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  • Americans prepared to mark a Memorial Day like no other as the coronavirus pandemic upended traditional commemorations, while Greece sought to revive its crucial tourism sector by restoring ferry services to its popular Aegean islands. U.S. authorities warned beach-goers to heed social-distancing rules to avoid a resurgence of the virus that has infected 5.4 million people worldwide and killed over 345,000, including nearly 100,000 Americans, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining areas on Monday, but said that does not mean the end of the outbreak. He said the goal is to balance preventive measures and the economy until vaccines and effective drugs become available. In New York City, honoring fallen military members will be done with car convoys and small ceremonies this year instead of parades to conform with coronavirus lockdown restrictions. “It’s something we’re upset about, but we understand,” said Raymond Aalbue, chairman of the United Military Veterans of Kings County, which usually puts on a parade in Brooklyn. There’s “no reason to put anybody in harm’s way,” he said, adding “it’s really cutting quick to the heart of all the veterans.” Veterans, along with nursing home residents, have made up a significant portion of those who died in the U.S. outbreak. After two days of playing golf, President Donald Trump is scheduled to make Memorial Day appearances at Arlington National Cemetery, where he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and speak at a historic fort in Baltimore. The White House, meanwhile, slapped a travel ban on Latin America’s most populous nation, saying it would deny admission to foreigners who have recently been in Brazil. The ban, which takes effect Thursday, does not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Brazil, with over 363,000 reported infections, is second only to the U.S. and many health experts say that number understates the severity of the country’s outbreak. Greece’s low COVID-19 infection rate allowed the government to restart the summer holiday season three weeks earlier than previously planned. In addition to reopening ferries with new passenger limits, it allowed cafes and restaurants to open under new social distancing rules. All this, of course, was for Greek holidaymakers as foreign tourists aren't expected until after June 15. “We will implement exactly what the state has told us, whatever the doctors have told us, first and foremost for the safety of our customers,” said Spiros Bairaktaris, owner of a restaurant in Athens that was reducing capacity from 100 customers to 30. “Many will come to Greece because we had the fewest number of deaths compared to other countries and thank God for that,” he added. Greece, which shut down early, has only 171 of Europe's nearly 170,000 coronavirus deaths. Islands such as Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Samos are a major draw for tourists, but had been mostly off-limits since late March when the country’s coronavirus lockdown took effect. Like many southern European countries that rely heavily on visitors, tourism makes up over 10% of the Greek economy. Hard-hit Spain reached a milestone Monday as half the population — including those in the country’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona — were finally allowed to gather, albeit in limited numbers. Outdoor seating at bars and restaurants also reopened. Madrid coffee bar owner Roberto Fernández said the reopening was bittersweet. “We are also a little sad today, as we have lost two of our more elderly regular customers,” Fernández said. “They use to come every day but now they have left us.” Relaxations go a step further in the rest of Spain, where people can visit beaches and nursing homes, conduct weddings and spend as much time as they want outdoors. Spain has recorded 28,700 confirmed deaths and more than 230,000 virus infections. In the Czech Republic, bars and restaurants opened their indoor spaces to patrons as did hotels, public pools, saunas and fitness centers. But as lockdowns are being rolled back across Europe, a fresh outbreak linked to a Dutch slaughterhouse has spread across the border into neighboring Germany. Dutch authorities said Monday that 147 of 657 employees at a meat processing plant in Groenlo tested positive, and 19 of them live in Germany. Several coronavirus clusters among abattoir employees in Germany have prompted the government to pledge a crackdown on poor working conditions in the industry. In Russia, infections topped 350,000 — the third highest in the world — as health officials reported 9,000 new cases and 92 new deaths, bringing the overall death toll to 3,633. Russia denies allegations that its death rate is suspiciously low, insisting that's due instead to its effective measures to counter COVID-19. Millions of Australian children returned to school as the number of coronavirus patients continues to fall. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Monday that students and teachers had to observe one key message: Stay home if sick. “We’re not out of the woods yet. We have to take each day as it comes, each week as it comes and we keep our fingers crossed that Queenslanders will continue to flatten that curve,” Palaszczuk said. In China, where the pandemic first began last year, 11 new cases were reported, 10 of them among passengers arriving from overseas. China is holding the annual session for its ceremonial parliament, part of government efforts to show that the country is shaking off the devastating economic efforts of having locked down tens of millions of citizens. South Korea reported 16 new cases as 2 million more children begin returning to school this week. The U.S. Memorial Day weekend saw tens of thousands head to beaches and parks, relieved to shake off some of the pandemic restrictions. Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend. In the Tampa area along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities closed parking lots to stem the flood. In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks. Officials in California said most people were covering their faces and keeping their distance as they ventured out. Many Southern California beaches were open only for swimming, running and other activities, not sunbathing. At New York’s Orchard Beach in the Bronx, kids played with toys and people sat in folding chairs, wrapped up in sweaters and masks. “Fresh air. Just good to enjoy the outdoors,” said Danovan Clacken. ___ Hadjicostis reported from Nicosia, Cyprus. Associated Press writers around the world contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.
