CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 5-302020-03-31

(TEXAS) A new virus sweeping the globe reached pandemic status. Here`s the latest updates:

In the United States, the total number of reported cases is 1,735,971, and there have been a total of 102,323 reported COVID-19 deaths in the US.


From 5-29
Progress continues in some areas as others have a major fight on their hands in dealing with COVID-19. New Zealand says they have nearly eradicated the virus from their nation as just 1 person is currently infected there. India though, has reported yet another record number of infections at nearly 7,500. Pakistan has also reported a record number of deaths. Worldwide, the virus has infected 5.8 million people and killed 360,000. Here in America, the death toll has now surpassed 101,000. It is the highest number of deaths in 1 country in the world. The latest jobless report this week shows another 2 million Americans out of work, despite businesses re-opening across the country. The total number of jobless claims since the pandemic began is now 41 million. That said, the number of Americans currently getting jobless benefits is down for the 1st time since the crisis began and 1st time benefit seekers fell for the 8th straight week. 

Here in Texas, more businesses are slated to re-open beginning today. All public and private waterparks will open today with certain restrictions. Adult sports recreation programs will re-open this weekend, also with restrictions. Texas now has nearly 60,000 total infections and saw their largest single-day infection increase at over 1,800. More than 1,600 Texans have now died from the virus, though nearly 39,000 have recovered. Lee County is now at 21 total cases and 1 death. Robertson County has 7 total cases and Falls County 6. There were 8 new cases in Brazos County for 463 total. Bell County stands at 335 cases. McLennan County reported 4 new cases, bringing their total to 117. Williamson County reported their 23rd death from the virus. Their case count is up to 588. 

FROM 5-28:

The United States hit a grim milestone in dealing with COVID-19 on Wednesday, surpassing 100,000 deaths. The staggering number came across the wire as India registered record infections and Russia began easing restrictions despite major spikes in deaths and infections. India reported over 6,500 new infections on Wednesday, despite strict lockdown orders being enforced there. That lockdown order ends Sunday. In Russia, the government is making plans to re-open the economy and will hold a military parade in June to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nazi defeat in World War II. Even so, Russian deaths and infections have skyrocketed in recent days. Worldwide, the virus has infected over 5.7 million people and killed over 355,000. 

In Texas, there were no new deaths, though the case count surged by over 1,300 to 57,921. Of those, over 37,600 have recovered. Bell County saw 30 new cases Wednesday and have 329 total. McLennan County is up to 113 with 1 new case. Brazos County had 11 new cases and sit at 455. Williamson County is nearing 600 cases at 588 total. 

FROM 5-27:

Virus hot spots are hitting Latin and South America hard as spikes in cases return to South Korean and India. That said, there is optimism around the globe as economies emerge from restrictions and lockdowns, leading to a large surge in stock prices on Wall Street. Outbreaks are still climbing, but progress appears to be underway economically. Worldwide, the virus has infected 5.6 million people and killed over 350,000. Meanwhile, the US death toll is nearing 100,000. All of Europe has recorded 170,000 deaths. 

Here in Texas, confirmed cases were down Tuesday as Governor Greg Abbott announced further easing of restrictions. Abbott said water parks may open Friday, though video arcades there must remain off limits. Driver education programs may resume immediately. Adult sports recreational programs may resume Sunday and mall food courts may resume operations at 25% capacity. The new orders come as just 619 new cases were reported in the state on Tuesday. Texas now has over 56,500 total cases and 1,536 deaths. Thirty-one new cases were reported in Bell County on Tuesday, bringing their case count to 309. McLennan County added 5 new cases and are up to 112 total. Brazos County had only 3 new cases and now sit at 444. Williamson County is up to 565 cases. 

FROM 5-26:

The case count in Texas continues to inch upward as more and more businesses re-open. Texas has nearly 56,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and have surpassed 1,500 deaths. Over 35,000 Texans have recovered and some 22,600 cases are considered active. Bell County is nearing 300 total cases, though 165 have recovered. McLennan County remains even at 107 cases. Brazos County added 3 new cases for a total of 441. Over 170 have recovered. Falls County is at 6 cases and Robertson County at 7. Burleson County added 1 new case for 22 total. Williamson County is up 565 cases and still leads the Ranch listening area with 22 deaths. 

FROM 5-25:

Restrictions continue to ease across the nation as hot spots flare up around the world in dealing with COVID-19. President Donald Trump on Sunday moved to further limit travel from some hot spots. His new orders deny entry to people coming from Brazil to the US. Bans are already enacted for certain travelers from China, Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Iran. One country not on the list is Russia, who now has the world`s 3rd highest case count. The US leads the world with 1.6 million confirmed cases and a death toll expected to surpass 100,000 this week. 

Locally, Brazos County is up to 438 cases. Williamson County stands at 528 cases and added another death this weekend for 21 total. Bell County is up to 278 cases. 

FROM 5-23:

In a surprising turn of events, Dr. Anthony Fauci, previously in strong favor of national shutdown, has warned that the extension of stay-at-home regulations could "cause irreparable damage" to the country. Although he still warned of what he called "reckless re-opening", it appears that one of the top officials in dealing with COVID in the United States is beginning to shift positions on the lockdown.


