Coronavirus:

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Coronavirus live updates: 3 new cases reported in China
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Coronavirus live updates: 3 new cases reported in China

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Coronavirus live updates: 3 new cases reported in China

More than 5.2 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 Saturday, May 23, continue below:

3 new cases reported in China

Update 11:25 p.m. EDT May 23: Three new confirmed cases of the coronavirus were reported Sunday in China.

The National Health Commission said two of the cases came from outside of the country and the other was a locally transmitted in the province of Jilin. No new deaths have been reported.

There are 79 patients in treatment and another 380 are in isolation.

There have been 4,634 deaths from the coronavirus in China.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Pig hunt planned in Guam to help families in need of food

Update 10:45 p.m. EDT May 23: Families in need of food are invited to participate in a pig-hunting derby by the Guam Department of Agriculture.

The two day hunt starts next Saturday.

The hunt is intended to help feed families, encourage familial hunter development and reduce the feral pig population.

There are 1,134 confirmed cases and six deaths from the coronavirus in Guam, according to The New York Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Order allowing foreign professional athletes into US signed by acting DHS secretary

Update 9:30 p.m. EDT May 23: An order allowing foreign athletes from multiple professional sports leagues into the country was signed by acting Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf on Friday.

Foreign athletes, essential staff and their dependents in professional sports including Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League will be allowed to enter the country.

“Professional sporting events provide much needed economic benefits, but equally important, they provide community pride and national unity,” Wolf said in a statement. “In today’s environment, Americans need their sports. It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work.”

Leagues include:

  • Major League Baseball
  • National Basketball Association
  • Women’s National Basketball Association
  • Professional Golfers’ Association Tour
  • Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour
  • National Hockey League
  • Association of Tennis Professionals
  • Women’s Tennis Association

Coronavirus live updates: Places of worship in Minnesota can open at 25% capacity

Update 8:30 p.m. EDT May 23: Places of worship in Minnesota can open at 25% capacity starting May 27, Gov. Tim Walz said Saturday.

Congregants can gather as long as the places of worship follow strict social distance measures and other safety guidelines, CNN reported.

"As we move to try and have some of these places of worship open up, they’re done with a common goal of the safety and security of not only the congregants but the community at large," Walz said.

There are 19,854 confirmed cases and 861 deaths from the coronavirus in Minnesota, according to The New York Times.

Swim party in Arkansas leads to several reported cases

Update 7:15 p.m. EDT May 23: A high school swim party in Arkansas lead to several swimmers testing positive for the coronavirus, officials said Saturday.

"I'm sure everybody thought was harmless," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, CNN reported. "They're young, they're swimming, they're just having activity and positive cases resulted from that."

Hutchinson did not offer additional information about the party.

"It is an important anecdote for people to understand how easy that this can spread and that we still need to be careful," he said. "During this Memorial (Day) weekend, we want to be out and we want to enjoy ourselves, we want to remember this holiday and those that have served our country and given their lives in service of our country. But let's be safe and let's be disciplined at the same time."

Hutchinson never issued a stay-at-home order for the state, CNN reported. He said the state is reaching a second peak as it recorded 163 new cases Saturday. There were 160 cases recorded in a day during the state's first peak, CNN reported.

There are 5,612 confirmed cases and 113 deaths from the coronavirus in Arkansas, according to The New York Times.

New York Times fills entire front page with names of virus victims

Update 6:20 p.m. EDT May 23: As the coronavirus death toll inches toward 100,000 nationwide, The New York Times printed the name of 1,000 people who have died from the virus, covering its entire Sunday front page.

The unique page design is a rare move to not feature multiple stories or any images or art to bring attention to the loss caused by the pandemic.

The Times also launched a special section "Those We've Lost," which features stories about those who have died from the coronavirus.

There are more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and 96,875 deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins’ tracking information.

North Carolina has highest single-day total for cases

Update 3:28 p.m. EDT May 23: North Carolina experienced its highest one-day increase of cases, the day after Phase 2 protocols were implemented in the state, health officials said.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, there were 1,107 cases reported Saturday.

“Phase two runs through at least Friday, June 26, unless changed or canceled,” the agency said in a tweet.

