CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases is nearing 750,000 and the death toll has topped 40,000, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Governors from both parties yesterday emphasized the need for more testing and disputed President Trump’s claims that tests are readily available. Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, along with governors Ralph Northam of Virginia and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, blame the lack of testing for the crisis America now faces.
MNUCHIN PROVIDES RELIEF-CHECK UPDATE… Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said yesterday that the federal government is allowing Americans more time to set up direct deposits before it starts mailing out $1,200 coronavirus stimulus payments. Mnuchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that many checks already have been wired directly into peoples’ accounts and claimed it was his idea to print President Trump’s name on the checks. Mnuchin also expressed hope for a quick agreement on a deal that would replenish the depleted small-business loan program.
NEIMAN MARCUS SHUTTING DOWN… Neiman Marcus plans to file for bankruptcy following the closure of its stores due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reuters reported that the company is shutting down its 43 flagship Neiman Marcus stores, two dozen Last Call stores and its two Bergdorf Goodman stores in New York while facing billions of dollars in debt. Most of the retail giant’s 14,000 employees have been furloughed.
TEXAS SHOOTING LEAVES THREE OFFICERS INJURED… Three officers were injured yesterday morning during a pursuit with a man who hijacked a Dallas Area Rapid Transit bus in Richardson, Texas. Authorities say 31-year-old Ramon Thomas Villagomez opened fire on police who responded to the hijacking, injuring a DART officer along with Garland and Rowlett police officers. Officers used a spike strip to disable the bus and end the chase. Villagomez was fatally shot after exiting the bus and exchanging gunfire with officers.
STORMS POUND SOUTHEAST… The Southeast was hit by severe storms for the second straight Sunday yesterday. Parts of Alabama were pounded by high winds, hail and heavy rain as forecasters warned of tornadoes and flooding across a wide swath of the region. Tornado watches covered a swath of East Texas and large parts of Louisiana and Mississippi yesterday afternoon. Parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama battened down for possible twisters last night.
BROADWAY STAR NICK CORDERO HAS LEG AMPUTATED… Broadway star Nick Cordero had his right leg amputated due to complications from coronavirus, his wife Amanda Kloots announced yesterday. The stage performer had been sedated in the intensive-care unit of a Los Angeles hospital for 18 days. Cordero earned a Tony nomination for his starring role in the 2014 musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s film “Bullets Over Broadway.” He previously appeared on Broadway in “Rock of Ages,” “Waitress” and “A Bronx Tale the Musical.”
THE WEEKND REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART… The Weeknd’s “After Hours” sold 75,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 chart for a fourth straight week. Tory Lanez’s “The New Toronto 3” jumped into second place after selling 64,000 units. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” remained in third place after selling 61,000 copies. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” stayed in fourth place on sales of 44,000 units. Bad Bunny’s “YHLQMDLG” sold copies to cap the top five.
GRETZKY BELIEVES NHL WILL RETURN IN SUMMER… Wayne Gretzky told The Associated Press yesterday that he is optimistic the NHL will resume at some point this summer. The hockey legend has been trying to help the NHL with content during its shutdown while self-quarantining from his California home. The NHL is considering several options on trying to resume this season, including going directly to the playoffs at several neutral sites.