From 5-22:
More businesses will get to open beginning today in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott`s latest executive orders to re-open the state will allow bars, bowling alleys, zoos, and breweries to open with restrictions. Restaurants will be allowed to increase their capacity from previous orders. Abbott also has terminated all air travel restrictions into the state. Previously, travelers from certain hot spot areas had been mandated to quarantine upon coming into Texas. The case count in Texas continues to rise as the state opens up. Another 945 cases were confirmed Thursday for a total of 52,268. The Texas death toll is nearing 1,500, though over 30,300 people have recovered. 

Locally, Bell County is at 282 cases and 150 recoveries. McLennan County added 4 new cases Thursday and are finally above 100 at 106. Brazos County picked up 11 new cases and have 373 total. Williamson County is up to 520 cases. 

FROM 5-21:

Confirmed cases continue to rise as restrictions continue to ease across the nation. Texas now stands at 51,323 cases of COVID-19. The death toll in the state is 1,419. Over 30,000 Texans have recovered from the virus and nearly 20,000 cases are considered active. The news comes as Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced that Scott & White Medical Center in Temple will get a supply of the antiviral drug Remdesivir. The drug has show early promise in speeding up recovery from the virus. The state distributed 30 cases of the drug to 15 hospitals across Texas. Meanwhile, Williamson County announced they have paused their testing for all campaign through Family Emergency Rooms. Within weeks of implementing COVID testing to anyone and everyone, the County announced they are stalling the project due to a major backlog of testing requests. The County has already conducted 564 tests, of which 8 were positive. Another 350 people are scheduled to be tested and over 1,000 more people have requested to be tested. The tests will resume once the backlog is cleared.

More locally, Bell County reported 267 cases on Wednesday. McLennan County added 4 cases and are at 102 total. Brazos County saw their largest spike since the beginning of the pandemic with 21 new cases. Their total is now 362. Williamson County is up to 513 cases. Their death toll leads the area at 20. 

FROM 5-20:

The worldwide infection total is nearly 5 million as new hot spots crop up around the globe in the fight against COVID-19. The latest virus numbers are above 4.9 million infections as the death toll surpassed 320,000. Russia and Brazil now trail the United States in reported infections as spikes in cases are being seen in India, South Africa, and Mexico. Here in the US, all 50 states have now eased lockdown and shelter-in-place orders as of today, with Connecticut the last state to ease such restrictions. 

In Texas, the total number of confirmed cases rose by over 1,000 to nearly 50,000. A total of 1,369 Texans have died, though nearly 30,000 have recovered. Bell County reports 260 cases of the virus and 150 recoveries. There were 8 new cases in Brazos County, who is up to 341 total cases. Burleson County sits at 18 cases. There were no new additional cases in McLennan County. Williamson County is at 501 cases and 20 deaths. 

FROM 5-19:

Governor Abbott held a press conference Monday and announced the plan for phase 2 of re-opening the state of Texas. Starting with changes being made effective immediately, Gyms, non-essential manufacturing facilities, and child services can re-open. This Friday, bars, wine-tasting rooms, craft breweries, and bowling allies can resume operations at 25% occupancy. Restaurants can also increase their capacity to 50%. Youth sports operations can return on May 31st, so long as they observe and practice social distancing.

The news comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas rose to 48,693. The death toll is now 1,347. Bell County is at 248 cases and 150 recoveries. McLennan County is up to 98 cases after adding 1 new case Monday. Burleson County added a new case and now have 18 total. Williamson County inches closer to 500, sitting at 486 in total. Brazos County added 8 new cases for 333. 

FROM 5-18:

World leaders continue to weigh the risks and rewards of easing restrictions and restarting their economies amid a pandemic. Governments are struggling with restarting those economies even though health officials have now acknowledged that a vaccine could take years to develop. Japan officially recorded a recession for the 1st quarter and India saw their largest spike in cases in a single day over the weekend. China saw just 7 new cases yesterday as some areas there continue to use stringent social distancing rules. In the US, images are being shown of crowded bars and beaches, proof that many are ignoring warnings and social distancing guidelines. Most states have now lifted shelter-in-place orders and are slowly kick starting their economy as over 36 million people are unemployed across the nation. Over 4.7 million people have tested positive worldwide and over 315,000 have died. The US reports 89,000 deaths and Europe has totaled 160,000 deaths. 

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott will make an announcement today on the state`s latest plans to re-open safely. Texas is reporting over 45,000 cases and 1,272 deaths. Bell County is at 242 cases and 149 recoveries. McLennan County is up to 97 cases and 89 recoveries. Brazos County sits at 325 cases and 144 recoveries. Williamson County has been hardest hit with 451 cases and 19 deaths. 

FROM 5-16:

The US House of Representatives narrowly passed a $3 Trillion COVID-19 relief package on Friday. The bill passed with a 208-199 vote in the house on a mostly party-line vote by house Democrats. Analysts say the bill is likely to be shut down in the Republican-controlled Senate on the basis of the bill containing non-COVID related funding. The stimulus package would contain, among many other things, another round of stimulus checks to qualifying citizens.

