Coronavirus: Trump speculates that China released virus in lab ‘mistake’

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

More than 3.2 million people worldwide – including more than one million people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun shifting their focus to reopening their economies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

>> Coronavirus: Know the facts directly from the CDC

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Live updates for Thursday, April 30, continue below:

Trump speculates that China released virus in lab ‘mistake’

Update 10:55 p.m. EDT April 30: President Donald Trump on Thursday speculated that China could have unleashed the coronavirus on the world due to some kind of horrible “mistake,” and his intelligence agencies said they are still examining a notion put forward by the president and aides that the pandemic may have resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab.

Trump even suggested the release could have been intentional.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the clearinghouse for the web of U.S. spy agencies, said it had ruled out the virus being man-made but was still investigating the precise source of the global pandemic, which has killed more than 220,000 people worldwide.

Though scientists suggest the likeliest origin of the pandemic remains natural, that it spread from an infected animal to a human, Trump claimed to have seen evidence to support the theory that the origin was an infectious disease lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Chinese outbreak.

He said the U.S. now “is finding how it came out.”

“It’s a terrible thing that happened,” the president said. “Whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one, or did somebody do something on purpose.”

The intel statement said the federal agencies concur “with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.”

California governor’s beach closure order sparks anger

Update 10:10 p.m. EDT April 30: After state officials signaled an intention to close all California beaches, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday chose instead to shutter only Orange County’s coastline, a clumsy rollout that left local officials livid and had Republicans claiming politics was at play.

Newsom has engendered strong bipartisan support for most of his actions during the virus outbreak. But more recently, some of the more rural and GOP-leaning areas of the state have begun chafing against what they see as an overly cautious move toward reopening California.

The divisions were laid bare by the beach announcement.

The California Republican Party accused Newsom of backpedaling. The Orange County GOP, desperate to regain ground lost to Democrats in what was once a Republican stronghold, accused him of “targeted harassment” and “petty politics.”

Newsom, a Democrat, said he was only reinforcing his vow to make sure California doesn’t backslide on its progress against the virus by allowing crowds to gather on beaches as they did during the weekend in Orange County.

“We have been consistent, we have been clear, we have been transparent,” Newsom said of his closure decision.

Still, his administration sowed confusion with its handling of the issue.

Northern California county is 1st to ease stay-home orders

Update 8:40 p.m. EDT April 30: Sparsely populated Modoc County in California’s northeast corner plans to allow hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county’s only movie theater to reopen Friday, becoming the first county in the state to ease out of stay-at-home orders and flout the governor’s mandate.

Ned Coe, a cattle rancher and county supervisor, said Thursday that the county bordering Oregon has no confirmed COVID-19 cases and after consulting with health officials, the Board of Supervisors voted to reopen.

“Just as our physical health is vital for our citizens, so is the mental health and the economic health of our citizens,” Coe said.

The plan asks business owners in the county of about 9,000 that spans 4,200 square miles to ensure customers remain 6 feet apart and asks restaurants to cut their capacity by half. Those 65 or older or with underlying health conditions are still required to stay home.

Biden to address allegations

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT April 30: Joe Biden is expected to address allegations of sexual assault Friday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Biden’s campaign has denied the allegation from his former Senate staffer Tara Reade, who has said Biden assaulted her in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in the 1990s. But the story garnered fresh attention this week after two of Reade’s associates said she previously told them about elements of her allegations.

Washington man charged with selling drugs to ‘stop’ COVID

Update 6:55 p.m. EDT April 30: A former Washington state naturopath with a history of quackery is now facing federal charges that he promoted mislabeled drugs as being able to “stop” the new coronavirus.

Richard “Rick” Marschall, of Port Angeles, was previously convicted of federal charges in 2011 and in 2017 for distributing misbranded drugs, after he sold HCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy, for weight-loss. The Washington Department of Health suspended his credential as a naturopathic physician in 2013 and permanently revoked it in 2018.

In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, a special agent with the Food and Drug Administration wrote that the agency began investigating the 67-year-old again last month after receiving complaints that on Facebook he was promoting compounds as being able to fight COVID-19. Marschall billed himself online as a health coach and retired naturopath.

According to the complaint, one undercover agent texted Marschall to say she was worried about getting the coronavirus and paid $140 for what he marketed as the “Dynamic Duo” — two compounds that he claimed could “stop” the virus. One was purportedly a substance derived from garlic, the other from larch trees.

