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Georgia Coronavirus: Latest COVID-19 Updates
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Georgia Coronavirus: Latest COVID-19 Updates

Georgia Coronavirus: Latest COVID-19 Updates
WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic. Officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic from its Geneva headquarters on Wednesday. Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly, Dr. Ghebreyesus, WHO, via 'The New York Times'. We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction, Dr. Ghebreyesus, WHO, via 'The New York Times'. Until now, the WHO has declined to make a pandemic declaration, which it defines as a “wor

Georgia Coronavirus: Latest COVID-19 Updates

Over the next 15 days, the Trump administration is urging people across the country to reduce their social contact by an extraordinary amount in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. President Trump also acknowledged it may take well into the summer months to fully move past this health challenge. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia is now 4117, with 885 hospitalizations and 125 deaths. The Georgia Department of Public Health releases these new numbers every day at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET.

Click on each county in the map to learn more about the cases reported there.

[FULL LIST: Click here for all school closings]

This story will be updated as often as possible, with news and details of COVID-19 in Georgia.

>>>CLICK HERE for Community Resources 

*Important Reminder*

Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility. 

Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals. Click HERE for more information.

TUESDAY, 3/31/2020

White House projects 100K to 240K US deaths from virus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an administrative order directing a hazard pay policy for front-line City employees.

More than 786,000 people worldwide -- including more than 164,000 people in the United States – have been infected.

An expert with Emory University said models show the peak for Georgia will be around April 22.

MONDAY, 3/30/2020

Atlanta’s mayor reached out to her city in hopes that people will really take her stay-at-home order seriously.

Marietta restaurants are now allowed to sell beer and wine with take-out orders during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Are you getting a stimulus check; how much will it be? Use this calculator to find out

Possible coronavirus case complicates Atlanta shooting investigation

Insurers Cigna, Humana waive coronavirus treatment costs

SUNDAY, 3/29/2020

Trump approves Georgia disaster declaration, authorizes federal aid

State Board of Education passes waivers to help districts during coronavirus closings

SATURDAY, 03/28/2020

Thank you, we did it. We raised $104,854 which will help the Atlanta Community Food Bank provide 419,416 meals to struggling kids, seniors and families across our community.

FRIDAY, 03/27/2020

Metro Atlanta counties and cities are announcing stricter community restrictions to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus in their communities.

With millions of people not getting a paycheck, we found at least 20 companies in the metro-area hiring right now.

Trump signs $2.2T stimulus after swift congressional votes

The House of Representatives are expected to vote on the historic $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate.

Here is everything Georgians need to know about the stimulus payments, unemployment and more.

Georgia is looking at the possibility of temporary hospitals and even looking at the Georgia World Congress Center as an option.

Neighbors in Midtown are showing their support every night for first responders in a special, social distancing way.

The rescheduled “Hamilton” at the Fox Theatre will take place Aug. 4-Sept. 6.

THURSDAY, 03/26/2020

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the launch of ATLSTRONG, a new website that will serve as a COVID-19 resource hub for Atlanta residents.

Gov. Kemp announced all Georgia public schools will remain closed through at least April 24.

The city of Atlanta has established a website for residents and businesses to obtain the latest information about the city’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, The AJC’s Stephen Deere reports.

A third security screener at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The U.S. Senate has passed $2 trillion stimulus package. It will head to the House for vote on Friday.

Governor Brian Kemp and key members of his coronavirus task force are holding an unprecedented statewide Town Hall forum Thursday night from at 8-9 p.m. ET.

WEDNESDAY, 03/25/2020

The Atlanta Falcons announced Wednesday that they are letting season ticket holder to defer their payment due on April 1 until July 1.

President Donald Trump and Senate leaders have reached an agreement on $2 trillion stimulus proposal. The Senate will vote on the plan later Wednesday.

DeKalb County Schools confirmed its first employee case of COVID-19. There is no exposure to students in this case, according to the district. “Per guidance from health officials, the identity of the employee must be kept confidential, but we can disclose that the employee did not work at a school," the district said.

Cobb County has declared a state of emergency and is ordering residents to shelter in place. The new restrictions go into place today at noon.

TUESDAY, 03/24/2020

Governor Brian Kemp’s executive order for those who are “medically fragile” to shelter in place goes into effect Tuesday at noon. 

