Thursday, April 30, 2020

5:49 pm ET: Michigan House Doesn't Extend Governor's Emergency Virus Order

The Republican-led Michigan House refused Thursday to extend the state's coronavirus emergency declaration and voted to authorize a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's authority and actions to combat the pandemic.

The step came as hundreds of conservative activists returned to the Capitol to denounce her stay-at-home order. Read more...

— The Associated Press

5:24 pm ET: Federal Social Distancing Guidelines Set to Expire

Social distancing guidelines from the federal government are set to expire today. Cheddar’s J.D. Durkin explained that President Trump will not extend guidelines across the country but will allow states to make decisions for themselves. Also, with the 2020 election looming the Trump administration has been leaning into more telecom interviews, but Durkin said the president is antsy to get back on the campaign trail. 

5:04 pm ET: Wall Street's Best Month in 33 Years Closes With Whimper

A crush of dismal data about the economy helped send markets lower Thursday, a meek ending to a historic, juggernaut month for stocks.

The S&P 500 fell 0.9% after reports showed millions more U.S. workers filed for unemployment benefits last week and the European economy crumpled to its worst performance on record last quarter, among other lowlights. It was the biggest loss for the U.S. stock market in more than a week, but it was still just a wiggle within the S&P 500’s best month in decades. Read more...

— The Associated Press

5:02 pm ET: PPE Shortages to Have 'Sobering' Impact on Poorer Nations

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in high demand these days and. Direct Relief, the largest nonprofit provider of PPE in the U.S., is working globally to do its part in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. 

Shortages of these supplies is a critical problem for frontline medical workers and one of the toughest issues the organization is facing, said Thomas Tighe, CEO of Direct Relief. Read more...

— McKenzie Marshall

4:00 pm ET: 100 Miles of NYC Streets Could Go Car-Free so Residents Can Go Out

As the sixth week of New York City’s coronavirus lockdown draws to a close, New Yorkers are getting antsy — and authorities know it.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in partnership with the City Council, announced his commitment to closing off up to 100 miles of streets to make more space for city dwellers during the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities hope residents will make use of the alternative outdoor space for leisure and exercise, rather than flocking to popular parks that have become overcrowded destinations for agitated New Yorkers who are desperate to escape the confines of their small apartments. Read more...

— Chloe Aiello

1:59 pm ET: UPS Drones to Deliver CVS Prescriptions in Florida Retirement Community

Industry giants UPS and CVS are teaming up to deliver prescription medicine via drones.

Bala Ganesh, vice president of UPS Advanced Technology Group, told Cheddar Thursday that the shipping and pharmacy companies worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to make deliveries to retirement communities in Florida using Matternet M2 drones. Read more...

— McKenzie Marshall

1:38 pm ET: State Dept. Spox: Demanding Info From China Not Part of 'Blame Game'

Accusations are flying between U.S. and Chinese officials over how each country is handling the coronavirus pandemic. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Wednesday that the Chinese Communist Party has a "responsibility to tell the world how this pandemic got out of China and all across the world, causing such global economic devastation.” 

The comments came after China Central Television's top evening news program questioned the accuracy of U.S. data tracking of COVID-19 infections, singling out Pompeo for “turning himself into the common enemy of mankind.”

Underlying the heated exchange is an effort by the U.S. State Department to better understand the origins of the outbreak in Wuhan. Read more...

— Alex Vuocolo

12:51 pm ET: New York Funeral Home Cited After Leaving Bodies in U-Haul Trucks

Dozens of bodies were found stored in rented trucks and vans on the street outside of a Brooklyn funeral home on Wednesday. Police had responded to calls from concerned neighbors, who reported an overwhelming odor and liquid dripping from the vehicles parked outside Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in the Flatlands neighborhood. Read more...

— Chloe Aiello

11:19 am ET: Fed Expands Main Street Lending Program for Businesses

The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it was expanding a major lending program to provide support for businesses struggling to cope with the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Read more...

— The Associated Press

10:20 am ET: Stocks Slam on Brakes as Dismal Economic Data Piles Higher

Stocks are falling in early trading on Wall Street Thursday after more reports made clear the worldwide devastation the coronavirus outbreak is causing for the economy.

In the United States, another 3.8 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs continue to hammer the country. In Europe, the region’s economy crumpled by the sharpest degree in at least 25 years.

The dour figures helped send the S&P 500 down 1.1% in the first few minutes of trading. European stocks and Treasury yields were also lower, slamming the brakes on a strong rally that had circled the world a day earlier. Read more...

