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The Latest: Hurricanes ask employees to take time off
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The Latest: Hurricanes ask employees to take time off

The Latest: Hurricanes ask employees to take time off
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, goals used by the NHL hockey club Nashville Predators are stored in a hallway in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Ottawa Senators announced late Tuesday night, March 17, 2020, one of their players has tested positive for COVID-19, has mild symptoms and is in isolation. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

The Latest: Hurricanes ask employees to take time off

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The Carolina Hurricanes are asking full-time employees to take vacation or personal days off next week with limited operations due to the coronavirus.

In an interview with The Associated Press, team president and general manager Don Waddell said the request was “the best avenue to take for the next 10 days.” The team had announced this week that it would temporarily close its offices as of Tuesday while employees work remotely.

Waddell said the decision would be on a week-to-week basis, though it doesn’t affect employees working under contracts. It comes as Wake County commission Chairman Greg Ford said the county plans to soon issue a stay-at-home order for residents similar to other areas of the state.

The News & Observer of Raleigh first reported the plan, citing an internal email that stated employees would go without pay if they had used all allotted time off. Waddell clarified that later, telling the newspaper: “Everyone will get paid and we’ll figure it out after that.”

“Everybody’s got full benefits, everybody’s getting paid this week,” Waddell told the AP. “We haven’t laid one person off. We haven’t cut one person. We haven’t cut any benefits.”

The Hurricanes had previously announced plans to compensate arena and team-event staff for lost wages for remaining home games on hold with the NHL regular season suspended.

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Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic has added his name to the list of NBA players helping out during the global coronavirus pandemic, announcing he has made a donation to the Homeless Education Fund for schools in Central Florida.

School closures mean many children in the Orlando area are missing out on the free or reduced breakfast and lunch meals that they usually count on daily. Gordon has helped with causes directed toward helping vulnerable kids before, and says he’s hoping his gift can help “our most precious resource.”

Several Magic players, including Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba have made donations to various causes in recent days. The DeVos family, which has owned the Magic for 29 years, is also backing a $2 million fund that will pay hourly employees of the Magic, Lakeland Magic, Orlando Solar Bears and the Amway Center who would have otherwise been missing out on income during the sports and entertainment shutdown.

“Potential is universal; opportunity, not so much. That’s where we come in,” Gordon said. “Now is a great time to wrap our arms around our kids’ communities.”

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Canadian hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer is offering to modify its production line to make protective visors for doctors, nurses and first responders.

The protective equipment to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic would be produced at the company's innovation center in suburban Montreal, as well as its facility in Liverpool, New York.

Bauer's vice president of products, Dan Bourgeois, says he has already received calls from Montreal police, firefighters and hospitals interested in the products.

Bourgeois says the company decided to adapt its hockey visor production after hearing Premier Francois Legault say manufacturers in Quebec could have a role to play if supplies of protective equipment run low.

The proposed full-face visors are made of plastic and contain anti-fogging material.

With non-essential businesses ordered closed in Quebec, the company is awaiting authorization from the provincial government before going into production.

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A construction worker at the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Mortenson-McCarthy Builders said Wednesday the worker had not been in close contact with any other project worker and had been off site since last week. The worker is self isolating for 14 days and won't return to work until cleared.

Fox5 in Las Vegas first reported the news.

Mortenson-McCarthy says the area of the stadium where the worker was assigned and the surrounding vicinity were immediately shut down and sanitized. Work in other parts of the stadium has been unaffected and the stadium is still scheduled to be completed this summer.

The Raiders are set to begin play in the $1.9 billion stadium this fall.

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USA Diving will keep its Olympic trials in Indianapolis when the event is rescheduled.

With the Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak, USA Diving formally called off the trials scheduled for June 14-21 at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus near downtown Indianapolis.

The governing body said it will work with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Indiana Sports Corp to reschedule the event, though that decision can't be reached until the International Olympic Committee comes up with new dates for the Tokyo Games.

All tickets that had been purchased for the U.S. diving trials will automatically be shifted to the new dates once a decision is reached. Any hotel reservations that were booked through USA Diving's site will be canceled.

