National Headlines

Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 347,000 people worldwide.

Over 5.5 million people across the globe 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 1.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 98,426 deaths.

Here's how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:

1:27 p.m.: 'The door is open' to hold Republican convention in Florida, governor says

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signaled his openness to hosting the Republican National Convention in Florida.

This comes after President Donald Trump on Memorial Day tweeted threatening to move the convention from North Carolina if the southern state's "Democrat Governor," Roy Cooper, wouldn't guarantee that a "full attendance in the Arena" would be allowed in August.

De Santis said Tuesday, "Florida would love to have the RNC. Heck, I'm a Republican, it would be good for us to have the DNC in terms of the in terms of the economic impact when you talk about major events like that."

"The door is open, we want to have the conversation," he said.

But DeSantis also urged that the state would "abide" by any safety restrictions to host the event in an alternative venue.

"So my posture on all this is we should try to get it done as best we can and in accordance with whatever safety requirements," he said. "But you know, his government will be talking about the safety restrictions, the president's government, so if he's going to do a convention obviously he's gonna want to abide by whatever they're saying. So if we can get that done and do it in a way that's safe, that would be a huge economic impact for the state of Florida."

11:57 a.m.: Over 600 TSA employees test positive

A total of 614 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the agency.

More than 400 of those employees have since recovered from the virus. Six TSA employees have died from the virus.

The TSA last week said it's rolling out adjusted rules for traveling during the pandemic.

Flyers are now permitted to bring a hand sanitizer container that's up to 12 ounces in their carry-on bags.

Also, instead of handing their paper or electronic boarding pass over to the TSA officer, travelers can place the boarding pass directly on the scanner.

10:30 a.m.: NJ can resume pro sports

In New Jersey, schools can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies beginning July 6, as long as they comply with social distancing, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Tuesday morning.

Murphy also tweeted that the states professional sports teams can resume training and competition "if their leagues choose to move in that direction."

"We have been in constant discussions with teams about necessary protocols to protect the health and safety of players, coaches and personnel," Murphy said.

8:14 a.m.: Coronavirus cases top 115,000 in Africa

More than 115,000 people in Africa have now been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to a count kept by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 46,000 of those patients have recovered from the disease so far, while at least 3,471 others have died.

South Africa is the country with the highest number of confirmed cases on the African continent -- more than 23,000 -- and its port city of Cape Town is the epicenter. However, Egypt has the highest number of deaths, nearly 800.

 Although around half of all African nations have community transmission of the novel coronavirus, Africa is the least-affected region globally in terms of the number of cases and deaths reported to the World Health Organization.

"Of course, these numbers don’t paint the full picture," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during Monday's press briefing. "Testing capacity in Africa is still being ramped up and there is a likelihood that some cases may be missed. But even so, Africa appears to have so far been spared the scale of outbreaks we have seen in other regions."

7:25 a.m.: UK authorizes experimental drug remdesivir for COVID-19 patients

The United Kingdom's medicines agency has authorized the use of the experimental drug remdesivir for coronavirus patients in the country.

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency announced Tuesday that it would support the use of remdesivir, made by U.S. biopharmaceutical company Gilead, to treat adults and adolescents hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19.

"We are committed to ensuring that patients can have fast access to promising new treatments for COVID-19," Dr.  June Raine, the agency's chief executive, said in a statement.

Remdesivir will be provided to the U.K. National Health Service free of charge by Gilead and will be for patients with "high, unmet medical need determined by a physician," according to the agency. The drug will also continue to be used in the country's clinical trials.

Gilead originally developed remdesivir to treat patients with Ebola virus disease. However, the antiviral medication has been tapped as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Although clinical trials are still under way across the globe to determine whether remdesivir is in fact effective against the novel coronavirus, the initial data is promising.

Preliminary results released last month from a trial on more than 1,000 people severely sickened with COVID-19 in 75 hospitals around the world show that those who received remdesivir recovered 31% faster than those who were given a placebo.

6:58 a.m.: Russia reports record daily rise in coronavirus deaths

Russia said Tuesday that it has registered a record 174 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide toll to 3,807.

The latest daily increase in COVID-19 fatalities shatters the country's previous record of 153 new deaths reported on Sunday. However, the overall tally is still considerably lower than many other countries hit hard by the pandemic.

Russia's coronavirus response headquarters also reported 8,915 new cases of COVID-19 over the same 24-hour period, placing the country's count at 362,342.

The latest daily caseload is down from a peak of 11,656 new infections reported on May 11, during which Russia registered over 10,000 new cases per day over a 12-day period. Since then, the daily number of new infections has hovered around 9,000 per day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin began easing the nationwide lockdown earlier this month, despite a rising number of cases at the time.

Over the weekend, Brazil surpassed Russia as the country with the second-highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world, behind the United States, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

6:02 a.m.: UK minister resigns over senior aide's lockdown controversy

A junior minister of the United Kingdom's parliament has resigned over the controversy surrounding British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's closest aide, Dominic Cummings, who flouted nationwide lockdown restrictions in March.

Douglas Ross stepped down from his post as parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland on Tuesday, saying in a statement, "There was much I still hoped to do in this role but events over the last few days mean I can no longer serve as a member of this government."

Ross' resignation comes on the heels of a press statement made by Cummings, in which he admitted to driving his child and ill wife more than 250 miles with from their London home to his parents' house in northern England at the end of March during the lockdown. He said he didn't make any stops along the way.

"I was worried that if my wife and I were both seriously ill, possibly hospitalized, there is nobody in London that we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to COVID," Cummings said at a news conference Monday.

Upon arriving at his parent's home, Cummings said he developed symptoms of COVID-19 while his wife began feeling better. Their 4-year-old son also fell ill and spent a night in the hospital but ultimately tested negative for the virus. As they recovered, Cummings said he sought "expert medical advice" and was told it was safe to drive his family back to London in mid-April. He maintained that he acted "reasonably and legally" and said he doesn't regret what he did.

"While the intentions may have been well meaning, the reaction to this news shows that Mr. Cummings interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked," Ross said in his statement Tuesday. "I have constituents who didn't get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn't visit sick relatives because they followed the guidelines of the government. I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior advisor to the government was right."

5:24 a.m.: US reports over 19,000 new coronavirus cases

More than 19,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The country also reported over 500 new deaths from the disease on the same day.

The United States is, by far, the hardest-hit nation in the coronavirus pandemic. New York remains the worst-hit U.S. state, with at least 362,764 diagnosed cases and 23,488 deaths, according to the latest data from the New York State Department of Health.