From 5-15

New virus outbreaks continue to arise as countries around the world work to re-open their economies. Japan is pushing ahead with relaxed restrictions, though Tokyo and Osaka remain under lockdown. Fears of major spikes are arising in the Philippines after mass evacuations there due to of a typhoon that swept through overnight causing massive damage. China brings good news through, with no new deaths in over a month and only 4 new cases. Trends remains worrisome elsewhere. Mexico saw its largest single day rise in cases at nearly 2,500. The US continues to see large protests and debate about how best to return to a somewhat normal economy. The US remains the hub of the largest outbreak in the world with 1.4 million infections and 85,000 deaths. Worldwide, there are 4.4 million infections and over 300,000 deaths. 

Texas saw their highest single-day death count on Thursday with 58. Nearly 1,500 new cases were also confirmed. That news comes as restrictions are being further relaxed here and additional businesses are expected to open beginning Monday. Texas has nearly 44,000 total cases, though 24,500 have recovered. Bell County is up to 237 cases and 149 recoveries. McLennan County held steady at 96 cases. Brazos County added 4 new cases and now have 305 total. Williamson County saw 3 new deaths on Thursday and are up to 19 since the pandemic began. Their total case count is 442. 

FROM 5-14:

Authorities in China are moving fast to test all 11 million residents where the COVID-19 pandemic began after a string of new infections there. Officials in Wuhan were given 10 days to test the 11 million residents there. The news comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci and other infectious disease experts testified before the US Senate, warning that cities and states will see more deaths and economic damage if they lift restrictions too fast. America is not the only country trying to find some balance. Italy partially lifted their restrictions last week but are now seeing large jumps in infections in their hardest hit regions. Worldwide, the virus has infected over 4.2 million people and killed over 291,000. The US Alone has 1.4 million cases and over 82,000 deaths. 

In Texas, the state count rose above 41,000 on Tuesday as the death toll hit 1,133. The good news is that nearly 23,000 Texans have recovered. Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week also ordered testing for all residents and employees at any and all nursing homes in Texas. Lee County added a new case Tuesday and has 4 active cases now. Bell County is up to 223 cases, though 144 have recovered. McLennan County added 2 new cases and now have 96 total. Brazos County picked up 9 additional cases for 287 total, though 122 have recovered. Williamson County is now up to 16 deaths and are inching closer to 400 total cases. 

FROM 5-12:

The US Government is working diligently to determine how to safely re-open businesses and schools without creating a surge in Covid-19 cases. In fact, that will be the topic during a Senate hearing today when top infectious disease experts testify, among them Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senators are expected to grill those experts on the US death toll, testing, and more. The US sits at 1.3 million infections and over 81,000 deaths. Both numbers are the highest total in the world. Across the globe, over 4.1 million people have tested positive and over 285,000 have died. Europe as a whole has seen 150,000 deaths. 

In Texas, COVID cases are nearing 40,000 as the death toll hit 1,100. Over half a million tests have been administered here. Bell County is at 220 cases, Brazos County up to 278, McLennan County at 94, and Robertson County at 5. 

FROM 5-11:

Countries continue to ease restrictions around the world, but some are seeing a resurgence in virus cases. Concern grew in South Korean about a 2nd wave of infections being spread as night clubs recently re-opened. The Government there had seen very few cases prior to re-opening the clubs, but new cases jumped over the weekend by double digits and now those clubs are being closed to the public again. China also saw a double digit increase for a 2nd straight day this weekend, including new cases in Wuhan, where the virus pandemic began. 

In the United States, the Trump Administration spoke of optimism on re-opening the economy, though the White House is dealing with their own virus issues. Vice President Mike Pence is now self-isolating after one of his aides tested positive for the virus. In addition, 3 members of the White House coronoavirus task force also placed themselves under quarantine after coming into contact with that same aide. The US has 1.3 million infections and nearly 80,000 deaths. Worldwide, the virus has infected 4 million people and killed over 280,000. 

In Texas, barber shops, hair and nail salons, and similar businesses re-opened with restrictions on Friday. The state reported over 37,800 confirmed cases following the weekend. The death toll here also reached past 1,000. The state is seeing over 1,200 new cases per day over the past few days. Bell County has reported 220 cases. McLennan County is holding at 94. Williamson County is up to 361 cases. Brazos County is at 271. 

FROM 5-9:
With a variance in the numbers of tests given out across the nation, as well as a still-lingering uncertainty about the accuracy of the tests, a growing debate is discussing the level of accuracy in COVID-19 case numbers. There are two sides to this argument, with one saying that the number of cases is vastly undercounted, making the virus seem smaller than it actually is, and the other stating that the death count is being inflated by including non-COVID related deaths in death counts, which makes the pandemic look worse than it actually is.

Recent State of Texas orders state that hair salons, barbers, nail salons, and other businesses re-opened as of Friday. Gyms and recreation facilities remain closed until May 18th. While barbers and the like are re-opening, they will do so with restrictions. Shops may open if they ensure social distancing measures, all parties wear masks, and equipment is disinfected after each use. Texas now has 973 deaths while total confirmed cases are up above 35,300. Over 18,400 Texans have recovered. Bell County reports 213 cases, McLennan County is now at 94, Brazos County at 243, and Williamson County has 352. There were no deaths in Central Texas.