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The Seattle Sounders have established a relief fund to help support individuals and businesses in the Seattle neighborhoods of Pioneer Square, SoDo and the Chinatown-International District near the team’s headquarters and home stadium of CenturyLink Field.

The family of majority owner Adrian Hanauer is making a $500,000 initial investment to the fund, which will be aimed at individuals, non-profits and small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MLS team says the fund is intended to support a range of needs, from groceries to rent assistance and monetary packages. The priorities of the fund will go toward individual shift workers and service providers that work in and around the stadium when the team has home matches; small businesses in the area to help them stay open; and non-profits that support individuals and businesses in those neighborhoods.

"The Sounders were born here in Seattle over 40 years ago, and we wouldn't be the club we have become without the support we've always found in this amazing and vibrant community," Hanauer said in a statement. "Now, as our world faces the new and unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, it's our responsibility to step up and give back to the community in a meaningful way.”

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Claressa Shields’ fight against Marie-Eve Dicaire has been postponed.

Shields and Dicaire were supposed to have a 154-pound unification bout May 9 in Flint, Michigan. Salita Promotions announced the postponement, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Salita Promotions said it would monitor the situation and work to announce a new date at some point.

“Unfortunately, the real fight is outside the ring right now,” promoter Dmitriy Salita said in a statement. “Once our invisible opponent is beaten, we can get back to watching two undefeated champions and the two best super welterweights in the world vie for the undisputed world title as Claressa Shields continues to build her incredible legacy in female boxing.”

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Wrestling star Jordan Burroughs has no plans to retire, announcing he is going to compete for a spot in the Olympics in 2021.

The 2012 gold medalist and four-time world champion said he was disappointed when he found out the Tokyo Games would be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. He considers it a setback, not a deal-breaker.

He turns 32 in July.

“When I walked away from Rio medal-less in 2016, I contemplated retirement,” he tweeted. "Not because I couldn't do it anymore, but because I knew that it would require another four years of tremendous work to get back. I was unsure if I was willing to dedicate another four years of my life to reach that stage.

“Yet, here we are, and there it goes. The race that I was once afraid to embark on because of its length just moved its finish line a little further. But I'm still in the race.”

Burroughs' aggressive wrestling style and success has earned him a worldwide following.

He won his first world title in 2011 and took gold in his Olympics debut in London the next year. He was favored to repeat as champion at 74 kilograms in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro but finished ninth. He won the world title in 2017 and was third the last two years.

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Churchill Downs has suspended the final three racing dates at Turfway Park following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s “Healthy at Home” executive order out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Florence, Kentucky, track’s winter meet was scheduled to end Saturday. Turfway’s backside area will remain open because it falls under the “life-sustaining business” category by providing “food, shelter and other necessities of life for animals.”

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The National Hockey League has postponed its scouting combine, awards ceremony and draft that were scheduled for June. It did not provide new dates for the events.

With the NHL season on pause since March 12, the postponement of these events did not come as a surprise. The league is still working on scenarios of what hockey would look like if it is able to resume this season.

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Organizers of the European Championships in track and field still hope to stage the event in Paris in August despite France being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic.

European Athletics says it asked officials in Paris for a feasibility study for the Aug. 25-30 championships.

French officials reported their work has been “severely compromised by France’s national shutdown of non-essential activities” during the health crisis.

However, European Athletics says “many athletes are keen” to see the championships go ahead as planned. It shapes up as the main medal target for European track and field athletes in 2020 after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until next year.

The European track body’s ruling council next meets May 7-8 by video conference.

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The owners of the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres are committing $1.2 million to supporting local charities and health officials dealing with the new coronavirus pandemic.

Kim Pegula says she and her husband Terry wanted to provide immediate assistance to "those in need and fighting on the front lines."

Money from the teams' charitable foundations will got to the newly formed Western New York COVID-19 community response fund supporting the region's non-profit agencies.

Money also is going to several local food banks and assistance for health officials in purchasing protective gear and medical equipment.

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Rio de Janeiro’s soccer body has extended its prohibition on professional matches in the state to the end of April. The initial suspension is valid until the end of March.

Rio is home to defending Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo.

Brazil has more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, and 57 people have died.

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The Boston Bruins say they are putting 68 full-time employees on temporary leave and cutting the pay of 82 others who work for the team or Delaware North, which owns the TD Garden.