North Carolina’s Phase Two includes expanding restaurant capacity to 50% and reopening camps for children.

NBA, Disney negotiating to resume season near Orlando in July

Update 1:56 p.m. EDT May 23: The NBA and the Walt Disney company have begun talks about restarting the 2019-2020 season at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said.

The season would resume in late July, according to ESPN.

"The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing," Bass said. "Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place."

Expect longer lines at airport security checkpoints

Update 1:01 p.m. EDT May 23: Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wold said lines at airport security checkpoints will likely be longer as the Transportation Security Administration adjusts its staffing. The move is in anticipation of more people beginning to travel.

More than 300,000 people went through airport security checkpoints Thursday, CNN reported, marking the highest number since March.

In an interview with Fox News, Wolf said the TSA would try to reduce person-to-person contact by having travelers scan their own boarding passes. Travelers also will be asked to pack food in a separate container to cut down the number of bags security agents must search.

Cuomo signs order allowing gatherings of 10 or fewer

Update 10:24 a.m. EDT May 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing 10 people or fewer to gather as long as they practice social distancing rules, The New York Times reported.reported.

Cuomo signed the order after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit that objected to the governor’s order Thursday allowing groups of 10 people or less to gather for religious services or for Memorial Day celebrations. Cuomo’s latest order Friday night modified the previous one.

Navajo Nation reports 149 deaths

Update 9:22 a.m. EDT May 23: The Navajo Nation reported 149 deaths Friday related to the coronavirus, CNN reported. There have been 4,529 total positive cases.

The Navajo Nation encompasses parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Spain’s prime minister says soccer league will resume June 8

Update 8:40 a.m. EDT May 23: Pedro Sanchez, the prime minister of Spain, said the country’s soccer league will resume play June 8, according to The Associated Press.

Global deaths near 339K, total cases soar past 5.2M

Update 7:55 a.m. EDT May 23: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 338,612 early Friday, 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 5,235,452 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,081. 

The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,601,434 cases, resulting in 96,007 deaths.

• Russia has confirmed 335,682 cases, resulting in 3,249 deaths.

• Brazil has recorded 330,890 cases, resulting in 20,047 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 255,544 cases, resulting in 36,124 deaths.

• Spain has confirmed 234,824 cases, resulting in 27,940 deaths.

• Italy has reported 228,658 cases, resulting in 32,486 deaths.

• France has confirmed 182,015 cases, resulting in 28,218 deaths.

• Germany has reported 179,0730 cases, resulting in 8,212 deaths.

• Turkey has recorded 154,500 cases, resulting in 4,249 deaths

• Iran has recorded 133,521 cases, resulting in 7,359 deaths.

FDA warns groups to stop pushing fake vaccines, CBD oil to fight COVID-19

Update 7:25 a.m. EDT May 23: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have placed two groups on notice for selling fraudulent products to fight the novel coronavirus.

Both Apollo Holding LLC and North Coast Biologics received warning letters Thursday for their virus-related products, CNN reported.

According to the letters, Apollo Holding was selling “NoronaPak” products, including “cannabidiol (CBD),” derived from the cannabis plant, according to one of the warning letters. The federal agencies chastised the company for marketing the products as “intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19 in people” because the drugs do not carry federal approval and have been sold in violation of federal law.

Meanwhile, the letters state North Coast Biologics was offering an “nCoV19 spike protein vaccine” and that someone associated with the program bragged about the unverified vaccine in a March 21 Facebook post, saying “Just vaccinated 12 people in west Seattle tonight . . . 12 more to vaccinate in Burien . . . off to Anchorage and PHX next.”

Brazil surpasses Russia for 2nd-highest coronavirus cases worldwide, trails only US

Update 5:27 a.m. EDT May 23: The COVID-19 infection count in Brazil surpassed that of Russia early Saturday, meaning the nation has now confirmed the second-highest number of novel coronavirus cases worldwide.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, Brazil has reported a total of 330,890 cases, resulting in 21,048 deaths, and the South American country’s pace of new infections continues to increase. Health officials confirmed Friday that 20,803 new cases had been confirmed in the prior 24 hours.

The latest figures drop Russia’s 326,446 cases to third-most globally, but the United States’ more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases are nearly five times higher than Brazil’s.