3:50 a.m.: Latin America's largest airline files for US bankruptcy protection

Latin America's largest airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday as the travel industry reels from the impact of lockdowns, quarantines and other restrictions imposed by governments around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

LATAM Airlines Group said it and its affiliated companies in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the United States sought bankruptcy court protection in New York.

"The U.S. Chapter 11 financial reorganization process provides a clear and guided opportunity to work with our creditors and other stakeholders to reduce our debt, address commercial challenges that we, like others in our industry, are facing as a group," the Santiago, Chile-based company said in a statement Tuesday. "It is very different from the concept of bankruptcy in other countries and is not a liquidation proceeding."

LATAM Airlines CEO Roberto Alvo said the group is "committed to continuing flying." The bankruptcy filing won't affect efforts to return to regular operations and the company will respect its commitments with cargo customers. Travelers with existing tickets, vouchers and air miles can still use them.

"Given the impact that that COVID-19 generated crisis has had on the aviation industry, LATAM has been forced to make a series of extremely difficult decisions in the past few months," Alvo said in a video message Tuesday. "These have been taken with the objective of ensuring the protection of the group, continuing operations and meeting commitments."

LATAM Airlines is South America's biggest carrier by passenger traffic. It operated around 1,300 flights per day and transported a record 74 million passengers last year, according to the company's more recent annual report.

"We are focused on looking towards a post-COVID future and centered in our business's transformation," Alvo said, "so that we may adapt to a new world and a new and evolving way of flying, where the health and safety of our passengers and employees is the first priority."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


rpbirdman/iStockBy ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- Americans won't be the only ones emerging from their isolation this summer; so too will millions of insects that have been under
Americans won't be the only ones emerging from their isolation this summer; so too will millions of insects that have been underground for nearly two decades.

A species of cicadas will buzz around in southwest Virginia, parts of North Carolina and West Virginia for the first time in 17 years, with as many as 1.5 million cicadas emerging per acre, according to entomologists at Virginia Tech.

“Communities and farms with large numbers of cicadas emerging at once may have a substantial noise issue,” Eric Day, an entomologist in Virginia Tech’s Department of Entomology, said in a statement. “Hopefully, any annoyance at the disturbance is tempered by just how infrequent -- and amazing -- this event is.”

The cicadas that will emerge are part of the Brood IX species. They have spent most of their lives living in the soil and feeding on tree boots underground.

The transition from "nymphs" to mature adults living outdoors is synchronized based on the year and temperature of the soil. The timing of the cycle, which can be either 13 years or 17 years, remains a mystery to scientists.

Research suggests that the length of the brood cycle could be attributed to avoiding predators because when the cicadas emerge, the amount of biomass they provide could serve as a food source for potential predators. Because of this, one theory is that they evolve to avoid synching up with predator cycles.

The cicadas are not harmful to humans and do not pose a danger to plants through feeding. The cicadas, however, can cause damage to plants through their egg-laying habits.

Adult female cicadas implant their eggs onto branches or vines, causing them to either split and wither in a process called "flagging." If it happens too many times, the plants can have their growth stunted or be killed altogether.

The noises that cicadas produce are mating calls from the males who are attempting to attract females. It could be an annoyance to some, considering it is described as an "alien-like wail," according to Virginia Tech.

Most cicadas only have four to six weeks of activity before they die.

"This insect is really fascinating, and if you don’t have fruit trees or grapevines to protect, you can enjoy this phenomenon while it lasts,” Doug Pfeiffer, a professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, said.

A separate species of cicadas emerge every year.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


tomorrowspix/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(ST. LOUIS) -- Hundreds of partygoers spent their Memorial Day weekend living it up in the waters of the Ozarks and now health officials are asking them to isolate for the next two weeks.

The St. Louis County Department of Health issued an advisory Monday evening urging anyone who recently ignored social distancing guidelines to self-quarantine for 14 days or until they test negative for coronavirus.

The order is a result of reports of huge crowds partying in pools and other locations in the Ozarks during the long weekend. Many of the partygoers did not wear masks.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said he is concerned these revelers could pose a danger when they return to their homes and workplaces.

“This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a statement.

Missouri has 12,167 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday morning, which represents a 1.7% increase over the last 24 hours and a 7.9% rise over the last week, according to data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. St. Louis County has the highest number of cases in the state -- 4,544 -- and in the last two weeks saw 612 new cases, health department data showed.

Page instructed St. Louis County employers to screen their employees for health risks and ask them about their travel history.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Two storm systems, one in the Plains and the other in Florida, brought copious amounts of rain and severe storms on Monday.

Just south of Port St. Lucie, 10.65 inches of rain fell in just one day and produced major flooding on streets and roads causing some to have to abandon their vehicles.

In Hollywood, Florida, 4 to 5 inches of rain fell just on Monday and 8.5 inches of rain has fallen since Saturday. The ground is saturated which caused additional street flooding there Monday.

Additionally, 80 damaging storms were reported from Wisconsin to Texas with five reported tornadoes, though the damage was reportedly caused by the storms.

On Tuesday, the storm system in the Midwest will not move much but more rain and severe storms are expected for millions.

The biggest threat Tuesday will be in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, where damaging winds, hail and a few tornadoes are expected.

On Tuesday morning, six states from Nebraska to Texas are still under Flash Flood Watch for heavy rain that could cause additional flooding.

Meanwhile, the Florida storm will slowly move into the Carolinas with the heaviest rain coming in the next 36 hours.

Close to 2 to 3 inches of rainfall is possible from Florida to the Carolinas, and an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain is expected from the Midwest south to the Gulf Coast.

But while the East is dealing with flooding and severe storms, the West is sweltering in another heat wave.

Excessive Heat Warnings and a Heat Advisory have been posted from northern California down to Arizona including the San Francisco Bay area, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Temperatures on Tuesday will reach near 100 degrees in northern California with some record highs possible there.

For Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the worst of the heat moves into the Southwest deserts, where some areas could see highs above 110 degrees.

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(NEW YORK) -- With over 37,600 deaths, nursing home fatalities now account for nearly 40% of deaths from the novel coronavirus in the U.S., according to an ABC News analysis of the latest public health data.

In at least 18 states, nursing home deaths account for over 50% of coronavirus-related deaths, placing a continued stress on the infrastructure for American elder care even as much of the nation tries to return to some sense of normalcy.

Ten states have still not released figures for infections and deaths in long-term care and skilled nursing facilities. But even limiting the count to the 40 states that have provided figures, as well as Washington, D.C., more than 182,500 nursing home residents and staff members at this point have reportedly contracted COVID-19. That's more than 14% of the nation's total nursing care population.