The moves — which the Bruins called “temporary business stabilization measures” — are effective April 1.

The companies say they intend to restore jobs and compensation “once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage.”

The Bruins were the last team in the NHL to offer help to gameday employees who lost work because of the coronavirus pandemic — and then only if postponed games aren’t made up. The team is owned by Jeremy Jacobs, who is the chairman of the NHL board of governors and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. According to Forbes Magazine, the Jacobs family is worth $3.3 billion.

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Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is teaming up with Dr. Anthony Fauci for a question-and-answer discussion about the coronavirus.

Curry, a two-time NBA MVP, will host the chat on his Instagram account Thursday — (at)StephenCurry30. Fauci is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Curry posted his plans on his Twitter account with an invite to all to submit questions.

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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is open to the NCAA allowing more football practices after spring ball was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tigers got in nine sessions after starting practice Feb. 26 before all spring activities, including their Orange and White scrimmage, were canceled.

Swinney is not in favor of extending fall camp, instead suggesting a sort of NFL-style mini-camp depending on how many spring workouts the team got before spring activities were canceled.

"Maybe if they said everybody could have 12 on-field sessions," Swinney said. “So that means we would get only three just to make it equitable. But some of these schools who got none, they could get 12.”

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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward and his wife Erin, a trauma nurse, have recorded a message thanking first responders and health care workers.

The message was sent to the Texas Hospital Association and Medical City of Arlington and Dallas.

“We’re just trying to say thank you to all of these people on the front lines,” Woodward said Wednesday. “The first responders are first on the scene to a lot of these things. ... The doctors, nurses, everybody, they’re putting themselves at risk for all of us.”

Woodward said his wife isn’t currently working in a hospital. She finished a nursing contract at the end of February in Arizona, where they live, and is going back to school for another license.

The Woodwards are also joining Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his wife, Robyn, to provide meals to health care workers at Medical City of Arlington and Dallas.

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The United Center is going to be turned into a logistics hub to help with Illinois' response to the novel coronavirus.

The United Center and the surrounding area will be used for front-line food distribution, first responder staging and collecting medical supplies.

“On behalf of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, our athletes, our front offices and our dedicated United Center personnel, our thoughts and support are with the people of this great city and state,” a spokesman for the United Center said in a release. “Together, we will get through this.”

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Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, has died of complications from COVID-19, the mayor of Norwalk said. She was 83.

Roman, who also served for 20 years as Norwalk's city clerk in Connecticut, died Monday night at Norwalk Hospital, Mayor Harry Rilling said.

A childhood polio survivor, Roman began competing in senior track events in 1989 and won hundreds of medals, mostly in the throwing disciplines.

At various times, she held the American record in the shot put in the women's 65-69, 70-74 and 75-79 age groups. She also was once the nation's top-ranked thrower and ranked eighth in the world in the weight throw in the 75-79 age group.

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Argentine cyclist Max Richeze has been released from a hospital in the United Arab Emirates, where the UAE Team Emirates rider spent 18 days after testing positive for the coronavirus following the cancellation of the UAE Tour.

Richeze wrote on Instagram that two tests for COVID-19 had come back negative and he was discharged Wednesday.

That status of Richeze's teammate, Fernando Gaviria, remains unknown after he also tested positive for the virus. Two staff members for UAE Team Emirates also tested positive, and the entire team remains in voluntary quarantine.

The second edition of the UAE Tour, a major early season stage race, was canceled with two stages left. Riders and support staff for all 22 teams were isolated, though nearly all of them now have been cleared to leave the country.

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The All England Club says it is still evaluating whether to postpone or cancel Wimbledon because of the coronavirus pandemic and plans to make a decision next week.

That's when the club's main board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting.

Main-draw play at Wimbledon is slated to start June 29 and preparations for the tournament are supposed to begin in late April.

The club's statement Wednesday says that postponing the two-week grass-court tournament would not come "without significant risk and difficulty" because of the surface.

Playing without fans has been ruled out. Wimbledon hasn't been canceled since World War II.

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NASCAR says in a memo to teams that one of its employees at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employee was not identified and NASCAR said the individual has been receiving medical care and all potentially exposed have been told to self-quarantine.

