CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 50,000 yesterday, according to figures released by John Hopkins University. At least 606 people with the virus have died. New York City accounts for more than half of the nation’s cases. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo likened the speed of the spread to a “bullet train.”
SENATE PASSES STIMULUS BILL… The Senate earlier this morning passed a $2-trillion package to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Details were forthcoming, but it appeared the deal included $250 billion in direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies. The bill next goes to the House, where Democrats have introduced their own proposal.
TRUMP SAYS HE WANTS AMERICA REOPENED BY EASTER… President Trump said yesterday that he hoped to re-open the country by Easter. Experts immediately criticized the April 12 target date as unrealistic. The president expressed outrage over having to “close the country” by shutting down businesses and implementing social distancing despite a pandemic. People “don’t want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space,” the president said.
MICHAEL COHEN DENIED IN BID FOR REDUCED SENTENCE… A federal judge yesterday denied a request by President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to reduce or modify his three-year prison sentence. Cohen’s sought to have his three-year sentence reduced to one year or serve the entirety in home confinement but U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley said the motion had a “fatal flaw” as only prosecutors can file to reduce or alter a sentence. Cohen has been imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, since May. He pleaded guilty to arranging a hush-money scheme in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign to pay two women who had affairs with Trump.
INMATES ESCAPE WASHINGTON JAIL… Six inmates remained at large yesterday after 14 inmates escaped a county jail in Washington state overnight. Authorities in Yakima County say the inmates used a table inside the annex to break open an exterior fire door. Eight inmates were captured and returned to jail. The escapees’ charges include theft, assault, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm and drug offenses.
WARNER BROS. DELAYS FILM RELEASES… The release of the superhero stand-alone film “Wonder Woman 1984” is being pushed back two months due to the spread of the coronavirus. The Warner Bros. film was set to hit theaters in early June but will now go out in August. Warner Bros. also announced it is delaying the adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical “In the Heights,’ the animated movie “Scoob!” and the horror film “Malignant.”
NETFLIX MOVES… Netflix has announced plans to order second seasons of the unscripted shows ”The Circle,” “Love is Blind’ and “Rhythm + Flow,” all of which will premiere in 2021. Additionally, Netflix will unveil an all-new series called “Sparking Joy,” a follow-up on the popular show “Tidying Up. ” The announcement came despite the shutdown of all Netflix shows and movies due to the coronavirus.
OLYMPICS POSTPONED… The Tokyo Olympic Games will be pushed back to 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The postponement after Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, held talks with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Until a few days ago, Japan had insisted there were no plans to delay the Games.
MLB NEWS… New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow to correct a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching (right) elbow. The 27-year-old Syndergaard was expected to help anchor the Mets’ rotation. Last season, he pitched a career-high 197⅔ innings in compiling a 10-8record with a career-worst 4.28 ERA.
NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Carolina Panthers have signed wide receiver Robby Anderson to a two-year. The move comes the day the club formally cut ties with quarterback Cam Newton.
The Cincinnati Bengals have signed former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes to a one-year deal.
The Green Bay Packers have reached agreement with free-agent receiver Devin Funchess.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to terms with former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Tyler Eifert. The Jaguars also signed former Detroit Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin to a one-year contract.
The Los Angeles Chargers have signed linebacker Nick Vigil to a one-year deal.
The New York Jets have agreed to a one-year contract with wide receiver Breshad Perriman.
The Seattle Seahawks have agreed with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett on a one-year deal.
The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent running back Peyton Barber to a two-year deal.