US hairstylist who exposed 91 people to coronavirus highlights reality of community spread

Update 5:05 a.m. EDT May 23: A hairstylist who exposed as many as 91 customers and coworkers to the novel coronavirus has emerged as the poster child for the threat of community spread, Missouri health officials said.

Clay Goddard, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, told CNN the stylist worked for eight days in May while symptomatic, exposing 84 clients and seven Great Clips colleagues to the virus.

“The individual and their clients were wearing face coverings. The 84 clients potentially directly exposed will be notified by the Health Department and be offered testing, as will seven coworkers,” the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said in a statement. “It is the hope of the department that because face coverings were worn throughout this exposure timeline, no additional cases will result.”

Weight Watchers executes mass firing via Zoom, cites coronavirus for restructuring

Update 4:15 a.m. EDT May 23: WW International, the company formerly known as Weight Watchers, fired an undisclosed number of employees one week ago during simultaneous Zoom calls across the country, multiple media outlets reported.

Not only did the move shock many longtime staffers who believed they were simply participating in a standard company Zoom meeting, but the health and wellness company declined to confirm the exact number of its roughly 17,000 mostly part-time employees let go, The New York Times reported. Company representatives attributed the restructuring in part to the novel coronavirus and in part to a shifting digital strategy.

“This is supposed to be a caring, wellness corporation,” Joanne Patten of Houston, a part-time WW employee for 11 years, told the newspaper adding, “The way they did it, it was just heartless.”

Numerous governors moving cautiously to reopen places of worship, despite Trump’s demands

Update 2:25 a.m. EDT May 23: Several governors responded late Friday to President Donald Trump’s threat earlier in the day to override state leaders who do not allow places of worship to reopen amid the lingering novel coronavirus.

Asked about the president’s declaration, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told CNN he stands by his state’s policy of allowing services with 50% capacity, while a spokesman told the network Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan supports reopening churches and has no plans to force local county officials to enforce a recent 50% capacity order.

Meanwhile, David Postman, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s chief of staff, told The New York Times, “We don’t believe the president has the ability to dictate what states can and cannot open.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said her state continues to work toward resuming worship services on May 30 but not before protective social-distancing measures can be enacted.

“We’re not ready. Honestly, that would be reckless,” Raimondo said during a news conference.

US coronavirus cases top 1.6M, deaths surpass 96K

Published 12:23 a.m. EDT May 23: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 1.6 million early Saturday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,601,251 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 96,001 deaths. 

The hardest-hit states remain New York with 358,154 cases and 28,853 deaths and New Jersey with 152,579 cases and 10,985 deaths. Massachusetts, with 90,889 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,228, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 105,444. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each.

Seven other states have now confirmed at least 41,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

• California: 90,454 cases, resulting in 3,667 deaths

• Pennsylvania: 70,211 cases, resulting in 5,010 deaths

• Michigan: 53,913 cases, resulting in 5,158 deaths

• Texas: 53,539 cases, resulting in 1,470 deaths

• Florida: 49,451 cases, resulting in 2,190 deaths

• Maryland: 44,424 cases, resulting in 2,207 deaths

• Georgia: 41,482 cases, resulting in 1,808 deaths

Meanwhile, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Colorado and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 22,000 cases; Tennessee, Washington and Minnesota each has confirmed at least 19,000 cases; Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Rhode Island and Alabama each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 12,625; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 9,638; Kansas, Delaware, Kentucky and Utah each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 6,625; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases.

Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.