From 5-8:

Texas is getting praise for their efforts in re-opening the economy amid the fight against a virus pandemic. President Donald Trump on Thursday praised Texas Governor Greg Abbott for his rolling back the restrictions related to COVID-19. Not long before Trump introduced Abbott at a press conference, the Governor had removed jail time as punishment for flouting virus safeguards still in place when a Dallas salon owner was jailed for keeping her business open in defiance of executive orders. Texas is among a list of more than half the country gradually re-opening for business, despite failing to reach guidelines released by the White House last month. Texas is averaging over 1,000 new cases per day over the last week, though Abbott said the state is containing the spread and has a plan to deal with virus flare-ups. 

Abbott was being praised on the eve of more businesses opening up here. Recent orders state that hair salons, barbers, nail salons, and other businesses may re-open as of today. Gyms and recreation facilities remain closed until May 18th. While barbers and the like are re-opening, they will do so with restrictions. Shops may open if they ensure social distancing measures, all parties wear masks, and equipment is disinfected after each use. Texas now has 973 deaths while total confirmed cases are up above 35,300. Over 18,400 Texans have recovered. Bell County reports 213 cases, McLennan County is now at 94, Brazos County at 243, and Williamson County has 352. There were no deaths in Central Texas.

FROM 5-7:

Officials in most countries are working to draw up plans in case of a resurgence of COVID-19 as they slowly re-open their economies again. Germany has begun to emerge from lockdown and authorities are working to cope with spikes in infections as people leave their homes to return to work. Italy said they are doubling down on finding new victims and tracing their contacts. The French, still under strict lockdown, is working on plans to ease those restrictions. The UK, with over 30,000 deaths, 2nd only to the United States, remains in lockdown and will remain so until at least this weekend. China has now declared itself as low risk for the virus. Worldwide, over 3.6 million people have been infected and over 250,000 people have died. Just over half of US states are easing restrictions on residents amid protests to get back to work and rising infection and death rates. The US is seeing 20,000 infections and 1,000 deaths each day. Researchers have now doubled their death predictions to 134,000 by August. One point two million Americans have tested positive and nearly 75,000 have died. 

Texas confirmed over 1,000 new cases Wednesday for nearly 34,500 total. The death toll rose to 948. Over 17,600 Texans have recovered. Bell County is up to 210 cases. McLennan County is at 92. Brazos County picked up 13 cases Wednesday and have 232 cases total. Williamson County confirmed a 12th death from the virus and added 8 new cases for a total of 341. 

FROM 5-6:

Further easing of restrictions are coming to Texas. Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday afternoon that barbershops and hair salons will be allowed to open Friday with restrictions. Both will be allowed to re-open and serve 1 customer per barber or stylist with 6-foot separation between chairs. They must also wear face masks and customers waiting in line must stay outside or in their vehicles. Gyms are also being allowed to re-open at 25% capacity on May 18th. Earlier guidelines for church services have now been extended to funerals, burials, memorial services, and weddings. 

The loosening of restrictions comes as the total number of Texas infections is now above 33,300. The Texas death toll rose to 906 on Tuesday, though nearly 16,800 people have recovered. Bell County is now at 210 cases after adding 10 more on Tuesday. Brazos County reported a 17th death from the virus Tuesday. Their total case load is 219 with 115 recovered. Williamson County also reported another death, making 11 now. County officials are dealing with 333 cases there and are expected to investigate after 3 nursing homes in the county saw spikes in infections recently. 

FROM 5-5:

The United States continues to take steps to slowly re-open as encouraging news emerges out of China and South Korea. The 2 countries, hit hard early by COVID-19, reported a combined 4 infections Monday. In China, there have been no new deaths in 3 weeks. The news comes as the US takes slow, halting steps to ease restrictions for staying at home, though thousands of cases are being reported each day here. The US Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of hearing arguments by phone, allowing the world to listen in for the 1st time ever. A shuttered pork plant in South Dakota took steps to re-open after an outbreak at the plant left 800 employees sickened. Worldwide infections have surpassed 3.5 million and over 251,000 people have died. The United States has 68,000 deaths, more than any other country. 

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott is expected to provide an update on the state response today at 2:30PM. Over 32,300 cases have been confirmed here, leading to 884 deaths. Bell County is up to 194 cases, though the virus has claimed only 3 lives. McLennan County sits at 91 cases and 4 deaths. Brazos County reported 1 additional case Monday for 209 total. They have seen 16 deaths. Williamson County is up to 328 cases and 10 deaths. 

FROM 5-4:

Signs were good and bad around the globe over the weekend as the world continues to battle COVID-19. Signs in Europe were encouraging, though India and Russia saw major spikes in infections. Italy continues to ease restrictions and saw less than 200 deaths, their lowest total since early March. Spain is also seeing a significant downward trend. Both countries were hard hit by the virus. As people continue to take advantage of eased restrictions, health officials continue to warn about a possible 2nd wave of infections. Here at home, Americans continued to increase their pressure to re-open the country through protests. The US is still seeing tens of thousands of new cases each day and nursing homes have accounted for 20,000 of the country`s 67,000 deaths. Worldwide infections are over 3.5 million now. 

Texas sits over 30,500 cases after the weekend, with rises in infections topping 1,000 for the last several days. Texas deaths are up to 847, though recoveries are nearly 15,000. Williamson County is up to 323 cases and announced a 10th death from the virus. Bell County sits at 173 cases and 3 deaths. Brazos County is over 200, with 15 deaths. Burleson County remains at 14 cases and Robertson County has 4. 