The number of infections in the latest review of state data suggests nursing home infections have not slowed in recent weeks; rather, nursing home infections are accounting for a rising percentage of the overall spread of the virus.

"This is an 'all hands-on deck' situation," Mark Parkinson, the president of the National Center for Assisted Living and the American Health Care Association, said in a statement released late last week.

Last week, the federal health department announced it would channel $4.9 billion to nursing homes to help support their response to the outbreak.

"The Trump Administration is providing every resource we can​," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement released Friday.

The agency said the additional funds are intended to help nursing homes address critical needs such as labor, scaling up their testing capacity, acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and a range of other expenses directly linked to this pandemic.

That need continues to be acute, Parkinson and others told ABC News, as nursing care facilities face the stress of staffing facilities in spite of increased danger to workers and the need to sideline staff that show indications of infection.

"We've seen inspiring images of nurses and doctors flying across the country to serve in our hospitals. We hope to see the same national support rally around our long-term care facilities," Parkinson said. "We owe it to our residents -- those from the Greatest Generation -- to ensure they have the necessary support they need and deserve."

As many parts of the country have pushed towards a gradual reopening, nursing care facilities have had to gain a firmer grip on their access to a steady supply of testing kits, as well as the same masks, gloves, gowns and other protective equipment that are now also being purchased by hospitals, doctors and dentists resuming non-emergency practices.

Early this month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began large shipments of masks, gowns and other protective equipment that are eventually supposed to reach all facilities nationwide. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the federal government wants nursing facilities to test all patients and staff over the next two weeks.

Dr. Mark Gloth, the medical director at HCR ManorCare, one of the nation's largest providers of nursing and long-term care, said accessing steady channels of protective equipment has been an ongoing challenge, and the atmosphere has changed as nursing care communities were designed to provide care in a more home-like setting that allows for social engagement.

Nursing and long-term care facilities are, for the most part, still limiting access to visitors as the try to keep out the virus.

"Now we have employee screening protocols, isolation units, social distancing, universal masking, and every employee is wearing some additional form of [protective equipment] when they are in the center," Gloth said. "Our supply chain has performed Herculean feats in getting us supplies above and beyond what we typically order. We believe this need will continue and grow as we slowly open our communities and our facilities."

Congress has also provided some aid to nursing homes as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed in March, including $200 million allocated to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to assist the agency with infection prevention in the homes. House Democrats have argued that not enough of these emergency funds are reaching seniors.

Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, which advocates for the needs of residents in the hard-hit facilities, said he is concerned nursing homes will not only recover more slowly, but are also "much more likely to be hit hardest by any resurgence."

Mollot said he would like to see a more flexible government response, so that harder-hit communities receive more immediate attention.

"We are supporting the use of strike teams to go into nursing homes, identify any residents in distress due to COVID-19 or neglect and ensure that they get the care they need, and evaluate the whether the nursing home is being appropriately managed, with sufficient staffing, [protective gear] and other supplies," Mollot said.

Last week, a Senate hearing focused on the approaches that can be employed to meet the crush of need.

"We have to do more of our seniors, we cannot stop working, we cannot stop legislating, we cannot stop appropriating dollars to help our seniors," ranking member Bob Casey, D-Pa., said. "There's no such thing as doing too much to help our seniors during this pandemic."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chalabala/iStockBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(BOSTON) -- A man has been arrested after allegedly stealing an American flag from a memorial commemorating service members who have given their lives in defense of the United States, lighting it on fire and then throwing the burning flag onto a police car.

The incident occurred on Sunday at approximately 7:10 p.m. when officers assigned to patrol Boston Common in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, were approached by several members of the public saying that they had seen a man lighting fire to the American flag and then throwing it onto the roof of a Boston Police prisoner transport wagon.

The car was parked near the fountain inside the park and was unoccupied at the time of the incident.

Officers responded to the scene and arrested 40-year-old Daniel Lucey who confirmed to the authorities that he had lit the flag on fire and thrown it onto the police car as a form of protest.

Over the weekend, 1,000 flags were planted on Boston Common by a small group of volunteers who organized a social distancing-compliant version of the annual flag garden, according to ABC News’ Boston affiliate WCVB-TV.

“Officers noted that the suspect was in possession of several other flags which appeared to be similar to the ones which are planted in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument over Memorial Day weekend to commemorate the Massachusetts service members who have given their lives in defense of the United States of America,” the Boston Police Department said in a statement posted to social media.

While speaking with the officers about the incident, the man then proceeded to spit at the authorities and hit one responding officer’s shoe with saliva.

The suspect was arrested and placed in custody at the scene of the incident.

Lucey is scheduled to appear in Boston Municipal Court on charges of Disorderly Conduct, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer, Malicious Destruction of Property and Malicious Destruction of Historical Monuments.

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The New York City Commission on Human RightsBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The New York City Commission on Human Rights is launching a massive effort to combat anti-Asian bias as reports of COVID-19-related discrimination skyrocket.

"This type of discrimination and harassment is not something that happens out of nowhere in a pandemic, this is based in deep-seated miseducation and racism," said Carmelyn Malalis, the commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. "I know that people doubt that there is any such thing as anti-Asian discrimination, and people have said that to my face."

"People have to understand that this is not something that we are making up and they have to see racism for what it really is," she added. "They think that signaling out an entire people for a pandemic -- that’s not discrimination or racism."

Malalis said that claims of anti-Asian discrimination and harassment to her office skyrocketed amid the coronavirus pandemic. From Feb. 1 through May 15, 2019, they received 11 such complaints. For the same time period this year, they have received 133 such complaints.

She added, "This is not something that is just in New York City, this is something that we are seeing all across the country."

Malalis said the educational element of the campaign is "crucial."

The city agency's $100,000 public education effort will put ads in local media, online and in community pharmacies and convenience stores and aims to encourage more reporting of cases of discrimination or harassment as well as educate the public.

The campaign aims to remind people that there is help and support available if you are experiencing or witnessing this type of discrimination, and encourages more people to report it so that it can be recorded and more action can be taken.

Malalis said she also hopes it serves to "remind people of the additional burdens this is placing on people at a time when people are already at unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety."

The campaign was developed based on community input, and a lot of thought has been put into how it can reach its targeted audience in the community, according to Malalis.

For example, this is the first time the city agency is using the platform WeChat, which is especially popular among Asian communities in the U.S. They are also posting ads and information in multiple languages, including Chinese and Korean.