Read More
  • Hundreds have gathered Saturday to call for justice and reform in light of police violence happening throughout the country in Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. One protester was struck by a car after a march moved North to I-44 and spilled onto the highway. I-44 was shut down westbound towards Riverside for several hours as the scene was cleared. Police said that person received non-life threatening injuries.  All lanes of I-44 are back open. Peaceful protesters led by Reverend Robert Turner and Tiffany Crutcher marched along Peoria from 41st to 34th in response to the recent killing of George Floyd. Tiffany Crutcher is Terence Crutcher’s sister.  You may recall he was shot and killed by Tulsa police back in 2016. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. Tulsa protesters are asking the city for four things: they want a police oversight committee, several lawsuits settled including one involving the shooting of Terence Crutcher, greater investment in mental health training for the Tulsa Police Department, and the immediate end of the city’s contract with “Live PD”.
  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • In a brazen, aggravating crime, a man who lives at a home near 31st and Memorial says someone burglarized his pickup truck in broad daylight in his own driveway around noon on Friday. Ed Douglass says he was taking some things from his pickup truck, and only left the truck unattended for about five minutes, when he came back outside and saw the doors on the truck were open. He discovered that someone had grabbed his cellphone and some other stuff. Luckily, some alert neighbors saw the suspect going into his backyard. “They saw her and they apprehended her and then the police showed up and the police arrested her,” Douglass said. The woman told police that she had tossed the phone somewhere, but they eventually got it back and returned it to Douglass.
  • Governor Kevin Stitt confirmed Friday that Oklahoma will proceed to Phase Three of the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan on June 1st, as scheduled. By early Friday afternoon, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart had also announced that while the number of new infections, and hospitalizations, continues to grow in our area, hospital capacity remains more than adequate. “The daily number of patients in hospitals have been steadily increasing since May 11th, with a marked increase since May 15th,” Dart said Friday. “But the bottom line as at this time, those levels remain manageable.” And that is the key point, Mayor Bynum emphasized. “Throughout Phase Three... the most important thing for me is monitoring that healthcare system capacity,” Bynum said. Phase Three includes relaxing restrictions on special events - e.g., concerts, sports, festivals, and so forth. Employers can bring their entire workforce back in, if they choose. Hospitals can relax their restrictions somewhat on visitation. Both men encouraged efforts to maintain social distancing, the wearing of masks, and hygiene. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over,” Dart said. “So remember that, remain vigilant, wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance, and continue to do this until we see actually see signs of this virus going away.” Here's the city's full statement on Phase Three: To date, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has confirmed 983 positive COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County. 774 residents have recovered and 51 have died. Test results are updated daily at www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19. For the most up-to-date news, information and business resources in Tulsa, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19.  New Civil Emergency Order | Phase 3 Guidance  Starting June 1, events (no size limit) may resume in Tulsa. Special event permits will be issued pursuant to the State’s Reopening Plan on June 1.  During Phase 3, employers can resume unrestricted worksite staffing and visits to hospitals and senior living facilities may resume subject to certain guidelines as outlined by the state and each individual facility. Additionally, businesses who have been taking customers by appointment only can start taking walk-ins.  The updated civil emergency order can be found at www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19. For additional guidance and information, visit: www.okcommerce.gov/ours-plan/.  