Coronavirus:

What You Need To Know

On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
72°
Chance of Rain
H 75° L 65°
  • cloudy-day
    72°
    Current Conditions
    Chance of Rain. H 75° L 65°
  • heavy-rain-day
    75°
    Today
    Chance of Rain. H 75° L 65°
  • heavy-rain-day
    74°
    Tomorrow
    Chance of Rain. H 74° L 66°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Georgia Politics

    They teach philosophy and math, counsel college students, help run campuses, tend to the grounds of state facilities, enforce standards for police officers, keep farmers markets open, staff efforts to help addicts and the mentally ill, do farm work for agriculture research sites and investigate possible tax fraud. And they’re all in jobs that will be eliminated under budget cut plans submitted last week to meet the state’s goal of slashing budgets 14% because of the revenue decline brought on by the coronavirus recession. More than 1,000 people in jobs - some part-time, many full-time - would see their livelihoods vanish at a time of record unemployment.  The tsunami of unemployment swept over Georgia when businesses closed because of the pandemic. But many of the state employees would lose their jobs at a time when the need for government services will likely increase. In addition, tens of thousands of state employees who keep their jobs would see their salaries cut - in some cases dramatically. The Georgia State Patrol said it would furlough officers and other staffers 12 to 24 days next fiscal year. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation would furlough some staffers two days a month. The agency that oversees the District Attorneys program listed 44 days, or almost almost nine weeks. >>More on this story from The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • Georgians who receive food stamps can soon order groceries online from two of the state’s largest sellers now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a change in the way the benefits are processed. The new process in Georgia is still in its testing phase, but barring any technological issues, people will be allowed to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — commonly known as food stamps — to purchase groceries online as soon as next month. The USDA, which administers the federal food stamp program, began a two-year pilot program to test the new purchasing initiative in New York last August and had expanded it to 17 additional states and Washington, D.C., before the coronavirus pandemic began. Due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the program will be expanded to 38 states including Georgia in coming months. “Enabling people to purchase foods online will go a long way in helping Americans follow CDC social distancing guidelines and help slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Agriculture Secretary and former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said in a statement. If Georgia’s tests go well, beginning June 1, shoppers who order groceries through Amazon Fresh will be allowed to use their SNAP benefits to pay for their items and have them delivered to their homes. Food stamps will begin being accepted June 2 for groceries purchased from Walmart online. And other retailers can apply with the Food and Nutrition Service division of the USDA to also accept SNAP benefits online. Georgia Division of Family and Children Services officials said the change is crucial since some Georgians have been asked by Gov. Brian Kemp to stay at home through mid-June to decrease their chances of contracting the novel coronavirus. >>More on this story from The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday urged voters to return their absentee ballots in time for the June 9 primary, even as thousands of Fulton County voters are waiting for their ballots to arrive and the coronavirus forced some early voting locations to close. About 1 million voters who requested absentee ballots haven’t yet turned them in, according to state election data through Sunday. “Vote from the convenience of your own kitchen table. Take your time to do it, but get it done as soon as you can,” Raffensperger said in an interview. “Sooner better than later, because it has to be received by June 9, no later than 7 p.m., to be counted.” So far, over 551,000 voters have returned their absentee ballots, and another 77,000 voted in person during the first week of early voting. More than 25,000 Fulton voters still haven’t received their absentee ballots as the county’s elections office has struggled to process a flood of ballot requests, especially those that were emailed. Fulton election officials said the backlog would be eliminated by Memorial Day, but the county processed just 3,000 absentee ballot requests from Friday to Sunday. “It’s concerning that they’re still not caught up,” Raffensperger said. “What that has done has created concern on voters who say, ‘I haven’t received my absentee ballot, and yet I emailed that back in early. What’s the delay?’” If Fulton voters don’t receive their absentee ballots soon, they might not have much time to return them by the state’s election day deadline. A federal lawsuit is asking a judge to rule that ballots should be counted as long as they’re postmarked by election day. Other counties are dealing with coronavirus-related problems, Raffensperger said. Appling County will reopen its only early voting location Tuesday after it was closed Friday for cleaning because a voter tested positive for the coronavirus. In McDuffie County, two election workers caught the coronavirus, leaving its elections staff shorthanded. “Particularly on Memorial Day, we think about the huge sacrifice armed forces members made, sacrificing their lives, so we would have the freedom to be a free people and be able to freely vote,” Raffenpserger said. “These are trying times, and we encourage everyone to complete the process if you requested an absentee ballot.” You may find this story and more at AJC.com.