Pork producer says it needs flexibility on virus guidelines

Update 5:50 p.m. EDT April 30: The world’s largest pork producer told a judge in Missouri on Thursday that it was working as quickly as it can to comply with federal guidelines that seek to slow the spread of the coronavirus but that it needs some flexibility in an industry where people typically work side by side.

The comments from a lawyer for Smithfield Foods came as a judge weighed whether to issue a mandatory injunction requiring a rural Missouri meat plant to abide by federal guidelines. The lawsuit, filed by a worker identified only as Jane Doe, accuses the Virginia-based company of not doing enough to protect workers.

The worker’s attorney, David Muraskin, told the judge that the pork processing plant in Milan, Missouri, is not requiring workers to stand 6 feet (1.83 meters) apart, is using “small, flimsy” plexiglass to separate workers in break rooms, and is not performing adequate testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The hearing came as the state health department revealed that 92 asymptomatic workers at another pork plant had tested positive for the virus. The health department this week tested more than 2,200 workers at Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, where 34 employees with symptoms had previously tested positive. The agency so far has results for 707 workers, with results for 1,500 others still pending.

The plant remains open.

Twitter stock slips amid pandemic-caused revenue uncertainty

Update 4:40 p.m. EDT April 30: Twitter’s stock tumbled Thursday after the company failed to show that it’s weathering the pandemic-borne digital advertising slump the same way its bigger rivals Facebook and Google are.

The San Francisco-based social company’s higher expenses outweighed its revenue growth in the first three months of the year, leading to a loss of $8.4 million.

And when asked during a conference call how April looked in terms of revenue, executives pointed back to the second half of March — when advertising declined.

That period is “the best time frame to look at if you want to think about what it’s been like for us,” Twitter’s Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal said.

Facebook, in contrast, said on Wednesday that after a March decline, it saw “signs of stability” in the first three weeks of April. And it said ad revenue during that period has been flat compared with the year-ago period.

Google parent company Alphabet also posted results this week that didn’t look “quite as bad as some people had feared,” said Edward Jones analyst David Heger.

All three companies are seeing an increase in usage, since the virus outbreak has forced people to stay at home. Twitter reported that average daily users grew 24% year over year, the highest growth rate in the company’s history.

Ohio governor says stay-at-home order will be extended ‘with exceptions’

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT April 30: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio said Thursday that he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order, which was scheduled to expire Friday, WHIO-TV reported.

“The stay-at-home order will be extended with exceptions,” DeWine said, noting that some businesses will be allowed to reopen in mid-May.

As of Thursday, health officials have recorded 18,027 cases of COVID-19 in the state. Authorities said 975 people have died of the viral infection, according to WHIO-TV.

2,633 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT April 30: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 2,633 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 118,652.

Officials also reported 460 new fatal COVID-19 cases, 131 more new fatal cases than had been reported one day earlier.

Statewide, 7,228 people have died of coronavirus.

California governor closes beaches in Orange County

Update 3:45 p.m. EDT April 30: Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Thursday announced the closure of beaches across Orange County after images of crowded beaches surfaced over the weekend.

Newsom said he hopes the order won’t last very long but he felt it was necessary to protect public health.

A memo to the state’s police chiefs that surfaced on Wednesday had indicated Newsom planned to close all beaches in the state.

Little League cancels 2020 World Series, regional tournaments

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT April 30: Officials with the Little League announced Thursday that the league’s seven World Series tournaments and their regional qualifiers have been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said the MLB Little League Classic was also canceled with plans for it to return next year.

Little League President and CEO Stephen Kenner called the decision “heartbreaking."

"After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now ... it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years,” he said.

The decision was based on recommendations and guidance from public health officials, according to Kenner.

NASCAR scheduled to return to racing next month

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT April 30: Officials with NASCAR announced Thursday that racing will continue without fans beginning May 17.

Shelter-in-place order to expire tonight in most of Georgia

Update 3:05 p.m. EDT April 30: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia announced Thursday that he will formally extend his previously issued emergency declaration for the state and end his shelter-in-place order for most residents at 11:59 p.m., according to WSB-TV.

The shelter-in-place order will continue for “medically-fragile and elderly Georgians” until June 12, WSB-TV reported. The governor’s extended public health emergency declaration is set to expire that same day.

“The health and well-being of Georgians are my top priorities,” Kemp said. “I will do what is necessary to protect the lives and livelihoods of our people.”

