Many citizens are anxious to leave their homes and get back to work. But according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, the U.S. is “not there yet.” Citing our lack of capacity to test and trace Covid-19 cases, Fauci says that opening the country on May 1 is “a bit overly optimistic.” He also cautioned against reopening the country too soon.

“I’ll guarantee you, once you start pulling back, there will be infections. It’s how you deal with the infections that’s going to count,” Fauci told The Associated Press.

Fauci refrained from predicting a second wave of infections but said, “If you mean it goes way down and then come September, October, November, we have another peak – I have to say I would not be surprised. I would hope that if and when that occurs, that we jump all over it in a much, much more effective way than we have in these past few months.”

The Pandemic

Allen Harim Foods, a Delaware chicken company, announced that instead of sending some two million chickens to market, they will be killed. The company, which has processing plants in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, says a staffing shortage resulting from the coronavirus outbreak is making it difficult to keep up with production. Other chicken producers like Mountaire Farms and Perdue Foods have confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus among employees. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that there is no evidence that the virus can spread through food or food packaging.

Iconic media mogul Oprah Winfrey recently talked about the devastating impact of coronavirus on African Americans and her personal experience with the pandemic. “It’s “our responsibility” to convey to black Americans they are at a higher risk of contracting — and even dying from — the disease if they have preexisting conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or asthma,” Oprah said on ABC’s Good Morning America. She described her battle with pneumonia in August and how she had to quarantine herself away from longtime beau, Stedman Graham, who she said continued to travel and fulfill speaking engagements as the virus began to spread across the U.S. When Graham returned, he committed to social distancing and was sent to her guest house. After two weeks, the couple celebrated his return to the main house.

Business & Politics

Financial institutions are being hard-hit by the pandemic, which is causing widespread income loss and business closings. Wells Fargo just announced an 89% plunge in first-quarter profit. JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, reported its profit fell by 69% as it set aside $8.2 billion to prepare for defaults.

Late last week, House Democrats sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury Department asking that they provide guidance to banks on which small businesses can receive loans from the latest coronavirus relief package. Despite the passing of CARES Act, which provides financial relief to small business, some banks are hesitant about administering these loans because of “lack of guidance from the SBA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury,” the group wrote in the letter released Monday.

States

Despite a plateau in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said lifting social distancing restrictions and opening businesses across the state will likely take months. He also responded to Trump’s recent claim that he has “total” authority over states’ coronavirus restrictions. “If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That would be the worst possible thing he could do at this moment would be to act dictatorial and to act in a partisan, divisive way.”

A group of Southern California pastors is suing California Gov. Gavin Newsom and several other officials in federal court over social distancing restrictions that have prevented worshipers from attending church services due to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 19, Newsom issued the first statewide stay-home order in the U.S. Despite the orders, some churches have continued to meet, including in Sacramento County, where 71 people at one church were later infected with the coronavirus.

The Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman has reported its first death of an inmate who contracted coronavirus. The inmate showed symptoms and was isolated before he died. Testing of all inmates in the prison is unknown. Parchman is under federal investigation over alleged civil rights abuses.

Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, announced four workers in Michigan have died after becoming infected and getting sick from COVID-19. Kroger said it would make mental health and grief counselors available to its associates. The company said it will continue efforts to safeguard customers and its 460,000 workers in nearly 2,800 stores.

Low-income Los Angeles citizens can begin applying for financial help through the Angeleno Card program. The program will provide debit cards with $700-$1,500 for residents with incomes below the poverty line prior to stay-at-home orders and those who have fallen into “deeper” hardship” due to reduced work hours or have had their incomes cut by at least 50%.

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