U.S. Coronavirus Blog: Autoworkers Return; 1.5M Cases Reached

Gus Saltonstall

This story on the new coronavirus is updated throughout the day with national news and developments from around our network of local Patches. Scroll down for links, helpful for day-to-day living and the most recent stories.

In a major step for the reopening of American industry, tens of thousands of autoworkers returned to factories across the nation Monday for the first time in nearly two months.

General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler all have implemented screening processes and safety precautions at dozens of factories that reopened in the United States.

More positive news came from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell, who has a simple message for Americans gearing up for another week of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This economy will recover. It may take a while," the U.S. central bank chief said in a preview of an interview with "60 Minutes" on Sunday night.

Powell's comments came after the U.S. House pushed through a $3 trillion bill intended to help in that economic recovery process.

Meanwhile, two somber milestones were reached Monday afternoon: The United States now has recorded 1.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus — including more than 90,ooo deaths.

A masked pedestrian walks by closed stores. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MA Company Says Coronavirus Vaccine Has 'Potential'

The Massachusetts biotech company Moderna said Monday that its work to develop a possible vaccine for the COVID-19 virus showed promising results in its first phase of testing.

Moderna said in a release that early results suggest "mRNA has the potential to prevent COVID-19 disease and advance our ability to select a dose of pivotal trials."

The findings showed the experimental drug to be safe for humans and created an immune response to the virus, the company announced. The results were based off the first eight healthy people who each received two doses of the vaccine in March. The second phase of testing will include 600 people and is set to begin soon.

The Food and Drug Administration last week said it gave Moderna the "fast track" designation, which allows the company to accelerate testing and development.

The healthy people who received the potential vaccine made antibodies that were subsequently tested in human cells within a lab environment and were able to stop the virus from replicating.

The company also announced a planned third phase for July that would involve thousands of people.

Moderna announced Monday that an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus showed encouraging results. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

U.S. Autoworkers Return To Factories

Detroit's big three — General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — started to rev up their U.S. factories Monday, with a number of safety changes in place to help protect workers from the coronavirus.

All three auto companies have pledged to frequently clean facilities and give extra time to employees to make sure their space is sanitized.

Even with employees back in factories, the production of cars will not bounce back immediately. The auto manufacturing revival will take place over a number of weeks as companies get operations up and running again.

At a Fiat Chrysler plant in Michigan on Monday, workers entered a giant white tent with a sign that read: "Let's restart and keep each other safe."

Inside, they had their temperatures checked and answered a set of questions about any coronavirus symptoms they might be feeling.

More autoworkers are set to retun to the nation's largest factories in the coming weeks.

Pelosi Stresses Urgency For Next Relief Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear on Sunday she thinks that the next coronavirus relief bill should be the top priority for Republicans.

"Time is very important. We have lost time. But, again, setting aside how we got here, we cannot take a pause," Pelosi said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

The $3 trillion Democratic measure would cost more than the prior four coronavirus bills combined. It would deliver almost $1 trillion for state and local governments, another round of $1,200 direct payments to individuals and help for the unemployed, renters and homeowners, college debt holders and the struggling Postal Service.

President Donald Trump and top Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insist that the next bill should protect reopening businesses from liability lawsuits. The president is also demanding a cut to payroll taxes, but GOP leaders are not yet on board with that proposal.

Additionally, Senate Republicans are suggesting a wait-and-see approach to state reopenings and the distributions of already allotted funds.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives at a news conference. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Powell Warns U.S. Recovery Could Stretch Through 2021

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell thinks the U.S. economy may not start to turn around until the end of this year, and that a vaccine will be critical to achieving a full financial recovery.

"Assuming there's not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you'll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of this year," the U.S. central bank chief said in an interview preview aired Sunday on CBS. "For the economy to fully recover people will have to be fully confident, and that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine."

Powell added that people should never "bet" against the American people, but the economy will take its time in recovering. The Fed chair's comments came as more than 36 million Americans have lost their jobs since February.

Federal Reserve Chair Powell pauses during a news conference. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Trump Says He's Taking Hydroxychloroquine

President Trump on Monday said that he is taking hydroxychloroquine to lessen symptoms should he get the coronavirus, even though the drug is unproven in the fight against COVID-19.

Trump said he is taking the malaria drug, and a zinc supplement daily "for about a week and a half."

The president has spent the past couple months touting the drug as a potential cure for COVID-19, despite the cautionary advice of many top medical professionals.

Trump said his doctor did not recommend the drug to him, but he requested it from the White House physician.

Obama Criticizes Virus Response In Graduation Speech

Former President Barack Obama on Saturday criticized U.S. leaders responsible for overseeing the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Obama spoke during the "Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition," a two-hour event for students graduating from historically black colleges and universities, and then again later in the day during a televised commencement address for high school seniors.

"More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing," Obama said in his first speech. "A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge."

Obama did not name any federal or state officials in either of his appearances, but earlier in May he harshly criticized Trump's handling of the pandemic as an "absolute chaotic disaster."

Obama urged the young graduates to be unafraid despite the current challenges facing the nation and to strive to be part of a diverse community.

Former President Barack Obama delivered two graduation speeches Saturday. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Across America

Phoenix Family All Sick With COVID-19

During what should be a time of joy as the Aguirres await a new baby, the family of six are separated as each fights the coronavirus.

Former Social Worker Dies 'Very Lonely Death'

The family of Peggy Ndubisi is trying to raise $7,000 to recover her body and have her remains sent to Atlanta following a life of service.

Cuomo Gets Coronavirus Test Live

Gov. Andrew Cuomo got tested for the coronavirus during his daily press briefing to show how "fast and easy" it is.

Big Cat Advocate 'Tiger King' Sells Face Masks

The founder of the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, featured in the Netflix docuseries, "Tiger King," is selling leopard-printed face masks.

Class Of 2020 Joins Worst Job Market In History

Nearly 4 million people are expected to graduate with a college degree this academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. They will do so amid soaring unemployment and shuttering businesses, The Hill reports.

NY Racing Tracks Get Green Light To Reopen

The state will allow horse racing tracks to open without fans, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo looks to boost economic activity while avoiding crowds.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down 'Safer-At-Home' Order

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has struck down the state's "Safer-At-Home" order, stating that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' administration overstepped its legal boundaries when crafting the order.

Illinois 13-Year-Old Makes More Than 2,000 Masks

Madi Hagwell, a junior high student from Mokena, has made 2,000 masks for those in need.

You've Never Seen A 'Save The Date' Like This One

Marc and Christina of Connecticut have been together for 8 years, engaged for 3. They set a date: June 2020. But coronavirus happened. Come on, July 2021!

How To Get Free Or Discounted Prescriptions During Coronavirus

Pharmacies across the U.S. are stepping up to help consumers find affordable medications.

Should We Believe Gov. Pritzker's Coronavirus Testing Statistics?

KONKOL COLUMN: Illinois Gov. Pritzker wants us to believe the state with the most coronavirus tests wins, but statistics don't tell the whole story.

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Patch Coronavirus Resources

Resources For Local Businesses Needing Help During CoronavirusCoronavirus Stimulus Ripoffs And Other ScamsThe Right Way To Wash Your HandsLatest Coronavirus Myths: Malaria Drug, Face Masks, Mail SafetyStay-At-Home Survival Guide In AmericaHere's How To Help People Impacted By CoronavirusHow Does The Coronavirus Test Work?How To Talk To Your Kids During Coronavirus12 Work-From-Home TipsWhy Hasn't My Stimulus Check Arrived? 5 Things To Know

This article originally appeared on the Across America Patch