Coronavirus: Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen being released from prison amid virus concern

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Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

More than 2.1 million people worldwide – including more than 641,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals manage unprecedented patient surges.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

Live updates for Thursday, April 16, continue below:

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen being released from prison amid virus concern

Update 11:40 p.m. EDT April 16: President Donald Trump's former lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen will be released from federal prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement amid the coronavirus pandemic, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Cohen is currently locked up at FCI Otisville in New York after pleading guilty to numerous charges, including campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress. He will remain under quarantine for 14 days before he is released. Federal statistics show 14 inmates and seven staff members at the prison have tested positive for coronavirus.

After he is released, Cohen will serve the remainder of his sentence at home, according to the person, who could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Cohen’s release comes as prison advocates and congressional leaders have been pressing the Justice Department for weeks to release at-risk inmates ahead of a potential outbreak, arguing that the public health guidance to stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from other people is nearly impossible behind bars.

Texas COVID-19 deaths top 400; cases approaching 17,000

Update 11:30 p.m. EDT April 16: The number of deaths in Texas caused by the new coronavirus has topped 400 and confirmed cases are approaching 17,000, according to statistics compiled Thursday evening at Johns Hopkins University.

Texas has reported 414 deaths to COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, an increase of 39 deaths in one day, according to a Thursday night update by the university’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Confirmed cases in Texas had reached 16,876 by Thursday night, up by 972 cases in one day.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

China suffers worst economic drop since ’70s in virus battle

Update 10:20 p.m. EDT April 16: China suffered its worst economic contraction since since the 1970s in the first quarter as it fought the coronavirus, and weak consumer spending and factory activity suggest it faces a longer, harder recovery than initially expected.

The world's second-largest economy shrank 6.8% from a year ago in the three months ending in March after factories, shops and travel were closed to contain the infection, official data showed Friday.

That was stronger than some forecasts that called for a contraction of up to 16% but China’s worst performance since before market-style economic reforms started in 1979.

Some forecasters earlier said China, which led the way into a global shutdown to fight the virus, might rebound as early as this month. But they have been cutting growth forecasts and pushing back recovery timelines as negative trade, retail sales and other data pile up.

California governor expects $7 billion in virus spending

Update 9:50 p.m. EDT April 16: California Gov. Gavin Newsom expects to spend up to $7 billion this year battling the coronavirus and the economic disruption it has unleashed as state budget experts warned lawmakers on Thursday to prepare for revenue loss akin to the Great Recession.

The news came Thursday as state lawmakers held their first oversight hearing of the more than $2 billion Newsom has already spent, questioning administration officials about a nearly $1 billion contract with a Chinese-owned company to provide up to 200 million masks per month.

Lawmakers from both political parties were upset the administration has yet to release details of the contract, with Republican state Sen. Jim Nielsen saying he was not confident the masks would ever arrive.

NFL star Von Miller has COVID-19

Update 8:30 p.m. EDT April 16: Von Miller has the coronavirus and the NFL star wanted to come forward with his diagnosis to show people how serious the disease is.

"Von wants to let everyone out there know it's serious; it doesn't just happen to old people in nursing homes," agent Joby Branion told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Miller told KUSA-TV in Denver that he developed a cough a couple of days ago and when his nebulizer for his asthma didn’t clear things up, he decided to get tested for the coronavirus and the test came back positive Thursday.

“I’m in good spirits,” Miller told the TV station. “I’m not feeling sick or hurting or anything like that.”

The Broncos released a statement, saying Miller “elected to share his diagnosis publicly to emphasize that anyone can be afflicted with coronavirus.”

“Von is doing well and recovering at home in self-isolation. He remains under the care of team doctors, who are following all coronavirus treatment procedures to ensure a safe environment for Von and our community,” the team added.

Branion said that aside from his allergy to grass, Miller, 31, is the picture of health.

US job losses mount as Trump presses plan to reopen business

Update 8 p.m. EDT April 16: The ranks of America's unemployed swelled toward Great Depression-era levels Thursday, and President Donald Trump reacted to the pressure on the economy by outlining a phased approach to reopening parts of the country where the coronavirus is being brought under control.