  • After facing weeks of criticism for not being transparent with data about the coronavirus, state officials on Wednesday acknowledged that a test type that does not measure active cases inflated published test counts by 57,000, or roughly 14% of total tests to date. For weeks now, the Department of Public Health has included antibody tests, which can detect if someone once had the coronavirus, with diagnostic tests that measure active infection in its total tally of about 403,000 tests. Experts say it is misleading to count the tests together because it distorts a state’s capacity to track current infections. » NEW DASHBOARD: The AJC’s redesigned page of real-time charts tracking the virus » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia The department’s inclusion of antibody tests in testing counts, first reported by the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, surprised DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey and prompted the governor’s office to request that the department remove antibody tests from the state’s totals. Toomey told the AJC she was unaware so many antibody tests were being included. “It’s not really an error. It’s a way it was collected,” she said. “I didn’t fully appreciate how many antibody tests have been done.” The testing admission is the latest in a series of missteps in how DPH has presented coronavirus data to the public, and it led to another round of harsh criticism for an agency that has been held up to national ridicule for its handling of public health information. “Either they don’t know what they’re doing, or (the data is) being manipulated in ways it shouldn’t,” said Dr. Harry J. Heiman, a clinical associate professor at the Georgia State University School of Public Health. “Either way it is very concerning.” » RELATED: Georgia playing catch up in coronavirus testing » FROM APRIL: New changes to state’s virus data confuse experts, residents alike In April, Gov. Brian Kemp called the state’s poor national ranking in its share of residents tested for the virus “unacceptable,” and challenged public health officials and private companies ramp up the state’s testing capacity. Earlier this week, he publicly touted the state’s rise to 20th in the nation as an important step forward. Removing antibody tests from the state’s testing total, however, now drops Georgia’s per capita ranking to 29th, according to the AJC’s analysis of national testing data. Expert warnings Experts warn states against lumping antibody and diagnostic virus tests together as they track how many tests have been completed. Diagnostic tests for the virus detect whether someone is currently ill. Tracking how many of them have been completed can show whether a state is doing enough to respond to the pandemic. Tests for the antibody are designed to show whether a person was previously infected and miss people who recently contracted the virus, said Benjamin Lopman, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Emory University. “It’s not appropriate to combine those numbers here,” said Lopman, an expert on using statistical analysis and other tools to address public health issues. Last week, The COVID Tracking Project, a top source for national data, called combining antibody and viral testing figures a “deceptive misuse of the data.” A controversy in Virginia led that state to announce last Thursday that it would remove the antibody figures from its overall testing number. DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said in an email that staffers are working on ways to disclose that both tests are included on its online COVID-19 Daily Status Report, and said that the agency had included the antibody tests in its counts in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Toomey told the AJC she recognized her department’s handling of virus data has been a problem. “Data are only good if you can look at them and understand what they mean,” she said. “As an epidemiologist this is something very important to me. We want to make sure we do everything we can to get these data in the most accurate but also easy to understand format.” Earlier mistakes This most recent data problem prompted demands for a transparent accounting of how and why the state has made so many unforced errors with COVID-19 data in recent weeks. Some such as a death toll miscount could have been the result of typos. Others have repeatedly mislead Georgians to think new confirmed cases of the virus were dropping dramatically when they had plateaued. While DPH has not been including positive antibody tests results in the total of confirmed cases, earlier this week the agency removed 231 positive cases from the state’s tally of new confirmed cases, saying in a statement that it mistakenly included antibody test results in the count. Antibody tests only became available to the public in recent weeks and were not included in DPH’s original test tracking totals. “Either they don’t know what they’re doing, or (the data is) being manipulated in ways it shouldn’t. Either way it is very concerning.” —Dr. Harry J. Heiman, clinical associate professor at the GSU School of Public Health The problems have led some to wonder whether bad information is being used to inform public policy. Public health experts track closely a measure called positivity, which is the share of all tests for the virus that have come back positive. A high positivity rate may mean that a state is only testing the sickest people and does not have a good sense of the disease’s prevalence. A low one can mean a state knows enough to make informed decisions about reopening businesses, schools and swimming pools. Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center listed Georgia as among its top 20 states for positivity at 3.52%, but the inclusion of the antibody tests throw the state’s apparent successes into question. Transparency Recent mistakes have portrayed the state’s COVID response in a more positive light than it had earned, said State Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta. “Maybe one mistake is an accident. A second — that’s a little funny,” Jordan said. “But after you get to the third or fourth time, with the mistakes representing a specific conclusion, you have to start to wonder what is happening in terms of management of data.” T.J. Muehleman, who helped start the COVID Mapping Project, an online tool to help bring clarity to confusing health data reported across the U.S., has been among those perplexed by Georgia’s data stumbles. “The state that’s home to the CDC, Georgia Tech, Emory University and the Morehouse School of Medicine — how do you have such a terrible data communication platform?” Muehleman said. » RELATED: State’s latest data mishap causes critics to cry foul » MORE: Error leads to dip in state’s COVID-19 case count But Muehleman said the state’s testing capacity appears to be moving in the right direction and he said he doesn’t believe the errors are deliberate. “I suspect this is them moving at a very, very rapid clip to be responsive,” Muehleman said. “It is disappointing. All the data problems they have had have been avoidable and certainly all the data problems they have would be solved with transparency.” J.C. Bradbury, an economics professor at Kennesaw State University who tracks the Department of Public Health data and publishes his own graphs on Twitter, said this latest data reporting controversy shows that the state needs oversight. He said DPH should invite the media to watch its number crunching operation much as elections offices do on election nights. “It would go a long way to establish credibility,” he said. Dr. Melanie Thompson, principal investigator of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta and a practicing physician, said she grew suspicious of DPH’s testing figure after it pulled back the 231 positive tests earlier this week. “The question I have is who made this decision?” she said. “Who made the decision to do this? I wish the Department of Public Health would let the (epidemiology) group talk.” Staff writer Tamar Hallerman contributed to this report.
  • Current statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 dropped by about a third in the last two weeks, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of data published by the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency. The decline is significant, but it does not mean that infections are down since Georgia began to re-open at the end of April. There is about a two week lag between when a person is infected, shows symptoms, is admitted to the hospital, gets tested and receives the results. A press release from Gov. Brian Kemp said there were 986 patients currently hospitalized as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, which was an important milestone for the state. It was the lowest number of patients hospitalized since hospitals started reporting data to GEMA on April 8, it said. “We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas. What we’re doing is working,” Kemp said on The Erick Erickson Show on WSB Atlanta’s News & Talk. An AJC analysis found hospitalizations for the novel coronavirus stood at just above 1,025 as of 7 p.m. Monday, according to GEMA’s latest daily situation report. It was 1,500 as of May 2, the date that GEMA first reported the measure publicly. Prior to that, the agency was publishing daily cumulative hospitalization figures. The AJC is now tracking current hospitalizations on its COVID-19 data dashboard to give readers a clearer picture of coronavirus in Georgia. The tracker uses GEMA’s daily figures, which are based on 7 p.m. reports. »NEW DASHBOARD: The AJC’s redesigned page of real-time charts tracking the virus Kemp downplayed criticisms in recent weeks that confusing or incorrect coronavirus data published by the Georgia Department of Public Health have harmed the public’s trust in the information the state is releasing. “It’s really not a big issue. People trust the data. I certainly do,” Kemp said. GEMA began to publish current COVID hospitalizations on its daily situation report to give the public a better idea of the availability of hospital resources, a spokesperson for the agency said. It gets its figures from DPH. It does not include those hospitalized who are being investigated for suspected novel coronavirus infections. Experts agree that Georgia’s April lockdown slowed the spread of the virus successfully. They also expect cases and deaths to rise in the coming weeks now that the state’s shelter-in-place order has been lifted and more people are venturing from the safety of their homes.