  • A key indicator of German business outlooks bounced upward in May as more businesses and activities re-opened — but the index remained far below normal readings as Germany faced a long journey toward full recovery from the coronavirus downturn. Revised official figures released separately Monday showed the economy has now recorded two straight quarters of falling output, meeting a commonly used definition of recession. The Ifo institute index based on surveys of businesses rose to 79.5 from 74.2 in April, a strong increase but still far below normal. “The gradual easing of the lockdown offers a glimmer of hope,” said Ifo President Clemens Fuest. Carsten Brzeski, chief eurozone economist at ING, said in a research note that “today’s Ifo index echoes more real-time signals that economic and social activity has started to pick up significantly since the first lifting of the lockdown measures in late April.” He said the upturn from historic lows was “highly welcome” but “no reason for complacency or even hubris.” He said the German economy is unlikely to return to its pre-crisis level before 2022 even if there is no second wave of the virus outbreak. Official statistics released Monday confirmed an earlier reading that the German economy shrank by 2.2% in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2019. That was the biggest quarterly decline since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. The more detailed figures in the second release showed that private consumption and exports were the hardest hit. Investments in the engineering sector, construction and public expenditure helped prevent an even bigger downturn. The figures revised growth for the last quarter of 2019 to minus 0.1%, meaning the country has recorded two straight quarters of falling output. Figures for the second quarter should show an even deeper downturn since the first-quarter figures only captured part of the lockdowns.
  • Greece restarted regular ferry services to its islands Monday, and cafes and restaurants were also back open for business as the country accelerated efforts to salvage its tourism season. Travel to the islands had been generally off-limits since a lockdown was imposed in late March to halt the spread of the coronavirus, with only goods suppliers and permanent residents allowed access. But the country’s low infection rate in the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the government to start the holiday season three weeks earlier than the expected June 15 date, as other Mediterranean countries — including Italy, Spain and Turkey — are grappling with deadlier outbreaks. At Bairaktaris restaurant on central Monastiraki Square in Athens, waiters and staff wearing purple face masks and some with plastic visors, sliced meat from the revolving gyros grill, arranged flowers on widely spaced tables and waited for customers, who remained cautious Monday. Spiros Bairaktaris, the exuberant owner, is carrying on a family business running for 140 years and has framed pictures on the wall of himself sitting next to supermodel Naomi Campbell, singer Cesaria Evora, and other past celebrity customers. He says he’s optimistic about the season despite the slow start. “This has never happened before,” he told the AP. “We normally sit 100 in the inside area, now it’ll be just 30. ... There won’t be any bouzouki music or dancing until we get the all-clear from the doctors. 'But I think people from all over Europe will come here because we have a low death toll, thank God.” Greece has had nearly 2,900 infections and 171 deaths from the virus. Italy has seen nearly 33,000 coronavirus patients die, Spain has had nearly 29,000 dead and Turkey has had 4,340 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Social distancing regulations and passenger limits have been imposed on ferries and at restaurants to ward off new infections. State-run health services to combat the coronavirus are being expanded to the islands, with intensive care units being placed on five islands: Lesbos, Samos, Rhodes, Zakynthos, and Corfu, along with existing ICU facilities on the island of Crete. Tourism is a vital part of the Greek economy, directly contributing more than 10% of the country’s GDP as Greece struggles to emerge from years of financial crisis. More than 34 million visitors traveled to Greece last year, spending 18.2 billion euros ($19.5 billion), according to government data. With a view of the Acropolis and padded lounge seating, it’s usually hard for cafe goers to find a spot at Kayak, but midday Monday it was still largely empty. “Eighty percent of our business is from tourism, and people in Greece are cautious, they fear they will lose their job,” owner Liza Meneretzi said. “I’ve been running the cafe for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. But I was born an optimist, so we’ll see how things go.” ___ Petros Giannakouris and Iliana Mier contributed. ___ Follow Gatopoulos at http://www.twitter.com/dgatopoulos ___ Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Many