A familiar narrative continues as data from states on the coronavirus continues to pour in. As a whole, African Americans are infected with the virus and die from it at disproportionately higher rates than any other group in the U.S.

Data shows that most COVID-19 patients have a pre-existing health condition like hypertension and obesity. But researchers are taking a closer look at diabetes and its relationship to COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specifically lists people with diabetes as having a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus than the general population. “Diabetes is a condition that can affect your whole body in different ways,” explains Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a family physician and associate professor at Rowan University. Factor in COVID-19, she says, and there is the potential for severe illness, including internal swelling and kidney failure.

Caudle recommends that people with diabetes lower their risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19 by controlling their blood sugar levels, checking in regularly with a doctor, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

OUR COMMUNITY

Morehouse College has announced it will be terminating and furloughing several employees beginning in June. The cuts are an effort to curtail the impact of the pandemic and reduce costs to offset an anticipated fiscal year 2020-21 budget deficit.

Some 54 part-time and full-time employees of the Atlanta-based college will be furloughed for at least two months; and 13 full-time employees will be laid off as of June 1.

In a press release, the school announced faculty and staff members who earn more than $55,000 annually will receive a pay reduction of 10 to 15 percent, depending on their income levels. Morehouse President David Thomas has also volunteered to decrease his salary by 25 percent.

Colleges and universities nationwide, particularly HBCUs without large endowments, have been hit hard by the pandemic. Sending students home caused a loss of room and board fees, while the change to online learning brought additional costs.

THE PANDEMIC

The Centers for Disease Control plans a nationwide COVID-19 antibody study in 25 cities. The study will observe antibody levels of up to 325,000 people for 18 months, to determine whether antibodies wane over time. The six cities being surveyed in phase one of the study are New York, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Boston and Minneapolis. The next phase will add Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver and others.

STATES

Today marks the first day that every U.S. state will have started lifting shelter-in-place measures implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In Connecticut, outdoor dining spaces, offices, retail stores and malls, museums and zoos will all be allowed to reopen with restrictions.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the opening of child-care centers, bars, bowling alleys, rodeos and bingo centers this week.

Beaches in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut will all be opening on Friday, ahead of Memorial Day celebrations.

CVS in New Jersey will be offering self-swab tests in at least 50 locations in the state by the end of the month, Gov. Phil Murphy said. In addition, all of New Jersey’s more than 18,000 pharmacists have been licensed to administer coronavirus tests to its customers.

The Holy Ghost Church in Houston, which reopened May 2, has canceled mass indefinitely after the death of one of its priests, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Donnell Kirchner, a 79-year-old priest who worked at Holy Ghost, had recently been treated for pneumonia and sent home, where he lived with seven other priests.

The archdiocese, said in the statement that “it was not clear” if the priest had been tested for Covid-19, but church officials have suggested all members of the church be tested and close the church indefinitely.

BUSINESS AND POLITICS

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were questioned by lawmakers via video conference yesterday about how they’re implementing the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package.

Both Powell and Mnuchin defended the Trump administration’s efforts to revive the economy. Although he believes that the economy will emerge “stronger than ever” after the pandemic, Mnuchin added that the U.S. economy is at risk of permanent damage. Powell discussed the millions of workers laid off because of the crises, saying it will weigh heavily on the recovery.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate are pressing the brakes on delivering more relief to citizens and small businesses. During an interview with CNN, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he doesn’t see a need to have another relief package, citing the number of states reopening and progress in testing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will wait a couple weeks to decide on a “phase four” stimulus bill.

After an unsuccessful search for a buyer, home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports is filing for bankruptcy to close its business permanently. The company plans to sell its inventory and remaining assets, including its intellectual property and online operations.

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