  • The Georgia Department of Public Health’s published count of statewide COVID-19 cases declined during the weekend because the agency corrected a data coding error, a spokeswoman said Monday. The agency mistakenly logged the results of 231 tests that check for COVID-19 antibodies as diagnostic tests, causing them to be coded as confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said. The case count ticked down Sunday when the error was corrected. Current confirmed cases stand at about 38,000. Antibody tests are designed to tell those who are not currently ill whether they were exposed to the virus. Diagnostic tests show whether a person is currently sick. “We are working diligently to provide the most accurate information, and we apologize for any confusion,” the agency said in a written statement. DPH disclosed the error on its online daily status report, where the mistake originally appeared. Georgians are watching closely the COVID-19 case count and other measures on DPH’s online status report as they judge whether its safe to resume work and other activities. DPH has come under fire in recent weeks for presenting confusing or incorrect information on its online status report. » Complete coverage: Coronavirus
  • Election officials can begin opening absentee ballots eight days before Georgia’s June 9 primary, according to a State Election Board rule approved Monday to deal with a deluge of mailed-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. The board voted unanimously to pass the emergency rule, which will help election officials handle record numbers of absentee ballots. In previous elections, absentee ballots couldn’t be processed until election day. Even though ballots can be opened in advance, election results in some races might not be known for several days after the primary because of the time needed to count absentee ballots. It will take much longer to scan and count absentee ballots than it would on Georgia’s new in-person voting system, which combines touchscreens and printed-out paper ballots. So far, over 1.4 million voters have requested absentee ballots. Polls opened Monday for three weeks of in-person early voting. “For this once-in-a-lifetime unprecedented emergency, this regulation painstakingly attempts to balance transparency and security,” State Election Board member Matt Mashburn said during the meeting held via teleconference. The rule authorizes county election workers to open and scan absentee ballots in advance, but those votes can’t be counted until polls close at 7 p.m. June 9. Until then, votes will be stored in the memory of optical scanning computers, the same as votes cast in person during early voting. So many people are planning to vote by mail as a way to avoid human contact at polling places. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the chairman of the State Election Board, encouraged absentee voting by sending ballot request forms to the state’s 6.9 million active voters. Voters said during public comments that they remain worried, especially in Fulton County, where tens of thousands of voters haven’t received their absentee ballots. Fulton had processed 110,000 ballot requests through Saturday, with many more still being processed. “Many counties have a backlog of absentee applications, and it appears hopeless we’ll get our ballots in time for the presidential election,” said Garland Favorito, the founder of the group Voter GA, who applied for his absentee ballot on March 20 but hasn’t received it. Statewide, 1.25 million of the 1.44 million ballots requested have been delivered to voters, according to the secretary of state’s office. More than 360,000 ballots have been returned and accepted by county election offices. “With this many absentee ballots coming in, if there is going to be a way to get results any time quickly after the election, we think we need to allow counties to start processing these absentee ballots early,” said Ryan Germany, the general counsel for the secretary of state’s office.
  • Some voters encountered lines when early voting began Monday for Georgia’s primary as election workers kept people 6 feet apart, allowed only a few inside at a time and cleaned touchscreens after each voter. Turnout appeared to be relatively light, but voters still had to wait their turn. Lines were also slowed by voters who requested absentee ballots but then had to cancel them when they showed up at early voting locations. Though more than 1.4 million voters have requested absentee ballots, in-person voting is still an option. Early voting lasts for three weeks until June 5, and election day is June 9. PHOTOS: Georgians head to polls for early voting “I haven’t heard any disagreement and hollering. People are being patient. They understand the situation,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said as people voted at the Cobb County elections office. Voters who asked for an absentee ballot should wait for it to arrive in the mail and then use it rather than slowing down in-person voting, he said. “Don’t change horses midstream,” Raffensperger said. “It really will work a whole lot better.” In-person voters were greeted by changes at early voting locations during the coronavirus pandemic. Poll workers wore masks and gloves. Precincts provided styluses so voters wouldn’t have to use their fingers on touchscreens. Voters were offered hand sanitizer before and after voting. Several Georgians who chose to vote in person said they felt their vote was more secure than if they had mailed it in. About 3% of absentee ballots were rejected in the 2018 election, often because voters didn’t fill out their information correctly or their ballots were received after the election day deadline. “I don’t feel confident with absentee ballots, so I came out to vote in person,” said Earlean Blackwell of Powder Springs after casting her ballot. Voters must be quickly notified when election officials reject their absentee ballots, giving them time to correct problems, according to a March settlement of a lawsuit against the state. Waits in Cobb County were as long as 70 minutes Monday morning but diminished to 20 minutes by midafternoon. “The process is much slower than before due to distancing and sanitation requirements,” Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler said. A reduction in the number of early voting locations also contributed to waits. Fewer early voting locations were available than normal because of coronavirus-related limitations in metro Atlanta’s core counties: five in Cobb County, eight in DeKalb County, five in Fulton County and six in Gwinnett County. Hours and dates vary for each location. “Whenever you start with a line, you end up playing catch-up,” Gwinnett County Elections Director Kristi Royston said. “We’re grateful for them coming out to vote and having patience with us. I think they’re getting used to the ‘stand here, wait here’ procedures.” In Fulton County, only half of voting computers were in use at a time in an effort to keep people apart from each other, Elections Director Richard Barron said. Nearly all voters wore masks, he said. The county was still catching up on a backlog of absentee ballot requests from people who plan to vote by mail. About 110,000 out of 135,000 absentee ballot requests have been processed so far. Early voters are using the state’s new $104 million voting system, which combines touchscreens with the addition of printed-out paper ballots. Voters can check their ballots before inserting them into scanners attached to locked ballot boxes. All registered voters are eligible to participate in the primary, and they can choose to vote on either political party’s ballot or a nonpartisan ballot. Ballots include candidates for president, Congress, the Georgia General Assembly, judges and local offices. Voters can find out where to vote and review sample ballots on the My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.
