By: William Mansell, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 275,000 people worldwide.
Over 3.9 million people across the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 77,180 deaths.
Today’s biggest developments:
- Global death toll surpasses 275,000
- US coronavirus death toll surpasses 77,000
Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.
7:40 a.m.: FDA head self-quarantines after exposure reportedly to Pence aid
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn will self-quarantine for 14 days after he came into contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, a statement from the FDA confirmed.
“As Dr. Hahn wrote in a note to staff yesterday, he recently came into contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Per CDC guidelines, he is now in self-quarantine for the next two weeks. He immediately took a diagnostic test and tested negative for the virus,” the statement read.
Hahn is believed to have come into contact with Vice President Pence’s top spokesperson Katie Miller, who tested positive for COVID-19, reported Politico.
The FDA did not confirm whether Miller was the individual with whom Hahn came into contact.
6:07 a.m.: Gig workers, self-employed still shut out of unemployment benefits in 11 states
For the first time, Uber drivers, personal trainers, babysitters — all non-traditional wage earners that the government estimates to be at least a third of the American workforce — could apply for unemployment benefits after the CARES Act signed into law on March 27.
But in at least 11 states as of Friday, these Americans hadn’t received any kind of unemployment payments. In nine states, they hadn’t even been able to apply for it.
This news comes on the heels of record-breaking unemployment for April, with at least 20.5 million jobs lost.
In New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Arkansas, it’s unclear if any gig workers or independent contractors have received unemployment benefits, even though tens of thousands of applications have been accepted.
And in Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Ohio, there is no way for these self-employed Americans to even for unemployment. More than a month after the CARES Act passed, these states do not have the online portals up and running.
States have had to build new systems to approve people for this federally-funded unemployment — known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA — and there’s a slew of reasons they’ve been bogged down. Some were waiting for federal guidance, while others were waiting on tech infrastructure.
5:32 a.m.: Sen. Ted Cruz gets haircut from previously jailed salon owner
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz revealed Friday that he got a fresh new haircut from the salon owner who recently made national headlines when she was jailed for refusing to close her store.
“Thank you to Shelley Luther and the team at Salon a la Mode for giving me my first haircut in 3 months & more importantly for standing up for liberty and common sense,” Cruz tweeted Friday evening. “Your courage helped pave the way for more #TX businesses to re-open & for more people to get back to work today.”
Luther defied an executive order to shut down her business and kept her salon open despite a citation, a cease-and-desist letter and a restraining order.
“The rule of law governs us. People cannot take it upon themselves to determine what they will and will not do,” Dallas Civil District Judge Eric Moyé said during her hearing on Tuesday.
Luther, who was ordered to serve seven days in jail for contempt of court, was released Thursday after a decision by the Supreme Court of Texas.
Following the court’s decision, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to eliminate jail time for those who violate similar orders, calling such actions “excessive.”
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