Michigan Gov Lifts More Lockdown Restrictions, NJ Shuts Down Gym That Defiantly Reopened: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Orange County Calif. reports largest daily death toll
  • Trump visits Michigan auto plant
  • Puerto Rico allows barbershops, beauty salons to reopen
  • CDC changes guidance, says COVID doesn't spread easily on surfaces
  • France reports 83 deaths
  • Michigan Gov signs order lifting more restrictions
  • NY reports just 105 deaths
  • Mexico reports biggest jump in deaths
  • African CDC says cases pass 95k
  • Russian deaths top 3k
  • WHO blames Russia, Brazil for global jump of 100k new cases for first time in weeks
  • NYPost pressures de Blasio to reopen NYC
  • MSM already blaming Trump for failing to stop 'second wave' of virus
  • Nigerian doctors in Lagos end day-long "Doctor's strike" over police harassment
  • UK launches study into effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID prophylactic

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Update (1520ET): As California's Orange County reports its largest daily coronavirus death toll yet...

  • ORANGE COUTY, CA, REPORTS HIGHEST ONE DAY COVID-19 DEATH TOLL -- LOCAL HEALTH AGENCY   

...Cali Gov Gavin Newsom appeared on MSNBC to explain what's going on with the reopening in his state, and to insist to everyone who's dying to get back to work, whether it's because they're desperate to save their business, or feed their children - or they're big chilling at home enjoying making more off the unemployment benefits than they did while working - that Americans have forgotten "the virulence" of this virus.

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Update (1440ET): President Trump left Thursday for an afternoon visit to a Ford plant in Michigan as the "Big Three" American automakers restart production in the state. However, several Michigan officials have called on Trump to wear a mask in accordance to state law, something he seems reluctant to do.

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Update (1330ET): Puerto Rico is allowing barber shops and beauty salons to reopen by appointment only, thanks to an order signed by the governor.

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Update (1245ET): UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said preliminary surveillance testing suggested that as many as 1/5th - or about 1.75 million - Londoners may have already caught the virus.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the UK.

France reported 83 deaths on Thursday, compared with 110 yesterday.

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Update (1130ET): The CDC has released new guidelines claiming the virus doesn't spread as easily on surfaces as previously believed, which is good news for gyms (like the one in New Jersey) hoping to reopen.

This follows several studies finding the virus doesn't linger for more than a day on most surfaces and can be easily destroyed by soap or even friction.

Per Fox:

For those of you still wiping down groceries and other packages amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, breathe a sigh of relief: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says the novel virus “does not spread easily” from "touching surfaces or objects" — but experts warn that doesn’t mean it’s no longer necessary to take "practical and realistic" precautions in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Some greeted the news with anger.

But as the NYT's Nick Kristof warned earlier in a surprisingly level-headed (for the most part) column in the Grey Lady, we must all "be humble" about the virus and these changing expectations, because our understanding of the virus is still extremely limited. Which is why, when critics of the president blame him and him alone for unleashing the wave of death and destruction, we can deduce that they're doing so in bad faith.

Meanwhile, NY just released its latest death figures, with 105 new deaths reported, compared with 112 yesterday, while hospitalizations were in line with the three day average. Cases climbedm 0.6%, directly in line with the 7-day average.

NY Gov Andrew Cuomo is holding his daily coronavirus briefing. Watch live below:

Cuomo's big announcement for the day was two-fold: the affirmation that summer school classes will be held exclusively on-line, as was widely expected, and the news that downstate beaches - including those in NYC - will reopen for Memorial Day Weekend.

The residents of NYC neighborhoods like Far Rockaway should be thrilled.

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Update (1100ET): Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed an executive order to immediately allow gatherings of 10 people or more, while providing for nonessential medical procedures, car dealerships and all other retail businesses to reopen within the next, according to the Washington Post.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced Thursday that she has signed an executive order that will lift some of the state’s restrictions on businesses and gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Whitmer, the order will lift the requirement that health-care providers delay nonessential procedures beginning May 29. It will also will allow the statewide reopening of retail stores and auto showrooms on May 26, by appointment only. Retail stores will have a limit of 10 customers at a time.

Whitmer's order will also immediately allow statewide gatherings of 10 people or fewer, as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

At her news conference Thursday, Whitmer spoke about the phone call she had with Trump on Wednesday. The president asked her about the damage done by flooding in Midland, Mich., she said.

No details have been announced about any potential Trump visit to Midland, but Whitmer said Thursday that she told the president that if he goes to Midland, she would be glad to join him.

Whitmer's decision was widely expected. She first announced plans to slightly accelerate her state's reopening (after a wave of aggravating protests at the capital) last week.

Meanwhile, earlier, Mexican public health officials announced that the country's death toll climbed by 424 deaths in a single day to 6,090 - a single-day record for Mexico.

  • MEXICO'S COVID-19 DEATHS RISE BY DAILY RECORD 424 TO 6,090
  • MEXICO COVID-19 CASES RISE TO 56,594, DEATHS TO 6,090

Michigan has had one of the largest outbreaks in the US, though the governor's lockdown measures have largely succeeded in flattening the curve.