FROM 5-2:

The State of Texas is now on day 2 of a recently-relaxed lockdown. The original shelter-in-place order in Texas has expired, and several businesses, including stores, restuarants, museums, and movie theaters, can open their locations with up to 25% capacity, given that several health guidelines are followed. The new order also opens golf courses, given that there is only one per cart and social distancing is practiced. Other sports are allowed as well so long as there are no more than 4 in a group and social distancing is being practiced.

Here in Milam County, Judge Young and the Commissioners Court declared a new shelter-in-place order that will last through May 18th. This will follow the guidelines of the relaxed restrictions on the statewide level, but will keep the non-esssential activity clause, which allows for residents to be penalized if suspected of conducting activity deemed unsafe or non-essential.


From 5-1:

Much of Texas is re-opening today as new executive orders take hold. Retail businesses, restaurants, malls, and theaters re-open at 25% capacity. All must also maintain social distancing rules and adhere to specific safety and sanitation standards. Texas re-opens as the case count surged past 28,000 confirmed and deaths hit 782. Thursday was a single day high of 50 deaths in Texas. Bell County reported 189 total cases Thursday and 3 total deaths. Seventy-nine people have recovered. McLennan County added 1 new case for 89 total. Seventy-three people have recovered and 4 have died. Brazos County picked up 4 cases and now have 197 total. They have the highest death toll in Central Texas with 16. Ninety patients have recovered there. Williamson County has the highest amount of infections with 301 total cases. They also reported their 9th death on Thursday, though 175 people have recovered. 

Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday released more information on jobless benefits related to COVID-19. Abbott said the new guidelines will allow certain people to continue to get benefits, though most Texans who refuse suitable work will no longer be eligible. Under the new guidelines: benefits will be granted to workers 65 or older who are at higher risk from the virus; workers who have household members 65 or older; workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the state and who have not recovered; workers in whose households anyone has tested positive for the virus by an authorized source and has not recovered; workers who are currently quarantined because of close contact exposure to someone with the virus, and workers whose children`s daycares or schools or closed and who have no alternatives available.

FROM 4-30:

Countries around the world continue to ease back into their economies while trying to stymie a resurgence in COVID-19. In Europe, where over 132,000 people have died, fears of new spikes in infections persist as workers and shoppers return to stores and factories. Economic news shows that the French economy shrank by nearly 6% in the 1st quarter, the largest drop since 1949. The Spanish had a drop of more than 5% and Italy 8%. Germany is predicting a more than 6% drop in their GDP. In California, the Governor is expected to close all beaches and state parks beginning Friday after thousands thronged there last weekend, ignoring social distancing orders. Nevada is extending stay-at-home orders through May 15th, but easing restrictions on some activities and businesses. This comes as the promise for a more effective treatment against the virus went public. An experimental drug has shown signs it can speed the recovery of the virus, which has killed over 225,000 people worlwide, including over 60,000 here in America. The worldwide infection number is now over 3.2 million, including over 1 million in the US. 

Texas now has over 27,000 confirmed cases and 732 deaths. Over 12,500 Texans have recovered. Bell County is reporting 174 cases and 73 recoveries. Brazos County added 5 new cases Wednesday for 193 total cases. They have 88 recoveries and 16 deaths. McLennan County picked up an additional case Wednesday and now have 88 total. Williamson County saw 6 new cases and recorded an 8th death from the virus. Their total case count is 293, with 169 recovered. Robertson County said they saw 2 more cases confirmed Wednesday, doubling their case count. Burleson County stands at 12 cases. 

FROM 4-29:

Governments continue to ease lockdown restrictions as health officials urge the public to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19. Health authorities continue to monitor the pandemic as restrictions loosen. On Tuesday, Germany reported an uptick in infections since allowing some small businesses to re-open this week. Around the world, over 3.1 million people have been infected, including 1 million here in the US alone. The death toll globally is now at 217,000. 

Texas is reporting over 26,000 confirmed cases of the virus, which have resulted in 690 deaths. Nearly 12,000 Texans have recovered. Bell County has 173 total cases. A total of 73 have recovered. McLennan County had no new cases Tuesday and they remain at 87. Brazos County added 6 new cases for a total of 188. So far, 86 have recovered. Williamson County reported an 8th death from the virus Tuesday. They also reported 287 total cases and 155 recoveries. Robertson County announced that eligible businesses will be able to re-open at 50% capacity beginning Friday because their county has only 2 confirmed cases of the virus. 

FROM 4-28:

Countries continue to slowly re-open their economies this week. France and Spain, 2 of the hardest hit countries by COVID-19, are laying out separate roadmaps toward lifting restrictions. New Zealand and Australia announced their countries are showing signs the virus is beaten there. The good news comes as Brazil is emerging as the new hot spot for infections. The world is also grappling with how and when to re-open schools as nations ease restrictions and lockdowns. 

The number of confirmed infections in America reached nearly 1 million on Monday. Some 211,000 people have died worldwide, including 55,000 here in America. The White House on Monday announced plans to ease restrictions while ramping up testing for the virus. The Trump administration unveiled a blueprint for states to scale up their testing in the coming week. Texas has surpassed 25,000 confirmed cases and seen 663 people die from the virus. Over 11,100 have recovered. Bell County is reporting 165 cases and 73 recoveries. McLennan County added 5 new cases Monday for 87 total. Brazos County reported no new confirmed cases and remain at 182 total. Williamson County is now up to 287 cases. 