Early Tuesday morning, Gov. Kemp joined Atlanta’s Morning News host Scott Slade to discuss the order, which is scheduled to end on April 6th. Listen to full interview below.

A large coalition of restaurants, ranging from individual local businesses to national chains, is banding together for the Great American Takeout, a social media movement encouraging consumers to order takeout on Tuesday, March 24.

Health officials have confirmed the first death from COVID-19 in Clarke County. The Northeast Health District says a 67-year-old Athens man who had existing medical conditions died at a local hospital.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Monday night that she has signed 14-day stay at home order for the city of Atlanta.

23 coronavirus testing sites have been set up on Georgia for people referred by a doctor. They are in Cartersville, Rome, Dalton, Woodstock, Gainesville, Marietta, Atlanta, Morrow, Lawrenceville, Stone Mountain, Newnan, Dublin, Warner Robins, Augusta, Columbus, Valdosta, Tifton, Albany, Douglas, Statesboro, Brunswick, Savannah and Athens.

MONDAY, 03/23/2020

Gov. Brian Kemp announced a series of measures Monday to try to curb the spread of coronavirus, instituting a ban on many gatherings of more than 10 people and ordering a shelter in place for “medically fragile” residents for two weeks.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke Monday about the city’s plan to combat the coronavirus. There are hundreds of confirmed cases in metro Atlanta.

DeKalb County officials have declared a state of emergency. Click HERE for more details.

Georgia Kroger stores will designate a senior shopping hour starting Monday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The City of East Point passed stricter restrictions on restaurants, bars and businesses, which will start Monday.

A third and fourth Georgia state senator tested positive for coronavirus Sunday.

SUNDAY, 03/22/2020

Georgia COVID-19 cases rise to 620

Georgia hospitals short on supplies put mask-making templates online

Kroger to alter store hours for shoppers at risk of coronavirus

SATURDAY, 03/21/2020

2nd Georgia state senator tests positive for coronavirus

Here’s a list of companies hiring in metro Atlanta. Check back often, we’ll be adding to it as we get more.

Atlanta Police Department says an officer who works in the department’s headquarters tested positive for COVID-19.

The city of Tucker has imposed a nighttime curfew on its residents, a move aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

FRIDAY, 03/20/2020

The Transportation Security Administration reports that a second worker at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has tested positive for the coronavirus.

President Trump has announced that student loan payments will be suspended without penalty for 60 days to help Americans struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the Trump administration has decided to push the income tax filing date to July 15.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says restaurants in the city will be able to serve alcohol to-go during a temporary period.

Gov. Brian Kemp says the state has taken action to get more coronavirus tests to hospitals.

Kemp said at this time, he has no plans to issue a statewide quarantine. California’s governor issued one late Thursday night.

An executive order went into effect at midnight closing dine-in restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment venues in Atlanta.

Atlanta Public Schools said it has its first confirmed case of coronavirus. The district said the employee had no exposure to other students or staff. The employee has been directed to self-quarantine.

THURSDAY, 03/19/2020

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that a common drug used to fight malaria has shown great promise in treating people infected with COVID-19.

The Georgia Department of Public Health released new numbers Thursday and there are 287 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state.  The total number of deaths is now up to 10.

Click HERE for the latest case numbers broken down county-by-county, according to the DPH’s report.

Mayor Bottoms signs order limiting Atlanta restaurants to take-out; closing bars and gyms effective at midnight.

3 more people have died of coronavirus at a hospital in southwest Georgia, officials confirm. That brings the number of people dead in Georgia to 4.

Atlanta-based The Home Depot becomes the latest to change store hours. Click here for a full list of stores that have adjusted.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan to self-quarantine after member of state Senate tests positive for coronavirus. State Sen. Brandon Beach confirmed he tested positive.

South Fulton also enacting a citywide curfew starting daily at 9 p.m.

Local small business owners can now apply for a disaster loan.

WEDNESDAY, 03/18/2020

Simon real estate company has announced it is closing several metro area malls over the coronavirus crisis.

A Georgia state senator has tested positive for the coronavirus and chamber officials have asked their colleagues to self-quarantine.

Local communities ban in-person dining, impose curfews and state of emergencies

LIST: Stores that have adjusted hours due to coronavirus

Two more people have died of coronavirus at a hospital in southwest Georgia, officials confirm. That brings the total death toll in Georgia to three people.

The University of Georgia has canceled commencement ceremony set to take place May 8. Georgia Southern University also canceled its ceremony. 