It also places emphasis on how to report and deal with incidences of discrimination or harassment in health care, which many point to as a growing issue amid the pandemic.

"From small businesses losing customers to individuals being victims of verbal and physical assaults, the Asian American community has struggled with the economic, health, and social impacts of the pandemic since January," Wayne Ho, the president and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, said in a statement.

"We are thankful that the New York City Commission on Human Rights will expand its efforts to protect the Asian American community and other marginalized New Yorkers by launching a public awareness campaign to address COVID-19 related harassment and discrimination," he added. "The Asian American community is diverse and will benefit from understanding how to report discrimination, including in health care settings."

The campaign is slated to run for two months, according to the commissioner's office. Malalis said she hopes the impacts of the campaign will live on, however, for much longer in the community.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 345,000 people worldwide.

Over 5.4 million people across the globe 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 1.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 97,724 deaths.

Here's how the news developed on Monday. All times Eastern:

11:42 p.m.: Brazilians board last-minute flights to US ahead of travel ban

Brazilians scrambled to board last-minute flights to the United States Monday ahead of President Donald Trump's new travel restrictions.

Groups of passengers were seen at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport preparing to board a United flight to Houston after Trump announced the upcoming restrictions on travel due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Brazil.

Brazil now has 374,898 confirmed cases of the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, making it the country with the second most coronavirus cases worldwide after the U.S.

8:17 p.m.: St. Louis County issues travel advisory after residents gather at lake party

People in Missouri's St. Louis County failed to follow social distancing rules over Memorial Day weekend, with large crowds gathering at Lake of the Ozarks for a party. This comes as businesses in the area begin to reopen.

County Executive Dr. Sam Page asked the Department of Public Health Monday to issue a travel advisory as some residents return to work.

"This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of CVOD-19," Page stated in a St. Louis County press release. "I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace."

The DPH urged those who ignored protective practices to self-quarantine for 14 days or until testing negative for COVID-19, according to the press release.

Current DPH guidance recommends that employers screen employees for health risks before allowing them to return to the workplace. Employers should also consider asking their employees about their recent travels and social distancing practices.

5:53 p.m.: WHO warns of 'second peak' in COVID-19 infections

The World Health Organization's emergencies director, Dr. Mike Ryan, told reporters Monday that countries with declining cases still face danger or an "immediate second peak" if they ease restrictions too soon.

"The disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we are get a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave," he said, adding that countries in Europe and North America should "continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don't have an immediate second peak."

4:23 p.m.: California to allow religious services, reopens in-person retail

The California Department of Public Health announced it is rolling back its restrictions on religious services and in-person retail.

Places of worship can hold services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of a building's capacity, or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower, if it gets approval from their local health departments. The places of worship must also follow other guidelines listed on the health department's website.

Store owners would also need approval from their local health departments before they can allow for in-person customers and they must also follow strict distancing rules. Personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops will remain closed, according to the new guidelines.

4:05 p.m.: UK to reopen stores starting June 1

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said starting June 1, non-essential retail can begin to reopen.

The first group of stores that will be permitted will be outdoor markets and car show rooms. After June 15, all other non-essential retail, provided strict hygiene and social distancing measures are in place, will be permitted.

"These are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country -- and we can only take these thanks to what we have so far achieved together," Johnson said at a news conference.

12:50 p.m.: WHO suspends hydroxychloroquine study

The World Health Organization said it would pause its study on the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as part of its ongoing research into COVID-19 treatments.

The move comes after a study was published in medical journal The Lancet that found coronavirus patients who took the drug were more likely to die or develop irregular heart rhythms. WHO said its executive group of the Solidarity Trial is reviewing data on its research into the drug while the pause goes into effect.

"The other arms of the trial are continuing," Dr. Samba Sow, director general of the Center for Vaccine Development in Mali, said at a news conference. "This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloraquine in COVID-19."

12:05 p.m.: New York to provide death benefits to all public front-line workers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will provide death benefits to all workers on the front line who have died during the pandemic.

That includes police officers, EMTs, firefighters, hospital workers and transit employees.

"They showed up because I asked them to show up," Cuomo said at his daily briefing. "I have such respect and esteem for what they did … and I want to make sure we repay that."

Cuomo called on the federal government to approve a similar move for front-line workers across the nation.

He said the state's efforts to curb the number of cases continues to show promise. There were 96 COVID-19 deaths in the state within the last 24 hours, according to the governor's office.

That's a drop of 13 deaths recorded the previous day. The total number of hospitalizations was 4,348 on Sunday, which represented a 45 drop from Saturday, Cuomo's office said.

11:33 a.m.: Putin's spokesman reportedly discharged from hospital after coronavirus bout

Russian President Vladimir Putin's longtime press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has been discharged from a hospital in Moscow after recovering from COVID-19, according to Russian media reports.

"Yes, that's true," Peskov told the independent Interfax news agency on Monday. He also confirmed that he must stay home for two weeks upon leaving the hospital.

On May 12, Peskov was quoted telling Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti that he was hospitalized after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

11:02 a.m.: Trump administration to buy 100 million swabs but leaves testing responsibility to states

The U.S. government plans to acquire 100 million swabs and distribute them to states to help expand the country's capacity to test for the novel coronavirus, according to a new report submitted to Congress and obtained by ABC News.

While the Trump administration was required to submit a national testing plan to Congress under a law passed last month, the 81-page report submitted Sunday doesn't appear to be a new strategy but rather a continuation of the White House's existing posture: that states should take the lead in expanding their own testing capacity. The Washington Post was first to report on the contents of the document.

"With support from the Federal government to ensure States are meeting goals, the State plans for testing will advance the safe reopening of America," the Trump administration wrote in the report's conclusion.

The U.S. government still projects the country will be able to produce 40 million to 50 million COVID-19 tests a month by September, and it recommends that every state should be able to test 2% of its population in May and June.

10:40 a.m.: Spain to end mandatory quarantine for international travelers in July

Spain will lift a two-week mandatory quarantine for all travelers arriving from abroad starting July 1, the government announced Monday.

"The worst is behind us," Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya wrote on Twitter, adding that next month officials will "gradually" open to international tourists, lift the quarantine measures and "ensure the highest standards of health safety."

Spain is one of the worst-affected countries in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 235,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and at least 28,752 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

9:54 a.m.: Wuhan conducts over 6.5 million coronavirus tests in 10 days

The Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, has conducted more than 6.5 million nucleic acid tests for the novel coronavirus over a 10-day period, according to state media reports.