Additionally, the owners of a gym that reopened live on Fox News have been charged with a disorderly conduct violation and their business has been forcibly shuttered by state police, WaPo says.

The New Jersey gym that opened its doors live on “Fox & Friends” in opposition to the governor’s shutdown order was shuttered by health officials on Thursday as the co-owner vowed to sue.

Ian Smith arrived at his Atilis Gym in Bellmawr to find notices from state and county health agencies papered over the doors, according to a video he posted on Instagram. He pledged to file a lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy (D) “first thing this morning."

"We arrived at the gym this morning to Gov. Murphy’s dirty tricks, playing with his power in the health department,” Smith said in the video. "So for right now, the gym will be closed. We have a full cleaning crew inside, once again going above and beyond."

Bellmawr police charged the gym owners with disorderly persons offenses on Monday when they opened the facility on camera. James Mermigis, an attorney for the owners, said in an interview at the time that his clients believed the governor’s order closing gyms had continued for too long and threatened their constitutional rights.

The owners say they were limiting capacity to 20%, checking members’ temperatures before entry and providing hand sanitizer as safety precautions.

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The world reached a particularly powerful coronavirus milestone last night: The number of cases confirmed across the world topped the 5 million mark roughly 5 months after the first cases of the virus were confirmed in Wuhan back in December. 

We also noted that Brazil is on track to overtake Russia as the second-largest outbreak in the world (after the US, of course) as it continues to break records with its daily number of confirmed cases, as testing ramps up after months of minimal government intervention to stop the virus. The WHO warned that the outbreaks in Brazil and Russia helped drive the number of new cases reported across the world on Wednesday past 100k for the first time in weeks.

In a bold move that's bound to elicit a flood of public anger from the 'stay home, save lives' crowd, the cover of Thursday's NY Post pleads with Mayor de Blasio to reopen the city. At this point, the data around the country clearly suggests that deaths and the number of newly confirmed cases have continued to fall, even as the MSM continues to focus on a couple of examples of 'misleading' presentation of data during the earlier days of the reopening in Georgia and Florida.

Amusingly, the MSM has already pivoted to criticizing the Trump Administration for things that haven't even happened yet. To wit, the Guardian reports that 9 "Obama Administration scientists" have signed onto a warning that the Trump Administration has "just 3 months" to rebuild its stockpiles of PPE before the next wave of the outbreak, the Guardian reports. The outbreaks in Brazil and Russia - not to mention the 'partial lockdown' imposed on another 100+ million in northeastern China - aren't exactly reassuring, but this phenomenon of "pre-blaming" Trump for failures that haven't happened yet seems to be growing more common since the NYT slammed the White House over projections calling for 3k deaths a day by June 1.

In a handful of countries including India, doctors have reported experience surprising levels of harassment from fellow citizens and police as some blame them for failing to save relatives who have succumbed to the virus. As unbelievable as this might sound to Westerners, Al Jazeera reports that Nigeria's largest medical union has ordered its members in Lagos to resume work, ending a strike inspired by allegations of police harassment. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) doctors' union, which ordered Lagos members to stop work indefinitely from Wednesday evening, said it had received assurances that doctors would be exempt from a nationwide overnight curfew and would therefore be allowed to move freely.

Despite official figures showing fewer than 500 deaths, scientists in South Africa are projecting up to 50,000 coronavirus deaths and as many as three million infections by the end of the year as the southern hemisphere braces for a rising infection rate as winter begins. SA already has the highest number of infections and deaths on the continent, with more than 18,000 identified cases and 339 deaths, but a national lockdown entering its sixth week had slowed infections.

Across Africa, the number of cases is creeping closer to 100k, after passing the 90k mark on Thursday. The number of the infected has reached 95,201, per the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the latest data, the death toll on the continent was 2,997, while 38,075 people have recovered.

For the second day in a row, Indonesia has set a new record for new cases, bringing the total to 20,162 in the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia confirmed 973 new infections and 36 new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 1,278, according to health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

After lifting his state of emergency order in the prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo on Thursday, Japanese PM Abe said he could lift the emergency status in Tokyo as soon as next week.

"The state of emergency will continue in Tokyo, Hokkaido and other regions. We will meet with experts (on Monday) to update the situation on infections," Abe told reporters after ending the state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. "If the current situation continues, it is possible that the state of emergency could be lifted in those areas."

As the US press slams President Trump for taking HQX for prophylactic purposes, UK healthcare workers will take part in a University of Oxford-led international trial of two anti-malarial drugs to see if they can indeed prevent COVID-19.

The 'COPCOV' study will involve more than 40,000 frontline healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America to determine if chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine truly are effective.

Finally, in Russia, officials said Thursday that the death toll topped 3,000 after another 127 deaths were reported, bringing the Russia-wide total to 3,099. Additionally, authorities reported 8,849 new cases of the virus, which brought Russia's outbreak - the second-largest in the world behind the US - to 317,554.