CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surpassed 312,000 and more than 8,500 people have died, according to figures released yesterday by Johns Hopkins University. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the coming week is going to be “bad,” but said that the country could see a turnaround within seven to nine days. Meanwhile, a tiger in the Bronx Zoo became the first animal to test positive for the coronavirus in the U.S. The test was administered after the tiger developed a “dry cough,” according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Also, the Navy captain who was removed from command of the carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt after expressing his concerns over the threat of coronavirus aboard his ship has tested positive for the virus. Captain Brett Crozier began exhibiting symptoms before his removal on Thursday. Crozier was fired after a letter he had emailed to Navy leaders was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle. The letter detailed the failures on the service’s part to provide the necessary resources to swiftly move sailors off the carrier and disinfect areas on board as the virus spread through the ship.
MASS ORDERS OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES BEGAN MID-MARCH… The Associated Press reported yesterday that the federal government waited until mid-March to place bulk orders of desperately-needed medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Health and Human Services reportedly ordered $4.8 million worth of N95 masks from 3M on May 12 and then placed another $173 million order on March 21, but neither contract required delivery of the products to the Strategic National Stockpile until the end of April. The stockpile is reportedly running critically low.
PANDEMIC IMPACTS MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE ECONOMY… More than a quarter of the U.S. economy has come to a standstill amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. The report cited a study from Moody’s Analytics that indicated the daily output of the U.S. economy has fallen about 29 percent compared with the first week of March. The study also found that the U.S. economy was disproportionately tied to urban areas, with a tenth of the U.S. drop in daily output being tied to three counties Los Angeles, New York and Cook (Illinois) counties.
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT ORDERS FACE COVERINGS… Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered military personnel and other individuals on Defense Department property to wear “cloth face coverings” in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coronavirus guidance. Esper also advised in a memo that DoD employees, family members and contractors “follow CDC guidelines on the use of cloth face coverings in public settings or where other social distancing.” President Trump defied the advisory and said he was “choosing not to” wear a mask.
THOUSANDS OF RENTAL CARS DESTROYED IN BLAZE… Authorities don’t yet know how many rental cars were destroyed in a weekend fire at Southwest Florida International Airport but say the number tops 3,500. Fire officials say there were only about 20 vehicles involved when firefighters were called Friday night but the blaze quickly burned out of control. The fire sent a massive plume of smoke above Fort Myers.
WEEKND TOPS ALBUM CHART… The Weeknd’s “After Hours” sold 138,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 album chart for a second week. 5 Seconds of Summer’s “Calm” jumped into second place after selling 133,000 units. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” dropped to third place after selling 84,000 copies. Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” debuted in fourth place after selling 66,000 units. Pearl Jam’s “Gigaton” capped the top five with 63,000 copies sold.
‘JAWS’ ACTRESS DIES… Actress Lee Fierro, who was best known for her appearance in the 1975 film “Jaws” has died after complications with the coronavirus. She was 91. In “Jaws,” Fierro played the mother whose son was killed by the shark that spreads terror across a beach town. Fierro reprised the role in the 1987 sequel, “Jaws: The Revenge.”
NFL HALL-OF FAMER BOBBY MITCHELL DIES… NFL Hall-of-Famer Bobby Mitchell died yesterday of natural causes at age 84. Mitchell launched his NFL career in 1958 as a halfback for the Cleveland Browns but was converted to flanker after his trade to the Washington Redskins. Mitchell retired in 1969 with 14,078 total yards and 91 career touchdowns. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1983.
RECORD-SETTING NFL KICKER DIES… Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey died of coronavirus complications on Saturday night, family members confirmed yesterday. He was 73. Dempsey made history in 1970 as a member of the New Orleans Saints when he kicked a 63-yard field goal despite having been born without toes on his dominant foot. For 28 years, it remained the longest field goal in NFL history. More recently, Dempsey has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has been living in a New Orleans senior home where more than 50 residents have tested positive.