NASCAR was at Atlanta scheduled to race March 15 without spectators. But two days prior to the race, NASCAR postponed Atlanta and last weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which instead was converted into a virtual iRacing event broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with 35 drivers.

NASCAR has suspended its season through May 9 and will race at least five more iRaces, televised on Fox, during the stoppage.

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The NHL's chief medical officer expects the coronavirus pandemic to get worse before it gets better.

Dr. Winne Meeuwisse says the virus is "really just entering the rapid acceleration phase" in North America. That makes it unclear when hockey might resume.

He says the league is thankful only two players have tested positive for COVID-19 so far and is hopeful weeks of isolation will prevent more from contracting the virus. Players and staff have been told to self-quarantine until at least April 4.

There is no timeline for when players might be able to start working out in small groups or report to team training facilities. Meeuwisse says the trajectory of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and Canada will determine when that might be possible.

Varying recommendations and lockdown regulations across the league's 31 markets could impact how the NHL proceeds. Meeuwisse and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are still unsure whether fans would be allowed in for potential games when they resume.

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Aqueduct has extended the suspension of live horse racing through at least April 5 because of the impact of the new coronavirus in New York.

As a result, the $750,000 Wood Memorial has been postponed. No make-up date has been determined yet for the major Kentucky Derby prep that was to be run on April 4.

Last Thursday, the New York Racing Association suspended racing at Aqueduct after confirmation that a backstretch worker who lived and worked at Belmont Park tested positive for COVID-19. The Belmont backstretch is home to 585 workers who tend to the daily care of more than 1,300 horses stabled on the property.

The pandemic has affected other prep races for the Kentucky Derby, which itself was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. The Sunland Derby in New Mexico and Blue Grass and Lexington stakes in Kentucky have been canceled, along with the UAE Derby. The Arkansas Derby was pushed back from April 11 to May 2.

For now, the Florida Derby on March 28 and Santa Anita Derby on April 4 are still scheduled.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

In a memo to teams, Goodell said restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel.

The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. The league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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News