  • Voting while social distancing starts Monday with the first day of in-person early voting for Georgia’s primary. Voters will stand 6 feet apart. They’ll use hand sanitizer when checking in. In some counties, they’ll tap a touchscreen with a stylus instead of a finger. More than 1.3 million voters have requested absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, but state law requires three weeks of in-person early voting before the June 9 election. RELATED: How to vote by mail in Georgia's June 9 primary Fewer early voting locations will be available, but several will remain open: five in Cobb County, eight in DeKalb County, five in Fulton County and six in Gwinnett County. “If you choose to vote in person, please continue to practice social distancing and stay home if you are sick,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who mailed absentee ballot request forms to the state’s 6.9 million active voters. Each polling place in Georgia will have hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Poll workers in some counties will ask voters to wait in their cars for a text telling them it’s their turn to vote. Officials will wear gloves, and they’ll frequently wipe down touchscreens. Voting booths will be spread out. » EARLY VOTING  GUIDES:  Cobb  |  DeKalb  |  Fulton |  Gwinnett With so many people voting by mail, election officials said in-person turnout might be lower because voters want to avoid human contact. So far, more than 212,000 voters have returned absentee ballots for the combined general primary and presidential primary. By comparison, about 37,000 people cast absentee-by-mail ballots in the 2016 primary. Before the March 24 presidential primary was delayed because of the coronavirus threat, nearly 289,000 voters cast ballots. Those voters are still eligible to participate in the primary, but their ballots will exclude the presidential race. The primary might be the largest test yet of Georgia’s new $104 million voting system, which combines familiar touchscreens with the addition of printed-out paper ballots. Voters will be able to check their ballots before inserting them into scanners attached to locked ballot boxes. Voters can find their voting locations, review sample ballots and request absentee ballots on the state’s My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.
  • The Georgia Department of Public Health said Saturday it is distributing the first of two allotments of a promising anti-viral drug to eight hospitals across the state to help patients suffering from severe symptoms of COVID-19. In a news release, DPH said the distribution of remdesivir is based on need and U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, and all eight hospitals have at least 10 positive patients on ventilators or other breathing assistance. “DPH is pleased to have the opportunity to share this promising treatment with hospitals on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19,” DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said in the release. “While this drug is not a cure for COVID-19, getting it into the hospitals and improving patient outcomes is moving in the right direction.” The first allotment of the drug will treat about 110 patients, the state said. The hospitals receiving the medicine are: Tift Regional Medical Center, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Grady Health System, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown and Augusta University Medical Center. Remdesivir is produced by Gilead Sciences. The drug was initially developed as a treatment for the Ebola virus and clinical trials have showed promise against the novel coronavirus. Emory conducted a trial of the drug in recent weeks, and the medication was granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA. But it has not gained full approval. The state has received a second allotment, which the release said is much larger. That distribution, which is still being planned, will happen in the coming days.

News

  • An Arizona woman accused of drunken driving is also accused of hitting a man who was fleeing a crime scene, authorities said. Yessenia Garcia, 32, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, KPHO reported. According to the police, officers responded to a fight near a Scottsdale nightclub around 10:45 p.m. Sunday night. Witnesses told police a man had assaulted another man and fled the scene, the television station reported. Moments later, the suspect was hit by a vehicle driven by Garcia, according to the Scottsdale Police Department. Police said Garcia left the scene but was located by officers nearby and arrested, KPHO reported. The man hit by the vehicle was taken to an area hospital with serious injuries, the television station reported.
  • With doubts surrounding if the Republican National Convention can happen in North Carolina, Gov. Brian Kemp has offered Georgia as an alternative site. “With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention. We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realDonaldTrump,” the governor tweeted Tuesday morning. Right now, the RNC is scheduled to be held in Charlotte Aug. 24-27.  But President Donald Trump tweeted the party “will be reluctantly forced” to find another site if Gov. Roy Cooper didn’t provide immediate answers about allowing full attendance.  North Carolina is currently in Stage 2 of its reopening phase. “State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plan as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,” he said. While he initially criticized the decision, Trump and his administration have praised Gov. Kemp and Georgia’s reopening in the past few weeks.  Vice President Mike Pence toured Georgia on Friday and took part in a roundtable with restaurant executives.  “Georgia is going back to work and President Trump and I are absolutely determined to work with every state in the country to safely and responsibly reopen America again,” Pence told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot. “We’re going to see the American people through this, but Richard, we’re getting through this and Georgia is leading the way back to putting America back to work.'  WSB′s sister station WSOC-TV in Charlotte contributed to this report.
