Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Confessions, books and peep shows: Drive-throughs help Americans amid coronavirus outbreak
Father Scott Holmer sat on a chair in his church's parking lot in Bowie, Maryland on Friday, administering confession to worshippers car by car, at times leaning forward as he struggled to hear them from the six-feet distance imposed by social distancing rules. After the Catholic church of St. Edward the Confessor had to close its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, Holmer said he got the idea of offering drive-through confessions after learning about South Korea's drive-through testing.
Californians ordered to stay home; New York pleas for urgent help to fight coronavirus
Nearly 40 million Californians have been ordered to stay at home as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and New York's mayor on Friday renewed his pleas for U.S. President Donald Trump to mobilize the military for additional medical personnel and supplies. The pandemic has already upended life in much of the country, shuttering schools and businesses, prompting millions to work from home, forcing many out of jobs and sharply curtailing travel.
Completion of 2020 U.S. Census extended into August amid coronavirus pandemic
The 2020 U.S. Census, the decennial tally that helps determine political representation and federal aid, will be extended by two weeks, a census official said on Friday, as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the bureau's ability to send workers into the field. In a call with reporters on Friday, Tim Olson, the U.S. Census Bureau's field operations director, said completion of the bureau's door-knocking campaign would extend from July 31 to Aug. 14.
Panama reports 200 coronavirus cases, up sharply from previous day
Panama has confirmed 200 coronavirus cases, up from 137 a day earlier, the country's health minister told reporters on Friday.
Trump blasts media as anxious Americans come to grips with coronavirus pandemic
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday capped a tumultuous week as Americans faced sweeping life changes and massive Wall Street losses amid the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak by turning to a familiar playbook: attacking the media. In a contentious press briefing, the Republican president lashed out at an NBC reporter who noted Trump's tendency to put an optimistic spin on the situation and asked what his message was to the American people who may be scared.
Progress in U.S. coronavirus economic stimulus talks amid major disagreements: Schumer
Negotiations on a possible $1 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill were moving ahead, but agreement by a deadline at midnight on Friday deal was becoming elusive with several major issues dividing congressional Republicans and Democrats, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said. Speaking to reporters as a night negotiating session was due to begin, Schumer said that "with many issues outstanding," he hoped lawmakers and the Trump administration "could come to agreements tomorrow."
New York hair and nail salons to shut, but booze deemed 'essential'
Looking for liquid courage to help you survive the pandemic? Rest assured, New York will permit liquor stores to remain open, even as Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered non-essential businesses to close to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Many bars in New York City have already been shuttered since Tuesday, when Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all restaurants and night life to close except for takeout and delivery.
U.S. may convert thousands of New York hotel, college rooms into care units
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at converting more than 10,000 New York rooms, potentially in hotels and college dorms, into medical care units to help address the fast-spreading coronavirus, the commanding general of the Army Corps said on Friday. The pandemic has upended life in much of the United States, shuttering schools and businesses, prompting millions to work from home, forcing many out of jobs and sharply curtailing travel.
'I'm going to keep working': Grocery clerks unlikely heroes in U.S. coronavirus fight
For Philip, a grocery store clerk, it's not a matter of if he gets coronavirus, but when. He is among millions of supermarket employees who have been classified as critical U.S. workers at "essential businesses" that will stay open to prevent disruption in food supply.
Member of U.S. Vice President Pence's office tests positive for coronavirus
A member of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's office has tested positive for the coronavirus but neither President Donald Trump nor Pence have had close contact with the individual, Pence's press secretary Katie Miller said in a statement on Friday. Miller said Pence's office was notified on Friday evening about the positive test. The statement did not name the individual. "Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines," she said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.