  • At least 722,000 people worldwide – including more than 142,000 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 Monday, March 30, continue below: Prince Charles ends isolation period for virus Update 9:50 a.m. EDT March 30: Prince Charles has ended his period of isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus. The prince’s Clarence House office says Charles is in good health after completing the seven-day quarantine recommended by U.K. health authorities for people with COVID-19 symptoms. Royal officials said last week the 71-year-old heir to the British throne was showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and self-isolating at the royal family’s Balmoral estate in Scotland. His wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative but will be in self-isolation until the end of the week. Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth II, 93, is at her Windsor Castle home west of London with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip. Saudi Arabian health officials report 154 new COVID-19 cases Update 9:45 a.m. EDT March 30: Officials in Saudi Arabia announced 154 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,453. According to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health, health personnel have linked 16 of the new cases to travel. Officials said 138 cases stemmed from direct contact with a person previously diagnosed with COVID-19. Eight people have died of the 2019 novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia. 93 new coronavirus deaths reported in the Netherlands Update 9:35 a.m. EDT March 30: Health officials in the Netherlands recorded 93 new deaths related to the 2019 novel coronavirus on Monday, raising the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 864. Officials with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment also reported 884 new COVID-19 cases. Health authorities have reported 11,750 coronavirus cases in the country so far. Of those cases, 3,990 have prompted hospital admissions. USNS Comfort to arrive in New York on Monday Update 9:30 a.m. EDT March 30: The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy floating hospital, is set to arrive in New York on Monday to help relieve the pressure on hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. The ship was scheduled to dock around 10 a.m., according to WNBC. Officials said they expected to begin taking patients 24 hours after the ship’s arrival. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said Sunday that the ship “will right away be making a difference.” “We are so, so grateful to the Navy, to the military that this new help will be arriving in our city,” he said. The ship, staffed with more than 1,100 Navy medical personnel and support staff along with over 70 civil service mariners, will be open to patients who are not infected with COVID-19. Field hospital being built in New York’s Central Park Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 30: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced Sunday that officials are building a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park to help respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re adding hospital beds,” de Blasio said Sunday. “You’ll see an unusual sight in Central Park. We’re working with Mount Sinai (Health System) to open a field hospital in Central Park’s East Meadow.” Officials said the 68-bed hospital will begin to accept patients from Mount Sinai Hospital on Tuesday. Trump weighs in on coronavirus response in new interview Update 8:38 a.m. EDT March 30: President Donald Trump weighed in on the coronavirus pandemic in a Monday morning interview with “Fox and Friends.” When asked whether the country has enough equipment to deal with the crisis, he pointed to efforts to build a 2,900-bed mobile hospital and medical centers in New York City, and said “massive planeloads” of deliveries and thousands of ventilators were on the way. 'We're delivering so much equipment, nobody's ever really seen anything like it,' he said, touting his relationship with governors of states that have been hit hard by the virus. Trump said he expected the pandemic to peak in the U.S. “around Easter,” and by June 1, “the deaths will be at a very low number.” He said that he reassessed his initial '15 days to slow the spread' plan after listening to advice from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah L. Birx. “We picked the end of April as the day where we can see some real progress,” he said of the new timeline to continue social distancing through April 30. He added that if the government hadn't 'shut [the economy] down,' up to 2.2 million people here could have died from the virus. Trump also said new, rapid coronavirus tests could be available as soon as this week. Additionally, he slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticism of his response to the outbreak, calling her 'a sick puppy.' “I think it’s a disgrace to her country, her family,” he said. Israeli prime minister self-isolating after possible coronavirus exposure Update 8:30 a.m. EDT March 30: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was self-isolating Monday after one of his aides tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports. Officials told Reuters that Netanyahu was scheduled to take a coronavirus test Tuesday. He previously tested negative for COVID-19 on March 15, according to Reuters. Officials said in a statement obtained by CNN that Netanyahu’s doctor would determine when to end the self-isolation. Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for 2021 Update 8:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Organizers announced Monday that the Tokyo Olympics, which had been set to take place over the summer, have been rescheduled for 2021. Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. “The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games,' Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.” Adviser to British PM Boris Johnson experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolating Update 7:26 a.m. EDT March 30: Just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he tested positive for coronavirus, one of his chief advisers is experiencing symptoms and has decided to self-isolate. According to The Associated Press, Dominic Cummings said he started feeling sick over the weekend and has been staying at home. Meanwhile, Johnson took to Twitter on Monday morning to say he’s “been working from home and continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus.' >> See the tweet here FDA issues ‘emergency use authorization’ of anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment Update 6:45 a.m. EDT March 30: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an “emergency use authorization' to allow two anti-malaria drugs donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to