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What you need to know

  • The numbers: The coronavirus pandemic has infected 1.7 million people and killed more than 110,000 around the world.
  • Grim milestone in US: The country now has more than half a million cases. New York state alone has more cases than any other country. The US also has the most coronavirus-related deaths in the world.
  • Easter on lockdown: The Pope told the world “not yield to fear” ahead of Easter Sunday, which most Christians will mark from their homes instead of church. Francis livestreamed a service on YouTube.
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Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

Number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas jail more than doubles

There are now 25 inmates in Harris County, Texas, who are confirmed to have coronavirus, which more than doubles the previous count of nine within the jail population, according to a tweet Sunday evening from the sheriff’s office. 

The sheriff’s office says “dozens more inmates with symptoms are still awaiting test results.” Harris County is home to Houston and is most populous county in Texas.

Ivanka Trump: 'Wear a mask or face covering when out in public'

Ivanka Trump took to Twitter Sunday to urge people to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to “wear a mask or face covering when out in public.”

More than 170,000 sign petition rejecting UK Parliament's 'work-from-home' allowance

A petition calling for British parliamentarians to be stripped of an additional £10,000, or almost $12,500, work-from-home allowance has gathered more than 170,000 signatures online.

The one-off sum is designed to cover increased costs as members of parliament and their staff work from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

“We are requesting that Parliament discuss this allowance and identify whether the funds could be put to better use,” wrote Lucy Pearson, the petition’s author.

Pearson cited personal protective equipment for frontline health workers as an example.

As of Sunday night, more than 170,000 people had signed the petition on the Change.org website.

18% of the New York Police Department out sick

On Sunday, 6,522 uniformed members of the New York Police Department, 18% of the department’s uniformed workforce, were out sick, according to a daily NYPD coronavirus report.

Currently, 2,344 uniformed members and 489 civilian members have tested positive for coronavirus, the report said.

NJ law school grads can temporarily practice law without passing bar, state Supreme Court rules

The New Jersey Supreme Court is allowing 2020 law school graduates to temporarily practice law after the July 2020 bar exam was postponed to the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to an order signed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, court rules will be relaxed so that 2020 graduates who haven’t completed the bar exam can practice under supervision of an attorney in good standing with a three-year license.

“At this challenging time, the public has a continuing and growing need for legal services in many critical areas,” Rabner stated in the order Monday. “Newly admitted lawyers can help meet that need.”

The graduates must apply to take the first exam scheduled after graduation, or qualify for an extension, and must also earn certification from the Supreme Court Committee on Character before they can practice.

Under the order, 2020 law school graduates will be able to:

  • enter appearances.
  • draft legal documents and pleadings.
  • provide legal services to clients.
  • engage in negotiations and settlement discussions.
  • provide other counsel consistent with the practice of law in New Jersey

“The temporary ability to practice law will lapse if the graduate does not sit for the first bar exam scheduled after graduation, unless granted an extension, or if the graduate does not pass the exam,” the release said.

Wisconsin governor seeks to open second facility for Covid-19 patients

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has asked FEMA to begin the development of a second alternative care facility to prepare for a potential surge in Covid-19 cases, Evers said in a statement.

The facility would be housed in the Alliant Energy Center, a large multi-venue complex in Madison. 

“Dane County is proud to partner with Governor Evers and make our facility available to the state,” says Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, who oversees the space.

“This second alternative care facility will be an essential backup facility to ensure our healthcare system in the south central region is not overwhelmed,” Evers said. “Hopefully this second site will not be needed, but we must prepare for it now so we are ready.”

Turkish president rejects interior minister resignation after problematic coronavirus lockdown

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference on April 6 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the resignation submitted by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu after the minister came under heavy criticism for his implementation of a surprise lockdown in Turkey.

In a written statement about his resignation, Soylu said the scenes created after the lockdown announcement did not fit into the “perfectly managed process” by the government against the spread of Covid-19.

After the announcement of the curfew, people rushed out to markets to stock up on goods before the start of the lockdown leading to close contact between people.

In his statement, Soylu took near complete blame for the chaos and asked for “forgiveness from my dear nation, which I have never wanted to harm, and my president to whom I will be loyal till the end of my life.”

The offer of resignation was submitted to the president and was rejected, according to a written statement by the Turkish presidency.

“The decision to offer a resignation rests with the office holder but to accept it is the decision of the President. The resignation has not been accepted and the minister will continue his post,” the statement said.

The statement praised Soylu’s past performance across a wide range of policy issues as well as more recently on the Covid-19 measures.

Soylu has been a pivotal figure in Turkey’s fight against terrorism and is known as a nationalist hardliner. 

Ammon Bundy hosts Easter service despite state order against mass gatherings

Ammon Bundy makes his way from the entrance of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Burns, Oregon, on January 6, 2016.

As he promised, Idaho rancher Ammon Bundy – who once led an armed occupation of federal land in Oregon – organized an Easter Sunday church service in violation of a statewide order on mass gatherings.