  • A 71-year-old great-grandmother was fatally shot Saturday night while trying to break up a fight near a grocery store in Washington, D.C., her family said. Sheila Lucas was killed near a Giant grocery store, WJLA reported. According to family members, Lucas drove from her home to the store after her granddaughter said she had been attacked by two girls inside the store, the television station reported. Lucas met her daughter and granddaughter and was walking away from the store when the assailants returned. “My mom tried to step in between to make sure that they didn’t fight,” Lucas’ son, Robert Alston, told WJLA. “A gunshot rang (out). My mom gets hit in the head, and then she’s no longer here with us.” According to police, Lucas was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead, WJLA reported. Another man nearby was shot also. His injuries were not life-threatening, police said. Lucas leaves six children, four adopted children, and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 'Who shoots a 71-year-old woman in the head who has nothing to do with all this?” Alston told WJLA. “We didn’t get a chance to say, ‘Mom, we love you’. We didn’t get a chance to say, ‘Mom we’ll see you later.’ We didn’t get that opportunity. Her life was taken from us.” Police said they did not have a description of the assailants and no arrests have been made. The department said a reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction, WJLA reported.
  • The grieving fiance and family of a Colorado woman who died in a car crash three months ago said the wedding videography company is refusing to refund their money. The company, meanwhile, expressed its sympathy but said the upfront fee was nonrefundable. According to her obituary, 22-year-old Alexis-Athena Steva Wyatt died Feb 3. Her wedding to Justin Montney would have been Saturday in Colorado Springs, according to their listing on TheKnot.com. Montney said he wrote to Copper Stallion Media, a Texas-based videography company, shortly after Wyatt’s death to request the $1,800 they contracted for with the company on Nov. 29, 2019. “They should have been able to do (that) because they didn’t render any services,” Montney told KMGH-TV. According to Montney, the Dallas company threatened to sue him for defamation after he left a review on TheKnot.com explaining his circumstance, KDRO reported. The company said it received more than 75 one-star reviews “in a matter of hours.” After an exchange of emails, the company started a new website, JustinMontney.com, which it said it created to document its side of the story. Copper Stallion Media said had it bought the domain for the next two years. It also published what it claimed was an exchange of emails between Montney and the company. 'He kept emailing us trying to get a refund and we kept reiterating that the contract is non-refundable,' the website said. Copper Stallion Media said Montney emailed the company May 18 and said 'a presence will be taking place on social media.” “This statement shows malice and intent to harm the reputation of Copper Stallion Media,” the company wrote on JustinMontney.com. The company said that Montney admitted to KDRO that the contract was non-refundable “but says we should give the money back due to the circumstance.” “Life is a (expletive), Justin,” Copper Stallion wrote on JustinMontney.com. According to KGMH, on Saturday the company posted a photo of the couple with the following, “Today would have been the day where we would have filmed Justin and Alexis’ wedding. After what Justin pulled with the media stunt to try and shake us down for a refund we hope you sob and cry all day for what would have been your wedding day.” The post has been taken down. Calls to a representative of Copper Stallion Media by KDRO and KGMH for comment have not been returned, the television stations reported.