laid-off workers who lost health insurance in the coronavirus shutdown soon face the first deadlines to qualify for fallback coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayer-subsidized health insurance is available for a modest cost — sometimes even free — across the country, but industry officials and independent researchers say few people seem to know how to find it. For those who lost their health insurance as layoffs mounted at the end of March, a 60-day “special enrollment” period for individual coverage under the ACA closes next week in most states. Altheia Franklin, who lives near Houston, lost her medical plan after being laid off from a job at an upscale retirement community, as a counselor to seniors making the move. Stay-at-home orders and higher virus risks for older people have put such life transitions on hold in the pandemic. Franklin said she received plenty of government information about coronavirus safety and economic stimulus payments, but “the insurance piece just has not been mentioned.” She scrambled and finally found an ACA — or “Obamacare” — plan she could still afford on a reduced income. “We are in the middle of a pandemic, and God forbid if I get sick and I don't have it,' she said of her health insurance. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that nearly 27 million workers and family members had lost job-based health coverage as of the start of this month, a number now likely higher with unemployment claims rising. In a counter-intuitive finding, Kaiser's study also estimated that nearly 8 in 10 of the newly uninsured would likely qualify for some sort of coverage under former President Barack Obama's health law, either a private plan like Franklin found, or Medicaid. “The ACA is there as a safety net for the first time in an economic downturn,” said Kaiser foundation expert Larry Levitt. But “many people losing their jobs have never had to think of relying on the ACA for coverage, so there is no reason they should be aware of their options.” There are several options, not easy to sort through. Some have application deadlines; others do not. And the Trump administration, which still plans to ask the Supreme Court later this summer to declare “Obamacare” unconstitutional, is doing little to promote the health law's coverage. Here's a quick look: SUBSIDIZED PRIVATE INSURANCE Like Altheia Franklin, people who lose workplace insurance generally have 60 days from when their coverage ended to apply for an ACA plan. They can go to the federal HealthCare.gov or their state's health insurance website. Most states that run their own health insurance marketplaces have provided an extended sign-up period for people who lost coverage in the pandemic. The federal marketplace, serving most of the country, has not. MEDICAID FOR ADULTS Nearly three-fourths of the states have expanded Medicaid to low-income adults under the Obama health law. In those states, low-income adults can qualify for free or very low cost coverage. There is no sign-up deadline. The Kaiser foundation estimates that nearly 13 million people who lost job-based insurance are eligible for Medicaid. But that option is not available in most Southern states, as well as some in the Midwest and Plains, because they have not expanded Medicaid. CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE Laid-off workers should be able to get their children covered even if the adults in the family cannot help. The federal-state Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid cover kids in families with incomes well above the poverty level. “Medicaid is open year round if you are a parent with kids who need coverage,” said Joan Alker, director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University. Children's coverage predates the ACA. COBRA People can continue their employer coverage under a federal law known as COBRA, but they have to pay 102% of the premium — too much for most who are out of work. If there's another coronavirus bill from Congress, it might include subsidies for COBRA coverage. Government statistics on people losing —and finding— health insurance coverage in the coronavirus contraction won't be available for months. The head of a California company that helps people find ACA coverage says most of the new sign-ups they're seeing are people who qualify for Medicaid, and there's been only a modest uptick for subsidized private plans. “We are all wondering where the heck is everybody,” said George Kalogeropoulos, CEO of Health Sherpa. “People first are trying to apply for unemployment, and many of them getting stuck there,” he added. “Health care is the secondary thing, and if they get stuck in unemployment, people may never do the health care thing.” Alker, the Georgetown University expert, said insurance protection has been neglected in the pandemic. “Having health insurance has never been more important,” she said. “We need a national commitment to make these newly uninsured people aware of their options.
