Coronavirus updates: Houston cases and world headlines for May 4

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 headlines and updates for Monday, May 4.

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

U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak. Get the latest updates and top headlines in our live blog below.

This morning’s top headlines

Latest COVID-19 updates

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

MAY 4 7:20 a.m. — J.Crew files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy | J.Crew is the first national U.S. retailer to file for bankruptcy protection since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, the company said it filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. J.Crew also said the company’s lenders will convert about $1.65 billion of the company’s debt into equity. Read more here.

MAY 4 6:12 a.m. — ‘The virus has not left our city’ | Houston mayor, experts urge caution as businesses reopen this weekend – Infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez says people are “relaxing social distancing to a much greater extent than we thought” and warns of a second COVID-19 wave. As Texas wraps up its first full weekend of partial reopening, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner is urging caution. “Don’t act as if this virus is gone,” Turner said. “The virus hasn’t left our city.” Read more/watch report here.

MAY 4 6:05 a.m. — The latest confirmed numbers from Texas and around the world: There are 3,523,121 million confirmed cases worldwide with 247,752 deaths and 1,130,386 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins at this time. The U.S. leads the world with 1,158,341 confirmed cases. Texas Health and Human Services reports that as of late Sunday morning (the latest update at this time), we have 31,548 COVID-19 cases in the state with 867 deaths and an estimated 15,544 recoveries. There are 6,800 confirmed cases in Houston and Harris County combined, up about 50 from the day before.

MAY 4 5:12 a.m. — Hello, justice, do you hear me? Supreme Court meets by phone | It’s a morning of firsts for the Supreme Court, the first time audio of the court’s arguments will be heard live by the world and the first arguments by telephone. The changes are a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has made holding courtroom sessions unsafe, especially with six justices aged 65 or older and at risk of getting seriously sick from the virus. (AP) Read more here.

MAY 4 5 a.m. — Donor gives employees at hospital $1 million for bonuses | An anonymous donor has gifted their local hospital $1 million, designating the funds to go entirely to the staff, from floor cleaners to nurses. This means $800 bonuses this month for staff at Dignity Health Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. Nursing supervisor Amy Loudon says she’s amazed at the generosity of a stranger, and especially appreciative it’s being shared with everyone on their team, working throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Read more national and world updates here.

MAY 4 4:45 a.m. — DHS report: China hid virus’ severity to hoard supplies | U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies. That’s according to U.S. intelligence documents obtained by The Associated Press. Read the full report here.

MAY 4 4 a.m. — Russia sees steady rise in virus cases | Russian officials are reporting a steady rise in the number of the new coronavirus infections that raises pressure on the nation’s healthcare system. The government’s headquarters dealing with the outbreak reported more than 10,500 new cases Monday, including nearly 6,000 in Moscow. That has brought the nation’s total to over 145,000, including almost 1,400 deaths. The number of cases has risen quickly over the past few days, fueling concerns that the nation’s hospitals could be overwhelmed. Authorities have charged that broader testing has contributed to a surge. Read more national and world updates here.

MAY 4 3:56 a.m. — COVID-19 vaccine hunt heats up globally, still no guarantee |  Hundreds of people are rolling up their sleeves in countries across the world to be injected with experimental vaccines that might stop COVID-19, spurring hope — maybe unrealistic — that an end to the pandemic may arrive sooner than anticipated. About 100 research groups are pursuing vaccines with nearly a dozen in early stages of human trials or poised to start. It’s a crowded field, but researchers say that only increases the odds that a few might overcome the many obstacles that remain. (AP) Read more here.

MAY 4 3 a.m. — Greece gradually lifts 42-day lockdown | Greece has begun gradually lifting its restrictive measures after a 42-day lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As of Monday morning, Greeks are no longer restricted as to why they can leave their homes, and don’t need to send an SMS or carry a self-written permit justifying being outdoors. The first businesses have also opened as part of what authorities have said will be a staggered re-opening of the economy. Hair salons, barber shops and stores selling books, sporting goods, stationary, and other items can now open, albeit with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place. Read more national and world updates here.

MAY 4 2 a.m. — Many Italians get back to work as lockdown eases | Italy began stirring again Monday after a two-month coronavirus shutdown, with 4.4 million Italians able to return to work and restrictions on movement eased in the first European country to lock down in a bid to stem infections. Around the country, construction sites and manufacturing operations resumed, and restaurants and gelaterie scrubbed their floors in preparation for take-out service. Sit-down service in bars and restaurants, as well as the reopening of commercial shops and hairdressers is still several weeks off and dependent on the implementation of social distancing and hygiene measures. Italians were told to wear masks in closed spaces and public transport. Read more national and world updates here.

MAY 3 10:40 p.m. — Houston retail stores welcome customers back inside | For the last two months, the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 also stopped a lot of businesses. But on Friday, retailers were permitted to open at 25% capacity. “It’s been really nice to have our clients come into the store and to let us know they were waiting for this day,” Carlos Peraza said. Read more here.

MAY 3 8 p.m. — Beautiful weather draws large crowds to Texas beaches as they reopen this weekend |  The beautiful beach weather this weekend has drawn thousands to the water once again. Visitors undeterred by the possibility of viral spread waited in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to the sand on Surfside. And they flocked to the boardwalk on Galveston Island. “My concern is what’s happening in Galveston is what’s happening elsewhere across Southeast Texas, is that people are relaxing social distancing to a much greater extent than I would thought they might given to the limited opening of the economy,” said Baylor College of Medicine dean Peter Hotez, M.D. Read more/watch the story.

MAY 3 7:20 p.m. — President Donald Trump says he believes a vaccine for COVID-19 will be available by the end of the year.

Trump also says the U.S. government is putting its “full power and might” behind remdesivir, a drug that has shown early promise as a treatment for the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Trump commented Sunday night during a televised town hall sponsored by Fox News Channel.

Trump sat inside the Lincoln Memorial and fielded questions from two Fox hosts, as well as from people who submitted questions over Fox’s social media platforms.

Trump responded to a Nebraska man who recovered from COVID-19 by saying: “We think we are going to have a vaccine by the end of this year.”

He also said his administration was pushing hard for remdesivir.

U.S. public health officials have said a vaccine is probably a year to 18 months away. But Dr. Anthony Fauci said in late April that it’s conceivable, if a vaccine is developed soon, it could be in wide distribution as soon as January.

MAY 3 5:31 p.m. — Galveston County Health District reports 7 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the county’s total to 636. The county also has 344 total recoveries.

Of Galveston County’s 636 cases, 232 are tied to long-term care facilities

MAY 3 5:00 p.m. — Brazoria County reports 9 new COVID-19 cases today. The county reports 6 deaths, 271 active cases, 274 recoveries and 551 total cases.

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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