possibly be used to treat coronavirus patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in a news release Sunday. HHS said it “accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals' on Sunday. The authorization allows the donated drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” the release said. In addition, the authorization “requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including the known risks and drug interactions,” according to the FDA’s website. Read more here or here. New York City to fine people who violate social-distancing rules Update 5:20 a.m. EDT March 30: New York City will fine those who fail to follow social-distancing guidelines, officials said. According to WPIX-TV, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the news in a Sunday news conference. “We’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” he said, adding that people could face fines of $250 to $500 if they continue to violate the rules after receiving a warning from police. The city has already shut down nonessential businesses and instructed to residents to stay inside when possible, WPIX reported. Budget airline EasyJet grounds entire fleet Update 4:32 a.m. EDT March 30: British airline EasyJet announced that it is grounding all of its 344 planes amid the coronavirus pandemic, ITV is reporting. According to CNN, the budget carrier’s decision takes effect Monday. “At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights,” the Luton-based airline said in a statement. The carrier tweeted Monday that entitlements for customers whose flights were canceled “are available for up to a year after your flight was originally due to depart.” >> See the tweets here 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' songwriter Alan Merrill dies of complications from virus Update 3:23 a.m. EDT March 30: Alan Merrill, best known for writing the hit song “I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” died Sunday morning after experiencing coronavirus complications. He was 69. According to USA Today, Merrill’s daughter, Laura, said in a Facebook post that her father died at a New York City hospital. “I was given two minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out,” she wrote of Merrill, who also was a guitarist and vocalist. “He seemed peaceful, and as I left, there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn’t be a ticker on the right-hand side of the CNN/Fox News screen.” She said she walked home and received the news of his death by the time she reached her apartment. “I’ve made a million jokes about the ‘Rona’ and how it’ll ‘getcha’ ... boy, do I feel stupid,” she continued. “If anything can come of this, I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying. You don’t think it’ll happen to you or your strong family. It has.” >> See the post here ″I Love Rock 'n' Roll' was originally released by the Arrows, a band Merrill was part of, in 1975, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” Seven years later, rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released a version of the song, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the outlet reported. Jett took to Twitter to pay tribute to Merrill on Sunday, sending “thoughts and love” to his loved ones and the music community. “I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,” Jett wrote. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.” >> See the tweet here News of Merrill’s death came the same day that country music star Joe Diffie died from the virus, “ET” reported. Costco to temporarily change store hours Update 1:31 a.m. EDT March 30: In an effort to help protect its customers, Costco announced it will temporarily implement new weekday closing hours for its locations nationwide. Beginning Monday, all its warehouses will close at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and its gas stations will close at 7 p.m. However, it said some specific locations’ hours would be different. The wholesale giant said its weekend hours would remain the same. For its members ages 60 and older and those with physical impairments, Costco has special operating hours from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Costco said it has made some temporary department changes to create more space for social distancing and is following CDC recommendations to minimize risk to its members and employees. U.S. cases soar past 142,000, including more than 2,500 deaths Update 12:39 a.m. EDT March 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 142,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Sunday. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 142,502 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 2,506 deaths. Worldwide, there are 722,435 confirmed cases and 33,997 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 97,689 reported in Italy and the 82,149 confirmed in China. Of the confirmed deaths, 966 have occurred in New York, 200 in Washington state, 161 in New Jersey and 151 in Louisiana. In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 59,746 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 13,386, California with 6,284 and Michigan with 5,488. Four other states have each confirmed at least 4,000 novel coronavirus cases, including: • Massachusetts: 4,955, including 48 deaths • Florida: 4,950, including 60 deaths • Illinois: 4,596, including 66 deaths • Washington: 4,493, including 200 deaths Meanwhile, Louisiana and Pennsylvania have confirmed at least 3,000 novel coronavirus infections each, while Texas, Georgia and Colorado have confirmed at least 2,000 cases each. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • It’s a sweet deal for health care workers battling to contain the coronavirus. Krispy Kreme announced in a news release that beginning Monday, it will give away a dozen of its Original Glazed doughnuts to health care workers. The promotion will last through May 11. “Just go to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru, tell us what you need and show us your employer badge,” Krispy Kreme said in its release. “That’s it. Pick up some free dozens on the way to work for you and your colleagues, or maybe a free dozen on your way home to family after a long shift.” Krispy Kreme also announced that on Saturdays, customers who buy at least one dozen Original Glazed doughnuts will receive another dozen for free. The free dozen doughnuts, which will be handed out to drive-thru, pickup and delivery customers. will also include a smiley-face doughnut, Krispy Kreme said in its release.