Kroger announced it is shifting its hours to 8 a.m. - 9 p.m starting Wednesday. The grocery store chain is also hiring across all stores.

Target will also cut its hours and set aside special shopping times for seniors and other at-risk customers.

The Atlanta Braves created a $1 million relief fund to help ballpark workers as the season is on hold.

President Trump says the U.S. and Canada have agreed to temporarily close the border to "non-essential travel'. Trump says trade won’t be affected.

Georgia Department of Driver Services is suspending all road testing, non-commercial and commercial, until further notice. Some DDS Customer Service Centers are also closed.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park has closed all buildings within the park. That includes Visitor Center, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fire Station #6, the Dr. King’s Birth Home, and the Eastern National Bookstore. The outdoor spaces in the park will remain open for free for visitors to walk around.

TUESDAY, 03/17/2020

Ponce City Market will close at 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, for an undetermined period.

Kroger’s Atlanta division, which includes Georgia, Eastern Alabama and South Carolina, announced it is shifting store hours across the region to 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Gwinnett County declares state of emergency to help with resources toward coronavirus.

Nine doctors are sick with COVID-19, the diseased caused by the new coronavirus, Atlanta-based CNN anchor Dr. Sanjay Gupta said on air.

A metro Atlanta assisted living facility has three residents and an employee who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

More cities and national chains are closing restaurant dining areas in metro Atlanta. 

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has closed its north and south terminal checkpoints. The airport said all passengers are being directed through the main checkpoint until further notice.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order requiring restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, clubs, and other public gathering spots to limit their occupancy to no more than 50 people.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order to close all public schools from March 18 to March 31. 

AMC and Regal are temporarily closing movie theaters nationwide amid outbreak starting today. 

Many gyms and health clubs across the country and right here in north Georgia are closing due to the coronavirus.

The city of Decatur is closing all city office buildings to the public beginning Tuesday, March 17.

MONDAY, 03/16/2020

Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the closure of all public elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools in Georgia starting Wednesday through the end of the month as the state scrambles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The University System of Georgia is moving to online instruction for the rest of the semester, a spokesperson announced Monday evening.

Georgia lawmakers voted Monday to grant Gov. Brian Kemp broad new authorities to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, ratifying his unprecedented declaration of a public health emergency.

Federal officials shared new guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus. White House recommends avoiding groups of 10 or more people amid COVID-19 outbreak.

Atlanta Mayor to limit public gatherings to 50 due to virus

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday his nation is closing its borders to people who are not citizens or permanent residents as the coronavirus pandemic worsens in North America.

Two Emory University undergraduate students have tested positive for COVID-19, school officials announced Monday.

All state school testing, including Milestones, has been suspended until further notice due to coronavirus.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office has plans to mail absentee ballot applications for the May 19 contest to older voters throughout Georgia. 

DeKalb County has begun restricting public access to government buildings and facilities, The AJC’s Tyler Estep reports

GDOT has begun posting public health alerts along Georgia highways as the coronavirus outbreak escalates.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A said it is temporarily closing dine-in seating at its restaurants, joining a wave of U.S. businesses cutting back operations as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies.

Realizing we’re all in this together, an anonymous donor gave several hundred bottles of hand sanitizer to a local Gwinnett advocacy group. The AJC’s Arlinda Smith Broady reports the group then distributed the bottles during meal pickups at Gwinnett schools.

Thousands of Atlantans will go to work today without ever leaving home, The AJC’s Matt Kempner and Michael E. Kanell report. A hefty chunk of metro Atlanta workers may not be able to make such moves, however.

CDC's latest guidance could mean no sports for much longer.

SUNDAY, 03/15/2020

Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A to close dining room seating

Atlanta mayor declares state of emergency in city

SATURDAY, 03/14/2020

Georgia delays presidential primary due to coronavirus pandemic

Georgia Supreme Court declares ‘statewide judicial emergency’

Zoo Atlanta closing through March over coronavirus concerns

Georgia given permission to help return home 31 cruise ship passengers

Gov. Brian Kemp declared an unprecedented public health emergency Saturday and said he’ll use broad powers under the law to help the state contain the spread of coronavirus.

Brookhaven’s City Hall employees have been asked to self-quarantine after a city administrator tested positive for the coronavirus Friday evening, authorities said.