  • More than 5.5 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 Tuesday, May 26, continue below:  Pence’s press secretary returns to work after recovering from COVID-19 Update 12:40 p.m. EDT May 26: Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, said Tuesday that she’s returned to work after recovering from a coronavirus infection. President Donald Trump said May 8 that Miller was diagnosed with COVID-19 “all of a sudden.” Miller said Tuesday that she tested negative three times for COVID-19 before returning to work. “Thank you to all my amazing doctors and everyone who reached out with support,” Miller wrote Tuesday in a tweet. “I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband who took great care of his pregnant wife.” Miller is married to Stephen Miller, the president’s senior adviser. New Jersey allows professional sports teams return to training, competition Update 12:25 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced Tuesday that professional sports teams are now allowed to resume training and competition in the state. “While leagues make their own decisions about operations, I am confident that teams are equipped to practice and eventually play in a responsible manner, protecting the health and safety of players, coaches, and team personnel,” the governor said, according to NBC News. New York Gov. Cuomo to meet with President Trump on Wednesday Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said he will meet Wednesday with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Cuomo said at a news conference Tuesday that he plans “to talk about a number of things” with the president, including the possibility of ramping up infrastructure projects to boost the economy. “There is no better time to build than right now,” Cuomo said. “You need to create jobs and you need to renew and repair this country’s economy and it’s infrastructure. Now is the time to do it. It’s especially the time to do it when some of the volume is lower.” Jacksonville, Florida mayor says city ‘would be honored’ to host RNC Update 12 p.m. EDT May 26: The mayor of Jacksonville, Florida said Tuesday that the city “would be honored to host the Republican National Convention” after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the convention from North Carolina due to the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. >> Read more on WFTV.com In a series of Twitter posts, Mayor Lenny Curry said his administration and Gov. Ron DeSantis “have created a regulatory framework that operates in (a) way that is attractive to significant events like these.” He offered up the city’s partnership with the UFC, which led to several fan-free shows at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena earlier this month, as evidence that the city “has strongly demonstrated the ability to host large events in a safe (and) responsible way.' Earlier Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said his state would be willing and able to safely host the RNC, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. As of Tuesday morning, 50,916 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in Florida and 2,259 people have died the viral infection. Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health said 43,586 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide as of Tuesday morning with 1,853 people killed by the viral infection. In North Carolina, officials said that as of Tuesday morning, 24,140 people had been diagnosed with coronavirus infections and 766 people have died statewide. 73 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Tuesday that 73 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly less than the 95 new fatal cases reported one day earlier. Georgia offers to host RNC after Trump threatens to pull convention from North Carolina Update 11:10 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Tuesday offered his state up as host of the Republican National Convention after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the RNC from it’s planned setting in North Carolina over the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,' Kemp wrote in a post on Twitter. Trump said in a series of tweets published Monday that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper must immediately tell organizers whether or not they’ll be able to host the convention as expected from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. “Plans are being made by thousands of enthusiastic Republicans and others to head to beautiful North Carolina in August,” the president wrote. “They must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.” Cooper said Monday that state health officials are working with the Republican National Committee and reviewing their plans for holding the convention, WSOC-TV reported. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,” Cooper said, according to WSOC-TV. As of Tuesday morning, 24,140 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in North Carolina and 766 people have died, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health said 43,586 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide as of Tuesday morning with 1,853 people killed by the viral infection. New Jersey to allow for socially distanced graduation ceremonies Update 10:45 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced Tuesday that schools will be allowed to begin holding outdoor graduation ceremonies in July provided they comply with social distancing measures. Murphy said the ceremonies will be allowed beginning July 6. The date is about two weeks later than graduations are typically held, according to North Jersey.com. 4,043 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 10:35 a.m. EDT May 26: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 4,043 new coronavirus infections Tuesday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 265,227. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Monday, the most recent date for which data was available, 37,048 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. Wall Street up as recovery hopes overshadow virus worries Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 26: Wall Street opened sharply higher Tuesday as hopes for economic recovery overshadow worries over the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 jumped to nearly a 3-month high, recovering much of its post-pandemic losses. Investors are shifting their focus to how various nations are adapting to getting back to business, while striving to keep new COVID-19 cases in check. Reassuring comments by the head of China’s central bank also helped spur buying. Benchmarks in Paris, London and Tokyo also gained on Tuesday. Brooklyn Nets allowed to begin voluntary player workouts, reopen training facility Update 9:05 a.m. EDT May 26: Officials with the Brooklyn Nets said the NBA team plans to reopen its practice training facility Tuesday, two days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said professional sports teams in the state would be allowed to begin spring training statewide. In a statement obtained by CNN, team officials said they plan to reopen the HSS Training Center for voluntary player workouts beginning Tuesday. “The organization will strictly follow the protocols outlined by the NBA and infectious disease experts to ensure that all precautions are taken in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for players and staff,” the statement said, according to CNN. Several Nets players, including Kevin Durant, tested positive for coronavirus infections in March. Global deaths near 347K, total cases soar past 5.5M Update 7:44 a.m. EDT May 26: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 346,700 early Tuesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,518,905 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 13 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,102.  