Water Moratorium Updates  Starting in June, utility bill collections will resume through a phased approach. For customers who have already setup a payment arrangement due to COVID-19, the City will start calling those customers in early June to ensure payments are being made and/or to come to terms on a new arrangement to avoid service interruptions. Bills mailed in June will include a cut-off date and special notice. Payments or arrangements must be made by the cut-off date to avoid service interruptions for these bills starting June 15. Late fees will resume for customers not paying bills on June 19. City Hall Updates June 1 Starting June 1, City Hall visitors will be asked to wear cloth face coverings and have their temperature checked by Security before entering the building. This measure is for visitors’ safety and the safety of City employees. Tulsa Parks Updates As of June 1, the following plan and policies will be in place and enforced until further notice: Parks & Trails - Parks and trails are all open, so long as patrons practice social distancing. Outdoor shelter rentals and park event permits will start being accepted again, with an initial limit of up to 100 people. Park Amenities – After conferring with local health authorities, park amenities including playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, basketball courts, and outdoor bathrooms will be reopened with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place. Other than bathrooms, equipment will NOT be sanitized, and users should wash hands before and after use and use hand sanitizer regularly while using the equipment. It is still important to keep social distancing and to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after using any equipment. Basketball courts will be limited four people per hoop and participants should maintain distance or use masks. Sports complexes, as well as individual use fields will reopen, and games and large group practices may resume with safety protocols in place. Water faucets at dog parks are turned on for dog use, but water fountains will remain shut off.  Aquatics & Pools Water playgrounds and splash pads will be reopened with safety and social distancing policies. Tulsa Parks pools will remain closed for the 2020 season. Community Centers & Programs Community and specialty centers (including Oxley Nature Center and WaterWorks Art Center) will reopen June 1. Residents can see specific center hours and programs by visiting www.tulsaparks.org. Community centers will not offer summer kids day camps, nor will they offer youth or adult summer sports leagues.  Masks will be required to enter each building and may be removed only during participation in exercise and physical activities (such as working out, dance, martial arts, etc.), where the staff or instructor has allowed the removal of masks. Everyone will be asked to sign/scan in upon entering the building, and temperatures will be checked.  Centers who offer open gym/studio will do so in a limited capacity for specific activities varying by site, some may require reservations. Indoor basketball will be limited to one-man drills, shooting practice. Fitness rooms will open but may will close throughout the day for 30-minute disinfectant breaks, smaller fitness rooms may limit the number and time allowed, residents should call their facility for details. CVS Testing Sites Added  Several new testing sites have been added across the Tulsa metro at select CVS locations. Testing sites are by appointment only. Users should bring evidence of insurance or know their social security number. To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic.  SNAP Assistance Available For residents who need food assistance, SNAP is an important resource that can be used. If residents have been impacted by furloughs, layoffs or cut hours, they might be eligible for SNAP. Right now, qualifying families of four could get up to $649/month for help with groceries. To inquire, call 1 (877) 760-0114. To learn more, visit www.hungerfreeok.org/groceries.  Tulsa County Update The Tulsa County Review Committee for CARES Act funding received further clarification from the Oklahoma Attorney General regarding the legality of sharing these funds with municipalities, small businesses, nonprofits and other entities. As of yesterday, the Review Committee received approximately 50 applications.  On June 1, the Family Safety Center will reopen for normal business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for victims of intimate partner and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and elder abuse to begin filing for Emergency Protective Orders. There will be new access procedures including that only victims may enter—no accompanying supporters or children will not be allowed inside. Masks, temperature readings, and participation in a COVID-19 exposure survey will be required to enter (masks will be provided to those who do not have one).  Phase 2 of the Tulsa County District Courts reopening plan is expected to begin on Monday. The BOCC expects continued commitments on behalf of the courts to reduce the population of Courthouse visitors. Visitors should not visit the Courthouse if they are sick or think they may be sick.
  • Attorney General Mike Hunter urges Oklahomans to not assume unmarked envelopes are junk mail.  The debit cards arrive in plain envelopes, leading to confusion. Some people are mistaking it for junk mail or fraudulent activity. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced last week the agencies had begun the process of sending nearly 4 million Visa debit cards loaded with the $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans.  Attorney General Hunter is encouraging Oklahomans to open the envelopes.