  • Europeans soaked up the sun where they could, taking advantage of the first holiday weekend since coronavirus restrictions were eased, while governments grappled with how and when to safely let in foreign travelers to salvage the vital summer tourist season. Overjoyed French families flocked to the Grande Motte beach on the Mediterranean shore Sunday, swimming and sunbathing in areas specially marked to keep a distance from others. Cordons of ropes and wooden stakes were neatly spaced out across the sand, giving each visitor or group an eight-square-meter (85-square-foot) space of their own. Online reservations are required though free of charge, and there is already a two-day waiting list. Those lucky enough to get a spot for a four-day weekend relished the opportunity, frolicking beneath a summer-like sun. Elsewhere in France, beaches have also reopened, but only for individual sports or walks, and visitors weren't allowed to sit or lie down. Yet even as social distancing rules spread families and friends out Sunday across beaches and parks, the virus remained a constant threat. Europe has seen over 169,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Across the continent, a mishmash of travel restrictions appears to be on the horizon, often depending on where travelers live and what passports they carry. Germany, France and other European countries aim to open their borders for European travel in mid-June, but it isn’t clear when intercontinental travel will resume. Spain, one of the worst-hit countries in the pandemic and also one of the world’s top destinations for international travelers, says it won’t reopen for foreign tourists until July. To boost the economy, the country’s leader has encouraged Spaniards to “start planning their vacations” for late June inside Spain. “Come July, we will allow the arrival of foreign tourists to Spain under safe conditions,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said. “We will guarantee that tourists aren't at risk and that they don’t represent a risk (to Spain).” For now, travel between Spain’s provinces isn’t allowed and many other restrictions remain — although on Monday, residents in worst-hit Madrid and Barcelona will be able to join the rest of the country in dining outdoors at bars and restaurants, which can offer only 50% of their usual tables. Also Monday, local sunbathers and swimmers will be permitted in some of Spain’s coastal provinces. The number of beach-goers will be limited and umbrellas must be at least four meters (13 feet) apart. In Germany, domestic tourists will be allowed to return Monday to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state in the northeast — home to the country’s Baltic Sea coast — and to hotels in Berlin, the popular capital. But tourism campaigns will require a new approach. “We don’t think people want closely packed big-city bustle at the moment,” Burkhard Kieker, the chief of visitBerlin, told RBB Inforadio. His agency has launched a campaign showing “how much green space and how much water there is” in Berlin. In Paris, where all city parks remain closed, residents soaked up the sun along the embankments of the Seine River and lounged on ledges outside the Tuileries Gardens. In some spots, people sat safely spaced apart. Elsewhere, groups of maskless teens crowded together, shrugging off social distancing rules. Beginning Monday, France is relaxing its border restrictions, allowing in migrant workers and family visitors from other European countries. But is calling for a voluntary 14-day quarantine for people arriving from Britain and Spain, because those countries imposed a similar requirement on the French. Italy, which plans to open regional and international borders on June 3 in a bid to boost tourism, is only now allowing residents back to beaches in their own regions — with restrictions. In the northwestern Liguria region, people were allowed a dip in the sea and a walk along the shore, but no sunbathing. In Savona, a dozen people were fined for violating sunbathing bans. Rimini, on Italy’s east coast, attracted beach-goers beginning at dawn, and many sat in widely spaced groups. Still, authorities had to work at enforcing distancing on a popular beach in Palermo. ’’We can't forget that the virus exists and is circulating,” deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri told Sky TG24. “Even if the numbers of new cases are low, we must respect the rules.” For the first time in months, well-spaced faithful gathered in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square for the traditional Sunday papal blessing. About 2,000 Muslims gathered for for Eid al-Fitr prayers at a sports complex in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, carefully spaced a meter (about three feet) apart and wearing masks. Beachside communities along England’s coast urged Londoners and others to stay away after rules were eased to allow people to drive any distance for exercise or recreation. The southern coastal city of Brighton put it: “Wish you were here — but not just yet.” Wales kept up its “Later” tourism campaign, reminding people that its hotels, restaurants and tourist sites were still closed. ___ Associated Press writers from around Europe contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Turkey’s health minister on Sunday announced 32 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the country to 4,340. Fahrettin Koca also tweeted there were 1,141 new infections confirmed in the past 24 hours. The total number of infections has reached 156,827. Turkey ranks ninth in a global tally by Johns Hopkins University but experts believe the number of infections could be much higher than reported.More than 118,000 people have recovered, according to the he alth ministry statistics. The Muslim holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, traditionally a time of gathering, was marked by a nationwide lockdown, the first of its kind in Turkey to combat the coronavirus. Previous weekend and holiday lockdowns affected a maximum of 31 out of 81 provinces. Senior citizens above 65 were allowed out for a few hours for a third Sunday. People under 20 and above 65 have been under full lockdown, but days and times outside have been allotted according to age groups as part of easing efforts. ___ Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Health Reporter Sabrina Cupit

  • Aviation is an international industry and as a result involves multiple languages. However, as deemed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), English is the official language of aviation. The industry considers that some pilots may not be fluent English speakers and as a result pilots are obligated to participate in an English proficiency test. The problem is that each country has their way of deciding proficiency, says Georgia State linguistics professor, Eric Friginal. He says the question is how do you make it globally standard. 'In the U-S we have the FAA but in various other countries, they have their own thing, ' says Friginal.  Communication breakdowns have contributed to at least three deadly plane crashes in the past several decades. This issue is not necessarily life-and-death all the time, but intercultural communication can be complicated if one or both parties are non-native speakers. Here is actual audio from an exchange between a pilot and air traffic control where communication is a problem: Through its International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations has developed recommendations for international aviation, but in terms of the actual implementation there is not always clear oversight. So, for example, Brazil’s air traffic controllers may have different protocols from those in China or another country. Friginal says, 'currently, no one is technically monitoring and analyzing these things.' And the problem could only grow as demand for pilots grows globally. If you look at Asia alone, there will soon be up to 300,000 new pilots needed in the region.  'We would love to partner with Delta Airlines, since the hub is right here in Atlanta', says Friginal. The ultimate goal is to develop an Aviation English Research Center based at Georgia State in collaboration with other institutions. Friginal adds, 'with expanded funding and partnerships, we could continue to make major contributions to this field of research.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the influenza vaccine this year is offering protection. This season, the vaccine has been 45% effective against both types of flu that are circulating across all ages.The vaccine has been more than 50% effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send a child to the doctor’s office. Health experts consider that pretty good.