A livestream of the service showed dozens of people in folding chairs sitting together in Bundy’s industrial warehouse in the small city of Emmett, about 30 miles northwest of Boise, where a handmade sign reading “Defy Martial Law” was placed in front of the speaker’s podium. 

After the group watched a precorded praise video, Bundy briefly addressed the group, saying, “When you believe in Christ … you will never infringe upon your neighbor’s rights.”

There were no signs on the livestream of anyone attempting to challenge or interrupt the service. Wayne Hoffman with the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation – a group that has called the ban on gatherings unconstitutional – also was invited to speak. 

Bundy did not officially announce the venue for the service until just hours before it started. He told CNN last week he wasn’t concerned about getting coronavirus.

“I’m healthy, my family is healthy. I’d rather have it now so my body is immune to it,” Bundy said.

New Hampshire governor receives 7 million pieces of PPE to combat coronavirus

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu helped unload a FedEx cargo plane containing nearly 7 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) Sunday to help fight the coronavirus pandemic

“Today is truly a jumping off point for the state and the healthcare facilities and individuals who can start benefiting from getting this PPE,” Sununu said. “We’re going to get it out the door as fast as we can in a variety of different areas.”

The governor said some of the equipment will be shared with neighboring states.

“Whether Vermont or Maine, we’ll find out what their need is and be part of the solution as well,” he said.  

The state won’t be charging those that receive today’s shipment of supplies, a news release from the governor’s office said.

Canadian province creates new health data platform to aid researchers

The Ontario government is developing a new health data platform called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR) that hopes to better detect, plan and respond to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a news release from the Ontario government.

The PANTHR platform is expected to hold secure health data that will allow researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness, including the immediate need to analyze the coronavirus outbreak.

“Better access to integrated data will improve modelling and research to determine how Covid-19 is evolving, ensuring frontline staff are as prepared as possible in these unprecedented times,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario’s deputy premier and health minister.

The new platform will contain clinical data from special registry collections and clinical data extracted from public health, hospital, laboratory and diagnostic imaging information systems.

First black UAW secretary-treasurer and longtime union leader dies from coronavirus

Ruben Burks speaks to UAW members in Flint, Michigan, on September 24.

Ruben Burks, the first African American secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers, died Monday due to coronavirus, his grandson confirmed to CNN.

He was 86.

Born in Louisiana, Burks moved to Michigan in 1955 to work in a General Motors factory. He joined the local union and worked his way up, eventually reaching the UAW’s second-highest position, according to the union.

Over more than 60 years of union activism, Burks championed the work of women and people of color in the labor movement.

Burks was remembered by as a larger-than-life community leader in Flint, dedicated to social justice and the working class. Even in retirement, Burks organized fellow retirees to protest water conditions in Flint, longtime friend and fellow union leader Steve Dawes told CNN.

“There wasn’t a week that went by that Ruben didn’t call me to ask how things were going, and how he could help,” Dawes said.

Burks’ local union chapter renamed its hall after him, and the regional UAW women’s council recognized him with a line of scholarships in his name.

Known for his constant thumbs-up, he encouraged his large family to face difficult situations with positivity and enthusiasm. Now his family is applying that same attitude to planning his funeral arrangements, Tony Burks said.

“It’s hard right now with regards to the timing, but we are working together to putting together a celebration,” Tony Burks said. “In living up with his true mission, no matter what you’re faced with, do the best with it.”

Illinois has more than 20,000 coronavirus cases

Illinois now has 20,852 cases of coronavirus with 720 deaths from the virus, according to a statement released by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The department announced 1,672 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, including 43 additional deaths.

Temporary hospital facility to be built in Atlanta ahead of potential coronavirus surge

A 200-bed temporary care facility will be built at the Georgia World Congress Center for a potential coronavirus patient surge in Georgia, according to an announcement from Gov. Brian Kemp.

Georgia’s projected peak date is April 26, according to Kemp’s news release.

“Across Georgia, we have partnered with existing healthcare infrastructure to greatly expand our surge capacity, and now we have a dedicated team building out a temporary facility at the Georgia World Congress Center for potential COVID-19 patient surge,” Kemp said. “We are working around the clock to prepare for future needs and ensure the health and well-being of our state. I am truly honored to have Georgia’s best, brightest, and most dedicated public servants working on this critically important project.”

The Georgia National Guard, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, Department of Community Health, Department of Public Health and contractors will immediately begin to prepare GWCC for the potential coronavirus patient surge for mild to moderate (non-ICU) illness levels, excluding ventilator support, according to Kemp’s release.

Sheltering from tornadoes takes priority over social distancing, state officials say

More than 95 million people in nearly 20 states could experience severe weather today and Monday, including heavy rain, hail and tornadoes.

Emergency officials say sheltering from tornadoes and protecting yourself from severe weather takes priority over social distancing guidelines Americans are adhering to during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency tweeted a photo saying their experts were monitoring the weather. The tweet also emphasized that people should have a safe place to go –– and if that’s a public shelter, to continue practicing social distancing.

“If you go to a public shelter please wear a mask, bandana, or scarf around your nose and mouth,” the tweet said.