Washington Insider

  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • The feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated on Friday after the President used the social media platform to threaten the use of force against rioters in Minneapolis, as Twitter slapped a warning label on the President's tweet, saying Mr. Trump had violated rules on 'glorifying violence.' 'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,' the President wrote, referring to the black man who was suffocated to death when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his head and neck for an extended period of time earlier this week. The President then spoke of sending in National Guard troops to restore order, warning that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.' That was evidently too much for Twitter, which placed a warning on the President's tweet. In the President's mind, the warning label from Twitter was the latest indignity against him by the social media giant, as Mr. Trump tore into Twitter early on Friday morning. 'Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,' the President tweeted soon after 7 am. 'They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.' Earlier this week, Twitter added a link to a couple of the President's tweets about mail-in voting, giving a link for more information about the issue. The President was incensed, leading to his executive order on Thursday, and a direct threat to close down the company, which experts said he had no power to do. On Capitol Hill, the two parties saw the developing events on Twitter much differently. 'Twitter is censoring the President of the United States,' said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Democrats in Congress said the President was overreacting, and acting like an authoritarian. “Trump’s behavior is growing increasingly unhinged, authoritarian, and outright violent and is designed to inflame and divide America further,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). “This is vile behavior,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).  “The President should not be encouraging violence.” “(T)he President’s executive order is a shameless attempt to use the power of his office to silence his critics and intimidate his perceived enemies,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
  • With a series of studies raising questions about the side effects and the efficacy of a drug pushed by President Donald Trump for use against the Coronavirus, the VA has curtailed its use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroqine in Veterans Affairs medical facilities. 'Last week, we only used it three times,' VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told a House Appropriations Committee hearing, a very small number compared to the over 1,300 vets who have received the drug for Coronavirus treatment. 'We started ratcheting it down as we went more to remdesivir and we went more to the convalescent plasma,' Wilkie said, as he took fire from Democrats over using the drug in the first place. 'It's very disappointing to me that the VA was using that drug,' said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the panel, as she slammed the President's embrace of hydroxychloroquine as 'wishful thinking' by someone who is not a medical expert. 'What is astounding to me is the VA is still insisting on providing this drug to veterans,' said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “We have ratcheted down as we've brought more treatments online,” Wilkie said at another point.  “And I expect that to continue.” Wilkie said he spoken this week with the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told reporters in recent days that hydroxychloroquine should no longer be used by doctors. The VA chief though couched Fauci's advice as one which would leave the door open to possible use of the malaria drug as more evidence comes in. 'The rest of the world is all over the map,' Wilkie said of the use of hydroxychloroquine against the Coronavirus. 'France banned it, and then the government of India said it absolutely essential for them.' The message from the White House continued to be much more upbeat than Dr. Fauci. “It's important to note that this drug has been safely used by millions of people for a long time,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday.
  • A day after the United States topped 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump joined the expression of grief for the families of those who have died in the pandemic which has swept around the globe. 'We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,' the President wrote on Twitter, as he expressed his 'heartfelt sympathy' to family and friends of the dead.  As the numbers hit 100,000 on Wednesday, the President made no statement about death toll, as leading Democrats took on that role instead. 'God Bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost,' former Vice President Biden said in a video message from his home in Delaware. 'One hundred thousand,' said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). Those we have lost can’t just be a number. A statistic. A line in a history book. They were our friends, our loved ones, our children and grandparents.' While calling the 100,000 deaths 'tragic,' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said all sides need to be paying more attention to the large number of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the nation. 'Seniors in these settings should be a top focus of our prevention efforts,' Rubio said on Thursday. In some states, the nursing home deaths represent an overwhelming share of Coronavirus losses, over 80 percent in Minnesota, 70 percent in Ohio, and near 50 percent in Florida and Georgia. Democrats continued to blame the President and his administration for not being better prepared, as an old tweet from October 2019 by Joe Biden became a focal point on Twitter. 'We are not prepared for a pandemic,' Biden said that day. 'Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.
  • As the nation marked the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus in just over three months, President Donald Trump spent Wednesday talking about almost any other subject, attacking Twitter, jabbing at the news media, questioning the Russia investigation, denouncing expanded mail-in voting, and again pressing a conspiracy theory that an ex-GOP Congressman was involved in the death of a female aide almost 19 years ago. 'He is arguably the greatest president in our history,' the President quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs saying about him. President Trump's only official comment related to the virus outbreak came in a single tweet early on Wednesday morning, in which he highlighted the growing number of virus tests nationwide. 'We pass 15,000,000 Tests Today, by far the most in the World,' Mr. Trump tweeted, adding, 'Open Safely!'  But there was no mention by the President, no tweet, no written statement in his name honoring those who have died, or who remain hospitalized by the Coronavirus. Democrats moved to fill the void. 'Would you have ever thought that we would be observing 100,000 people?' asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Capitol Hill news conference. From his home in Delaware, former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at the President as well. 'I'm so sorry for your loss,' Biden said, marking the 100,000 death toll. 'They were not numbers. They were our neighbors. Our friends. Our family,' said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). The President met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning, and then flew to Florida, only to have the launch of a SpaceX crew vehicle scrubbed by bad weather. Over 1,400 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, with over 300 combined from Illinois and New Jersey, two states which continue to struggle with virus cases. 'This is a tragic day. My heart aches for those we have lost,' said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). 'The day the United States hit 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic Trump shares a messages calling himself “the greatest President in our history,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'His vanity is nauseating.' On Capitol Hill, Democrats pressed for more money to conduct virus testing and tracing, but Senate Republicans have refused to bring up a House-passed bill with $75 billion more in funding. 'Are we going to do what we need to do to prevent the next 100,000 deaths?' asked former CDC Chief Dr. Tom Frieden.