Earlier this month, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission launched a citywide campaign to test the entire population of 11 million residents for COVID-19 in an effort to search for asymptomatic carriers of the virus after a cluster of new cases emerged for the first time since the city had lifted its strict lockdown on April 8.

Although recommended, participation in the testing campaign is voluntary. Residents who were previously tested do not need to take part. It is not recommended to test children under the age of 6, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission's website.

No new symptomatic cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the campaign began; however, dozens of people without symptoms have tested positive for the virus, according to daily reports published by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. The local health authority is asking anyone who hasn’t been tested yet to come forward by the end of Tuesday.

Prior to the campaign, the city had completed over 3 million nucleic acid tests for COVID-19, according to the official state-run Xinhua News Agency.

9:06 a.m.: Austria completes first coronavirus lung transplant in Europe

A team of doctors in Austria's capital have successfully conducted a lung transplant on a coronavirus patient -- the first to be done in Europe.

The Medical University of Vienna announced the news in a statement Monday, saying its surgeons had carried out the procedure at Vienna General Hospital last week on a 45-year-old woman who had developed "severe respiratory failure" due to COVID-19. The team replaced the patient's lungs, "which had been damaged beyond repair," with those from a donor in what the university described as "an otherwise hopeless situation."

"We are very satisfied with the patient's condition, given the extremely difficult initial circumstances," Dr. Walter Klepetko, head of surgery at the clinic, said in a statement released by the university. "Only a few days after the procedure, the patient is well on the way to recovery."

The patient, from the southern state of Carinthia, had contracted the novel coronavirus about eight weeks ago. As her condition deteriorated, artificial ventilation was no longer possible and a circulation pump was the only thing keeping her alive, according to the university.

The woman was transported to Vienna General Hospital where she was admitted into the intensive care unit. A diagnostic test showed that particles of the novel coronavirus were still present in her system, but a negative viral culture subsequently confirmed she was no longer infectious. With no chance of the woman's lungs recovering but her other organs still functioning, the team of doctors decided to perform "an urgent and highly complex" transplant. The donor lungs were flown in from a neighboring country.

"The transplant itself took place under extremely difficult circumstances, since the patient did not have an adequate blood platelet count and, since antibodies were also present, these first had to be removed by means of immune aphaeresis to prevent her from rejecting the organ," Klepetko said. "Even transportation of the lungs and preparation for the operation took place under difficult conditions, especially because of the necessary COVID-19 logistics and the associated protective measures, which all had to be observed. In cases such of this, the key to success is smooth and effective collaboration between the various professional groups, such as anaesthesia, surgery, intensive care medicine, infectiology and many others."

8:38 a.m.: Montenegro declares itself virus-free

Montenegro has become the second country in Europe to declare itself free of the novel coronavirus.

Montenegro's Institute for Public Health announced via Twitter on Sunday that the tiny Balkan nation currently has no active cases of COVID-19. The news comes 68 days after Montenegro recorded its first case of the disease.

"As of yesterday, our laboratories have completed analysis of 140 respiratory samples, among which there were no new cases of infection," the institute tweeted. "At the same time, the last active case met the criteria for full recovery."

Montenegro, which is home to some 631,000 people, has reported 324 cases of COVID-19 with nine deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier this month, Slovenia became the first European nation declare itself coronavirus-free.

7:10 a.m.: South Korea to require masks on transit, flights

People must wear face masks when using public transportation and taxis in South Korea starting Tuesday, as part of efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus while public activities are increased.

South Korean health ministry official Yoon Taeho said masks will also be required on all domestic and international flights from Wednesday. Meanwhile, starting in June, owners of "high-risk" facilities such as bars, gyms and concert halls will be required to register customers at the door using smartphone QR codes to aid contact tracing when infections occur.

“Until treatments and vaccines are developed," we will never know when the COVID-19 crisis could end, and until then we will have to learn how to live with COVID-19," Yoon told reporters Monday.

South Korea once had the largest novel coronavirus outbreak outside China, where the virus first emerged, but appears to have brought it largely under control with an extensive "trace, test and treat" strategy. A total of 11,206 people in the country have been diagnosed with COVID-19, of which 10,226 have recovered and 267 have died, according to South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier this month, South Korea returned to a sense of normalcy as the nation eased its strict social-distancing measures that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus. The number of new cases reported in the country has generally stayed low, but health authorities remain wary of cluster infections and imported cases. More than 200 cases were recently linked to reopened bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues in Seoul, the densely populated capital.

6:23 a.m.: Russia surpasses 350,000 coronavirus cases

Russia reported 8,946 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the country’s tally to 353,427.

Russia's coronavirus response headquarters also recorded 92 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, placing the nationwide toll at 3,633, which is considerably lower than many other countries hit hard by the pandemic.

The daily rise in deaths has declined by a third after a record high of 153 reported on Sunday. Meanwhile, the latest daily caseload is down from a peak of 11,656 new infections reported on May 11, during which Russia registered over 10,000 new cases per day over a 12-day period. Since then, the daily number of new infections has hovered around 9,000 per day.

Over the weekend, Brazil surpassed Russia as the country with the second-highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world, behind the United States, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

5:31 a.m.: Japan lifts state of emergency in Tokyo and other remaining areas

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining areas on Monday, bringing an end to the restrictions nationwide.

A government-commissioned panel of experts approved the move in the prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Hokkaido and Chiba, all of which had remained under the emergency declaration after it was lifted for most of Japan earlier this month.

The prime minister first declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7, as Japan reported a surge in COVID-19 cases. He later expanded the declaration to cover the entire country and last until May 31. Under the order, prefectural governors asked residents to stay home and for some businesses to temporarily close, but public cooperation was voluntary. There were no penalties for failure to comply.

On May 13, Abe ended the state of emergency in 39 of the country's 47 prefectures. The decree remained in place for urban regions, including the capital, Tokyo, and the large port city of Osaka.

Abe lifted the state of emergency in Osaka as well as Kyoto and Hyogo on May 21, following a drop in the number of new cases reported each day. Chiba, Hokkaido, Kanagawa, Saitama and Tokyo all remained under restrictions until now.

The prime minister has credited the recent decline in new infections to the efforts of residents staying at home and practicing social distancing. He warned, however, that the state of emergency may have to be reimposed if infections increase.

More than 16,500 people in Japan have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 820 have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

5:18 a.m.: US reports over 20,600 new coronavirus cases

More than 20,600 people in the United States were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The country also reported over 600 new deaths from the disease on the same day.