  • The risk to Georgians is very low. So far, the only people infected in the U.S. with the new virus have been those who have traveled to the region in China where the virus first turned up in humans or those who've had prolonged close contact with them. You should be more concerned about influenza than this new coronavirus, according to health experts.

News

  • More than 5.4 million people worldwide – including at least 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Monday, May 25, continue below: Florida reports lowest number of daily deaths since late March Update 5:04 a.m. EDT May 25: Florida health officials on Sunday reported five new coronavirus-related deaths statewide since Saturday – the lowest day-to-day increase since March 29, records show. According to Orlando’s WFTV, officials also reported 740 additional cases of the virus statewide since Saturday. As of Sunday, the total number of cases in the state was at 50,867, with 2,237 deaths. Read more here. ‘Person of interest’ identified in bias crimes against Asians in Seattle Update 3 a.m. EDT May 25: Police in Seattle are investigating a growing number of crimes targeting Asians during the outbreak. Seattle officers said the attacks started late Saturday afternoon in the heart of Ballard and moved to Golden Gardens Park. They believe one man is responsible for all the incidents. A victim at Golden Gardens Park said the man spat in his face. The workers at Thai Thani Restaurant said the man threw things at them while demanding to know if they are Chinese. “I hear some noise, and I see some guy angry, yelling,' Umboom Moore told Seattle’s KIRO-TV. That was the first time she knew something unusual was happening Saturday night at the restaurant where she works. “Just like some crazy guy,” she said. “So I just started taking pictures.” Her co-worker, Natthiya Chumdee, said he was yelling at her. “Right over there, he smashed the window,” she said. When he asked if she is Chinese, she told him everyone there is Thai. He asked her to kneel and swear to it. “Well, I’m not going to do that,” she said. “He’s starting [to] lose control. And he comes here, and he says, ‘You know, I’m going to slam the door, this table to you.’” The night before, Tonya McCabe got the brunt of his anger. “He said, ‘Are you Chinese?’” she said. “And I said, ‘No, we’re not.’ And he still kept yelling at us. And I said, ‘If you’re not going to leave, I’m going to call 911.’ And then he said, ‘Better [expletive] call 911.’” Just last week, a man was captured on camera shoving an Asian couple as they walked by. They told Seattle police he spat on them, too. The man in these latest attacks is described as white, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, in his mid-20s to mid-30s and is of a muscular build. He was wearing a white shirt and shorts. It is the same suspect description in two attacks at Golden Gardens Park on Saturday night. “I stand back there, and ... yell to him, ‘Get out, leave!’” said McCabe. It has McCabe and the others working at this restaurant finding a different way to get around this city that is now their home. “I’m afraid to like walk on the street or take a bus,” said McCabe. They told KIRO that the man also approached other Asian-owned businesses in the area before apparently heading to Golden Gardens Park. Anyone who recognizes him is asked to call Seattle police. 17-year-old Georgia boy becomes youngest in state to die from COVID-19 Update 2:24 a.m. EDT May 25: The Georgia Department of Public Health said Sunday that a 17-year-old boy has died of the coronavirus, marking the youngest fatality and first pediatric death in the state. Nancy Nydam with the department confirmed the information to Atlanta’s WSB-TV on Sunday. The teen was from Fulton County and had an underlying condition, according to officials. His identity has not been released. More than 1,800 people have died of COVID-19 in Georgia since the outbreak began, with the median age of deaths at 73.6 years old, according to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of COVID-19 in children have typically been less severe, though there has been growing concern and a new warning about a rare condition recently seen in dozens of children nationwide. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta confirmed that a team of infectious disease and cardiology experts are evaluating several cases in metro Atlanta of children who exhibited Kawasaki-like symptoms and inflammation. