Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

The U.S. and its territories have surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to figures compiled by The Post. The count represents nearly one-third of the world’s reported covid-19 cases and includes more than 57,000 deaths since February, though experts call those numbers an underestimation.

Meantime, Vice President Pence visited the Mayo Clinic and spoke with patients and staff while not wearing a face mask, an apparent violation of the medical center’s policy during the coronavirus pandemic. Of the more than half a dozen people visible in video footage of the visit posted online by “PBS NewsHour,” Pence is the only one not wearing a face mask.

Here are some significant developments:

Sign up for our coronavirus newsletter | Mapping the spread of the coronavirus: Across the U.S. | Worldwide | What you need to know about the virus | Has someone close to you died of covid-19? Share your story with The Washington Post.

3:42 a.m.
Link copied

Stock market rebounds while unemployment spikes, showing reach and limits of Fed’s muscle

By David J. Lynch

As the deaths and unemployment claims from the coronavirus pandemic steadily mounted, the stock market this month did something unexpected: It went up. And up. And up.

The Dow Jones industrial average has risen almost 30 percent from its March 23 low, a remarkable turnaround from the 20-day plummet that produced the fastest bear market in history. The Dow closed roughly flat on Tuesday after another big rally on Monday.

“The stock market was up very substantially today," Trump said Monday. "And people are seeing a lot of good things, a lot of very smart people investing in the stock market right now.” He promised an “incredible” economic comeback later this year.

Read more here.

3:41 a.m.
Link copied

Iowa workers who don’t return to work could lose unemployment benefits

By Candace Buckner

As restrictions ease in a handful of states and businesses prepare to reopen, government agencies have announced that temporary laid-off employees who refuse to report back to work will lose unemployment benefits.

In Texas and Iowa, restaurants, retail shops and other recreational businesses will open May 1, posing a dilemma for workers who may have concerns about being exposed to the novel coronavirus. However, this week, an official with the Texas Workforce Commission told Texas Monthly that employees who don’t show up for work will be denied unemployment benefits. Also, the Iowa Workforce Development posted a link on its website for employers to report workers who do not return to offered jobs.

“If you’re an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to, that’s a voluntary quit,” Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said, according to The Hill. “Therefore, they would not be eligible for the unemployment money.”

Reynolds did not issue a statewide stay-at-home order and on Monday, the governor announced an easing of social distancing measures in 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties that have not reported a coronavirus case or have experienced a descent in cases for 14 consecutive days. Businesses in those regions are set to reopen on a limited capacity starting May 1.

3:19 a.m.
Link copied

Virus spread at Virginia chicken plants alarms health officials

By Devlin Barrett

MACHIPONGO, Va. — Health officials on Virginia’s Eastern Shore are increasingly worried that clusters of coronavirus tied to two poultry plants may overwhelm the one local hospital, even as the Trump administration insists such facilities remain open to keep the country fed during the crisis.

The chicken plants, one operated by Perdue Farms, the other by Tyson Foods, have continued operating as the number of cases linked to them climbed in the past week, according to health officials. Hospital officials said Tuesday that there are nearly 100 cases of Tyson employees or people who came in contact with them contracting covid-19, while the Perdue plant has about 80 such cases.

The coronavirus numbers on the Eastern Shore are small compared with big cities, but in rural areas it does not take nearly as many cases to overwhelm local health-care facilities.

Read more here.

3:03 a.m.
Link copied

Britain’s nurses wore garbage bags as gowns, and the bereaved are demanding answers

By William Booth and Karla Adam

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work to find his government under mounting pressure to explain why front-line workers for the National Health Service were donning garbage bags and makeshift masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus during the epidemic.

A BBC “Panorama” special investigation that aired Monday charged that the government had failed to include crucial personal protective equipment, including gowns and face shields, in its pandemic stockpile.

The show — titled “Has the government failed the NHS?” — focused on the lack of preparedness that has left health-care workers vulnerable to coronavirus exposure.

The government says 82 health-care workers and 16 nursing home and social-care workers have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. One website run by nurses says at least 140 have died.

2:54 a.m.
Link copied

Trump to order meat plants to stay open in pandemic, person familiar with action says

By Taylor Telford, Kimberly Kindy and Jacob Bogage

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday evening compelling meat processors to remain open to head off shortages in the nation’s food supply chains, despite mounting reports of plant worker deaths due to covid-19.

Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to classify meat plants as essential infrastructure that must remain open. Under the order, the government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to a person familiar with the action who spoke about the order before it was signed by the president. The person was not authorized to disclose details of the order, which was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Read more here.

