U.S. LEADS THE WORLD IN REPORTED CORONAVIRS CASES… The U.S. now leads the world in the number of reported coronavirus cases, Johns Hopkins University reported yesterday. The U.S. has 82,404 cases, while China has 81,782 and Italy has 80,589. The 1,178 fatalities in the U.S. are far fewer than in Italy, Spain, China and Iran. Louisiana, which has reported more than 2,300 cases, has demonstrated the fastest growth in new cases in the world. New York is the epicenter of cases in the U.S., with at least 30,000 positive diagnoses and 331 deaths.
HOUSE VOTES TODAY ON SENATE RELIEF BILL… The House will vote today on the Senate’s $2.2 trillion relief package aimed at mitigating the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The Senate unanimously passed the bill Wednesday night and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she expects it to pass quickly in the House. The legislation will pay $1,200 to Americans who earn up to $75,000 a year, and those with children will receive $500 for each child. Also in the package is a small business loan program, a fund for industries and funding for states and localities. The package also expands unemployment insurance to four months and includes money for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.
UNEMPLOYMENT FILINGS SKYROCKET… The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefit claims spiked to a record 3.28 million last week, according to numbers released yesterday by the Labor Department. The previous record of 695,000 claims stood for nearly 38 years. Analysts say the figure confirms that millions of households nationwide are under severe financial strain.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INDICTS VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT... The Justice Department yesterday announced drug trafficking charges against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other senior regime officials. Maduro “helped manage and ultimately lead” a smuggling organization known as the Cartel of the Suns, according to the indictment. Prosecutors say Maduro and cartel members “prioritized using cocaine as a weapon against America” and imported as much into the U.S. as possible. Maduro’s regime allegedly allowed Colombian revolutionaries to use Venezuelan airspace to fly cocaine through Central America to destinations in North America. Maduro personally negotiated drug shipments and coordinated with Honduras and other countries in facilitating the illegal drug trade, the indictment claims.
WALL STREET CONTINUES REBOUND… Wall Street continued to rebound yesterday amid the pending $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1,351.62 points, or 6.38 percent, while the S&P 500 climbed 6.24 percent. Boeing, Chevron and Walgreens drove the Dow’s gains by rising more than 10 percent.
SCARFACE TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS… Rapper Scarface has revealed that he has tested positive for coronavirus. He said he experienced vomiting, fever pneumonia kidney failure before the diagnosis. The rapper said his condition improved enough that he was allowed to recover at his Houston home
ACTOR MARK BLUM DIES… Actor Mark Blum, whose film credits include “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Crocodile Dundee,” died earlier this week from coronavirus complications, friends confirmed yesterday. He was 69. Blum’s television appearances included “Law & Order,” “Us” and “Succession.”
INDY 500 POSTPONED… Organizers announced yesterday that the Indianapolis 500 is being postponed until August 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 104th running of the race was scheduled originally for May 24. Its postponement marks the first time since 1946 that the race won’t run on Memorial Day weekend.
‘CURLY’ NEAL DIES… Harlem Globetrotters legend Fred “Curly” Neal, who was known worldwide for his bald head, stylish ball-handling and crowd-dazzling moves, has died at age 77. The team said only that Neal died at his home near Houston.z Neal played in more than 6,000 games between 1963 and 1985 for the Globetrotters.
NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Arizona Cardinals and offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert have agreed to a one-year contract.
The Buffalo Bills have signed offensive lineman Daryl Williams to a one-year deal.
The Chicago Bears have agreed to a one-year contract with offensive lineman Germain Ifedi.
The Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a one-year deal with former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes.