Coronavirus summary of US news on 4 May: cases, deaths and statistics

Coronavirus live: latest USA Covid-19 updates - 4 May

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US coronavirus update: 15:00 PST/18:00 EST on Monday 4 May (00:00 CEST Tuesday 5 May)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 3,573,864 cases have been detected worldwide, with 250,687 deaths and 1,159,015 people now recovering.

In the USA, there have been 1,177,784 cases with 68,442 deaths. 187,180 people have recovered from the virus.

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New projection of USA COVID-19 deaths nearly 135,000 by August - University of Washington

New U.S. COVID-19 forecasts project nearly 135,000 deaths in the United States through the beginning of August, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington said on Monday.

The revised projections almost double the number of deaths foreseen in the United States since the last estimate in mid-April.

The new projections reflect rising mobility and the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, said the IHME, whose models are used by the White House. The increasing contacts among people will promote transmission of the coronavirus, it said.

US coronavirus tariff exemptions sought for robots, drones, elevators

Major U.S. firms and trade groups want the U.S. Trade Representative's Office to waive tariffs on a wide range of Chinese-made products as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including drones, robots, personal computers and 3D printers.

In March, USTR said it would not impose tariffs on ventilators, oxygen masks, and nebulizers after previously granting exclusions on a large number of health-related products. At the time, the agency opened a docket for businesses and others to raise concerns about existing tariffs "relevant to the medical response to the coronavirus."

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and several other industry bodies said in letters made public on Monday that the waivers should be far broader than those directly related to COVID-19 medical care.

Tariff waivers should be granted for sensors and cameras used by doctors to provide telehealth services, robots that can sterilize infected surfaces, 3D printers, drones that can deliver medical supplies, wireless hotspots and laptops for schoolchildren and networking equipment in data centers, for example, CTA said.

"These tariffs are not only a barrier to the entry of necessary products, they are a tax on businesses and consumers that has become ever more harmful as many enter 'survival mode,'" the group wrote USTR.

The National Elevator Industry asked USTR to lift duties on elevator and escalator parts and components that are "essential to the functions of healthcare facilities, hospitals and medical equipment factories."

US Senate returns to Washington amid concerns about coronavirus risk

(Reuters) - US senators returned to Washington for the first time in nearly six weeks on Monday, amid concerns that their legislative sessions could put lawmakers and staff at risk of contracting the new coronavirus.

The Senate reconvened at 3 p.m. ET (1900 GMT), and party leaders immediately raised partisan differences over the next step in how to combat the pandemic, nominations for senior government posts put forward by President Donald Trump and the decision to come back to the Capitol.

"If it's essential that the brave healthcare workers, grocery store workers, truck drivers and many other Americans continue to carefully show up for work, then it's essential that their U.S. senators carefully show up ourselves and support them," Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said as the session opened.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer accused McConnell of calling senators back to pursue a Republican political agenda, not help the country.

"As we return to work under the cloud of crisis, Senate Republicans should concentrate on helping us recover from COVID-19, not confirming right-wing judges or protecting big businesses that threaten to put workers at serious risk," Schumer said.

Democrats and Republicans are at odds over the contents of any new coronavirus legislation. Democrats want up to $1 trillion to help state and local governments. Republicans are demanding liability protections for businesses, as a condition for moving forward on any bill.

With Washington still under a stay-at-home order, lawmakers were advised by the congressional physician to wear masks, stay six feet (2 meters) apart and limit the number of staff on Capitol Hill.

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Which US States are reopening after lockdowns?

Most US states are preparing to slowly reopen by the end of this week but others are deciding to extend their stay-at-home orders to prevent the virus from spreading.

Nearly 5,000 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths have occurred in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities across the U.S., data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

The simple answer: no, it's not taxable and no, you don't have to pay it back, here's why...

Fears overnight closure of New York subway will push homeless 'into the shadows'

Plans to close New York City's subways at night to disinfect trains during the coronavirus pandemic risk pushing hundreds of homeless people "further into the shadows", housing experts warned, calling for safe alternatives to house them.

The overnight closing of the transit system, which starts on Wednesday, will allow for daily cleaning of the trains for the essential workers using them while most city residents are staying at home, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Police and outreach workers will handle the homeless people who have been sleeping on the subway - which has run around the clock for more than a century - Cuomo said at a weekend briefing, offering to get them services and shelter.

But most city-run shelters or other shared housing options fail to protect the homeless from the deadly respiratory virus, housing activists said, with little space to self-isolate and often unsanitary conditions.

"Increasing the number of outreach professionals and police officers is not going to address the problem if we don't give people somewhere safe to go," said Jacquelyn Simone, a policy analyst at the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group.

"If none of those people are offering them that very basic resource, that person is going to remain on the street in all likelhood ... they might actually get pushed further into the shadows," she said.

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US stimulus check coronavirus for deceased people: what to do and how to return to IRS

Stimulus checks have been sent to deceased people as the IRS didn't have time to cross-reference databases given the importance of the coronavirus financial impact.

Even though numbers of infections in some places are still increasing there is a broad push to end coronavirus lockdowns, at least partially.

Erna Solberg

Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg regrets US decision on funding WHO

Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg said she regretted the United States, a close ally of Norway, had stopped funding the World Health Organization (WHO). She made the comments at a donor conference held on Monday by the European Union to raise 7.5 billion euros ($8.23 billion) towards the testing, treatment and prevention of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Solberg also said it was a pity the US was not part of Monday's initiative, which also includes Canada, Japan and Saudi Arabia, the current chair of the G20 group of nations.

At  the conference, Oslo pledged $1 billion to support the worldwide distribution of any vaccine developed against Covid-19, as well as vaccines against other diseases. 

Trump order on US medical supply chain coming soon

US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order soon to address the lack of medical product manufacturing in the United States in the wake of the nation's novel coronavirus outbreak, the White House said today.

According to spokesman Peter Navarro, the order would soon require federal agencies to purchase U.S.-made medical products, saying the novel coronavirus outbreak had exposed the nation's reliance on China.

The proposed order has met huge pushback from current and former officials, who argued that acting to curb imports could prompt China to curb urgently needed shipments of N95 masks and other protective equipment.

Ineos builds hand sanitiser plants

UK chemicals giant INEOS has built two hand sanitiser plants, in Arkansas and Pennsylvania, each producing a million bottles of sanitiser a month to help combat Covid-19. The sanitiser will be given to hospitals USA-wide for free. The company has already built four such plants in Europe.

Stimulus check: My payment amount is wrong, what should I do?

Some payments have been too high, others too low and some recipients have complained that they have not received the $500 allowance for each eligible child.

No Trump as Johnson co-hosts major international coronavirus conference

UK PM Boris Johnson is today co-hosting the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference as nations around the world look to work together in the search for a vaccine - but US president Donald Trump isn't joining...

Full story:

CERB payments - how much, who's eligible, how to apply

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers financial help to Canadian residents who have lost their income due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Full details here:

What's 'helicopter money' & what's its origin?

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, 150 million stimulus checks are expected to be distributed in the United States.

As a result of the cash injections being received by people in the US, the term ‘helicopter money’ has become a feature of the current financial conversation.

Here's what it means and where it comes from:

"Trump's war on science"

Three years of hostility to evidence-based policy have led to a crisis in which the president’s ill-informed, self-serving ‘hunches’ have deadly consequences,” writes the Guardian in a piece looking at the US president's relationship with science during the coronavirus pandemic and throughout his time at the White House.

Pompeo: "Significant" evidence coronavirus man-made in Chinese lab

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday there was "a significant amount of evidence" that the coronavirus emerged from a Chinese laboratory, but did not dispute American intelligence agencies' conclusion that it was not man-made.

"There is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan," Pompeo told ABC's "This Week".

Contradicting a statement issued last Thursday by the top US spy agency that said the virus did not appear to be man-made or genetically modified, he added: "The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point."

Asked about US intelligence's statement, however, he replied: "That’s right. I agree with that."

China has repeatedly denied that it covered up any details about the novel coronavirus outbreak, which emerged late last year in the country and has killed about 240,000 people around the world, including more than 67,000 in the United States.

(Reuters contributed to this post)

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Trump believes there will be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year

Donald Trump sat down for an interview with his preferred network, Fox News. As ever the combative US President had lots to say and wasn’t going to admit he’d got anything wrong in his handling of the coronavirus. The US now has 1,157,753 confirmed cases, with 67,674 deaths from Covid-19. 

Trump talking points:

- He is very confident there will be a vaccine by the end of the year, despite his own pandemic task force saying it could be another 18 months.

- He thinks schools have to go back in September, though admits concern for older teachers

- Criticised Democrat’s response to the pandemic, implying it would suit them if outcome of the virus was worse

- Says he didn’t act earlier on virus because the intelligence he was given “on 23 January” was that the virus coming was “of no real import”. Reminds viewers he did stop flights from China early.

- Repeated his desire to open up the country: At some point we have to open up our country. We can’t stay closed as a country or we won’t have a country left.”

Trump says he's treated worse than Lincoln (who was assassinated)

Tuesday 5 May stimulus check deadline

Remember that two specific groups have until the deadline on Tuesday 5 May to complete their application for additional emergency stimulus check payments as part of the US government’s Coronavirus Aid Relief (CARES) programme.

Those groups are armed forces veterans and those who are a recipient of Supplemental Social Security (SSI) benefits.

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Coronavirus test that gives "results within 24 hours of infection"

Coronavirus test that gives "results within 24 hours of infection"

The US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has reportedly developed a test that can detect the coronavirus' presence as early as 24 hours after infection, before people show symptoms and several days before a carrier is considered capable of spreading it to other people. That is also around four days before current tests can detect the virus.

The head of Darpa’s biological technologies office, Dr Brad Ringeisen, said that if approved by regulators the test would be a "gamechanger".

Here are some of our stories from Saturday to catch you up on what's going on in the US regarding the coronavirus:

US intelligence investigating Covid-19’s origins

Reopening states could cause 233,000 more deaths says study

Plans for second round of US stimulus checks

Hello and welcome to our Covid-19 live updates and breaking news live feed with a focus on developments in the USA as they unfold on Sunday 3 May. We will bring you all the latest news, comment, opinion and statistics throughout the day as they occur with the global coronavirus pandemic continuing in the states and elsewhere.

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