WSB-TV reported that while the mandatory shelter-in-place order is coming to an end, people are still encouraged to stay home whenever possible statewide.

Nearly 1,400 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Pennsylvania

Update 2:55 p.m. EDT April 30: Health officials in Pennsylvania announced 1,397 new coronavirus infections in the state Thursday, according to WPXI.

The new cases bring the total number of coronavirus infections detected in the state to 45,763, according to the state Department of Health.

The cases include 9,144 reported at nursing and personal care homes across the state. A majority -- 8,112 -- involved residents of the homes while the remaining 1,032 involved employees, WPXI reported.

Officials said 2,292 people have died statewide of COVID-19. WPXI reported the deaths included 1,505 among residents of the state’s nursing or personal care facilities.

Russian prime minister tests positive for COVID-19

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT April 30: Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin of Russia said Thursday that he’s tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

Mishustin, who was named prime minister in January, is the highest-ranking Russian official to be diagnosed with a novel coronavirus infection since the outbreak began.

“The tests I did for coronavirus came back positive,” Mishustin said in a televised video conversation with President Vladimir Putin, according to Bloomberg News. “As a result, I must observe self-isolation and fulfill my doctors’ orders, which is necessary to protect my colleagues."

According to The Associated Press, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov will temporarily carry out the prime minister’s duties as he recovers.

Several cases of COVID-19 reported among Tyson Foods employees at NC meat processing plant

Update 2 p.m. EDT April 30: Several employees of meat processing giant Tyson Foods have tested positive for novel coronavirus infections in North Carolina, WSOC-TV reported Thursday.

The employees, who have been instructed to self-isolate at home, worked at a Tyson Foods meat processing plant in Wilkesboro, the news station reported. The plant’s on-site medical professionals were performing additional contact tracing Thursday within the facility, and the Wilkes County Health Department is tracing contacts the infected employees who live in Wilkes County made outside the facility, according to WSOC-TV.

Tyson Foods has come under scrutiny over questions about workplace safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, the company and other meat manufacturers have been forced to close several plants due to the infections among workers.

Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, suspended production at a facility in Pasco, Washington last week after nearly 100 workers tested positive for COVID-19. In Wisconsin, JBS USA, a beef production plant, was forced to close its fourth location after nearly 200 employees tested positive for coroanvirus infections.

President Donald Trump earlier this week signed an executive order requiring meat processing plants to stay open under the Defense Production Act.

UK ‘past the peak’ in coronavirus outbreak, prime minister says

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT April 30: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that the U.K. is “past the peak” and “on a downward slope” in its coronavirus outbreak.

In his first news conference in more than a month following his hospitalization with COVID-19 and his subsequent recuperation, Johnson said he would be presenting a “comprehensive plan” next week about how and when the U.K. will ease the lockdown restrictions, which are due to last at least until May 7.

Though he said it would provide a “roadmap,” Johnson is widely expected to extend the current lockdown further.

Johnson also voiced frustrations in getting personal protective equipment, and in ramping up the testing program, but he insisted that the government was throwing “everything at it, heart and soul, night and day, to get it right.”

Johnson, whose partner Carrie Symonds gave birth to a boy on Wednesday, said another 674 people with the coronavirus have died in all settings, taking the total to 26,711, the second highest in Europe behind Italy.

Number of COVID-19 patients continues to decline in Italy

Update 1:20 p.m. EDT April 30: The number of active coronavirus infections reported in Italy continues to decline, falling Thursday to 101,551, according to numbers released by health officials.

The number reported Thursday continues a decline in active cases first noticed last week by Italian officials.

Authorities said that as of Thursday, 27,967 people have died in the country of novel coronavirus infections.

Since the beginning of the viral outbreak, officials have identified 205,463 COVID-19 cases in Italy. The country has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind Spain, which has more than 239,000 cases, and the United States, which has more than 1 million cases, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Boston will reopen in phases, mayor says

Update 12:55 p.m. EDT April 30: Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston told WFXT the city will reopen in phases no matter what happens on the state level and that the timeline for the process will be dependent on testing.

“Let’s say we flip the light on tomorrow and everyone goes back to work tomorrow,” Walsh said. “That second surge that everyone talks about could be much worse than the first surge.”

The mayor told WFXT that officials aren’t just looking at when to reopen, they’re looking at which workers should go back first. He added that he anticipates people will have to wear face coverings and take precautions for between six and 10 more months.

