Coronavirus live updates: April retail sales plunge lower than expectations – National News


Samara Heisz/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 302,000 people worldwide.

More than 4.4 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 1.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 85,906 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

9:30 a.m.: April retail sales plunge 16.4%

Retail sales in April fell a record 16.4%. The expectation was for sales to fall 12.3%.

The biggest decline in spending happened in clothing and clothing accessories retailers, where sales fell 89.3% from the same period last year.

Furniture stores got crushed, down 66.5%, as did electronics and appliances, down 64.8%. Restaurants and bars fell 48.7%.

The one bright spot was grocery stores — Americans ate at home and spent 13.2% more there than they did last year.

9 a.m.: Las Vegas airport offers PPE vending machines

Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport is now offering PPE vending machines with items including hand sanitizer and gloves for purchase.

McCarran said it was the first airport to install these vending machines.

8:30 a..m.: Oprah to give commencement address on Facebook at 2 p.m. ET

Oprah will broadcast a commencement address for the class of 2020 on Facebook and Instagram at 2 p.m. ET. on Friday.

Miley Cyrus will perform her song “The Climb,” and other celebrities from Simone Biles to Jennifer Garner to Lil Nas X will share their messages for the graduates.

6:38 a.m.: New York barber who gave haircuts despite closures tests positive for COVID-19

A barber in New York who was secretly giving haircuts in defiance of coronavirus closures has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Ulster County health officials.

“We are taking extraordinary measures to try and minimize the spread of this dangerous disease and learning that a barbershop has been operating illicitly for weeks with a COVID-10 positive employees is extraordinarily disheartening,” Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith said in a statement.

The names of the barber and business were not released by officials, but said the establishment is on Broadway in Kingston, New York.

The county health commissioner advised anyone who received a haircut in the past three weeks at a barbershop in the area to seek testing.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Pause directive says no barbershops, beauty salons and other “personal hygiene services” are allowed to be open at this time.

“As much as we would all like to go out and get a professional haircut, this kind of direct contact has the potential to dramatically spread this virus throughout the community and beyond,” Smith said in a statement Wednesday.

Cuomo extended the state’s stay-at-home order Thursday until June 13.

In New York, there are more than 343,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and at least 27,641 deaths.

5:10 a.m.: Milwaukee order allows salons, malls, playgrounds to reopen

In its new order, the city of Milwaukee announced Thursday how salons, malls and playgrounds can reopen.

The Moving Milwaukee Forward plan allows for some businesses to open provided physical distancing and protective measure requirements are followed.

Other businesses allowed to reopen include days spas, tattoo parlors, tanning facilities, most retail establishments, public beaches, nail salons and more.

There are still limits and restrictions on many of these openings, including how many people can be inside establishments at a time and that beaches are only open for walking, biking or running.

“A measured, phased in-approach that utilizes data-driven gating criteria and aligns with federal and state metrics is needed for Milwaukee County,” the city said in a statement.

Despite the Wisconsin Supreme Court order overturning the state’s stay-at-home order, the city of Milwaukee said bars and restaurants must still remain closed.

The city’s plan continues to allow for delivery and takeout at restaurants and bars, but no seating is allowed and no food or drink is allowed to be consumed on-site.

“To the residents of Milwaukee, we want things to be back to normal as much as you do, but the virus is still here and our normal has changed. We are all in this together and we will get through this together,” a joint statement from Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, chairwoman of the Public Safety and Health Committee, and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said.

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