2:48 a.m.
Link copied

Second week of ‘quarantine fatigue’ trend in cell phone data is concerning, experts say

By Katherine Shaver

The number of U.S. residents showing “quarantine fatigue” by venturing out increased last week, when more governors reopened businesses closed for the coronavirus pandemic or announced plans to do so, according to researchers tracking smartphone data.

Researchers say the cellphone location data for April 24 is significant because it marked the second Friday in a row when people stayed home less, illustrating the start of a trend rather than a one-week blip.

Public health experts have called the findings worrisome because the increased travel started even as most of the country remains under stay-at-home orders and the deadly virus is far from contained.

Read more here.

1:38 a.m.
Link copied

Google’s revenue is up, but the coronavirus pandemic is already taking a toll

By Rachel Lerman

Google‘s parent company experienced a “tale of two quarters,” said Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai on Tuesday, as first-quarter revenue increased 13 percent despite a drop off in ad sales as the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The first two months of the year started strong, Pichai said. But as the economy started to shut down, consumers started to limit spending and companies started laying off employees and slashing costs. Google’s core business — digital advertising — suffered an “abrupt decline,” particularly as key customers like travel websites slashed ad spending.

Still, people are using Google’s services more than ever, Pichai said. And many businesses are moving toward cloud computing, which allows companies to rent space from Google’s servers.

Read more here.

1:36 a.m.
Link copied

La. governor to meet with Trump on Wednesday

By Samantha Pell

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is scheduled to meet with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the state’s ongoing response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Edwards announced Monday that he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order to May 15, after the state did not achieve a sufficient decline of covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in every region to justify lifting the order that has been in effect since March 23. It was set to expire Thursday.

“I look forward to having a substantive conversation with President Trump about Louisiana’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, our plans to re-open additional businesses next month, and our ongoing needs as we surge our testing capacity to 200,000 tests per month beginning in May,” Edwards said in a statement. “I am appreciative of the President’s attention to Louisiana and his support for our people during this difficult time for our state. Brighter days are ahead for Louisiana and by working together with our federal partners, I know we will get through this.”

One minor tweak to the state’s extended order will allow restaurant patrons to eat their takeout food in outdoor seating areas as long as no employees serve them. Edwards also reminded most retailers that they have always been allowed to remain open, though most have not done so.

As of Tuesday, Louisiana has reported 27,286 positive cases and 1,758 fatalities. The state has tested 150,000 individuals.

1:33 a.m.
Link copied

Trump’s planned speech at West Point is creating logistics and health concerns

By Missy Ryan, Alex Horton and Robert Costa

The day before the U.S. Military Academy announced it would proceed with plans for President Trump to deliver the commencement address, cadets joined a video call to learn about their return to the campus outside New York.

The decision to hold an in-person graduation in June meant that nearly 1,000 graduating cadets would travel back to West Point from their homes, where they have been distance-learning since spring break, and undergo up to three weeks of quarantine at campus barracks and a nearby training site.

But uncertainties remained, including how to ensure that the cadets wouldn’t sicken one another and how to account for sometimes unreliable test results.

The decision has generated concerns that the move could jeopardize the health of future Army leaders. It has also raised questions among public health experts who caution that measures to detect and isolate sick students may not be fail-safe.

Speaking on April 17, the president said the future Army leaders would probably be seated at a distance from each other during his address.

“Do I like the look? No, I don’t,” Trump said, adding that he expected ceremonies to eventually resume where troops were “nice and tight.”

Read more here.

1:31 a.m.
Link copied

Fauci says capacity to test anyone who needs it should come by ‘end of May, the beginning of June’

By Candace Buckner

On Tuesday, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that anyone who requires a test should be able to get one in about a month.

“Everyone who needs a test, according to the way we’re approaching the identification, isolation, contact tracing, keeping the country safe and healthy, that, hopefully, we should see that as we get towards the end of May, the beginning of June,” Fauci said.

Even so, Tuesday marked the 52nd day since President Trump falsely claimed that “anybody who wants a test can get a test.”

Fauci echoed the phrasing used during Monday’s White House briefing in which Trump outlined a plan for the government to provide “strategic direction and technical assistance” as states create their own plans for contact tracing and rapid-response programs.

Though several governors have called on the federal government to provide more help with testing materials and other needs, the White House’s outline assigned most of the responsibility to the states.

During his television interview, Fauci advocated for a joint effort.

“The truth is that we’re going in the right direction, but we need to continue to partner in a very active, collaborative way with the states,” Fauci said. “We need to help them, the same way they need to do the execution.”

