ABC - COVID-19 News

Showtime delays Don Cheadle's 'Black Monday', moves up 'The Chi' in response to COVID-19

Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME(LOS ANGELES) -- Showtime is making some major scheduling changes due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The premium cable channel announced on Wednesday that the Don Cheadle and Regina Hall-led comedy Black Monday will have to air its upcoming episodes in two parts due to the show's production delays.

The series will now air its first six episodes starting Sunday, April 12, with the final four episodes of the season airing later in the year.

However, Showtime is offering a bonus to help bridge the gap for viewers: It's moved up the premiere date of the third season of The Chi to Sunday, June 21 at 9 p.m. ET.

The drama was originally scheduled to debut in July.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sophie Turner calls Joe Jonas a “psychopath” for wearing jeans while in quarantine

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Sophie Turner is staying inside with her husband Joe Jonas during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems the two are having a little disagreement when it comes to his quarantining style.

 

The topic came up during an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s COVID-19 version of his TBS talk show, Conan at Home, on Wednesday, in which she labeled Jonas a “psychopath” for wearing jeans around the house.

"You don’t have to get dressed up. I’m wearing my sweatpants," said the Game of Thrones alum, showing off her outfit -- a green sweater and gray sweats. "I’m business on top, party on the bottom."

"I saw, it was like a meme online or some comment or something and someone said, like, 'If you’re wearing denim pants at home, like, what does that say about you as a person?'" Turner, 24, continued.

"Like, are you a psychopath? And Joe does that. Joe wears denim trousers at home, where no one can see him," she added. “I’m not wearing denim trousers. This is the most dressed up I’ve been in days.”

Turner also volunteered that Joe, 30, is "a real social butterfly," while she’s more of an introvert.

"Just like, if I could stay at home all day I would, so this is great for me. I leave the house once a day anyway to walk my dogs and then that’s it," she admits.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



In birth announcement, Rachel Bloom mentions collaborator Adam Schlesinger, who died of COVID-19

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Rachel Bloom's baby girl is finally here.  The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend actress, along with husband Dan Gregor, showed off their new bundle of joy on Wednesday.

"She’s here. She’s home," captioned a relieved Bloom as she shared an adorable photo of her snuggling her newborn.  "Having a baby in the NICU during a pandemic while a dear friend was in the hospital 3,000 miles away made this by far the most emotionally intense week of mine and Gregor’s lives."

It should be noted that Bloom's baby girl is wearing a pretzel hat, a nod to Rebecca Bunch, the pretzel-loving main character Bloom played on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

The proud parents have not yet revealed their child's name.  Instead, they focused on thanking the tireless hospital staff members for keeping the family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Writes Bloom, who turns 33 on April 3, "As the lovely doctors and nurses helped my daughter get some fluid out of her lungs, we watched the maternity ward around us change hourly to prepare for the upcoming COVID storm."

"The whole family is now home safe and I am just so grateful to all of our medical workers," She continues. "From those in our NICUs to those directly helping COVID patients like Adam [Schlesinger], they are sacrificing so much to fight on the front lines of this war."

Shortly after Rachel published her post, it was tragically announced that Adam died due to complications related to COVID-19.

The Fountains of Wayne artist had collaborated with Bloom on numerous songs for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, such as fan favorites "The Math of Love Triangles" and "Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal" -- the latter of which won him an Emmy.

 Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


COVID-19 all-in-one update

(NEW YORK) -- Here's the latest information on the COVID-19 coronavirus as of 9:45 a.m. ET.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 952,171.  This number is likely to surpass one million before day’s end.
Global deaths: 48,320
Number of countries/regions: at least 180
Total patients recovered globally: 202,541

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
At least 216,722 diagnosed cases in 50 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam.  This is now more than any other country. 
U.S. deaths: at least 5,137
Total U.S. patients recovered: 8,672

Latest reported deaths per state
Visit https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.htmlfor the latest numbers.