Boeing to cut 16,000 jobs due to virus slowdown

Update 12:25 p.m. EDT April 30: Officials with Boeing announced plans Wednesday to cut its global workforce by 10% due to a slump in plane demand due to the novel coronavirus, KIRO-TV reported.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told the KIRO-TV that the company has sent 70,000 workers invitations to apply for voluntary layoffs.

“That’s a big number. And it’s a big number relative to any other action Boeing has taken in its history and honestly we are hoping we get a reasonably big number out of that, for no other reason than to minimize the number of involuntary actions we take,” Calhoun said.

New York reports 306 new fatal coronavirus cases

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT April 30: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the number of new coronavirus-related deaths continued to slow Thursday with 306 new fatal cases of COVID-19 reported.

The number was less than the 330 new fatal cases reported Wednesday and the 330 new fatal cases reported the day before, though Cuomo said the number was “still terrible.”

Team executives pushing for cancellation of NBA season, report says

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT April 30: Frustrated by a lack of information and feeling the pressure to resume play, NBA team executives and players’ agents are calling for the cancellation of the season, according to CNBC.

Team owners told the news network they were worried about liability issues and many were conflicted about whether to cancel the season and perhaps hold only postseason games. CNBC reported. The move, if taken, could both help and hurt teams that don’t make it to the playoffs: They would be unable to earn money from TV rights to play games during the season but they also wouldn’t have to deal with the cost of holding games.

Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters that it was too soon to say when the league would be ready to resume its season.

“We’re just not ready to set a date yet in terms of how long we can wait before we no longer would be able to continue this season,” Silver said, according to Newsday. “I would just say everything is on the table, including potentially delaying the start of next season. We need more information.”

Earlier Thursday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told CNN that he was “cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to finish the season for television."

“I don’t expect that we’ll have fans,” Cuban said.

Officials with the NBA suspended the league’s season until further notice beginning March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. One day later, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell confirmed he had also tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus. The players have since recovered.

US intelligence does not believe COVID-19 was ‘manmade or genetically modified’

Update 11:10 a.m. EDT April 30: Intelligence agencies in the U.S. have concluded that the novel coronavirus “was not manmade or genetically modified" although they continue to investigate whether the outbreak was caused by an accident at a Chinese laboratory.

In a statement released Thursday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, officials said the conclusion was in line with “wide scientific consensus.” In recent weeks, President Donald Trump and others have floated the unproven theory that the COVID-19 pandemic began at an infectious disease lab in Wuhan, China, where the novel coroanvirus was first detected late last year.

“The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified," the statement released Thursday said. "The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

Trump addressed the theory earlier this month, saying, “More and more, we’re hearing the story.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added, “The mere fact that we don’t know the answers — that China hasn’t shared the answers — I think is very, very telling.”

Scientists say the virus arose naturally in bats.

217 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT April 30: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Thursday that 217 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 4,323. The number of new cases is nearly double the 112 new cases reported one day earlier.

Bowser said 19 more people between the ages of 48 and 95 also died of COVID-19. As of Thursday, 224 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Stocks open lower as virus-related economic damage piles up

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 30: Stocks opened lower Thursday on Wall Street as more grim news piles up about the damage that lockdowns related to the coronavirus are causing the global economy.

The S&P 500 fell 0.9% in early trading Thursday. European markets were also lower.

The U.S. government reported that consumer spending plunged 7.5% in March, and more than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. The U.S. economic crisis is shaping up to be the worst since the 1930s.

Meanwhile new data came out showing that the European economy contracted by a record 3.8% in the first three months of the year.

COVID-19 vaccine could be available by January, Fauci says

Update 9:35 a.m. EDT April 30: Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health, said Thursday that he believes a COVID-19 vaccine could be widely available beginning in January.

“We’re in the early phases of a trial, phase 1,” Fauci said during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. “When you go into the next phase, we’re going to safely and carefully, but as quickly as we possibly can, try to get an answer as to whether it works and is safe.”

The New York Times reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump has been pushing health officials to speed through development and testing of a vaccine to get it out to the public as fast as possible in an effort dubbed “Operation Warp Speed.” The newspaper reported that health officials were concerned by the timeline, as it’s estimated it will take between 12 and 18 months to safely develop a vaccine, however, Fauci said Thursday that the January timeline lined up with his initial estimates.

“I think that is doable if things fall in the right place,” Fauci said. “I was saying in January and February that it would be a year to 18 months, so, January is a year."

