found that those working in the medical industry have a higher risk of suicide than the general public, with male doctors 40 percent more likely to die by suicide while female doctors are 130 percent more at risk.

However, COVID-19 presents a new difficulty, which is a helplessness in not being able to save tens of thousands of lives.  In addition, some doctors and nurses are choosing to isolate away from their families to reduce the risk of spreading the illness.

Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor of medicine and global health at Emory, cautioned that with the current rate of 1,500 deaths per day in the country, the nation could suffer another 100,000 deaths by Labor Day.

In the U.S., as of Sunday, there are over 1.8 million confirmed cases and over 106,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

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sam thomas/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Bored during COVID-19 lockdown?  You're not alone. But why is it that some people can cope with boredom better than others? 

That was the question posed by researchers from Washington State University, who looked into how the brain behaves when people are faced with dull tasks. 

To do this, they came up with a really dull task: a mouse-clicking exercise in which 54 people were tasked with clicking a series of pegs on a computer screen. In total, the subjects had to click their mouse some 320 times. 

Researchers found there are two types of people: those who experience boredom a lot, which was linked to higher anxiety and depression, and people who were able to stave off boredom.  For the latter, brain scans showed activity in their left frontal area, the region involved in imagination and creativity. Those people reported they were able to distract themselves, even during the peg-clicking task. 

"We had one person in the experiment who reported mentally rehearsing Christmas songs for an upcoming concert. They did the peg turning exercise to the beat of the music in their head," says senior author Sammy Perone. "Doing things that keep you engaged rather than focusing on how bored you are is really helpful."

In the study, published in the journal Psychophysiology, Perone concluded, "Everybody experiences boredom. But some people experience it a lot, which is unhealthy. So, we wanted to look at how to deal with it effectively."

His team's findings suggest that those who feel boredom a lot can be taught to positively cope with a dull situation, just like those in the "creative" group managed to do.

"So, we'll still do the peg activity, but we'll give them something to think about while they're doing it," Perone says.

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Screen Grab/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (NEW YORK) -- With millions of salons and barbershops still shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, let's face it: we're looking a little unkempt -- and celebrities are no exception.

That's the motivator behind CBS' new special, Haircut Night in America, a remotely-shot show that will feature America’s top hair stylists guiding celebrities, and front-line healthcare workers, through the perfect DIY haircut, color and style from their homes.

Actor Jerry O’Connell and his spouse, actress Rebecca Romijn, host the festivities. 

"My wife and I are hosting, I guess, because Chrissy Teigen and John Legend were not available," O'Connell jokes to ABC Audio.  "So they they called us and the second they said, 'Hey, we're thinking about doing a socially distant, zooming in hair stylist to the stars to do celebrities hair over Zoom and Facetime and all that stuff,' it really made us laugh. And we were like, 'We are in."

Haircut Night in America also boasts Kelly Osbourne, Lindsey Vonn, her [NHL star] fiancé P.K. Subban, and Lindsay Lohan -- all with the guidance of their celebrity stylists, colorists, barbers doing home haircuts on themselves and each other. And what could possibly go wrong?"

O'Connell teases he nearly learned the answer to that question when he found himself with a bottle of hair dye in his hands.

"My wife's hair is her livelihood, and it was the most stressful thing I've done as a husband," says O'Connell.  "And by the way, it was more stressful than when we had our kids. It was coloring my wife's hair. Doing her roots was the biggest test of our marriage." 

Haircut Night In America airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

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Manuel Tauber-Romieri/iStock(NEW YORK) -- With millions of Americans working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, our pets are becoming more important to our health than ever, reports the American Heart Association. 

The organization is bringing back its "Best Friend Fridays" initiative in June to encourage people to incorporate pets into their workday and enjoy the mental and physical health benefits provided by our furry family members. 

The American Heart Association has shared five ways that having a pet around can help us during the crisis:

1. Pets can reduce work-related stress. Approximately two out of three employees say work stresses them out, while 40% say their job gets in the way of their health. Studies show that pets in the workplace may help reduce stress, increase productivity and improve employee satisfaction.

2. Pets can help increase productivity. When a dog joins a collaborative setting -- even if that’s a virtual meeting -- group members rank their teammates higher in terms of trust, team cohesion and camaraderie.

3. Companion animals help manage anxiety. Now more than ever, many people are feeling anxious or are struggling with mental health, and pets provide companionship and unconditional love.

4. Pets keep owners active. Dog owners are more likely to fit in the recommended physical activity than those who don’t have a dog. While social distancing is keeping people in their homes all day, pets give a reason to get outside, get some fresh air and get active. Studies also show that physical activity has many benefits for mental health.

5. Pets provide a sense of togetherness. The bond with a pet helps the owner to not feel alone. When owners see, touch, hear or talk to their companion animals, it brings a sense of goodwill, joy, nurturing and happiness. At the same time, stress hormones are suppressed.

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ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) -- Alec Baldwin returns as host of Match Games fifth season this weekend, just in time to help you escape the doldrums of quarantine.

Baldwin has been spending his quarantine in Long Island, New York with a full house -- four kids under the age of six and his expectant wife, Hilaria. They’ve been homeschooling and social distancing like the rest of us, but Baldwin says his main job has been trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for his kids.

“My full-time job now is to keep their mind off how weird all this is,” he tells ABC Audio. “Like keep getting in the pool with them and get in the hot tub with them and play with them...and throw a ball with them and, you know, chase them around the yard.”