=Under the plan, presented by Trump in a call with the nation’s governors, the president will ease his social-distancing guidelines to allow states to start getting back to business over the next several weeks in places that have strong testing and have seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump told the governors, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press, after a week in which he clashed with them over his claim that he has “total” authority over how and when the country reopens.

The move came on the same day the government reported 5.2 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the four-week total to 22 million — easily the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record. The losses translate to about 1 in 7 American workers.

Trump gives governors 3-phase plan to reopen economy

Update 6:15 p.m. EDT April 16: President Donald Trump gave governors a road map Thursday for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out a phased approach to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump told the governors, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press. “We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”

The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.

Read more about the full document here.

Read through the White House Coronavirus plan, ‘Opening Up America Again’

Update 5:45 p.m. EDT April 16: The White House on Thursday released an 18 page package of guidelines to help states re-open businesses shuttered by the Coronavirus outbreak, counseling individuals to continue social distancing practices, and urging businesses to ensure a safe working environment for their employees, as the U.S. tries to return to a more normal environment.

While the document acknowledges that each state has a different situation, the recommendations say no state should start easing social distancing if cases are appearing at a faster rate.

While various Governors in both parties have complained about a lack of testing, President Trump's plan puts the onus clearly on the states to set up testing regimes for the Coronavirus.

It also notes addressing senior care facilities, which have become a flashpoint in recent days in a number of states, with examples of multiple deaths becoming a common theme.

Read more about the full document here.

Explore>> READ THE TRUMP PLAN: “Opening Up American Again”

First case of virus confirmed in San Francisco jail

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT April 16: An incarcerated individual has tested positive for coronavirus in the San Francisco County Jail system, according to a statement from the San Francisco Public Defender.

There have been at least 27,000 confirmed cases in California with over 890 deaths from the virus in the state.

8,505 new COVID-19 cases reported in New York

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT April 16: Health officials in New York said state authorities have identified a total of 222,284 cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, up 8,505 from the number of cases reported one day earlier.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier Thursday that 606 more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total number of deadly coronavirus infections to 12,192. He also announced that the state’s mandatory social distancing measures will continue until at least mid-May.

“I know this is hard,” the governor said. “I wish I could say this will be over soon, but I can’t. We must make decision based on the science and the data. Human lives are at stake.”

Senate adjourns without making deal to approve more small business emergency funds

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT April 16: The U.S. Senate adjourned Thursday without making any progress toward an agreement to provide more emergency funds for small businesses struggling with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said lawmakers made “absolutely no progress” Thursday.

Democrats have said they’re in favor of the extra money for the Paycheck Protection Program -- but they’ve also said they want to attach more aid money for hospitals and state and local governments.

President Donald Trump slammed Democrats Thursday, saying that “they are killing American small businesses” and accusing them of playing politics.

Public schools to remain closed in New Jersey

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT April 16: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey on Thursday announced that the state's schools will remain closed until at least May 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We need to be guided by where the facts on the ground, science and public health take us,” Murphy said. “That means it will not be safe to reopen our schools for at least another four weeks.”

New Orleans Jazz Fest canceled for 2020

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT April 16: Organizers announced Thursday that the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will not go on in 2020 due to the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual festival, which usually takes place in the spring, had previously been rescheduled for fall.

"It takes something truly momentous to interrupt a 50-year New Orleans tradition as special as the Festival, but we feel strongly that the most prudent course right now is to allow more time for the situation to stabilize," organizers said Thursday in a statement.

Organizers expect the festival to go on next year from April 22 - May 2.

Midwest governors team up to plan reopening of regional economy

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT April 16: Governors of several states in the Midwest announced Thursday that they're partnering together to plan for the reopening of businesses in the region that have been shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The partnership includes the governors of OhioMichiganWisconsinMinnesotaIllinoisIndiana and KentuckyWHIO-TV reported.

In a joint statement released Thursday by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office, the governors said they plan to “work in close coordination to reopen our economies in a way that prioritizes our workers’ health.”