3.8 million new jobless claims filed in US

Update 8:35 a.m. EDT April 30: 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%. That would be the highest rate since it reached 25% during the Great Depression.

Worldwide cases surge past 3.2M, total deaths approach 228K

Update 7:45 a.m. EDT April 30: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 227,958 early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 3,207,248 people worldwide. Meanwhile, nearly one in every four deaths reported worldwide has occurred in the United States.

The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,040,488 cases, resulting in 60,999 deaths.

Spain has confirmed 236,899 cases, resulting in 24,275 deaths.

Italy has reported 203,591 infections, resulting in 27,682 deaths.

France has confirmed 166,543 infections, resulting in 24,121 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 166,441 cases, resulting in 26,166 deaths.

Germany has reported 161,539 cases, resulting in 6,467 deaths.

Turkey has recorded 117,589 cases, resulting in 3,081 deaths

Russia has confirmed 106,498 cases, resulting in 1,073 deaths.

Iran has recorded 93,657 cases, resulting in 5,857 deaths.

China has recorded 83,944 cases, resulting in 4,637 deaths.’

Macy’s plans to reopen 68 stores on Monday, nearly 710 more within 6 weeks, report says

Update 7:35 a.m. EDT April 30: Macy’s plans to reopen 68 stores on Monday in states that have relaxed stay-at-home orders necessitated by the novel coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Macy’s Chief Executive Jeff Gennette told the Journal he expects to have all the retailer’s roughly 775 locations reopened within six weeks, provided the plans mesh with state and local guidelines.

A few changes shoppers might notice include:

• Beauty departments will offer “no touch” consultations.

• Customers will be required to use hand sanitizer before trying on jewelry.

• Plexiglas will be installed at all cash registers.

• Fitting rooms will be open only a few at a time.

UK coronavirus death toll on pace to surpass Italy’s as highest in Europe

Update 6:45 a.m. EDT April 30: The United Kingdom now has the second-highest recorded novel coronavirus death rate in Europe and remains on pace to surpass Italy’s toll today, according to a tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

With 26,166 confirmed virus-related deaths, the U.K. now trails only Italy, whose 27,682 coronavirus deaths to date remain the continent’s highest.

Japanese media reports nation’s state of emergency will be extended by one month

Update 6:37 a.m. EDT April 30: Japan will extend its national state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus to June, Japanese media reported on Thursday.

The announcement comes as Japan experiences a second wave of COVID-19 infections, caused by the novel coronavirus.

According to Kyodo News agency, regional governors support extending the state of emergency, originally slated to expire May 6.

In bid to avoid furloughs Smithsonian slashes top executives’ pay amid coronavirus closures

Update 5:57 a.m. EDT April 30: The Smithsonian Institution is cutting top executives’ pay and imposing additional salary and hiring freezes to cover some $22 million in losses resulting from ongoing coronavirus-related museum closures, The Washington Post reported.

The majority of the institution’s 6,300 are federal employees, who will not be affected by the belt-tightening measures.

Beginning May 24, the salaries of 89 senior executives will be cut by 10 percent for 12 months. Meanwhile, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III and Deputy Secretary Meroe Park will each take 15% pay cuts, the Post reported.

Russia reports more than 7,000 coronavirus cases in single day

Update 5:32 a.m. EDT April 30: Russia reported its largest single-day increase in novel coronavirus cases on Thursday with 7,099 new infections recorded.

According to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters, Russia has reported a total of 106,498 coronavirus cases to date, resulting in 1,073 deaths.

Fed chair forecasts bleak Q2 for US economy following worst Q1 since Great Recession

Update 5:09 a.m. EDT April 30: The U.S. economy has suffered its worst financial quarter since the Great Recession, and the Federal Reserve chief says none of the data collected to date indicates a quick recovery.

“We are going to see economic data for the second quarter that’s worse than any data we’ve seen for the economy,” Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said in a Wednesday video news conference. He called the millions of documented job losses in a matter of weeks, especially in minority communities, “heartbreaking.”

Read more here.

Ventilated prisoner gives birth, dies after testing positive for coronavirus

Update 4:35 a.m. EDT April 30: The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has confirmed an inmate who gave birth while on a ventilator died nearly one month later after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

According to CNN, the woman had been in federal custody since March 20, when she was transferred from a South Dakota jail to a federal prison medical center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Eight days later the unidentified woman, 30, was transferred to an area hospital for pregnancy issues but was discharged the same day. The prison facility’s medical staff evaluated the inmate again on March 31 because she was experiencing fever and dry cough among other symptoms. After transporting her again to the nearby hospital, the woman was placed on a ventilator.