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta physician specialists stressed that it appears to be a rare finding with a low rate in Georgia. New York health officials have already issued a warning about a rare inflammatory syndrome that has infected at least 64 children in that state. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said they have experts for treating the symptoms regardless of a potential link to COVID-19. Families should contact their doctor or visit an emergency room if their child develops signs of illness such as high fever, rash, red eyes, abdominal pain and swelling of the face, hands or feet. US coronavirus cases top 1.6M, deaths near 98K Published 12:43 a.m. EDT May 25: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 1.6 million early Monday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,643,238 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 97,720 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York, with 361,515 cases and 29,141 deaths, and New Jersey, with 154,154 cases and 11,138 deaths. Massachusetts, with 92,675 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,372, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 110,304. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each. Seven other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 94,020 cases, resulting in 3,754 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,563 cases, resulting in 5,136 deaths • Texas: 55,861 cases, resulting in 1,528 deaths • Michigan: 54,679 cases, resulting in 5,228 deaths • Florida: 50,867 cases, resulting in 2,237 deaths • Maryland: 46,313 cases, resulting in 2,277 deaths • Georgia: 42,902 cases, resulting in 1,827 deaths Meanwhile, Connecticut has confirmed at least 40,468 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota and Tennessee each has confirmed more than 20,000 cases; Washington, Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed more than 14,000 cases; Mississippi, Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases; South Carolina has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by Nevada with more than 7,000; New Mexico and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases, followed by Arkansas with more than 5,000; South Dakota and New Hampshire each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; and Oregon and Puerto Rico each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Some feathery friends were saved after a Massachusetts state trooper rescued eight ducklings who had fallen through a storm drain grate at a Nahant Beach parking lot, according to police. About 9:20 a.m. Saturday, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Jim Maloney found the baby ducks trapped in water under the heavy grate, Boston's WFXT reported. The ducklings’ mother and one of their siblings – the only baby duck who hadn’t fallen through the grate – were standing off to the side. >> See the Facebook post here Maloney called the Department of Conservation and Recreation for assistance and also received help from Nahant’s Department of Public Works, Lynn Animal Control and Massachusetts State Police Trooper Tim Benedetto. They pried open the storm drain gate and a Lynn Animal Control officer scooped the ducklings out of the drain with a net. The ducklings were placed in a cardboard box, which Maloney put in his police cruiser while waiting for the mother duck. At 10 a.m., officials said the mother and baby duck came out of a grassy area. The eight ducklings were then placed in the area, and the mother duck immediately went to her babies.
  • A South Carolina soldier has died in Afghanistan, WPDE reported. The U.S. Department of Defense announced Thursday that 25-year-old 1st Lt. Trevarius Ravon Bowman of Spartanburg died May 19 at Bagram Air Force Base. He died in a non-combat-related incident. A department news release said the incident is under investigation but didn’t provide details. Bowman was in Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to a unit attached to the 228th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade of the South Carolina National Guard. “It is with heavy hearts and deepest condolences that we announce the passing of 1st Lt. Trevarius Bowman. This is never an outcome we as soldiers, leaders and family members wish to experience,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, the adjutant general for South Carolina. “Please keep the service members in his unit in your thoughts and prayers, as well as his family as they work through this difficult time.”