“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region," the statement said. “This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. But close coordination will ensure we get this right.”

Louisiana reports 433 new coronavirus infections

Update 3 p.m. EDT April 16: Officials in Louisiana reported 581 new coronavirus infections Thursday, raising the state's total number of infections to 22,531.

The number of new reports was slightly higher than the 433 new coronavirus infections reported Wednesday.

Officials said Thursday that 53 more fatal coronavirus cases were reported. Statewide, 1,156 people have died of COVID-19.

Safer at Home order extended until May 26 in Wisconsin

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT April 16: Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin on Thursday announced that the state's Safer at Home order will be extended through May 26 due to the ongoing threat posed by the novel coronavirus.

Evers said the decision was made because evidence has shown the measures are working at keeping the state from reaching a much higher projected death toll. Officials said that models projected Wisconsin would have between 440 and 1,500 deaths related to COVID-19 by April 8, however, only 99 deaths had been recorded in the state up to that point.

“Our data shows we have saved lives and we have helped flatten the curve, which has resulted in fewer cases and hospitalizations,” Evers said.

“We are going to rely on the science and public health experts to help guide us through these challenges, because at the end of the day, our bottom line is keeping people safe. And we’re not out of the woods just yet.”

Infection rates continue to plateau in Italy

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT April 16: The daily increase in new coronavirus infections identified in Italy continued to plateau Thursday with 3,786 new cases reported, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 168,941.

The increase marked the largest increase in daily infection rates reported in four days, The Associated Press reported.

Officials said Thursday that 22,170 people have died of COVID-19 in Italy. The country has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind Spain, which has more than 182,000 cases, and the United States, which has more than 641,000 cases, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

US defense secretary: Evidence suggests COVID-19 natural, not man-made

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT April 16: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday that evidence appears to suggest that the novel coronavirus that's killed more than 139,000 people worldwide came about naturally and was not man-made.

“A majority of the views right now is that it is natural, it was organic,” he said Thursday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I think we need to continue to work this and, once we get beyond the pandemic, we’ll have the chance to look back and really find out what happened and then to take the proper precautions to make sure that we prevent this in the future.”

He also criticized the Chinese government, accusing officials of lacking transparency in their efforts to identify and contain COVID-19.

“I find it hard to trust much of what comes out of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said. “They’ve been misleading us, they’ve been opaque, if you will, from the early days of this virus so I don’t have much faith that they’re even being truthful with us now.”

Trudeau: It will be ‘many weeks’ before US-Canada border reopens

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT April 16: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that the border between Canada and the United States won't open any time soon for nonessential travel.

Trudeau said it will be “many weeks” before Canada can loosen such a restrictions.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S.-Canada border will be among the first borders to open and says the U.S. and Canada are doing well in handling the pandemic. The U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any country in the world.

The U.S. and Canada agreed last month to limit border crossings to essential travel amid the pandemic, but that agreement is due to expire April 19. Nearly 200,000 people cross that border daily in normal times.

Truck drivers and Canadian snowbirds, who live in the U.S. for part of the year and are returning to Canada, are among those who are exempted from the current travel ban. Canada sends 75% of its exports to the U.S. and about 18% of American exports go to Canada.

Pennsylvania officials report 1,245 new COVID-19 cases

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT April 16: Health officials in Pennsylvania reported 1,245 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising the state's total number of coronavirus infections to 27,735, WPXI reported.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Health also reported 60 new deaths. According to WPXI, 707 people have died of coronavirus in the state.

New York extending social distancing measures through May 15

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT April 16: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced Thursday that the state's mandatory social distancing measures will extend through May 15 "in coordination with other states."

On Monday, Cuomo and the governors of six other states -- MassachusettsPennsylvaniaNew JerseyConnecticutRhode Island and Delaware -- said they were coordinating plans to reopen their economies once the threat of the coronavirus pandemic passes.

378 new COVID-19 cases reported in Florida

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 16: Health officials in Florida reported 378 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the state's total number of cases to 22,897, WFTV reported.

Statewide, 633 people have died of COVID-19, WFTV reported, citing the Florida Department of Health.

