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It's May 1, and as the United States watches April disappear in the rearview mirror, there's a little hope on the horizon. A drug that's helped those with the new coronavirus get better faster got the green light, and life for many Americans is finally returning to normal — well, somewhat. And that all depends on where you live.
U.S. regulators on Friday approved the emergency use of the experimental drug remdesivir, which has proved effective in fighting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The Food and Drug Administration gave the drug the go-ahead after preliminary results from a government-sponsored study showed that remdesivir, manufactured by California- based Gilead Sciences, shortened the time to recovery by 31 percent.
The study of 1,063 patients is the largest and most strict test of the drug and included a comparison group that received just usual care so remdesivir’s effects could be rigorously evaluated.
Most states, like many of us, are eager to find a shred of normalcy after weeks of social distancing meant to help mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus. Some states are more eager than others, though, as the first day of the new month marks the end of stay-at-home orders, business closures and other restrictions for some.
As the U.S. death total topped 60,000 Thursday, only time will tell if these states were a little too eager.
Governors in several states — including Alabama, Maine, Tennessee and Texas — allowed stay-at-home orders to expire Thursday night, paving the way for certain businesses to reopen. Iowa, North Dakota and Wyoming are also among states easing their rules.
Texas is expected to take one of the most expansive actions on Friday, allowing retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls to reopen and operate at 25 percent capacity.
In Alabama, the easing of restrictions comes under a new "safer-at-home" order that runs through May 15, replacing Gov. Kay Ivey's stay-at-home order that expired Thursday.
- Texas Governor Allows Malls, Restaurants, More To Open By May 1
- Alabama Retail Tries To Rebound After Coronavirus Shutdown
Thursday's unemployment report brings the total number of jobless to more than 30 million workers in the six weeks since the coronavirus began pummeling the U.S. economy and killing more than 61,000 people across the country.
More than one in six American workers have now filed for unemployment.
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.
Despite protests over stay-at-home orders, most Americans would rather stay put right now then venture out and risk exposure to coronavirus. While most aren't thrilled about having to stay home, most agree there's a need for it.
Several recent polls back this up, according to The Hill.
In a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 80 percent of respondents said stay-at-home orders are worth it. Only 17 percent of adults who responded to a Washington Post/University of Maryland poll think current guidelines are too restricting.
Finally, when asked by a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll whether it would be a good or bad idea to reopen businesses and schools, for example, only 19 percent of adults supported allowing restaurants to reopen. A meager 14 percent favored a return to school and just 8 percent were willing to endorse a return to large sporting events.
Not everyone is so supportive of their state guidelines.
As Michigan lawmakers prepared to extend the state's stay-at-home order through May, hundreds of people — some of them armed and wearing bulletproof vests — brought their protests inside the state Capitol building Thursday.
Though guns are allowed in the Capitol, protesters were met by state police, who prohibited them from entering the chamber where lawmakers were deciding whether to extend Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's emergency declaration.
According to reports, protesters chanted, "Let us in," while standing outside House chambers.
In a Friday morning tweet, President Donald Trump described the protesters who brought guns into the Michigan state capitol building as "very good people."
"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," Trump wrote. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."
Protests aside, the Republican-led House rejected the measure to extend Michigan's emergency declaration by 28 days. As of Thursday, Michigan reported having more than 41,000 cases of the virus.
A home health aid in New York is suing the U.S. Department of Education and department head, Betsy DeVos, for continuing to collect on her defaulted student loans during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit comes a month after DeVos said she would halt collections, including wage garnishments and tax refund offsets on defaulted loans, a step to provide relief for those struggling during the outbreak.
Plaintiff Elizabeth Barber said her paycheck has been garnished several times over the past month, most recently on April 24, CNN Politics reported.
As May begins, 31 states are under some form of risky reopening. But for a glimpse of the hold the new coronavirus has taken, look to New York City.
New York City subways will stop running 24 hours a day, with the Metropolitan Transit Authority cutting a large chunk of late-night service, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
This just doesn't happen in New York. But it's happening.
Subways won't run between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. starting Wednesday and continuing for the duration of the pandemic, the governor said. For a place such as New York, that's almost like banning cars in Detroit.
"This is going to be one of the most aggressive, creative, challenging endeavors the MTA has done," Cuomo said. "It's not that easy to stop train service. "
New York was one of two cities to offer 24-hour subway service — the other is Copenhagen — and one of few in the United States to provide continuous public transportation.
This summer's Little League World Series, along with its 82 regional qualifying tournaments and numerous associated events, has been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis. It's the first time in its 74-year history that the event has been canceled.
All seven World Series events organized by the Little League — including the Little League Softball and intermediate, junior and senior league baseball and softball events — will not be held in 2020.
"This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events," Stephen D. Keener, Little League president and CEO, said in a statement Thursday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, is optimistic that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by the start of next year.
Asked by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie whether it is “in the realm of possibility” for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to be ready by January — as the administration’s new Operation Warp Speed envisions — Fauci said, “I do.”
“We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it's safe and it's effective,” he added. “I think that is doable if things fall in the right place."
Democrats are likely to push for nearly $1 trillion for states and local governments in the next coronavirus relief package, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.
The next package is also expected to include hundreds of billions of dollars more to help workers, businesses and families weather the crisis, The Hill reported, adding it's likely to approximate the massive size of the initial CARES Act passed in March.
"We're not going to be able to cover all of it, but to the extent that we can keep the states and localities sustainable, that's our goal," Pelosi told reporters.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week said he is "open" to considering additional funds for state and local governments in a future coronavirus relief bill.
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From Across America
KONKOL COLUMN: Gov. J.B. Pritzker is starting to sound like President Donald Trump at those daily new coronavirus briefings that his social media fan club calls #SpritzersWithPritzker.
News that an experimental drug seems to be the first effective treatment for the new coronavirus has unleashed a flurry of interest from doctors and patients — and questions about how soon it might be available.
Seven races are planned in 10 days. Only essential personnel will be permitted to attend the events, and cloth face masks will be required.
Jennifer Leeper and Tory Mileti of Fairfield, Connecticut, teamed up in an effort to support essential workers and raise money for local nonprofits at the same time.
Ilan Shterenberg 11, recorded a parody of "Hallelujah," in which he belts out lyrics about his struggles logging on to an online class.
Bridgewater-Raritan teachers, administrators sang for students and community during this time of distance learning due to the coronavirus.
The Mask Squad of Somerset County started with a Bridgewater mom and has since grown to unite neighbors sewing masks out of their homes.
Douglas Burger, 55, was the owner of the popular Hammonasset Service Station. The beloved family man is remembered for his goodness.
People from around the world are flocking to a Maryland man's YouTube channel to see a robin incubate her eggs.
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