The United States is, by far, the hardest-hit country in the coronavirus pandemic.

3:45 a.m.: Houston receives hundreds of social distancing complaints over the weekend

Authorities in Houston said they have received hundreds of social distancing complaints over Memorial Day weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order allows bars to reopen at 25% of their normal capacity and restaurants at 50%. However, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said via Twitter on Sunday afternoon that his department had addressed around 300 complaints of violation to the governor's rules since Friday, adding that "admittance beyond approved capacity will cause events to be stopped until condition is corrected."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced 115 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 with one additional death in the city on Sunday, bringing the total to 6,640 cases with 126 deaths.

Turner also said he saw photos and videos of people flouting the social distancing rules at crowded bars and packed pool parties over the holiday weekend. The mayor pleaded with businesses and customers to "be responsible," noting that their behavior puts first responders at risk, too.

"We don't want to be heavy handed," Turner said at a press conference Sunday. "If you work with us, nobody gets closed down."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/koto_fejaBy: LAUREN EFFRON, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- One California city is grappling with COVID-19 outbreaks at nine of its industrial facilities, including one food processing plant that reported having at least 153 positive cases, according to health officials.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said the largest outbreak occurred at the Farmer John meatpacking plant in Vernon, California, which is owned by Smithfield Foods and produces Dodger Dogs, among other products.

Health officials said 153 employees of 1,837 who work at that facility tested positive for COVID-19 when testing was conducted between March through May, and of those 153 employees, 41 returned to work.

The other Vernon facilities with reported outbreaks include Cal Farms Meat Company, CLW (meat), F. Gavina & Sons Inc. (coffee), Golden West Trading (meat and other products), Overhill Farms (frozen food), Rose & Shore (deli meat and prepared foods), Takaokaya USA (tea, seaweed and other products) and Vie De France Yamazaki (baked goods).

Smithfield Foods, which owns Farmer John, is the largest pork supplier in the United States and employs 40,000 people across the country.

The company said it offers free COVID-19 testing to all of its employees, according to its website, where it also lists a series of measures it has taken to help contain the spread of COVID-19 at its facilities. These measures, according to the company, include increased social distancing, plexiglass barriers and temperature scanning.

COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the food industry in the United States. Dozens of food processing plants across the country have had to shut down for days or even weeks to slow or stop the spread of the virus since March.

Nearly 5,000 meat-packing workers at 115 facilities in 19 states have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"We have seen disruption across the entire food supply chain, and of course, the meat supply chain is a subset of that," said Nick Vyas, the executive director of Center for Global Supply Chain Management at University of Southern California, told Good Morning America. "The disruption started in a meat supply chain, as was the food supply chain as a whole, partly because this assembly line processing lines and the facility itself did not really have the proper method in place to really protect the frontline workers, and we started to see one plant after the other really got exposed with the COVID-19."

Last week, Tyson Foods confirmed 570 workers at its Wilkesboro, North Carolina, poultry facilities tested positive for the virus, and 257 employees tested positive in its Temperanceville, Virginia, facility.

"At Tyson, our team members come first, and we are focused on ensuring they feel safe and secure when they come to work," Tom Brower, senior vice president of health and safety for Tyson Foods said in a statement. "We are working closely with local health departments and using the latest information and resources to protect our team members, their families and our communities."

Tyson said it, too, has implemented a number of safety measures at its facilities, including symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures, including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms.

Another Smithfield-owned plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was shut down for three weeks after hundreds of employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

That Smithfield facility, which the company says is responsible for up to 5% of the U.S.'s total pork production, was reopened this month after Smithfield said it was given "positive confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the company is in full compliance with all CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance."

With food supply disruptions, prices are going up at the grocery store. Overall, the U.S. Bureau of Labor's consumer price index report said grocery bills were up 2.6% in April, the biggest monthly increase in nearly 50 years. For meat, the price of fresh beef increased 11.9% during the week ending May 9, compared to the same period last year, and the price of fresh chicken increased 7.5%, according to Neilson.

"What we're seeing is the high prices, shortages in some commodities and this will continue," Vyas said. "This impact will likely outlast the virus itself."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/somboon kaeoboonsongBy: BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) -- Democratic and Republican leaders denounced gun rights supporters for hanging an effigy of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear from tree outside the state capitol building during a Memorial Day weekend demonstration.

The symbolic lynching occurred on Sunday at a rally by gun rights groups that was initially organized to celebrate Second Amendment freedoms to bear arms. But as the rally in Frankfort went on, it turned into a protest against Beshear's coronavirus-prompted stay-at-home orders.

As country singer Lee Greenwood's hit song "God Bless the U.S.A." played in the background, a demonstrator wearing camouflage pants and what appeared to be holstered handgun strung a rope over a tree limb and with the help of another man hoisted the effigy bearing a picture of Beshear and a handwritten sign tacked to it reading, "Sec Semper Tyrannis," a Latin phrase meaning "Thus always to tyrants."

Video of the episode, taken by a reporter from the Courier-Journal newspaper of Louisville, showed at least one child standing next to a baby carriage as she watched the adults hang the Beshear effigy.

The event was organized online by a group calling itself "Take Back Kentucky," which in a Facebook announcement billed it as "a rally to celebrate freedom, and to fight back against the unconstitutional shutdown over the Coronavirus."

"We will have guest speakers to talk about the virus, and how this shutdown will not only wreak havoc with the economy over the next several years, but also threaten our fundamental freedoms and the character of America for generations," reads the group's Facebook announcement.

"Take Back Kentucky" organizers had no immediate comment on the incident.

The Courier-Journal reported that the effigy hanging took place outside the state capitol building after about 100 demonstrators marched to the Governor's Mansion yelling for Beshear to come out.

“Come out, Andy!” protesters chanted.

It was not clear if Beshear was home at the time. The governor, a Democrat, has yet to issue a response to the protest.

As images and video of the effigy being strung up went viral, political leaders from both sides of the aisle condemned the act.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, issued statement calling the incident "unacceptable" and saying "there is no place for hate in Kentucky.”

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael G. Adams, a Republican, took to Twitter to denounce the incident.

"This is disgusting and I condemn it wholeheartedly," Adams wrote.

Adams noted that John Wilkes Booth shouted the phrase "Sec Semper Tyrannis" when he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. He said those words "have no place in the Party of Lincoln."

The Kentucky House Democrats issued a joint statement deploring the protesters and calling their actions "beyond reprehensible."