The following day, the prisoner’s baby was delivered via cesarean section.

Although the bureau did not provide specific details, it did confirm the prisoner suffered a pre-existing medical condition that, based on CDC guidance, placed her at higher risk for coronavirus-related complications. She died on April 28, CNN reported.

According to the network, an estimated 1,534 federal inmates and 343 bureau staff nationwide have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Although there have been no virus-related staff deaths to date, at least 31 federal prisoners have died.

Private company, not White House, selling commemorative COVID-19 coins, report says

Update 3:15 a.m. EDT April 30: Two commemorative COVID-19 coins posted for purchase on the White House Gift Shop website drew widespread ire Wednesday, but at least some of the indignation expressed across multiple platforms appears misplaced, The Washington Post reported.

The coins, featuring phrases such as “Everyday HEROES Suited Up” and “World vs The Unseen Enemy,” were being offered for a discounted double purchase price of $100 and quickly attracted a cacophony of public outcry.

The Post determined, however, the coins’ seller is in no way attached to the federal government, and the private, for-profit company claims it has received exclusive trademark rights for the commemorative items.

The coronavirus coins are listed as the 11th edition of a “historic moment art series,” the Post reported.

South Korea reports zero new local coronavirus transmissions for the first time in 72 days

Update 2:48 a.m. EDT April 30: For the first time since Feb. 18, South Korea recorded no new, locally transmitted novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

Although four new cases were confirmed, all four were imported from abroad, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Texas zoo reopening to the public with a drive-through experience

Update 1:50 a.m. EDT April 30: The San Antonio Zoo is reinventing the visitor experience – at least temporarily – by inviting families to cruise through the park in their vehicles for a limited time.

“This is a very unique and safe way for families to see the zoo while we are closed from the comfort of their own car,” Tim Morrow, president and CEO of San Antonio Zoo, said in a news release, adding, “This new, creative way to see the zoo will be a gradual step towards our plan to reopen to foot traffic when we are given the ‘green light’ and the time is right.”

The Texas zoo has been closed to the public since March 14 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Morrow told CNN the proceeds from the drive-through zoo experience will allow staff to continue caring for the animals and to hire back some of its furloughed employees.

California beaches, state parks to close again Friday after residents ignore coronavirus distancing guidelines, report says

Update 1:16 a.m. EDT April 30: A memo sent Wednesday night to police chiefs across the state indicates California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to order all beaches and state parks closed again on Friday after tens of thousand of residents flouted his stay-at-home order last weekend to flock to the shore, The Associated Press reported.

Eric Nuñez, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, confirmed to the AP that the memo was circulated to give chiefs time to prepare ahead of Newsom’s expected announcement later today.

US coronavirus deaths hit 60,966, total cases top 1M

Update 12:28 a.m. EDT April 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed one million early Thursday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 1,039,909 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 60,966 deaths. Of those cases, nearly 300,000 have been reported in New York, meaning the state has, itself, confirmed more cases than any other nation outside the United States, including Germany with 161,539, the United Kingdom with 166,441 cases, France with 166,543, Italy with 203,591 and Spain with 236,899.

Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 23,477 – or roughly 39% of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 6,771 in New Jersey and 3,670 in Michigan.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak with at least 299,691 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 116,365 and Massachusetts with 60,265.

Ten other states have now confirmed at least 20,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

Illinois: 50,358 cases, resulting in 2,215 deaths

California: 48,747 cases, resulting in 1,946 deaths

Pennsylvania: 46,327 cases, resulting in 2,373

Michigan: 40,399 cases, resulting in 3,670 deaths

Florida: 33,193, resulting in 1,218 deaths

Louisiana: 27,660, resulting in 1,845 deaths

Texas: 27,257, resulting in 754 deaths

Connecticut: 26,767, resulting in 2,168 deaths

Georgia: 25,775, resulting in 1,101 deaths

Maryland: 20,849, resulting in 1,078 deaths

Meanwhile, Ohio and Indiana and each has confirmed at least 17,000 cases; Virginia, Colorado and Washington state each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Tennessee and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases, followed closely by Rhode Island with 8,247; Missouri and Arizona each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases, followed closely by South Carolina with 5,882; Nevada, Delaware, Minnesota, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Oregon, South Dakota and New Hampshire each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.