— The Associated Press

8:48 am ET: 3.8 Million Filed for Unemployment in the U.S. Last Week

More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s.

Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it’s by far the worst string of layoffs on record. It adds up to more than one in six American workers.

With more employers cutting payrolls to save money, economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20 percent. That would be the highest rate since it reached 25 percent during the Great Depression. Read more...

— The Associated Press

8:04 am ET: Need2Know: Experimental Drug Hope, Vaccine Mad Dash & Boris’ Baby Boy

Get your news over easy every morning by listening to the Need 2 Know podcast (StitcheriTunes) and signing up for our morning newsletter.

COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: With U.S. coronavirus deaths topping 60,000, Dr. Fauci says a second wave of the outbreak in the fall is “inevitable.” The country’s top infectious disease expert predicts that the country will finally have enough testing in a month’s time. Florida is the latest state to announce its plans for a “small, deliberate, methodical” reopening. Restaurants and stores will be able to open on Monday with 25 percent capacity, though it excludes the populous counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, which have a majority of the state’s cases. In the epicenter of New York, the daily death rate is holding steady and new hospitalizations are now averaging under 1,000 a day. NY TIMES

REMDESIVIR HOPES RISE: A government-sponsored trial has found that COVID-19 patients who are given the antiviral drug remdesivir are more likely to get better, faster. Dr. Fauci called the new data “significant” and “positive” and said remdesivir sets the first “standard of care” for this virus. The FDA is reportedly planning to issue an emergency approval for the Gilead drug imminently. STAT

RACE FOR A VACCINE: The Trump administration is said to be working on a “Manhattan Project-style” plan to substantially cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Dubbed Operation Warp Speed, it will involve government agencies, the military, and pharmaceutical companies, with the stated goal of shortening the development of a vaccine by as much as eight months. The most optimistic predictions say a vaccine won’t be available for another 12 to 18 months. BLOOMBERG

THIRD-PARTY RUN: Michigan Rep. Justin Amash has formed an exploratory committee to run for president this year on the Libertarian ticket. Amash, a former Republican, left the party last year over his objections to the president. Some pundits say his run is likely to take votes from Joe Biden, though others think it could be President Trump who is harmed, should Amash officially join the race. CNN

SHRINKING ECONOMY: The U.S. economy shrunk at a rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, the biggest contraction since the Great Recession. The second-quarter decline is sure to be far, far worse — possibly as high as 30 percent. The Fed says the recovery will be slow, and it’s pledging more support to prop up the economy as closures continue. AXIOS

MEET FOR FREE: Zoom has become one of the most popular software apps in the world, and Google isn’t taking it lying down. Google announced that its video conferencing software, Meet, will be free for anyone with a Gmail account. Meetings of up to 100 people will be free without time limits. Come fall, the free version will be limited to an hour. Google says Meet is adding 3 million users every day. CNET

NCAA PAY FOR PLAY: The NCAA approved a set of recommendations that opens the door for college athletes to be able to profit from their talents. A group set up to study the issue outlined ways for student-athletes to make money from endorsement deals and other outside work so long as their schools aren’t involved in the payments. The proposed changes would allow college stars to appear in shoe commercials, for instance, provided their schools aren’t part of the branding. ESPN

STREAMING WARS HIT HOLLYWOOD: Trolls: World Tour continues its path of destruction across America. The parent company of Regal Cinemas has joined rival AMC in pushing back against Hollywood studios that are warming to the idea of releasing more films directly on-demand. Regal says it will not show any movies that “fail to respect” the theatrical window, the period when new releases are only shown in theaters. AMC previously told Universal it won’t show any of its films after the studio celebrated the streaming success of Trolls. THE VERGE

BABY BOY FOR BORIS: It’s been quite the year for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. After gambling his career on an election that he won in December, Johnson got divorced, engaged, was hospitalized for COVID-19, recovered, and is now welcoming a baby boy with his fianceée, Carrie Symonds. It’s her first; Johnson is known to have fathered five others. BBC

LEFTOVERS: COLLECT 'EM ALL: 2020’s hottest action figure: a grocery store cashier. Mattel has launched a new set of collectible action figures modeled on the frontline and essential workers of the coronavirus. The #ThankYouHeroes collection features figurines representing doctors, nurses, EMTs, delivery drivers and more. Mattel will donate $15 per toy to charity. They’re available to preorder now on the Mattel website. SEE THE HEROES

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