White House Expected to Recommend Face Masks As Cases Top 1M Globally
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
April 3, 2020
Health officials continued to warn Americans on Friday that the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States would get a lot worse before things get better, but that stay-at-home orders and social distancing was making a difference.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy posted a loss of more than 700,000 jobs in April, bringing an end to a decadelong era of job creation as COVID-10 continues to keep businesses shuttered and people at home.
Here is your COVID-19 update for Friday, April 3rd, 2020:
Coronavirus Death Toll in U.S. Surpasses 6,000 as More than 245,000 Cases Confirmed Nationwide
The number of coronavirus infections in the United States surpassed 245,000 with more than 1 million confirmed cases worldwide, data collected by Johns Hopkins University showed Friday morning. The death toll in the U.S. also climbed above 6,000, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in New York state where more than 1,500 people have died.
More than 1,000 deaths were recorded in the 24-hour period between Thursday and Friday alone, the data showed.
The situation has also prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency to request 100,000 body bags from the U.S. Department of Defense, due to concerns that funeral homes and morgues across the country will be overwhelmed by the number of people who pass away over the next few months, ABC News reports.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday night during a CNN town hall that he believes there should be a nationwide stay-at-home order.
"The tension between federally mandated versus states rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into,” Fauci said. "But if you look at what is going on in this country, I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be."
Nearly 40 states have issued some kind of restrictions on movement and business as part of the effort to curb the spread of the coronvirus, though the severity of restrictions can vary widely from state-to-state.
Dr. Fauci told "Fox & Friends" Friday morning that the COVID-19 pandemic in the US will "get worse, much worse, before it gets better."
"There's no doubt in my mind or anyone who knows anything about this, that the mitigation activities, the physical separation that we're doing clearly is having a positive impact," he added, urging people to continue to follow social distancing recommendations.
Health Officials Expected to Urge Americans Living in Coronavirus Hot Spots to Wear Face Coverings
Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday hinted that the White House Coronavirus Task Force would begin recommending Americans who live in areas of high coronavirus transmission wear some kind of cloth face covering when they go out in public to help curb the spread of the disease.
The mask advisory is based on new guidance outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pence said, adding that it was based on "consultation and advice from the CDC and top health experts."
The new guidelines for masks would be released "in the days ahead" Pence said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcettiurged Angelenos on Wednesday to begin wearing any type of protective face coverings when they go out in public, but warned it shouldn't give people a false sense of security.
“I know it will look surreal. We're going to have to get used to seeing each other like this,” Garcetti said Wednesday as he put on a black cloth mask during his daily coronavirus briefing. “To be clear, you should still stay at home. This isn't an excuse to suddenly all go out.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasioissued a similar order at a news conference on Thursday.
"We're advising New Yorkers to wear a face covering when you go outside and near other people," said de Blasio said. "It can be a scarf, it can be something you create at home, it can be a bandana."
Residents are being asked to avoid purchasing medical grade masks, such as N95 and surgical masks because those are desperately needed for frontline workers such as doctors and first responders.
Initial guidelines published by the CDC advised Americans against using masks unless they were infected with the virus or worked as a medical professional. Many experts fear that masks would give people a false sense of security and they would stop practicing good social distancing measures.
At Thursday's daily White House press briefing, President Donald Trump said he did not believe wearing masks would be made a requirement.
"I don't think they'll be mandatory, because some people don't want to do that," he said. "If people wanted to wear them, they can. If people want to use scarves, which they have, many people have them, they can. In many cases the scarf is better, it's thicker, depending on the material."
Company that Makes Corona Beer Shutting Down Production Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Grupo Modelo, the Mexico-based company that brews Corona beer and other brands says it will temporarily shutdown production after the brewery was declared non-essential under a government order aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
According to a statement released on the company's Twitter page, the beer company said it was shutting down to "comply with the measures adopted by the Federal Government" of Mexico. The company also reaffirmed its total commitment to combat the spread of the virus, SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19).
Jeff Bezos Donates $100 Million to Food Banks in America
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he is donating $100 million to Feeding America, a Chicago-based network of more than 200 food banks that feed over 46 million people, as the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the American economy.
"Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly," Bezos said on Instagram Thursday. "Non-profit food banks and food pantries rely in large part on surplus food from a range of food businesses. For example, many restaurants donate excess food. But during this time of social distancing, restaurants are closed, and many other normal channels of excess food have also shut down. To make matters worse, as supply is dwindling, demand for food bank services is going up."
"I want to support those on the front lines at our nation’s food banks and those who are relying on them for food with a $100 million gift to @FeedingAmerica," he wrote. "Feeding America will quickly distribute the funds to their national network of food banks and food pantries, getting food to those countless families who need it."
Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, thanked Bezos for his generous contribution in a statement on Thursday.
“We are deeply grateful for Jeff Bezos’ generous $100 million contribution to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. This donation, the largest single gift in our history, will enable us to provide more food to millions of our neighbors facing hardship during this crisis. Countless lives will be changed because of his generosity.”
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.