  • More than 5.3 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Sunday, May 24, continue below: Japan expected to lift Tokyo’s state of emergency Monday Update 11:46 p.m. EDT May 24: Japan is expected to end a state of emergency in Tokyo and four other prefectures Monday. Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura asked experts to lift the measure that was put in place about six weeks ago at a special task force meeting allowing businesses to gradually reopen. “It appears the measure is no longer needed in all of the prefectures,” Nishimura said. Japan’s state of emergency is soft and largely a request for people to stay at home and for non-essential businesses to close or operate shorter hours. Experts are expected to give their approval. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would then make an official announcement later Monday. Japan has 16,580 confirmed cases and 830 deaths, according to the health ministry. The Associated Press contributed to this report.  Millions of students return to schools in Australia Monday Update 9:16 p.m. EDT May 24: Millions of students will return to classrooms Monday as school resumes in the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland. Schools in the less populous Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory had already reopened as cases throughout the country continue to drop. Students in Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory are expected to return to classrooms in stages in June. Safety precautions are still in place. Schools can not have assemblies or field trips. New South Wales has recorded 50 of the country’s 102 deaths. Queensland has recorded six deaths. South Australia and the Northern Territory also have no active cases. The Australian Capital Territory has not had a case in three weeks. The Associated Press contributed to this report.  White House tightens travel restrictions with Brazil Update 6:00 p.m. EDT May 24: Travelers who have been in Brazil for the 14 days preceding their arrival to the U.S. are barred entry to the country, the White House announced Sunday. 'I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States,' President Donald Trump said in the proclamation. The restrictions are intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus. There are 347,398 confirmed cases and 22,013 deaths from the coronavirus in Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins tracking information. “Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, CNN reported. “These new restrictions do not apply to the flow of commerce between the United States and Brazil.” The White House had already banned travel from the United Kingdom, Europe and China, other countries hard hit by the virus. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Spain prepares to open some beaches Monday Update 4:50 p.m. EDT May 24: Spain will open some beaches for sunbathing in Madrid and Barcelona Monday as part of the country’s easing of coronavirus-related restrictions. Bars and restaurants will also open at 50% capacity with outdoor seating available for customers. The two cities account for more than 15,000 of the country’s 28,752 deaths from the coronavirus. Health officials said 70 people died from the virus in the last 24 hours. In March at the height of the outbreak, more than 900 people a day died from the coronavirus in Spain. Travel between regions is prohibited until late June. International travel will not be allowed until July. The Associated Press contributed to this report.  FDA commissioner warns pandemic ‘not yet contained’ Update 12:52 p.m. EDT May 24: Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, warned Americans observing Memorial Day weekend to follow federal guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, saying it “is not yet contained.” “With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained. It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community,' Hahn tweeted. “Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.' Boris Johnson says UK schools to begin reopening June 1 Update 12:52 p.m. EDT May 24: Schools in the United Kingdom will start to reopen June 1, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at his daily briefing. “In line with the approach being taken in many other countries, we want to start taking our children back into the classroom, in a way that is as manageable and as safe as possible,” Johnson told reporters. “We said we would begin with early years’ settings and reception, year one, and year six in primary schools.” “We then intend from June 15 for secondary schools to provide some contact for year 10 and year 12 students to help them to prepare for exams next year, with up to a quarter of these students in at any point.' Johnson said schools would need to reduce the size of classes, have staggered breaks and lunch, and staggered  pickup and drop-off of students. Cuomo: Pro sports in New York can begin training camps Update 12:43 p.m. EDT May 24: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said professional sports teams in New York can open their training camps. “Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,' Cuomo said during his daily news conference. “I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it. Do it. Work out the economics, if you can. We want you up. We people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy.” Crowds at Missouri tourist spot ignore social distancing Update 11:37 a.m. EDT May 24: Large crowds of vacationers were caught on video ignoring social distancing guidelines as they reveled in bars, pools and yacht clubs, The Washington Post reported. The lack of social distancing occurred at the Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend, the newspaper reported. One photograph shared by KSDK showed dozens of people crowded at an outdoor patio beneath a sign reading, “Please practice social distancing.” Police: Crowds larger than normal in Daytona Beach, Florida Update 10:30 a.m. EDT May 24: Crowds gathering in Florida’s Daytona Beach were “larger than normal” on Saturday, the Daytona Beach Police Department, tweeted Saturday. “You may have seen larger than normal crowds this evening, both on the beach side, and on Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd,” the department said in its tweet. The night was not incident-free however. Daytona Beach police said two people were injured Saturday evening in a shooting that happened at a convenience store near the boardwalk. WFTV reported. The night was not incident-free however. Daytona Beach police said two people were injured Saturday evening in a shooting that happened at a convenience store near the boardwalk. WFTV reported. The two people shot had non-life-threatening injuries, police said. White House adviser: Unemployment will top 20% in May Update 10:08 a.m. EDT May 24: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said he believes the nation’s unemployment rate will top 20% for the month of May. Hassett told CNN said he expects the rate will be even higher in June, but “should start to trend down,” after taht. Hassett thinks it is possible that the unemployment rate could still be in double digits in November. “I think that, yes, unemployment will be something that moves back slower,' Hassett said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “I think it could be better than that. But you’re going to be starting at a number in the 20s and working your way down. And so of course you could still not be back to full employment by September or October. Again if there were a vaccine in July, then I would be way more optimistic about it.” NSA chief says travel restrictions to Brazil likely Update 9:20 a.m. EDT May 24: National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said the Trump administration is likely to announce new travel restrictions to and from Brazil. O’Brien, during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said the administration is likely to make a decision about restricting travel to Brazil on Sunday and said White House officials “hope that will be temporary.” He said the White House would “take a look at the other countries on a country by country basis” in that region. Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre reopens Update 6:55 a.m. EDT May 24: Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity’s holiest sites, reopened Sunday, The Washington Post reported. The church, which closed several months ago for the first time since the 14th century, allowed 50 people at a time to visit the church, the newspaper reported. Visitors were required to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. “From this Holy Place, in this Easter time, we continue our prayers, asking for the end of this pandemic,” the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian Orthodox churches in Jerusalem said in a statement Saturday. The churches share custody of the site, the Post UK lawmaker calls for Boris Johnson’s aide to resign Update 6:47 a.m. EDT May 24: A growing number of Conservative Party lawmakers are calling for Dominic Cummings, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide, to resign. “Enough is enough,” Steve Baker wrote in an editorial for The Critic website. “Dominic Cummings must go before he does any more harm to the UK, the Government, the Prime Minister, our institutions or the Conservative Party.” Several newspapers in the United Kingdom reported that Cummings made a second trip from London to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown. But Johnson’s office on Downing Street refuted the allegations, saying in s statement that “We will not waste our time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr. Cummings from campaigning newspapers.” Other Conservatives agreed with Baiker, taking to Twitter to voice their displeasure. Roger Gale tweeted that Cummings’ position “is no longer tenable” Caroline Nokes tweeted “there cannot be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others” Craig Whittaker tweeted that “you cannot advise the nation one thing then do the opposite” US coronavirus cases top 1.6M, deaths inch closer to 100K Update 12:05 a.m. EDT May 23: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 1.6 million early Saturday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,622,612 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 97,087 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York with 359,926 cases and 28,926 deaths and New Jersey with 153,140 cases and 11,082 deaths. Massachusetts, with 90,889 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,228, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 105,444. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each. Seven other states have now confirmed at least 41,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 90,778 cases, resulting in 3,672 deaths • Pennsylvania: 70,784 cases, resulting in 5,100 deaths • Michigan: 54,395 cases, resulting in 5,224 deaths • Texas: 53,584 cases, resulting in 1,470 deaths • Florida: 50,127 cases, resulting in 2,233 deaths • Maryland: 45,495 cases, resulting in 2,243 deaths • Georgia: 42,139 cases, resulting in 1,817 deaths Meanwhile, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Colorado and North Carolina each has confirmed more than 22,000 cases; Tennessee, Washington and Minnesota each has confirmed at least 19,000 cases; Iowa and Arizona both have confirmed more than 16,000 cases; Wisconsin has 14,877 cases; Rhode Island, Alabama and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 9,638; Kansas, Delaware, Kentucky and Utah each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 6,625; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • The Republican National Committee and other conservative groups filed a lawsuit Sunday to stop California from mailing ballots to all voters ahead of the November general election. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that the state would mail all registered voters a ballot, while in-person voting would still remain an option, CNN reported. 'Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Gov. Newsom's executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections,' RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, CNN reported. The lawsuit, filed by the RNC, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the California Republican Party challenges the expansion of absentee voting. '(It) violates eligible citizens' right to vote,' the lawsuit claims. '(And) invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting.' State officials stand by the move. “California will not force voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “We are meeting our obligation to provide an accessible, secure and safe election this November. Sending every registered voter a ballot by mail is smart policy and absolutely the right thing to do during this COVID-19 pandemic.” The lawsuit is one of nearly a dozen across the country challenging Democrat-led vote-by-mail expansion. The RNC has pored $20 million into the nationwide legal effort, CNN reported. Some states, including Republican-heavy Utah, already conduct their elections completely by mail. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud linked to voting-by-mail, CNN reported.
  • Thousands of convicted felons will be eligible to vote in Florida after a federal court ruled that a law that created wealth-based hurdles to voting is unconstitutional. The law, SB 7066, required people with past convictions to pay all outstanding legal fees, costs, fines and restitution before regaining their right to vote. The law undermined Floridians’ 2018 passage of Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to more than a million people who completed the terms of their sentence, including parole or probation. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle found that conditioning voting on payment of legal financial obligations a person is unable to pay violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by discriminating on the basis of wealth. He said that requiring the payment of costs and fees violates the 24th Amendment, which prohibits poll taxes and violates the National Voter Registration Act. “This is a historic win for voting rights. Judge Hinkle told the state of Florida what the rest of America already knows. You can’t make wealth a prerequisite for voting. This ruling opens the way for hundreds of thousands of Floridians to exercise their fundamental right to vote this November, and our democracy will be stronger for their participation,' said Sean Morales-Doyle, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice.