CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 1,056,000 yesterday and the death toll surpassed 63,000, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a news release declaring it has found no proof the coronavirus was manmade. The chief executive of British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca told BBC radio that the company expects to know by July whether a coronavirus vaccine it’s working on with University of Oxford researchers will be effective.
COURT RULES AGAINST ‘SANCTUARY’ WITHOLDINGS… A U.S. appeals court yesterday ruled against the Trump administration’s effort to withhold millions of dollars from so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. The decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a pair of lower court rulings that blocked the administration from placing immigration-related conditions on law-enforcement grants. On Wednesday, Trump suggested he might restrict coronavirus aid to states and cities with “sanctuary” policies.
UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS JUMP BY 4 MILLION… Nearly 4 million more Americans filed for new unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department said yesterday. The new filings raise the number of claims to about 30 million. Analysts believe true unemployment numbers are even higher since the volume of applicants has overwhelmed jobless systems in several states.
LAWMAKERS SEEK SUPPORT OF USPS AID PROPOSAL… Lawmakers from both parties have joined in calling for emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service. House oversight and reform committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and three U.S. congressmen sent a letter to congressional leaders seeking support for a proposal by the Postal Service Board of Governors for $75 billion in aid. The package would include $25 billion to offset coronavirus losses, $25 billion for projects to modernize the Postal Service and access to another $25 billion in borrowing authority.
4 CHILDREN DEAD IN BUGGY MISHAP… Authorities in Kentucky confirmed yesterday that four children were killed and one is missing in Bath County after their horse-drawn buggy was washed away while trying to cross a stream the night before. The Amish family of six was crossing a low water bridge when its horse was swept away by the current, according to police. The National Guard and state police joined in the search for the missing child.
MADONNA TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS ANTIBODIES… Madonna revealed yesterday that she has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. The 61-year-old singer canceled the remainder of her “Madame X” tour last month over safety concerns. Earlier this month, she announced plans to team up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “to find a drug that will prevent or treat COVID-19.”
NETFLIX RELEASES SEINFELD COMEDY SPECIAL TRAILER… Netflix yesterday released a trailer for the upcoming Jerry Seinfeld comedy special “23 Hours to Kill.” Seinfeld’s first standup comedy special in 22 years premieres May 5. It was filmed at New York’s Beacon Theater prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
BENGALS RELEASE ANDY DALTON… The Cincinnati Bengals yesterday released veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, who had been the team’s primary signal-caller since his selection in the second round of the 2011 draft. During his nine seasons with the Bengals, the 32-year-old Dalton threw a franchise-record 204 touchdown passes leading the team to the postseason five times. His 31,594 passing yards are second only to Ken Anderson’s 32,838 in team history. Dalton’s departure comes a week after Cincinnati drafted Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the top overall pick.
NHL CONSIDERING RETURN-TO-PLAY PLANS… NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday that starting the 2020-21 season as late as December is among options on the table as the league how best to close the current season and transition into the following one. The NHL ended regular-season play on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Owners and the players union have begun discussions on Phase 2 of plans to reopen play.