6 US Navy sailors hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms

Update 12:05 p.m. EDT April 16: U.S. Navy officials said Thursday that six sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt remained hospitalized in Guam with symptoms of COVID-19.

The number is two up from the number of hospitalized sailors reported one day earlier. Officials said one sailor had been admitted to intensive care for observation due to shortness of breath.

As of Thursday, 655 people on the Roosevelt aircraft carrier had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Officials said 6% of the ship’s crew members had yet to be tested.

New York reports 606 new fatal coronavirus cases

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT April 16: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 606 more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the state's total number of deadly coronavirus infections to 12,192.

“That is still continuing at a really tragic, tragic rate,” Cuomo said at a news conference. He said 577 of the deaths happened in hospitals while the other 29 were reported in nursing homes.

He said the rate of new infections has continued to fall, however, he noted that about 2,000 new coronavirus infections have been reported since Wednesday.

“You still have 2,000 people everyday who are walking into a hospital for the first time, or who are diagnosed with COVID for the first time,” he said.

“But the good news is it means we can control the virus. We can control the spread. And we did not know for sure that we could do that.”

White House calls for more funding for Paycheck Protection Program

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT April 16: The White House called on Congress to increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, an initiative aimed at helping small businesses pay employees as they weather the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Congress must IMMEDIATELY increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program,” White House officials said Thursday in a tweet. “A simple 1 page bill will get the job done -- no liberal pet projects.”

Last week, Democrats blocked an effort by the White House to swiftly push through $250 billion in extra funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, arguing that Republicans had resisted adding money for other needs like extra testing for the coronavirus.

Small Business Administration stops accepting applications for Paycheck Protection Program

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT April 16: The U.S. Small Business Administration on Thursday announced that it would no longer be able to accept applications for the federal Paycheck Protection Program because of funding.

The program was launched as part of a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package passed last month by Congress and aimed at helping businesses keep employees on their payrolls despite the financial hit they’re taking due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement released Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza said the agency processed 14 years’ worth of loans in 14 days and warned that funding was likely to run out soon.

“We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program — a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program — at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks," the statement said.

“The high demand we have seen underscores the need for hardworking Americans to have access to relief as soon as possible.”

153 new coronavirus infections reported in DC

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT April 15: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Thursday that 153 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, slightly higher than the 139 new infections reported one day earlier.

The new reports bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in Washington D.C. to 2,350.

Bowser said Thursday that nine people between the ages of 57 and 85 also died of COVID-19. Eighty-one Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

PGA Tour to resume in June

Update 10:45 a.m. EDT April 16: Organizers said Thursday that the PGA Tour, which was set to restart its season next month, will resume without an audience beginning the week of June 8 due to the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus.

“The health and safety of all associated with the PGA Tour and our global community continues to be our No. 1 priority, and our hope is to play a role – responsibly – in the world’s return to enjoying the things we love,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said Thursday in a statement.

“Today’s announcement is another positive step for our fans and players as we look toward the future, but as we’ve stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when – working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities – it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities.”

17 bodies found at New Jersey nursing home

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT April 16: Authorities in Andover, New Jersey found the bodies of 17 people this week in a morgue at one of the state's largest nursing homes.

The bodies were found at Andover Subacute and Rehab Center I and II, a facility linked to 68 deaths in recent weeks, including 26 coronavirus-related deaths.

869 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in the UK

Update 10:05 a.m. EDT April 16: Officials in the United Kingdom recorded 869 new fatal COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the country's coronavirus death toll to 13,729.

The number is higher than the 761 new fatal cases reported Wednesday.

Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced a total of 103,093 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in the U.K. The number is 4,617 higher than the number of cases reported nationwide Wednesday.

Wall Street opens mixed as millions file for unemployment

Update 9:55 a.m. EDT April 16: Stocks got off to a mixed start on Wall Street on Thursday morning after the U.S. government reported that millions more people filed for unemployment benefits last week, though not quite as many as had been feared.