School closures
For a state-by-state interactive map of current school closures, please visit the Education Week website, where numbers are updated once daily.

There are 98,277 public schools and 34,576 private schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Those schools educate almost 50.8 million public school students and 5.8 million private school students.

The latest headlines
A record 6.6 million additional people apply for unemployment in a single week
As the COVID-19 virus shutters business and cities, the numbers of people out of work because of it continues to explode.  A record 6,648,000 people applied for unemployment in one week, the largest weekly jobless claims report ever documented by the Labor Department.  That number surpasses not only the most dire predictions, but also is double the prior record, set just last week when 3.3 million new people applied for unemployment.  The number for the last two weeks is larger than the population of New York City.  The $2 trillion stimulus recently passed by Congress has yet to get to people, and how long that takes will certainly effect any support it may offer the foundering economy.  Economists warn that among the worst-case scenarios is tens of thousands of bankrupt small businesses, which in turn will lead to longer-term job losses and the unemployment rate rising to 10% or higher.

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s security increased because of threats
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institutes of Health, has become the nation’s face of expert COVID-19 medical and scientific information.  But that has also made him the public target of threats from some right-wing commentators and bloggers, many of whom believe the COVID-19 threat is being exaggerated, who question Fauci’s expertise and who are pushing for President Trump to ease pandemic restrictions.  In response, the government has increased security around Dr. Fauci and his family.  A Department of Justice official confirmed to ABC News, “upon the recommendation of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Department approved the special deputization request from H.H.S. for more than a half dozen H.H.S.-O.I.G. special agents to provide protective services for Dr. Fauci.”

University of Texas spring breakers test positive for COVID-19
Remember all of those images two weeks ago of college kids enjoying spring break, ignoring social distancing advice?  Here’s the result.  KVUE in Austin, Texas reports that 44 students from University of Texas at Austin so far have tested positive for COVID-19, all of them among a group of 77 students who flew to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico March 14, returning five days later.  Twenty-eight students had tested positive as of Tuesday.  Though the 77 students flew to Mexico on a chartered jet, many returned to the U.S. aboard separate commercial flights, potentially further spreading the virus. 

Good news!
New England Patriots team plane bringing PPE from China to US
The New England Patriots’ team plane is scheduled to arrive in Boston, Massachusetts today, carrying a cargo of personal protective equipment from China.  Politico reports Patriots owner Bob Kraft, as well as Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, will be among those greeting the plane this afternoon when it lands at Logan Airport.  The National Guard will then help distribute the supplies to a strategic stockpile.  Massachusetts has 7,738 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday morning, the seventh-highest total in the nation.  The exact type and quantity of PPE arriving today wasn’t specified.

Israeli researchers say COVID-19 vaccine will be ready to test by June 1
Researchers at Israel’s Galilee Research Institute (MIGAL) say in just a few days, they’ll have a potential COVID-19 oral vaccine that will be ready for human trials as early as June 1.  The Jerusalem Post reports MIGAL researchers got a head start because for the past four years, they’ve been working on a vaccine for the infectious bronchitis virus, or IBV, which affects poultry, and had chosen coronavirus, of which there are many types, “as a model for our system just as a proof of concept for our technology,” according to research group leader Dr. Chen Katz.  They subsequently discovered that the COVID-19 coronavirus had many genetic similarities to IBV, which gave them a substantial head start in their vaccine research.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


On 'Kimmel', Samuel L. Jackson reads COVID-19 bedtime story, 'Stay the F*** at Home'

ABC News/Steve Iervolino(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) Samuel L. Jackson, the man who years ago so memorably narrated that children's book for snooze-deprived parents, Go the F*** to Sleep, has a new fable for the age of coronavirus: Stay the F*** at Home

Jackson, appearing from his home theater via video on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday night, read the children's book sequel, which stressed, as only the Pulp Fiction Oscar nominee can, the importance of social distancing. 

He intones, "Stay the f*** at home. Corona is spreading, this sh** is no joke. t's no time to work or roam/ The way you can fight it is simple my friends, stay the f*** at home."

