President Donald Trump began Memorial Day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. (May 25)
Americans settled for a muted Memorial Day on Monday as they honored the nations military dead with modest ceremonies that also remembered those lost to the COVID-19. States are slowly beginning to open back up but large gatherings, like a pool party at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, drew ire from health officials.
President Donald Trump honored veterans with two wreath-laying ceremonies. Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in more than two months, laying a wreath near his home while wearing a mask. Trump has refused to cover his face in public.
The United States is inching closer to a devastating milestone as the virus will soon be blamed for the deaths of 100,000 Americans. There are more than 5.4 million confirmed cases around the globe, with more than 1.6 million in the United States alone, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.
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What we’re talking about: A Michigan boy has recovered from a rare syndrome linked to the coronavirus with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease. At least 33 children in the state have been diagnosed with the same condition.
Dire warning: ‘We’re in the middle of the first wave globally’
The risks of reigniting coronavirus outbreaks are complicating efforts to fend off further misery for the many millions who have lost jobs, with a top health expert warning that the world is still in the midst of a first wave of the pandemic.
Right now, were not in the second wave. Were right in the middle of the first wave globally, said Dr. Mike Ryan, a World Health Organization executive director.
Were still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up, Ryan told reporters, pointing to South America, South Asia and other areas where the number of infections is still on the rise.
WHO drops hydroxychloroquine from global treatment study
The World Health Organization announced Monday a “temporary pause” on the inclusion of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in a global study on potential COVID-19 treatments. President Donald Trump claims he used the drug, which the FDA says is neither safe nor effective in treating the coronavirus, to help stave off the disease.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news conference that the executive group overseeing the organization’s “Solidarity” trial of experimental treatments decided to suspend its use in light a study published in The Lancet that found a lower survival rate among hospitalized COVID-19 patients using the drug.
Hydroxychloroquine was one of four drugs and drug combinations included in the trial, which has enrolled more than 3,500 patients in 17 countries. Other potential treatments, including the experimental drug remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy, are still being tested.
Brazil travel ban starts Tuesday
The Trump administration’s ban on travelers arriving from Brazil to help prevent the spread of the virus will now take effect late Tuesday, the White House announced. The ban had been previously planned to begin Thursday.
President Donald Trump announced the ban Sunday, prohibiting people who have been in Brazil within two weeks of attempting to enter the U.S.
Brazil is the second hardest-hit country worldwide, right behind the U.S.
MLB teams honor veterans at empty stadiums as negotiations continue
Major League Baseball begins its most crucial week yet in hopes of salvaging a 2020 season. Tuesday, MLB is expected to extend an economic proposal to players in hopes of beginning the season in early July. The sides have already reviewed a 67-page document regarding health protocols, with players expected to respond to that soon.
More sports: Is there a better holiday on the sports calendar than Memorial Day?
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Several MLB teams paid tributes to empty seats Monday to show their respect for military veterans.
- The Boston Red Sox draped a giant American flag over Fenway Park’s iconic left-field wall, the Green Monster.
- In Los Angeles, the Dodgers placed red, white and blue lights on the outfield.
- The San Diego Padres paid tribute with a rendition of “Taps.”
- The Cincinnati Reds featured a performance of “God Bless America” at Great American Ball Park.
Steve Gardner and Gabe Lacques
Second ICE detainee dies of coronavirus
A 34-year-old Guatemalan detainee has become the second person reported to have died from COVID-19 while in federal immigration custody.
Santiago Baten-Oxlaj, who passed away Sunday in a Georgia hospital, had been awaiting his voluntary departure to his native country, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release.
Baten-Oxlaj had been held inside Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, where at least 16 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to ICE.
New York pledges to pay death benefits to families of essential workers
The state of New York will provide death benefits to the essential workers who died fighting the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
“I feel a grave responsibility to our frontline workers, our essential workers, who understood the dangers of this COVID virus but went to work anyway because we needed them,” Cuomo said during his news briefing. “Today we’re saying we honor that service and we’re gonna make sure that every government in the state of New York provides death benefits to those public heroes.”
Cuomo also called on the federal government to do the same to honor essential workers across the U.S. by giving hazard pay.
California eases limits on religious gatherings, some retail
The California Department of Public Health issued statewide reopenings of religious institutions, subject to approval from specific county public health departments.
Under the new guidelines, houses of worship can host in-person religious services, with attendance limits of 25% capacity levels, or a maximum capacity of 100 whichever is lowest.
The retail guidelines for in-person shopping were already in place in some counties but became statewide on Monday.
The state also issued guidelines for in-person protests and events designed for political expression, limiting capacity to 25% of an area’s maximum occupancy, or 100 also whichever is lowest.
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY
Travel websites see a spike in web traffic
While experts agree the tourism industry remains in flux, there are early signs of adaptation and resilience that are fueling consumer confidence.
While most Americans arent yet ready to book their next dream vacation, they are starting to browse. This past week, top booking sites have grown web traffic. Roughly 87% of American travelers are hoping to take a vacation by the end of 2021, according to a new customer poll by InsureMyTrip.
There are safety challenges ahead, but there remains a strong desire to visit other parts of the world eventually.
Road trips and staycations will be first in line for a rebound. RVShare, a rental marketplace for travel trailers and motorhomes, is reporting a 650 percent rise in rental bookings since early April, as more families are considering drivable summer destinations.
NHL to reopen facilities, start training in small groups in early June
The National Hockey League and its players’ union have reached an agreement to return to the ice as restrictions begin to ease during the coronavirus pandemic.
The league announced it will reopen team facilities and begin training in June, at a date to be determined. Once open, six players will be allowed in a facility at one time. They will be wearing masks when not on the ice, according to the league.
The NHL released details of the “Phase 2” transition back to on-ice activities on Monday. “We are now targeting a date in early June for a transition to Phase 2. However, it has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last,” the NHL stated.
John Connolly, Bergen Record
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Contributing: Associated Press
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