The 5.2 million new claims came as layoffs sweep the country because of widespread business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders issued in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% in early trading Thursday, but other indicators fell. The S&P 500 is up slightly for the week but is still 17% below the record high it set in mid-February. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

Facebook put warnings on 40 million COVID-19 posts last month

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 16: Officials with the social media site Facebook said the company put warnings on 40 million posts related to COVID-19 in March due to misinformation identified by the company's fact-checkers.

The posts were connected to about 4,000 articles, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said Thursday in a news release.

“Once a piece of content is rated false by fact-checkers, we reduce its distribution and show warning labels with more context,” he said. "Based on one fact-check, we’re able to kick off similarity detection methods that identify duplicates of debunked stories."

Rosen said company employees have “removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm," including claims that drinking bleach can cure COVID-19 and that social distancing, touted by health officials as the No. 1 way to stop the coronavirus from spreading, is ineffective.

Facebook will begin to direct users who have reacted to or commented on COVID-19 posts identified as containing misinformation to the World Health Organization's myth busters website.

“We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook,” Rosen said.

Amazon: More than 6,000 accounts suspended for suspected price gouging

Update 9:40 a.m. EDT April 16: Amazon has removed over 6,000 selling accounts from its platform for violating the company's fair pricing policy as people scramble to get disinfectants, masks and other supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of the technology company, said in a letter to shareholders Thursday that the company has also removed more than half a million offers from its online store due to “COVID-based price gouging.”

“Amazon turned over information about sellers we suspect engaged in price gouging of products related to COVID-19 to 42 state attorneys general offices,” Bezos said. “To accelerate our response to price-gouging incidents, we created a special communication channel for state attorneys general to quickly and easily escalate consumer complaints to us.”

Lawmakers previously accused Amazon of not doing enough to address price gouging on its platform.

Smithfield Foods closes 2 more plants

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT April 16: Officials with Smithfield Foods, one of the country's largest producers of pork products, announced Wednesday that it will close two more meat processing facilities this week due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company had previously announced the closure of its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, facility after nearly 300 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Smithfield's dry sausage and bacon plant in Cudahy, Wisconsin will close for two weeks, officials said. The company's processing facility in Martin City, Missouri, which was supplied by Smithfield's shuttered plant in Sioux Falls, will also be closed.

Smithfield President and CEO Kenneth Sullivan said the closure of the Martin City facility “is part of the domino effect underway in our industry" and “highlights the interdependence and interconnectivity of our food supply chain.”

“This is why our government has named food and agriculture critical infrastructure sectors and called on us to maintain operations and normal work schedules,” Sullivan said. “For the security of our nation, I cannot understate how critical it is for our industry to continue to operate unabated.”

He said the company is taking several steps to protect its workforce.

“This starts with stringent and detailed processes and protocols that follow the strict guidance of the CDC and extends to things like the use of thermal scanning, personal protective equipment and physical barriers, to name a few,” Sullivan said. "We are also being explicit with employees: ‘Do not report to work if you are sick or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. You will be paid.’”

Amazon to test some front line workers for COVID-19

Update 8:45 a.m. EDT April 16: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Thursday that the tech giant hopes to soon begin testing a small number of its front line workers for COVID-19.

In his annual letter to shareholders, Bezos said regular testing of employees, including workers who don’t appear to have COVID-19 symptoms, might be the next necessary step for the company. Amazon has been accused of not doing enough to protect its workers, prompting protests and employee strikes late last month.

“If every person could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we fight this virus,” Bezos said. “Those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative could re-enter the economy with confidence.”

Bezos said Amazon was working on building its first lab to begin some testing and called for more testing worldwide.

“Regular testing on a global scale, across all industries, would both help keep people safe and help get the economy back up and running,” Bezos said.

5.2 million more seek unemployment aid as US layoffs spread

Update 8:35 a.m. EDT April 16: The wave of layoffs that has engulfed the U.S. economy since the coronavirus struck forced 5.2 million more people to seek unemployment benefits last week.

Roughly 22 million have sought jobless benefits in the past month — easily the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record.