Jackson continued, "Now technically I’m not a doctor. But motherf****** listen when I read a poem/So here I am, Sam F**king Jackson, imploring you: Keep your a** at home/If you want things to get back to normal, don't panic. Just use your dome/Wash your hands, stop touching your face and stay the f*** at home."

Doctor or no, Jackson's advice has been watched more than 1.6 million times on YouTube -- a viral sensation,  pardon the pun.

Stay the F*** at Home was written by Go the F*** to Sleep's author, Adam Mansbach.

(Video contains censored profanity.)

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


What are the long-term effects of COVID-19?

Branimir76/iStock(NEW YORK) -- More than 202,000 people from the 952,171 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered so far, and medical professionals are now able to begin observing the long-term effects of the virus.

China reports that 80 percent of its COVID-19 cases were mild and most patients who recovered from the illness had "no lasting effect."  But Dr. Shu-Yuan Xiao, a pathology professor at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, was more worried about those who came down with the more severe symptoms of COVID-19.

For the "16-20% of symptomatic patients who eventually need ICU care, it is difficult to predict," he says of the long-term effects.

Due to the newness of the virus, medical officials are still learning about the lasting effects but have similar respiratory diseases to compare it to.

"Based on experience from SARS and MERS, some patients may develop lung fibrosis," says Xiao. "In China, some patients eventually needed to be on [an ECMO life-support machine], to temporarily support the patients while they regain lung function."

He did mention that some cases may "never regain lung function."

Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease and critical care expert at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, predicts that those who had severe symptoms could take a year to regain complete lung function.

Saying "It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation," Adalja said predicting one's recovery depends on "how much lung tissue was destroyed by the virus" which translates to "having increased shortness of breath."

Both agree more research is needed to fully comprehend the lingering side-effects of the COVID-19 virus, such as studying recovered patients for an extended period of time. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


It's happening: kids are now being named "Corona" and "Lockdown"

smrm1977/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It was bound to happen eventually.  With families around the world competing with one another to have the trendiest and flashiest name for their child, two babies in India have since been named "Corona" and "Lockdown."

The news comes from NDTV, who broke the news that a baby girl, named Corona, was born the same day the Indian government issued the Janata Curfew.

The baby boy, named Lockdown, was born a week later.

The news was confirmed by R P Tripathi, who is in charge of Khukhundu Primary Health Centre, who didn't seem too amused by the development when announcing, "On Sunday evening a baby boy was born and within hours he was named as Lockdown by his family. It is necessary that we should all follow lockdown properly, and also wash hands frequently to be save ourselves from COVID-19."

The father of the boy, a farmer, later came forward and explained he settled on the name because, "I named him after Lockdown as we all are reeling under COVID-19 pandemic. In my view, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the right step to impose lockdown in the entire nation to save us from the deadly virus."

As for the baby girl, you can thank her uncle for the brilliant name.  He said he convinced his sister to choose the name because he thinks Corona will become "the symbol of unity in the fight against novel corona virus."

Let's just hope no one else boards the COVID-19 name tend so that we don't see little Purells, Cloroxs, Charmins and Quilted Northerns running around in a few years.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


COVID-19 cases in US surpass 200,000, over 5,000 deaths reported

iStock/oonal(NEW YORK) -- Following Tuesday's grim new that the Trump administration is predicting between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the U.S. surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases on Wednesday.

Cases in the U.S. topped 215,000 and, by far, has the most amount of confirmed cases globally.  Of those cases, 8,878 have recovered.

The death toll has risen to 5,110 -- a number that includes the youngest COVID-19 victim in the world, a six week old infant who died in Connecticut.

"This is absolutely heartbreaking. We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19," Tweeted CT Governor Ned Lamont.

Lamont reiterated language used by Dr. Anthony Fauci and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo that the virus does not discriminate and that the best way to prevent further spread is to to stay home and limit exposure to others.