FROM 4-27:

Nations and States have begun easing lockdowns amid virus concerns around the globe. Restrictions are being lifted at various paces. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now back at work after dealing with COVID-19 and being hospitalized. Upon his return, Johnson indicated the country was beginning to turn the tide, but restrictions would remain in force until May 7th. Spain finally began easing restrictions, allowing kids under 14 to leave their homes for the 1st time. The Czech Republic began opening smaller stores, zoos, gardens, and fitness centers. Over 207,000 people worldwide have died from the virus and some 3 million people have been infected. 

Here in America, deaths are up to nearly 55,000. Italy, Britain, France, and Spain each have 20,000 deaths. US states are each having to decide on easing restrictions at their own pace. Hard hit states like New York and Michigan are keeping restrictions in place until at least mid-May. Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alaska have allowed certain businesses to re-open. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to announce new plans to re-open the Texas economy today. The state has nearly 25,000 confirmed cases and 648 deaths. McLennan County added 1 new case Sunday, bringing their total to 82. Williamson County saw a huge jump with 51 new cases Sunday. Their total has exploded to 262 total cases, many attributed to a cluster of cases at a Round Rock nursing home. Brazos County had just 1 new case Sunday. 

FROM 4-25:

Gov. Abbott has announced that, although Texas is one of the largest states in the nation, the death rate is among the lowest, and that the plans for re-opening the state are still underway. As of Friday, stores were able to open in a curb-side pickup form only, and, earlier last week, state parks opened and elective surgeries were re-allowed. The state of Texas is working to expand the number of testing facilites across the state as well. Once businesses open, the next plan of the Lone Star State is to address the stay at home order, either altering or removing it. Expect an announcement about the next step for Texas within the next week.

From 4-24
More money is coming to the Payroll Protection Program as businesses slowly begin to re-open across the country. The US House passed a nearly $500 billion financial aid package on Thursday. The vote was nearly unanimous. As part of the bill, $250 billion will replenish the PPP while another $100 billion will go toward hospitals and testing. The passage comes as new unemployment numbers were made public. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics say 26.5 million are now unemployed because of the COVID-19 shutdown measures. The numbers show 1 in 6 Americans have lost their jobs. Results of a Chinese study on an antiviral drug found no positive effect, though the sample size is being called too small to be considered scientifically valid. The virus has killed nearly 200,000 people around the world, including 50,000 alone here in the US. 

In Texas, 1.3 million residents applied for unemployment in the most recent period. Texas has confirmed nearly 22,000 cases of the virus and 561 deaths. Over 8,000 Texans have recovered. Bell County has 153 cases and no new deaths. McLennan County had no new cases Thursday. Williamson County added 15 cases for 182 confirmed. Robertson County is set to host virus testing at Hearne High School today from 8AM-5PM. The test is only available to those within county lines and who have symptoms. They will also need to register online at txcovidtest.org/ or call 512-883-2400.

FROM 4-23:

Countries around the world continued to re-open at various speeds Wednesday, though some are seeing spikes in new cases of COVID-19. Most of Europe is slowly returning to normal, but Singapore and Japan tightened restrictions as cases rose there. The world`s most populous Muslim majority nation, Indonesia, also extended restrictions well into the Muslim holy time of Ramadan. The United Nations also warned that tens of millions of people are at risk of starvation due to the virus, a plague of locusts in Africa, and disruptions to supply chains. The report estimated some 135 million are at risk of acute starvation around the globe. Worldwide, the virus has infected 2.6 million people and killed 183,000. The US has suffered the most deaths at more than 45,000. 

In Texas, confirmed cases surged past 21,000 Wednesday and deaths hit 543 total. The virus has now been recorded in 200 of 254 counties. Governor Greg Abbott this week announced the state will begin to open back up with restrictions eased by this Friday. On Wednesday, Abbott indicated that hair salons and shopping inside stores could be coming soon. Brazos County added 4 new cases Wednesday for 177 total. Of those, 60 have recovered and there were no new deaths. Bell County sits at 145 cases, 73 of which recovered. McLennan County has 81 cases and Williamson County has 167. 

FROM 4-22:

Businesses around the globe continued to open their doors as restrictions in certain countries were pulled back amid the fight against COVID-19. Restrictions were eased in Germany, Denmark, and Austria. Despite the openings, there has been a sense of trepidation from workers and customers about venturing out. European hot spots Italy and Spain saw continued reductions in their death tolls and hospitalizations. However, Singapore, once considered the best model of tracking and prevention, saw a major spike in cases and has now extended their lockdown. Worldwide, the virus has infected over 2.5 million people and killed over 177,000. 

The United States has been the hardest hit of all, suffering over 45,000 deaths. Health officials are warning the government that the crisis is far from over and that relaxing shelter-in-place orders could bring disaster. Meanwhile, Congress is working fast to approve yet another financial aid package for businesses. The US Senate approved a $483 billion deal Tuesday and the US House is expected to vote on it later this week. Most of the funding, $331 billion, would go to replenish the Payroll Protection Program that ran out of money last week. Another $100 billion would go to health care ($75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion to testing). Another $60 billion is set aside for small business loans. President Donald Trump on Tuesday also announced a 60-day pause on immigration into the US. The executive order would only bar those seeking permanent residency and not temporary workers. 