All told, roughly nearly 12 million people are now receiving unemployment checks, roughly matching the peak reached in January 2010, shortly after the Great Recession officially ended.

All businesses deemed nonessential have been closed in nearly every state as the economy has virtually shut down. Deep job losses have been inflicted across nearly every industry. Some economists say the unemployment rate could reach as high as 20% in April, which would be the highest rate since the Great Depression of the 1930s. By comparison, unemployment never topped 10% during the Great Recession.

Worldwide coronavirus cases climb past 2M, global deaths top 138K

Update 7:41 a.m. EDT April 16: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 138,008 early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 2,076,015 people worldwide. The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 639,684 cases, resulting in 30,985 deaths.

• Spain has confirmed 182,816 cases, resulting in 19,130 deaths.

• Italy has reported 165,155 infections, resulting in 21,645 deaths.

• Germany has reported 134,753 cases, resulting in 3,804 deaths.

• France has confirmed 134,582 infections, resulting in 17,188 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 99,516 cases, resulting in 12,894 deaths.

• China has recorded 83,402 cases, resulting in 3,346 deaths.

• Iran has recorded 76,389 cases, resulting in 4,777 deaths.

• Turkey has recorded 69,392 cases, resulting in 1,518 deaths.

• Belgium has confirmed 34,809 cases, resulting in 4,857 deaths.

2 Tyson workers die amid coronavirus outbreak at Iowa pork plant 

Update 7:05 a.m. EDT April 16: Tyson Foods confirmed Wednesday that two employees at its Columbus Junction, Iowa, plant have died following a novel coronavirus outbreak at the facility.

According to The Associated Press, roughly 150 cases have been linked to the pork processing plant since Tyson shuttered it April 6 in response to the outbreak.

141 South Korea patients declared recovered have retested positive for coronavirus 

Update 6:57 a.m. EDT April 16: South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed early Thursday that 141 coronavirus patients deemed recovered have tested positive again for COVID-19.

The agency’s deputy director, Kwon Joon-wook, said the post-recovery positives are perplexing but they do not necessarily indicate reacquisition of the virus.

“Our KCDC workers are working day and night to collect samples and conduct studies,” Kwon said, noting the issue could pertain to the testing methods.

In turn, a two-week test has been launched to determine if the post-recovery positives are contagious.

British army vet, 99, raises $15M in backyard to aid National Health Service’s coronavirus fight

Update 5:17 a.m. EDT April 16: A British army veteran's one-man fundraiser for Britain's National Health Service has raised $15 million, and he never left his back yard.

Tom Moore, 99, announced last week he would walk 100 laps around his 25-meter garden with the proceeds from his solo walkathon benefiting the NHS.

The BBC was there to capture Moore’s triumphant finish Thursday morning, complete with balloons and a livestream of the final 10 laps.

644 South Dakota coronavirus cases linked to Smithfield pork-processing facility

Update 4:40 a.m. EDT April 16South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem confirmed during a Wednesday night town hall broadcast that a total of 644 novel coronavirus cases have been tied to a Smithfield Foods facility.

Noem also confirmed health officials’ reports that at least 518 of the plant’s employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the infection caused by the virus.

The additional 126 cases, she said, sprang from close contact with Smithfield Foods employees.

According to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, South Dakota has confirmed 1,168 coronavirus cases, resulting in at least six deaths to date.

Alaska residents may soon resume non-urgent medical visits, governor says

Update 4:14 a.m. EDT April 16: In his first bid to scale back statewide coronavirus restrictions, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Wednesday that residents will be allowed to begin scheduling non-urgent doctor's appointments again on Monday, April 20.

The allowed procedures include regular checkups, chiropractic procedures and physical therapy, but all patients must be pre-screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to arrival, CNN reported.

Dunleavy’s order also stated most elective medical procedures should resume May 4, provided the same patient precautions are followed.

Alaska has confirmed at least 293 coronavirus cases, resulting in nine deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

US Forces Korea service member declared coronavirus-free after 49-day isolation

Update 4 a.m. EDT April 16: Military doctors have declared the first United States Forces Korea active duty service member to test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus-free.