Following increased recommendations to cease all non essential outings, 44 states have since enacted closures of all non-essential businesses.

The only states to not have such an order as of Wednesday are Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

In addition, 15 states have now postponed their primaries: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana,  Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

The hardest-hit state in the nation continues to be New York, with New York City remaining the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak with 45,707 confirmed cases and 1,374 deaths.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio cautioned the city will need 15,000 ventilators to meet demand soon, as well as 65,000 medical beds and 20,000 ICU beds -- saying those numbers will need to be met by the end of April.

New York state reports 1,941 deaths and 83,000 cases.

The global death toll is creeping closer to 50,000 and, as for confirmed cases, nearly a million.  As of Wednesday, there are 935,960 COVID-19 cases worldwide.  Of those cases, over 194,000 have recovered.

Italy continues to be the country with the most fatalities, with 13,155 deaths reported as of Thursday morning. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


J.K. Rowling conjures up Harry Potter at Home to keep kids entertained in the age of coronavirus

Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- While we all wish we could make COVID-19 disappear, J.K. Rowling has conjured up Harry Potter at Home, a digital destination she designed for kids who are being kept away from school by the pandemic.

"Parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic," the best-selling author tweeted Wednesday morning. 

"We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom," claims the free website, which contains stories, crafts, puzzles, games, and other distractions for magic-users and Muggles alike, all set in Rowling's Wizarding World.

Rowling had previously announced that she'd waive her licensing fees on all seven Harry Potter books, so teachers would be able to read them remotely to their home-bound students.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Universal bumping next 'Minions' movie, 'Sing 2', and adaptation of 'Wicked' amid COVID-19 concerns

Universal Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- Universal Studios, among the first to move its newer films to streaming in the wake of coronavirus-related closures, has announced the pandemic has caused the delay of three more of its projects. 

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Minions: The Rise of Gru will now be moved a year from its original release date, and ill now hit theaters July 2, 2021.

In turn, that release date's former occupant, the animated sequel Sing 2, will now debut in theaters December 22, 2021. 

That date had been reserved for Wicked, Universal's big-budget take on the Broadway musical. The uncertainty surrounding Hollywood's fate amid the COVID-19 crisis led Universal to postpone re-scheduling that film's release at this time.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Larry David, the king of social distancing, urges "idiots" to "stay home and watch TV"

John P. Johnson/courtesy of HBO(LOS ANGELES) -- If you're familiar with Larry David from Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm, you'll know he's been advocating social distancing even before it became potentially lifesaving defense against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With that in mind, he took to social media from an easy chair to admonish "idiots" who were violating the rules that can keep everyone safe. 

"Obviously, somebody put me up to this because it's generally not the kind of thing I do," David said in a video posted on the Office of the California Governor's official twitter feed. 

"I basically want to address the idiots out there, and you know who you are...You're going out, I don't know what you're doing, you're socializing too close," David griped.  "You’re hurting old people like me. Well, not me, I have nothing to do with you, I’ll never see you. But other, let’s say, other old people who might be your relatives, who the hell knows?"

David said those who aren't social distancing are missing out on "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stay in the house, sit on the couch, and watch TV. I don't know how you're passing that up. I guess you’re not that bright."

Larry says, "Go home and watch TV, that's my advice to you. If you've seen my show, nothing good ever happens going out of the house, you know that. It's just trouble out there. It's not a good place to be. Stay home and don’t see anyone."

David adds the caveat, "Unless maybe if you have a plumbing emergency. You can let the plumber in, and then, you know, wipe everything down when he leaves."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Laughter is the best medicine: Comedy podcast host Ralph Sutton's rules to keep your relationship strong through COVID-19

Photo: Sonic Highlark(NEW YORK) -- Sure, we all know the rules about washing your hands and keeping social distances around strangers, but if you find yourself stuck in your apartment with your significant other during the COVID-19 pandemic, binging Tiger King can only get you so far. 