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said Texas hospitals can now resume elective and non-emergency surgery and procedures as of today. It would mark 1 of the 1st steps to a complete re-opening of the state. Abbott also said Tuesday that there are nearly half a million jobs available in Texas and outlined resources for those seeking work. The Governor encouraged job seekers to go online to workintexas.com. Abbott also asked employers and those seeking employment to check with the 28 local workforce development boards across the state. Texas filled over 1.5 million unemployment claims, paying out $1.4 billion. The news comes as Texas surpassed 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus Tuesday. Deaths stand at 517 and nearly 6,500 Texans have recovered. Bell County now shows 135 total cases, including 3 deaths and 72 recoveries. McLennan County sits at 78 cases and 61 recoveries. Four people have died there. Williamson County added 2 new cases and 1 new death. Wilco has 158 total cases and 5 deaths, though 101 have recovered. 

FROM 4-21:

The UN General Assembly is demanding global action to scale up development and access to medicines, vaccines, and equipment to battle the pandemic. The World Health Organization also warned Tuesday that moving too fast to ease lockdowns and restrictions will lead to a resurgence in COVID-19. European countries Denmark, Austria, Spain, and Germany began a gradual easing of restrictions Monday, allowing some people to return to work. Even so, people are returning to a new normal. German officials also announced they are calling off the world famous Oktoberfest set for this fall. Italy confirmed businesses can begin to re-open May 4th, but stopped short of completely loosening their strict lockdown regulations. 

In America, scattered protests picked up intensity as people demanded to get back to work. Some 22 million Americans have lost their jobs since the pandemic began. Amid the soaring unemployment numbers, Asian shares followed Wall Street down after US Oil Futures plunged to a historic low: below zero. The cost to have a barrel of US Crude delivered in May dipped down to negative $37 as storage places were filled. The negative price is the lowest it has ever been. Most states began announcing aggressive re-opening plans Monday, despite concerns from health officials. Worldwide, the virus has infected some 2.5 million people and killed 170,000. America has been the hardest hit, suffering nearly 790,000 confirmed cases and over 42,000 deaths. President Donald Trump on Monday said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the US, though it was unclear what that would look like. 

Here in Texas, there are now nearly 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 495 deaths. Over 5,700 Texans have recovered. Brazos County officials reported no new cases Monday, leaving their total at 170. Sixteen people have died there and 57 have recovered. Bell County is reporting 123 confirmed cases and 3 deaths. Sixty-six people have recovered there. McLennan County has 77 patients, with 58 having recovered. Four people have died. Williamson County confirmed a 5th death due to the virus on Monday. The County has 156 total cases, 99 of which have recovered.

FROM 4-20:

As the COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world, health experts are warning to ease restrictions gradually to avoid a resurgence of the virus. China, where the pandemic began, has lifted most travel and other restrictions, though customers and employees appear slow to return or spend money. The world`s largest lockdown is being eased in India, where they are allowing some manufacturing and agriculture to resume, but only if employers can meet social distancing and hygiene guidelines. Most companies simply can`t afford to meet those criteria, however. Germany is also beginning to allow some small stores to re-open. New Zealand is extending their lockdown. There are 2.4 million confirmed cases worldwide and 165,000 people have died. 

In America, President Donald Trump said his administration and Congress are nearing another economic aid package of nearly $450 billion to boost the small business loan program that ran out of money last week. American deaths topped 40,000 over the weekend as confirmed cases reached 750,000. New York finally saw really good news, reaching their lowest death toll in over 2 weeks, dropping under 550 for the 1st time since the pandemic began. 

Here in Texas, there are now 18,260 confirmed cases and 453 deaths. Over 4,800 people have recovered. Governor Greg Abbott on Friday announced re-opening guidelines in 3 phases. The opening phase is underway and loosens surgery restrictions and re-opens parks. Beginning this Friday, retail stores will be able to re-open for curbside pickup. That said, Abbott also closed all schools for the remainder of the semester. Brazos County added just 1 new case Sunday, for a total of 170. They have 16 deaths there and 50 people have recovered. Bell County has 126 cases and 3 deaths. Williamson County added 4 new cases Sunday, bringing their total to 155. Of those, 95 have recovered and 4 have died. 

FROM 4-18:

Governor Abbott announced on Friday the state of Texas` plan for re-opening the state. The plan is in three phases, and begins with phase one, which loosens surgery restrictions, re-opens national parks, and, starting next Friday, all retail stores will be able to re-open for curbside pickup. On the other hand, however, the Governor declared the closing of all Texas schools for the remainder of the school year, remaining online for the rest of the 19-20 year. 

From 4-17:

President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled a roadmap for states here to begin economic recovery efforts amid the virus pandemic. The news comes as Chinese officials raised their death toll to over 4,600 in Wuhan, where the outbreak originated. The new number had about 1,300 new deaths added because of what Chinese State Media called insufficient capabilities to accurately count because of overwhelmed medical facilities. Many governments around the world have seriously questioned China`s death count. There are encouraging signs in Europe, where Italy, Spain, and France all saw declines of the virus. In New York, the epicenter in America, also had encouraging signs as they saw a drop in daily deaths and hospitalizations. That said, cases are rising to high levels in Britain, Russia, and Turkey. 