During a question-and-answer session with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Trump promised 5 million tests per day “very soon,” although the country is still averaging 150,000 daily tests.

1:03 a.m.
Link copied

FEMA, HHS officials tell lawmakers there’s not enough PPE and testing supplies

By Colby Itkowitz

Trump administration officials have told members of Congress that there still isn’t enough personal protective equipment and testing to meet the demand, the House Oversight Committee revealed Tuesday.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Health and Human Services Department held briefings with lawmakers last week and today where they answered questions about states’ preparedness to reopen their economies.

Oversight panel Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said what the officials told them contradicts Trump’s assurances that the country is ready to open back up.

“For weeks, President Trump has been claiming that states have enough personal protective equipment and testing to begin reopening the economy — even as tens of thousands of Americans have died, and governors, mayors, and front-line health care workers have pleaded for more supplies and assistance,” she said in a statement.

“He needs to start being honest with the American people and come up with a nationwide plan to get the resources we need to prevent more Americans from dying.”

The committee provided snippets of some of the officials’ testimony.

FEMA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, David Bibo, told the lawmakers that “demand still outstrips supply considerably.” Every day he hears about places that are going to be out of supplies within two to three days, he said, according to the committee’s release.

On testing, the officials told the lawmakers that they are hearing from states who don’t have the supplies needed to ramp up testing the way many public health experts say is needed to begin resuming normal life. They said some states with more aggressive reopening plans may need to take a more incremental approach.

According to the committee’s account, Bibo said the administration was working to develop “some sort of estimate” of supplies that will needed across the country, but didn’t have a response when the lawmakers pressed them on the White House’s lack of a national strategy for testing and acknowledged it was mostly being left up to the states to figure out.

11:01 p.m.
Link copied

Kentucky governor apologizes to resident Tupac Shakur after accusing him of fake unemployment claim

By Samantha Pell

A Kentucky man who shares a name with the late rapper Tupac Shakur knew he had to file for unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic to pay his bills.

However, he did not expect to hear his name brought up by Gov. Andy Beshear (D) Monday night, as the governor used the unemployed 46-year-old Lexington resident’s name as an example of people using fake names for unemployment benefits during the outbreak.

“We had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur here in Kentucky,” Beshear said during his Monday news briefing, most likely thinking of the rapper who died in the 1990s. “And that person may have thought they were being funny; they probably did. Except for the fact that because of them, we had to go through so many other claims.”

Shakur told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday that he was “hurt, I’m really embarrassed and I’m shocked” that the governor would assume he filed under a fake name and asked for an apology. On Tuesday, Shakur, who goes by his middle name Malik, told the newspaper that Beshear called him on Tuesday morning and apologized. Shakur said he forgave the governor.

“I understand, he’s dealing with a lot,” he told the paper. “Mistakes happen.”

Shakur, who worked as a cook at a restaurant that closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, applied for unemployment on March 13, the Herald-Leader reports. He got his monetary determination letter on March 17 and said he has been waiting for the money since then.

Beshear’s office originally told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the state could not verify the identity on the unemployment application it received from Shakur. The paper gave the governor’s office Shakur’s phone number so the state could work to fix the claim.

10:34 p.m.
Link copied

Casinos are eligible for small-business funds for the first time in 25 years

By Jonathan O'Connell and Aaron Gregg

Casinos with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive loans from a new pot of $310 billion in small-business funding that was released Monday, a rule change that could help casinos hire back workers but which was opposed by gambling foes.

For nearly 25 years, companies that made more than one-third of their revenue from gambling were barred from receiving Small Business Administration loans. That remained true when the government doled out a $349 billion fund for small businesses, called the Paycheck Protection Program, as part of the $2 trillion economic stimulus package.

But after lobbying from the casino industry, rules issued by President Trump’s administration Friday state that no business is disqualified from receiving PPP loans because of gambling revenue.

Read more here.

10:02 p.m.
Link copied

Academy Awards announce streaming movies will be eligible for Oscar for best picture

By Emily Yahr

Movies made available via streaming and video on demand will be eligible for the Academy Award for best picture this year, the film academy announced Tuesday.

To qualify, a movie typically must be shown in a theater in Los Angeles County for at least a week, three times a day. However, the academy acknowledged that because the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of movie theaters, those rules are no longer feasible for the upcoming Oscars.

“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering,” the organization said in a statement. “Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty.”

The rule will remain in place only for the 93rd Academy Awards, which is scheduled to air Feb. 27, 2021. In other rule changes, the academy announced that sound mixing and sound editing will be combined into one category, and physical DVD screeners will no longer be sent out to voting members.