He adds, “Because they’re becoming aware that this is strange.”

As for Match Game, he hopes it can similarly distract people from what’s going on in the world, even for just a little while.

“I do think [people] could use that fun and those laughs all the time,” Baldwin says. “You know, they might need it now slightly more than ever, you know, or maybe in some people's cases dramatically more than never…What we're aiming for is obviously just to be silly and have fun.” 

The fifth-season premiere of Match Game -- a detective-themed episode featuring celebrity panelists Mario Cantone, Jennifer Esposito, Adam Rodriguez, Angie Harmon, Michael Chiklis and Melissa Fumero -- airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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(NEW YORK) -- Here's the latest information on the COVID-19 coronavirus as of 9:30 a.m. ET.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 5,837,541
Global deaths: 360,919.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 101,621.
Number of countries/regions: at least 188
Total patients recovered globally: 2,437,965

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 1,721,926 diagnosed cases in 50 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 101,621.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 29,529.
U.S. total patients recovered: 399,991
U.S. total people tested: 15,646,041

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in New York, with 366,733 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 19.5 million.  That is the most reported cases than in any other single region in the world.  New Jersey is next, with 157,185 reported cases out of a total population of 8.88 million.

Latest reported deaths per state
Visit https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html for the latest numbers.

School closures
For a state-by-state interactive map of current school closures, please visit the Education Week website, where numbers are updated once daily.

There are 98,277 public schools and 34,576 private schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Those schools educate almost 50.8 million public school students and 5.8 million private school students.

The latest headlines
People mistaking government stimulus payments for junk mail, scam
If you haven’t yet received your government stimulus check, better check your mail a bit more carefully.  The Washington Post reports that because of the way the mailed payments look, many Americans are mistaking them for junk mail and throwing them away.  While some Americans received their payments as bank account direct deposits, the Treasury Department is also using their financial agent, MetaBank, to mail prepaid debit cards to recipients.  The problem: the plastic cards look at lot like the ones banks and others mass-mail to solicit business or market scams, and arrive in envelopes that bear no obvious outward sign that it’s an official government communication.  Even recipients who open the envelopes are greeted with an unfamiliar vendor name and a phone number they must call to activate the card, much like countless scams that seek to steal personal information.  The IRS has subsequently updated their Economic Impact Payment FAQ page with info about the prepaid debit cards.

Labor Department issues guidelines for employers reopening businesses
With the White House pushing states to reopen businesses and more states lifting lockdown restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Labor Department has issued guidelines “to implement social distancing in the workplace and to help protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus.”  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website suggests the following precautions: “Isolate any worker who begins to exhibit symptoms until they can either go home or leave to seek medical care; Establish flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), if feasible; Stagger breaks and re-arrange seating in common break areas to maintain physical distance between workers; In workplaces where customers are present, mark six-foot distances with floor tape in areas where lines form, use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, and limit the number of customers allowed at one time; Move or reposition workstations to create more distance, and install Plexiglas partitions; and Encourage workers to bring any safety and health concerns to the employer’s attention.”  All 50 states are currently lifting lockdowns to varying degrees, even as the COVID-19 death toll this week officially surpassed 100,000 in the U.S.

President Trump calls 100,000 US death toll "a very sad milestone"
President Donald Trump called the current 100,000 death toll from COVID-19 “a very sad milestone" in a Thursday morning tweet.  "We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000. To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent," the president tweeted. "God be with you!"  President Trump's reaction is a change of course from his earlier statements when COVID-19 was first reported in the nation.  As the first deaths were reported, the president likened the coronavirus to "a very bad flu" and suggested deaths would remain minimal.  In April, the president maintained that while deaths would be higher than initially thought, they would not surpass 100,000.

Good news!
Ireland’s leprechauns reportedly doing well during pandemic
As Ireland deals with their lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its last living leprechaun whisperer, Kevin Woods, reassured the public that the fictional creatures from Irish mythology are doing just fine, according to The Irish Post.  During an appearance on ITV’s This Morning on Wednesday, the prominent leprechaun advocate and activist insisted the Irish fairies are OK, although their numbers are dwindling.  As for how leprechauns are coping with Ireland’s lockdown restrictions, Woods says “they don’t have a problem with it.”  Woods also assured viewers that his encounters with the little Irish icons adhere to the government’s lockdown measures.  “Leprechauns are spirits, they manifest themselves to me as leprechauns.  I visit them each day, I haven’t broken the restrictions,” he said.  Adds Woods, “I communicate with them through an out-of-body experience, everyone knows what I mean and I can transfer my spirit up there.”

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COVID-19 News



2020 box office could be cut in half by COVID-19

iStock/Darwin Brandis(LOS ANGELES) -- It would come as no surprise to hear that the box office numbers for 2020 will be greatly impacted by theater shutdowns from the COVID-19 crisis. But now, the re...

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COVID-19 all-in-one update

(NEW YORK) -- Here's the latest information on the COVID-19 coronavirus as of 9:20 a.m. ET. Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University Global diagnosed cases: 6,193,548 Global ...

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Pandemic lockdown now invading our dreams

Tero Vesalainen/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As if the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't affecting enough aspects of our lives during the day, now it's even invading our minds when we sleep. A new survey com...

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Scientists taking an exciting look at boredom

sam thomas/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Bored during COVID-19 lockdown?  You're not alone. But why is it that some people can cope with boredom better than others?  That was the question posed b...

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