The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows: • The United States has reported 1,662,768 cases, resulting in 98,223 deaths. • Brazil has recorded 374,898 cases, resulting in 23,473 deaths. • Russia has confirmed 362,342 cases, resulting in 3,807 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 262,547 cases, resulting in 36,996 deaths. • Spain has confirmed 235,400 cases, resulting in 26,834 deaths. • Italy has reported 230,158 cases, resulting in 32,877 deaths. • France has confirmed 183,067 cases, resulting in 28,460 deaths. • Germany has reported 180,802 cases, resulting in 8,323 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 157,814 cases, resulting in 4,369 deaths • India has recorded 146,371 cases, resulting in 4,187 deaths. Colorado restaurant owners sue state over Mother’s Day license suspension Update 7:08 a.m. EDT May 26: The owners of a Colorado restaurant who defied statewide shutdown orders by allowing throngs of customers to dine on Mother’s Day have field suit against the state for having their license suspended. The suit was filed Friday by the owners of C&C Coffee & Kitchen in Castle Rock against Gov. Jared Polis; the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and its director; and the local tri-county health department in Douglas County District Court, The Washington Post reported. The suit alleges owners Jesse and April Arellano were denied their “livelihood and ability to operate their business after they simply allowed customers onto their premises to serve food and beverages.” More specifically, it claims that Polis’ statewide restrictions lack empirical evidence to accurately quantify the novel coronavirus pandemic’s toll because they are based on “fluctuating, often inaccurate projections,” the Post reported. Meanwhile, Polis announced Monday that Colorado restaurants will be allowed to reopen dining rooms beginning Wednesday but with strict capacity measures enforced, The Denver Post reported. Global coronavirus cases top 5.5 million Update 5:53 a.m. EDT May 26: The worldwide total of novel coronavirus cases eclipsed 5.5 million early Tuesday. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, a total of 5,508,904 cases have now been diagnosed globally, resulting in at least 346,508 deaths. South Korea links nearly 250 coronavirus cases to popular Seoul entertainment district Published 4:41 a.m. EDT May 26: A popular nightlife district in South Korean capital Seoul has been linked officially to 247 novel coronavirus cases since social distancing restrictions were eased. According to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 83,000 tests have been performed specific to the Itaweon district outbreak, and about 30% of those who tested positive have remained asymptomatic. D.C. officials confident they can contain coronavirus by July Published 3:33 a.m. EDT May 26: The greater Washington, D.C., area could have enough testing equipment, laboratory capacity and contact tracers to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, but only if the public remains vigilant, The Washington Post reported. According to public health officials in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, the region is expected to reach peak capacity for testing and tracing by June or early July, the Post reported. Read more here. Largest Latin American airline files for bankruptcy amid coronavirus disruptions Update 2:14 a.m. EDT May 26: LATAM Airlines Group has filed for bankruptcy, and the largest Latin American airline cites the novel coronavirus pandemic as the primary cause. In a statement posted to its website, the company said it will reorganize operations under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. Specifically, CEO Roberto Alvo said LATAM will refocus “on transforming our group to adapt to a new and evolving way of flying, with the health and safety of our passengers and employees being paramount.' No immediate impact is expected to affect reservations, employee pay, flight vouchers or passenger and cargo operations, according to the statement. US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths surpass 98K Update 1:08 a.m. EDT May 26: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Tuesday 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 1,662,302 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 98,223 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 362,764 cases and 29,229 deaths and New Jersey with 155,092 cases and 11,147 deaths. Massachusetts, with 93,271 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,416, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 112,017. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 51,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 96,400 cases, resulting in 3,769 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,925 cases, resulting in 5,146 deaths • Texas: 56,409 cases, resulting in 1,533 deaths • Michigan: 54,881 cases, resulting in 5,241 deaths • Florida: 51,746 cases, resulting in 2,252 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 13,458; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,178 and Kansas with 9,125; Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The FBI is investigating after video surfaced early Tuesday that appeared to show a police officer holding a knee against a man’s neck as he struggled to breathe shortly before he was pronounced dead at a hospital. The 10-minute video was caught by Darnella Frazier, who was on her way to meet with friends Monday night when she saw a man on the ground near a police cruiser and began to record, The Washington Post reported. In the video, later posted on Facebook, the man on the ground can be heard shouting that he can't breathe. “Don’t kill me!” he said, according to the Post. In a news briefing early Tuesday with police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the officer seen in the video with his knee to the man’s neck “failed in the most basic human sense,” according to KARE. 'For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man,' he said. 'For five minutes.' Police said they were called around 8 p.m. Monday to a report of a forgery in progress on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South. Officers who responded found a man in his 40s who was believed to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police said officers ordered him to step away from his car and that afterward he “physically resisted officers.” 'Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress,' police said in a statement released after the incident. 'Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.' In video of the incident, bystanders can be heard questioning officers’ treatment of the man. “He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro,” a bystander tells one of the two responding officers in the video, according to WCCO. “You’re (expletive) stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?” The video shows when the man on the ground appears to lose consciousness. “Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the simple truth … that he should be with us this morning,” Frey said Tuesday, according to KARE. The two officers who responded to the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave as authorities investigate, according to WCCO. Neither the officers nor the man who died were identified.