» Complete coverage: Coronavirus 

» Metro county services reduced, adapted for coronavirus control

FRIDAY, 03/13/2020

Kemp joined Atlanta's Morning News Friday, March 13th, to discuss the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.

>>ICYMI: Listen to Gov. Kemp’s FULL interview with WSB’s Scott Slade below.

Publix grocery stores announced Friday night that they will be closing at 8 p.m. company-wide starting Saturday.

Gov. Brian Kemp will declare a statewide public health emergency to take effect Saturday.

Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered the construction of a new quarantine space in Monroe County.

President Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus.

Delta slashes flights by 40% as virus cripples global travel

Six Flags Over Georgia is suspending operations until the end of March due to coronavirus concerns.

NASCAR has postponed this weekend's racing events held at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Augusta National says next month's Masters golf tournament is postponed.

Atlanta Public Schools will offer students daily free meals at five sites while buildings are closed, Vanessa McCray reports.

The AJC’s J.D. Capelouto reports public animal shelters in Fulton and DeKalb counties have free dog adoptions through next week. Remember, there is no evidence you can get the coronavirus from pets.

Sunday’s scheduled Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway has been postponed, The AJC’s Steve Hummer reports.

Georgia football beat writer Chip Towers reports UGA’s spring football games are suspended through March 30.

A Southwest Georgia school system announced Friday that it would be closed for two weeks after learning an employee may have coronavirus.

Seminole County School System was notified Thursday night that an employee showed symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus, according to a note on the district’s website.

The Atlanta NAACP has made the decision to cancel tomorrow's 2020 Census Door Knocking Campaign in the City of East Point for safety purposes as they continue to monitor COVID-19 updates.

The number of cases of presumed positive and positive cases in Georgia went up from 38 to 42 since Thursday night.

Gov. Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health created a page for confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia.

More from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.

THURSDAY, 03/12/2020

State officials announced Thursday morning that a 67-year-old man with underlying health conditions who contracted the virus last week died at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Cobb County.

North Point churches to halt Sunday services due to coronavirus

March Madness canceled by NCAA over coronavirus
MLB delays opening game, cancels spring training games

NASCAR: No fans at this weekend’s race in Atlanta

Georgia reports 1st coronavirus-related death

Atlanta United beat writer Doug Roberson reports MLS will suspend its season for 30 days out of concern over the coronavirus.

A second plane carrying passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship touched down at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.

Hawks beat writer Sarah K. Spencer reports Atlanta’s team will take today off and stay in their homes. The precautions are being taken after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus and the NBA suspended its 2020 season.

» 7 ways to stay physically active when you’re stuck at home

WEDNESDAY, 03/11/2020

Georgia now has 31 confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump says most travel will be suspended from Europe to the U.S. starting Friday night. The United Kingdom is not included. The ban also won't apply to Americans trying to return home — though they will be subject to “enhanced” health screening.

» Separating coronavirus fact from fiction: Where to get official government information