  • You can’t visit a Disney theme park these days due to restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus. That doesn’t mean Disney cannot come to you. On Wednesday, the Disneyland Dapper Dans went online to sing an all-time Disney classic, “When You Wish Upon A Star,” the theme park said in its blog. For years, the Dapper Dans have harmonized in the Main Street U.S.A. section of Disney theme parks. With a repertoire of songs that include “Grim Grinning Ghosts” and “When I See An Elephant Fly,” the Dapper Dans will continue to perform while the parks remain closed. People can watch the group’s #VoicesFromHome performance and vote for their next song on the Disney Parks Blog.
  • President Donald Trump signed the largest relief package in U.S. history on Friday afternoon, paving the way for $2 trillion to be injected into an economy stunted by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The bill will bolster unemployment insurance and pour money into businesses, health-care providers and state and local governments. In addition, some 80 percent of U.S. adults will see stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples. The federal government will also include $500 for each child or dependent. How much will you get and how is it determined? Here’s a look at the plan. Note: The amount the check will be is be based on your 2019 tax return if it has been filed, or your 2018 tax return if you have not yet filed this year. Those filing income tax returns as “single” with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 a year will be eligible for a $1,200 check. The payment amount drops by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000. Those who file as “married filing jointly” can receive a check for $2,400 check if their adjusted gross income was below $150,000. Married couples will get checks on a sliding scale up to $198,000. Married couples will also receive $500 for each child they claimed on their tax return. If you filed as “head of household” you are eligible for a $1,200 check and $500 for each child you claimed if your adjusted gross income was $112,500 or less. You can receive a check on a sliding scale if you earn up to $136,500 annually. Those who file “head of household” are typically single parents). If you receive a Social Security check and do not exceed the income limits above, you are eligible to receive the coronavirus relief check. If you receive a Social Security check and do not make enough money to require you to file a tax return, you will still receive a check as long as you received an SSA-1099 form. The form is sent annually and includes your Social Security benefits statement. The check will be delivered to you via the usual way you get your Social Security payment. People who receive disability checks from Social Security are eligible for the special payment. Where are the checks sent? If you have filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, the Internal Revenue Service will send the check to the bank account number you used for the direct deposit information included on that return. Or, if you did not include direct deposit information on your tax form, the IRS will mail the check to you at the address you included on your tax form. If you did not file a 2019 tax return yet, the IRS will check to see if you filed a 2018 return and use that information to send your check. If you get a Social Security check, the IRS will deliver the stimulus check in the same way you get your Social Security check each month. Will taxes be taken out of the check? No, the checks will not be taxed. Whatever amount you qualify for, you will receive that amount. When will I get it? Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin has said the checks are scheduled to begin being distributed on April 6, though that is not a set date. How can I find out how much I will get? The IRS has created a webpage for information about the checks, but much of the information has not been posted. The Washington Post created this calculator to help you estimate the amount you will receive. You can answer a couple of questions and the calculator will estimate the amount you will likely receive.
  • A Florida man is facing several charges after he told a deputy he tested positive for COVID-19 and coughed toward the deputy, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said Christian Perez, 23, was taken into custody after he was stopped for reckless driving. Perez reportedly told deputies he had COVID-19, so deputies provided him with a protective mask to cover his mouth. Deputies said at one point, Perez removed the mask and began intentionally coughing toward a deputy. The deputy got the mask back on Perez’s mouth to reduce the risk of contamination, officials said. Deputies said Perez was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license, assault on a deputy and threatening a public servant. Sheriff William Snyder said men and women of law enforcement encounter enough dangers daily without actions like this. “We have zero tolerance for this despicable behavior, and anyone who threatens the health and lives of my deputies will face the maximum charges,' Snyder said.
  • A metro Atlanta housekeeper says her services are more in demand now that coronavirus has hit. Four years after launching her business, Teresa Goodman tells WSB that her housekeeping appointments are way up.  'Mine have doubled or tripled,' says Goodman. 'I have clients, I only go to them like once a month. But when the coronavirus came in, I go once a week.'  She says homeowners, anxious over the bug, want to make sure their houses stay healthy.  'Everyone wants their home clean and sanitized, so really it picked up for me,' Goodman says. She has begun carrying an additional DIY alcohol-based disinfectant that she begins using on the doorknob as soon as she steps up to a client's door. Frequently-grabbed places like closets, appliance handles, and drawer pulls get the spritz, too.  Homeowners like to see Goodman clean and disinfect the rooms where they hang out the most, and the items they touch the most.  'Telephones, TV remotes, the arm of the chairs, computers, faucets,' she explains.   Goodman admits that she was a bit nervous at first to keep going into clients' homes amid the viral concerns, but says the job is essential to her family.  'I am, but it's a business. You got to do what you've got to do for your family. I just stay prayed up,' says Goodman, who adds that the job is important to her clients.  'They trust me to do a good job,' she says. Goodman changes gloves in between one room and the next, and noted that her attention to detail and even her products have led to smiles.  'A neighbor came over and said, 'You know that Lysol you've got is worth more than gold now!' We just laughed, laughed, laughed. I said, 'You're right.''  She hopes the new handwashing and extra-cleanliness habits people are forming stick with us post- pandemic.  'Don't wait until after the coronavirus,' says Goodman. 'Say they say it leaves or whatever, you want to stop. Wrong thing. Keep doing what you're doing. Just keep your house sanitized--or call me. And I'll come do it for you.