Undeterred by a barrage of criticism, the US state of Georgia is moving ahead with its plan to help restart its economy, reopening some nonessential businesses today. Gov. Brian Kemp is one of America’s first governors to ease restrictions, allowing gyms, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapists and bowling alleys to resume work, so long as they comply with social distancing guidelines.
But maintaining a safe distance in many of those businesses is next to impossible, leaving owners feeling conflicted, Faith Karimi writes. “Get your hair done for what? There’s a pandemic, people are dying,” one hair stylist said.
The House of Representatives approved a $480 billion package yesterday to help refresh a dwindling small-businesses loan program, as another 4.4 million people filed for unemployment. The coronavirus has put a staggering 26 million Americans out of work since mid-March.
But the aid did not include money for state governments to help keep workers on their payrolls — assistance that a bipartisan group of governors and mayors have been begging for from Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew the ire of governors for suggesting that “blue states” hit hard by the outbreak seek bankruptcy protections rather than be given a federal bailout. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the suggestion from the Kentucky Republican was reckless and that the pandemic was no time for divisive politics: “It’s not red and blue. It’s red, white and blue.”
THE ABC OF COVID-19
Do your kids have questions about Covid-19? Our friends from “Sesame Street” will be on CNN Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET ( 2 p.m. BST) to help answer them. You can also watch the CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents on CNN.com, CNNgo and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps, without requiring a cable log-in.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: Can sunlight and bleach cure the coronavirus?
A: The short answer is: No. US health experts are rushing to warn against President Donald Trump’s suggestion that zapping patients with UV light or even injecting disinfectant into the lungs could help treat the virus. The claims, touted by Trump during yesterday’s press briefing, have been slammed for endangering public health. Multiple experts have warned that nobody should ingest disinfectant, and that it simply doesn’t work. The World Health Organization says that exposing yourself to the sun or high temperatures does not prevent Covid-19. It warns specifically against using ultraviolet lamps, including tanning lamps. Too much UV light damage can lead to skin cancer. And chlorine bleach is toxic: it can and does kill people who drink it.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
A silent, deadly spread
US health officials said months ago that the risk to the public was low. But new research and two February deaths confirmed as virus-related, prove that Covid-19 was already spreading much earlier than previously thought. While that may mean more people have been infected than officials estimate, it could also be a positive signal: the virus’ fatality rate may be lower than we thought.
But the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 50,000 lives in the US, is far from over. By this time next week, it seems very possible that more Americans will have died at the hands of the virus than in the Vietnam War, Zachary B. Wolf writes. Even if you haven’t lost a loved one to the disease, you will have heard of someone who has. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s brother passed away and Rep. Maxine Waters’ sister is dying, we learned yesterday. (Read this moving tribute by a former CNN colleague to his father, who died at 69 after 28 days on a ventilator in New York.)
Drug hopes fade
Global stocks slumped today after a study into a potential coronavirus treatment was halted following inconclusive results. Drug maker Gilead said it had terminated a trial of Remdesivir early, and thus had no conclusive findings about its effectiveness. A screenshot of the study description posted to the WHO website said the drug was “not associated with clinical or virological benefits.”
We are still “weeks to months” away from an effective treatment for the virus, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the coronavirus response with the WHO, said, adding that a cure “can’t come soon enough.”
24 hours in a UK intensive care unit
CNN spent a day inside a hospital in the Midlands, the worst-hit area of Britain outside of London. Nurses and doctors there offered these two warnings: 1. They fear a second wave as soon as lockdowns lift. 2. Just because the country’s capital city is seeing the virus ebb, doesn’t mean it isn’t ravaging other regions.
Weeks into Britain’s pandemic, the virus is still a lethal and urgent threat. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the lockdown won’t be lifted until it is safe to do so, and there’s still no decision yet on when Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized for the virus earlier this month, will return to work.
India’s Muslims attacked, blamed for spreading virus
Hafiz Mohammed Naseerudin, a 44-year-old Imam, says that after a police officer assaulted him for being a Muslim and blamed him for spreading the coronavirus, he was left lying on the road for almost an hour. He’s not alone. As fears of a widespread outbreak mount in India, some of the country’s Muslims, who make up roughly 200 million of the country’s 1.3 billion population, have been targeted in Islamophobic attacks on the streets and online, and accused of spreading the virus.
Travel bans amid Ramadan
Indonesia has temporarily banned domestic road, air and sea travel, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Tens of millions of people normally make their way home to celebrate the end of Ramadan each year, an annual tradition called mudik. But, as the country grapples with rapidly rising numbers of infections, there are concerns mass migration could spark further outbreaks.
In Muslim-majority Malaysia, prayers and breaking of fasting will be done at home during the holy month, according to new rules that also prohibit Friday prayers at mosques. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has extended the country’s nationwide lockdown order for an additional two weeks (until May 12).
ON OUR RADAR
- Hop on a virtual rot rawn (hot bus) for a little trip down memory lane. As Lonely Planet Publications announces it’s shutting down, the author of its first Thailand guidebook reflects on that wild journey (think plenty of whiskey, few backpackers) and the future of travel.
- Aloha, no really, goodbye. Hawaii’s tourism agency, dedicated to welcoming visitors, is now paying for them to leave.
- The benefactor behind a mystery $310,000 donation to a charity supporting independent booksellers in the UK and Ireland has been unmasked.
- The internet is thirsty for negronis. And also Stanley Tucci. The actor’s tutorial on how to make the perfect cocktail — which he prefers shaken and with gin — has gone viral.
- The mayor of Japan’s third-largest city is facing a backlash after he suggested men are better suited to grocery shopping during the pandemic because they are faster — giving Japanese women the rare opportunity to cross something off their long to-do lists.
- America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, made a surprise video appearance during yesterday’s NFL draft, thanking the league for adhering to social distancing guidelines. League commissioner Roger Goodell announced draft picks from his basement.
“You can absolutely wait to have your hair done. You will survive.” Jonathan Van Ness, “Queer Eye” star and hair stylist, spoke to Christiane Amanpour about his concerns for colorists, manicurists and others in the beauty industry, who are struggling to make a living, while offering some sage self-care advice.
“I’m not supposed to be the story. I don’t want to be the story. But this was unique.” — CNN anchor Chris Cuomo
Chris Cuomo battled the virus for weeks. Then his wife and son got sick. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a frank conversation with Chris about his personal experience with Covid-19 and the impact it’s had on his family. Listen now.