» Experts provide tips for managing anxiety amid coronavirus outbreak

» Event cancellations in and around metro Atlanta because of coronavirus

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  • More than 860,000 people worldwide -- including more than 189,000 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 brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Wednesday, April 1, continue below: Kroger announces $2-per-hour ‘hero bonus’ for employees on coronavirus front lines Update 2:44 a.m. EDT April 1: U.S. supermarket chain Kroger announced early Wednesday it will pay staff members still working amid the worsening novel coronavirus outbreak an additional $2-per-hour “hero bonus.” “Our associates have displayed the true actions of a hero, working tirelessly on the front lines to ensure everyone has access to affordable, fresh food and essentials during this national emergency,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement announcing the bonuses. The pay bump – benefitting all front-line grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center staff – applies to all hours worked between March 29 and April 18. UN Secretary-General: Coronavirus ‘attacking societies at their core’ Update 2:21 a.m. EDT April 1: Citing the “human crisis” created by the novel coronavirus pandemic, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the collective global response the “greatest test” since World War II. Guterres’ insights were published in a new report released Tuesday. “COVID-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations,” Guterres stated in the report, adding, “This human crisis demands coordinated, decisive, inclusive and innovative policy action from the world’s leading economies – and maximum financial and technical support for the poorest and most vulnerable people and countries. But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human crisis. The coronavirus disease is attacking societies at their core.' Read the full report here. US coronavirus deaths hit 4,076, total cases top 189K Update 12:31 a.m. EDT April 1: By early Wednesday morning, the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States neared 200,000 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 189,510 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 4,076 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including the 105,792 reported in Italy and the 95,923 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 1,550 – or nearly half of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 267 in New Jersey and 259 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 75,795 confirmed cases – or roughly four times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 18,696 and Michigan with 7,615. Three other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 6,932, including 150 deaths • Florida: 6,732, including 84 deaths • Massachusetts: 6,220, including 89 deaths Meanwhile, Illinois, Louisiana and Washington state each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections; Pennsylvania and Georgia each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Texas and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s complete state-by-state breakdown.
  • A 'Stranger Things' star and her family have donated tens of thousands of meals to food banks amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Albuquerque Journal, 16-year-old actress Millie Bobby Brown took to Instagram on Friday to announce that she and her family had given 20,000 meals each to food banks in New Mexico, where the popular Netflix series had been scheduled to film its next season, and Atlanta, where the show had previously filmed. “While we stay home and do our part to flatten the curve, we must not forget those in need,” wrote Brown, who plays Eleven. “My thoughts are with the great people and crew from Santa Fe, NM whom we didn’t yet get to meet in our company move on ‘Stranger Things.’ In appreciation of this community, my family and I have donated 20,000 meals to The Food Depot, which will provide meals for those hungry in the Northern New Mexico service area.” Brown added: “Also, to all those in Atlanta who have embraced us, to the ST crew and their families, you’re in our thoughts. My family and I have donated 20,000 meals to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which will provide meals for those hungry in their service area.” >> See the post here Brown also urged her fans to “find enjoyment in the simple things” during social distancing.'Reflect on the impact of great people and then share the love with others,' she continued. “A special shout-out to those who have supported me, inspired and empowered me, whom I admire and just make me happy.” Several other celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Kylie Jenner and Arnold Schwarzenegger, also have made large donations to organizations that are helping with coronavirus relief efforts. Read more here or here.
  • You may be seeing a lot of empty shelves at grocery chains and other stores. But a 17-year-old Georgia high schooler is bringing relief to stressed people across the country who can’t find cleaning and paper products. WSB-TV’s Wendy Corona learned he’s doing it all while self-isolating. Blake Rand is a skilled computer programmer. With his school closed because of coronavirus, he also has a lot of time on his hands. Recently, his mother came to him with a problem. “My mom needed supplies, as everybody else does, and she couldn’t really find any, so I just went online and just kept looking and looking everywhere and found some,” Rand said. When his grandmother, who has Parkinson’s and can’t leave the house, couldn’t find her supplies online, he was struck with an idea. “I just decided to help out the community and make a website,” Rand said. The website is called Coronafinds.com, and on it are the results of hours of online scouring Rand spends to locate hard-to-find, in-stock products like toilet paper. “It’s just a list of links that are updated daily, and it’ll pretty much just give you the item name, and if you want to purchase an item, you just go to link, and it takes you to a bigger retailer like Target or CVS, and then you can just purchase it there,” Rand said. He told Corona that the products can almost always be found on major retailer sites; you just have to sift through hundreds of choices. “Like a lot of people don’t look at like the Dollar General and those kind of stores, Boxed. I try to find, like, smaller stores, too, because those usually have a lot in stock,” Rand said. Needless to say, his family is doing pretty well on supplies. “I got enough. I’m not hoarding, though, but I have enough,” Rand said. Blake said he is looking in to automating Coronafinds.com. Also, in his spare time, he does security research to find vulnerabilities in sites like Apple and Snapchat.