"Doing this in front of our Capitol, just a short walk from where the Governor, First Lady, and their two young children live, is an act that reeks of hate and intimidation and does nothing but undermine our leading work to battle this deadly disease and restore our economy safely," the Kentucky House Democrats' statement reads.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/MotortionBy: MATT FRIEDLANDER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Queen guitarist Brian May recently suffered "a small heart attack" and underwent an operation to have stents placed in three partially blocked coronary arteries.

The 72-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer revealed the news in a video message posted Sunday on his official website and social media accounts.

May explained that he had the heart attack while struggling with another health issue: excruciating leg pain that he initially thought was from a ripped gluteus muscle. It turned out to be caused by a compressed sciatic nerve.

"[I]t's not something that did me any harm," he said of the heart attack. "It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness, and that feeling in the arms and sweating."

May says that after undergoing an angiogram, doctors discovered three congested arteries and gave him the choice: He could have open-heart surgery or have stents placed in the blood vessels.

"After a lot of thought and deliberation, I opted for the stents," he explained. "And the…same day, I went in there and they did it. And it wasn't that easy, but the only reason it wasn't easy for me was because of…the excruciating pain I had in my leg."

May continued, "I walked out with a heart that's very strong now, so I think I'm in good shape for some time to come. And if I'm not, we can have another angiogram."

May noted that his experience made him think that perhaps everyone over age 60 should consider having an angiogram, because he had no symptoms before having the heart attack. He added that his leg pain continues to be treated by "a fantastic physiotherapist."

For now, he says, "I'm good, I'm here, and I'm ready to rock.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LEESPORT, Penn.) -- A surprise birthday parade for an 8-year-old boy had a massive, 651-vehicle turnout on Saturday.

Leesport, Pennsylvania resident Riley Rejniak, who is battling neuroblastoma a second time, waved as hundreds of cars, motorcycles and first responders arrived in waves.

Even exotic cars passed at a safe distance to celebrate Riley's fighting spirit and May 23 birthday.

"He waved to every single car and had the biggest smile face," mom Ashley Rejniak told Good Morning America. "For me, I got emotional multiple times. We know he's loved by our community but the amount of gifts, balloons ... it was amazing."

Riley was first diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma on April 25, 2017. The cancerous tumor was found in his stomach but was also present in his bone marrow, Riley's parents said.

Riley was treated at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. In 2019, Riley's cancer returned in his bone marrow.

"Riley had a total 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 12 rounds of radiation and five cycles of immunotherapy. He also had a stem cell transplant," dad Greg Rejniak told GMA. "He's had ups and downs but his attitude has been incredible. He just loves life."

When their son's cancer came back, the Rejniaks took it hard. Riley's response, however, was "I'm not worried about it," they said.

Riley's quote was printed on the back of T-shirts his family wore to the surprise birthday parade.

Ashley said Riley's cancer could return again but so far, doctors have found no evidence of disease. The Rejniaks were happy to celebrate Riley's birthday as well as this good news, they said.

Family friend Brittney Haddon, who photographed the event, said it was "extraordinary to witness."

"This will be a memory that will last a lifetime and couldn't have gone to a more deserving family than them," Haddon told GMA.

Greg Rejniak said, "[Riley] said it was the best birthday that he has ever had."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/ijoe84By: IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(EAST STROUDSBURG, Penn.) -- Police said the University of Connecticut senior who has been accused of killing two people was seen walking in the Poconos.

Pennsylvania state police released a new surveillance photo that they say shows suspect Peter Manfredonia walking on train tracks near East Stroudsburg, Monroe County, on Sunday. Manfredonia, 23, fled Connecticut after he allegedly killed two people over the weekend, invaded a home, stole guns and two cars and abducted a person, according to police.

"If seen, DO NOT APPROACH, ARMED & DANGEROUS," Pennsylvania State Trooper Anthony Petroski tweeted Monday.

Police say Manfredonia was seen wearing dark-colored shorts and a white T-shirt and was carrying a large duffel bag.

The FBI said it was assisting the investigation, which crossed three state lines.

On Friday, Manfredonia allegedly attacked two men in Willington, Connecticut, with an edged weapon, killing Theodore Demers, 62, and wounding the unidentified second suspect, according to police. On Sunday, officers responded to a 911 call of a home invasion in Willington where Manfredonia allegedly stole pistols and long guns and a truck, police said. The homeowner was not injured, according to police.

The suspect allegedly drove to Derby, Connecticut, where he allegedly killed an acquaintance, Nicholas J. Eisele, 23, inside his home, abducted another resident, stole a car and fled, according to police. The kidnapped victim was found later Sunday unharmed in Paterson, New Jersey, and identified Manfredonia as her captor, police said.

The car was found in New Jersey and it was unclear how the fugitive was able to cross into the Pennsylvania border, police said.

A UConn representative said Manfredonia was a student at the joint School of Engineering / School of Business MEM (Management and Engineering for Management), and he was not attending summer classes or living on campus.

"The university expresses its deepest, most heartfelt sympathies to the victims and their families in this horrible, incomprehensible tragedy. They are all in our thoughts," school spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said in a statement.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Volusia Sheriff's OfficeBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- In the face of rising cases of coronavirus throughout the U.S. and Canada, and calls from health officials to remain socially distant during the long weekend, crowds still flocked to Memorial Day hot spots. Some of the incidents spurred responses from elected leaders and police who issued warnings and dispersed the crowds.

Here are some of the most egregious examples reported this weekend:

Ozarks, Missouri

A video of a pool party featuring dozens of people without masks in the Lake of Ozarks went viral over the weekend.

A majority of the people were not wearing face coverings and hung out close to each other as seen in photos and videos.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services didn't have a comment on the pool party, but it issued a statement urging all residents and visitors to be cautious and remain socially distant.

"When they then carry the virus and transmit it to a more vulnerable person, this is when we tend to see the long-lasting and tragic impact of these decisions that are being made,” the agency said in a statement.

The state currently has 11,988 confirmed cases and saw a 6.2% jump in new cases over the last week, according to health data from the state.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Police said they had to break up several crowds in Daytona Beach Saturday night.

In one instance, roughly 200 people were packed on a street and appeared to have jumped onto a police car that was trying to clear the street, according to helicopter video released by Volusia Sherriff's Office.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said he was "pissed off" by the number of people who weren't taking health precautions seriously; however, he said there were no arrests.

"We were trying to use our de-escalation techniques," he said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. "We were able to push everyone off the peninsula."