Worldwide, over 2.1 million people have been infected and 144,000 have died. The US death toll is now above 33,000 as more than 670,000 cases have been confirmed. As part of the new roadmap announced by Trump on Thursday, he called for a phased and deliberate approach to restoring normalcy where there is strong testing and decreases in the virus. The guidelines institute a 3-phase plan to help kickstart the economy, though Trump told governors they will have to make their own decisions on how to approach the guidelines. Phase 1 includes strict social distancing for all people in public and non essential travel is discouraged. Phase 2 includes maximizing social distancing and limiting gatherings to 50 people or less, though travel could resume. Phase 3 would be a return to normalcy for most, focusing on identification and isolation of new infections. Governors in the Midwest on Thursday announced they were banding together to coordinate opening their economies. Similar plans were previously announced on the West Coast and Northeast Coast. Amid this talk, a new poll shows 2 in 3 Americans say they are worried the lifting of restrictions will come to quickly, spurring a new wave of infections and panic. Jobless reports Thursday showed that 5.2 million Americans lost their jobs this past week, making for a 4-week total of 22 million out of work. Economists predict the April unemployment rate to reach 20%, the highest since the Great Depression in the 1930s. 

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said he will unveil plans to reopen the economy later today. The State now has nearly 16,500 positive cases and 393 deaths. Over 3,600 have recovered. A 14th death was announced in Brazos County on Thursday. There were also 7 new cases, bringing their total to 158, with 41 having recovered. McLennan County picked up 2 new cases, for a total of 76. Three people have died and 53 have recovered. Bell County added 9 new cases. Their total case load is 112, with 57 having recovered and 3 having died. Williamson County announced 12 new cases, with 78 recoveries and 4 deaths. 

FROM 4-16:

The economic toll from COVID-19 is now spreading as fast as the virus. Countries beginning to re-open after easing restrictions are seeing their economies continue to struggle as confidence in stores, factories, and schools remains low. In France, retail and shipping giant Amazon suspended all operations after a court ruled they were not doing enough to protect their own workers there. Cargo traffic in the Netherlands, one of Europe`s largest ports, is down over 9% in the 1st quarter from the same time a year ago. Countries that have eased restrictions and tried to restart the economy are seeing even people with jobs refusing to spend or go anywhere unless necessary. 

The United States began issuing stimulus checks to families across the nation this week as part of the $2.2 trillion relief package. The Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday that people will not have to pay back that money when tax filing comes due. Negotiations are underway in Washington to add yet another major relief measure. Over 640,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus here, more than the next 4 countries put together. The US also has nearly 31,000 deaths, the highest total in the world. Worldwide there are over 2 million confirmed cases and 137,000 deaths. In Michigan, thousands of residents took to the streets Wednesday to protest their state lockdown orders. Few of them were masked and many were armed with rifles as they defied shelter-in-place and social distancing orders. President Donald Trump says he has prepared new guidelines to ease social distancing and restart the economy. Trump is expected to unveil those guidelines today, though ultimate decisions will remain with governors. 

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced the Public Safety Office will provide $38 million in federal funds to local units of government as part of the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. Jurisdictions can use the funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the virus threat. Among the allowable projects and purchases are overtime, equipment, supplies, training, travel expenses, and addressing medical needs of inmates in local jails and detention centers. Texas now has 15,492 confirmed cases and 364 deaths. Over 3,100 Texans have recovered. McLennan County picked up a 4th death on Wednesday as they added 3 new cases for a total of 74. Bell County added 3 new cases for 110 total. Three people have also died in Bell County. Four additional cases were added in Williamson County, where their case count is now 128. Brazos County reported 2 new cases for a total of 151. Thirteen have died there. The City of Taylor announced 5 total cases of the virus and Hutto is reporting 13 cases. Lee County officials said the only 2 confirmed cases they have are both now recovered.

FROM 4-15:

Initial steps are being taken in Europe and China to return to some normalcy, though they are seeing some resistance from the public as customers are shying away from business and workers are afraid to return to their jobs because of health risks. The European Union executive commission highlighted concerns they had as they published a new road map plotting a course to return to business. In China, millions are remain wary of spending or leaving their homes. Worldwide infections reached 2 million, with 127,000 total deaths. America has been the hardest hit of all, with 600,000 positive cases and 26,000 deaths. The economy here has also taken a huge hit, as retail sales dropped a record 8.7% in March. The sharpest drops were seen in auto sales and clothes. Meanwhile, stimulus checks are rolling out and the Internal Revenue Service deployed a new tool to track your payment. The Get My Payment application allows people to check if they are eligible for relief, set up direct deposit, and more. 

Here in Texas, there are now 14,624 confirmed cases and 318 deaths. Over 2,500 people have recovered and nearly 150,000 have been tested. Bell County added 6 new cases on Tuesday and McLennan County picked up 2 new cases. Both counties have 3 deaths each. Williamson County announced 5 additional cases. Caldwell ISD said Tuesday they plan to remain closed the rest of the semester, resorting to online classes and packet learning. If the district chooses to reopen, families will be given a 72 hour warning. 

FROM 4-14:

The European Union is investigating a smartphone application that could work across all member countries as they work to try to restart amid a sl





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