  • At the beginning of the spread of the novel coronavirus in December 2019, we didn’t really have an idea of just how quickly the virus could spread. It was when COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic that the situation became very real for the entire world - especially those in countries where the virus had already spread far and wide and claimed hundreds of lives on a daily basis. So far, it’s become clear that obtaining as much data as possible is the best way to combat the virus, mainly by testing as many people as possible and ensuring we have the appropriate approach to deal with the numbers. Now, mapping the outbreak is the goal for many tech companies across the globe as we learn more about how and when COVID-19 spreads from person to person. WFXT found two companies that teamed up to show just how far and wide the Spring Break revelers in Florida spread out after congregating at a single beach during a national call for social distancing in early March. Mapping platform Tectonix teamed up with cell phone location data tracker X-mode to create a viral video that shows thousands leaving one Florida beach over Spring Break, fanning out across the country and potentially spreading the coronavirus. “Despite international news, no one seemed to be changing behavior based on what we saw at all, like nothing happened,” said Rob Gresham, Co-Founder of Tectonix. Together, both companies were able to “analyze secondary locations of anonymized mobile devices that were active at a single Ft. Lauderdale beach during Spring Break” and track them as the spread out across the country. Most of the more than 5,000 people in the sample size were headed to the Northeast. Co-Founders of Tectonix, Rob Gresham and Elliott Bradshaw say they hope to apply their mapping technology to other areas and industries impacted by the virus. “We’re looking to apply that technology not just to looking at how Spring Breakers spread coronavirus, but home logistics shipments are moving around the world and how airline trends are being impacted by this type of crisis,” said Bradshaw. Researchers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Harvard have developed their own way to map the virus. Using crowdsourcing, https://www.covidnearyou.org/#!/ asks the public to report current symptoms in real time and be identified only by ZIP code. “There really is a lack of understanding of the true burden of this disease across our country, particularly with the limited amounts of testing being done,” said Kara Sewalk, one of the developers of COVID Near You. Sewalk says the goal is to help public health experts and government officials understand how many people are infected on a local, state and federal level. “It’s not meant to replace surveillance of COVID or any other type of illness, but rather to augment existing surveillance systems to supplement the information that we’re collecting across the U.S.,” said Sewalk.
  • When Rocky Friedman of Port Townsend, Washington gathered with his sisters last year to plan for their mother’s 100th birthday celebration March 31, she serendipitously sent a one-sentence email. “Don’t forget to invite Amal and George Clooney.” Friedman said his mother, Miriam, “lives on her own, walks for exercise, reads voraciously, can tell you far more about professional sports than her son will ever know, and rocks my world with her unconditional love.” Friedman, who owns the historic Rose Theatre in Port Townsend, wondered what was possible. He shared the story Tuesday in an email to Rose Theatre supporters “because in the challenging times that we live, I think it will make you smile, and we all need that.” Through a little research and four intermediaries, Friedman was encouraged to write to Clooney with his request. “I asked if he would please consider writing a short congratulatory note to my mom on reaching this milestone. I emphasized - with less than subtlety - that at nearly 100 she was very likely his oldest fan. How could he refuse?” He didn’t. “Dear Miriam,” Clooney wrote. “They tell me you’re 100! I don’t believe it. Here’s hoping you have a fantastic birthday.” Friedman shared a photo of his mother with the signed photo on her birthday. “When I received the photograph from him that my mom is holding, and read the personal inscription, I couldn’t stop smiling. As my daughter said, ‘In the midst of the coronavirus, George Clooney comes through.’” “Thank you, George.” For more information on the Rose Theatre & Starlight Room, follow this link.
  • Billions of dollars are set to flood into the United States as the coronavirus stimulus plan means checks will soon arrive for most Americans. All that money could mean Christmas for crooks looking to steal your cash. One former FBI agent is looking to protect your stimulus check and bank account It’s the largest stimulus package in American history. Roughly 80% of Americans will see hundreds or thousands of dollars sent their way. “There’s a small segment of our society thinking, ‘How can I scam my way into this and take other people’s money,’” said former FBI Special Agent Michael Tabman. Tabman knows bad actors are now hard at work. “Despite all my years working scams and frauds, someone is coming up with a plan where I will say, ‘gee, I didn’t see that coming,’” Tabman said. Unfortunately, crisis is an opportunity for crooks, and plenty of people are struggling now. “People are worried about their physical well-being as well as their financial well-being,” Tabman said. As a former FBI special agent in charge, this is something Tabman has seen before, back in 2008 when President George W. Bush signed the last package. Crooks and scam artists were on the attack back then too. Technology has come a long way since then and in many ways its actually gotten easier. “A scam we saw under Bush, we saw this come up often, ‘for a small fee we are going to find out what [the amount of] your check is going to be,’” Tabman recounted. Then, like now, crooks will call to try and lure you in, looking to move in on your money online. “The sad reality is though, if you are caught up in one of these scams, the FBI is not going to be able to help you,” Tabman said. “They are going to take notes and statistics, but that money is gone.” Here’s some guidance from attorneys general from across the country: The federal government will not ask you to confirm personal or banking info by email, phone or text or demand a procession fee to expedite your stimulus payment. Do not click on links in email or text messages related to stimulus checks and do not provide your personal information.