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Coronavirus update: Second wave of virus could be avoided, Teamsters concerned about Minnesota warehouse

Major League Baseball may pay players a lot less

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

Total U.S. confirmed cases: 1,684,173 (1,667,154)

Total U.S. deaths: 99,123 (98,371)

Total global cases: 5,626,047 (5,534,728)

Total global deaths: 351,815 (347,587)

Fauci: Second wave of the virus ‘not inevitable’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, has warned that the coronavirus (COVID-19) would likely return in a “second wave” in the fall. Now he appears to be more optimistic.

In an interview on CNN today, Fauci said a second wave is “not inevitable” in the fall. But he says that all depends on how the U.S. reopens after the current first wave. 

“Don’t start leapfrogging over the recommendations of some of the guidelines because that’s really tempting fate and asking for trouble,” he said.

Total U.S. deaths approached the 100,000 mark at midday today, reaching 99,123, as reported by Johns Hopkins University.

Teamsters raise food supply chain concern

The Teamsters Union is expressing concern about mitigation efforts to control the coronavirus at the large United Natural Foods INC (UNFI) warehouse in Hopkins, Minn. The union’s Local 120 is asking state health officials to step in and is warning that the state’s grocery supply chain could be at risk.

"Last week, UNFI brought in temporary workers from all over the country to pick orders; literally, from all over the country,” said Teamsters Local 120 Business Agent Troy Gustafson. “To our knowledge, they were not tested or quarantined prior to coming in, and they are not social distancing or following established safety protocols at the warehouse.”

Gustafson says the warehouse is producing an increasing number of positive cases of the coronavirus. Local 120 President Tom Erickson says there were no confirmed cases at the warehouse two weeks ago. There are currently four confirmed cases and several more suspected cases.

"This could escalate quickly if the company doesn't wake up," Erickson said.

Play ball?

If there is a shortened baseball season this year most players would earn a lot less than they expect. Major League Baseball (MLB) has presented a plan to its players’ union which would reduce the salaries of the highest-paid players the most.

The proposal would cut salaries for the highest-paid players by up to 80 percent while the lowest-paid players would only have to give up 10 percent of their scheduled pay. But it’s not clear how the proposal will be received by players. Some have expressed dissatisfaction on social media.

If the players’ union rejects the deal and an alternative isn’t worked out, it’s likely the 2020 baseball season would suffer the same fate as the NBA and NHL seasons, which were canceled in March. For its part, the MLB said the proposal is “consistent with the economic realities facing our sport.”

Keeping the virus out of police cruisers

Ford Motor Company says it’s helping police departments using its Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility vehicles to keep them free of coronavirus germs. The company said they’re doing it with a simple software update.

The software enables a temporary rise in interior temperatures upward of 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Ford says that will help reduce the viral concentration inside the vehicle by more than 99 percent.

The software update is available immediately on all 2013-2019 vehicles. Once activated, the vehicle’s powertrain and climate control systems work together to raise passenger compartment temperatures. 

Live debate

Tensions over the coronavirus boiled over on live television this morning as Joe Kernen and Andrew Ross Sorkin, two of the three anchors on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” shouted at one another over the nation’s death toll from the virus.

Kernen accused Sorkin of panicking throughout the pandemic, saying “You panicked about the market, you panicked about COVID, you panicked about the ventilators, you panicked about the PPE, you panicked about ever going out again…”

In turn, Sorkin accused Kernen of consistently underplaying the severity of the virus in order to help President Trump, accusing Kernen of “abusing” his position.

Around the nation

  • Massachusetts: While protesters in some states argue that reopening plans are moving too slowly, Massachusetts activists staged a funeral procession protest in Boston to argue that the state is reopening too quickly. They contend that reopening prematurely puts minority communities at heightened risk.

  • Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott has increased the number of services and businesses that can operate in the state. Food courts in shopping malls will reopen immediately, and Abbot is giving the green light for water parks to begin operations with limited capacity starting Friday.

  • Ohio: The state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has reopened for the first time since late March, resulting in long lines outside most locations. The state has extended expired drivers licenses for an additional 90 days.

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