Coronavirus in Houston: Updates, cases and news for April 21

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 headlines from around Houston, Texas for Tuesday, April 21.

HOUSTON — We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Oil has fallen to its lowest price in history due to oversupply and a lack of demand. There's a lot of debate about the virus, but experts can agree on at least one point: Houston is sure to face some tough days ahead. Get the latest updates and top headlines below.


This morning's top headlines


Latest updates

Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):

APRIL 21 6:50 a.m. — Oil still below zero this morning: The market for U.S. crude was in turmoil Tuesday, with one contract trading below zero, as investors worried about full storage facilities and a collapse in demand as the pandemic leaves factories, automobiles and airplanes idled. The extreme volatility in energy markets highlighted investors' broad concerns about the duration of the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the economy, weighing on financial markets more broadly, including stocks. The U.S. benchmark settled at negative $37.63 per barrel on Monday - an unprecedented event in energy markets that reflects the fact that storage facilities are struggling to cope with the huge and sudden plunge in global demand, which is this month forecast to hit its lowest since the mid-90s. On Tuesday, the cost to have a barrel of U.S. crude delivered in May was at negative $7.40 per barrel. Trading of contracts for U.S. oil to be delivered in May ends on Tuesday, meaning that the extreme drop does not accurately reflect the long-term view of the value of crude but rather investors' ability to take delivery of it now. The next futures contract, for delivery in June, is considered to now be closer to the “true” price of crude. (AP)

RELATED: Hard times ahead for Houston as future of oil and gas industry remains uncertain, expert says

RELATED: Oil price goes negative as demand collapses; Wall Street dips

APRIL 21 6:48 a.m. — The U.N. General Assembly has called for global action to quickly scale up the development and access to medicine, vaccines and equipment to battle the pandemic.The World Health Organization is warning that a rush to ease coronavirus restrictions could lead to a resurgence of the illness. The UN resolution asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to work with the WHO and recommend options ensuring equitable and timely access to testing, medical supplies, drugs and future vaccines, especially in developing countries. (AP)  Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 6:39 a.m. — In case you missed it: The Texas unemployment trust fund is set to run out of money in about six weeks, but you will still get paid. The Tax Foundation, a national tax policy group, put out a list of states running low on unemployment insurance money. It shows Texas has six weeks left. In March, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to address the money needed for the unemployment insurance trust fund.  Read more here.

APRIL 21 6 a.m. — Breaking news from overnight: President Trump says he will sign order to close borders to immigrants | In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States. Trump said the order will be put in place in order to protect the jobs of American citizens. Read the full story here.

APRIL 21 5:45 a.m. — Texas City ISD schedules in-person graduation at Moody Gardens for June 27 | The district noted that they are also finalizing dates and locations for prom. Read more here.

APRIL 21 5:07 a.m. — Conspiracy theorists burn 5G towers claiming link to virus | Conspiracy theories linking new 5G mobile networks and the coronavirus pandemic are fueling arson attacks on cell towers in Europe. Some 50 fires targeting cell towers and other equipment have been reported in Britain this month, and about 16 in the Netherlands. Attacks were also reported in Ireland, Cyprus and Belgium. Popular beliefs and conspiracy theories that wireless communications pose a threat have long been around. But the global spread of the virus at the same time that countries were rolling out fifth generation wireless technology has seen some of those false narratives amplified. (AP)  Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 5:07 a.m. — Insulin maker offering free 90-day supply to patients financially impacted by pandemic | A pharmaceutical company is offering a free 90-day supply of insulin to anyone who lost their medical benefits from the coronavirus outbreak. Read the full story here.

APRIL 21 4 a.m. — Some US producers, states reopening amid political pressure | Boeing and at least one other heavy-equipment manufacturer in the U.S. are resuming production amid pressure from President Donald Trump to reopen the economy. And Georgia's Republican governor announced aggressive reopening plans starting at the end of this week. The moves come as other governors say there is not enough testing to keep the coronavirus in check. Boeing resumed production on Monday, as oil futures plunged below zero and stocks and Treasury yields dropped on Wall Street. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 4 a.m. — Coronavirus cancels Oktoberfest in Germany:  This year’s Oktoberfest in Munich has been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation of the world-famous annual celebration of beer, which was supposed to run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, underlines expectations that the way back to normal life will be very long. The Oktoberfest typically draws about 6 million visitors every year to the packed festival grounds in Bavaria’s capital. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 20 10:50 p.m. — United pilots volunteer to bring thousands of stranded Americans back home | Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the airline has flown 100 repatriation flights to bring back nearly 16,000 Americans. Read more here.

APRIL 20 10:30 p.m. — Oil has fallen to its lowest price in history, and Houston will have a lot of hard days, weeks and months ahead. Here's the full story with insight from industry experts.


APRIL 20 9:30 p.m. — In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.

Trump said the order will be put in place in order to protect the jobs of American citizens.

It's not clear when the order will be signed or how long it will remain in effect.

APRIL 20 9:06 p.m. — On Monday, The Buckingham retirement community reported its second resident death related to COVID-19.

Two more staff members also tested positive.

There are currently seven residents and 13 staff members with the virus.

APRIL 20 7:06 p.m. — On Monday, The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported that there are 215 TDCJ employees, staff or contractors who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 468 offenders who have tested positive.

There are 15,218 offenders on medical restriction who may have had contact with either an employee or offender with a positive or pending COVID-19 test.

APRIL 20 6:15 p.m. Galveston County reported 13 new cases, bringing the county's number to 468 positive COVID-19 cases. Fifteen people have recovered.

The county also reported two additional deaths.

A female, age range 81-90, passed away April 19. She had pre-existing medical conditions.A male, age range 91 and older, passed away April 19. He had pre-existing medical conditions.


Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.


Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

The air by coughing or sneezingClose personal contact, such as touching or shaking handsTouching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.


Help stop the spread of coronavirus

Stay home when you are sick.Eat and sleep separately from your family membersUse different utensils and dishesCover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.Follow social distancing


Lower your risk

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.


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