Volusia, Florida, which contains Daytona Beach, has 663 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, according to data from the Florida Health Department and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Clearwater Beach, Florida

Even though state leaders and the local police stressed social distancing as the area's beaches reopened, crowds still appeared to be in close-knit groups in beaches west of Tampa. Many didn't appear to wear face coverings in Clearwater Beach.

By 8:30 a.m. Saturday, several beach locations were closed to new entrants as they reached max capacity, according to the Pinellas Sheriff's Office. Jennifer Crockett, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, told ABC News there were 300 officers deployed to all of the county's beaches.

"As we closed those access points people were pointed to other beaches that were still open," she told ABC News.

As of Monday, Pinellas County, Florida, which includes Clearwater Beach, had 1,173 confirmed coronavirus cases and 75 deaths, according to data from the state's health department and Johns Hopkins University.

Toronto, Ontario

City officials said they were upset after they said thousands of people hit the greenspace at Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday.

In some images that went viral, many people were not seen wearing face coverings. Toronto's mayor's office said it sent additional officers to the park Sunday to ensure that it didn't get too crowded.

"Gatherings like today’s at Trinity Bellwoods Park has the potential to set Toronto back in its efforts to beat COVID-19," the mayor's office said in a statement released Saturday.

As of Monday, Toronto had 10,035 cases and 759 deaths, according to the city's health department.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Vikki PierBy LAUREN LANTRY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- On this Memorial Day, despite the spread of the coronavirus across the country, much of the Pier family -- sons, daughters and even a few grandkids -- will gather in the front yard of Vikki and Mark Pier's home in North Carolina.

Each will take a red balloon, fill it with helium, and write a message on the outside with a marker. Some will say "we love you," others "we miss you."

"But mainly, 'I can't wait to see you again,'" Vikki Pier said she'll write on hers. Then, Noah Pier's family will let the balloons go and watch them float away.

Lance Cpl. Noah Pier was killed in action in Afghanistan on Feb. 16, 2010. It was the 25-year-old Marine's second deployment. Monday marks the 10th Memorial Day that his parents, Vikki and Mark Pier, have celebrated and honored their eldest son, and grieved his loss.

Some years, they make it to Arlington National Cemetery, to sit with their son, but this year they decided to stay home.

"There's no way we would not celebrate it -- (that) we would not honor him -- even with this COVID," Vikki Pier told ABC News.

While the whole family cannot gather as they have in previous years, they will all be taking time to remember.

Noah, she said, was a tall, loud young man, known for drinking coffee and learning to cook so he could always eat well -- pumpkin pie, cheese cake and lasagna were some of his favorites. He always rooted for the underdog, loved music and sang with all his heart.

"You could never catch him without a smile on his face," Mark Pier said. "He was a joy to raise."

He was, they said, a proud Marine.

"He did believe in the fight for freedom," Vikki Pier said of her son, who was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart. "And he believed that it was vital to keep those that would harm us off our soil. So even though he went to Afghanistan, he believed he was protecting us here at home."

For many, Memorial Day means a time for barbecues with family and friends, the end of a school year and the unofficial beginning of summer. According to some polls, only about half of Americans know the holiday's true meaning. Many mistakenly believe it commemorates all veterans.

But Memorial Day, of course, honors the men and women who sacrificed their lives.

More than 645,000 Americans have been killed in conflicts since WWI -- a sacrifice that "cost a lot of families everything," as Vikki Pier put it.

This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Memorial Day will be different.

"While we may not be able to gather together in the manner in which we are accustomed, we will still ensure those who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our country are appropriately honored and remembered on Memorial Day," Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a statement.

Parades across the nation have been canceled, wreath-laying ceremonies at the war memorials on the National Mall will be streamed virtually and the National Memorial Day Concert will be live-streamed.

Arlington National Cemetery, where Vikki Pier says her "heart is," will be closed to the public but remains open for families with passes.

All 142 VA national cemeteries will be open for visitation throughout the weekend, but there will be no public events and no traditional placement and retrieval of gravesite flags.

There will be no Poppy Wall of Honor installation on the Mall. The United Services Automobile Association, which serves millions of military families, has created a website in its place, offering a digital tribute.

"What we find in this current environment is that Americans are heroic people," USAA senior vice president and retired Navy Vice Adm. John Bird told ABC News, saying Americans have a tradition of heroism. "They are willing to sacrifice. They are willing to step in harm's way. I am certainly inspired by the nurses, the doctors, the first responders. And I think the world of them. On the other hand, I know Memorial Day is dedicated to those who died in combat."

Krista Meinert was planning to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to honor her son, Jacob, who also was killed in action in Afghanistan, on Jan. 10, 2010. For the last nine years, she has made the trip all the way from Wisconsin.

But now, because of the coronavirus, she decided to stay home.

"This year, being that it is his 10-year anniversary, I wanted it to be grand," Meinert told ABC News.

But the coronavirus dashed those hopes. Now, she's at home -- Jacob's childhood home -- along with all his belongings.

"I think that I was most afraid of was being stuck in these four walls with my own thoughts by myself," said Meinert. "And that was the scariest thing."

Because of the coronavirus, Meinert said she was finally forced to confront the boxes, bins and containers that came back from Afghanistan all those years ago, filled with his clothes and other personal items.

"There's no way I can put it into words -- to open these boxes again and feel like you can still smell the smells," she said.

This is where she needed to be, she said, for that 10th anniversary of his death: at home, remembering who he was when he was alive.

From a young age, she said Jacob knew he wanted to be in the military.

In grade school he played with small, plastic soldiers and by high school he had collected World War II and Vietnam books. He had even studied the strategy behind chess. He defended kids who were bullied on the playground. She said he was the kid who could be friends with anyone. He had a Ricky Ricardo-type of laugh, his smile was crooked and he always had a glow in his eyes any time he told a story.

"He had this vision for himself and he fulfilled it," Meinert said. "He even told me, 'Mom, I'm going to come home with a Purple Heart.' And he did."

Lance Cpl. Jacob "Slim" Meiner, killed at just 20 years old, was awarded his Purple Heart, posthumously.

He was the leader who brought his troops hot chocolate on cold nights in Afghanistan, she said, and the Marine whose grave is still visited 10 years later by those who served with him.

This year the country grieves the nearly 100,000 people who have died from the coronavirus -- President Donald Trump ordered flags to fly at half-staff to honor those victims through the holiday. The families of the military fallen know that feeling all too well.

"I would ask each and every one of us Americans to be thankful that we've had other Americans who could do this," Bird, the retired vice admiral, said. "Just take a moment, just a brief moment on Monday, Memorial Day, to remember those great Americans."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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WJTN News Headlines for May 26, 2020

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