Since we can all use a laugh, ABC Audio reached out to comedy podcast company owner and The SDR Show host Ralph Sutton, who gave us three easy tips on how to come out of quarantine, without also making yourself single.

"Watch one hour of news a day," he advises, noting the 24/7 news cycle of body counts and viral curves is "only going to make you miserable." 

On a lighter front, Ralph's second piece of advice? Try to maintain even more than the recommended social distance when it comes to passing gas. "Separate rooms," he recommends. "That way you don't have any offensive odors that will only make each other angry."

Sutton's third tip, equally tongue in cheek: If anyone sneezes in the house, resist the urge to kill them, and your coronavirus crisis will be over before you know it."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ellen DeGeneres is throwing a prom on Instagram for high schoolers unable to celebrate theirs due to COVID-19

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Schools across America had to make the difficult decision to cancel important school dances and graduations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As expected, teenagers took to social media and lamented that they were robbed of experiencing some of high school's most memorable moments.

While most understood why such a call had to be made, they still found it a bitter pill to swallow.

With many cancelled proms supposed to take place this weekend, Ellen DeGeneres reached out to high schoolers and encouraged them to get dressed up and celebrate the milestone moment with her.

Posting a throwback photo of her own prom on Tuesday, the talk show host proposed in the caption, "If your prom was supposed to be this weekend, I wanna see your gorgeous prom outfits.  This was mine, so the bar is low."

Ellen's high school prom look was certainly eye catching.  She wore to her big dance a red, yellow and navy button down plaid dress with an oversized white lapel and belt.

It was possible at the time that her look was very in vogue, but the comic was quick to deflect the attention back to her fans by encouraging everyone to post their prom looks using the #ellenprom hashtag. 

"I promise you’ll wear them to prom soon," DeGeneres sweetly assured.

While some younger followers eagerly showed off the dresses, older fans were just as thrilled to have a reason to share their throwback prom photos.  

So, if you want to share your prom look, take this as your official invitation to the Ellen prom.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Wimbledon 2020 canceled; re-scheduled for 2021

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images(LONDON) -- You can add Wimbledon to the list of major sporting events that have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic," AELTC announced in a statement Wednesday.

The tournament had been scheduled to begin Monday, June 29 and conclude Sunday, July 12.

"The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021," the statement continues, adding that the decision was made out of concern for "the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen -- the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents."

Wimbledon is the world's oldest and most prestigious tennis championship tournament, beginning in 1877.  This is the first time the tournament has been canceled since World War II, according to the BBC.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kristen Bell admits she and husband Dax Shepard are "at each other's throats" due to quarantine

ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) -- As America endures another strongly-recommended week of self-quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some married couples are discovering that being around their significant other 24/7 is not all it's cracked up to be.

Frozen II star Kristen Bell admitted on Monday that isolating with husband Dax Shepard is becoming somewhat of a challenge.

During an Instagram Live interview with Katie Couric, the married couple spoke about the downside of having little to no personal time due to the family of four sheltering under the same roof.

Dax first opened up about his family's new normal, saying he and Bell are "getting along good with the kids" but the situation "has been stressful for mom and dad."

Bell, 39, nodded as she candidly revealed, "We've been at each other's throats real bad, real bad over the last couple of -- oh yeah."  

"It just ended, like, eight minutes ago," Shepard, 45, deadpanned. "America's sweetheart has a character defect."

As for how long the two have been grappling with the stress, Bell playfully gestured to the fact she's sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with Dax and cracked, "This is as physically close as we've been in a couple days 'cause we just found each other... revolting."

When Couric suggested the two should find separate spaces in the house to take some time apart, Bell sighed, "It's impossible. He's too big, Katie.  He's too loud and too big.  He's everywhere."

Despite the trying time, the couple, who tied the knot in 2013, were adamant that they will rise from the pandemic stronger than ever.

Bell also adorably revealed that her five-year-old daughter Delta has taken a shining to science during the quarantine and invented a "vaccine" for the virus, which consists of "just green food coloring and water."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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