The unidentified service member tested positive for the infection on Feb. 26 and spent 49 days in isolation.

"The service member was cleared from isolation after having been asymptomatic for more than seven days, being fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications, successfully passing two consecutive COVID-19 tests with negative results at least 24 hours apart, and being cleared by USFK medical providers," USFK said in a prepared statement.

Missouri legislature sets April 27 return deadline for in-person session 

Update 3:47 a.m. EDT April 16Missouri's top Republican leaders announced Wednesday the state's legislature will reconvene in person before month's end, setting an April 27 deadline for legislators to return to the state capitol.

“It is absolutely critical for the people of Missouri that we keep the state government funded and services operating without interruption,” State House Speaker Elijah Haahr said in a statement he posted to Twitter.

Considering the proposed return date falls only three days after Missouri’s current stay-at-home order is set to expire, Haahr’s directive met with resistance from some of his colleagues, including State Sen. John Rizzo.

Singapore confirms largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases

Update 3:16 a.m. EDT April 16: Singapore's Ministry of Health has confirmed 447 additional novel coronavirus cases were reported Wednesday, marking the country's largest single-day increase since the pandemic began.

According to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins UniversitySingapore has recorded a total of 3,699 infections but only 10 deaths to date.

At least 404 of the new 477 cases have been linked to known clusters, the majority of which involve foreign workers housed in dormitories, the health ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also noted the average daily number of new cases has increased significantly “from 48 cases per day last week, to 260 cases per day in the past week."

WWE announces virus-fueled layoffs 2 days after being deemed an ‘essential business’

Update 2:41 a.m. EDT April 16: Two days after being deemed an "essential business" by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, World Wrestling Entertainment announced plans Wednesday to lay off employees amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The cuts will include both wrestlers and producers but will also be felt across all levels of the organization, The Washington Post reported.

According to a news release, cost-cutting measures in addition to the layoffs will include:

• Reduced executive and board member compensation

• Decreased operating expenses

• Reduced talent expenses, consulting and third-party staffing

• Employee furloughs

• Deferred spending on new headquarters for at least six months

Japan reports nearly 500 new coronavirus infections

Update 2:12 a.m. EDT April 16: Despite early optimism Japan appeared to have the novel coronavirus outbreak under control, health officials confirmed Thursday new cases - and deaths - continue to mount.

The 488 new infections confirmed Wednesday bring Japan’s total number of cases to 9,294, including 712 people who had been aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Meanwhile, the 17 latest fatalities bring Japan’s total virus-related death toll to 148, including 12 from the Diamond Princess.

US coronavirus deaths hit 30,980, total cases near 640K

Update 1 a.m. EDT April 16: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 639,000 early Thursday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 639,628 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 30,980 deaths. Of those cases, more than 214,000 have been reported in New York, meaning the state has, itself, confirmed more cases than any other nation outside the United States, including the United Kingdom with 99,489 cases, France with 134,582, Germany with 134,753, Italy with 165,155 and Spain with 180,659.

Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 14,064 – or nearly 45% of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 3,156 in New Jersey and 1,921 in Michigan.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the epicenter of the nation's outbreak with at least 214,698 confirmed cases – roughly three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 71,030 and Massachusetts with 29,918.

Six other states have now confirmed at least 20,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

• Michigan: 28,059, resulting in 1,921 deaths

• California: 26,940, resulting in 880 deaths

• Pennsylvania: 26,804, resulting in 787 deaths

• Illinois: 24,593, resulting in 949 deaths

• Florida: 22,511, resulting in 596 deaths

• Louisiana: 21,951, resulting in 1,103 deaths

Meanwhile, Texas, Georgia, Connecticut, Washington state and Maryland each has confirmed at least 10,000 novel coronavirus infections; Indiana and Colorado each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed closely by Ohio with 7,794 cases; Virginia and Tennessee each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases, followed closely by North Carolina with 5,424 cases; Missouri and Alabama each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Arizona, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Nevada each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, the District of Columbia and Delaware each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases.

Click here to see CNN's state-by-state breakdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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